Saturday, April 26, 2008
THE land reform programme under which thousands of Zimbabweans were allocated land taken from the white minority is the final solution to the land question and will never be reversed, President Mugabe has said. Addressing thousands of people at the official opening of the 49th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair here yesterday, Cde Mugabe said all land which was legally acquired and settled would never be returned to its white former owners.
"When the West — led by the British — shamelessly continue to denounce our country, what is our crime? We are simply claiming our birthright, defending our hard-won national sovereignty. ZITF grounds stand on that precious land. Most exhibits have a connection with the land. That’s why we love our land.
"Better all those who shake and quiver at every word of our colonial masters please know Zimbabwe will never be for sale. Zimbabwe is not for sale and will never be a colony again."
Before amending the Constitution to compulsorily acquire land, the Government had tried to get land through the willing buyer-willing seller concept but failed.
"Land was subsequently acquired in the national interest following the amendment to the Constitution. Land acquired and legally resettled will never revert to the previous racist owner settlers. It is our land, our treasure. Inhaka yedu, lilifa lethu.
"Let the colonist know this is the final solution," he said.
The President paid tribute to local business for its resilience in the face of illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West that have resulted in local industry grappling with hyperinflation, a shortage of foreign currency and failure to access foreign lines of credit.
All these challenges had affected capacity utilisation.
He said the road to success was never easy except for those who used crooked ways to acquire wealth. But he said those who break the law to get rich quickly would eventually be caught, leaving them with an unforgettable lesson.
The President said only through perseverance could success come.
The Government had come up with various intervention policies for national economic recovery.
The National Economic Recovery Programme had laid the foundation for economic recovery through prioritisation of agriculture, tourism and mining while the Government continued to rehabilitate infrastructure to buttress the productive sector.
"I would like to urge the local industry to be more aggressive and take advantage of measures such as toll manufacturing.
"It is pleasing to note more and more companies are embarking on toll manufacturing arrangements," he said.
Cde Mugabe said the Government would continue to support small and medium-scale enterprises because of their role in creating employment and exports.
Zimbabwe, the President said, would continue to welcome well-meaning support from regional and international partners and hailed the assistance given to the country by organisations such as the Southern Africa Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the African Union.
President Mugabe said this year’s trade fair was special in that it came just a few days after the country celebrated its 28th independence anniversary and before the country played host to the 13th Comesa summit to be held in Victoria Falls.
He paid tribute to exhibitors and visitors who continued to support ZITF.
This year all the exhibition space was taken up and Government treasured this gesture of support and solidarity.
"I am greatly encouraged by the resurgence of A’Sambeni, which continues to blossom since its return last year," he said.
Earlier, the President toured Cairns Holdings Limited, foreign exhibitors, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Ecoweb, South African Embassy, Zambian Embassy and Namibia Embassy stands.
He also visited the stands of CMED (Private) Limited, Letor Zimbabwe which makes agricultural equipment and the Produce and Home Industries Hall where farming produce was on display.
Cde Mugabe shook hands with some people, especially children, as he moved from the produce hall to the National Foods stand.
Most of the children whom the President greeted could not hide their joy and went about boasting to those around them.
At the National Foods stand, the President viewed stockfeeds made by the company before taking time to view the different breeds of cattle at the exhibition.
The President also visited the Seed Co, Cold Storage Company and CFI Holdings stands before going to the Malawi Embassy stand where he bumped into the First Lady who was also doing her tour.
From there, he visited Hall 3 where the A’Sambeni Exhibition was taking place before winding his one-and-a-half-hour tour with a visit to the Grain Marketing Board stand.
INTERNATIONAL trade fairs are important business platforms for opening up new markets and helping businesses maximise opportunities to become global brands. The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, which opened last Tuesday, is one such powerful tool providing the country with a window of opportunity for both local and foreign traders to do business.
We welcome local and foreign exhibitors that are participating at the 49th edition of the ZITF, whose theme is "Made in Zimbabwe for Africa and the World’’. One of the positive developments at this year’s trade fair is the presence of a significant number of local small-to-medium scale businesses that have seized the opportunity to exhibit at the fair.
This should give them the necessary exposure to not only open up new markets but also learn a lesson or two from other exhibitors.
However, this year’s trade fair is taking place against a background of heightened vitriolic attacks on the Government by the country’s detractors.
Speculation had been rife in anti-Zimbabwe Western media during the run up to the trade fair that the event would be cancelled owing to what they described as a "political crisis" precipitated by the March 29 harmonised elections.
The United States and some Western countries led by Britain have stepped up their hostile campaign against the Government in a bid to effect regime change.
But there has been nothing to remotely suggest that the trade showcase would be cancelled or postponed.
The country has succeeded in dispelling the propaganda and we commend the organisers of the trade fair for efficiently preparing for the event.
We do not expect serious exhibitors to take business decisions based on political expediency because ZITF is an apolitical organisation used only as a platform to forge trade links.
Another notable development in ZITF 2008 that has been of grave concern to both exhibitors and visitors was the acute escalation of costs, particularly accommodation.
Service providers, hoteliers in particular had sharply increased their accommodation fees, a development which only serves to scare away exhibitors and visitors from coming to such trade showcases.
We thank the National Incomes and Pricing Commission for moving in swiftly to allow sanity to prevail in the pricing of services.
We cannot at this moment afford to behave in a manner that discourages potential business to come our way when the country is facing serious economic challenges, which have been worsened by unjustified sanctions imposed against the country.
But despite all the efforts to discredit the country, it is pleasing to note that optimism has been high among exhibitors, with quite a good number of them expressing satisfaction with the inquiries they received since the very first day.
Exhibitors normally get out of the trade fair what they put into it, and any exhibitor or business person worth his salt should know that business does not end on the last day of the ZITF.
Indeed, the whole essence of the trade fair is to receive inquiries, be able to follow them up and translate them into concrete business deals.
Our wish, therefore, is for the ZITF to end resoundingly, particularly with yesterday’s befitting official opening of the event by President Mugabe.
YOUTHS have been urged to desist from furthering imperialist agenda to destabilise the country, as doing so would reverse gains of the liberation struggle. Speaking after distributing 400 balls to various schools in Mazowe West constituency, Youth Development and Employment Creation Deputy Minister, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere deplored youths that were lured by opposition parties to reverse the gains of the country’s independence.
"Zimbabwe was won after a fierce struggle, voting for the western-sponsored opposition parties would be a clear betrayal of not only Zanu-PF as a liberation party, but also to the spirit of the gallant sons and daughters lying at Chimoio, Tembwe and all those who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of this country," he said.
He said Zimbabweans should put their country first in all they do adding that Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, hence everything people do should put Zimbabwe first.
"The Government has put in place various projects to promote Zimbabwean youths who appreciate and understand their history."
Cde Kasukuwere encouraged youths to take advantage of the ruling party’s vibrant youth league, which provided a platform to participate in business, politics and sports.
"Youths are our future leaders so they should actively participate in all activities related to governance hence the need to learn the party’s ideologies must be their number one priority.
"Zanu-PF as a party gives chances to the young generation to engage in developmental activities as well as sport so youths should fully utilise the league’s platform where they learn and steadily mature to be good leaders," he said.
Cde Kasukuwere said Zanu-PF represents the interests of the Zimbabwean people and will not lead people astray hence youths should stand with the party in defending their sovereignty.
He expressed concern at the way some constituencies deceived the ruling party in the run up to the harmonised elections before turning against it during polls.
Corruption - And What The Government Can Do About ItThe way I see it, corruption is helped immeasurably by the secrecy surrounding government finances and contracts.
The way this government could make huge strides in combating public corruption, is to end all secrecy about financial deals, procurement, tax collection and all the deals made with the mines.
Therefore, I'm calling for an initiative to end secrecy about public finance, and make all government transactions and receipt of funds a matter of public record.
By Mubanga Luchembe
Saturday April 26, 2008 [04:00]
I make reference to one of the main news items on ZNBC TV on April 21, 2008 in which the Zambia Business Forum suggested that Zesco should be unbundled into three components namely, generation, transmission and distribution for the purpose of making the corporation operate efficiently. Since the merger of Kariba North Bank and Zesco a few years ago, the latter has become too big, bloated, slow and inefficient.
In all fairness, the call by the Zambia Business Forum is timely because Zesco has painfully let us down. However, I wish to add that generation and transmission on the national grid could be retained by Zesco because the company has the infrastructure and resources in place.
The distribution aspect could be handled by third parties like city and town councils or private companies like Copperbelt Energy Corporation. Better still, quasi government companies could be formed to distribute power using a similar business model like the water and sewerage companies that the Ministry of Local Government has formed and is spearheading in both urban and rural provincial centres.
The new electricity distribution companies that may result from the local government deployment could acquire the electricity distribution rights, infrastructure and resources from Zesco.
The issue at hand is to make Zesco lean, mean, and efficient such that it can react to national power generation and transmission problems that the nation may face to swiftly resolve them.
Zesco’s focus should be on national power generation and transmission only and nothing else. In this way, the company will become efficient.
On the other hand, the electricity generation in isolated areas could initially, be handled by rural town councils who could set up electricity mini-grids from renewable energy-based sources for power generation and eventually be connected to the national grid. It is quite possible that this could be done.
The incumbent ministers of energy, commerce and local government have the essential background, experience and skill regarding the subjects of electricity, business models and councils respectively. They could make such a venture workable if only they got the clearance, put their heads together and seek for assistance from cooperating partners both within and outside Zambia.
It is quite disheartening that Zambia is now experiencing power outages or load shedding on a daily basis when the country has so much wind, sunlight, streams, so many rivers and waterfalls which can be used to generate electricity.
My appeal to our government is to start the process of unbundling Zesco immediately and let town councils and other third parties take up the distribution of electricity.
Besides, town councils in the past were distributors of electricity up to 1973 when Zesco was formed. Its formation resulted into town councils losing the electricity revenue base.
In the recent past, again councils lost the house rental revenue base when the government directed councils to sell all their housing stocks to the sitting tenants. If the suggestion of using the council to handle electricity distribution is implemented, councils will have a lucrative alternative revenue source and solve most of their financial problems they are currently facing.
Let us wisely utilise the resources that God has given us and ensure that the nightmare of power outages and load shedding due to Zesco’s incompetence becomes a thing of the past.
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday April 26, 2008 [04:00]
ZAMBIANS must play down the question of escalating global food prices, finance minister Ng'andu Magande has said. Reacting to concerns by most stakeholders that increasing food prices might lead to political instability, Magande insisted that Zambia was not affected by the rise in global prices, saying the country's staple food was still adequate. He said the bulk of the food Zambia consumed was grown locally, saying he did not expect people to start demonstrating.
"There is no food shortage in the country. We have enough maize in the country that we even exported maize because there is plenty of it, we have a lot of sweet potatoes, sorghum. What food don't we have?" Magande asked. "I don't expect people in Zambia to start rioting in Cairo Road because there is no mealie-meal when we have so much maize around."
Asked to comment on the rise in other food prices like bread, Magande responded that Zambia still had a number of optional foods that its people could depend on. He explained that the soaring food prices had mainly been fueled by robust economic growth in China and India, Asia's economic powerhouses.
"Where people are having the problem of rising food prices are countries like Senegal in West Africa because actually they import about 80 per cent of what they eat. And when you have that condition, you are competing with China and India who are eating more because their middle class has developed. But for Zambia, we are not importing food.
In fact, if you look at the trends, it is only prices of rice and wheat that are shooting up and we don't consume much of that. So in terms of the ordinary Zambian who is in Kaputa or Monze, his food basket is not competing with Chinese or Indian demand.
"So that is how you should look at it and that's why I would like people in Zambia to play down the question of rising food prices. Which food prices are rising?
If you look at sweet potatoes, how, if you go to Kapiri Mposhi, why should sweet potatoes' price rise when we are not importing from anybody? So we are not competing with any one."
Rising food prices have sparked worldwide unrest and continue to threaten political stability.
Already some countries like Egypt have witnessed a number of riots over the doubling of prices of basic foods in a year.
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday April 26, 2008 [04:00]
GOVERNMENT is seriously considering alternative sources of energy to enhance security of supply in the country, energy and water development permanent secretary Peter Mumba has said. And Mumba said the government would soon consider rehabilitating fuel storage facilities dotted across the country as the private sector was not keen to develop the facilities.
Appearing before a parliamentary committee on energy on Thursday, Mumba said the high coal deposits present in Maamba presented Zambia with a good opportunity to generate hundreds of mega watts of power using coal.
Mumba said Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) has so far applied for consideration to develop a coal powered electricity plant in Maamba to produce around 300 mega watts of power to supplement Zesco’s generation capacity of around 1,600 mega watts.
“Energy mix is crucial for security of supply,” Mumba said. “Alternative sources of energy are being considered to enhance security of supply. Zambia has millions of tonnes of coal reserves which can be utilised to generate electricity. Coal powered electricity generation in Zambia can be one of the reliable sources of power.”
Israel is currently generating around 14,000 mega watts of power using imported coal, while countries like Zambia, with enormous coal deposits have not developed a single coal-powered electricity generation plant.
And Mumba said the government has been trying to involve the private sector in the operation of fuel storage facilities around the country.
“The idea is to rehabilitate the storage facilities for fuel not just here in Lusaka but everywhere else in the country. One of them is located on Mungwi Road in Lusaka and it has not been used for a very long time,” Mumba said.
“We tried to invite the private sector to participate in the running of these facilities but the response was not good so government has to move on. I will soon be going round to check these facilities and that will give the ministry an idea of how much is needed to bring the infrastructure back to their original state.”
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday April 26, 2008 [04:00]
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for urgent policy action in the area of oil investment for stability in markets as well as the global economy. Speaking at the 11th Energy Forum and 3rd International Energy Business Forum in Italy this week, IMF first deputy managing director John Lipsky said oil markets were linked to most industries, and therefore affected all households and countries in an event of skyrocketing prices of the commodity.
International oil prices have soared to above US $110 per barrel, causing major hikes in food prices worldwide and other basic commodities.
Oil importing countries are the worst hit, with Zambia’s cost of living for a family of six in Lusaka hitting above K1.8 million in the March basic needs basket compiled by the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR).
“Oil market conditions and policies, as well as those for other commodities, must therefore be considered in a global context. The supply response can be enhanced by improving the stability and predictability of investment regimes, encouraging greater cooperation between national and international oil companies, and increasing transparency through better oil market data,” Lipsky said.
“For consumers, policies should aim to achieve full pass-through of international oil prices to domestic prices and to signal environmental costs. Actions are most likely to be successful if undertaken in a multilateral context where everyone does their share to improve the supply-demand balance in oil markets, which in turn would make these markets less vulnerable to shocks and therefore more stable. A more stable oil market is critical to attaining a more stable global economy.”
Lipsky further said the sharp surge in oil prices since the beginning of 2007, on top of substantial increases since 2002, has been a wake-up call for public officials and market participants.
“With global growth slowing, markets expected oil prices to decline below $80 per barrel as late as October of last year. Instead, prices have continued to surge to over $115 per barrel, as after almost two decades of substantial spare capacity, demand has fully caught up with production capacity,” said Lipsky.
Saturday April 26, 2008 [04:00]
THE inordinate delay in releasing the results of the March 29 elections has totally discredited the whole of Zimbabwe's electoral process. A week's delay, in the circumstances might have been understandable. Two weeks’ delay might have been excusable. Three weeks’ delay might have raised a lot of questions and some controversy. But a month’s delay has rendered the results of this process totally unacceptable. The only way these results may be accepted as credible is if they make opposition MDC the absolute winner.
Initially, many people were a bit more understanding and sympathetic to the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission's problems given the magnitude and complexity of conducting four elections in one. But for all the difficulties and unavoidable deficiencies and inefficiencies, there is no good reason for them to delay announcing the results for almost a month.
It can be legitimately argued that the court proceedings initiated by MDC might have further contributed to this delay. But it's today more than a week since this impediment was removed. Recounting votes in two or so dozens of constituencies should take only, and at most two or three days.
This delay has raised a lot of questions about the independence and integrity of Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission. It has also raised serious questions needing honest answers about the true reasons for this apparent unrealistic delay.
And one would not be wrong to conclude that ZANU-PF and President Robert Mugabe lost these elections in a definitive manner and are trying to buy time to alter things in their favour or to pave way for their exit in a manner desirable to themselves because they were totally not ready for that type of result.
This delay has cost ZANU-PF and President Mugabe all the international support they had prior to these elections. It is not an exaggeration to say that the majority of the Zambian people and Africans in general were untrusting and unsupportive of MDC.
They saw MDC as a political party of the former white racist Rhodesians and their imperialist supporters in Britain, America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. This may not be desirable, but that's the way things stood.
But the behaviour of ZANU-PF and President Mugabe over the last four weeks seems to have changed all this. Even if they manage to alter things and declare themselves the winners of these elections, it seems it will be impossible for them to govern. They have allowed their opponents to gain the upper hand without doing much. It is really their own undoing.
But it's difficult to understand why ZANU-PF and President Mugabe went into these elections without being clear about what they would do if they lost. You can't organise an election and take part in it and then fail to accept its outcome. It is ridiculous for a ruling party to accuse the opposition of rigging elections that were conducted by itself or under its leadership and supervision.
If this is true, then this is a serious indictment on its competence, on its ability to continue in government.
If they were not ready to face MDC in an election contest, they shouldn't have accepted to have elections last month. At least Frederick Chiluba was very honest about it in 1996.
When Chiluba was amending the Zambian constitution to enable him bar Dr Kenneth Kaunda from contesting that year's elections, a friend of his asked him why he shouldn't just allow Dr Kaunda to contest and defeat him neatly, cleanly and conclusively and confine him thereafter to a permanent retirement. Chiluba's response was: "What about if he wins?" This is the way Dr Kaunda's political comeback was frustrated.
Everything in life has got limits. Even elections can only be manipulated or rigged within certain limits. There is need for ZANU-PF and President Mugabe to accept that for now MDC, and probably imperialism, has defeated them. At least on this front - the electoral front.
They will not be the first liberation movement, the first independence political party to be defeated in this way. UNIP and Dr Kaunda had their baptism in this almost 17 years ago. They didn't die. They didn't attempt to rig elections and cling on to power. They graciously and magnanimously handed over power to a political party - the MMD - which they knew very well was being financed and supported by the imperialists.
The Sandinistas in Nicaragua were also similarly removed from power by a political party supported and financed by the United States after almost a decade of resisting to be overthrown or removed from power by the United States' funded and supported contras. Again, the Sandinistas magnanimously handed over power to the United States puppets in Nicaragua.
They understood very well that they were defeated on this front but that did not mean the end of things. They understood that no revolution ever comes to an end and that all revolutionaries have the duty to keep its ideas, principles and goals alive. Even if the Sandinistas were to try to close off prospects for future progress, they wouldn't be able to do so.
Nobody controls the future - because humanity has no alternative to meeting the future, has no hope but the changes, advances and improvements that the future may bring. The Sandinistas didn't return to the mountains again, but they were confident that, with their faith, the mountains will one day return to them. And today they are back in power in Nicaragua, continuing where they left.
Above all, they have the support and the electoral mandate of the Nicaraguan people - patriotic, courageous, revolutionary people who fought hard to throw off the USA's supported and funded Somoza dictatorship, to begin a revolutionary process, to keep struggling in disadvantageous conditions and to recover from setbacks.
ZANU-PF and President Mugabe have to accept their fate. If they are true revolutionaries, they should hand over power to the winners in last month's elections because revolutionaries are honest people, don't cheat and don't lie.
It is time for them to realise that our lives teach us who we are. They should learn the hard way that when you permit anyone else's description of reality to supplant your own, then you might as well be dead. Obviously, a rigid, blinkered, absolutist, metamorphic picture they have always carried about is rather more vulnerable.
Yet they seem to think that they must cling with all their might to the chameleon, that chimera, that shape-shifter, their own soul; must hold on to its mischievous, iconoclastic, out-of-step clown instinct, no matter how great the storm. And if that plunges them into contradiction and paradox, so be it; they have lived in that messy ocean all their lives. They have fished in it for their art.
ZANU-PF and President Mugabe should face the issue of their electoral defeat head-on and deal with it. They should realise that the events of the last four weeks profoundly disappointed their supporters, and disgusted many others.
People need a rest from them, and they need time to reflect and listen and come to understand things better than they have been of late. They certainly need to do a lot about themselves. They need better and different organisations.
Revolutionaries - which we believe every person who fights for the independence of his country is, although there is a higher form of being a revolutionary - are patriots who wish to see their country succeed, move forward.
You will not see them gloat over national reverses, nor talk down their successes. They shouldn't behave like non-patriots who sought to defeat them on the back of national failure, economic and political blockade and other sorts of sanctions when there were sufficient grounds without that to argue for their removal.
Today their opponents, well funded and politically supported by imperialists, look very strong and confident. But problems lie ahead. The wheel of fortune turns and that which once appeared fresh, with the passing of time goes to seed.
What ZANU-PF and President Mugabe need is humility, magnanimity. Opportunities there will be. Their time will come again if they work hard and are honest and true to the Zimbabwean people.
It is therefore very important that they give the opposition its electoral victory and hand over power immediately. There is need for them to appreciate the fact that elections are the central institution of democratic representative governments. Why? This is because, in a democracy, the authority of the government derives solely from the consent of the governed.
The principal mechanism for translating that consent into governmental authority is the holding of free and fair elections. And democratic elections are not merely symbolic - they are competitive, periodic, inclusive, definitive elections in which the chief decision-makers in a government are selected by citizens.
And democracies thrive on openness and accountability, with one very important exception: the act of voting itself. At the same time, the protection of the ballot box and tallying of vote totals must be conducted as openly as possible, so that citizens are confident that the results are accurate and that the government does, indeed, rest upon their consent.
Democratic elections, after all, are not a fight for survival, but a competition to serve. No matter who wins, both sides must agree to cooperate in solving the common problems of the society.
The losers, now in the political opposition, should know that they will not lose their lives or go to jail. On the contrary, the opposition should continue to participate in public life, with the knowledge that its role is essential in any democracy worthy of the name.
There is no alternative, the results of last month's elections in Zimbabwe need to be given to those who won the elections and close the whole process and wait for the next elections. Defeats, setbacks are inevitable aspects of life - especially of political life.
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Saturday April 26, 2008 [04:00]
THE church in Zimbabwe has called for international intervention to arrest the deteriorating political and security situation in the country in order to prevent genoide. And the church has demanded that youth militia and war veterans or military base camps that have been set up in different parts of the country should be closed.
In a joint statement released on Thursday, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, expressed deep concern over the deteriorating political, security, economic and human rights situation in the country after the March 29 elections.
"As shepherds of the people, we appeal to the Southern African Development Community SADC, the African Union AU and the United Nations to work towards arresting the deteriorating political and security situation in Zimbabwe.
We warn the world that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hot spots in Africa and elsewhere," the church stated.
"We appeal for the immediate end to political intimidation and retribution arising from how people are perceived to have voted in the March 29, 2008 elections and arising from the desire to influence how people will vote in the anticipated run-off in the presidential poll.
"Youth militia and war veteran or military base camps that have been set up in different parts of the country should be closed as a step towards restoring the peace and freedom of people's movement that was witnessed before and during the March 29, 2008 elections."
The church appealed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release the true results of the presidential polls without further delay.
"The unprecedented delay in the publication of these results has caused anxiety, frustration, depression, suspicion and in some cases illness among people of Zimbabwe both home and abroad. A pall of despondency hangs over the nation, which finds itself in a crisis of expectations and governance.
The nation is in a crisis, in limbo and no real business is taking place anywhere as the nation waits," the church stated.
"To the people of Zimbabwe, you played your part when you turned out to vote on March 29, 2008. We again, commend you for exercising your democratic right peacefully. At this difficult time in our nation, we urge you to maintain and protect your dignity and your vote.
"We urge you to refuse to be used for a political party or other people's selfish end especially where it concerns violence against other people, including those who hold different views from your own.
As the shepherds of God's flock, we shall continue to speak on behalf of Zimbabwe's suffering masses and we pray that God's will be done."
The church stated that reports coming through its members countrywide indicated that the peaceful environment that existed before had regrettably changed.
"Organised violence perpetrated against individuals, families and communities who are accused of campaigning or voting for the 'wrong' political party in the March 29, 2008 elections has been unleashed throughout the country, particularly in the countryside and in some high density urban areas," the church stated.
"People are being abducted, tortured, humiliated by being asked to repeat slogans of the political party they are alleged not to support, ordered to attend mass meetings where they are told they voted for the 'wrong' candidate and should never repeat it in the run-off election for president, and, in some cases, people are murdered."
The church further stated that the deterioration in the humanitarian situation was plummeting at a frightful pace.
"The cost of living has gone beyond the reach of the majority of our people. There is widespread famine in most parts of the countryside on account of poor harvests and delays in the process of importing maize from neighbouring countries.
The shops are empty and basic foodstuffs are unavailable. Victims of organised torture who are ferried to hospital find little solace as the hospitals have no drugs or medicines to treat them," stated the church.
By Noel Sichalwe
Saturday April 26, 2008 [04:00]
SADC Lawyers Association president Sternford Moyo yesterday urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to immediately release the results of the presidential elections. In an interview, Moyo said the delay in releasing the results was a source of serious concern.
He noted the lack of transparency in the accreditation of election observers and regretted the fact that even the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Lawyers Association was not invited.
"The results in Zimbabwe must be announced," he said.
"The people of Zimbabwe voted and they are supposed to be advised as to who is supposed to be enjoying popular support. To date, there are no results for the elections and that is unacceptable and a case of serious concern."
Moyo, a Zimbabwean, also said the SADC leaders issued a weak resolution after the recent extraordinary summit, which was held in Lusaka.
However, he said it was good that SADC leaders considered the issue of Zimbabwe to be sufficiently important although the resolution failed to impose a clear obligation for ZEC to immediately release the results.
Moyo further expressed concern that election monitors left Zimbabwe before the conclusion of the counting of ballots.
He also said the legal profession in Zimbabwe was facing serious challenges.
And addressing lawyers at the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) annual general meeting in Livingstone, Moyo said the independence of the legal professional was a prerequisite of the independence of the Judiciary.
Moyo said there could be no independence of the Judiciary if there was no independence of the legal profession.
"When judges are under attack from the Executive, they depend on the support of lawyers," he said. "It is our responsibility to defend them if they are attacked.
The independence of the Judiciary is also one of the core values of democracy."
Moyo said his organisation had embarked on various activities such as campaign against torture by urging governments to ratify the international conventions on torture.
LAZ president Elijah Banda also said the legal profession in Zimbabwe had faced severe challenges regarding the rule of law and that what was happening in that country had the potential to affect Zambians by reason of proximity.
And presenting a report on ethics and amendments to practice rules, Bonaventure Mutale said the committee had recommended that legal professionals could start advertising their services in a truthful and factual manner.
Mutale, however, said the advertisements should not aim at misleading, giving a false impression or be made in a sensational manner so that they could not reflect the profession in a negative way.
The recommendation will today be subjected to a vote and be referred to the Ministry of Justice for further consideration.
The general meeting has been preceded by the seminar in readiness for the official opening today.
Friday, April 25, 2008
" The Rhodesian propaganda war started in the early 1970s. Books, cartoons, jokes, radio and TV programs extolling the invincibility of the white army and deriding the terrorists were part of daily life. Africans were saturated with blood-curdling leaflets and films warning them of the horrors that would be-visited on them by "communists, Marxist-Leninists and criminal terrorists." "
Also interesting, and pretty reminiscent of the MDC's strategy - vote for us, we can turn the economy around (i.e., get sanctions lifted):
A second Rhodesian government leaflet depicts two photographs of crops. In the top photograph farmers stand by an abundant field and the text is, "The prosperity peace brings – a good harvest." The second photo shows a farmer by a barren field and the text, "War brings famine – no food for the people." In small print at the bottom of each leaflet is the comment "inserted on behalf of the Government." This implies that the propaganda might have been placed into envelopes and mailed. These "inserted" leaflets are larger than usual at about 8 x 10-inches in size with English-language text on the front and Shona text on the back.
Rhodesian Psychological Operations were designed to create dissension, disorganization, low morale, subversion, sabotage, and defection within insurgent military forces. For the civilian population, PSYOP objectives were to gain, preserve, and strengthen civilian support for the government, both internally and externally. PSYOP involved the planned use of communications through words, symbols and actions to influence the behavior of selected target audiences in order to promote the achievement of national objectives.
The Illustrated History of South Africa, Reader's Digest Press, Cape Town, 3ed. 1992, gives examples of some of these communication campaigns:
The Rhodesian propaganda war started in the early 1970s. Books, cartoons, jokes, radio and TV programs extolling the invincibility of the white army and deriding the terrorists were part of daily life. Africans were saturated with blood-curdling leaflets and films warning them of the horrors that would be-visited on them by "communists, Marxist-Leninists and criminal terrorists."
The Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation (RBC) broadcast program in English and Shona detailing the barbarisms committed by terrorists, offering rewards for reporting their presence and protection by the Rhodesian army. Ironically, the only people who listened to these broadcasts were whites. The African people listened to Radio Mozambique and the Voice of Zimbabwe - one of the most popular programs was the regular talk show by Mugabe. As a Patriotic Front supporter said after the election: "Every kid had Mugabe fever. Everybody could see that Comrade Mugabe was talking sense." A well-known black RBC broadcaster, Ben Musoni, later remembered: "...the whole country was behind the freedom fighters."
By Times Reporter
TWO hundred and fifty-two Onshore workers have resolved to return to India after a dead-end with their employers over conditions of service. The voluntary move by the Indians has now created employment for local Zambians who will be recruited to fill the void. A check yesterday found most of the workers waiting to be dispatched to India. One of the employees, Subhas Chandra Mallick said 70 per cent of the employees had chosen to go back to India instead of being enslaved by Onshore management.
A rigger, Ryaz Ahmed Khan said the food (chapati) was poorly prepared, while 60 of them were housed in a three-bedroomed guesthouse and were made to share one toilet a bathroom.
Chingola town clerk, Charles Sambondu said he warned Onshore management in January this year when his council wanted to close down the guesthouses but they promised that they would relocate some of the workers.
He said Onshore management was uncooperative and his council was left with no option but to close down all the houses in question and those for the companies involved in the same vice.
On Monday, over 360 Onshore construction workers protested and opted for an industrial strike to force management to succumb to their demands for better conditions of service.
Onshore has been contracted by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Chingola to construct the multi-billion Kwacha Nchanga smelter.
Onshore administrative manager, Iyer Ramachandran said yesterday that management had signed agreements with each employee on the conditions of service before coming to Zambia.
Mr Iyer said with the departure of the workers to India, the company would now employ local people to replace them.
Nchanga Member Parliament, Wylbur Simusa demanded an explanation from the ministry of Labour and Social Security on how the workers got their work permits.
But Government said there was nothing wrong with KCM engaging Onshore Contruction Company.
Labour and Social Security Deputy Minister, Austin Liato said in an interview yesterday that his ministry was only concerned with the long-term investment opportunities that would be created by mining firms and not how they engaged foreign firms to do contractual jobs.
“We are more concerned with the permanent jobs that the mining companies would create for the local people than how these companies bring in others on contract basis. As a ministry we would want more jobs created for the Zambians by the mining companies and these should be on permanent basis. That is the long-term investment that we are interested in,” Mr Liato said.
By Gilbert Kaimana
A DUTCH import company, Tradin Organic, will start buying organically grown groundnuts from small scale organic farm producer cooperatives in Petauke. Tradin Organic has agreed in principal to buy groundnuts from the organic producers under a deal arranged with the assistance of the Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ).
In an interview in Lusaka, OPPAZ chief executive officer, Mushimbwe Chitalu said the Dutch company initially wanted to buy 5,000 tonnes of groundnuts but the Petauke based cooperatives could not meet the quantities required.
Tigwilizane Cooperative of Petauke was only able to produce 100 tonnes of the organic groundnuts.
Mr Chitalu said the association was working with the farmers to help them organise themselves in order to produce more quantities.
The Dutch firm would be offering other services to the cooperatives it would be working with in Eastern Province to enable them increase production output of the organically-grown groundnuts.
Tradin Organic would be working in partnership with OPPAZ to introduce extension services, trade financing and capacity building services for the farmers.
He said the farmers would have an advantage in dealing with Tradin Organic because the organisation was certified as a fair trade organisation.
OPPAZ helps in, among other things, linking organic producers and processors to markets and financing.
“Small scale farmers rarely have markets for their crops, so we help develop market linkages as well as financing for them,” he said.
The association promotes a variety of organically-produced crops in Northern, North-Western, Central and Copperbelt provinces.
By AMOS CHANDA
ZIMBABWE’S ruling party has given the clearest indication so far that it is prepared to form a government of national unity (GNU) with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and organise fresh elections under a new constitution and close supervision of the international community.
According to an opinion in the state Herald newspaper, the Zimbabwean situation was "dire but not all is lost” because “Zimbabwe and Africa and the progressive international community can turn it around.”
For this to happen, two conditions must be recognised, accepted, and met on the ground by all the stakeholders.
“The current socio-economic environment in Zimbabwe is not conducive and the country’s political dynamics so distorted that holding a free and fair election run-off in the immediate term is literally impossible,” the paper says.
Accordingly, the most viable and safest way forward is for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate negotiations for a transitional government of national unity, which will call on the international community to compel Europe and the United States to lift economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The paper says Zimbabwean and independent international observers should accept that the just-ended harmonised elections did not produce an outright winner in the presidential race and that the on-going recount was unlikely to substantively alter that position.
“Accordingly, it stands to reason that the transitional government of national unity negotiated by the two leading contending parties, under the mediation of SADC (and) supported by the international community, should be led by the incumbent president.”
“For the above scenario to materialise there needs to be a major paradigm shift in the thinking of three major players. It is up to SADC, assisted by the progressive international community to ensure that such a shift does take place.”
The paper names the key players as Zanu-PF, the MDC and the British and American governments.
“The peace and security Zimbabwe has enjoyed since independence is at great risk. Whilst the ruling party must stop behaving like a wounded buffalo, the opposition party must stop its hysterics and lapses into delusion.”
“The ruling party, as the senior and more experienced organisation, both nationally and internationally, needs to show greater self-restraint and maturity.”
The paper advises that there would be no harm in Zanu-PF leaders making a candid introspection of themselves, noting past problems and challenges, and rising to counter them with greater determination.
“The party should allow MDC-Tsvangirai, now in virtual exile, to return home and freely negotiate its participation in a SADC-mediated process that should lead to the establishment of a transitional government of national unity led by the incumbent President Mugabe.”
Friday April 25, 2008 [04:00]
Fundamental changes in a society do not occur overnight. They require dedication, determination and patience. Bringing about change is not easy. It is a tough job that may result in humiliation for those that lead it. Society does not always accept change however good it might be. History shows, however, that no problem has ever been solved until it has become a tangible reality of which everyone is aware.
This is the challenge that the fight against corruption throws to all of us, to the Zambian people and their leaders. There is no denying that corruption had wrecked havoc in our nation.
We have to agree with Melissa Williams, the USAID Mission director in Zambia, that corruption stands as one of the biggest deterrents to growth and poverty reduction in Zambia, and “given the damage it inflicts upon Zambia, fighting corruption requires a broad and deep commitment from all of us; the government, the private sector and civil society must actively join the battle… no single agency can fight corruption alone.” This is very true. We need to have a very clear and accurate appreciation of the depth of this problem to be able to fight it. It is a cancer that spreads very quickly and destroys nations. Cures for this cancer are not easy. There is no quick fix or chemotherapy for it. It has to be uprooted, amputated.
Corruption is a scourge that affects all like HIV and AIDS; we are either infected or affected. We cannot afford to take a neutral stand while this plague destroys our country. It is not a subject on which we should accept empty rhetoric and endless theorising. It has to be fought.
The Chiluba years could easily have been some of the best years for this country if it was not for the greed, vanity and criminal plunder that seized the hearts and minds of those who were given the honour and privilege to lead us or manage the affairs of our country. These people and their associates fell into the clutches of corruption.
Instead of scheming ways out of poverty for our country and its people, they quickly became organised criminal gangs – creating institutions such as Access Financial Services Limited whose sole discernable purpose was to channel public funds into the pockets of thieves.
Frederick Chiluba and his tandem of thieves – Faustin Kabwe, Xavier Chungu, Stella Chibanda, Aaron Chungu, among others – created fake contracts and schemes that they used to steal government money. They led pompous and extravagant lives and created nation-wide distortions that battered the most vulnerable of our people.
What is worrying about corruption is that it is so insidious that even its victims – the most vulnerable people of our country – do not realise that they are victims. Sometimes they even worship these same criminals who are responsible for their desperate situation and look to them as their messiahs, their Mandelas, their Zumas who will save them from their Armageddon of poverty. It is this that makes it imperative for us to fight corruption. But to fight corruption, we have to be very clear about what it is, its nature, its characteristics.
This is a fight that entertains no illusions. Our people have to realise that we are not in an instant-coffee revolution; fighting corruption is going to be a long haul which will require a lot of resilience and patience from all our people.
The criminals will always tout us with challenges of quick trials and other quick fixes in the hope that if things are done that way, confusion will be created for them to escape being made to properly account for their crimes.
The corruption cases in our courts of law may seem to be taking very long. But that’s how our judicial process stands today. We shouldn’t be forced to create Kangaroo courts for these criminals so that tomorrow they turn around and accuse us of not following the due process of the law. So far, every plunderer has been accorded the due process and sometimes to the understandable irritation of our people.
This is the way things should be. We should believe and adhere to the rule of law even when it doesn’t seem to be in tune with our desired speed.
We have to be patient. The case of Bank of Zambia against Access Financial Services Limited and its plundering directors is a good example of why patience is needed. It takes time for the judicial system to unravel some of the intricate legal issues that these complicated organised criminal syndicates have carefully weaved.
Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu managed to mislead the High Court and get a favourable judgment which is only now, after several years, being corrected by the Supreme Court. Criminals are criminals because they are hard-hearted and determined.
One cannot be softhearted and be a criminal. Criminals will fight to the bitter end. The success of the Bank of Zambia is a refreshing reminder that even after a long wait, justice is attainable in our country today. Not all may be well with our judicial system but not all is lost either.
As we reflect on the difficulty of fighting corruption, we should have no illusions that corruption was a Chiluba-day problem. Whilst the Chiluba cases have demonstrated what a serious problem corruption has been in our country, they should also remind us that it is an ever-present evil that must be fought; that requires eternal vigilance.
We should all do our part to ensure that corruption does not take root in our country. As Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika has aptly put it, corruption exists in our country because we tolerate it. If there were zero tolerance on corruption, if there were no single citizen willing to be corrupted, there would be no corruption in our country.
Some good examples have been shown by the government that it is willing to fight corruption but this will go nowhere if the citizenry do not grab the opportunity and ensure that no corruption goes unpunished. The government has not always been consistent in its approach to the fight against corruption but this must not stop us.
And it cannot be denied that the government has yielded to the wishes of the citizens when pressure has been put on it to deal with specific cases or incident of corruption. We still remember how this government yielded on the Bulaya case after several weeks of public disquiet. And recently also, we had the case of Joseph Mulyata which is before our courts of law today.
This is the way things should be. What is needed is not a government of angels but one that respects and yields to public pressure and rule of law. We will get nowhere in the fight against corruption if we reduce it to a mere cheap politics subject. The public needs to ensure that all instances of known corruption are exposed because this kind of public participation is the only hope that we have of ensuring that corruption is defeated.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) needs to be overwhelmed with reports of corruption from the public, given the number of corruption allegations flying around. The executive should not get involved in investigating corruption. The ACC must be given its freedom and resources to work.
Turning back to the Access Financial Services Limited case, the Bank of Zambia has just been handed a potent tool in fighting financial crime and money laundering in the country. They can investigate and close down erring institutions.
This requires increased vigilance on their part and the highest levels of professionalism in their work. This they have demonstrated in the case of Access Financial Services Limited and we hope they will continue to do so. We must also commend the Supreme Court for having the courage and professionalism to admit that the High Court made a grave error of judgment when it decided that Access Financial Services Limited should be given back to the plunderers.
If such a decision had been allowed to stand, it could easily have spelt doom for the fight against corruption in this country and would have eventually led to anarchy. If thieves are allowed to retain the fruits of their crimes, then why should we fight crime? The Supreme Court has done us proud.
By Inonge Noyoo
Friday April 25, 2008 [04:00]
THE Supreme Court has set aside the High Court judgment that quashed the Bank of Zambia's decision to close Access Leasing and Access Financial Services companies. This is a matter where the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) had taken possession of Access Leasing and Access Financial Services because the two companies were conducting business in breach of the banking and financial services Act as well as engaging in unsafe and unsound practices.
The central bank resolved to take possession of the two companies pursuant to section 81 of the banking and financial services Act CAP 387 of the Laws of Zambia. Subsequent to the central bank's decision, the two companies sought judicial review before High Court judge Japhet Banda who ruled that the bank's decision to liquidate Access Leasing and Access Financial Services was ultra vires as the companies had not been declared insolvent.
The High Court ruled that the bank's decision to close the two companies was invalid, void and ultra vires. The High Court judge further pointed out that BoZ had an alternative remedy under section 84(B) (a) of the banking and financial services Act if they wished to take any action.
Following the High Court judgment, BoZ appealed on grounds that the High Court misdirected itself in law when it held that the respondent could only order the compulsory liquidation of the bank or financial institution under section 84B (b) as read together with section 101(i) of the banking and financial services Act.
The central bank argued that the lower court failed to appreciate that under section 84(a) (iv) the bank was empowered to take any action which was necessary to enable it carry out its functions.
BoZ contended that the lower court misdirected itself in law and fact when it held that the bank had failed to prove the insolvency of the two companies.
Delivering judgment yesterday on behalf of Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and Justice Christopher Mushabati, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala said the trial judge was in error in suggesting or holding that a solvent company cannot be placed under compulsory liquidation.
Chief Justice Sakala said such a position was contrary to section 101 of the banking and financial services Act.
"Section 101 does not require the respondent bank to establish insolvency of a bank or financial institution. It gives the Bank of Zambia a general power to place a financial institution under compulsory liquidation irrespective of its financial status.
We agree that there is no requirement under the Act that section 101 be read only in conjunction with section 84B nor is there any requirement in the Act that section 101 can only come into operation if a financial institution is insolvent," Chief Justice Sakala said.
He said section 101 gave BoZ a general power to place a financial institution under compulsory liquidation irrespective of its financial status.
Chief Justice Sakala said the trial judge erred in holding that a solvent company cannot be placed under compulsory liquidation.
However, he dismissed one ground saying while the court accepted the law that the director cannot be allowed to maintain an action in the names of the company under compulsory liquidation, BoZ had not appointed the liquidation manager.
Chief Justice Sakala said Chungu could still have proceeded with the action in the absence of the two companies.
By Mutuna Chanda
Friday April 25, 2008 [04:00]
FEDERATION of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) president Joyce Nonde has warned of unprecedented industrial unrest if the government does not withdraw the Industrial and Labour Relations Amendment bill. The bill is currently before parliament. Briefing the press in Lusaka on Wednesday, Nonde described the bill as primitive, suppressive and vindictive and was only targeted at individuals in the labour movement.
She said the bill violated the Republican Constitution, the International Labour Organisation conventions and infringed on human rights.
“The bill that we agreed on at the tripartite labour council is not the one that has been presented to Parliament,” Nonde claimed. “Collective bargaining has been destroyed in this amendment bill because workers will no longer be represented by union officials of their choice but by those imposed by government and employers.
This is taking away our freedom of association, which we fought for in the 1997 amendments. Workers must be represented by leaders of their choice without interference from employers and government.”
She noted that the Labour Commissioner had been given powers to register or not to register a trade union based on threats to national security and yet national security had not been defined.
“This proposed law will lead to non-registration of trade unions and therefore leave many workers at the mercy of employers. This is testimony that today the Labour Commissioner has continued denying workers the right to form their trade unions.
The few trade unions that have been registered recently have been through court orders... . Under the bill, the minister has taken away the powers from the workers and employers through the tripartite consultative labour council to himself alone to decide which category of workers are essential and not eligible to take strike action.
So if for example today at Bank of Zambia the workers are not happy with the conditions of service and they want to revolt, the minister can sign a statutory instrument in the night and declare them essential workers before they take any action. It would be long before all workers in Zambia are declared essential workers.”
She further said the amended labour law, if passed, would render trade union secretariats non-existent as they would now be run by part-time staff.
“All general secretaries of existing trade unions have been disqualified under the amendment bill from recontesting their elective posts. The law proposes that full-time positions in trade unions should be on part-time and that once a trade union official is seconded, he/she should cease to stand for re-election,” Nonde noted.
She said that her union would consult with the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions whether or not to attend next week’s tripartite labour council to which they have been invited.
“What will be the purpose of the tripartite labour council if the law has already been sent to parliament? We won’t be used as rubber stamps to show that we are in agreement on the amended law,” said Nonde.
Some of the contentious issues that FFTUZ disputes included the amendments of: section 69 of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act where the most representative trade unions in the sector, trade or industry would lead negotiations with employers after forming an alliance with minority labour bodies; section 21 where the labour commissioner had been given powers to appoint an independent auditor to look at the books of account of a trade union which is suspected of abusing funds or using them contrary to its objectives and that depending on the auditor’s recommendation, officers of the union could be suspended for a period not beyond 90 days pending conclusion of the audit report.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday April 25, 2008 [04:00]
ZESCO Limited customer services director Teddie Mwale has said the power utility company will start selling energy-saving bulbs and lamps in its outlets throughout the country to complement the retail sellers it has partnered with. In an interview, Mwale said Zesco had a wide network in the country and it would make the energy-saving lamps and bulbs readily available.
However, Mwale said the energy-saving bulbs and lamps would not be subsidised though the prices would be lower because the Value Added Tax (VAT) had been waived.
At the moment, energy-saving bulbs cost about K10,000, which is higher than the normal bulb but have a lifespan of about three to six years.
Recently, Zesco partnered with several electrical suppliers to ensure the availability of the bulbs and lamps.
“The suppliers that Zesco will work with in this partnership are Bestbuy Lighting, Shoprite, Spar, Game Stores, Voltec Electrical and Phoenix Electrical, among others,” Mwale said. “Zesco would like to see about one million lamps sold in 2008 which would result in energy savings of about 150 mega watts. This would considerably reduce the load shedding that we are experiencing currently.”
By Maluba Jere
Friday April 25, 2008 [04:00]
CORRUPTION stands as one of the biggest deterrents to economic growth and poverty reduction in Zambia, USAID mission director Melissa Williams has said. During the official launch of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) website yesterday, Williams said corruption weakens governance, deters investment, erodes public confidence and values of citizens.
Williams called for concerted efforts in the fight against corruption.
"Given the damage it inflicts upon Zambia, fighting corruption must be broad and deep commitment by all of us," she said. "The government, the private sector and civil society must actively join the battle."
Williams said the website would enable the ACC and the public to share directly the results of investigations and prosecutions.
The website www.acc.gov.zm has been developed with support from USAID and the Millennium Development Challenge corporation through the Zambia Threshold Project.
And ACC deputy director general Rosewin Wandi said corruption was a vice that could not and must not go unchecked as there was so much at stake and that the country stood to lose much if the vice was not tackled jointly.
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday April 25, 2008 [04:00]
THE success of Zambian Airways is a national success, finance minister Ng'andu Magande has said. And Zambian Airways chief executive officer Mutembo Nchito has announced that the airline has launched business class on its regional routes with a US$220 one-way fare to Johannesburg.
During the launch of Zambian Airways business class on Wednesday evening at Holiday Inn in Lusaka, Magande said the airline's success was a fine example of a product of government's policies aimed at empowering citizens through private sector participation and development.
Magande, who pledged government's support towards the growth of Zambian Airways, said the airline needed national support in its development and that Zambia could only be developed by local people.
"We will not be doing Mr Nchito and his colleagues a favour by patronising Zambian Airways... we will be doing ourselves a favour by making sure one of us thrives. That is how countries are developed, they are not developed by outsiders," Magande said.
"That is the passion your current government had in enacting the Citizens Economic Empowerment (CEE) Act. The current government took to Parliament and had the CEE enacted recently. The Act will encourage private sector activity by unleashing the drive and creativity that exists amongst many of our people.
"We want to develop the country through Zambians and it is obviously pleasing that if Mutembo can recruit a chief operating officer with skills to come and help him run the company who is not Zambian, that is what we should do.
Mutembo, you have done us proud and we support you. I don't control travel for government but I control the finances and if it means dealing with those who will be travelling elsewhere in another fashion by reducing their travel budget, I will do it because I want to make sure you succeed. Your success is a national success."
Magande also commended Zambian Airways for taking a lead in creating highly-skilled jobs in the country's aviation sector, saying the move would help to re-launch the airline industry in the local economy.
"I understand that over the course of the last six months, Zambian Airways have increased their staffing levels by over twenty per cent to two hundred as they have added on new aircrafts and it is pleasing to see some of the new aircrafts as you fly out. Many of the jobs they have created by this addition of equipment are very highly-skilled jobs such as pilots and engineers and it is heartening to note that the knowledge and skills base in such an important sector like aviation is being re-established in our economy," he said.
"I want to assure that the government will continue to look closely at what is going on with the airline as indeed it is a fine example of private sector development. We should lend our support and advice to Zambian Airways and champion their cause in aero-political matters like clearly as we have indicated without interfering in the running of their business as that is not a responsibility of government. That is for the shareholders and the managers."
Magande also acknowledged the hard work of Zambian Airways' management, which has seen the airline continue to post strong results for growth despite some of the challenges faced in its operations.
"The celebration of the launch of the business class clearly represents a major milestone in the development of Zambian Airways. The early days of this century have been characterised by uncertainty, turmoil in many parts of the world and the country, and great volatility in the economic sphere," Magande said. "This clearly is not the ideal environment for a fledging private sector enterprise like Zambian Airways to launch itself on the market.
"... There have been times when the company has gone through difficulties and sometimes without knowing I have ended up on Zambian Airways flight just to find myself seated with the shareholder and owner of this company and we have exchanged very interesting conversation maybe from here to Livingstone and throughout this time, I have become convinced that the management and staff of Zambian Airways have remained steadfast in their belief that the airline would survive, continue to grow and develop into a regional force in the aviation sector and one in which the people of Zambia can take great pride in."
Earlier, Nchito said the success of Zambian Airways had its roots in the privatisation programme, as it was one of the few successful products of the process.
"We are very proud that we are amongst the companies that came out of the privatisation process to tell the story. This year marks ten years after privatisation and those of you who fly to the Copperbelt know that there is no day when we have not taken you there. Airlines have come and gone but Zambian Airways is still here," he said.
Nchito, who outlined the history of the airline's growth, also announced the introduction of the first business class and direct flight from Livingstone to Johannesburg.
"We have just grown our departures out of our airports to about a 180 per week which is huge for national airports and this means revenue for National Airports Corporation (NAC) and we are putting about 10,000 seats into the air every week and that is a huge logistical operation which I hope, as we continue to interact with you will understand and appreciate," he said.
Nchito, who announced that the Zambian Airways business class would be pegged at US$220 against the average market price of about US$600, said the move was in response to most customers who wanted the airline to operate a business class.
"Many of you have spoken to us over the two years that we have been operating that we would really like to fly with you but sometimes we want our privacy and we are want to work and the model that we have had has not been good for you so here we are, we have got a very simple mission. We want to take away your excuses so we are giving you what you have been asking for.
We will be giving you business class on 58 flights every week and that would be on all our regional flights as well as Ndola when we operate the 737 and Mfuwe where we are proud to launch Boeing 737 this year trying to link in with international traffic coming off British Airways," Nchito said.
"We have a dedicated business cabin with 14 seats and I believe we are offering one of the largest and very comfortable seats in this business segment. We will give you a lead in fare of US$220 one-way on our business class to go to Johannesburg.
"We believe that we are contributing to putting in place the intangible infrastructure and it costs money. We can only do that with your patronage."
He also said it was a great shame that only foreign airlines had continued to benefit from the increasing economic activity of Livingstone.
Nchito said the airline would introduce the Livingstone-Johannesburg route next month.
"We are now very happy that for the first time we have a fully Zambian owned company flying out of Livingstone to South Africa. It has been a great shame that when Livingstone has been growing, all the airlines that have been servicing that airport and connecting to Johannesburg have been South African," said Nchito.
"So effective 2nd May, we will start flying the Livingstone-Johannesburg route. We expect to carry about 250,000 passengers this year. When I came in the industry and people who know the statistics better than me will correct me but I recall that about 10 years ago, the whole national airport was doing somewhere in the region of just under 400,000 and today Zambian Airways alone is going to carry 250,000. Now this is against the background that two years ago, that is the financial year 2005/06 we carried only 50,000 passengers.
"So there is some growth for you who like to crunch some numbers but we are particularly proud also for the fact that what we are doing is not a game. We are looking after ourselves. We are providing livelihood for plenty of families. Zambian Airways now employs just over 200 employees, so we believe that as a wholly owned Zambian company we are making a real contribution to the economy,” said Nchito.
By Mutale Kapekele in Livingstone
Friday April 25, 2008 [04:00]
THERE is need for a holistic approach in fighting malaria, visiting Princess Astrid of Belgium has said. And executive director of the roll back malaria partnership Dr Awa Marie Coll-Seck has said $3 billion is required to fight malaria in Africa. Meanwhile, the executive director of the United Nations UNITAID Dr Jorge Bermudez has said $100 million has been released by his organisation to fight malaria in three projects around the world.
Speaking after a tour of the Livingstone General and Batoka Hospitals yesterday, Princess Astrid said malaria was a stubborn disease that required the efforts of everybody to fight. “Partnerships are the best way to fight this disease. We need people from all sectors of society to join hands and get rid of malaria,” she said.
And Dr Coll-Seck said only $1.2 billion dollars of the $3 billion needed to effectively fight malaria in Africa had been raised.
Briefing the press on this year’s World Malaria Day, which falls today, Dr Coll-Seck said more funds were needed to reach people who were living in the malaria endemic areas.
She also said climate change had led to an increase in malaria cases even in countries where it had been eradicated.
And Dr Bermudez said his organisation released $100 million for malaria programmes in eight countries, including Zambia.
“The international drug purchase facility of UNITAID has committed $100 million to provide more than 60 million artemisinin combination therapies over the period 2007 - 2011 and will continue to work with its partners to increase the availability and affordability of quality anti-malarial medicines.
By Laura Mushaukwa in Ndola
Friday April 25, 2008 [04:00]
SUSPENDED MMD Copperbelt chairperson Terence Findlay (right) was yesterday acquitted on charges of rape and possession of obscene material by the Ndola Magistrates’ Court. However, Findlay was found guilty of assaulting a 16-year-old girl and was fined K5 million by Ndola Principal Resident Magistrate Chilombo Phiri.
This is in a case where Findlay was indicted for rape contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence were that Findlay on unknown dates but between May 1, 2007 and June 2, 2007 in Ndola had unlawful carnal knowledge of a 16-year-old grade ten pupil of Kansenshi Secondary School.
On the second count, he was charged with possession of obscene material contrary to the provisions of section 177(1a) of the Penal Code Cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
It was alleged that Findlay on unknown dates but between May 26, 2007 and June 3, 2007 had in his possession a DVD film that tended to corrupt morals.
On the last count, he was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm contrary to Section 248 of the Penal Code CAP 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
According to the indictment, Findlay on June 2, 2008 assaulted his victim, causing her harm.
Findlay pleaded not guilty on all counts and 11 witnesses testified against him.
The 16-year-old girl who claimed Findlay raped and assaulted her narrated her ordeal before the court.
She told the court that on the fateful day, Findlay picked her up on her way home from school and they drove to town where he gave her a drink that he opened.
The girl added that she and Findlay then drove to Castle Lodge where Findlay booked a room. At this point the girl said she was feeling tired but later on in the evening she was surprised to find herself and Findlay naked in the same room.
She also recounted in court how she found herself naked and bleeding from her private parts on different occasions with Findlay's friend Zinho Latife and others in a room at Savoy Hotel.
The girl revealed that on one occasion, Findlay gave her a pornographic DVD dubbed Bwaski One to watch and on a different occasion he burnt her with a cigarette lighter on her buttock and arm after she refused to have sex with him.
Findlay was put on his defence after Magistrate Phiri found him with a case to answer on all the charges against him.
When the matter came up for defence on February 22, 2008 Findlay opted to remain silent and called seven witnesses.
In passing judgment, Magistrate Phiri said the onus was on the prosecution to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
She said she would acquit the accused person if she had any doubts after considering the case.
She added that for her to establish the guilt of the accused person on the charge of rape there was need for corroboration on some aspects to avoid the dangers of false complaints and that the ingredients of the commission of the offence of rape needed to be satisfied.
Magistrate Phiri cited the ingredients that needed to be satisfied on the first count as proof that Findlay had unlawful carnal knowledge with the girl without her consent.
She established that the evidence of all the prosecution witnesses did not corroborate with that of the girl and that the girl told her neighbour that she had a dream where she found herself naked with Findlay but never told her that the ordeal actually happened.
Magistrate Phiri noted that although the girl rightly identified Findlay, the doctor who examined the girl testified that the findings were inconclusive and that there was nothing to suggest the commission of the offence.
She said there was no evidence that the drink that Findlay gave the girl was doctored as no drink had been brought before court to prove the claim and that the girl was fully conscious when she saw Findlay book a room.
Magistrate Phiri was surprised at the manner in which the arresting officer turned a blind eye to all the other incidents where the girl was raped by the many men she mentioned.
She noted that the friend to the girl appeared not to know Findlay and pointed at somebody else during the identification parade.
It is on this basis that she acquitted Findlay on the charge of rape.
On the second count of possession of obscene material, Magistrate Phiri explained that to establish the guilt of the accused person, there needed to be proof of actual possession or constructive possession where the obscene material was with someone else but from the accused.
She ruled that the obscene material did not have any impact on the girl since she testified that she never watched the film.
Magistrate Phiri said she could not ignore the note attached to a letter the girl wrote to her grandmother talking about shooting a pornographic movie in Kitwe.
She observed that the arresting officer did not do his job by investigating the pornography matter so as to ascertain whether or not there could be a source of the pornographic film.
Magistrate Phiri also acquitted Findlay on this charge.
On the last count of assault, she found Findlay guilty saying the medical report showed that the girl had burns and the description of the house where Findlay burnt her after she refused to have sex with him matched the house where she led the court.
Magistrate Phiri dismissed as concocted, the story by Findlay's witnesses that on the material day they had visitors and there was no way the girl could have gone there.
She ruled that the girl knew the house very well, an indication that she had really been there.
In mitigation, one of Findlay's lawyers, Paulman Chungu said he was a first offender.
Chungu said Findlay and the girl clearly knew each other and the circumstances leading to the assault were unfortunate.
Chungu asked the court to exercise leniency saying the assault was not fatal.
Magistrate Phiri fined Findlay K5 million failure to which he is to face nine months imprisonment.
Findlay, who said he was happy that he had been acquitted on the charges that were very serious, paid the K5 million cash immediately.
However, Findlay said he could not comment on the assault charge as his lawyers had advised him not to.
Commenting on the judgment, the relatives to the girl said it was unfair and that rich people always got away with crimes.
There was near drama when the visibly distressed grandmother to the 16-year-old girl said she was going to reveal everything, as she had been quiet for a long time.
She was however whisked away by one of her other relatives.
But one of the defence lawyers Eric Silwamba said he was happy that the judgment vindicated their plea of innocence on behalf of Findlay.
On the assault conviction, Silwamba said they would study the judgment and obtain instructions later.
And Silwamba explained that he was not in court when judgment was being delivered because he was in the High Court library. “I was in the library strategising because we went to court with an open mind”, he said.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Anna Leone Mushi
Client of ACCION partner Akiba Commercial Bank
In the small town of Mango at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Anna works tirelessly selling rice, oil, sugar and other food products out of her tiny storefront. Before owning her store, “life was miserable,” Anna explains. There was no work, and she resorted to asking for money in the street to take care of her parents and her daughter, Irene.
With a small loan from a relative, Anna began selling mangos and vegetables at the local market, but she struggled to support her family. Desperation was never far from reality—until she heard about ACCION’s partner in Tanzania, Akiba Commercial Bank.
After forming a solidarity group with several other women, Anna received her first loan of $32 and used it to buy sweets and other small retail items, quickly making a $10 profit.
With three more loans, Anna was able to buy four pigs. She now has 8 piglets and has added meat to her array of products. She is also buying in bulk at wholesale prices, and with a consistent supply of products, she is able to maintain a loyal client base.
The family’s living conditions have improved dramatically. No one is hungry and Irene goes to school. Anna laughs as she says, “the store is now so full that it’s hard to walk in it.” She looks ahead full of hope, with plans of further education for her daughter, and continued growth of her business.
By Carol White
Thursday April 24, 2008 [04:00]
The power outages in Gauteng have caught the hoteliers napping. There isn’t a plan, “ b,” because management haven’t bought generators yet. It’s still on the agenda, staff in two hotels advised. One of the hotels in Rosebank had a notice in reception, that power was out between 10a.m. and noon daily. And so….what should the guests expect? Well there is just no power. One of the hotels in Sandton had no power all Saturday morning. For breakfast, there was not even bread available!
Guests were greeted by a display of frozen fruit and frozen muffins. What stopped management or the food and beverage team from hopping into their car and going to the Sandton Mall which is only five minutes away and buying all the necessary items for a continental breakfast.
When this question was posed, the answer was, “who is going to do it?” Well what about you or you or you? A look of blankness, “It’s not approved.” The chef resplendent in his white uniform continued his task of shining the silver.
A manager not in sight and the food and beverage area a mess. No one interacting with guests. Really a poor show. The hotel could set up a continental breakfast outside on the patio with purchases from the bakery at Sandton Mall.
For many of us, in senior management, we got where we are today, by being that person who took action. Hotels spend a percentage of revenue on training. Isn’t it really sad that solving problems and using common sense is not part of the curriculum. Maybe that’s why I have a problem with training programmes that are not practical.
In the corporate world, management is spending time on things that don’t bring the customer back. We are all guilty of ticking the “done that ” box and moving on to the next and next. As long as the boss is happy and we are meeting the corporate expectations.
Be radical and say this is not the way we should be doing business! Not another meeting on what customers think or want. Get down and change the things that we know need changing. Not another promotion – let’s do what our core business is about – serving customers and making money.
It is inspiring to see how there is no longer a formal hierarchy in becoming successful. The internet has changed this. So has the emerging middle class. There is now buying power in the middle class. This opens a new revenue stream. In Zambia, look at how many vehicles are on the road.
They all require fuel. If you owned a fuel station, would you persue the top corporate accounts, who by the way would be on account and probably pay in 45 days or would you open your outlet for 24 hours every day? Guess where you make more money? Now wouldn’t it be amazing to encourage this market to come to your outlet. Open 24 hours, have fresh takeaway food available. Wouldn’t a 24-hour repair centre be popular?
Interestingly in South Africa, people do not want to work overtime or on weekends, even if the money is double.
Do we have a weekend handyman service in Zambia, to repair plumbing problems and the general fix it requests? I bet this type of business would fly.
I love to say “my hair stylist,” in Johanesburg – well he is Jordanian and came to South Africa ten years ago. He has opened his own salon this month. He is not rich. He doesn’t have family in South Africa. He arrived not able to speak English. It’s about working and wanting to have a business.
Formal education does not prepare the youth for the working place. When I look at the text books, they are not much different to forty years ago. Surely this must change.
Africa is so rich with culture and has the resources to establish an African curriculum that can be accredited if that is so important.
Africa has to stand up and be proud and say, “It’s our time,” When power and energy is channelled into education in Africa there will be transformation and respect.
Honestly do we have to emulate the international systems? How relevant are they?
How African is Africa? I challenge all of us to ponder this.
I can see centres where foreigners will come to study Africa – African Academy’s through out – we have enough academics and intellectuals to make this possible in Africa.
We do live in a global world and yes its important to be able to be multicultural. What no one can buy or take away is our spirit and what makes us tick. Zambia must hang onto that. It is truly special.
shimika08 AT yahoo.co.uk
By Mabasa Sasa
THE buzzword in opposition parlance, locally and internationally, these days is "government of national unity". And perhaps it is no great coincidence that the prime drivers of the "government of national unity" discourse particularly in the context of Zimbabwe’s recent elections are primarily opposition-aligned elements.
Western media have been titillated, maybe even physically aroused, by the idea of Zimbabwe going the Kenya way in both the violence and "national unity" phenomena and the MDC-T waltzing into Munhumutapa Building on the back of negotiations rather than votes.
The "government of national unity" debate should be approached from a critical perspective that seeks to denude the agendas behind those advocating it, its semantics and legalistic implications.
From the word go, one can be forgiven for thinking that the supporters of this option are in a way trying to side-step the electoral legal reality of a potential run-off between President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.
It appears March 29 failed to produce an outright winner in the presidential race and the requirement as agreed by both Zanu-PF and the opposition during the Sadc-brokered talks is that there should be a run-off.
Questions naturally arise: Why are some people willing to pervert the country’s democratic electoral processes by calling for a "government of national unity" that has no constitutional basis? What are they afraid will happen in a run-off that ensures both candidates cannot hide from minute scrutiny?
Why should people ensconced in some foreign isles far from the practicalities of our politics
tell Zimbabweans to form a "government of national unity"? Surely, that should be a discourse originated, developed and concluded by Zimbabweans.
Furthermore, why is it that the majority of those driving this discourse assert that "the establishment of a government of national unity should begin with a transitional government, maybe with President Mugabe at the helm, while a new constitution is drafted?’’
The language of this whole discourse indicates an overwhelming desire by some politicians, academicians and media practitioners to fast-track the opposition into office without going through the democratic rigours of a fool-proof electoral process that fully gauges and reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
The inescapable interpretation is that a government of national unity should ultimately push President Mugabe out and ease Tsvangirai into power on the back of a constitution that does not threaten the economic and political interests of the West in Zimbabwe.
But why should there be talk of transitional governments that will birth "national unity" as if the majority of Zimbabweans did not vote for Zanu-PF to lead them for the next five years?
It seems that those behind this discourse would like to place more weight on what opposition sympathisers want than on the wishes of Zanu-PF’s supporters as if our system is not based on one-man/woman-one-vote.
And this is precisely where the whole discourse breaks down and any self-respecting Zimbabwean should feel outraged that anyone should seek to short-circuit a democratic electoral system and deny him/her the right to choose who should be President of Zimbabwe.
Apart from this, the people who are talking about a "government of national unity" should explain exactly what they mean by "national unity".
Is such a government one where an opposition party is allowed to become a part of the executive without satisfying the electoral requirements? Whose unity is being talked about — that of politicians or of Zimbabweans?
After all, at the ideological and practical level there certainly cannot be much unity between Zanu-PF and the MDC as led by Tsvangirai.
Zanu-PF’s central ideology, more concisely, President Mugabe’s philosophy is diametrically opposed to that of Tsvangirai.
The differences between the two are too vast to even start contemplating the establishment of a government — even a transitional one — that is headed by President Mugabe and Tsvangirai would draw chuckles were the matter not so serious.
Zanu-PF has over the decades been built on an ideology that has resonance with a vast majority of land-hungry Zimbabweans who realise that Land Reform Programme was a giant leap forward in the total liberation of this country.
This ideology has firm roots in President Mugabe’s unwavering philosophy that the people own this land and as such they should be masters of their own destiny.
In the mother tongue, it can be said Cde Mugabe is about gutsaruzhinji. His principled stand on this matter, which is premised on an appreciation and respect of human rights, has set Zimbabwe firmly on the path of true independence.
On the other hand, what Tsvangirai offers is the obverse of what Cde Mugabe has put on the table.
MDC-T’s central ideology has its roots in the first attempts to block Land Reform and economic empowerment.
MDC was created to frustrate land reforms and protect the interests of the minority landed classes and today this has not changed.
There can be no denying that Tsvangirai has considerable support among young Zimbabweans and the proponents of the "government of national unity" discourse argue that the democratic rights of these supporters must be respected through giving the MDC executive power.
But would it not be more sensible then to ask for a parliamentary system of proportional representation implemented through due constitutional procedure than to try and foist an executive on this country that is out to protect the interests of Western capital at the expense of ordinary Zimbabweans?
We cannot therefore begin to talk of a government of national unity when one party stands for genuine empowerment while the other is comfortably reposed at the opposite end of the nation-building spectrum.
There can be no talk of a government of national unity as long as the Beatties and Kays of this world threaten new farmers with eviction if MDC is granted executive power.
There can be no talk of a government of national unity as long as Tsvangirai supports sanctions against his fellow man while he sleeps restfully in Botswana or wherever it is he is spending his 30 pieces of silver.
There can be no talk of a government of national unity as long as the opposition continues to throw veiled threats of Iraq-like scenarios and Afghanistan-style invasions.
There can be no talk of a government of national unity for as long as MDC-T does not recognise that Zimbabweans and Zimbabweans alone have the final say on who should constitute the national leadership.
The world should leave Zimbabwe alone to complete its democratic electoral processes and elect a political leadership of its choice.