Saturday, August 02, 2008

(BBC) Roy Bennet On Hardball (2007)

Roy Bennett is caught in at least 4 lies.

1) "Hundreds of thousands of protestors" demonstrated for the MDC - which Stephen Sackur calls him on.

2) "There are no sanctions against Zimbabwe"

Stephen Sackur did not confront him on it, but the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (see c) Multilateral Financial Restrictions), which bans multilateral financial institutions and the IMF from working with the government of Zimbabwe, not individuals in ZANU-PF.

3) "The opposition is not divided"

They obviously are. Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Makoni are all leading different factions of the MDC.

4) "Informal talks aren't talks"

I guess they're not talks when Roy Bennett says they're not talks.


Remember, the original six negotiators have been at it for over a year now and have grown familiar, which could cloud their views on certain issues and impinge on their efficiency.”


ALN condemns govts of national unity
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Friday August 08, 2008 [04:00]

David Coltart on Hardball (October 2006)

" The electoral process is so flawed in Zimbabwe that it should be abandoned. " - David Coltart (former BSAP)

Also, the MDC not only receives money from white farmers, but from the USA, through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, about $26 million.

"Race is a propaganda ploy used by Robert Mugabe".

"The use of race, the use of land, is wearing thin".

"Zimbabweans are remarkably peaceloving as a result.." of 2 civil wars? Meaning that without the memories of these wars, they would be 'war like'?

"I hope we can deal with moderates within ZANU-PF - and there are some..." - really?

"The idea of granting amnesty to people guilty of war crimes is anathema to me."

"Oh no I'm not pessimistic - surprisingly enough"

David Coltart likes to play at sophistication, but he is no more a democrat than Roy Bennett. Why does the MDC have all these BSAP types around in high levels of leadership? Just another factor that undermines the claim that they represent the majority of the people of Zimbabwe.

Nothing about the MDC strikes a chord of authenticity. They lie, misrepresent the facts, push their mantras, and are basically dishonest and evasive about who they represent and what they want to do when they come to power.

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(NAHANDA RADIO) Mawere's conversation with Roy Bennet

From an interview with Bennett by Violet Gonda, commments by Mutawa Mawere. From the pro-MDC's Nahanda Radio:

Mawere's conversation with Roy Bennet
29 February 2008
By Mutumwa Mawere

Mutumwa Mawere: 'At 28, the country has come of age and yet the political discourse even at this eleventh hour of change suggests that more effort needs to be exerted to locate the change agenda in broader context than the political actors that may be on stage.'

Zimbabwe was born out of the womb of a brutal, unjust and unconstitutional colonial system. Regrettably, no serious foundational and construction issues of the post colonial state occupied the minds of not only the founding fathers of Zimbabwe but citizens in general to the extent that no serious attempt has been made to create a consensus on the kind of ideology, values and morality that should underpin the post colonial state.

At 28, the country has come of age and yet the political discourse even at this eleventh hour of change suggests that more effort needs to be exerted to locate the change agenda in broader context than the political actors that may be on stage.

Zimbabweans will make a choice about who should become their President for the next five years on 29 March 2008. However, it is evident that an investment is urgently required to improve political literacy of not only the registered voters but all interested parties who must and should play a part in helping shape the destiny of the country.

Over the last 8 years, the political landscape of Zimbabwe has been dominated by two major political groupings i.e. MDC and ZANU-PF. ZANU-PF inherited the colonial state and it is evident that the members of MDC would not be satisfied with any post-Mugabe construction in which they will play second fiddle to anyone. At independence, the attitude of ZANU-PF was not dissimilar to the attitude of MDC and it is not farfetched to suggest that is ZANU did not win the 1980 elections; the liberation struggle was going to continue.

Although the liberation struggle was prosecuted with the sole objective of restoring sovereignty to the people, it is instructive that only ZANU was advanced as the only authentic custodian of such sovereignty. In such an environment, elections do not really matter and yet Zimbabwe finds itself in 2008 at the crossroads and painful choices have to be made. Fatigue is evident but hope is missing in action. When a new beginning is about to come it is normally evident as it was after the Lancaster House constitutional talks were successfully completed. What is different about 2008 is that the two political actors President Mugabe and Tsvangirai who have dominated the political scene for the last 8 years are not prepared to accept the inevitable that Zimbabwe needs to turn a new leaf.

The country’s future has regrettably now been reduced to the fate of these two individuals. Rationality has now been subordinated to political expediency. President Mugabe cannot imagine a day in which he would call Tsvangirai his commander-in-chief and at the same time, Tsvangirai regards President Mugabe as illegitimate. The MDC has accepted that the outcome of the forthcoming elections has been predetermined and yet no consensus exists on how to respond. The polarisation of the Zimbabwean politics is largely a reflection of the architecture of the colonial state where no democratic avenue existed for change.

President Mugabe has not accepted that there is no better Zimbabwean than him to preside over the state and equally Tsvangirai has made the point that real change must situate him in the statehouse. The Rhodesian economy is on its knees and President Mugabe is not convinced that he may be a liability rather he genuinely believes that the future of Zimbabwe is brighter under his watch. On the other hand, Tsvangirai is convinced that he has paid his school fees and the scars that have been inflicted on his body must be rewarded with a new address at statehouse.

Whether the people of Zimbabwe are tired of this kind of political bickering is no longer an issue for the two opposition parties. Until recently, the two individuals were the only principal political actors but this has changed with the emergence of Simba Makoni as a candidate. Many have associated the world view of President Mugabe with his political party and yet the reality may suggest that ZANU-PF has failed to establish itself as a party of principles and a shared political morality. President Mugabe has dominated the party for too long to the extent that his personality has now become part of what many people perceive to be ZANU-PF.

What President Mugabe thinks usually becomes the order of the day. At independence, Zimbabweans adopted a Republican constitution underpinned by a shared desire to create a new society founded on republican values. Although the colonial state was founded on the premise that it was irresponsible to give natives civil rights, it is not evident after 28 years of independence that Zimbabweans notwithstanding the election rituals are any more free to shape and define their destinies than at independence. The Movement for Democratic Change was expected to introduce a new culture in Zimbabwean politics and on the eve of the forthcoming defining elections it is significant that Mr. Roy Bennett, Treasurer of the party, shared his insights on the kind of Zimbabwe he and his party wants to see.

Mr. Bennett was a beneficiary of the colonial system that Mugabe fought against and yet at independence, Mugabe was magnanimous enough to embrace his former adversaries.
Having carefully read Mr. Bennett’s interview with Ms. Violet Gonda of SW Radio Africa, I thought it is important to capture some of the significant issues that he addressed so as to enhance the quality of conversations that are taking place among not only Zimbabweans who have a direct interest in the outcome of the elections but friends of Zimbabwe who may have an indirect or remote interest in the future of the country.

Although the interview covered a whole range of critical issues that help define the kind of thinking that informs the MDC, I thought it is important to locate Mr. Bennett’s thinking in a broader context of key construction and foundational principles that I feel were overlooked by all concerned in the enterprise of post colonial nation building.

Article 28 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides as follows in relation to the qualification and election of the President:

(1) A person shall be qualified for election as President if—
(a) he is a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth or by descent; and
(b) he has attained the age of forty years; and
(c) he is ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.
(2) The President shall be elected by voters registered on the common roll.
(Subsection as amended by s.2 of Act 15 of 1990 - Amdmt No.10).
(3) An election to the office of President shall take place within ninety days—
(a) before the term of office of the President expires in terms of section 29; or
(b) after the office of President becomes vacant by reason of his death or his resignation or removal from office in terms of this Constitution;
as the case may be.

It is evident that there is nothing in the constitution of Zimbabwe that says that an interested citizen must belong to a political party for him/her to be eligible for the highest office in the land. Any democrat who believes in the supremacy of the constitution would find it hard to criticise any Zimbabwean who registers and whose nomination is accepted by the Court to run for the office of President. However, nomination of Simba Makoni has exposed not only ZANU-PF but MDC’s lip service commitment to the constitutional order that ought to have informed the post colonial democratic regime. President Mugabe has already made his comments about Makoni preferring to label him as a prostitute only because he chose to offer himself as an independent candidate after being dismissed from the party following his decision to offer himself as available for nomination as a candidate for the post of state President.

If America was Zimbabwe, it is not difficult to imagine how Obama would have been treated for imagining that the Zimbabwean promise included satisfying his aspiration to lead his people to a new destination. There is nothing that would have stopped Makoni from being nominated as a candidate for the state Presidency under the ZANU-PF ticket because for anyone to be eligible for the post, the Nomination Court has the final say. There is no provision in the constitution that a candidate has to be the President of a political party to be eligible for nomination.

The involvement of political parties in the nomination process has tended to undermine the constitutional order in that the process used has been fraught with problems to the extent that in the case of both MDC and ZANU-PF, there is no consensus on the candidates nominated. It is unlikely that the test used for Makoni will be applied to all the parliamentary candidates who elected to challenge the parties and proceeded to get their names nominated as party candidates outside the party list.

To the extent that President Mugabe purports to be a democrat, it is ironic that he would have a problem in Makoni exercising his democratic right to offer his name to be considered by the people. The President took an oath to respect and uphold the constitution of the country and yet he is the first person to criticise Makoni for doing what the constitution entitles him to do. If the President’s views are contrary to the provisions of the constitution as they appear to be, then surely he has disqualified himself from being the head of state.
There must be something about Simba Makoni that would make President Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree. He has been condemned by both parties and what is ironic is that even Bennett finds the participation of Makoni as treacherous leading to many observers asking the question about what kind of Zimbabwe; people who support Tsvangirai want to see.

In the afore-mentioned interview, the exchange between Violet and Bennett on the Makoni factor went as follows:

Violet: In your view who is the Diplomatic Community trying to impose?
Bennett: They are trying to impose Simba Makoni right now.

While it is accepted that only Zimbabweans are eligible to nominate a citizen who qualifies for the post of President, it is significant that Bennett presumably representing his party has come to the same conclusion that Mugabe came to when Tsvangirai also decided to throw his name in the ring before that for anyone to even imagine of being a President that person must necessarily be a puppet of the west.
Yesterday, it was argued that Tsvangirai was a puppet of the West and now Bennett, a person who purports to be a democrat is now arguing that Simba Makoni is not a principal rather is a creation of the diplomatic community.

It is significant that Bennett fails to expose the names of the culprits but it is evident that the USA, EU, Australia, Canada and New Zealand not forgetting the Nordic countries would be on top of the list.

After 8 years of struggle for change in Zimbabwe, one would have expected a person like Bennett to appreciate the need for more players to enter the political space so that voters can have more choices rather than seek to condemn the country into the politics of division and acrimony.

Violet: Can you talk a bit more about that? What is your assessment on the emergence of Simba Makoni, and what makes you say that the Diplomatic Community is supporting him?

Bennett: Well basically all you have to do is to look at the chattering class, look at the internet that is not available to the average people and listen to the Diplomats and pick up on their communications between each other that’s very, very easy to see. What people don’t realize Violet is that everybody wants a solution to Zimbabwe and they want a quick solution and they want a solution that they believe will happen and that ZANU PF will have to be part of that solution. It’s not going to happen. The people of Zimbabwe want change, they want rid and gone of ZANU PF and they will settle for nothing else.

Again it was the same with the entrance of Arthur Mutambara into the whole issue of the President of the MDC. How and where in the world does someone parachute into a Presidential position never having addressed a branch meeting in the rural areas? And right now as we watch Simba Makoni, we see Simba Makoni walking with three people from his house into a room and making press statements. He tells us he is not alone, we’ve seen nobody else come up and stand next to him. There are rumours of that person and this person but at this stage how can we take him seriously? Have we seen him standing in front of a gathering of people, have we seen him addressing a branch? He throws a manifesto and puts out a manifesto without a political party.

Just say by some fluke chance he gets elected into government and you’ve got the MDC with so many seats and ZANU PF have so many seats, one obviously being in the majority of the other, we have got a Westminster system of government, so how now do you form a government? He has to go back to that party and ask them to form a government. What does this manifesto stand for if he is going to either go to one of them to form a government? Surely it’s their manifesto that is going to count. We have to look a lot deeper into this to understand the dynamics of what is happening. And will not settle for a stooge to be pushed forward to be given a soft landing for the very people who have committed atrocities right across the lengths and breadths of Zimbabwe.

Mr. Bennett believes that ZANU-PF is not going to be part of the solution. If President Mugabe had taken the same choice at independence that Bennett is proposing now that all white settlers should be rid of and nothing short of this was going to be satisfactory, I do not believe that he would be relevant today in the affairs of Zimbabwe. Bennett is of the view that: “The people of Zimbabwe want change, they want rid and gone of ZANU-PF and they will not settle for anything else.” When Bennett talks of the people of Zimbabwe it is not clear who he is referring to. Does he speak for all the people of Zimbabwe? How did he come to establish that the people of Zimbabwe have reached this conclusion and yet accept that elections are important for Zimbabweans to decide on who should govern them?

When Bennett says that the people of Zimbabwe want ZANU-PF to be eliminated what precisely does he mean? Does it mean that ZANU-PF as a body corporate will be de-registered or banned under the Tsvangirai era in as much as ZANU and other parties were banned during the colonial state? Does it mean that a victory by MDC will return Zimbabwe to its colonial past where participation in political activities was criminalised?

If Mugabe could accept that the Rhodesia Front was as Zimbabwean as ZANU at independence, what are we to make of Bennett’s views? Is it the case that when the MDC is talking of change it means that only Tsvangirai and his colleagues’ views will be the gospel in the new Zimbabwe? It is important that Mr. Tsvangirai clarifies his position on this defining nation building issue.

Again Bennett like Mugabe believes that it is wrong for Makoni to have entered the race as an independent when he said: “How and where in the world does someone parachute into a Presidential position never having addressed a branch meeting in the rural areas? Was it the intention of the founding fathers of Zimbabwe that for any citizen to be eligible for nomination to the post of President they need to belong to political clubs? If this was the case, then surely the constitution should have provided for this. Bennett finds it wrong for Makoni to have a small circle of friends and supporters and then uses this to suggest that he should not be taken seriously.

I would have thought that a person who purports to be a democrat would find no offence in Makoni becoming a candidate in an open race. It should be left to the voters to make their choices but it is evident that there are some Zimbabweans who believe that the constitution was written for a select few. On this point, it appears that President Mugabe’s views are not entirely different from those of Bennett suggesting that the kind of change that the MDC may be seeking for may be more dangerous than what is prevailing now.

It is true that Makoni like Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been nominated in a similar manner and it would be wrong for anyone to suggest that Makoni should have been disqualified in violation of the constitution necessarily because he has not addressed a rally. We should tell Bennett and President Mugabe that the constitution is clear and deliberate on the question of the qualification of the President. To my knowledge the four candidates whose nominations have been accepted by the Court are equal before the law and should be treated as such. It would be contemptuous to then suggest that there should be another litmus test that MDC and ZANU-PF should impose outside the constitution.

Like Bill Clinton who referred to Obama’s foray into Presidential politics as a fairy tale, Bennett has the audacity to say: “Just say by some fluke chance he gets elected into government and you’ve got the MDC with so many seats and ZANU PF have so many seats, one obviously being in the majority of the other, we have got a Westminster system of government, so how now do you form a government?

Bennett is wrong to suggest that Zimbabwe has a Westminster system of government. The constitution of Zimbabwe has no provision for a monarchy rather the head of state is elected directly by the people. It may be the case that the President and the majority of the members of Parliament come from the same party but the constitution of Zimbabwe contemplates a situation where a President could be an independent and yet still have a parliament dominated by people from different parties. The Zanufication of Zimbabwean politics may have distorted Bennett’s understanding of the constitutional order obtaining in the country.

The President has a different mandate under the Zimbabwean constitution from that of the legislature and will have to select his cabinet from among the elected parliamentarians thanks to the Constitutional Amendment No. 18 that now makes it difficult for a President to select his cabinet from outside Parliament. In fact, this amendment may make it difficult for a President to find suitable cabinet members if parliament is dominated by people who may not have much to offer to any government. It does not necessarily mean that being elected as a parliamentarian necessarily makes one a suitable candidate for the executive branch of the government. However, the same system applies in the case of the UK but it is significant that the President is directly elected rather than coming from the majority party.

Bennett then makes a number of factual errors on construction issues like suggesting that if Makoni won the elections he would need to go back to the party and ask them to form a government. The constitution of Zimbabwe does not impose such obligations on a President. All Makoni would need to do is simply to identify parliamentarians who may wish to be considered for appointment to cabinet. The cabinet will have to reflect the choice of the President rather than the choice expressed in an election. I have no doubt that if Makoni were to emerge as a President, then all the parliamentarians who like the majority of Zimbabweans have been yearning for change would be prepared to bury the past and join forces to advance the interests of Zimbabwe.

What is worrying is that people like Bennett who purport to be change agents would rather have President Mugabe and ZANU-PF remain in power rather than open their minds to another alternative that may involve ZANU-PF and MDC parliamentarians. While it is acceptable that Bennett like many South Africans have invested heavily in one individual, Tsvangirai and President Mandela, respectively, it should not be the case that if Tsvangirai were to lose the election and Makoni were to win then Zimbabweans reject the outcome when it is common cause that the real agenda for change is to get someone other than President Mugabe in statehouse.

I would like to believe that the people who support Makoni’s candidature are as patriotic as the people who have supported Tsvangirai and continue to do so. However, it would be wrong for the post-Mugabe era to be reserved for only the MDC as was the colonial state reserved for settlers with no respect for the rule of law and property rights. Zimbabwe needs a new beginning and it is evident that Bennett and his principals are not ready for the new Zimbabwe electing to remain locked in the politics of yesterday.

Bennett makes the case that MDC will not settle for a stooge while not accepting the ZANU-PF position that it equally will not settle for a stooge. It is evident that the stalemate will continue while the people of Zimbabwe will continue to be condemned to poverty. ZANU-PF members are convinced that Tsvangirai is a stooge in as much as Bennett believes that Makoni is a stooge so the circus will go on. What a shame that people like Bennett do not have better judgment.

The views of Bennett confirm the widely held view that the new Zimbabwe under the MDC may take Zimbabwe back to Rhodesia. Bennett makes the statement that people who have committed atrocities right across the lengths and breadths of Zimbabwe should not be given a soft landing as if to suggest that all the white settlers should be subjected to the same standard for similar transgressions. Given the history of Zimbabwe, Bennett of all people should be the last person to hold such views particularly in view of the fact that like Makoni, Tsvangirai and many others he was also a member of ZANU-PF. President Mandela has been credited for putting South Africa above his personal injuries and it is regrettable that people like Bennett would want a new Zimbabwe that is divisive and less tolerant. Imagine Mugabe reading about Bennett’s interview and what would go through his mind?

Violet: So what do you think are the implications of Makoni’s candidature?

Bennett: Well I think when I give it some deep thought and look into the whole issue, I can only think of one thing, Violet. I can think that having no party, standing as an independent President, he is going to have to form a government. Should, and he is only banking on ZANU PF because he is a ZANU PF man he’s banking that ZANU PF will win the highest number of seats within parliament. Mugabe will be very, very embarrassed because they have won the highest number of seats and he will have been defeated as President. So he will have to stand down or they will have to have a vote of no confidence and remove him, in which case they will call a congress and then appoint Simba Makoni as the President and therefore he can take off as President of Zimbabwe.

Is it the case that Makoni is a ZANU-PF man? If so, what would stop people calling Bennett a racist only because he was part of the colonial system that excluded the majority from political and economic participation? This raises the question about the key constructional issues of the post colonial state. If it was founded on principles of forgiveness then surely that must be evident in the language of the political actors. Is it ironic in the case of the US that in as much as there may be disagreement among the various political actors about the reasons for going into Iraq, there is no suggestion that after a new President is elected his mission would be to eliminate Republicans from America and also seek to disqualify any republican from running for office.

President Mugabe has been nominated and he is a candidate like Tsvangirai and Makoni and, therefore, he has no choice but to abide to the will of the people. Zimbabwe’s sovereignty resides in the people and it should be left to the owners of Zimbabwe to pronounce their opinion on who should govern the country.

Violet: What I also don’t understand and maybe you can give us your thoughts on this. Many people say that Makoni is just an extension of ZANU PF and that if the goal is to keep the regime in power, so why not just have Makoni stand as the ZANU PF candidate instead of him becoming and independent candidate?

Bennett: Well for exactly the same reasons as what happened in our split. A minority decides that they want to be President and it’s not being endorsed by the majority. So they connive and make plans to defeat the majority in order to achieve their goals. He was defeated at the presidency of ZANU PF, but now he has come in, and he said that he has people behind him and he is hoping to pick up votes across the board because he is an opportunist and right now it’s ripe for the picking in Zimbabwe because as I said to you earlier an incumbent loses an election and an opposition never wins an election.

An incumbent loses the election by his policies. Every man and his dog today in Zimbabwe want change. Why do they want change, they want change because of their life and difficulties that they face on a day-today basis. There is not a single person who cannot see the failure of ZANU PF and they have lived under the violence and distraction for the last 28 years so they want change. Simba Makoni through his cohorts realized this so they have like opportunists tried to jump in to take advantage of that change in order to then go back to ZANU PF when he is the President and install himself as the President of ZANU PF, and for those that are with him to protect the ill gotten gains, to protect the human rights abuses and not to face the people of Zimbabwe. That’s the way I see it and that’s the way I believe it Violet.

It is not accurate for Bennett to state as fact that Makoni was defeated at the Presidency of ZANU-PF. My understanding is that President Mugabe’s terms as President of the Party is due to expire in 2009 and the national elections just happen to occur when he is still the head of the party. Accordingly, as head of the party, he was endorsed as a candidate at the December special congress. No elections were held or called for otherwise all the other office bearers of the party would have been recalled.

Whether Makoni has people behind him or not is irrelevant as the voters will be the jury. I should like to believe that even the so-called ZANU-PF political heavyweights have not been given more than one vote each. If this is the case, then the people who can tell Makoni that his time is not now are the people in Zimbabwe.

Bennett then labels Makoni an opportunist while accepting that it is highly unlikely that the opposition will win. If Bennett concedes that victory is remote should he not be open-minded instead of pre-empting what may emerge as a surprise for the people of Zimbabwe. If change is the primary agenda for the opposition then surely the MDC must be the first to embrace Makoni for taking the courage to run as an independent. While it is unjustified to call Makoni an opportunist, I am sure that Bennett would take kindly labelled as such.

It is a historical fact that Bennett and his fellow settlers were allowed to protect their gains acquired through non-market forces during the colonial era and now would want to suggest that the same policies applicable to beneficiaries of the colonial state be restricted only to ZANU-PF. He wants ZANU-PF to face the people of Zimbabwe instead of all perpetrators of injustice to face the people of Zimbabwe without favour or prejudice.

Violet: What about the fact that Mutambara MDC is waiting to throw its support behind Simba Makoni?

Bennett: I think that clearly explains that the split in our MDC and that is the way it always has been. They are going home, they are joining ZANU PF where they belong.

The fact that Mutambara elected not to offer himself for the Presidency was his personal choice based on his own assessment about his chances of success. It is not correct for Bennett to allege that Mutambara played any part in the October 12 split of the MDC. What would be helpful is for Bennett to record historical events accurately rather than to opportunistically seek to shade the truth for political expediency. The leadership challenges that MDC faced were as natural as the challenges facing many political organisations. ZANU-PF has its own history of such challenges and, therefore, the maturity of any movement is measured by its ability to resolve such challenges. However, it has become a habit for the opposition to blame ZANU-PF even for personal differences that occur between party members.

To allege that Mutambara is ZANU-PF is political mischief at its best. I do not think that Bennett is fair to seek to undermine Mutambara who was invited by senior members of the MDC who sought to assert their rights in a party they genuinely believed was betraying the democratic values on which it was founded. I would like to believe that Mutambara has played his part and history will be kind to him. His input was useful in the Mbeki-led initiative and credit must go to Tsvangirai for accepting the fact that there were two formations of the MDC and the opposition parliamentarians had divided loyalties.

It would be wrong to suggest that the parliamentarians and members of the MDC who chose Mutambara to be their leader are fools. Surely, if change is the motive behind Bennett’s activism then respect of the choices made by others must be the starting point. Mutambara has never been a creature of ZANU-PF and his record speaks for itself. It is always easy to criticise other people but it is important to imagine how different the history of Zimbabwe would be if Mutambara had not accepted to lead the leaderless formation that had chosen to differ with Tsvangirai. It is also important to imagine what would have happened if Tsvangirai had been elected President and the differences of opinion had emerged while he was in office. Would Tsvangirai have accepted and respected the right of Ncube, Sibanda and others to differ with him without using the state machinery to discipline them?

The manner in which the MDC has resolved the differences between its members should be a cause for concern especially given the propensity of Africans to abuse state power when they seize it. I can appreciate Bennett’s views on power given his colonial heritage and it may well be the case that Mugabe also inherited the strategies and tactics used by the colonial state to handle his opponents.

To the extent that Bennett is a senior member of the MDC one has to carefully evaluate his comments because they may have a bearing on key foundational principles of the post-Mugabe era. Anyone with interests in the future of Zimbabwe like me has to factor the Bennett equation in the construction of a new Zimbabwe and implications thereof on the rule of law and black property rights.

Could it be the case that Bennett supports Tsvangirai because a deal on property rights has been cut? Why would Bennett not be open to allow Zimbabweans to make their own choice in an electoral process without prejudging the outcome? Even if Makoni were to win, it appears that Bennett will still find a reason to manufacture conspiracy theories forgetting that in 1980 the incumbent Muzorewa/Smith lost to ZANU. Equally, ANC won in 1994 in an election where the balance was tilted in favour of the status quo.

Zimbabwe deserves a new chapter and it is evident that Bennett would rather take the country back and lock it into the polarisation that transformed the Zimbabwean promise into a nightmare.

Violet: But wasn’t the ethos of the Mutambara camp - wasn’t it to destroy ZANU PF from within and that included working with reformers within ZANU PF. There are some who believe that Makoni is a moderate and that he could help weaken the Mugabe regime. So if the Tsvangirai MDC is calling for all progressive forces to fight Robert Mugabe, why not form an alliance with him to do so, if that is the case?

Bennett: We understand, that’s why I said, we haven’t seen it yet but we believe from the press and the chattering class and what is thrown at us that Solomon Majuro is backing Simba Makoni. Now, the properties that Solomon Majuro has stolen, the wealth that he has stolen through corrupt practices, do you really think that after the suffering we’ve had in the last eight, nine years by standing up for democracy and challenging the system of ZANU PF of corruption, of murder, of rape and of blunder; do you really think that we could get into bed with him now and call that an alliance of all democracies or an alliance of all democratic forces to defeat the dictators? Why don’t we just join up with Mugabe and say we are all one and let’s just go ahead.

Bennett states as fact that Mujuru has stolen some properties without naming the victims. He also makes allegations that Mujuru has acquired his wealth corruptly without naming the corruptor. He then makes the point that reconciliation is not acceptable in the new Zimbabwe as if to suggest that Mugabe was wrong in forgiving the beneficiaries of the colonial state. I know that Bennett would also find it easy to label me a thief because it is common cause that the colonial state had zero tolerance on black economic empowerment. Whatever Bennett acquired during the colonial state must be accepted as legitimate while any capital accumulation that has been acquired in the post colonial state is easily defined as proceeds of crime.

The criminalisation of the beneficiaries of the post colonial state is regrettably not a monopoly of the MDC. Even President Mugabe has accepted the notion that black progress necessarily represents corruption. The state machinery has been targeted at blacks on the premise that the objective of a post colonial state was not to advance the careers of the previously disadvantaged rather to entrench the wealth primitively acquired during colonialism.

It is significant that Bennett and his colleagues have invested in a new reality where corruption has taken a black face. Anyone associated with ZANU-PF is then easily labelled corrupt. To the extent that Bennett now wishes to revisit historical injuries it is important that we all join in this conversation so that we can comprehensively deal with the reasons why poverty in Zimbabwe like many African countries has a black face. I am acutely aware that in as much as I may be angry at the loss of my assets to the government of Zimbabwe, I would not have acquired any such assets if the colonial state had been under settler control.

I would not be surprised if Bennett finds the expropriation of my assets justifiable. What is ironic is that in Tsvangirai, Bennett may have found a leader who has also accepted that whites are not corrupt. It would be interesting for Bennett to give us any names of white ZANU-PF cronies and suggest how they should be treated in the post-Mugabe era.

Bennett has made his choice about who should be welcome in his new Zimbabwe in which Tsvangirai would be his superintendent. The language of Bennett exposes the naivety of some of the most ardent supporters of change in Zimbabwe. They genuinely believe that we are all idiots and for some reason they have more rights than they wish to confer on others.

Violet: Your critics say this issue of people coming from ZANU PF should not really be a factor because a lot of MDC leaders were members of ZANU PF. They say that Mr Tsvangirai was a member of ZANU PF until the late 80s and said nothing during Gukurahundi and that you almost stood as a ZANU PF candidate in 2000. How would you answer them?

Bennett: Very, very simply, Violet. We listen to the call of the people and they told us that ZANU PF was rotten and the policies of ZANU PF were wrong so we formed the opposition. We have welcomed and continued to welcome with absolute open arms anybody who rejects ZANU PF and joins change. We will never accept a lukewarm change within inside ZANU PF and Simba Makoni has come out categorically and said on many, many occasions, he is ZANU PF, he believes in ZANU PF and ZANU PF is his party. So therefore it’s not a case of ZANU PF people leaving ZANU PF coming to join the opposition and fight against everything that’s destroyed our country.

They are saying to us that Morgan Tsvangirai should stand down and we should come under ZANU PF to form this wonderful new country of democracy. Where they have sat on the Politburo, they have sat and stood by very silently and watched every act that has been perpetrated against our country and against the people of our country. So I don’t know Violet whether people think the people of Zimbabwe are fools, whether they think because they are rural devastated populations through the policies of the government, 85% unemployed, can’t get any medical help, can’t eat, whether they think that has affected their brains, I don’t know.

The people of Zimbabwe know what they want. They have stood up for change they have stood behind our President Morgan Tsvangirai a man they can trust, its all about trust. Can I trust Simba Makoni? I very much doubt it. I can trust Morgan Tsvangirai, he’s never ever backtracked on what he stood for, and he has never changed on his quest to stand for the people of Zimbabwe to bring them a better life and a new beginning. That’s where we are Violet, nothing and nobody is going to change us and we are going to get there even if not this time, next time we will keep going, we will keep trying, and we will get there.

Bennett alleges that ZANU-PF is rotten and hence the formation of the opposition. He then makes the conclusion that anyone who is a member of ZANU-PF is not capable of embracing change. With a population of about 13 million, not all Zimbabweans are members of political organisations and yet in Bennett’s mind, there are people who can easily be identified as ZANU-PF. It is accurate to say that less than 10% of Zimbabweans are members of political organisations and, therefore, the proposition that change can be located in political parties only is wrong.

It is common cause that Makoni was a member of ZANU-PF until he was dismissed. Under the constitution of Zimbabwe, Makoni’s choice to be a member of ZANU-PF must be respected in as much as Bennett’s choice to join the MDC. Surely, any new dispensation must entrench the rights of citizens to make their own choices about who they should associate with. The suggestion made by Bennett is that ZANU-PF is culpable for the economic meltdown and political crisis when it may well be the case that both the ruling and opposition parties should be held culpable for sacrificing national interest to advance their selfish interests.

Mr. David Smith sat on Ian Smith’s cabinet and yet President Mugabe appointed him as Minister of Finance. What is striking is that Bennett is suggesting that any person associated with ZANU-PF should necessarily be disqualified from serving in the new Zimbabwe. This kind of arrogance cannot be good for any nation building enterprise. Bennett is entitled to trust Tsvangirai in as much as other people are entitled to trust Makoni let alone Mugabe. Surely, the foundational principles of the post colonial state ought to be the basis on which people should locate their own principles. What is evident is that in a post-Mugabe era in which Tsvangirai/Bennett is in charge, citizen rights may be permanently impaired in the name of change.

The term change has been abused more so in the last 8 years where the agents of past injustices appear now to be angels of change. It is not too late for Zimbabweans to take note of what is at stake for the enemies of real change may not necessarily be restricted to what has been simplistically labelled as ZANU-PF.

Join the debate on this article in our forums today and share your views.

Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.


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(HERALD) No room for complacency in farming

No room for complacency in farming

ZIMBABWE boasts one of the biggest economies in the region with a rich combination of natural resources, robust infrastructure, a diversified manufacturing base and a sophisticated agricultural sector as well as the most sought-after human resources. owever, a siege mentality has engulfed the nation as some Zimbabweans have lost confidence in their own economy, placing their hope in other economies where most of them now live in far worse conditions than at home.

Over the past eight years, a vicious psychological game was being played on our people to lose focus on their capacity as a major economic hub in the region. Complacency and despondency had now set in. Fortunately, the dark cloud hanging over Zimbabwe’s economy is now shifting as the country’s fortunes now look set to improve.

There are new opportunities that are emerging in various sectors of the economy, which should be vigorously pursued.

The agricultural sector, which forms the core of our economy, has benefited immensely from the massive investment in equipment by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with thousands of new farmers now empowered while industries that provide backup services are also set to benefit.

The equipment that farmers have received so far should see a significant turnaround in the farming sector by the end of this year.

There should be no room for complacency and the same zeal that we saw in the last election should be applied to the farming sector so that everyone who has received state land, equipment and inputs performs optimally.

The Government and farmers should urgently formulate a strategy that will see the optimum use of all the land, equipment and other resources being made available by the central bank.

The same applies to the mining sector, which is also witnessing new investment inflows from Chinese, Russian, British and South African companies, among others.

Thousands of new jobs are being created in this sector while foreign currency generation is expected to rise significantly.

The commissioning of new Chinese road construction equipment by Vice President Joseph Msika in Harare on Thursday should give impetus to the resuscitation of the construction industry.

The country’s infrastructure has suffered severely over the past couple of years, but is still in a fairly good shape that it can be repaired and expanded quite easily.

Similar efforts should be applied to our power, water and telecommunications infrastructure, which our economy depends on to perform efficiently.

The manufacturing sector is fairly diversified that we can easily cope with minimal imports as we have the capacity to produce most of our needs from medicines, food and drink, clothing to heavy industrial goods such as locomotives.

Let us put our heads together and spur our economy to a higher level of excellence. An economy under siege of sanctions cannot afford to continue doing business as usual.



Letters - Kenneth Kaunda, Salaries

KK's experience
By Concerned citizen
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:00]

I have written in response to the article entitled “Let’s Use KK’s experience” that appeared in The Post, Thursday 31 July, 2008. I fully agree with the views expressed in this article and I would like to put forward a couple of points.

First, in my view, KK is one of the most under-appreciated African leaders. His love for his people, pursuit of economic development in Zambia and unquestionable incorruptibility cannot be topped by anyone.

I hope each and every African leader models their conduct on his example. Let us, as he did, try to get past the crippling effects of tribalism in Africa and fulfil the statement “One, Zambia, One Nation”.

Let leaders, as he did, try to come out of political offices with our hands clean, without any allegation or charge of corruption to our name.

Leaders should, as he did, build lasting institutions and infrastructure that will accelerate economic development. African leaders should, as he did, develop their nations evenly instead of concentrating on certain areas and neglecting others.

Second, it is well known that KK helped in the struggle to liberate many African countries, including South Africa. So it is sad to see the recent xenophobic attacks there. Mr Zuma should tell the people of South Africa that these attacks were a poor way of saying thanks for what Zambia did for them!

Cabinet's salary increment
By Concerned citizen
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:00]

I was deeply shocked to see the kind of increments Cabinet has approved for itself. The story you (The Post) carried about this subject somehow confirms that Zambia is in a leadership crisis.

I believe with all my heart that if President Mwanawasa was around, he was not going to entertain such selfish increment proposals.

Honestly, with such increments they are proposing for themselves, can they convince Unza lecturers that the goernment doesn't have money? How many teachers can be paid from a proposed K22 million increment for a cabinet minister?

Civil servants are languishing in poverty. The 15 per cent which was offered to them was nothing because their salary scale is low.

The gravity of the statement by His Honour, Rupiah Banda urging Zambians not to be proud to have poor people within societies (The Post, August 1, 2008) has been reduced to a mere political statement by Cabinet's action.

The gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider. This is a country where highly-qualified medical/veterinary doctors fight tooth and nail to get their hard-earned meagre allowances, while political figures get better allowances almost free, for simply reading a speech. On top of that, they even get free airtime.

I urge the civil servants' labour movements in the country to open their eyes. During the next negotiations, they should convince the government to increase salaries by a block figure across the board.

The 13 or 15 percent government usualy offers doesn't uplift the living standards of the civil servants at all. A K300, 000,00, for example, across the board can definitely do a lot for the many suffering civil servants in this country.

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Ignorance is the root of many evils

Ignorance is the root of many evils
By Editor
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:00]

ONLY people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication, and concern for the welfare of all deserve to be leaders. We agree with outgoing British High Commissioner to Zambia Alistair Harrison's observation that honesty in public leadership is one of the most important attributes that Zambians should look for in leaders.

We need honest leaders, because consistently practiced political honesty is a road that leads a human being's mind and will to do good, to avoid vices and abuses, to hate corruption; for if someone said that all roads led to Rome, today it can be stated that all roads of honest thinking and actions lead to a more just, fair and humane society.

And as High Commissioner Harrison has correctly observed, Zambia has done well in the fight against corruption because there has been a high degree of honesty in President Levy Mwanawasa's leadership. With an honest leadership, regardless of its deficiencies and inadequacies, a lot can still be achieved.

Levy has not necessarily been a highly-talented or skilled politician and his knowledge of economic matters is not something one can boast about. And his management style could be said to be just average. But still, he has been able to achieve more because of his honesty.

And because he has been honest, Levy has not pretended to know what he doesn’t know. This being the case, he has been able to use the knowledge and experience of other citizens more effectively.

We should appreciate that it’s not genius, nor glory which truly reflects the human soul - it is honesty. Of course, a deep sense of identification with the downtrodden, the ability to hear their cry, an acute awareness of the realities of poverty, a personal anguish at the suffering of fellow human beings also matters a lot in a leader.

Selfishness, greed and vanity lead to corruption. And corruption can easily destroy a country. Corruption is destructive and can lead a country to self-destruction.

We can destroy our country through corruption. And if that happens, we should blame no one but ourselves. We can destroy our country if we are not capable of fighting and stopping corruption. We can destroy this nation if we are not ready to put an end to many vices - a great deal of theft, a great many diversions of funds.

And that's why there is need for a total change of attitude towards corruption and abuse in our country. We must change yet again, because we have had very difficult times - inequalities have been created, injustices. We must change that without committing the slightest abuse. And eradicating corruption is a perfectly achievable goal because no one was born corrupt, no one was born a thief, no one was born crooked. These are attitudes and habits we pick up or acquire along the way. And as such, we can all change for the better.

There should be greater and greater participation and we should be a nation with a holistic, unified general culture - being cultured is the only way to avoid corruption and to be free. Without culture, dignity and freedom are impossible.

We say this because how can a person live in this world without a holistic general culture? The world could not be saved.

That is why we also have strong reservations, strong criticism of neo-liberal globalisation, a system that causes people to go hungry. Living in self-delusion, in lies, sowing egotism, creating consumerism - what for? So that people can reach this condition, when they haven't even been able so far to guarantee their survival.

We still have to show whether we are capable of surviving. Since we are optimists, we do have hope that this world will survive, because we see it react, we see that humankind, despite its errors and its millennia of history - several millennia, three or four - in one century has multiplied its knowledge. But many aspects of that progress have served to sow poison, served to transmit false ideas, transmit erroneous information.

We try to analyse where we made progress and where there were setbacks, where we fell into routine and where we fell into the habit of copying. A few qualities like the habit of not copying, trusting in the country itself. One country is not better than another, one people is not better than another - they all have their national, cultural characteristics.

One sees that in Europe the Finns, the Hungarians - people who speak languages that are really, really hard to learn - are all coming together; the Germans, the Italians and all the rest, a continent that was at war with itself for 500 years.

Well, they should be congratulated, despite our sometimes critical opinions, for the degree of unity they have achieved. And we must say that it will be to the benefit of the entire world if they are successful. Now then, we have to see how it goes, because the problems, in this period of neo-liberal globalisation are very complex.

But we shouldn't forget that ignorance is the root of many evils we face today and have to endure. Knowledge must be the fundamental ally of nations that aspire, despite all their tragedies and problems, to become truly emancipated, to build a more just, fair, humane and better world.

We have no sensible alternative, but to continue fighting corruption wherever it rears its ugly head. It is not possible for us - in this poor country of ours - to build a more just, fair and humane society when public resources are being stolen, squandered or abused.

Therefore, honesty should be emphasised in all that we do. Honesty is a virtue that should be inculcated in all our people and in all our leaders. The spirit of honesty must be inculcated in all our young people at school, at church and indeed in the family.

Virtue must be nourished but vice springs up spontaneously like weeds and grows by itself. We bear that in mind. If we do otherwise, we are simultaneously paving the way for vice. That's a reality we mustn't lose sight of.

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Harrison urges Zambians to look for honesty in leaders

Harrison urges Zambians to look for honesty in leaders
By Chibaula Silwamba and Maluba Jere
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:01]

OUTGOING British High Commissioner to Zambia Alistair Harrison has said honesty in public leadership is one of the most important attributes that Zambians should look for in leaders. In an interview on Tuesday after his farewell meeting with Post editor Fred M'membe at the newspaper's headquarters in Lusaka, High Commissioner Harrison said Zambia had donewell in the fight against corruption and urged Zambians and the government to continue fighting the scourge.

"I think the successes we have had in the fight against corruption working with other cooperating partners and the Zambian government have been very significant; the judgment that was reached in High Court in Britain in 2007 against some former members of the government, it has enabled a lot of money that was stolen by those people to be recovered for the benefit of the people of Zambia.

That was a landmark," he said. "The campaign that His Excellency President Mwanawasa launched against corruption is very important, establishing the Task Force on Corruption but also moving decisively when there have been allegations against serving ministers and officials so that they can be properly investigated.

We have always supported the work of the Task Force and the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and other agencies like the police and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC)."

High Commissioner Harrison also observed that the Zambian government had coped extremely well with President Levy Mwanawasa's illness, which he described as a very difficult political event.

He said the Zambian government had continued with its business in a manner that President Mwanawasa would wish for in his absence.

"Firstly, the good wishes of the British government go to the President and his family; he is very much in our thoughts and we hope for his speedy recovery," High Commissioner Harrison said.

"When I heard the news first, I telephoned the President's party to pass on the good wishes of the British government...I spoke to one of his aides whom I asked that the message be passed onto the first family.

Our thoughts are very much with him in Paris."
High Commissioner Harrison said he was impressed with the manner in which Zambians were conducting themselves while President Mwanawasa is in hospital.

"I was very struck by two things; the first one was the great outpour of shock and grief when the news first came through from all the people in Zambia that I spoke to," High Commissioner Harrison said.

"Secondly has been the calmness in which the people of Zambia and the government of Zambia have decided to go about their businesses. I think that the government has coped extremely well with what is a very difficult political and personal event."

President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke on June 29 this year in Egypt and was later evacuated to Percy Military Hospital in Paris on July 1, where he is still admitted.

Reviewing his three-year posting to Zambia, High Commissioner Harrison said Zambia had experienced several successes from which the resources should be channelled to improve the livelihood of Zambians.

"It has been very interesting time to be here, I have been here now for three years, I came here in August 2005. I spent a lot of that time working with the government of Zambia especially on Zambia's economic development.

When I first arrived the big issue was to forgive Zambia's external debt under the HIPC High Indebted Poor Countries process following the Glasgow's agreement which former British prime minister Tony Blair chaired to extend that to multilateral debt," High Commissioner Harrison said.

He said the British government decided early to shift its pattern of support from directly financing projects to direct national budgetary support thus enabling Zambians and their government to decide on the priority areas.

"I think that Zambia is on quite interesting crossroads of its development; when I first arrived the real issue was that there has not been enough funds, too much debt, too little investment but I think that with the cancellation of Zambia's external debt we have seen quite substantial inflows of investment, new mining tax regime.

Now the government has got spare resources, not huge spare resources, but there was a modest surplus of the budget last year," High Commissioner Harrison said.
He advised Zambia to make important and right choices on the utilisation of the available resources.

High Commissioner Harrison said the country should concentrate on improving infrastructure especially in health, education and transport sectors.

"It's good that Zambia now has got those choices that it is no longer a question of financial firefighting as it has always been for the past 30 years," High Commissioner Harrison observed. "We will work with other cooperating partners and the Zambian government to help make those choices to move to the next stage of development of Zambia."
He also expressed happiness over the country's general elections in 2006, which he said were peaceful.

"I think the other highlights of my time here was obviously to be able to observe the elections in Zambia 2006 and I was very glad that there was a European Union observer mission, including a lot of British citizens on the observer mission from the Commonwealth and the elections were peaceful, free and fair and very much an example to Zambia's neighbours, to Africa and the world generally," High Commissioner Harrison observed.

He also hoped that the constitution-making process should not be turned into a playing field.

On the Zimbabwe situation and the on-going negotiations between the governing ZANU-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) aimed at ending the political, social and economic crises in that country, High Commissioner Harrison said he hoped that the negotiations would culminate into resolutions that would reflect the will of Zimbabweans.

High Commissioner Harrison, who leaves Zambia this month to take up another diplomatic appointment, will be replaced by Thomas Carter and his wife Carolyn Davidson who would be joint High Commissioner to Zambia.

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Musukuma explains why KK, Chiluba were not invited to Smart Partnership

Musukuma explains why KK, Chiluba were not invited to Smart Partnership
By Noel Sichalwe
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:01]

PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa’s press aide John Musukuma yesterday said the government could not invite former presidents Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba to the Smart Partnership conference because they are not fellows to the partnership movement.

Musukuma said all the former presidents that attended the Global Southern Africa Smart Partnership conference were invited as fellows of Commonwealth Partnership for Technology and Management (CPTM).

He said former Namibian president Sam Nujoma, former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano and former president of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire were invited as fellows of the CPTM.

“We do not invite former presidents, we invite fellows,” Musukuma explained.
According to the Mulungushi Smart Notes, a fellow of CPTM may be bestowed on any head of governments or persons of private eminence in governments or in private or public sector companies and organisations who actively support the concept and practice.

Such persons may have also provided CPTM thoughtful leadership on developmental issues and guidance on financial sustainability, who have been invited by other fellows to become a fellow of CPTM.

CPTM was set up by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Auckland, New Zealand in October 1995. Over the years, CPTM has pioneered ways to take new ideas forward through the Smart Partnership International Dialogue.

The document states that a special category of mainly heads of state and government have been invited to become CPTM fellows to provide advice on how to take new ideas forward which have generated in discussions through the medium of the country, regional and global organisations.

The government did not invite Dr Kaunda and Chiluba to attend the conference despite hosting the dialogue at Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) in Lusaka. The conference ended on Thursday.

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Fertiliser prices pose a challenge to agriculture, says Rupiah

Fertiliser prices pose a challenge to agriculture, says Rupiah
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:01]

THE recent surge in fertiliser prices is posing a serious challenge to agricultural production in Zambia, Vice-President Rupiah Banda has said. And Africa Development Bank (AfDB) Group president Donald Kaberuka said the bank would increase its support towards agricultural development in view of rising costs of farming inputs. Meanwhile, Dr Kaberuka expressed doubt that oil prices will tumble below US$100 per barrel in the short term.

Speaking when Dr Kaberuka paid a courtesy call on him yesterday, Vice-President Banda said peasant and small-scale farmers in the country would feel the pinch of soaring prices of fertiliser.

“Agricultural production needs to be expanded, but the recent surge in fertiliser prices pose serious challenges to agricultural production, especially the peasant farmers,’ Vice-President Banda said. “Government will work closely with other stakeholders in addressing existing challenges in the agriculture sector in order to improve food production.”

Fertiliser prices have reached an all-time high of US$1,500 per tonne level, raising questions on whether Zambia’s small-scale farmers will afford the commodity the next farming season.

The current trading price of fertiliser represents a 300 per cent increase over last seasons’ figure of US$500, on the back of rising oil prices on the international market and increasing demand of the commodity by agricultural producing countries worldwide.

Converted at the current exchange rate, a tonne of fertiliser in kwacha terms is now costing around K4.9 million. This means a 50 kilogramme bag of the commodity could even cost around K200,000.

Industry analysts have suggested that the cause of the current high prices results from the increasing demand due to high food prices, which has been exacerbated by the current biofuel situation. Furthermore, China recently imposed an export tariff of between 100 per cent and 135 per cent on all fertilisers, which effectively took 2.4 million tonnes of urea out of the world market.

Stakeholders feel revamping operations of the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) could offer a long term solution to rising prices of fertiliser as the factory had the capacity to produce 300,000 tonnes against local demand of around 150,000 tonnes.
And Dr Kaberuka pledged the bank’s continued support towards agricultural development in Zambia.

“Prices of fertilizer have gone through the roof. They were less than US$500 last year and now they are nearing US$1,800 per tonne,” Dr Kaberuka said. “We are keen to support countries like Zambia so that farmers can have access to fertiliser.

I am particularly impressed with efforts going into maize production in Zambia, providing a sound beginning to food security in the country. The bank has committed an additional US $1 billion to support agriculture in member countries in Africa, increasing the total intervention for the food crisis to US $4.8 billion.”

Meanwhile, the Zambian government and AfDB have signed a US $500,000 about K1.7 billion emergency relief as an intervention for flood and drought victims.

Finance and national planning minister Ng’andu Magande, who signed on behalf of the Zambian government, said the government was impressed with the support coming from the AfDB, an institution that played a critical role in writing off Zambia’s external debt through the HIPC and Multi-lateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).

And Dr Kaberuka suggested that oil-importing countries like Zambia should turn to alternative sources of energy to counter rising prices of crude oil.

“With the evolution in oil prices, it is very unlikely that prices will fall below US $100 per barrel in the near future,” said Dr Kaberuka. “It is therefore not possible for African countries to continue relying on crude oil but should turn to other sources of energy.”

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Chissano encourages dialogue in Zimbabwe

Chissano encourages dialogue in Zimbabwe
By Kabanda Chulu and Noel Sichalwe
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:00]

FORMER Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano has said Zimbabweans should be encouraged to follow the path of dialogue they have undertaken. And head of Sudanese General National Council for Strategic Planning (GNCSP) Dr Tagelsir Ali said Africa has to stand against the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

In an interview in Lusaka, on the sidelines of the just-ended Global Southern Africa Smart Partnership Conference, Chissano said there was need to encourage Zimbabweans to care for peace and unity.

"We should attempt to help them come closer to each other because Zimbabweans can and will find solutions to their problems.

And when looking at the levels of violence, I was astonished to see the quick signing of the MoU but this shows that a solution is in sight," Chissano said. "We should encourage Zimbabweans to care for peace and unity and on this basis, problems will be solved and conflicts will not occur again."

He said former presidents could not just jump on resolving conflicts without being consulted.

"We only come when we are requested like we did in Congo and Kenya with favourable results and through our association, we are ready to give advice in conflicts and consolidation of peace," he said.

On the ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who has sought an arrest warrant against President al-Bashir on charges including genocide and war crimes in Darfur, Chissano urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure that the arrest does not culminate in more bloodshed.

He said the ICC was an independent court, which should carry out its operations without interference.

However, Chissano said the challenge lies in how to implement the court's decision to arrest President Al-Bashir without worsening the situation.

"Naturally, the only way to effect an indictment is to arrest the suspect and in this case, President Al-Bashir, is surrounded by people who will do anything to protect him hence there will be bloodshed that might even cause more deaths than the ones President Al-Bashir is accused of doing," President Chissano said.

"So we appeal to the ICC to ensure that measures are in place that must not worsen or culminate in more bloodshed."

On the just-ended Smart Partnership Dialogue, President Chissano said there has been a major transformation since the inception of the Smart Partnership dialogue conferences.

"There is diversification on a number of issues and also the quality of debate is high and the discussions are very live with most participants showing keen interest," said President Chissano.

"But our shortcomings lie in lack of evaluating and consolidating the ideas discussed at previous conferences and I am glad that this matter will be given consideration at this year's event."

And Dr Ali said people had now realised why the ICC wanted to arrest President Al-Bashir.

"If this thing succeeds in Sudan, then every leader in Third World countries will have to accept a similar thing. Africa should be on the lookout for this because every leader could be subjected to the same treatment.

This will not be allowed because it is affecting the sovereignty of the country. We feel that we have got to stand against this and the West don't have any right," he said.

"At this point, the entire country and everyone who was against the President has unified behind him. We will absolutely in no way allow this.

The ultimatum is behind us. All the international organisations have visited Sudan and even the envoy of United States said there is nothing of that sort on the ground. They all give positive results."
Dr Ali said anything that happened in Sudan had an effect on the entire African continent.

He said Sudan would therefore, like to contribute to the stability of the entire African continent.

Dr Ali said the fight in Darfur was not racial or religious but that the whole issue started as a conflict of land and eventually spread into different groups.

"We put an end to the 20 years of war and now people are enjoying peace and not a single bullet has been fired after the peace agreement.

There is no going back to any war of any kind," he said.
Dr Ali said anybody that visited Sudan with a particular agenda always found what they wanted in order to confirm their suspicions ranging from failure to respect human rights, infringing on press freedom and failing to observe democratic tenets.

He said Sudan was concerned of how it would make use of oil revenues to develop other sectors like the growth of the agricultural sector.

"The most important thing is integration," he said. "If we sit together and say what we can contribute and put our strengths together, all these problems can be solved. It requires political will.

That is why I think about the need for African vision. We should ask questions like where does Africa want to go, where is it and where is it going?"

On the Smart Partnership conference, Dr Ali said the conference was successful because they dealt with issues of national visions and sustainability of economic development.

He said there was good exchange of opinions and ideas from different countries and they discussed the challenges that needed to be addressed to ensure economic development and food security.
Dr Ali said the conference was very valuable as most of the issues affecting Africa were dealt with including poverty eradication.

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Vedanta announces KCM profit decline

Vedanta announces KCM profit decline
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:00]

VEDANTA Resources Plc has announced a decline in profits at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), attributing the slump to the new mining tax regime implemented by the Zambian government last April. Releasing the 2008 first quarter results, Vedanta Resources - which controls a 79.4 per cent stake in KCM - stated that the new mineral royalties being charged at three per cent from the previous 0.6 per cent, coupled with higher operating costs, led to the slump in profits.

First quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation declined to US$71.1 million about K248.9 billion compared with US$106.2 million around K371.7 billion gained in the corresponding period last year.

"The decrease in profitability was primarily due to higher costs and higher royalties," Vedanta Resources stated. "Operating costs remained under pressure due to higher manpower costs, higher energy prices and lower production."

Vedanta stated that mine output from the Zambian mines was around 21,000 tonnes, marginally higher than the corresponding period last year and significantly higher than the immediately preceding quarter last quarter of 2007.

"Improving mine output remains a major focus area for us. During the first quarter of 2008, KCM produced 36,000 tonnes of copper cathodes which was lower than the production in the corresponding period last year by about 3,000 tonnes," stated Vedanta.

"However, production volumes are higher than the immediately preceding quarter by about 2,000 tonnes. The production from the tailings leach plant was restricted to 9,000 metric tonnes, which is about 50 per cent of quarterly capacity on account of technical process issues which has now been stabilised."

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Swazi PM urges integration of economic growth

Swazi PM urges integration of economic growth
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday August 02, 2008 [04:01]

SWAZILAND Prime Minister Absalom Themba Dlamini has said African entrepreneurs need to form business joint ventures in order to compete in the global market. And Vice-President Rupiah Banda said the relationship between Swaziland and Zambia will only be meaningful when business persons from the two countries interact more intimately.

Speaking at a dinner hosted for him at Hotel InterContinental in Lusaka on Thursday, Prime Minister Dlamini said the southern African region had a great challenge of integrating the economic development particularly in respect of trade, tourism and cultural exchanges.

"I believe there is a lot of potential in the region but we have not fully utilised the human and capital resources that we have in our respective countries.

It is true that business joint ventures between the Swaziland business community and Zambian business community need to be encouraged," Prime Minister Dlamini said. "Our entrepreneurs need to form business joint ventures in order to compete in the global market."

He said the government of King Mswati III would follow closely the revival of the Zambia-Swaziland Joint Permanent Commission of Co-operation (JPC).

"There is no doubt that the commission will stimulate trade between Swaziland and Zambia," he said.

Prime Minister Dlamini, who was in Zambia to attend the Smart Partnership Dialogue and officiate at this year's agriculture and commercial show on behalf of King Mswati III, called for the establishment of regional trade fairs that would promote economic integration in southern Africa.

"We need regional trade fairs where we can showcase what each country can offer," Prime Minister Dlamini said.

He said the region was faced with different challenges such as soaring food prices which posed a great concern and climate change that had made it difficult for farmers to produce enough food.

Prime Minister Dlamini commended Zambia for its contribution to the fight against apartheid and liberation of many other African countries.

"It's true that Swaziland has always warmly welcomed Zambians to our country and they are engaged in different trades," said Prime Minister Dlamini.
And Vice-President Banda said it would be useful to revive the Zambia-Swaziland JPC which was established in 1986 in order to put the two countries' cooperation in perspective.

"We must encourage our businessmen and women to forge partnerships and joint ventures," he said. "We are glad that presently, your economy is growing at an impressive speed.

As a fellow SADC member, we are happy for you and look forward to our continued co-operation as we integrate our economies even further."

Vice-President Banda said he was happy that there were many Zambians traveling to Swaziland for training and working there.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

(TALKZIMBABWE) Zvayi says he makes no apology for supporting Zanu PF

Zvayi says he makes no apology for supporting Zanu PF
Brian Heart
Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:41:00 +0000

ZIMBABWEAN journalist, Caesar Zvayi, who has triggered controversy in Botswana after he was hired by the University of Botswana (UB) as a lecturer in the Department of Media studies, has vowed that he has no apology to make for his controversial works at The Herald and will continue supporting the ruling Zanu PF even in the face of vilification. Zvayi was a former Political Editor with The Herald newspaper.

Last month, he was, along with Sunday Mail Political Editor, Munyaradzi Huni added to the European Union’s (EU) smart sanctions list on Zimbabwe. They are accused of fueling violence through their writings in those two state newspapers.

Zvayi was last month hired by UB to lecture in print journalism but was later placed amongst the 137 people published by the EU that have been targeted for sanctions for their support of President Robert Mugabe's regime.

“I make no apologies for supporting Zanu PF because I subscribe to its Pan African values," Zvayi told The Botswana Gazette yesterday.

“I will never support the (Movement for Democratic Change) MDC as currently constituted because to me it is a counter-revolutionary Trojan horse that is working with outsiders to subvert the logical conclusion of the Zimbabwean revolution,” said Zvayi.

“Being at UB does not mean I stop being a Zimbabwean, supporting Zanu PF has no bearing on my qualifications as a journalist or competence as a media practitioner. The maliciousness and childishness of this campaign (to have him deported) is testimony to the fickleness of the people behind it who apparently believe universities employ people on political grounds. They need only look at the University of Zimbabwe today, whose Chancellor is President Mugabe, but which employs vocal MDC office holders, sympathizers and activists like Dr. Lovemore Madhuku, Dr. John Makumbe, and Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, among others.”

The Botswana Gazette quoted a number of Zimbabweans living in that country who had voiced their concern against Zvayi’s employment at the university.

The newspaper quoted one Oscar Mati who wrote in a letter, “Please use your medium to expose the EU-banned Zanu PF spin-doctor by the name of Caesar Zvayi. It would be a sad day if Botswana, a model of democracy and good governance in our region, allows human rights violators to hide and even seek employment in your country."

Another Zimbabwean Chinono Chinengwe claimed that Zvayi was not a Media Professional.

“We want to appeal to the Botswana government to deport Caesar Zvayi for his contribution to the economic and political chaos in Zimbabwe. The Botswana government was allowing its students to be taught by an unfit person. “He will create chaos in your country. We urge the Botswana government to respect the EU sanctions and to deport this guy immediately,” he wrote to the newspaper.

But Zvayi told the newspaper finding a job outside Zimbabwe did not change his political ideology.

“I still support Zanu PF,” he said.

Zvayi has holds a BSc in Biological Sciences and Geography, as well as a post graduate diploma and masters in journalism from the University of Zimbabwe.

The Head of Media Studies Department, Professor David Kerr said they were happy with Zvayi’s academic background and he was the only candidate that satisfied their criteria during recruitment.

Kerr said there was not much that he could do on the matter because, “we have already hired him and he qualified”. The Professor observed that the UB hires on academic merit as well as experience, but ideology is not considered.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) UK photojournalist hanged self in Zimbabwe hotel

UK photojournalist hanged self in Zimbabwe hotel
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 08/02/2008 04:33:51

THE family of an Irish photojournalist who hanged himself in Zimbabwe while working undercover for the London Times newspaper has said there will be no need for an enquiry after accepting he took his own life. Richard Mills, an award winning Northern Ireland journalist was said by Zimbabwean authorities to have died of asphyxiation by hanging – an explanation initially rejected by his family. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Thursday that it had also withdrawn a call for an inquiry into Mills’ death in a hotel room on July 14.

“Having had the chance to examine in detail the circumstances surrounding Richard’s death we are now reconciled to the fact that he did indeed take his own life,” a statement released by the family said.

“We acknowledge that the amount of suffering and extreme hardship he witnessed at first hand in many harrowing situations throughout the world proved too much for him to bear.”

The family’s statement forced the IFJ to recoil from a statement issued earlier this week demanding that the South African government puts pressure on Zimbabwean authorities to launch a full investigation.

The IFJ said: “We share the deep suspicion of Richard Mills’ family over the circumstances of the death of this gifted colleague. It casts a fresh shadow over the crisis for democracy in Zimbabwe.”

The IFJ now admits its suspicions were misplaced. IFJ Secretary General Adrian White said the organisation’s call for an enquiry was made in response to a request by the Mills family. The 41-year-old renowned front-line lensman, who had worked on assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan had been due to leave Zimbabwe the day after he died.

A veteran of the Royal Air Force, Mills had been working in Zimbabwe undercover, a situation which made The Times cautious about reporting details of his death. The paper would not even disclose whether Mills had been working with a reporter, although it later emerged his body was found by Catherine Philp, The Times’ Diplomatic Correspondent who was covering the story in Zimbabwe with Mills.

Mills was laid to rest on Tuesday after a funeral service at Roselawn Cemetery in Belfast.

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Letters - Cuban Ambassador

Food for thought
By Francisco Javier Viamontes Correa, Ambassador of Cuba in Z
Thursday July 31, 2008 [04:00]

The street kids behave like flies
Begging for food up and down
Around the cities and towns,
Empty stomachs and big eyes.

The street kids just cry and sound,
They live inhaling dirty smoke,
They are the ugly face and soul
Of injustice going around.

The street kids everyday see
Luxurious cars, limousines,
And arrogant human beings
Passing by, but very quick.

The street kids need our love,
They need food, shelter, and cloth,
They need our help and hope,
Good will and real support.

The street kids are our kids,
They are the future, no doubt,
But we have to help them out
Of the shameful life they live.

Poverty and misery grow,
Like prices of goods and oil,
While the grass covers the soil
And the poor remain below.

The street kids are just around,
They are close to you and me,
No more remorse, no more sins,
Lets help them on fair ground.

From poor families they come,
Surviving on meager diets,
Fighting for food days and nights,
They don’t have anywhere to go.

They are the orphans of god,
Sons and daughters of regret,
But they deserve bread and butter
The same as everybody does.

Without food, no brain can think;
Empty stomach is a shame,
The street kids share my claim,
What I say and what I mean.

The state shall look after them
With home, food and education
And tomorrow the whole nation
Begging for food up and down
Will be paid back in return.

We have to share the wealth
The desires, the goals and dreams,
If we want to live in peace
And equality on our earth.

No more street kids, no more;
No more disparities, no, no;
Lets change the world, lets go
Before it’s too late.

It is high time to break away
From hunger, pain and disease,
The street kids will be so pleased
To enjoy a better life one day.

This poem is dedicated to the street
kids and hoping for a better future
for them.



(HERALD) Harare gets ready for Bacossi

Harare gets ready for Bacossi
Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT has begun preparations for households in Harare to start buying basic goods under the National Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention programme launched recently by President Mugabe. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials were yesterday accrediting teams that will be tasked with conducting a survey of the number of households in the capital’s seven districts.

The teams consist of district administrators, University of Zimbabwe students, central bank and other Government officials. Accreditation of the survey teams was underway at Harare Polytechnic College yesterday. The more than 1 500 — who will conduct the surveys — underwent a two-day intensive training on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We are still here and waiting for the IDs to be processed and once they are ready, we will be deployed to various areas in Harare and Ruwa where we will be operating from," said one of trainees who preferred anonymity.

Once deployed, the teams will first collect the names of households to benefit from the programme before a verification process.

Distribution points would then be set up in the districts once the verification process, which is expected to last a week, is complete.

A central bank official who declined to be named said the verification was meant to avoid duplication and guard against fraudsters.

In an interview, Harare Metropolitan Province Resident Minister Cde David Karimanzira said he had been given a briefing on the progress achieved to date.

He said the teams would be accompanied by police when they conduct their surveys.

"Some people might become suspicious but the police would be there to clarify the position," said Cde Karimanzira.

He said the distribution points would be set up at schools and community centres.

The Baccossi programme, which is being spearheaded by the central bank, seeks to, among other things, make sure that all Zimbabwean families have equal access to affordable basic commodities.

Most people are battling to get basic goods, which have been priced beyond their reach.

The food hampers cost $110 billion and include rice, sugar, toothpaste, cooking oil, sanitarywear, washing powder, flour and soap, among other basic commodities.



Sichula challenges SMEs to build capacity

Sichula challenges SMEs to build capacity
By Kabanda Chulu
Friday August 01, 2008 [04:00]

ZAMBIA Chamber of Small and Medium Business Association (ZCSMBA) executive director Max Sichula has challenged Small and Medium Enterprises to build capacity before establishing linkages with foreign investors. In an interview during the Smart Partnership Dialogue conference, Sichula said his organisation was using the forum to share its experience and also to learn from the successes of other countries.

“As much as we need linkages with foreign companies, a lot of effort is required to be done especially in the areas of governance and business management because at the moment, not all companies are on equal footing hence they can’t enter into such arrangements since they are weak, small and fragile,” he said.

Sichula said the ZCSMBA, which has 48 member associations across the country, was intending to attract foreign investors that would help local companies add value to their exports.

“This country is rich in various natural resources that can cater for almost all the sectors of the economy but we are lacking value addition hence exporting raw materials but through dialogue, we want to learn from our colleagues how they have managed to overcome the challenges facing the SMEs and how they have managed to grow the industry,” he said.

Sichula also expressed optimism that financing for SMEs would improve in the country following the increasing interest by several commercial banks to develop various financial products suitable for the sector.

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Rupiah is right

Rupiah is right
By Editor
Friday August 01, 2008 [04:00]

THE existence of large numbers of hungry and undernourished individuals within our families should constitute an affront to all of us. The observations made by Vice-President Rupiah Banda about the need to transform our society deserve serious consideration. Truly, no one should be proud to have what Vice-President Banda calls a peasant, that is a poor person, within our families

We agree with Vice-President Banda that “no one from our society should go without three meals in a day; no one in our families should not have access to electricity, lighting, television…” Of course it will not be easy for us to provide these things to our people. Our country is too poor to give our people great material wealth, but we can give them a sense of equality, of human dignity.

Time for small thinking is over. We must adapt our thinking to the changed conditions in our country and in the world. Of course no one should go off into wild flights of fancy, or make plans of action unwarranted by the objective situation, or stretch for the impossible. The present problem is that many people consider it impossible to accomplish things which could be accomplished if they exerted themselves.

We should always use our brains and think everything over carefully. A common saying goes, “Knit your brows and you will hit upon a stratagem.” In other words, much thinking yields wisdom.

In order to get rid of the blindness which exists to a serious extent in our country’s political leadership, we must encourage our leaders to think.

We have made virtue out of our inadequacies. If our country is to move forward, intelligence, honesty and hard work are demanded of all of us, and especially from those in leadership positions.

And as Vice-President Banda correctly observed, the development of our country requires the participation of all of us; “government alone cannot build all the roads, universities and social services…” The responsibility for eradicating poverty – peasants as Vice-President Banda puts it – will depend on mobilising the sweat equity of our people themselves. No one can build an economy or a society purely on the basis of entitlement; people have to make a contribution. They have to have a sense of ownership.

And as Cuban President Raul Castro recently put it, social justice and equality means “equality of rights, of opportunities, not of income. Equity is not egalitarianism. The latter is ultimately another form of exploitation: That of the good worker by one who is not, or, even worse, by the idle”.

But it is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental needs to remain unsatisfied. There are many people in our country who each day cannot meet the basic needs necessary for a descent human life. Economic justice requires that each individual has adequate resources to survive, to develop and thrive, and to give back in service to the community. And economic growth depends in the first place on social progress. Therefore, all of us should advocate just government policies.

And those in business should understand what their correct roles are or should be. The roles of business owners and management have a central importance from the view point of society, because they are at the heart of that network of technical, commercial, financial and cultural bonds that characterise the modern business reality.

For this reason, the exercise of responsibility by business owners and management requires constant reflection on the moral motivations that should guide the personal choices of those to whom these tasks fall. The motive of business should be not only to make profit but even more to contribute to the common good of society.

Businesses should be characterised by their capacity to serve the common good of society through the production of useful goods and services.

The sense of responsibility in economic initiative should demonstrate the individual and social virtues necessary for the development.
A business enterprise must be a community of solidarity. And solidarity is a basic fact of human existence.

No person is an island, cut off from others and self-sufficient. We should always remember the African proverb: “I am because we are, we are because I am.”

It is our fellow human beings, and especially those who lack life and need justice, in whom God wishes to be served and loved.

They are the ones with whom Jesus identified: “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’” (Matt. 25:37-40).

It should never be that the anger of the poor, the peasants should be the finger of accusation pointed at all of us because we failed to respond to the cries of the people for food, for shelter, for the dignity of the individual.

None can be at peace while others wallow in poverty and insecurity. A stable, permanent solution must be found for this serious problem of poverty. There is need for us to struggle, with international support, to draw up plans so that our people can meet their needs for basic foodstuffs as much as possible.

We need to create an awareness of the inevitable need – if we wish to end the existence of ‘peasants’ – for profound socioeconomic and structural changes that will make it possible to adopt higher forms of agricultural production.

But it will be folly and sheer fantasy for anyone to imagine that we can end poverty in our country in a plain-sailing way, without difficulties and setbacks or the exertion of tremendous efforts. We must be prepared to overcome all difficulties with an indomitable will and in a planned way.

And our people should never forget that the wealth of society is created by the workers, peasants and working intellectuals. If they take their destiny into their own hands and take an active attitude in solving problems instead of evading them, there will be no difficulty in the world which they cannot overcome.

Vice-President Banda is right and let’s give serious consideration to what he has said.

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