Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mugabe's wife joins campaign

Mugabe's wife joins campaign
By George Chellah in Shamva, Zimbabwe
Saturday May 31, 2008 [04:00]

ZIMBABWE's first lady Grace Mugabe (left) has said President Robert Mugabe will not leave office for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai even if he loses the June 27 presidential runoff. And Grace said it is an insult to compare President Mugabe with Tsvangirai, who does not even posses an O’level certificate of education. Meanwhile, President Mugabe said the runoff was crucial, as it would determine whether the country remains with Zimbabweans or goes back to the Rhodesians.

Addressing a public rally alongside her husband after touring villages that were allegedly burnt by MDC activists on Thursday, Grace vowed that the opposition would never assume power in Zimbabwe.

"You should vote correctly. Even if people vote for the MDC, Morgan will never step foot inside State House. He will only get to hear about what it looks like inside State House from people who have been there. Even if Baba Mugabe loses, he will only leave State House to make way for someone from ZANU-PF," said Grace amidst laughter from President Mugabe and other party officials.

"If he Tsvangirai was from a party which was made by Zimbabweans, we will accept, not when you are a front of whites. If it doesn't come right this time again, we will vote again and again... this year we are voting until you know what it means to vote correctly. We will vote 20 times this year. This is no joke we should protect our country."

Grace, who described her husband as a modest man, said President Mugabe had done a lot for Zimbabwe.

"The whites are saying 'what's Mugabe trying to do?' They are saying we want to fix him. Morgan is just being used as a front.

There is no comparison between Morgan and Baba Mugabe. It's an insult to compare him with Baba," Grace said. "Baba built us schools, there are some who are saying if Mugabe loses we will be kept by Morgan who does not even have an O level. You are giving away a country for a cup of sugar which can even cause tooth decay or a running tummy."

She said President Mugabe had empowered Zimbabweans.

"Baba is saying here are tractors. We need to deal with farm workers, they are saying among themselves the whites will come back. They workers will not accept we are in-charge," she said.

Grace said the West had an agenda to ensure that Zimbabweans did not run their economy.

"If they give me the mantle for once, the whites will run out of words to tarnish my image. They would call me Iron lady, black Hitler etc. Look, they sent blacks to fight fellow blacks... people like Collin Powell, Jendayi Frazer and James McGee US Ambassador," Grace said.

"We are going to vote for our party which guides us. Let's not be misled by Morgan, he is now mad. What's left is to commit him to a psychiatric institution."
She further condemned political violence.

"I am pained that some people lost their homes. Please don't fight each other, don't even provoke the MDC. If you persuade them, they will come back," Grace said.
And President Mugabe warned the MDC to stop the violence.

"What we saw really touched us. We are not animals but humans. If you burn down someone's house, you want to destroy their life? We want to warn MDC they should stop this barbaric campaign of burning and destroying people's homes immediately," he said.

President Mugabe said the run-off was a crucial election, which would determine whether Zimbabwe remained with the people or went back to Rhodesians.
He said the March 29 election result was saddening.

"We are sad for the people who were bought and sold out. These people are in the party, in the communities and shamed us as a party," he said.

President Mugabe further said it was fortunate that laws in Zimbabwe provided for a run-off after a stalemate in the presidential election.

"There was no winner according to our laws. Your vote is important, we are not happy with the results after the elections but go and vote together. Chiefs should go with their people even in areas where ZANU-PF lost. We must make sure that we retain our votes in those areas," he said.

President Mugabe expressed concern with the party's performance in Mashonaland Central. ZANU-PF lost two House of Assembly seats in the province - Bindura South and Mazowe West- in the last elections.

"We are rocking as a nation and on June 27 when you go to vote, you should vote to show that Rhodesia is gone forever and Zimbabwe shall live forever," President Mugabe said.

He said ZANU-PF was aware of the issues affecting the people such as shortages of food and basic commodities and the rise in prices.

"These issues are being caused by sanctions, droughts and heavy rains that affected agricultural production last year. We had grown maize but it was destroyed by the heavy rains. However, the Reserve Bank has paid for 600,000 tonnes of maize from South Africa and is awaiting delivery and enough maize is coming to the people," President Mugabe said.

President Mugabe said the British had imposed sanctions to mislead Zimbabweans.
"Did you join ZANU-PF for salt or sugar or for our land? We can have these shortages, but we need to work, produce and be fine. We can work on the land to produce food," he said.

President Mugabe said the government was working on empowering the people.
"We want to empower the people but there are others who are saying people are starving because the white farmers are gone, they didn't produce any food. The people in the communal farmers were producing food for the nation as they were growing tobacco," he said.

President Mugabe also said there were programmes to upgrade roads, increase electricity generation and that the government was determined to complete them.

Labels: , ,


Letters - The IMF's Definition Of Success

Explaining Zambia's economic boom
By Imasiku Chanda
Saturday May 31, 2008 [04:00]

The macroeconomic fundamentals point to the fact that Zambia, as a country, is doing fairly well economically. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about six per cent, and is growing; the kwacha is standing its ground against major world currencies; inflation has been contained to manageable levels (until recently, it was in single-digits); high copper prices are translating into trade surpluses; the stock market is booming; the list goes on and on.

Economists are ecstatic about these statistics, but they are not telling the whole story. Looking at the flip-side, the ordinary citizen still struggles to have a decent breakfast (the sugar prices doubled overnight), mealie-meal prices are soaring. And in trying to grab a piece of the 'Zambian Dream' by building himself a house, the ordinary Zambian on the main street is unable to continue building because the cement price has gotten out of reach.

He also has to grapple with the never-ending bills, and, while his trade union is still squabbling with the government over a pay rise, he has to figure out how to supplement the income of his two intelligent children at the University of Zambia who are on government bursary, but whose meal allowances will not be increased. So where is this economic boom people like Chibamba Kanyama so passionately talk about?

The answer is, they are not explaining the full picture. They are not telling us that GDP in Zambia is measured from the 'production side', they are not telling us what is happening on the 'income side'.

The economists need to follow that production and tell us how it is being distributed, then we will understand why we are not having any piece of that goody-goody economic pie. They should also explain to us how we can have a 100 per cent price hike on sugar in a week.

The Central Statistical Office, in their monthly bulletin for April 2008, reported that the income distribution is still unevenly distributed in Zambia.

The report says that the bottom 80 per cent of the population in terms of earnings were reported to have acquired only 31 per cent of the total income, while the top 20 per cent of the population claimed 69 per cent of the total income. So even if the government is claiming to fight poverty, which currently stands at 64 per cent, they will not win the fight as long as the income distribution remains as lop-sided as it is.

I have not even talked about the money being externalised by the multinational companies running our now-vibrant mines!

So the next time our able economists go on a platform to explain the economic boom, they need to tell us why we, the bottom 80 per cent, are not 'seeing' it. They need to explain to us how the income is being distributed, and what my disposable income is, if any. A good economic analyst should always look at the two sides of the coin.

I implore the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) to give us a regular economic outlook, similar to the Central Bank governor's quarterly briefing. Unlike the governor's address which focusses on macroeconomic issues, the EAZ should talk about the Microeconomic issues such as when the price of sugar is going to come down, the cost of feeding a university student, the poverty datum line, why the disposable income of Zambians remains so low despite the economic 'boom'.

Labels: , , , ,


'Xenophobic attacks affecting Zambians living in SA'

'Xenophobic attacks affecting Zambians living in SA'
By Patson Chilemba
Saturday May 31, 2008 [04:00]

ACTING home affairs minister George Mpombo yesterday said 46 Zambians living in South Africa have been affected by the xenophobic attacks in that country. Addressing the press, Mpombo, who is also defence minister, said the government was in touch with the Zambian High Commission in South Africa to verify reports and secure the 46 Zambians reported to be in the camps.

Mpombo said the governement was extremely worried about the unfortunate situation.
He said the government was working on financial and logistical arrangements to ensure that Zambian nationals affected were evacuated from South Africa.

Mpombo said the scale of brutality in South Africa was incredible and that it was turnishing the image of Africa.

Over 50 people have died and 25,000 displaced following xenophobic attacks against foreigners since May 11. The attacks have spread to seven of South Africa's nine provinces.

And Mpombo also said 163 Zimbabwean drivers from SABOT company in Zimbabwe had staged industrial action in Zambia.

Mpombo said the government was against this action as it was a violation of both private and public international laws.

He said the drivers would be repatriated back to Zimbabwe because Zambia was not part of the political problems in that country.

Mpombo further said the country had received 10 families from Zimbabwe who were seeking political asylum.

Mpombo said the government was in the process of considering and verifying their applications.

Labels: , ,


Kabwe testifies on ZSIS investments

The Post
Saturday May 31, 2008
Kabwe testifies on ZSIS investments
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]
Continued from yesterday

Kabwe: We had several clients dealing with us in this similar manner.

The court will recall my reference to a similar arrangement in respect of DG Travel matter that we handled on behalf of another client totally unrelated to the Zambia Security Intelligence Service. Your Honour, even in that instance, we did not ask the client concerned where these funds were coming from and generally, Your Honour, unless you have concerns about the client or suspect what the client maybe doing, financial institutions and banks could not normally make it their business to ask clients where their money is coming from.

In the particular case, Your Honour, of Mr Chungu and the Zambia Security Intelligence Service, we had no reason whatsoever to doubt his credibility occupying the high position in government that he did. Your Honour, it would have been most unlikely that he would have told us anything anyway because when he first approached me, he did make it quite clear that his operations were very private and that me or Access Financial Services Limited could not be privy to unnecessary details about his work.

Sangwa: Now, when did you actually come to know that Zamtrop account was actually an account for Zambia Security Intelligence Service?

Kabwe: Your Honour, this matter started to come to light through newspaper articles, particularly at the time when there was a court case involving the former president of Zambia, Dr Chiluba and The Post Newspaper and some other individuals. Your Honour, as a result of those proceedings, a number of disclosures were made including the identity of the so called Zamtrop account as an account belonging to the Zambia Security Intelligence Service and operated from the London branch of Zambia National Commercial Bank. That is when I recall coming across this Zamtrop name and what it meant.

Sangwa: What kind of services did Mr Chungu request and received from Access?

Kabwe: Your Honour, what Mr Chungu told me was essentially that his service could require establishing investment ventures that could augment the funding support that government was providing and which sometimes was not always adequate.

He wanted Access Financial Services Limited to help him with managing such investment as and when they were identified and to put together the appropriate structures to ensure these investments were managed confidentially.

Sangwa: Where were these investments to be made?
Kabwe: What Mr Chungu told me was that investments would be local.

Sangwa: What kind of investments were made, with regard to local investments?

Kabwe: Your honour, I have already alluded to the issue of Avalon Motors whose assets were converted to Motor City.

Sangwa: Could you tell the court the background to this particular investment?

Kabwe: Your Honour, what I was told by Mr Chungu was that the Zambia Security Intelligence Service was interested in acquiring a business in the motor industry for use by themselves and as a profit making venture.

Your Honour, Mr Chungu and his organisation had identified these investments themselves when newspaper advertisements appeared to the effect that Avalon Motors Limited had been placed in receivership and that the receiver was selling the assets of the company.

Hence Your Honour, Access Financial Services Limited was retained by the Zambia Security Intelligence Service to negotiate the acquisition of Avalon assets on the client’s behalf which is what we did Your Honour and succeeded to put the assets into a new operating entity by the name of Motor City which the client himself had suggested.

Sangwa: What is the status of this company?

Kabwe: I know very little about the status now except that it is one of the assets taken over either by the Task Force or Zambia Security Intelligence Service.
Sangwa: Is this company in existence or it has been liquidated?

Kabwe: I don't know. It is now over six years since I had anything to do with this matter.

Sangwa: Mr. Chungu was DG in Zambia and based in Zambia and the assets he acquired in Zambia. Why is it that the money to pay for the assets he acquired came from abroad?

Kabwe: Your Honour, our only concern was to make sure that our clients funded us for whatever project he wanted us to undertake on his behalf. Your Honour, whether the client, in this case Mr. Chungu, gives us money from abroad or from anywhere in Zambia, it was not our concern. Mr Chungu told me that to fund a particular transaction we were talking about, he would rely on resources he had mobilised from outside Zambia.

It was for that reason Your Honour that I explained to him the route through which he could remit those resources to Access Financial Services Limited which, Your Honour, as I said before was applicable to every other client of ours who wanted to send funds to do their business in Zambia.

Therefore, Your Honour, for us this was an ordinary straight forward matter which complied with the operating system we had already established not for Zambia Security Intelligence Service but for all clients of Access Financial Services Limited whose resources were coming to us from outside Zambia.

There was nothing special about this as far as Access Financial Services was concerned. Our only and simple requirement that we be funded for what we were being asked to perform. How the client, Your Honour, organised his funding was entirely his business and this, Your Honour, is ordinary practice with any other financial institution.

Sangwa: There has been a name of a company that has been frequently talked about by the name of Zamdael, what exactly did you know about this company?

Kabwe: Your Honour, another investment which Mr Chungu wanted to acquire for his organisation was some farm land and housing structures belonging to a company called Zamdael Limited.

Your Honour, as Access Financial Services, we came to learn that this company and this property belonged to a Mr Dale who had wanted to establish a block manufacturing plant at a site in the Kanakantapa area of Lusaka. The property, Your Honour, was partially developed with some housing structures as I indicated earlier and Mr Dale was about to commence business when he was attacked by robbers and therefore, decided to abandon the project and return to Kenya I understand.

Your Honour, Mr Dale after this unfortunate incident decided to appoint an agent to dispose off his investment in Zambia. Your Honour, that agent was called Mr Murray Dewar. It was, Your Honour, Mr Dewar that interested Mr Chungu in the Kanakantapa property belong to Zamdael...
To be continued

Labels: , , ,


'There's nothing laughable about Muluzi's arrest'

'There's nothing laughable about Muluzi's arrest'
By Maluba Jere
Saturday May 31, 2008 [04:00]

MALAWIAN information minister Patricia Kaliati has said that country's former president Bakili Muluzi's comment over his arrest is rubbish. Commenting on Muluzi's recent statement that his arrest on allegations that he connived with security chiefs to overthrow President Bingu Wa Mutharika early this month was rubbish and alaughable matter, Kaliati said there was nothing political and laughable about his arrest.

"He was president for 10 years and during that time people were arrested. What was political about those arrests? Now because he is arrested it becomes political," she said.
Kaliati said during his 10-year rule, Muluzi had an opportunity to address problems faced by Malawians but he failed.

"During his 10-year rule the MCP Malawi Congress Party gave him time but he failed. He should know that he's not the only person who went to school," she said.

"So why should he think he's the only one who can rule Malawi? And so, him saying that his arrest is a laughable matter is rubbish."

Kaliati advised Muluzi to learn from other retired presidents such as South Africa's Nelson Mandela, and not cling to power.

Asked to comment on Muluzi's claims that he was arrested because President Wa Mutharika was scared of meeting him in the next elections, Kaliati said there was no need for the President to be afraid of Muluzi because he was not a contender as far as the Malawian Constitution was concerned.

"Why should he even talk about standing? He had his own 10 years to improve the lives of the people," she said.

"We are not scared of him. He failed to address the real issues affecting the people and so he should just let Dr Wa Mutharika rule. We don't want lifelong presidents. He ruled for 10 years and that's it."

But when asked why a warrant was not issued at the time of Muluzi's arrest, Kaliati asked: "Was he not coming from abroad? So what warrant is he talking about?"

Muluzi, upon arrival from the UK last Sunday, was placed under house arrest on allegations that he connived with security chiefs to overthrow President Wa Mutharika early this month.

Malawian Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Ernest Malenga said state security was investigating Muluzi on the alleged coup plot but he was yet to be formally charged.

But Muluzi last Wednesday described his arrest as rubbish and a laughable matter.
He denied having plotted a coup to overthrow President Wa Mutharika, whom he described as a scared man.

Labels: , ,


No one will abuse Levy and Sata's relationship -Scott

No one will abuse Levy and Sata's relationship -Scott
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday May 31, 2008 [04:00]

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) vice-president Dr Guy Scott has said President Mwanawasa will fail to take advantage of his new relationship with Michael Sata to 'grab' the party's parliamentary and local government seats. And six candidates on Thursday successfully filed in their nominations for the Milanzi parliamentary by-election set for June 26.

In an interview at Kagoro Basic School after he accompanied PF parliamentary candidate for the Milanzi by-election Peter Phiri, on Thursday, Dr Scott said there was no one who would abuse the relationship between President Levy Mwanawasa and Sata.

"What is good for the goose is also good for the gander. If reconciliation between two people can help one, it can also help the other. We will also take advantage of the reconciliation. No one is going to abuse this relationship, we are all adults," Dr Scott said. "He can try, he is very welcome to try and take advantage and we shall enjoy seeing the looks on his face when he fails."

Dr Scott also said the PF had in the past messed up in Eastern Province because the constituencies were big for opposition political parties that did not have sufficient resources for campaigns.

"We are here for serious business. We are pretty confident that we will win. I think we have messed up in the Eastern Province before; it's a difficult province with big constituencies, which are difficult for political parties without so much resources as the governing party. I think we are learning our way around it and I think they Easterners are learning about us," he said.
Dr Scott expressed concern at the bad state of the road infrastructure in Eastern Province.

"If Easterners want development they should vote for PF. We have served the people in urban areas very well - there are tax cuts because of our demands and we now want to serve the people in rural areas," said Dr Scott.

And six people who successfully filed in their nominations for the Milanzi parliamentary seat include MMD's Reuben Banda, UPND's Chimwala Phiri, FDD's Francis Phiri, PF's Peter Phiri, All people Congress (APC)'s Stephen Phiri and UNIP's Ahmed Randera.

After filing in his nomination, Banda said the MMD had programmes for everybody in the constituency and he would lobby the government to implement the projects it was undertaking in other parts of the country.

"On agriculture marketing system, it is driven by the government and all we need to do at the lower level is to lobby government to ensure that the programmes that are being done in other constituencies are also done here. I am also going to get the concerns of the people in the constituency back to the government," he said.

Banda said Milanzi would no longer be a stronghold of UNIP as the former ruling party claims.

"There is no UNIP, UNIP is not strong anywhere and UNIP is finished, it is going to finish in Milanzi," said Banda.

And Chimwala said he was the most experienced candidate because he had served as member of parliament for Milanzi for two terms.

"First of all, since I lost election in 2001 there has been no significant development in Milanzi," Chimwala said. "I will be fighting in Parliament to bring development in Milanzi. People want health centres, schools and clean

And Phiri said he was the best candidate because he was a local person unlike the other candidates who were 'foreigners' in the constituency.

"My concern why I want to be an MP in this area is that we have been receiving 'foreigners' in this constituency and whenever they are voted into office they don't come back to the people to see and hear the people's concerns. It's like they just come to rob the people," Phiri said.

He said he would advocate that the government improves the supply of farming inputs to the area.

"Most of the times people here receive the farming inputs very late if any," he said.
Phiri also promised to help improve the road network in the area.
UNIP's Randera said people of Milanzi had been neglected for a long time by the MMD government.

"People here are suffering and they are starving because the government has neglected them...they are not even given fertiliser and other farming inputs on time," Randera said.

"We shall 'fight' in Parliament. I will speak on behalf of the people of Milanzi and we shall ensure that national resources are equally distributed. These resources are not only for MMD members but all Zambians."

Meanwhile, Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) candidate Francis Phiri said he would act as a bridge between the people of Milanzi and Parliament.
"My chances of winning are very high because I was a councillor here for three terms and I worked successfully," he said. "I am going to be a bridge between the people of Milanzi constituency and Parliament to bring

He said although top FDD leaders did not accompany him to the nomination centre, he would still win the elections because it was all about the grassroots and not the top leaders being present.

"My priority will be to improve infrastructure like clinics and roads," Francis said. "I am committed to develop in this area."

Police in full riot kit kept vigil especially on UNIP supporters who were going round chanting songs in support of party president Tilyenji Kaunda and Randera.

Earlier, police had a tough time controlling UNIP members from coming closer to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ)’s 100-metre radius fencing.

However, UNIP cadres argued that they would not move from the roadside until the police moved FDD and UPND cadres from the roadside.

Labels: , , , ,


UN appoints Moyo as MDGs advocate

UN appoints Moyo as MDGs advocate
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday May 31, 2008 [04:27]

THE United Nations system in Zambia has appointed Zambian singer Marsha Moyo as the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) advocate for the country. During a press briefing yesterday, UN resident coordinator Aeneas Chuma said the UN system in Zambia decided to enlist Marsha's support for the sole purpose of lending greater impetus to the MDG campaign.

Chuma said the appointment of the UN advocate was aimed at focusing attention on the priorities set up by UN member states in the millennium declaration, which had served as the organisation's guide since.

He said over the years, the UN had attracted some of the world's most prominent personalities who had demonstrated their willingness to deviate both their time and prestige to advocating for some of the world's most pressing issues in support of the UN.
Chuma said Marsha's appointment was unique in a number of aspects.

"First, she will be the first ever Zambian national to be appointed as UN MDGs advocate for Zambia. Secondly, Marsha becomes the first ever celebrity to be jointly by all UN agencies resident in any single country to advocate for UN ideals. This means that as spokesperson for the MDGs in Zambia, she will be representing the views of all the 13 UN agencies, funds and programmes based in this country," he said.

Chuma commended Marsha for her decision to support the work of the UN in Zambia in this respect and assured her that as an advocate, she was about to embark on one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.

"In our view, Ms Moyo is the perfect advocate for the MDGs in Zambia, having previously engaged in extensive work designed to uplift the welfare of her fellow citizens.

Marsha's experience and long standing commitment to this noble cause distinguishes her as an individual who had mastered deep understanding of the work of the UN in this field and has the ability therefore to further the organisation's ideals as a spokesperson for the MDGs," he said.

Chuma said often as professionals, they attracted criticism for failing to communicate as desired to the people they claim to serve.

He said artistes such as Marsha were able to reach audiences that the UN could not reach.
Chuma also said Zambia was on the right track to meeting most of the MDGs.
And Marsha said she was humbled by the appointment and pledged her support to the UN.

UN millennium campaign director, Salil Shetty said it would be difficult to realise the MDGs if the people at the grassroots were not involved.

Labels: , ,


Stanbic records K89bn profit

Stanbic records K89bn profit
By Fridah Zinyama
Saturday May 31, 2008 [04:00]

STANBIC Bank Zambia Limited managing director Larry Kalala has said the bank last year recorded a profit of about K89 billion after tax. During a press briefing at Hibiscus Restaurant on Thursday, Kalala said the bank’s profit after tax grew by 53 per cent in 2007. “The bank also achieved a cost income ratio of about 48 per cent and loans and advances grew by 9 per cent to K997 billion,” he said.

Kalala said deposits grew by 9 per cent to about K1.2 billion and return on equity improved to 60 per cent from 47 per cent in 2006.

He explained that the bank was able to accomplish this much growth because the country continued on its strong growth path in 2007.

“Overall, the country recorded a food surplus and mining continued to contribute positively to the economy with fairly stable world prices for copper and cobalt against marginal increase in production and the tourism sector also recorded good progress,” he said.

“Interest rates also continued to drop and are currently at 17 per cent. The average lending rate for commercial banks closed at 24.3 per cent as at December 2007, a drop of 3.6 from 2006.”

Kalala said there mortgage package was also well received and that Stanbic Bank offered the lowest rates on the market.

And on the exchange rate, he said the kwacha continued to appreciate against the major traded currencies in 2007.

“The general good performance of the economy has also played an important role in improving investor confidence in Zambia,” he said. “Zambia attracted foreign direct investments with pledges totalling to US $1.9 billion as at November compared to US $751 million over the same period in 2006.”

And Kalala said the bank in the first quarter had kept pace of increased customer demand by acquiring space at the new shopping complex opposite Arcades shopping mall to set up a new corporate and commercial branch.

“Ongoing expansion of the ATM network will go a long way in decongesting the branches with 13 more embarked for 2008,” he said Kalala.



Muteteka's observations on our ministers

Muteteka's observations on our ministers
By Editor
Saturday May 31, 2008 [04:00]

Former lands deputy minister Moses Muteteka says some ministers easily forget why they are in office and only want to please the appointing authority. Muteteka also says that some of the ministers are not sincere in their work and are not doing anything as they are only spectators. And he has advised ministers to serve the Zambian people instead of concentrating on protecting their jobs.

If what Muteteka is saying is true, then we have a serious problem as a nation. To be a leader is not merely to put your name on a ballot paper and get elected, but to work and live in a way that respects and enhances the lives of others.

Those in the government have to work very hard and deliver all the necessary services to our people.

There is nothing which makes people more appreciative of a government than that it should be able to deliver services. But of course, we should not ignore the fact that the ways in which we achieve our goals are bound by context, changing with circumstances even when we remain steadfast in our commitment to our vision.

The mark of great leaders is the ability to understand the context in which they are operating and act accordingly.

For us, true leaders of the people are those who are always worried about socioeconomic questions. What is important for our leaders is to do their duty to their country and their people. The important thing is to give happiness to the people.

And instead of just concentrating on pleasing the appointing authority – the President – they should concentrate, as Muteteka has correctly advised, on serving the people. There is need for our leaders to realise that obligations to the people take precedence over loyalty to an individual, over pleasing an individual.

Leaders must follow the dictates of their conscience irrespective of the consequences which might overtake them for it.

And it is not good for the President to surround himself with yes-men and women. It is important to surround himself with strong and independent personalities, who will tell him when he is getting things wrong; who will tell him the things he may not want to hear. We need ministers who are able to criticise the President if criticism is valid.

Ministers are not supposed to be servants of the President. Although he is the appointing authority, ministers are not his servants, but like him, are servants of the people.

Moreover, none of us, regardless of what positions we may occupy, can be described as having virtues or qualities that raise him or her above others. It is a fact of human condition that each shall, like a meteor – a mere brief passing moment in time and space – flit across the human stage and pass out of existence.

Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to our responsibilities.

However, we shouldn’t expect our leaders to do more than is humanly possible. No single individual can assume the role of a messiah. Those who are ready to join hands can overcome the greatest challenges. And there is no need for our leaders to pretend they can deliver everything or that they know everything.

They should never pretend to know what they don’t know, they should not feel ashamed to ask and learn from the people and they should listen carefully to the views of the people. They should try to be pupils before they become teachers; they should try to learn from the people before they issue orders.

It is said that the people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of history. The masses are the real heroes, while the leaders are often childish and ignorant, and without this understanding, it is impossible to acquire even the most rudimentary knowledge. The masses have boundless creative power.

We have always maintained that the progress of our country must rely on the masses, on everybody taking a hand, and we have opposed relying merely on a few persons issuing orders.

We need leaders who, in everything that they do, are doing so in the interest of the people. This means that our leaders must link themselves with the masses. And to do so, they must always act in accordance with the needs and wishes of the masses. All work done for the masses must start from their needs and not from the desire of any individual, however well-intentioned.

Our leaders’ point of departure is to serve the people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce themselves from the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one’s self-interest or from the interest of a small group.

All leaders, whatever their rank, are servants of the people, and whatever they do should be to serve the people.

Their duty is to hold themselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people’s interest – that is what being responsible to the people means.

At no time and in no circumstances should a leader place his personal interests first; he should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, slacking, corruption and so on and so forth, are most contemptible, while selflessness, working with all one’s energy, whole-hearted devotion to public duty will command respect.

True leaders must be ready at all times to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interest of the people; true leaders must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people.

And our leaders should set an example in being practical as well as far-sighted. For only by being practical can they fulfill the appointed tasks, and only far-sightedness can prevent them from losing their bearing in the march forward.

Those who want to be leaders should be the most far-sighted, the most self-sacrificing, the most resolute, and the least prejudiced in sizing up situations, and they should rely on the majority of the masses and win their support.

Therefore, the issues raised by Muteteka deserve serious consideration by all our people, by all our leaders, including the President. No one should occupy public office, or indeed any leadership position, simply to fulfill an ambition or pleasure.

These are positions of great importance because they deal with people’s lives, they deal with the destines of communities and of the nation itself.
We hope Muteteka will not be singled out for hatred or victimisation. If criticism is valid, it must be made.

Labels: ,


Friday, May 30, 2008

(HERALD) Sanctions hamper Zim’s efforts to achieve MDGs

Sanctions hamper Zim’s efforts to achieve MDGs
Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S efforts to achieve United Nations Millennium Development Goals pertaining to access to safe drinking water and sanitation are being hampered by illegal sanctions slapped on the country by Western states opposed to the land reform programme, a Cabinet minister has said.

Speaking at an Africa Day commemoration organised by African ambassadors based in Harare on Tuesday night, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Stan Mudenge said access to safe drinking water and sanitation was on a downward trend since the sanctions were imposed.

Access to safe water sources and sanitation, along with youth development, were the major themes for the African Union and Africa Day celebrations this year.

Cde Mudenge, however, said Government efforts would not be derailed by the sanctions and programmes would continue to be implemented to counter the negative intentions of the country’s enemies.

"In Zimbabwe we have consciously been striving to improve rural sanitation and access to safe drinking water as part of our social responsibility programmes as a Government. Rural sanitation has indeed been improving over the years, but our efforts have been hampered by sanctions placed on the country by its detractors in the West.

"For example, in 1999, 75 percent of our population had access to safe drinking water while 70 percent had access to reliable sanitation facilities and services. However, these figures have since declined to 69 percent and 30 percent respectively for water and sanitation.

"Regardless, we will continue to strive forward and aim to ensure that everyone in the country will live within 250 metres of a safe water source by 2015 in line with the objectives of the MDGs," Cde Mudenge said.

Cde Mudenge challenged African countries to invest more resources in youth development and employment creation as a means of securing a bright future for the continent.

Africa Day is commemorated annually on May 25 to celebrate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, which was transformed into the African Union in 2002.

Tanzania’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Adadi Rajabu read a speech by the AU Chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, in which he called for greater co-operation and innovation in dealing with rising energy and food prices.

Labels: , ,


(HERALD) President slams violence

President slams violence
By Sydney Kawadza

PRESIDENT MUGABE yesterday described the orgy of violence perpetrated by the MDC-T as barbaric after he and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe visited the homes of some victims of the opposition attacks in Shamva, Mashonaland Central. Addressing a rally after visiting the homes of affected families, President Mugabe said he was saddened by what he had seen at the homes.

"We have seen the violent activities of the MDC-T in Shamva and other areas across the country. Tasuruvara nezvataona. Hatisi mhuka dzinopisirana dzimba, destroying other people’s property.

"The MDC-T should stop immediately this barbaric campaign of arson, destroying and harming people, destroying lives," he said.

Speaking at the same rally, Amai Mugabe deplored violent activities after the March 29 elections.

"We have come to see the victims of violence and I want to urge people to avoid fighting each other. Musarovana, musapisirana dzimba nekuti pamunorwisana varungu vanenge varikudzimba dzavo vachiona vachingoti onai vanhu vatema havafunge, havana kurongeka; sei vasingabatsire kana pakaitika matambudziko akadai?" she said.

Amai Mugabe urged Zanu-PF supporters and MDC-T to co-exist as no one would benefit from acts of retribution.

The First Lady donated asbestos roofing sheets, clothes, groceries and $20 billion each to the affected families.

Two MDC-T supporters, who were also victims of the violent clashes, could not receive their donations yesterday because they were not present.

Cde Mugabe also donated 200 computers to 20 schools in Mashonaland Central.

Turning to the June 27 run-off, President Mugabe said this was an important election that will determine whether the country remains with the people of Zimbabwe or goes back to Rhodesians.

He said the March 29 harmonised election result was saddening, adding that he hoped that people would vote wisely in the forthcoming election.

"We are sad for the people who were bought and sold out. These people are in the party, in the communities and shamed us as a party. I would, however, want to thank the people who voted for Zanu-PF and made sure that there was no winner.

"Kune vamwe pakati pedu vakakwanisa kuvhotera Zanu-PF uye ndivo vakaita kuti kusawanikwe anokunda, kuite mangange. Saka ndimi makaita kuti Zanu-PF ivepo, ndimi makaita kuti nhasi ndive pano," Cde Mugabe said.

He said it was fortunate that laws in the country provided for a run-off after a stalemate in the presidential poll.

"There was no winner according to our laws. Iyi yatavakupinda ielection yekupedza mangange aya. Moenda munhu woga-woga, muudze vamwe vangangodaro vasina kukwanisa kuuya pano kuti musi waJune 27 hapana anosara, kana anenzara anofizukira ikoko.

"Your vote is important, we are not happy with the results

after the elections but go and vote together. Traditional leaders should go with their people even in the areas where the party lost. We must make sure that we retain our votes in those areas," he said.

Cde Mugabe expressed concern at the performance of the party in Mashonaland Central, where it lost two House of Assembly constituencies -- Bindura South and Mazowe West -- in the March 29 elections.

"Taiziva province ino iri province isina anozunguza, isina kana buri asi yakaita maburi maviri saka takaona magwanza maviri kuBindura South nekuti Mazowe West.

"Rangarirai kuti kuno kuMashonaland Central ndikokwakabva Mbuya Nehanda, ndiko kwakatanga Chimurenga chekutanga uye chechipiri. Saka munofanira kuziva kuti midzimu yakaramba kuti nyika iyerere.

"KuMazowe ndiko kwaMbuya Nehanda saka ivo vanoti mavakundiregereraka.

"Should we get people who do not support the land issue? Ivhu ravanhu rakakosha. We are rocking as nation and on June 27 when you go to vote, you should vote to show that Rhodesia is gone forever and Zimbabwe shall live forever," he said.

Cde Mugabe said Zanu-PF was aware of the issues that are affecting the people such as shortages of food and basic commodities and the ever-escalating prices of goods.

"However, these issues are being caused by sanctions, drought periods and heavy rains that affected agricultural production last year.

"We had grown maize in our fields, but it was destroyed by the heavy rains. However, Governor Gono has told me that the Reserve Bank has paid for 600 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa and is awaiting delivery and enough maize is coming to the people so that they would not suffer," he said.

Cde Mugabe said Government had also come up with programmes that would help people overcome the shortages, price hikes and other challenges.

He said the British had imposed sanctions so that people would lose track and stop supporting their party.

"MaBritish akaisa masanctions kuti akanganise vanhu kuti vati torega kubatana neZanu-PF, torega nekuti tashaya, musangano weZanu-PF hausisina kunaka, toenda kubva muZanu-PF.

"Did you join Zanu-PF for sugar, salt or for our land? We can have these shortages, but we need to work, produce and be fine. We can work on the land to produce food that would sustain us before we are rich or before we start selling our produce."

Cde Mugabe said Government was working on empowering the people because whites were enjoying the fruits of the land.

"We want to empower the people but there are others who are saying the people are starving because they (white farmers) are gone, but they did not produce any food. The people in the communal farmers were producing for the nation when farmers were growing tobacco and other cash crops.

"We took the farms and gave them to the people and there are more farms that are going to be allocated to those who need them," he said.

He said Government also wanted to empower its citizens in the spheres of commercial business and manufacturing industry.

"We want our people, blacks, to have control, to have more than 51 percent. Murungu hatichadi kuti awane zvinopfuura 49 percent. There should be minor shareholders and the same should be in the mining sector.

"We have made laws, but had not started using them and we want to do that for our children. Our children should not go to school so that they are other people’s workers.

"Tinoda kuzviitirawo, tizvivambire mabasa, tine mapurazi saka toda kuti vana vedu vaite varidzi vambabhizimusi aya. Whites can only come as partners while we control — ngavabate kutete isu tobata kukobvu.

"Ndozvirikurambwa naTsvangirai, hanzi varungu vauye vatonge. Ane zvakawanda zvaakataura, hanzi muchafa nenzara nekuti masiisa varungu mabasa."

President Mugabe castigated Tsvangirai for calling for sanctions against the country, which are now hurting the people.

"Tsvangirai akatenderera kunyika dzakawanda, akaenda kuSouth Africa akati dzimai magetsi, vakaramba. Akazoenda kuBritain kunokumbira masanctions, vakabvumira, vakati chakapusa achakuvadza hama dzake," he said.

President Mugabe said Government had stopped relying on the European countries after the sanctions and was looking East instead.

"Mari yekunze yatinenge taita inotorwa nemaAmericans nenyaya yemasanctions. Vanoti vanogwadama chete nemasanctions nekuti vakatora mapurazi. Takati never ever, hazviite. Tikati you can go hang, keep your little Britain and we can keep our Zimbabwe.

"Tiri vanhu vevhu. Hapana pasingararami tisina ivhu," he said.

President Mugabe castigated some companies that were undermining Government efforts to make goods available to the people by increasing prices after workers are awarded salary increments.

"We recently took to task Seed Co for hiking prices of wheat seed, which they reduced but we have heard that it has been increased again.

"These companies want to make things bad for us as we head for the elections. Izvozvo ngazviregerwe. We want that to stop so that we secure the future of the country, the future which is our land, heritage, kuzvitongera uye kuvanesimba rekutonga nyika yedu," he said.

He said there were many programmes to upgrade roads, increase electricity generation and others that have been affected by shortages of funds but Government was determined to complete these.

At the same rally, Amai Mugabe said people should vote for President Mugabe since he is fighting for the future generations.

"President Mugabe is a modest man who does not want to gain anything from ruling the country. He works for the people. But the whites are saying he is clever and they want to get rid of him.

"Tsvangirai has done nothing for the nation. He survives from what he gets from his white masters and comparing President Mugabe and Tsvangirai is an insult. People will only realise this after they have lost their land because they want sugar, salt and other foods," she said.

She said she was surprised that after getting implements to use on their farms, people still expected President Mugabe to give them more.

She said President Mugabe would not be removed from his position by any other person other than from the ruling party.

"Tsvangirai haapatsike paState House. Baba vanotobva kana pauya munhu weZanu-PF anoziva kuchengetedza nhaka yedu," she said.

Amai Mugabe also distributed over a thousand pairs of shoes to the community and 800 T-shirts to war veterans in the district while Cde Crispen Rwizi, who lost his tractor during an attack by MDC-T supporters, would get a replacement.

Labels: , ,


(HERALD) West responsible for food crisis

West responsible for food crisis

EDITOR — Economic and social developments in the world are vindicating Zanu-PF’s policies of self-reliance and economic empowerment. The Internet is full of stories on world food prices and the ever rising price of oil. Our Government’s policies are geared at empowering the generality of indigenous Zimbabweans be it through education or access to the factors of production so that they can sustain themselves anywhere, anytime.

While Western countries have blocked our lines of credit and balance of payments support with their illegal sanctions, we should bear in mind that it is the West’s racist policies that are responsible for decreased food production in the world.

The xenophobia manifesting itself in South Africa might soon find expression in Western countries where rightwing politicians, like Nicholas Sarkozy, are being elected for their exclusionist policies, and it is incumbent on us Zimbabweans to work for the development of our country.

Already, the National Party in the UK has got a seat on the London Council for the first time, a party that is against African immigrants.

The opposition was busy urging people to oppose the Government on land, yet they are busy publishing their ‘‘agricultural policies’’ on the Internet.

Both factions of the MDC must own up and admit that the Government was right to prioritise investment in agriculture to ensure food self-sufficiency.

Voters should understand Zanu-PF’s message for the run-off, it is about guaranteeing the future of our children, retaining skills within the country for socioeconomic development, capacitating industry and agriculture, in short addressing the bread and butter issues by ensuring that a solid economic base is laid out.

Brian Shava.

Labels: , ,


Court denies Chiluba access to OP Charter

Court denies Chiluba access to OP Charter
By Noel Sichalwe
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

Lusaka High Court judge Japhet Banda yesterday said President Mwanawasa's refusal to authorise the release of the 1970 Financial Charter in the London judgment registration case is legal. And judge Banda has stayed proceedings in a case in which former president Frederick Chiluba and others are challenging the registration of the London judgment, which found them guilty of defrauding Zambia of millions of US dollars. This is a matter in which former Access Financial Services directors Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu have appealed against the London High Court judgment.

Kabwe, Chungu, Chiluba and former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance Stella Chibanda, among other Zambian defendants, are contesting the registration of the London High Court judgment of May 4, 2007 pursuant to rule 11 of the Foreign Judgment Enforcement Rules.

The quartet is represented by lawyers John Sangwa, Robert Simeza, Bonaventure Mutale and Edgar Lungu while the state is represented by Attorney General Mumba Malila and Solicitor General Dominic Sichinga.

Earlier, Sangwa raised a preliminary issue asking the court whether proceeding with hearing of the matter in the absence of the 1970 Finance Charter would be consistent with the provisions of Article 18(9) of the Constitution.

Sangwa argued that if the preliminary issue would not be determined now, the final judgment would erode the essence of the application.

Passing the ruling, judge Banda said he had considered the current application in the light of President Mwanawasa's refusal to authorise the Financial Charter on February 29, 2008.

Judge Banda said President Mwanawasa's refusal to release the Charter was done pursuant to the law under which he was asked to act in accordance with the Zambia Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS) Act.

"The President was allowed, under the provision of the law, not to authorise production of the Financial Charter. Any law including the Zambia Security Intelligence Service Act is made pursuant to and must comply with the Constitution. The Zambia Security Intelligence Service Act has not been nullified or attacked in any ways nor has it been struck out. It is therefore, legal and constitutional," he said.

"The respondents are trying through the backdoor to assail attack and make illegal the President's powers to refuse production of the Financial Charter in this matter. This court cannot accept that. As the law stands, the President acted within the law to refuse that Financial Charter be produced. Any law in Zambia is made pursuant and must be in compliance with the Constitution."

He said the most important thing was that all parties in the London matter where the Financial Charter was produced were given an opportunity to see it, cross-examine any witness who produced it and use it.

Judge Banda said the court was only dealing with the registration of the London judgment and urged the parties to confine themselves to what was being dealt with.

"The court will not allow itself to open a case or rehear it as it has no jurisdiction to do so," judge Banda said.

At this stage, Bonaventure Mutale said they have since been instructed to appeal against the ruling to the Supreme Court and stay the matter.

However, Malila objected to staying the matter arguing that those who would like to appeal could do so without staying the matter. However, judge Banda granted leave to appeal and stayed the matter.

Labels: , , , , ,


ACTESA reveals Africa spends US$19bn on food import yearly

ACTESA reveals Africa spends US$19bn on food import yearly
By Fridah Zinyama
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

AFRICA currently spends an estimated US$19 billion per year on commercial food imports, Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) leader of the design team Dr James Nyoro has said. In a presentation at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Secretariat, Dr Nyoro said of the total of US$808 billion in maize bought and sold in the Comesa region in recent years, only approximately US$ 30 million 3.71 per cent is traded among member states. Dr Nyoro said the amount spent on food imports demonstrates the immense opportunity for trade in agricultural commodities in the region.

“The continent therefore needs to do something about the food security,” he said.

Dr Nyoro said ACTESA was therefore, created as an initiative aimed at enhancing trade in staple foods like maize, beans, bananas and cassava.

He said Comesa countries should therefore take advantage of the food crisis that is currently prevailing as they could produce to meet this demand.

“If you look at the rising food prices, a challenge is being presented to us and this means that we need to improve food production in the region,” he said.

Dr Nyoro said it was important to help small and medium scale farmers in the region to increase their food production as they contributed about 80 per cent of the food in the region.

“Once this is done, improving marketing of the staple crops will therefore become necessary,” he said.

Deputy minister for agriculture and co-operatives Daniel Kalenga urged Comesa to come up with mechanisms that would help to systematically commercialise staple crops if the region was to increase food production.

Kalenga said ACTESA was an important effort by the leaders in the Comesa region to respond to high food prices and sustainably address regional food security.

“We know that Comesa is one of the biggest producers of cassava and bananas in the world but because of lack of markets large amounts of cassava quantities in Comesa countries, including here in Zambia are never harvested,” he said.

Kalenga said Comesa was now aggressively moving to motivate farmers of staple crops in the region by developing an industrial base in which to help subsistence farmers improve production.

“The objectives of the ACTESA programme are to increase farm incomes by engaging farmers with emerging market institutions to improve commercialisation and profitability of staple crop production,” he said.

Kalenga noted that the other objective was to significantly increase staple crop trade at regional level and catalyse industrialisation through commercialisation of smallholder producers in the value chain.

Labels: , ,


Chigunta attributes poor road network to budget cycle

Chigunta attributes poor road network to budget cycle
By Joan Chirwa
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

FAILURE to improve Zambia's road network largely stems from the nature of the budget cycle, University of Zambia (UNZA) Development Studies lecturer Dr Francis Chigunta has observed. Dr Chigunta said the solution to country’s poor road network was revisiting the budget cycle while reducing on tendering procedures for road works. He was commenting on the 2008 Africa Economic Outlook (AEO) which indicated that Zambia currently faces numerous challenges such as the improvement of its weak infrastructure.

“The road network in Zambia is horrible both in rural and urban areas. The problem is not lack of money,” Dr Chigunta said. “Last year, the Minister of Finance Mr Magande announced that the government could not spend over K900 billion. This is a lot of money for a country like Zambia with serious socio-economic problems.”

The 2008 AEO report stated that inadequate infrastructure is one of the main obstacles to increasing economic growth and development in Zambia.

The report, released last week, noted that the lack of infrastructure applies to almost all critical economic areas such as transport, energy, water and sanitation, adding that the road density was still very low while the main export corridors suffered from overloaded trucks and heavy traffic.

Dr Chigunta further said the bureaucratic tendering processes also contributed to delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects.

“Related to the issue of not having the money released early is the complex and bureaucratic tendering processes and procedures. The budget cycle is too short such that by the time the money is released to contracting firms, time is gone,” Dr Chigunta said. “This has not been helped by the lengthy tendering process. The solution here is to revisit the budget cycle and to simplify the tendering procedures.”

And works and supply permanent secretary Colonel Bizwayo Nkunika on Tuesday said lack of adequate capacity in procurement systems constrained the implementation of road works despite money being allocated in the budget or sometimes released to the ministry.

Labels: , , , ,


Universal Investments defends bid for used car trading facility

Universal Investments defends bid for used car trading facility
By Kabanda Chulu
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

SECOND-hand car dealers have appealed to the government to stop Universal Investments from establishing a used car trading facility in Lusaka because Zambians are capable of servicing the market. But Universal Investments managing director Fouad Ahmed said the setting up of the one stop vehicle trading facility at Motor World Business Park in Makeni area would result in bringing all car dealers from South Africa into Zambia, thus reducing prices.

Speaking yesterday, Alliance of Used Japanese Car Importers of Zambia spokesperson Killian Matangila said there was no need to engage dealers from Durban when Zambians were managing to carry out the services.

“We don’t need foreign dealers from Durban to start selling second-hand cars when Zambian traders who are mainly pensioners and retrenchees are managing to do this kind of business,” said Matangila. “And how many jobs will they create to replace the 300 Zambian traders whom the Motor Park will dislodge from the market and our appeal to government is not to allow the country becoming a haven for foreign dealers in second hand cars.”

But Ahmed said the setting up of a used car trading facility in Lusaka would remove middlemen based in South Africa because the vehicles would be coming directly from Japan to Zambia.

He said local dealers would not lose anything because the Motor Park facility would be fighting for money from Zambians who would be following reduced prices.

“This is a liberalised economy and those car dealers have been here for many years and what have they done? It is true they are scared of being out of business due to their exorbitant prices since Zambians will have a choice whether to go to them or come to Motor Park,” said Ahmed. “We understand their concerns because their suppliers in Durban will be our dealers at the facility and we expect price reductions of about 25 per cent to 30 per cent since there will be no middle men, hence creating a platform accessible for everyone, including the car dealers.”

After realising that Zambia holds about 80 per cent of used car sales that passes through Durban, Universal Investments is setting up a vehicle trading facility in Lusaka’s Makeni area that would help to transfer the annual US$ 2 billion used car industry from South Africa to Zambia.



Lusaka traders queue for sugar

Lusaka traders queue for sugar
By Fridah Zinyama
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

SCORES of Lusaka traders yesterday morning queued up at Paza Trading in the city centre to buy sugar, a commodity that is slowly becoming scarce on the market. The shortage of sugar has hit the country and prices have skyrocketed as traders are taking advantage to make exorbitant profits. Currently, a two kilogramme packet of sugar which was pegged at K8,200 is selling for K20,000 whilst a one kilogramme packet, which was selling at about K4,000 is pegged at K10,000.

Most of the traders talked to expressed disappointment with Zambia Sugar Plc over the shortage of the commodity on the market. They wondered why the company could not meet the demand of sugar on the local market.

A check in most shops in the city centre revealed that the retailers did not have the commodity apart from Paza Trading.

Reliable sources have disclosed that Zambia Sugar Company Plc has been transporting sugar into Lusaka from Mazabuka with the intention of exporting it.

The sources said Zambia Sugar intends to export the sugar so that prices remain high even after the company starts production.

However, efforts to get a comment from the company proved futile.
And Musa Biscuits proprietor Yosuf Musa said lack of industrial sugar would force him to shut his factory, as the commodity was very important to its operations.

"I will be forced to shut down the factory and put my workers on forced leave as I do not have sugar to continue production," he said.

Musa explained that he had tried to get an import permit for industrial sugar from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives but he was told that they could only allow him if the commerce ministry permanent secretary, Davidson Chilipamushi authourised them to do so.

Musa said he would be forced to shut down his company until the situation normalised in the country.

Earlier in the week, Chilipamushi said he had allowed one of the sugar companies to import both domestic and industrial sugar into the country.

And Sugar Producers Association of Zambia (SPAZ) executive secretary, Lewis Nathan in a statement, attributed the sugar shortage on the market to the unprecedented rainfall that the country experienced this year, which had negatively affected the planned sugar production.

"The heavy rains which were a phenomenon experienced throughout the region similarly affected start up dates of sugar producers in the neighbouring countries," he stated.

Nathan stated that Zambia Sugar, the largest producers of sugar in the country, had started its production at the end of April whilst Kalungwishi Estate would start production next month.

Labels: ,


Police chief urges cops to redeem Zim

Police chief urges cops to redeem Zim
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

THE police force should redeem the country as it faces challenges and machinations from external forces that have threatened its existence and survival, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri has advised. And Chihuri has appealed to the police to ensure that the June 27 presidential run-off is conducted in a peaceful and tranquil environment. Addressing senior police officers on Wednesday, Chihuri said he .was delighted that most of the present senior officers were eyewitnesses to the birth pangs of the country.

"Zimbabwe is a product of blood, selfless sacrifice, tears and sweat. This occasion comes barely four weeks before the presidential runoff election. It is imperatively incumbent upon the police to ensure that the entire runoff election process is conducted in a peaceful and tranquil environment," he said.

Chihuri advised the officers to be a vivid representation of a true, loyal and dedicated Zimbabwean cadre with the right orientation.
"The nation is presently facing a myriad of challenges and machinations by external forces and their internal sympathisers and its very existence and survival is threatened by puppets," Chihuri said. "The Bible tells us to be able to redeem the time such as this. You therefore need to be sober, diligent and perform your duties without doubting. This will enable you to have a sound mind, always bold and avoiding being tossed about by any wave of wind. You should know who you are as a people and do not allow anyone to define what you are."

Chihuri urged the officers not to allow themselves to be deceived by perpetrators of heresy and outright lies.

"As senior officers, let no one hold you captive through hollow, deceptive, wild and criminal hare brained fleeting illusory promises that are calculated to devour the country, its people and resources," Chihuri said. "The Constitution of Zimbabwe states that there shall be a police force for ensuring that there is law and order in the country.

You therefore have a divine responsibility to ensure that the sovereignty of the country is vehemently and robustly protected from these daring thieves and criminals under whatever political hue."

Chihuri reminded the officers of the nation's colonial past.
"Our country and continent had borne witness to this. In 1889, Cecil Rhodes approached British aristocrats in London and organised a band of mercenaries under the banner of the British South African Company (BSAC).

This was in pursuit of a policy propagated by one of his countrymen, John Ruskin who strongly advised that England look for colonies abroad lest they perish through poverty," Chihuri explained. "Rhodes and his band of avaricious mercenaries ravaged and looted our Eden under the guise that it was his God-given right to do so. He boasted that the English speaking race represented the finest specimen of humanity and that brute force on black people was a desirable and civilising factor."

Chihuri urged the senior police officers to try at all cost and with all available means to avoid a replay of what he termed as 'historical robbery'.

Labels: ,


Envoy links education disparities to high average enrolments

Envoy links education disparities to high average enrolments
By Mutuna Chanda
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

THE disparities in Zambia's education sector are being hidden by the high average enrolments resulting from free basic education, Netherlands Embassy secretary for education Vincent Snijders has said. And Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) chairperson Victor Koyi accused the government of being in the lead in discriminating against disabled children.

Speaking in Lusaka yesterday to mark the 2008 Global Action Week on education under the theme, 'Quality Education for all: Educate to end exclusion', Snijders also observed that the education system in Zambia had difficulties in reaching out to children with disabilities or special needs.

"The high average enrolments in Zambia hide disparities between boys and girls, between rural and urban areas and between poor and rich households," Snijders said. "One of the components of the Ministry of Education's plan is equity, in addition to quality, access and efficiency. Equity is about making sure that all Zambian children whether boy or girl, rural or urban, poor or rich handicapped or not have access to quality education."

He said special education needs for poor children needed to be tackled.

"They live in areas with large distances between schools, poor facilities and high pupil-to-teacher ratios," Snijders said. "Meeting their educational needs; this means a pro-poor focus, for instance by deploying teachers to the most difficult schools and encouraging them to stay there."

He also said the education system had difficulties in reaching out to children with special needs due to overcrowded classrooms and lack of facilities.

"Last year, I visited the school for the visually impaired children in Kawambwa and became convinced that the Ministry of Education needs to step up support to these specialised schools," said Snijders. "We have to accept that in most classes we already have children with special learning needs. Teachers need to be trained to identify the special needs children may have and to feel comfortable in providing them with the special support they require."

However, Snijders said universal primary education for Zambia seemed a realistic goal.

And Koyi said the Persons and Disabilities Act of 1996, classified discrimination in learning institutions as an offence.

"If you visited some of the schools you will find teachers teaching deaf children by speaking to them. Deaf children need teachers who are efficient in sign language. Visually-impaired children need Braille books but you find them with ink print books in most of these schools," Koyi said. "Such inadequacies compromise full inclusion into the education system. Almost all the schools in this country are built in such a way that physically disabled children fail to access them. The infrastructure is not suitable for them."

He said as part of this year's Global Week for Action, ZANEC commissioned a study to consider education for children with special needs at basic school level and that the findings revealed glaring disparities.

"In terms of teachers qualified to handle children with special needs, only two per cent accounts for this number from the 56, 895 teachers deployed by the Ministry of Education countrywide. Further in relation to teacher provision there are 170, 084 children with special education needs, with only 1,132 teachers with special education qualifications, translating to a teacher-pupil ratio of one teacher to 150 children with disabilities while that of regular learners stands at one to 53 on average," said Koyi.

He challenged the government to go beyond lip service when it came to meeting the needs of disabled children.

But education deputy minister Clement Sinyinda said the government was fully aware of the challenges that children with special education needs faced and was committed to addressing them.

He cited inadequate teaching and learning materials, inadequate personnel, non-availability of adaptive technology and inaccessible infrastructure as some of the problems that needed to be addressed.

Sinyinda said both the law and policy protected interests of all persons with disabilities and that no child should be excluded from the education system.



Smoking in public places

Smoking in public places
By Editor
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

There is no doubt about the damage that smoking does. And we also think that a lot of people who are not smokers would actually prefer to be in an environment where there is no smoking taking place. There is abundant evidence that breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke carries serious health risks, especially for children or those who are chronically exposed, such as at the workplace.

We therefore urge all Zambians to support last month’s Statutory Instrument that was initiated by local government minister, Sylvia Masebo, to ban smoking in public places because it would safeguard the public and encourage more smokers to quit.
Only smoke-free buildings and public places truly protect non-smokers from the hazards of breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke.

Non-smokers are exposed to second-hand smoke – involuntary smoking – that puts people at increased risk of death from lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

Moreover, there is no risk-free level of exposure to someone else’s drifting smoke. Even the issue of the rights of the smoker raised by Zambia Medical Association president Dr Swebby Macha needs to be treated with a lot of care because designated places for smoking still enable smoke to escape from there into the lungs of non-smokers. And what rights do smokers really have when it comes to smoking in public places? Rights are exercisable only up to a point where your acts do not affect your neighbour. Immediately your smoke affects other people, you cannot claim to have a right to smoking.

We should also be especially concerned about young children who can’t escape their parents’ addiction in search of cleaner air. We should think about the plight of children in their smoking parents’ homes where the public smoking ban does not reach. Those children are at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, lung infections such as pneumonia, ear infections and more severe asthma.

Exposure to second-hand smoke remains an alarming public health hazard and Masebo should be commended for attempting to address it, to put an end to it.

Masebo deserves credit for realising that non-smokers need protection through the restriction of smoking in public places. Smokers should also not be allowed to puff around children even in their own homes. Children need protection everywhere.

We therefore urge all Zambians to support this ban because without their support, it would be impossible for it to be effective. And as Zambia Consumer Association executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga has warned, this Statutory Instrument may be as ineffective as many similar others before it that attempted to deal with other nuisances like urinating, spitting, littering and so on and so forth in public places. These are very difficult to enforce.

It is not possible to have police officers going round enforcing anti-smoking bans. It will be expensive to undertake such patrols. And how many policemen do we have anyway?

This being the case, this ban will only be effective if the public support it and enforce it on behalf of the state and indeed on their own behalf. The government has done its part. What remains is for us the citizens of this country to do our part.

There is no longer a scientific controversy that second-hand smoke is a killer. And therefore, there is no reason for us to take half measures to restrict smoking. We should go all the way and stop this nuisance that is killing our people directly and indirectly.

Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air and ventilation systems don’t eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke. What is needed are comprehensive smoking bans. Public smoking restrictions not only reduce second-hand smoke but discourage active smoking in the nation.

Smoking is a serious health hazard that should not be played around with. If one is in doubt, we advise them to go and talk to our good friend Mr Michael Sata, who for a number of years, we had problems restraining from smoking in our offices whenever he visited us. It was not easy to grab cigarettes from the lips of a senior citizen and prominent politician like Mr Sata.

Second-hand smoke can act on the arteries so quickly that even brief exposure to someone else’s smoke can endanger people who are at high risk of heart disease. And for this reason, we advise those who smoke never to smoke around a sick relative.

Living with a smoker increases a non-smoker’s risk of lung cancer and heart disease by a very high factor – some say even up to 30 per cent.
There isn’t proof that second-hand smoke causes breast cancer, but the evidence is suggestive.

We should therefore treat direct smoking and second-hand smoke as a toxic air pollutant.

And for these reasons, it is easy to understand why Masebo, when announcing the banning of smoking in public places said, “…prohibition of smoking in public places has had to be given special attention due to its hazardous nature to non-smokers who are forced to be passive smokers and this affects their health although they do not smoke.”

This Statutory Instrument is not an end in itself – it is just a means. If we support it and give it effect, it will help us protect ourselves from all these dangers. It may also enable us to discourage others from committing suicide through smoking. Let us give it spirited support.

Labels: ,


ZACA urges enforcement of new anti-smoking law

ZACA urges enforcement of new anti-smoking law
By Zumani Katasefa and Mwila Chansa
Friday May 30, 2008 [04:00]

GOVERNMENT should ensure that the new law that prohibits smoking in public does not join a queue of other laws that are not effectively enforced, Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga has urged. And Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) president Dr Swebby Macha said smoking areas should be designated to avoid infringing on the rights of smokers. Commenting on the new law that prohibits smoking in public, Ililonga said the move was progressive and hoped that it would help save people's lives from the harmful tobacco.

"As ZACA we welcome the law. It is going to help save lives of those who have chosen to commit suicide by smoking in public as well as non-smokers who are indirectly affected by the tobacco smoke," he said.

Ililonga said Zambia had very good laws on paper but that they lacked enforcement.

"This is a big step ahead, but the problem that we have in Zambia is that we have so many good laws which are not enforced. What we need now is a system of policing these laws," Ililonga said.

And Dr Macha said while the ZMA welcomed the ban on smoking in public places, it was important for smoking areas to be designated so that the rights of smokers were not infringed.

Dr Macha said smoking in public places infringed on the rights of non-smokers as they unwillingly inhaled smoke by virtue of being next to smokers.

He said the government's decision was a milestone in protecting non-smokers from second-hand or passive smoking in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) directive last year for all countries that had not taken action on indoor smoking to do so.

"The dangers of passive smoking, especially in enclosed places, are already known. Cigarettes contain nicotine which is one of the toxins implicated in causing lung cancer, repeated chest infections, worsened asthma attacks, heart attacks, and even strokes," said Dr Macha.

He further said cigarettes were also linked to cancers such as cervical and in reduced fertility for both men and women.
Dr Macha added that cigarettes were also linked to low birth weight babies and congenital anomalies such as pre-mature labour and bleeding in late pregnancy.

Dr Macha said there was need for more public education on the dangers of smoking and that professional organisations such as ZMA and the media could spearhead the awareness.

On Wednesday, local government minister Sylvia Masebo signed a Statutory Instrument (SI) prohibiting smoking in public places.
Masebo said she was compelled to sign the SI, dated April 9, 2008, which has since been gazetted, due to continued smoking in public by persons with no regard for the comfort of others.

Masebo warned that anyone in contravention of the regulation would be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding K4,000,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

Labels: ,


Thursday, May 29, 2008

(HERALD) Govt to provide more agric equipment: Made

Govt to provide more agric equipment: Made
Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT is working towards providing more machinery and equipment to various agricultural sub-sectors to ensure the country regains its breadbasket status, a Cabinet minister has said. In an interview, the Minister of Agriculture Engineering, Mechanisation and Irrigation, Cde Joseph Made, said although the Government has launched phases one to three of the farm mechanisation programme, the country still needs more machinery to complete the empowerment process.

"We want to make sure that we equip farmers with more machinery, equipment, skills and ideas on how to look at idle capacity so that it can be utilised.

"Any item that lies idle, be it natural resources, minerals or labour, must be converted to value so that we have food security which leads to industrial growth, resulting in more exportable items in order for the country to earn foreign currency.

"Today under the farm mechanisation programme, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is now undertaking a very serious audit to look at the machinery and equipment distributed to farmers. Some who might not be utilising it will be taught how to fully utilise the machinery and equipment."

He said the process would also help RBZ adjust to meet the demands of farmers. The Government launched the first phase of the farm mechanisation programme in June 2007 to enhance agricultural production, which was then being hampered by the shortage of various implements.

The second phase started in October of the same year while phase three was launched in March this year.

The programme is expected to go beyond 2010.

Labels: , , , ,


(HERALD) Land case deferred to July 16

Land case deferred to July 16
By Sydney Kawadza

THE Sadc Tribunal yesterday postponed to July 16 the hearing of a case in which 78 white former commercial farmers are seeking to stop the compulsory acquisition of their farms for resettlement in Zimbabwe. The tribunal also reserved judgment in an application in which more than 300 000 beneficiaries of the same land reform programme are seeking to be part of the hearing. The tribunal deferred the case to July after granting the Zimbabwean Government’s legal team an extension to file their arguments. The legal team was given until June 18 to file its papers.

But in a related matter, the tribunal reserved judgment on an application by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice — a progressive grouping of Zimbabwean lawyers representing resettled farmers — who want to be part of the case as it directly affected them.

Legal experts say it would have been awkward for the tribunal to make a ruling on a case of 78 people which would have affected more than 300 000 people and thousands more who are still awaiting resettlement without hearing the arguments of the resettled farmers.

Speaking from Windhoek, Namibia, yesterday, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Attorney-General (Civil Division), Advocate Prince Machaya, said the Government successfully made the application in the morning before judgment was deferred to 2:30pm.

"The tribunal granted the extension when it commenced in the afternoon and we were ordered to file the remaining documents by June 18.

"The hearing of the matter has also been set for a three-day period where it would be heard between July 16 and 18 this year," Adv Machaya said.

He expressed satisfaction with the judgment, adding that the period was more than they had expected.

"We are very satisfied with the extension as we have been granted more time than we expected to complete the papers," he said.

In the intervener application, Mr Farai Mutamangira of Mutamangira, Maja and Associates, representing beneficiaries of the land reform and ordinary Zimbabweans, argued that there were people who were allocated farms and this was done through offer letters from the Government and this group needed to be part of the court proceedings.

In his argument, Mr Mutamangira said no effort was made to publicise the case to the resettled areas by the applicants and the matter had been restricted to those who could read and write.

"No effort has been made to conscientise the respective people who will be affected by the outcome of this court case. Their exclusion is a miscarriage of justice — they deserve to have their day in court," Mr Mutamangira argued.

"Their exclusion is clearly inappropriate; it would be good in the interest of justice that they be joined in the case."

Advocate Jeremy Gauntlet, who appeared for the 78 white commercial farmers, objected to the intervener application which he described as a "hyped application for intervention", adding that the applicants had not "yet assembled a proper application".

"What has not been explained is why this application was brought 15 minutes before closure of business (on Tuesday). It (application) is defective and cannot be entertained. To intervene, as a respondent, is a curiosity. The tribunal does not allow supporters; this is not a football game; this is not a popularity game. It’s a legal matter," Adv Gauntlet said.

Making its ruling, the five-panel tribunal ruled that the application does not comply with the rules and regulations of the tribunal but said it would deliver judgment in due course.

"This court has considered the application and, in fact, has to say that there is no material application, it doesn’t comply with the rules and regulations of this tribunal.

"The judgment will be given in the application in time while considering the main case," said head judge Justice Luis Mondhlane.

Commenting on the judgment, Mr Mutamangira said in an interview that the tribunal had not thrown out the application.

"The tribunal has not dismissed our case; it means that all the documents will have to be submitted to make the intervention material.

"This is the best we could have done within the short period. It’s not a dismissal. We just have to comply by filing the papers immediately and we have no time to waste," Mr Mutamangira said.

The tribunal on March 28 granted the farmers an interim relief against eviction and had ordered the parties to the case to file their arguments by May 6.

The Government, which had failed to file its arguments, wrote to the Registrar of the Tribunal, Justice Charles Mkandawire, seeking an extension to May 30 to do so.

Labels: ,


(HERALD) Agric sector welcomes load-shedding schedule

Agric sector welcomes load-shedding schedule
Chinhoyi Bureau

STAKEHOLDERS in the agricultural sector, among them farmers and Agritex officials, have welcomed Zesa Holdings’ move to introduce a load-shedding schedule which they say would enhance productivity during this year’s winter wheat farming season. Farmers said the scheduling would make planning for irrigation purposes easier.

"This is what we have been calling on Zesa to do all along because last year we could have had a better yield were it not for the intermittent and unplanned load-shedding. As a farmer, I am confident that yields will be better this year," said a farmer in Zvimba.

Agritex has also hailed the power utility for providing the schedule on time, saying it would ensure farmers get the best yield if irrigation cycles are followed.

A senior Mashonaland West Agritex official said a stakeholders’ panel comprising the Department of Irrigation, farmers’ unions and Agritex, had been set up to assist farmers get the best out of the schedule provided by Zesa.

"We all know that the problem of electricity is not only peculiar to Zimbabwe, but is also a regional one and as such Zesa has done its best under the circumstances to provide the schedule on time," the official said. He said focus was now on ensuring high productivity from the land that has been prepared.

"The idea is not about how many hectares farmers have managed to put under the crop, but productivity and that is what we are encouraging farmers to do," the official said.

The Department of Irrigation will assess the irrigation equipment each farmer has and determine a hectarage that ensures optimum yield under the given load-shedding schedule.

Labels: , , ,


Letters - Neoliberalism, Inflation

Zambia's economic 'boom'
By Eugine
Thursday May 29, 2008 [04:00]

I have deliberately chosen to ignore what some economists preach about Zambia's good economic performance largely because to me, it does not translate into anything tangible. They say the kwacha is doing well against the US dollar, that our economy is doing fine (according to Chibamba Kanyama), that the political situation is stable (thanks to some reconciliation at higher level), the copper prices are good, and so on and so forth.

However, what I need these economists or anyone who understands these things to tell me is, with all these indicators, why would the price of a 2kg packet of sugar suddenly shoot up to K18,000, a 25kg bag of mealie-meal fetch K50,000? Why do we still have no cement on our market? Why would the price of stock feed go up in a country that has given priority to agriculture?

I will leave Rhodnie Sisala and Zesco's load shedding out of this for the time being. Why should all these and many other things be happening when we are told that Zambia's economy is doing well? The 5-6 per cent economic growth does not mean anything if my houseboy can't afford basic needs. What is going on? Somebody please explain!

This reminds me of Animal Farm. At some point in the book, the author, George Orwell, tells us how some inspectors went to the farm and were shown how full the food bins/barns were yet, in actual fact, there was sand underneath the food. The figures given were mere statistics while the animals kept starving. Is this what is happening in our country or am I misguided?

I would like to believe that our country is doing fine. But I would love it if our people enjoyed the economic boom.

High fuel prices
By Waziona Nkhwekwe Chirwa, Chongwe
Thursday May 29, 2008 [04:00]

Fuel is the lifeblood of any economy and without it, nothing or very little, will happen. The cost of fuel has a direct impact on the cost of other goods and services. It is for this reason that the government should do everything possible to reduce the rising fuel prices in the country.

I was delighted by the government's recent call for a probe into the high fuel prices by the Secretary to the Treasury, Evans Chibiliti. Though the probe is over 40 years behind schedule, it is nevertheless welcome.

It is a notorious fact that one of the major causes of Zambia having one of the most expensive fuel in the world are the heavy taxes levied on our fuel. The taxes applicable to petroleum products in Zambia include import duty, Value Added Tax (VAT) and excise duty.

Import duty at 5 per cent is charged both on petroleum feed stock (crude oil) and refined petroleum products that are imported in the country while excise duty is charged on fuel whether imported or produced locally. The following rates apply: (i) Petrol 60 per cent (ii) diesel 30 per cent.

In addition to the above very high excise duty on fuel, an additional 16 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) is heaped on the fragile back of our fuel in Zambia.

As our able and competent Secretary to the Treasury constitutes the team to conduct a probe on why fuel prices are high in Zambia, he will do well to critically and honestly reflect on the impact of these clearly exorbitant taxes have on our fuel in Zambia .

Labels: , , , ,


Dr Nsemukila calls for skills training in Solwezi

Dr Nsemukila calls for skills training in Solwezi
By Agness Changala in Solwezi
Thursday May 29, 2008 [04:00]

MINISTRY of Science and Technology Permanent Secretary Dr Bulleti Nsemukila has said there is need to train people in skills to satisfy the needs of the local investors in Solwezi. Speaking in Solwezi where he is on familiarisation tour, Dr Nsemukila said the province was developing every day and that there was need for the people in the province to acquire skills.

“… You may realise that we are not able to meet the gap that is there in terms of skills and maybe that’s the reason why the investors would come with their own people to do the job which even the Zambians can do,” he said.

Dr Nsemukila said it was important that skilled training was given to the youths.

He said it was important to ensure that local people were developed and involved in the activities of the province for them to feel part and parcel of the development process.

“If they are left behind, they may start complaining that they are being left out, jobs are being given to people outside the province and this may result in xenophobic killings as the case is in South Africa,” Dr Nsemukila said.

Meanwhile, the government has spent K4.2 billion on the construction of Solwezi Trades Training Institute.

A check at the site revealed that administration, library, two workshops and some classroom are still under construction.

Dr Nsemukila revealed that the government had also secured an additional K2 billion meant for the construction of double storey hostels for the institute.

He said there was need to expedite the construction of infrastructure so as to move in tandem with the development in the province.

And North Western Province Permanent Secretary Jeston Mulando bemoaned lack of skills among youths in the province.

He said the youths were even failing to grow vegetables.
“The hospitality industry and the mines are importing their vegetables from the Copperbelt because people here are not able to supply even when there is plenty of water,” he said.

He challenged people in the province to take advantage of the booming economy to improve their lives.

Labels: ,


Are we really so stupid?

Are we really so stupid?
By Editor
Thursday May 29, 2008 [04:00]

We share United States Ambassador to Zambia Carmen Martinez’s feelings about aid. We believe the great majority of our people, if not all our people, are looking forward to a day when our country will stop asking for aid. And, like Ambassador Martinez, it shall be their happiest day when Zambia will stop seeking assistance from any country. Even biblically, it is said:

“Son, don’t live the life of a beggar; it is better to die than to beg. If you have to depend on someone else for your food, you are not really living your own life. You pollute yourself by accepting food from another. Begging is torture to the soul of any sensitive person. A shameless person can make begging sound sweet, but something inside him burns (Sirach 40:28 – 30).”

We would prefer self-reliance to begging, to aid. Of course, we hope for foreign aid but we are not happy to depend on it; we would rather depend on our own efforts, on the creative power of our people.

We also believe that the great majority of our people, if not all, like Ambassador Martinez are saddened by the fact that Zambia with all its rich natural resources, still exported raw materials as opposed to finished products.

But things don’t just happen like that. There is a reason for this arrangement that clearly appears to be stupid. And it is not easy for us to get out of it, otherwise we would have done that a long time ago. And moreover, this is not a problem unique to Zambia. It is a problem that affects most of our Third World Countries.

Industrialisation is a decisive process for the Third World’s economic development, a need nobody dares deny, even though there are diverse opinions when attempts are made to establish its specific characteristics, mechanisms and periods for each country. Unquestionably, the industrialisation of the Third World is equivalent, in strategic terms, to laying the main technological and material base for development.

The classical model that postulates that agriculture and raw materials are specialised enough for the underdeveloped countries, leaving industrial production in the hands of the developed countries, does nothing but try to perpetuate a model which our countries firmly reject as irrational, unequal and unjust.

Today, it is perfectly clear that industrialisation – as a process whose effects are felt in all sectors of the economy, mobilising a growing portion of national resources for the development of technically advanced economic structures that can produce consumer goods and investments and guaranteeing its own economic and technological reproduction – is a historic imperative for our countries; it is a path that we should take in order to have access to development, modern technology and contemporary civilisation itself.

It is well known that industrialisation of the underdeveloped world is presented as a process of even greater complexity and involves even greater difficulties than the processes through which the industrial development of England was effected in the early days of the capitalist system, Germany and the United States later on, and even the Soviet Union starting in 1917.

The high-speed dynamics of present scientific-technical revolution is leaving the underdeveloped countries farther and farther behind.

The Third World’s industry is also characterised by the very primitive level at which it exploits and processes its natural resources. The relationship between the exploitation of its natural resources and their industrial processing as manufactured goods reveals the primary nature of this industry.

It isn’t a case only of the underdeveloped countries’ participating to an insignificant extent in processing their own natural resources; rather, the breaking apart of their economies both within and between sectors – that is, the extreme weakness of the links between their sectors and branches.

There is not enough integration in their inter-sectorial relations linking the industrial processing of raw materials with the final consumer, semi-finished and capital goods.

Most of the developing countries have little participation in the production of capital goods. Typically, their industries turn out simple products made to order for small enterprises that process foods, do repairs, turn out textiles, work metals, and so on and so forth. The complex, high-precision capital goods are imported within the framework of favourable trade and investment policies.

The branches that are related to mechanical activities are those least represented in the developing countries. In the case of iron and steel, a relatively large number of developing countries have some manufacturing activity, but production in many of these countries is limited to processing domestic or imported scrap iron.

Naturally, in the industrial reality of the underdeveloped world, the transnational corporations bear a high degree of responsibility. It would not be exaggerated to say that their activities are largely responsible for this distorted industrial growth of our countries.
A very revealing aspect of capitalist industry is the high degree of control that the transnational monopolies wield over it.

This control over industrial production – together with their control over capital, technology and marketing – enables the transnationals to impose their model of growth not only in the developed countries but also in the countries of the Third World, causing serious imbalances in the distribution of world industry.

It only remains, therefore, to point out another well-defined characteristic of the Third World’s industrial growth. This is the strong concentration of the underdeveloped world’s industrial production in a few countries, with a tendency to increase that concentration.

It is not a matter of reproducing in our countries the industrial model of the West, since it cannot be repeated under the present historic conditions; it cannot ensure stable, long-term development; and it has subjected the world to periodic crises.

In the United States, the most developed country, industry manages to grow only marginally by producing for war, ignoring the social welfare of the ever larger portions of the population, squandering the natural resources that are the patrimony of all mankind, contaminating the environment and turning man into a simple instrument of capital.

Our countries do not need industries that consume foreign exchange and produce weak currencies. They do not need industries that mostly produce goods that neither ensure economic and technical reproduction nor create a base for self-sustainment.

They do not need industries whose growth increases the debt and debt servicing, unemployment, social marginalisation, the deterioration of the standard of living, foreign dependency and internal socioeconomic disproportions.

Nor do our countries need an export industry that, in order to function, requires large imports because it is limited to carrying out the simplest labour intensive phases of an international productive process that is controlled by transnational corporations. They do not need industries that provide cheap inputs for transnational capital.

Industrialisation does not always mean development. Statistical industrial growth and increases in exports of manufactured goods do not always mean that the path of development has been followed.

There is even the danger of following a path that, while seemingly leading toward the goal of socioeconomic development, really takes us farther away from it.

A very instructive lesson of the past few years is that underdevelopment may also present a façade of industrial exports without losing any of the essential characteristics of underdevelopment.

An even greater cause for concern is the fact that the incorrect formulation of our demands regarding industrialisation may help to confuse the Third World’s legitimate interest in development with the transnational corporations’ pillaging, deforming activities in the industrial sectors of the underdeveloped countries.

We must therefore always go into the whys and wherefores of anything and use our own heads and carefully think over whether or not it corresponds to reality and is really well founded; on no account should we follow blindly.

There is need for us to be far sighted as we try to size up situations. We should always use our brains and think everything over carefully. In this world, things are complicated and are decided by many factors.

We should look at problems from different aspects, not from just one. When we look at a thing, we must examine its essence and treat its appearance merely as an usher at the threshold, and once we cross the threshold, we must grasp the essence of the thing, this is the only reliable way of analysing things before us.

It really looks stupid for us to be so dependent on aid. And it equally looks stupid for us to be exporting our raw materials without processing them.

But are we so stupid as a people to be subjected to all these seemingly stupid ways of living our lives? Are all our leaders so stupid not to see that dependency on aid is undesirable and that to export our raw materials without processing them is not sensible?

We don’t think we are a stupid people with stupid leaders. There are tangible realities that are making us conduct our affairs in this apparently irrational manner. And this is what needs to be understood, fought and defeated before we can make progress.

Until we do this, our wisdom as a people, and that of our leaders, will always be questioned even by people who can’t even govern a village as long as they come from affluent countries.

Labels: ,