(CNN) Bush urges world to unite on Zimbabwe sanctions
Bush urges world to unite on Zimbabwe sanctions
Bush: "Extremely disappointed" in Zimbabwe violence-marred runoff vote
(CNN) -- President George W. Bush has urged the international community to punish the Zimbabwe government for suppressing its political opponents and using violence at the ballot box
(President George W. Bush and Ghana President John Kufuor during the G-8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit) "I care deeply about the people of Zimbabwe," Bush told the G-8 annual summit in Hokkaido Toyako, Japan. "I am extremely disappointed in the elections, which I labeled a sham election."
Incumbent Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe maintained power as the only candidate in last month's election. His only challenger, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew from the race.
Tsvangirai said his Movement For Democratic Change party decided not to participate because of an ongoing campaign of political intimidation and violence at the hands of Mugabe supporters.
Tsvangirai won the most votes in the March 29 election, but not enough -- according to official figures -- to avoid a runoff.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, also at the G-8 summit, said Monday that he believes "there is growing support for sanctions against the Mugabe regime" because very few countries recognize his government.
The British prime minister added that there is growing support for a U.N. envoy to be dispatched to "to make sure that the parties in Zimbabwe know that we've got to work for a transition so that there is a legitimate government, one that we can support, and one, when it does exist, we will want to help with the reconstruction (of Zimbabwe)."
Jakaya Kikwete, president of Tanzania and current head of the African Union, is one of seven African leaders at the summit. AP reported him as saying on the issue of Zimbabwe "that the only area that we may differ is on the way forward.
"We are saying no party can govern alone in Zimbabwe, and therefore the parties have to work together in a government and look at the future of their country together."
Meanwhile UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband Monday called on South Africa to support a "way out" for neighboring Zimbabwe that includes a transitional, opposition-led government.
"I believe this is an agenda that is not a British agenda or a Western agenda but a humanitarian agenda around which the world can unite," said Miliband in a speech at the University of South Africa in Pretoria.
The UK has been a harsh critic of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe who Miliband blamed for turning "the weapons of the state against his own people" in order to retain his grip on power.
Mugabe has been Zimbabwe's only leader since independence in 1980, before which it was called Rhodesia and ruled by the UK. Britain is one of many countries that do not recognize Mugabe's reelection.
Miliband has called for the current Mugabe government to be replaced by a transitional government to be led by Tsvangirai. He is visiting South Africa, a member of the U.N. Security Council which is expected to consider a sanctions resolution against Zimbabwe.
"The world community needs to unite at the U.N. this week not just to condemn violence but to initiate sanctions on the regime and send a human rights envoy to Zimbabwe," Miliband said.
Labels: GEORGE BUSH, HYPOCRISY, SANCTIONS
(CNN) -- Russia has reacted angrily to comments made by U.S. and British officials who criticized Moscow's veto of U.N. sanctions against Zimbabwe.
(Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe meets with Arthur Mutambara, an opposition leader.)
Officials in the United States and Britain were quick to exclaim their surprise over Friday's veto by Russia and China on sanctions. The U.S.-led sanctions were aimed at punishing Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe's deadly crackdown on the opposition Move for Democratic Change during and after the presidential election. The Russian Foreign Ministry in a statement Saturday said the criticism "places a question mark over the worthiness of Russia as a G-8 partner," The Associated Press reported.
It added that the possibility of U.N. sanctions on Zimbabwe was excluded at a recent G-8 summit in Japan.
Russia said it believed the sanctions would set a precedent for U.N. meddling, AP reported. The sanctions would have been imposed on Mugabe and 11 senior members of his government. According to a draft of the resolution, the measure would have instituted a travel ban, frozen many of their assets and imposed an international arms embargo on the regime.
The measure received nine votes -- the minimum for it to pass. However, two of the five negative votes were from Russia and China, who as permanent members of the Security Council have veto power.
Meanwhile, Britain said Saturday that it had not ruled out a renewed attempt to get a Security Council resolution if efforts to deliver a mediated settlement failed to make progress.
"It is disappointing that the Security Council failed to stand up for the democratic rights of Zimbabweans. But it was right to push for a tough Security Council resolution, and those who stood in its way must now take responsibility for the failure of the Security Council to act," a Downing St spokesman told the British Press Association.
"We will continue to stand firmly for human rights and democracy, and will return to the Security Council in the absence of early progress on mediation, humanitarian access and an end to violence. This is not the outcome we sought, but we have other options."
Labels: SANCTIONS, UN, ZIMBABWE
Shell leaves Zim, Engen takes over
Sat, 12 Jul 2008 11:51:00 +0000
ANGLO-DUTCH oil giant Royal Dutch Shell Plc. has pulled out of Zimbabwe as South Africa's Engen Petroleum buys the 50 percent stake in a joint venture with British Petroleum.
According to the economic magazine Business Day Engen is taking over Shell's portion of a joint venture with British Petroleum for an undisclosed amount.
"We do not get involved in the politics," Engen spokeswoman Tania Landsberg told Business Day adding that they had taken a long-term view of the Zimbabwean situation. "We believe that, in the long term, this is a good deal. We believe that Zimbabwe will recover."
Engen is said to be owned by a Malaysian oil company Petronas (80%) and black economic empowerment group Worldwide Africa Investment Holdings (20%).
This news comes at a time when President Robert Mugabe has taunted Gordon Brown over the suggestion that British companies will have to reconsider doing business in Zimbabwe.
"The British are threatening to withdraw their companies," President Mugabe said. "We say: The sooner you do it the better.
"Please Mr Brown, withdraw all your companies from Zimbabwe."
President Mugabe adopted a Look East policy five years ago which seeks to court investors from Asian countries like China and Malaysia.
Labels: ENGEN PETROLEUM, OIL, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC, ZIMBABWE
Concessions are inherent in negotiations
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:00]
There is no sensible alternative to a negotiated settlement in Zimbabwe.
And all Zimbabwean politicians should take negotiations seriously. We all realise that there are many difficult questions concerning such negotiations. But it is for this same reason that negotiations should take place. Negotiations are about big, fundamental issues. Negotiations compel those involved to compromise on fundamental issues. Insignificant things, peripheral issues, don’t need any negotiations or compromise.
The pre-conditions that are being raised should be tabled as issues for negotiation and should not be made to stand in the way of a negotiated settlement.
But it’s not easy to negotiate with a person who is not independent, who is under the control and direction of another.
There is no doubt that the influence of British and United States politicians over Zimbabwean issues is very big. They seem to be the ones dictating to MDC as to what should be done.
American and British government officials were the first ones to set pre-conditions for negotiations in Zimbabwe.
Before even MDC could voice its opinion on negotiations, the British and Americans were demanding that any negotiations in Zimbabwe will have to be held on the basis of the March 29 election results. And what MDC has done is simply to echo this position.
This is making MDC really look like a puppet of the British and American governments. And it is tarnishing its image among Africans and others who hate colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism in general.
MDC leaders and members have got a legitimate role to play in the politics of their country. It is their right to participate in the governance of Zimbabwe.
And the Americans and British have no right whatsoever to govern Zimbabwe – even with the best remote control device. They are causing veritable chaos in Zimbabwe. They are making it very difficult for Zimbabweans to come together and find solutions to the issues that divide them.
The pre-conditions they are putting forward will not help Zimbabweans to come together and resolve their differences. We say this because even Zanu-PF could today come up with some legitimate pre-conditions. For instance, they could demand that no negotiations will take place until external interference, threats, blackmail and sanctions are stopped. This would equally not be good because it will not help move things forward.
Concessions are inherent in any serious negotiations. And when one negotiates, one must be prepared to compromise, to give and take. And it doesn’t make sense to enter into negotiations with a person you are still insulting, blackmailing, denouncing and calling all sorts of names.
When one enters into negotiations, the first thing one should do is show respect to the opponent, accept the integrity of the other person. If one is not prepared to compromise, then they shouldn’t enter into or think about the process of negotiations at all.
It seems to us that MDC and their British and American supporters are not ready for a negotiated settlement. Probably they still feel they can still by other means – sanctions, international pressure, United Nations Security Council resolutions – drive Zanu-PF out of power.
Probably they may also still want to weaken Zanu-PF much further before they can sit down to negotiate with them and this time the subject may only be the terms of surrender of power.
If they strongly believe this to be possible, then there is no need for them to enter into negotiations. We say this because the starting point for developing a framework within which to approach some large questions in the negotiating process is to answer the question: why should we negotiate or why are we negotiating?
We believe Zimbabweans should negotiate because as a result of the deepening political crisis in their country, the party in control of government – Zanu-PF – is no longer able to govern the country in the old way and should now be genuinely seeking a break with the past.
At the same time, MDC – the leading opposition party – is not dealing with a defeated Zanu-PF, and a total seizure of power from them cannot be realistically posed. Yes, they can wage, with the support of the United States and Britain, a strong international campaign to isolate and strangulate Zimbabwe, weaken Zanu-PF’s internal and external support and eventually drive them out of power.
This is possible. But it will not come cheap. It will come at a very high cost to the people of Zimbabwe and probably to their neighbours.
We believe once the balance of political forces has been altered, it’s better to cease fire, negotiate and minimise the loss of life, property and other forms of suffering that political conflicts bring to the ordinary people.
However, our experience is that where imperialists are involved, this is usually very problematic because they are not usually very open to peaceful, fair and just solutions to problems. Their arrogance always make them believe that they can annihilate everything that stands in their way and challenges their interests.
It is for this reason that MDC, despite its heavy dependence on them for finance and other logistical support, including media propaganda, should somehow distance itself from them and start to look at the conflict in Zimbabwe using their own eyes, criteria and methods.
A negotiated political settlement is still very possible in Zimbabwe and there is actually no sensible alternative to it. Negotiated solutions can be found even to conflicts that have come to seem intractable and such solutions emerge when those who have been divided reach out to find common ground.
The most important thing now for the politicians of Zimbabwe is to reach out and find common ground rather than focus so much on issues that divide them.
It doesn’t make sense for MDC to claim that negotiations at this stage would undermine the statements made by the G8 leaders and the initiatives that they are trying to push through at the United Nations Security Council to put pressure on Zanu-PF. Whatever they are trying to do at the G8 and UN can be done better at a negotiation table of Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe needs unity to tackle the many challenges its people are today facing. And imperialists have never been promoters of unity because they thrive on divisions, by divide and rule.
The unity of the people of Zimbabwe is absolutely necessary and they should use peaceful political formulas and negotiations to resolve their political differences.
Zimbabwe cannot be saved unless a path of dialogue and reconciliation is pursued. And every effort should be made towards eradicating political violence without the need for measures that will further divide the people of this country.
Zimbabweans should not turn a blind eye to peaceful resolution whenever they have differences. And they should never forget that concessions are inherent in negotiations.
Labels: COLOUR REVOLUTIONS, MDC, NEOCOLONIALISM
MDC isn't party to Pretoria negotiations, says Tsvangirai
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:00]
SADC-mediated negotiations between ZANU-PF and opposition MDC have reportedly commenced in South Africa but the MDC has denied being part of the talks. Negotiators from ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations are reportedly meeting in Pretoria as the political parties seek to continue the dialogue. ZANU-PF is being represented by Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa and Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Nicholas Goche.
Prof Arthur Mutambara's MDC is being represented by secretary-general Welshman Ncube and his deputy Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
But MDC president Moragn Tsvangirai said his secretary general Tendai Biti went to South Africa only to present pre-conditions for the negotiation and not to negotiate.
"Over the past ten days, I and my party have stated categorically that there are no negotiations between ourselves and ZANU-PF currently taking place. In addition, we have stated that no such negotiations can take place while the ZANU-PF regime continues to wage war on my party and the people of Zimbabwe. This position has not changed," Tsvangirai stated in a press release yesterday.
"There is a meeting currently taking place in Pretoria at which the MDC is represented by secretary-general, Tendai Biti, and deputy treasurer-general, Elton Mangoma.
Their presence at this meeting is solely to present the conditions under which genuine negotiations can take place and the mechanism under which these negotiations will be conducted as defined by the AU resolution.
The lack of these conditions and an agreed framework in which negotiations can take place were the reasons for the MDC not attending the meeting between President Mbeki and Robert Mugabe last Saturday."
Tsvangirai said the people portraying this meeting as the beginning of negotiations between the MDC and ZANU-PF were being disingenuous and exploiting the plight of the Zimbabwean people for political gain.
"Portraying these talks as negotiations also undermines the resolution of the African Union, the statements made by the G8 leaders and the current process underway at the United Nations Security Council, all of which are designed to pressure the ZANU-PF regime to desist from its campaign of violence against the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe," he said.
Tsvangirai said there would be no talks until the conditions he set were met.
He said there would be no talks until there was an immediate cessation of violence and the withdrawal and disbanding of militia groups, paramilitary camps and illegal road-blocks sanctioned by ZANU-PF.
He said there would be no talks until the political environment were normalised, including the release of the more than 1,500 political prisoners, cessation of political persecution and provision of space for the MDC leadership to conduct business and travel without hindrance.
Other conditions are the reinstatement of access by humanitarian organisations to the people of Zimbabwe in order to provide food, medical and other critical services throughout the country, the swearing-in of Parliament and Senate, and the expansion of the mediation team to include an AU permanent envoy.
The G8 leaders who recently met in Japan declared that they would impose financial and other sanctions on leaders they described as "those individuals responsible for violence" in Zimbabwe.
The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States effectively rejected the government of President Mugabe saying it was illegitimate.
"We deplore the fact that the Zimbabwean authorities pressed ahead with the presidential election despite the absence of appropriate conditions for free and fair voting as a result of their systematic violence, obstruction and intimidation. We do not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people," the leaders said.
Referring to the first round of elections in which Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won the most votes, they added that "it is important that any mediation process respect the results of the March 29, 2008 election."
The leaders also issued an implicit call for the SADC's mediation, led by South African President Thabo Mbeki, to be widened to include other mediators.
The G8 called on the African Union and SADC to "provide strong leadership," including taking measures aimed at "further strengthening the regional mediation process."
Labels: ELECTIONS, MDC, SADC, ZIMBABWE
Dr Kapoor urges govt to broaden PPP concept
By Kabanda Chulu
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:00]
WORLD Bank Zambia manager Dr Kapil Kapoor has urged the government to broaden the public-private-partnership (PPP) concept away from the mines to involve other sectors of the economy. Commenting on the slow implementation of various projects that the government has planned to carry out under PPP, Dr Kapoor said the Zambian government must ensure that there was a conducive and enabling environment for the concept to work. He said the government was serious and committed to PPP and notable progress had been seen in the health and education sectors.
"But most of the PPP concept is with the mining industry and as much as we understand the government's commitment, the environment should be enabling because even with seriousness, you cannot attract any investment," Dr Kapoor said.
"Hence government should do more and broaden the PPP concept to involve other viable sectors of the economy, especially those with potential to alleviate poverty."
Dr Kapoor said there was need to continually address the cost of doing business because Zambia would not attract huge investment if the environment was not conducive.
Recently, the government made several pronouncements relating to PPP but many Greenfield (new) projects have failed to take place and the PPP concept is only working well with the mining sector, partly because the entities were already established when the private sector were invited to participate.
Also, through the defunct ZCCM conglomerate, the government lacked capacity to inject millions of dollars needed to recapitalise the mines.
Some notable projects under the PPP that have failed to take off or have completely stalled include the Zambia-China Mulungushi Textiles with Chinese investors and the much talked about Itezhi-Tezhi hydro power project with the Tata Group of India.
Also through the ministry of energy, the government is showing indications of developing the proposed Kafue Gorge Lower power project alone despite making pronouncements that the private sector should be involved.
Labels: KAPIL KAPOOR, PPPs
Witness produces documents showing payments made to Katele from Zamtro
By Laura Mushaukwa
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:00]
A witness from Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZNCB) Inonge Grace Muyunda yesterday brought documents to court showing the payments that were made to former finance minister Katele Kalumba and others from the Zamtrop Account. This is in a case before High Court Deputy Registrar, Edward Musona sitting as magistrate where Kalumba, former Ministry of Finance permanent secretary, Stella Chibanda, former director of budget, Boniface Nonde, former chief economist, Bede Mphande, former secretary to the treasury, Professor Benjamin Mweene, former Access Financial Services directors Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu are facing corruption charges.
Muyunda, who is ZNCB Head of Internal Audit, Compliance and Controls highlighted the payments made to Kalumba, Chibanda and Nonde
She told the court that under the payments to Kalumba, there was a foreign exchange application form in the sum of 21,611 pounds dated October 14, 1999.
Muyunda also brought before court a cash voucher in the sum of 5,000 pounds equivalent to US$ 8,400 dated October 14, 1998.
She further produced before the court a receipt in the sum of 5,000 pounds of October 15, 1999 and a cash voucher dated July 10, 2000 in the sum of 4,000 pounds.
Muyunda added that there was also a receipt of 4,000 pounds dated July 10, 2000.
One of the documents she cited under Stella Chibanda was a foreign exchange application form in the sum of US$ 40,000.
Muyunda also gave a break down of the payments made to Boniface Nonde.
Labels: KATELE KALUMBA, ZAMTROP
Politicians shouldn't be called to offer NCC advice - Masebo
By Lambwe Kachali
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:00]
LOCAL government minister Sylvia Masebo has said politicians should not be called to offer expert advice to the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) committees.
And NCC deputy secretary Newton Ng'uni said some members were in the habit of leaving the conference early before the stipulated time.
During the opening of the second set of the NCC committees on Thursday, where members of the local government committee wanted to know if experts would be called on every issue, Masebo said it was important for issues to be dealt with in chronological order and that there should be experts on every subject.
However, Masebo said politicians and chiefs would not be the right people to call because they would just defend themselves instead of offering the required services.
"The problem with politicians is they only talk about themselves.
Because if you bring a chief, a councillor, or an MP member of parliament all they will do is talking about themselves, and at the end we will come up with a constitution that will be difficult to implement," Masebo said.
She said there was also need to invite as many experts as possible because some people were not conversant with certain issues affecting the local government.
Masebo proposed that some former and current House of Chiefs' chairpersons be called to help NCC members understand certain issues.
NCC chairperson Chifumu Banda said it would not be good for the committees to start inviting experts because the secretariat at the conference had already placed an advertisement.
Banda said it was the work of the secretariat to select the experts from its database.
And committee chairman Sol Muzyamba said the committee would rely on the secretariat for the selections of expatriates and that witnesses would be called if need be.
Meanwhile, Ng'uni said signing out at the conference would be 18:00 hours and not 16:00 hours because some members were in the habit of leaving the conference early immediately they signed.
He also said all committee debates would be broadcast live both on Radio and Television.
"We had a problem where some members would leave immediately after signing at 16:00 hours. We are making sure that everyone leaves when they sign for the second time at 18:00 hours," said Ng'uni.
Labels: NCC, SYLVIA MASEBO
Chongwe doubts updates on Levy
By Patson Chilemba
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:00]
VETERAN politician Dr Rodger Chongwe (right) yesterday said he is sceptical over government's assurances on the State House website that President Levy Mwanawasa’s condition has improved. But chief government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti, said Dr Chongwe was a senior citizen who should know that there is no benefit in hiding information on President Mwanawasa's illness.
Commenting on President Mwanawasa's illness and the updates being posted on the State House website, Dr Chongwe said he suspected that the government was not telling the nation the truth over President Mwanawasa's condition.
Dr Chongwe said the government had never been truthful over the matter.
He cited the last time President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke in 2006 saying, the then vice-president, Lupando Mwape told the nation that the President was well and jogging in London.
"They are doing that because they have done it before," Dr Chongwe said.
He said many people did not believe that President Mwanawasa's condition was as stable as government put it.
Dr Chongwe said what was being posted on the State House website regarding President Mwanawasa's condition was at variance with what some international media organisations were saying.
Reminded that most international media organisations were not accurate when reporting on Africa and that they were also capable of making mistakes, Dr Chongwe said the foreign media organisations that reported on President Mwanawasa's condition had been objective in their reporting on the President.
"It actually gives President Mwanawasa balanced coverage since he came to power and he is a man referred to as 'Mr Integrity'," he said.
Asked to name the international media organisations which he said reported on President Mwanawasa's condition as being more serious than the government had put it, Dr Chongwe responded: "You publish that and if anyone demands, I will give you the report."
On Tetamashimba's remark that it would be important for the MMD to consider President Mwanawasa's successor when he comes back, Dr Chongwe said he was reluctant to dismiss Tetamashimba's statement as irresponsible.
"They should produce medical evidence that what Tetamashimba has said is wrong," said Dr Chongwe.
But Mulongoti said the suspicion by Dr Chongwe on President Mwanawasa's health was unfortunate.
He said the government would not manufacture lies just to please Dr Chongwe.
"It will be unfortunate for us to have too many people who are morally bankrupt," said Mulongoti.
President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke on June 29, 2008 in Egypt where he had gone to attend an African Union (AU) heads of state summit.
President Mwanawasa was admitted to Sharm-el-Sheik International Hospital in the resort city of Sharm-el-Sheik in Egypt and was later evacuated to Percy Military Hospital on July 1, 2008 where he is still admitted.
On Monday, Vice-President Rupiah Banda said President Mwanawasa would undergo a minor operation to improve his breathing.
On Tuesday, Vice-President Banda said President Mwanawasa's breathing had improved following a successful operation.
Vice-President Banda said President Mwanawasa's treatment had been adjusted to take into account the minor operation and that he continues to be in a stable condition.
Labels: CHONGWE, MWANAWASA
Levy remains stable
By Noel Sichalwe
Saturday July 12, 2008 [04:01]
VICE-President Rupiah Banda yesterday said doctors treating President Mwanawasa at Percy Military Hospital in Paris, France are satisfied with his current condition. In a statement posted on State House website last evening, Vice-President Banda said President Mwanawasa has continued to receive medical treatment.
His Excellency the President, Dr Levy P Mwanawasa, SC, continues to receive medical treatment at the Percy Military Hospital in Paris, France, Vice-President Banda said. ÒThe medical team is encouraged and satisfied with the current status and over the last two (2) days, his condition has remained stable.
President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke on June 29, 2008 in Egypt where he had gone to attend an African Union (AU) heads of state summit.
President Mwanawasa was admitted to Sharm-el-Sheik International Hospital in the resort city of Sharm-el-Sheik in Egypt and was later evacuated to Percy Military Hospital on July 1, 2008
U.N. Zimbabwe Measure Vetoed by Russia, China
By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 12, 2008; Page A09
UNITED NATIONS, July 11 -- Russia and China on Friday vetoed a U.S.-sponsored Security Council resolution that would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and sanctioned President Robert Mugabe and his top advisers for rigging the country's presidential elections.
Russian and Chinese envoys said U.N. sanctions amounted to unwarranted interference in Zimbabwe's domestic affairs
and would have threatened preliminary talks between Mugabe's government and representatives of his chief political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, to resolve the country's crisis. Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly I. Churkin
, belittled the U.S. initiative as a scheme to use the U.N. Security Council
-- which deals with threats to international peace and security -- to punish its political opponents.
"We have seen an ever more obvious attempt to take the council beyond its prerogative
," Churkin said. "We consider such action to be illegitimate and dangerous
. . . . We intend to continue countering this trend."
The United States and Britain assailed the veto, saying it would hurt efforts to bring democracy to Zimbabwe. "China and Russia have stood with Mugabe against the people of Zimbabwe," Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said after the U.S. draft was blocked.
Khalilzad reserved his harshest criticism for Russia, saying it had reneged on its July 8 commitment at a Group of Eight summit to introduce "financial and other measures against those individuals responsible for violence" in Zimbabwe. "The Russian performance here today raises questions about its reliability as a G-8 partner," he said.
Churkin reacted forcefully to a similar charge by Britain's U.N. ambassador, John Sawers. The Russian envoy said it was "irresponsible and factually incorrect" to claim Russia committed to U.N. sanctions at the G-8 summit. He said the statement made no mention of Security Council action.
The United States and Britain mustered the nine votes required for the resolution to pass in the 15-nation council. The measure would have imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and 13 senior military and civilian advisers. South Africa, Libya and Vietnam also voted against the resolution. Indonesia abstained.
South Africa led opposition to the resolution, arguing that efforts to punish Mugabe would undercut efforts by South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate a power-sharing agreement between the Zimbabwean government and opposition -- an argument that even some of Mugabe's African critics supported.
"The political option should take precedence over the punitive option," Tanzania's U.N. ambassador, Augustine P. Mahiga, told the council.
But Khalilzad countered that Mbeki is "working hand-in-glove" with Mugabe. Khalilzad said that Mugabe has used violence to fragment the opposition while Mbeki has used diplomacy to do the same.
Labels: SANCTIONS, UN, ZIMABWE
Fertiliser shortage affects winter crop
Thu, 10 Jul 2008 23:58:00 +0000
THE current shortage of ammonium nitrate in the country will badly affect the winter crop it has emerged this week. Farmers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Guardian this week said the shortage was affecting their operations adding that ammonium nitrate is in short supply at a time when most of their winter crop is showing signs of stress.
“My crop is at knee level and unless I apply fertilizer now, I am bound to make a big loss,” said Clemence Siziba, a newly settled farmer in the Umguza area of Matabeleland North Province.
Siziba said despite numerous promises by officials from the Zimbabwe Farmers Union, all farmers in his area had not received a single bag of ammonium nitrate.
The farmers also questioned why there was a continued shortage of fertilizer when the Government had reportedly availed foreign currency for the purchase of chemicals required for the manufacture of fertilizer.
An official at Tshabalala Grain Marketing Depot said the depot ran out of the product last week saying she was not sure when the next delivery would be made.
The fertilizer shortage comes as a major blow to the country amid the world wide increase in food and fuel prices.
With the price of bread currently at Z$30billion, the failure in the winter wheat crop is likely to lead to a continuous sharp rise in the price as Government will be forced to continue importing wheat.
Labels: FARMING, FERTILIZER, ZIMBABWE
‘Unite against sanctions’
Deputy Business Editor
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono yesterday urged different political parties to unite and fight the sanctions that have precipitated the decade-long economic spiral. He said the economy would not heal unless there was political coherence among the different political formations to fend off the Lucifer of sanctions. He said the economy would not play a one-man game and hope to ride through the current turbulence.
Dr Gono said the present economic set-up would not respond to textbook and conventional economics because Zimbabwe was now a new establishment to world economics. He said the central bank was handicapped in what it could do to "fix the national economy" in the absence of strong political will among all economic agents.
"The time has come for all of us to understand that our national economy does not exist in a vacuum nor does it exist as another world separate from our national politics," Dr Gono said in an interview.
"The economy and politics are inextricably intertwined such that it does not make sense for any one to expect the RBZ to fix the national economy somehow and turn it around for the better when political players continue to play bickering games over the way forward.
"Therefore, I cannot imagine, let alone proffer, any way forward in terms of reviving the economy given the current situation that is not based on and informed by a political economy of national unity.
"As such, the only way forward for our country is for Zimbabweans to come together and to speak with one voice to foster a national consensus that puts the country’s interests first."
RBZ has employed a variety of economic measures since Dr Gono took office in December 2003. The strategies, which include the tightening of monetary policy, liberalisation of the exchange rate and inflation targeting, worked only for a short time in 2004 when annual inflation fell in successive months.
The story has been a sorry one ever since. Inflation has fallen out of hand reaching a high of 165 000 percent at the end of February, according to official statistics.
GDP has declined by more than 30 percent in the last half-decade on weakening agricultural, mining and manufacturing output.
Regular Government interventions through the release of cheap funds for the productive sectors have not helped much.
Speculators have been quick, diving for the money, which was rechannelled towards financing parallel market activities.
Dr Gono blamed all this on sanctions, which Western nations have shielded under the veil of "targeted sanctions", but which, in fact, have caused immense suffering among the ordinary people.
Britain, the United States and their allies imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001 over differences with Harare’s land reforms.
The governor laid the blame squarely on "the diminished presence of economic patriotism showing itself in the form of the indiscipline and a get-rich-quick mentality by most economic players in the country; in the public and private sectors of our economy.
". . . the prevailing disharmony is very dangerous for our national survival and we need to confront it with an audacious commitment to national unity.
"For that to happen, the political players across the political divide need to stop being players and start being leaders who do the right thing for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans," said Dr Gono.
Labels: GIDEON GONO, SANCTIONS, ZIMBABWE
Zanu-PF, MDC talks under way in South Africa
Negotiators from Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations were meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, yesterday as the political parties continue the dialogue which Sadc and the African Union have recommended they undertake to resolve Zimbabwe’s problems. MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube and his deputy Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga flew to Pretoria on Tuesday while MDC-T representatives — national chairman Lovemore Moyo and secretary-general Tendai Biti — flew out yesterday morning.
Zanu-PF is being represented by Cde Patrick Chinamasa, who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and Cde Nicholas Goche, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
MDC spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa confirmed yesterday that the party’s delegation was in South Africa.
"They left on Tuesday and as we speak they are now in Pretoria. We are still to get the finer details of what has so far transpired," said Musho-riwa.
AFP quoted a source it said was close to the negotiations confirming that the talks were already underway. MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa, however, preferred to call the Pretoria talks preparatory.
"Dialogue has not yet started except that there have been consultations on the parameters, modus operandi and mechanisms of the dialogue. We hope that dialogue is going to start after the African Union and Sadc have put clear trajectory in resolving the national challenges," said Chamisa.
"The consultations would be held in and outside Zimbabwe and whatever contacts currently taking place are within the view of laying these parameters," he said.
The resumption of the talks yesterday followed the relaxation of Biti’s bail conditions by the High Court to allow him to attend the South African-facilitated talks.
Biti is facing charges of treason, publishing falsehoods and causing disaffection among the defence forces.
His application for relaxation of bail was premised on the need for the politician to attend the talks, which were initially scheduled to start on Wednesday.
The talks are going ahead at a time when Britain and the United States are pressing on with their intentions to have the United Nations slap Zimbabwe with more sanctions despite the objections of African leaders who are backing the dialogue route.
Labels: MDC, PATRICK CHINAMASA, ZANU-PF
Western media’s lies exposed
By Peter Mavhunga
IN this London Letter you will find that I take my hat off twice. First, I salute the Sunday Times for admitting that it got it all wrong when it accused what it described as Zanu-PF militia of hurling an eleven-month-old baby onto a concrete floor in an imagined scene of violence that has typified British Press reports on Zimbabwe.
Some sections of the British Press would rather I shut up and instead become a consumer of their propaganda. Indeed some newspapers here will not tolerate an alternative view to theirs which they present as the gospel truth.
So it was refreshing to find that the Sunday Times this week admitted it was fallible and that there was no evidence to support its allegation against Zanu-PF the previous week.
This is what happened.
On Sunday 30 June, the Sunday Times carried a traumatising story about Zanu-PF cruelty against the opposition. On the front page was a picture of a distressed 11-month-old baby, Blessing Mabhena with the legend, "A tiny victim of a terrible nightmare" above it.
Below the picture was the caption: "Blessing Mabhena had both of his legs broken by Zanu-PF supporters searching for his father."
The title of the story, by Christina Lamb, was: "Mugabe’s thugs shout: ‘Lets kill the baby’."
The report began: "A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe."
It went on: "Blessing Mabhena, aged 11 months, was seized from a bed and flung down with force as his mother Agnes, hid from the thugs, convinced that they were about to murder her."
In another, more detailed report on page 27, the paper declared: "Even Zimbabwe’s babies are targets. From infants to the frail elderly, no one is safe as Zanu-PF killers hunt down the opposition."
This report, apparently by a freelance journalist, Douglas Merle in Harare, was even more dramatic. "There was a tremendous hammering on the door of her home," it began.
"Realising that President Mugabe’s thugs were hunting for her, Agnes
Mabhena, the wife of an opposition councillor, quickly hid under the bed. It was too late for her to grab Blessing, her 11-month old baby, who was crying on top of it.
"‘She’s gone out. Let’s kill the baby,’ she heard a member of the gang say. The next thing she saw from under the bed was Blessing’s tiny body hitting the concrete floor with a force that shattered his tiny legs.
"‘It is just a baby — leave it alone,’ another said, and the thugs left. All day Mabhena stayed at home with her screaming son, too terrified to move.
"Her neighbours, knowing that the family were regarded as opponents of Mugabe, were too frightened to help."
The Sunday Times report went on: "Now encased in plaster, his little legs stick out at an odd angle below his blue romper suit. Unless he has orthopaedic help soon, he may never walk."
This is the sort of report on Zimbabwe the British public is subjected to frequently here. It is quite standard. Journalists appear too ready to accept what they are told. There is a lack of journalistic curiosity; no-one will bother delve deeper.
After all, if what is said helps to nail the regime, it must be right.
So reports, even in "serious" papers like the Sunday Times, have tended to be emotional rather than factual.
At the same time there is a willing readership. The public has been made to believe everything bad said about Zimbabwe and its "regime" must be right.
This ready acceptance of a one-sided story has led to an abuse of the system. People can lie point blank because they have been led into believing that "the regime" knows no limits to its level of cruelty and badness.
In this case this was a story being given by one side of the political divide in Zimbabwe. One side was making serious allegations against the other and even a journalist who has just heard the word "objectivity" or "balance" for the first time would say OK but I have to verify this.
Failure to do so leads to a sensational report which fuels people’s anger against one of the parties — for the wrong reason.
Indeed, anybody seeing the picture on the front page of the paper on June 30 would not fail to be moved by it.
Not unexpectedly, there was an outpouring of emotion towards the little victim of this unspeakable cruelty allegedly perpetrated by Zanu-PF.
Somehow, this is how the whole story began to unravel. The story prompted readers to offer money for medical treatment for little Blessing.
According to the Sunday Times published on 6 July 2008, "Doubts about the mother’s account arose when our reporter tried to arrange an operation. An orthopaedic surgeon said an X-ray of the child’s legs showed no sign of fractures.
"Doctors in Harare and London said he had club feet." The paper went on to say: "The mother, whose husband is an opposition councillor, repeatedly insisted that the child had been maimed when he was picked up from a bed and hurled to the floor.
"Her story, which was first reported in The New York Times, was reiterated last week by Newsweek, the US magazine. While there is no suggestion that the mother’s account of an attack is false, doctors have yet to find any evidence to support her claims that her son was injured…Further X-rays are due tomorrow."
Unless evidence could be found to suggest the child had been injured, the suggestion that the so-called Zanu-PF militia were there suddenly becomes just hot air.
Hot air that should have been checked and re-examined before being spread across the globe by institutions that seem to have lost all sense of decent reporting!
The Sunday Times blames this failure to check allegations on President Mugabe "who has virtually banned foreign journalists from Zimbabwe. As a result, most have had to report clandestinely on last month’s violent elections. The price of being caught is prison", says the report.
My information is that the Government of Zimbabwe has not virtually banned foreign journalists from the country.
It is the BBC who have been banned. Any other journalists can work in Zimbabwe, subject to registration with the relevant authorities.
The Sunday Times makes an interesting comment on the difficulties of checking information.
It says in this instance, "A photographer took a poignant picture of the baby with his legs in plaster, sticking out at odd angles, as he sheltered in a church hall with others displaced by the violence.
"Aware that other children have been hurt in attacks on the opposition, a freelance reporter who provided the story took the mother at her word. Part of this reporter’s article was then inserted into a front-page story by Christina Lamb without her knowledge.
"Our inquiries in the past few days suggest we were wrong to report that the baby’s legs had been broken in an assault. For that, we unreservedly apologise."
This is an apology for wrongly accusing Zanu-PF for a terrible crime it did not commit.
Some aspects of this story illustrate that there are insidious forces working hard out there to demonise the Zimbabwe Government.
For if it was not the case, how is it that a false report about an alleged Zanu-PF atrocity manages to be sneaked without the reporter’s knowledge onto the front page of the Sunday Times with the report and photo fitting in nicely to the other story?
Even if I was born yesterday, I still would not believe it. And because I was not born yesterday, I find the report offensive to say the least.
Some of my friends do not read newspapers or listen to the news on TV because of what they perceive as its inherent bias.
They are particularly angry that objectivity, truth and facts are no longer the lifeblood of British journalism when it comes to reporting Zimbabwe.
It is disappointing, though in this instance I still take my hat off to the Sunday Times for its admission. Many others might not have done so. I am saddened though that little Blessing has had to be at the centre of this bizarre story.
Turning now to the question of how Zimbabwe moves forward from here, it is pleasing to note that there is some re-allignment of Zimbabwe politics taking place. The process may be slow but it certainly is happening. My purpose as an analyst is to identify that process and perhaps encourage it.
And nothing symbolises that re-alignment more than the recent statement by Mr Gabriel Chaibva and I take my hat off again as a mark of respect.
Zimbabwe is crying out for men and women who put national interest before narrow party considerations. The country is looking for leaders with vision to take the country forward in the interest of the population. National interest ought to be seen in the context of the country, its history and the direction it wants to travel.
Mr Chaibva’s statement and his general posture tells me we have in him a man who meet these criteria. He is a man of courage and vision. He wants dialogue and he maps out the conditions for fruitful dialogue.
But: "Unless Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai are prepared to approach President Mugabe, shake his hand and say ‘Mr President’, we will not move forward and there can be no talks."
His sense of history is impressive too. He regretted the opposition parties’ failure to recognise the President in 2002 and asks pointedly: "Where did that get us?"
He goes on to say: "Who would have thought that in 1980 people like Ken Flower (head of CIO under Ian Smith) and General Peter Walls would be incorporated in the administration?"
He deplored and castigated the divisive "foreign influence" in the politics of Zimbabwe. According to him, such foreign influence created disunity within the ranks of the opposition.
He was clearly in favour of land redistribution at the time of the split. "We were nationalist and Pan African," he said.
What African worth the name would be against that? "But the providers of capital see this as a threat to their permanent economic interests in Zimbabwe," he said. "That is why just before the elections the two MDCs failed to unite."
I disagree with a description of Mr Chaibva as being repentant as I read somewhere the other day.
Here is a man of vision who can learn from past mistakes in the interest of the nation. He lampoons those who listened to the Americans and the Germans who produced a report telling Mr Tsvangirai that he would win 85 percent of the vote on March 29 and that he did not need the support of Mr Mutambara.
He deplored those in opposition parties who over-estimated themselves and underestimated Zanu-PF. On this, history is on Mr Chaibva’s side too.
At the Independence elections in 1980, those who over-estimated themselves and under-estimated Zanu-PF were embarrassed with the result.
One such person was Ken Flower who told the then Prime Minister, Bishop Muzorewa, that he did not need even to remove his slippers from State House because he was going to be returned there with a huge majority.
The rest is history.
A new consensus is emerging in Zimbabwe and Mr Chaibva is a good example of how this process is taking shape.
Dialogue based on the premise that the people of Zimbabwe alone can find solutions to their problems is the way forward.
President Mbeki of South Africa might mediate but the solution belongs to Zimbabweans, no-one else. Negotiations based on a new consensus have a far greater chance of success than those that are held in an atmosphere akin to having one of the players trying to play cricket with one hand tied behind his back. Or negotiations held with one party always waiting for instructions from the "international community"!
What kind of negotiations are those other than a cover for the British and the Americans to come and take over?
I favour Mr Chaibva’s approach of bringing a purely African agenda to the talks where my brothers and sisters from all shades of political opinion in Zimbabwe come together to find solutions to our lovely country’s problems. It can be done.
Labels: COLOUR REVOLUTIONS, INTERNATIONAL MEDIA, NEOCOLONIALISM
Copper mine to open in Mkushi
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday July 11, 2008 [04:00]
MKUSHI is set for a copper mine as CGA Mining Limited and African Eagle Resources plc (AFE) plan to invest about US$60.9 million in the development of an open-pit mine. According to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) submitted to the Environmental Council of Zambia, the mine was expected to have an initial life span of six years and that studies were under way to extend the life span of the mine.
According to the plan, the mine was expected to have a copper ore output of about 1.6 million tonnes per annum.
The EIS stated that the resource drilling model used for the study last year suggested a resource of some 10.7 million tonnes at an average copper grade of 1.11 per cent and that the resource translated into a potential mineable reserve of 9.13 million tonnes at an insitu grade of 1.08 per cent copper.
“It was considered that open pit mining methods would be most appropriate for the initial mining operations,” the EIS stated. “The mine layout was designed such that future extensions, either along strike and at depth, or both, would not be prevented or precluded.
Mining throughput of 1.6 million tonnes per annum was adopted for this study, giving a pit life of just over 6 years based on the initial estimations. Ongoing exploration activity and resource development studies are considered to have the potential to extend the mine life to at least 8 years and further work is expected to increase the mine life beyond that.”
Under the heads agreement, Mkushi mine would be called Mkushi Copper Joint Venture Limited.
CGA acquired a 51 per cent interest while AFE through its wholly owned subsidiary Katanga Resources Limited retained a 49 per cent interest in the project.
CGA is responsible for funding all work required for the completion of a Bankable Feasibility Study, while AFE would manage exploration initiatives outside the initial development zones, with exploration funding proportional to the percentage interest held by each party in the project.
'AFSL made transactions for ZSIS without keeping records'
By Laura Mushaukwa
Friday July 11, 2008 [04:00]
A BANK of Zambia (BoZ) inspector Joseph Munyoro yesterday testified that Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) made many cash payments on behalf of Zambia Security Intelligence Services (ZSIS) without keeping records of such transactions. And Munyoro testified that the ZAMIN Account that AFSL management told him was a ZSIS account operated off the system.
This is in a case before High Court deputy registrar Edward Musona sitting as magistrate where former finance minister Katele Kalumba, former Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda, former director of budget Boniface Nonde, former chief economist Bede Mphande, former secretary to the treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene, former AFSL directors Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu are facing corruption charges.
During re-examination led by prosecutions lawyer Mutembo Nchito, Munyoro explained that there were no records at AFSL to show the transactions that the company made on behalf of ZSIS.
He further explained that during his inspections, he never came across any documents to explain or establish any relationship between AFSL and ZSIS.
On the ZAMIN Account, Munyoro said it was not part of the ordinary accounts kept at AFSL as it was not part of the general ledger.
He added that no accounting principles allowed the keeping of off-system accounts and that the accounting system was based on a double entry system of debit and credit transactions.
Munyoro told the court that the ZAMIN Account had no opening balance or running balances.
He testified that he did not find a mandate for the ZAMIN Account.
But earlier in cross- examination by one of the defence lawyers, John Sangwa, Munyoro told the court that there was a business relationship between AFSL and ZSIS.
He testified that the aim of the inspections he conducted at AFSL was to determine the financial condition of AFSL and the aim of the inspections changed following the allegations of theft against the then directors of AFSL.
Asked whether he shared the information of the change in his plan with the AFSL directors, he replied that he did not do it directly.
Munyoro testified that there was no evidence of any relationship between AFSL, Systems Innovation and Wilbain Incorporation and that there was no evidence of any relationship between the AFSL directors and the companies in question.
In cross-examination by Professor Patrick Mvunga, Munyoro said according to what was indicated to him by AFSL management, the ZAMIN Account was a ZSIS Account but it was given a fictitious name to protect the identity of their client.
Trial continues today.
Labels: AFSL, CORRUPTION, ZSIS
Lesotho expresses support for Mugabe
Zim Guardian / AFP Reporter
Thu, 10 Jul 2008 10:16:00 +0000
LESOTHO has come out and openly supported President Robert Mugabe and told foreign powers Wednesday to respect the sovereignty of states in the African region. Asked for his reaction to calls for sanctions on President Mugabe and members of his government, Pakalitha Mosisili, the Lesotho prime minister, said it was not for outsiders to decide on the legitimacy of a particular government. "It is high time countries and states respect the sovereignty of other countries," the Lesotho prime minister said.
"Whoever is saying it does not confer legitimacy on the government of Robert Mugabe, who is he or she to do that?"
His comments come after leaders of the group of eight industrialized nations rejected the legitimacy of President Mugabe's victory on June 27 and vowed to take "financial and other measures" against perpetrators of political violence.
Mosisili said that any government in Zimbabwe had to have the support of the armed forces.
"I don't care who rules Zimbabwe but he must be acceptable to the armed forces because he needs their support, but even they must respect the will of the people," he said.
Along with Zimbabwe, Lesotho is one of the 14 countries which make up the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
Zim Guardian / AFP
Labels: ELECTIONS, LESOTHO, ZIMBABWE
Are sanctions the solution?
Thu, 10 Jul 2008 04:30:00 +0000
President Mugabe (above) and 11 of his cabinet members face more sanctions, sanctions that are likely to adversely affect the Zimbabwean population.
ARTICLE 41 of the United Nations Charter mandates the world body to impose economic and other types of non-military measures for maintaining or restoring international peace and security. These measures are binding for all member states and are coercive, but are also viewed as a prior step to military force as provided for in Article 42 of the U.N. Charter.
Only the Security Council is granted by the Charter, a monopoly in deciding whether a threat to peace, a breach of peace or an act of aggression exists. This is the crucial decision which is going to be made, as we understand, this week, in relation to Zimbabwe.
Russia does not think the situation in Zimbabwe poses a threat to international peace, is a breach of peace or an act of aggression. Britain, U.S. and their allies do and they are lobbying Security Council members to vote for sanctions to be imposed on President Robert Mugabe and 11 new members of his inner cabinet. At least that is what we know as of Thursday morning (Wednesday evening).
We also know that in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai is playing politics. He waited for the outcome of the G8 Summit to make a decision on whether to engage in talks or not, or to strengthen his position in the talks and boost his confidence. Now he is waiting on the outcome of the Security Council vote on Zimbabwe. He has to present himself as not negotiating with the government of President Mugabe, in case international pressure eases. Pressure is unlikely to ease – it is going at supersonic speed at the moment.
Very few issues in the world have moved so fast to gain a place on the agenda of the G8, of the U.N. and of the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. and U.K. drafted sanctions proposal ‘turned blue’ last night. There’s no turning back. It’s been readied for voting and the heat is on.
“This is the only document that has ‘turned blue’ without serious lobbying – at least in the public arena – by groups within the country affected. Some countries are doing the bidding for and against Zimbabwe,” argues a University of Zimbabwe lecturer who did not want to be named.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad gave us a hint on the progress of the draft document. "The resolution went blue last night, so a vote can take place on the resolution at any time now," Khalilzad told reporters on Wednesday. without giving a precise date of voting. "So we are still on track, but it could happen any time," he added.
The U.N. Charter "does not empower the Security Council to interfere into the internal affairs of a state unless the situation there poses a threat to international peace and security," argues Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin and his country could veto the sanctions document which seeks to impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and freeze the assets of President Mugabe and the 11 extra senior officials and restrict them from travelling abroad. These sanctions will put a stop on any diplomatic or personal trips for President Mugabe and the 11 individuals, but that is just the icing on the cake.
There are other undisclosed clauses in the draft resolution that we do not know, that Russia and critics have branded ‘excessive’.
Britain has responded with a warning to Churkin’s statement especially the part where he says, "There are serious questions in our mind if the situation in Zimbabwe can be characterized as a threat to international peace and security." Sir John Sawers, the British ambassador to the U.N. said it would be ‘unwise’ for Russia to veto the sanctions. But is that warning enough for Russia to change its stance? Will the mixture of pressure and warning be enough to alter the Russian view that the draft resolution is “excessive, in fact incongruous, and clearly in conflict with the notion of sovereignty of a state member of the United Nations so some of these things have to be looked at very carefully”?
Zimbabwe will now join Al Qaeda, Iran, Ivory Coast, Liberia, North Korea and Sudan on the U.N. Security Council sanctions list if the resolution is passed.
Many people have ganged up on South African President, Thabo Mbeki whom they accuse of ‘impartiality’ in the talks. This is a man who would want the situation resolved more than anyone else: there are more illegal Zimbabwean immigrants in South Africa than in any other country and there are concerns over the 2010 World Cup. So he could be the best man to broker an agreement - a negotiated solution. His credentials in brokering conflictual situations speak for themselves. In April 2005, President Mbeki brokered a peace agreement in Ivory Coast - a bitter and protracted conflict.
In all cases where sanctions have been imposed only two possible scenarios have helped end the crises: negotiation or military force. In Ivory Coast negotiation helped, but in Iraq, the Allies had to use force. Sanctions regimes have been counter-productive in some instances, only managing to strengthen the resolve of the governments targeted by them and made peaceful resolution of crises more difficult.
Sanctions also alter the internal dialogue dynamics as groups find it difficult to go to the negotiating table. Sanctions also impact on the living conditions of the general population, who are meant to be protected by the same sanctions. The top brass is very slightly affected. But the disturbing trend in multilateral relations is that sanctions take precedence over human rights. The need to change a government outweighs the desire to protect citizens – a very disturbing reality. So sanctions are not ethical, by their own definition. Sanctions don’t care about human rights.
In fact human rights are disregarded because they are not the reason for imposing the sanctions in the first place, and are not considered in measuring the impact of the sanctions, i.e. the chances of survival of affected people surviving under the sanctions are disregarded.
Under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, peace assumes priority over human rights, but ironically sanctions have never brought peace. So, by their very nature, sanctions neither bring peace nor protect human rights. Yet oftentimes the Security Council has tried to draw a connection (correlation) between human rights and the sanctions policy, viewing systematic human rights violations as threats to international peace.
One thing is clear then as powerful countries push for sanctions against Zimbabwe this week. They are not likely to change the manner in which Harare thinks, nor will they guarantee political progress in the country. Only negotiations, altruistic negotiations that address internal questions, will bring peace to Zimbabwe. The hearts and minds of the Zimbabwean people, and Zimbabwean leadership, will not be altered by sanctions. Sanctions are likely to polarise conflicting groups in Zimbabwe even further.
Labels: RUSSIA, SANCTIONS, UN
Russia could block Zimbabwe sanctions
Wed, 09 Jul 2008 12:11:00 +0000
G8 leaders. According to the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper, Gordon Brown "used a graphic image of a man beaten to death in Zimbabwe to rally world leaders behind imposing new sanctions on President Robert Mugabe's regime."
THE world’s leading industrial nations who recently met in Japan have pledged additional measures against President Robert Mugabe after calling the June 27 election illegitimate, but all of them did not agree on the way forward.
In a joint statement, the G8 leaders condemned the way the election had proceeded saying: "We do not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people."
The statement further said, "We deplore the fact that the Zimbabwean authorities pressed ahead with the presidential election despite the absence of appropriate conditions for free and fair voting as a result of their systematic violence, obstruction and intimidation."
The leaders were unanimous in their desire to punish those who intimidated voters and perpetrated violence in the country
"We will take further steps, inter alia introducing financial and other measures against those individuals responsible for the violence," the statement said further
They also unanimously agreed to ask the United Nations to appoint a special envoy to report on Zimbabwe's humanitarian and human rights situation.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had lobbied for a stronger statement to come out of the G8 summit condemning the government of President Robert Mugabe. He had wanted the group to declare President Mugabe illegitimate.
Speaking after the Summit, Brown said, "This is the strongest possible statement. It shows the unanimity of the whole international community, reflecting the outrage people feel about the violence and the intimidation and the illegitimate holding of power by the Mugabe government."
Despite Brown’s strong words the statement failed to use the term sanctions, as the British PM had intended
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel together with the United States had indicated that they would support a UN resolution imposing wider sanctions on President Mugabe and his government.
However, that call was not heeded by Russia which, although it signed the G8 statement on Zimbabwe concluded that the country’s leaders do not believe that in this case sanctions were an effective tool to improve the situation.
Moscow's Ambassador to the U.N. called the sanctions push excessive and suggested indicating that they could block a U.N. Security Council resolution to that effect.
"We should make it clear that the Security Council is not about to enter into the whole realm of mediating elections, or judging elections," Vitali Churkin, Russia's UN representative, said.
South Africa, also a council member, repeated its opposition to the proposed UN sanctions, but does not hold veto power in the organ.
Russian official Alexander Pankin twas quoted by DPA news agency as saying negotiations are a means of solving the crisis in Zimbabwe ― a course of action supported by the African Union.
President Mugabe’s government called the G8 statement racist and said it was an insult to African leaders.
"They want to undermine the African Union and [South African] President Mbeki's [mediation] efforts because they are racist, because they think only white people think better," said the Deputy Information Minister, Bright Matonga. "It's an insult to African leaders."
Labels: G8, RUSSIA, SANCTIONS, ZIMBABWE
Talking Africa and walking West
Thu, 10 Jul 2008 00:00:00 +0000
THE December 2007, Lisbon EU-Africa summit might go down in history as a historic diplomatic victory for Africa in general and for Zimbabwe in particular and to many this was a moment when the African continent resolutely stood in defiance of the now notorious political benchmarks forced down the throats of world leaders by Washington and London.
While many in the political and planning circles of the Zanu PF government are looking at Lisbon as a diplomatic score against what was clearly an act of arrogance based on prejudiced supremacy by Gordon Brown; the West seems to have learnt their lessons from the bitter experience very well and they are using the experience to their benefit in the unjust war for regime change in Zimbabwe.
Lisbon clearly showed the US and Britain that Africa did not identify with their political project in Zimbabwe – a project politically trading as the Movement for Democratic Change. Rather, Africa sent a clear message to the West that they were far from being used against one of their own.
The MDC, particularly the faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, did all in its power to make sure that Zimbabwe was excluded from the Summit, but all efforts were rendered absolutely useless when Africa rested the case by declaring that an EU-Africa summit without Zimbabwe was not a subject for negotiation at all – that way delivering the unequivocal message that Africa was not going to be dictated to by Western powers.
The beginning of 2008 was a somewhat turning point for the MDC’s foreign policy. The pugnacious Morgan Tsvangirai started to shift from his inimical attitude towards African states and even began a tour of African countries.
Many people were taken by surprise when even the jarring Nelson Chamisa suddenly stopped calling Sadc a club of dictators and started talking of “our allies” within Sadc. The MDC language shifted from the “international community” euphemism to the “regional community” slant.
The grating attitude by the MDC towards the African Union has suddenly toned down and to many the MDC appears like a party that has suddenly found its Damascus path of the African light.
The pre and post-March election period showed a Morgan Tsvangirai with a newly found vision of touring homeland Africa ahead of his favourite Western capitals. He even had the luxury to stage manage exiled life in neighbouring Botswana and South Africa for the whole of April and the better part of May this year. It had to take a James McGee visit and instruction to get Morgan Tsvangirai out of Thabo Mbeki’s South Africa as the June 27 run off was fast approaching with Tsvangirai busy pretending to be running away from illusional assassins.
The MDC masquerade has obviously drawn favour from a few African leaders who have either confused the posturing for African patriotism or are only too aware of the game at play and are just too keen to prop up the MDC party as a bona fide African political outfit.
That the MDC-T is an organization run from London is not news to anyone who has an iota of value for objectivity. It takes no quantum physics to know that Morgan Tsvangirai is a lapdog politician whose keenness for Western instruction easily beats the obedience of any award-winning foot soldier.
The well-obeyed sojourn in Botswana and South Africa after the March 29 election was one classical case of how Tsvangirai ranks as a top class neo-colonial puppet.
Who in his right mind would ever flee from an election victory, only to come back to take yet a second go at another election run against the same monster from whose defeat one escaped in the first place?
If President Mugabe was so keen to have Tsvangirai killed for “winning” the first round of elections, what sense did it make for Tsvangirai to bring back his hunted life for another election run, especially when he was convinced that another win would just get the purported assassins a lot angrier?
In typical lapdog politics style, Tsvangirai friskily packed his bags for Zimbabwe from South Africa ‘at the instruction of US ambassador’; James McGee and he made his followers believe that he had decided against “abandoning the victorious masses”.
When Tsvangirai went on his campaign trail in June, he obviously noticed the political ground upon which he was treading was now way different from the last episode where he had gone around saying “Gwendo guno hazvikoni”, literally meaning “This time we cannot fail”. Now it was more of “Gwendo guno zvazogozha”, and that is Shona for “This time the going is really tough.”
Initially Morgan Tsvangirai was this reductionist simple minded politician who reckoned that a 47.9% vote simply meant getting another 2.2% vote in order to win the second round of elections. With this mentality, Morgan Tsvangirai boldly shrugged off suggestions for a postponement of the run off election arguing that no one had the power to cancel the election at law.
He even declared that no amount of intimidation or violence would reverse his “pending” victory. And that was exactly three days before he announced that he was pulling out of the race on account that he did not see himself winning the election, this time because some amount of “intimidation and violence” had actually pre-determined the election result. In other words an election whose result was irreversible regardless of whatever amount of intimidation and violence on a Thursday was suddenly not winnable on the Sunday.
Well, whoever does Tsvangirai’s thinking was obviously sleeping on duty on the Thursday, the 19th and they realised that their horse was going to run a losing race on the 27th of June, prompting them to instruct the ever obedient Tsvangirai to resile from a process he himself had rightly said was irreversible at law.
The BBC repeatedly reported that Morgan Tsvangirai was lobbying the African community for support in his efforts to oust President Mugabe. The lobby saw Tendai Biti visiting some of the most suspicious Africa destinations one can ever imagine.
Any peace-loving citizen of any African country would develop goose pimples if they heard that one of their politicians was lobbying Rwanda and the post-January 2008 Kenya for some form of political support. This writer felt the same with the Biti adventures in East Africa.
The MDC has been told to talk Africa and to keep walking West in order for the West to divide Africa on the one hand and to provide cover and legitimacy for some of their traditional client regimes in Africa.
There are some African countries that simply could not come open in support of the MDC because of Morgan Tsvangirai’s open disdain for Africa in the past nine years. Tsvangirai has recklessly called African leaders “dictators” in the past and he has also done very little by way of synergies with African countries until his recent instructions to do so.
It is this recent posturing as a willing fellow African ally that has provided some of the traditional Western client states like Nigeria and Kenya the platform and cover they need to help their masters’ attack on Zimbabwe.
Nigeria held a real sham election in 2007 and they even admitted openly to that fact. Kenya followed suit in December 2007 and they capped their sham election where the average voter turn out was well over 100% with the massacring of 1 500 innocent souls in post election violence. Now the BBC tells us that this was only “ethnic clashes”, otherwise the election was fine.
Kenya got independence on British terms and Jomo Kenyatta was the West’s point man during the Cold War era. He even was Britain’s biggest arms trading partner in Africa, earning visits from the likes of the US’s Henry Kissinger.
Nigeria did not only get its independence on British terms but actually refused independence ahead of Ghana arguing that they were not ready to govern themselves. When they finally agreed to take up independence, Nigeria was ruled by a succession of military strongmen who still take turns to run the country up to this day. That is not a problem in the least to the most democratic and civilised West who see a lot of democracy in Shell’s free reign over the oil resource of Nigeria.
Ken Saro Wiwa was publicly hanged by these Generals who happen to be Western darlings for questioning the dealings of Shell in Nigeria and no one even mentioned the word sanction when this was happening.
Now we are told the former British protectorate of Botswana is way dismayed by the way Tsvangirai has been politically treated in Zimbabwe, and so is the post Kaunda Zambia.
The question is not why these countries are not happy with what is happening in Zimbabwe but on whose behalf they are this angry.
Surely Nigeria’s Yar Dua does not believe that his election to office was anywhere near an example of democracy. It is a joke to imagine that Raila Odinga believes that what happened in Kenya in January this year has something to do with the topic of democracy. Of course Odinga pretends to see in Zimbabwe what he was blind to in his own Kenya.
Yes someone from Africa must speak out against Mugabe for the West and the untainted Thabo Mbeki is just but refusing to do the Western bidding. In this scenario it is just as good to spruce up the dirty fellows and get them to do the job.
Credit must be given to Botswana for political stability and a relatively sound democratic system but the timing of their concerns over Zimbabwe still raises a lot of eyebrows.
As for Zambia, everyone is well too aware of what election time means for our northern neighbours. It is good to appeal to neighbourhood as a form of authority as long as there is a moral ground upon which such an appeal is mounted.
Now Morgan Tsvangirai calls for talks with President Robert Mugabe and does a somersault right in the face of the negotiator who is understood to have come at his instigation.
Tsvangirai’s string puller is fast becoming too clever by half. Everyone can now see that Morgan Tsvangirai long stopped thinking for himself, if he ever did in the first place.
Now that the Western juggernaut has activated its African machinery, it is time for vigilance on the part of the children of Zimbabwe. History has shown that the West has no slightest worry over stirring up turmoil and instability in Africa.
They are responsible for whatever Jonasi Savimbi did to Angola, for all the atrocities that Alfonso Dhlakama did to Mozambique and for what Paul Kagame did to Rwanda, yes including the gunning down of a democratically elected Head of State.
This is the Kagame who is shocked by a voting process he says he cannot understand. Surely a killer of a sitting President cannot understand the idea of an election.
This writer is not writing this piece in defence of ZANU PF or the government of Zimbabwe. Neither is this piece blind to the misery caused by the violence that preceded the run off election. Those who engaged in any form of violence are petulant hoodlums whose behaviour is not only deplorable but also highly instrumental to those who wish to prove that Africa still lives in the dark ages.
Arrests and trials for those who have perpetrated violence on fellow countrymen must not stop with the announcement of the election result. It is incumbent upon Zimbabwean authorities to ensure that everyone who took part in any form of violence from whichever political side is brought to book. This must not be too difficult.
However, it is best that this process of healing be part of the proposed talks so that the country can forge its way forward on a solid footing.
This writer proposes that the talks must address this issue of stability; the lifting of all forms of sanctions, with the MDC-T coming open against sanctions and of course the talks must address issues of power sharing. This is good for our nation.
Zimbabwe we are one. Together we will overcome. It’s homeland or death!
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Labels: AU, SANCTIONS, ZIMBABWE
Bisect agriculture ministry, advises farmers' union
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thursday July 10, 2008 [04:00]
THE ZNFU has proposed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives be bisected to improve efficiency and delivery with one department dealing with livestock and fisheries, the other food crops. And the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has entered into partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZNCB) to provide friendly agriculture loans to identifiable emerging farmers.
In an interview, Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) first vice-president, Jervis Zimba accused the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives (MACO) of operating in what he called ‘reverse gear.’
"Even at our recent meeting with His Excellence the President, we proposed to him that maybe MACO should be split into two. At the moment, the ministry is not performing to the expectation of everyone…maybe it is too big," Zimba said.
"We are of the opinion that we should have a ministry to deal specifically with livestock and fisheries, on the other hand, the other ministry should deal with crops and general agriculture."
He also alleged that most of the senior officials at MACO were ‘over educated.’
"The President has shown commitment to improving agriculture in the country but we don't see corresponding commitment from MACO. If any thing, we feel MACO is even working against the progress the country is making…they are in reverse gear.
Livestock diseases are almost everywhere, yet they have one of the most educated staff. Almost all departments are headed by doctors but still they are failing to come up with solutions to agriculture," said Zimba.
And ZNFU liaison officer, Coillard Hamusimbi said the ZNFU/IFC and ZNCB partnership would help to grow emergent farmers to commercial status.
"The minimum one farmer can borrow is US$10,000 (about K33.3 million) and the maximum is US$150, 000 (K500.7 million). The pilot project starts next month and we are targeting to start with at least 10 to 15 very good farmers per province," said Hamusimbi.
Hamusimbi said ZNFU would start with Southern and Central provinces and depending on the success of the pilot project, the union would increase the number of farmers and provinces to benefit.
Labels: MINISTRIES, ZNFU
Lt Gen Tembo opposes further Zim sanctions
By Laura Mushaukwa in Lusaka and Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Thursday July 10, 2008 [04:00]
FORMER vice-president Lieutenant General Christon Tembo has warned that further sanctions against Zimbabwe are not a solution to the crisis in that country. But the European Union (EU) on Tuesday said the results of the discredited June 27 presidential runoff election could not form the basis for power-sharing negotiations to end the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
In an interview, Lt Gen Tembo explained that sanctions against Zimbabwe would not work because only the ordinary people would suffer.
He noted that the whole issue of Zimbabwe was mishandled a long time ago during the Lancaster Conference.
Lt Gen Tembo proposed that the only way out of the crisis was through dialogue, saying parties involved needed to sit down to resolve their differences.
"The only way out of this is not by sanctions but following the African Union where parties involved should sit down, talk to resolve their differences," he said.
Lt Gen Tembo added that it was only morally right for Britain to honour its promise over the land issue.
According to the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979, which ended biracial rule in Zimbabwe following negotiations between ZANU-PF and the Zimbabwe Rhodesia government, Britain was to fund the land distribution programme.
The Conservative Party led by former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and later John Major agreed to fund the programme but the Labour government under Tony Blair reneged on the pledge on grounds that they were a new government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests.
And Lt Gen Tembo dismissed assertions by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that there were Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries that were contemplating military intervention.
"I don't think there is any SADC country which, would want military intervention, I think it is ridiculous, when you are in this situation you tend to make up all sorts of stories," said Lt Gen Tembo. "Zimbabweans should just be at peace with themselves knowing that they have peaceful neighbours."
But the EU said it supported the idea of a government of national unity, but would only accept a formula, which respected the will of the Zimbabwean people, as expressed in the elections of March 29, which saw the MDC win.
"The result of this vote must serve as a basis for a political settlement," the EU Presidency, held by France noted in a statement.
The EU encouraged SADC and South African President Thabo Mbeki to step up their efforts to foster this process, adding that the transition period must be as short as possible.
"The objective of any solution must be to re-consult the Zimbabwean people on a free, democratic and transparent basis as quickly as possible. Only this can provide a long-term response to the serious difficulties currently being faced in Zimbabwe, which are threatening regional stability," the statement read.
The EU also called for an immediate end to all forms of violence and that it was prepared to examine any appropriate individual measures against the perpetrators of violence at the earliest possible opportunity.
Meanwhile, G8 leaders that were meeting in Japan declared they would impose financial and other sanctions on leaders they described as "those individuals responsible for violence" in Zimbabwe.
In a statement issued by the G8 Summit in Japan, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States effectively rejected the government of President Mugabe saying it was illegitimate.
"We deplore the fact that the Zimbabwean authorities pressed ahead with the presidential election despite the absence of appropriate conditions for free and fair voting as a result of their systematic violence, obstruction and intimidation.
We do not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people," the leaders said.
Referring to the first round of elections in which Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won the most votes, they added that "it is important that any mediation process respect the results of the March 29, 2008 election."
They accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of "systematic violence, obstruction and intimidation" ahead of the second round of voting on June 27.
The leaders also issued an implicit call for the SADC's mediation, led by President Mbeki, to be widened to include other mediators.
The MDC accuses Mbeki of bias towards President Mugabe.
The G8 called on the African Union and SADC to "provide strong leadership," including taking measures aimed at "further strengthening the regional mediation process."
The leaders also called for the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to appoint a special envoy to support the efforts of SADC and AU.
But the Zimbabwean government said the G8 leaders' rejection of President Mugabe's legitimacy and threats of financial measures against his regime were racist and an insult to African leaders.
"They want to undermine the African Union and President Mbeki's (mediation) efforts because they are racist, because they think only white people think better," said deputy information minister Bright Matonga. "It's an insult to African leaders."
Labels: CHRISTON TEMBO, SANCTIONS
Ncube plans returning to Zimbabwe
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Thursday July 10, 2008 [04:00]
THE former Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube has said he plans to return to Zimbabwe to be with his people even if it means death.
Ncube, who is now a bishop after his ranks were stripped following an adultery scandal last year, has been in England since June 2007.
He resigned from his post following accusations, which he admitted, that he committed adultery with a church member in what he believes was a sting operation organised by the Central Intelligence Organisation to embarrass him for criticising the Zimbabwean regime.
Independent Catholic News quoted the Bishop as telling parishioners in England last Sunday that he had been in England to "pray, study and rest", but that "a shepherd must be with his flock, even if it means death".
The congregation, which included a number of Zimbabwean exiles, burst into spontaneous applause at this news.
Bishop Ncube told churchgoers who greeted him after mass that since he had been in the UK, he only ate once a day since "in Zimbabwe many eat only once every three days."
During his homily, the bishop focused on the theme of humility and the need for prayer.
He said leaders needed to be humble, following the example of Jesus Christ.
"More than 500 years before Jesus was born, Zechariah foresaw that there would be a Messiah. Jesus is that King who is going to bring peace to the world, but He is a humble king, riding on a donkey. Usually kings used to ride on horses. Jesus says that it is the humble people who are builders of peace," he said.
Bishop Ncube said the proud people were destroying the world.
"When Hitler spoke, he shook up people. But what did he bring? War. Forty million people perished in the Second World War, because this man was so full of himself and so full of pride.
Stalin was a proud man. Mao Tse Tung a murderer responsible for the death of 70 million people during the war in China," he said. "Mugabe, our President, who got into power by hook and by crook, and this time we hear during the election he changed the results, and went around beating up people, shooting some of them. And he has forbidden the non-governmental organisations to give food to those people who supported the opposition. That's pride."
Bishop Ncube proceeded to give the examples of Princess Diana, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela as some of the humble leaders who touched the world.
Labels: PIUS NCUBE
Chilala explains FRA's K23bn GMO maize deal
By Chibaula Silwamba and Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thursday July 10, 2008 [04:00]
FOOD Reserve Agency (FRA) chairperson Costain Chilala yesterday revealed that former FRA acting executive director James Mazumba and a finance manager were fired for irregularly importing Genetically Modified (GMO) maize. But Mazumba said he executed his duties very well to avert possible political strife in the country due to the maize shortage in the run-up to the 2006 elections.
Reacting to revelations in the latest Auditor General's report for parastatal bodies for the 2006 financial year which indicated that FRA had wasted over K23.6 billion when it purchased GMO maize contrary to presidential directives, Chilala admitted that the agency indeed irregularly bought some maize which had GMO content.
However, he said the culprits were fired over the irregularity and that the maize was sent back to the country of origin.
"The fact is that FRA had a condition that no GMO maize should be bought. It was GMO free Lusaka and it was but for some reason between Mount Makulu and our officers, some GMO ended up entering the country and that maize ended up being paid for. And we fired the people who did that," Chilala said.
"We fired the acting executive director James Mazumba, the then finance manager because all this directive was very clear that the maize should have been received GMO free in Lusaka. I would not deny that the GMO was imported by intention or accidentally ended up in our warehouse. In fact it had to be escorted back using security forces back out of the country."
However, Chilala said the GMO maize that was imported was not more than 4000 metric tonnes hence the cost could not be K23.6 billion as claimed in the Auditor General's report.
He also said none of the GMO maize was consumed in Zambia.
"No maize was processed for feedstock, we knew there was GMO maize in our warehouses, someone between those two people, someone from management was trying to hide that maize into Mkushi.
We only knew about that ourselves after 300 metric tonnes was moved into Mkushi and that became a very serious offence. But since we knew that was a security issue, we did not want to talk about it because we did not want to alarm the nation. We rounded up all the maize and it was under lock and key," Chilala said.
"All of it was rounded up even the one which was taken to Mkushi was
re-exported back. I can tell you that none of that maize was sold to the millers in the country."
Asked whether FRA recovered the money spent on the GMO maize after it was sent back to its country of origin, Chilala said the government through that deal incurred a loss.
"My friend those are serious issues, it is difficult but I can find out whether it was recovered or how much that maize was sold for... on the freight, I can tell you that we made a bit of a loss," Chilala said. "It is not that we recovered all the money and that is the reason those people were fired because the condition and the importation rules were clear."
But Mazumba justified the Agency’s decision to import maize at the time, saying he acted deligently.
"At the time of importing this maize, my hand was in it and I was doing it for the wellbeing of the people of this country. I was very much aware that the shortage of maize can easily bring about political instability so I was aware of that and the need for me and my management to work diligently and above board," he said.
"At the time this maize was brought into the country, we had a drought in this country and we were going into an election year, and it was such a traumatising, pressurising time... it was an emergency and you will remember there was even a task force that was set at ministerial level because of the pressure and the emergency. Given this background that maize shortage can turn into a difficult situation, we had to look at every avenue to ensure that does not happen."
He said consequently a decision was made at ministerial level that the country import 200,000 metric tonnes of maize, out of which 50,000 metric tonnes were to be imported by the FRA.
"So, our concern was for the 50,000 metric tonnes and at that time, MPs were crying that people are dying or people are crying and that influenced us.
What FRA did was to move quickly to avert the situation and I want to say that we followed all tender procedures because as much as it was an emergency, we knew that it was important that procedures were followed," he explained. ", an open tender was there for anybody, the whole world could tender and that tender went through the Zambia National Tender Board."
He said Nyiombo, Louis Dreyfus and Profert were contracted to supply the maize.
"Apart from just following tender procedures, the contract also contained terms of supply, by terms of payment and this included the quality of the maize, weight, moisture, including non-GMO protection and all these were in the contract and obviously payments was by letter of credit.
So once the supplier is able to produce all these documents that are stipulated in the contract, then the bank would pay," Mazumba said. "So all these conditions except for the GMO, we had to get an independent tester because our supplier would not accept the test mark, we had to settle for an independent inspector to offer certificate of inspection for that GMO."
He said to show how stringent FRA was, Mt Makulu was brought in at all border entry points so that they could also act as a counter in case there were some maize that contained GMO.
"The Mt Makulu specimen sometimes was not very efficient so some of the maize was tested positive. From the same parcels some of the maize was testing positive while some was testing negative but then they took everything as positive," he said. "But there was debate that the positive maize was as a result of intermixing of the maize.
You remember that at the time the whole region needed maize; Zimbabwe was importing, Malawi was importing, Mozambique was importing and Zambia was importing from the same source, South Africa, and so there was that debate that the wagons that were being used were the same ones that the other countries in the region were using. So the issue of intermingling of GMO and non GMO maize is possible."
He also wondered why people concentrated on complaining about the 3,000 metric tonnes that had GMO content instead of looking at the 47,000 metric tonnes that did not contain GMO.
"We made sure that measures were put in place, we made sure that the maize was brought into the country and we fulfilled, there was food and the elections went ahead peacefully, actually I expected a bit of commendation but what I got was a termination of my contract," he said.
"There was another 150,000 metric tonnes brought into the country by other stakeholders but no one has talked about it and we don't even know if they tested to certify that they were non-GMO."
Mazumba also said he did not know how the GMO maize was disposed off
because his contract had been terminated.
On reports that the GMO maize was later hidden in Mkushi, Mazumba admitted that some maize had been taken to Mkushi as suppliers wanted to pick it from there by railway transport.
Asked whether his contract was terminated because of the GMO maize scandal, Mazumba said he did not know.
"I wouldn't know if my contract was terminated because of the GMO or not because my letter of termination did not say anything to that effect," said Mazumba.
Labels: FRA, GMO