Saturday, November 15, 2008
By Samuel Nchembwe
I WAS pleasantly surprised on Tuesday night to discover South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) among my cable TV channels in the Washington DC area of the United States of America, my current home country.
Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Leslie Mbula, was on “Point Blanc” being interviewed by a rather brusque young host but he was not in the least bit fazed by her lack of finesse.
High Commissioner Mbula remained on point and I actually think that he did an excellent job of explaining the importance of the late president Mwanawasa’s legacy and why President Rupiah Banda was more than qualified to carry it forward and translate it into real economic and social benefits for the people of Zambia.
Mr Mbula explained that this would be achieved through able policy management at home, focusing on the economic empowerment of ordinary Zambians and on a foreign policy that would position the country for enhanced regional and global cooperation while strengthening its international competitiveness.
He emphasised that merely increasing salaries was not the answer to the development imperative at home. Development would take time and would only be achieved by making wise investments in infrastructure, health and education in addition to making finance accessible to local entrepreneurs.
Mr Mbula came across as a well-educated, articulate and mature civil servant and I was especially proud to realise that his audience was global and that people in the United States and elsewhere were witnessing Zambia’s intellectual competitiveness first hand, courtesy of SABC.
Mr Mbula’s testimony to the enduring relevance and vibrancy of Dr Mwanawasa’s legacy also portrayed another side to our late president: Dr Mwanawasa combined a strong commitment to the national interest with an uncanny eye for talent which enabled him to achieve an admirable balance between loyalty and competence in many of the appointments he made.
Bank of Zambia Governor, Caleb Fundanga is perhaps a prime example of the pinnacle of Zambia’s talent pool serving the national interest. In addition to prior accomplishments, Dr Fundanga—a famously independent and hardworking Mwanawasa appointee—has won several prestigious international awards for his central banking prowess during his tenure at the Bank of Zambia.
Another Zambian stands out for his excellence and dedication to duty. Sebastian Kopulande is an indefatigable businessman and public servant who has a reputation for hard-work and whose political acumen and policy management abilities are second to none.
Mr Kopulande, a Rhodes Scholar and a member of the MMD national executive committee (NEC), is a founding member of the party who worked closely with late president Mwanawasa from its founding in 1991 until the president’s untimely demise in August this year.
President Mwanawasa clearly trusted Mr Kopulande’s judgement as evidenced by the many sensitive responsibilities he entrusted him, including special assistant (Special Duties), senior private secretary and campaign manager. The late president drew on Mr Kopulande’s vast domestic and international policy credentials by seeking his advice at critical times and tasking him to write a number of important policy speeches for him.
As evidenced by his innovative, aggressive and highly effective media campaign in support of President Rupiah Banda during the just-ended presidential campaign, Mr Kopulande’s sense of duty to country is marked by intelligence, courage and a fierce loyalty to the MMD and to his superiors in the party structure.
Mr Kopulande is a results-oriented operative who delivers on his objectives. When Mr Kopulande resigned his State House position to focus on his business in 2006, Patriotic Front (PF) leader, Michael Sata sought to portray the event as an instance of anti-Bemba bloodletting by the Mwanawasa administration.
Mr Kopulande was quick to refute Mr Sata’s claims both orally and in writing through an open letter rebuking him for his “tribal politics” and duplicity. A quote from the letter is perhaps the best insight into Sebastian Kopulande, the patriot and public servant:
“…Let me advise that I do not believe in tribal politics and I should therefore, not be associated with it. I believe that this country faces numerous developmental challenges which should be addressed with full participation of all the Zambian people, regardless of their tribal, religious, gender, racial or political persuasion.
“Tribal hegemony is a departure from this philosophy and a recipe for factional conflict which can only spell doom for the future of our beloved country. The development process also calls for the free participation of the global citizenry through direct foreign investment in our economy and other sectors.
“Xenophobia therefore, will only impede progress and set our country up against the rest of humanity while keeping us out of the global socio-economic advances. Consequently, this nation needs a leadership of vision, integrity, selflessness, courage and commitment to take us to the next level of development…”
As observed by Mr Mbula’s interviewer on Point Blanc, President Banda faces a formidable challenge in seeking to continue the upward trajectory of the Mwanawasa legacy. Beyond the cooperation of those in the opposition, President Banda will need the tested and able support of a vice-president who is immersed in the “Mwanawasa Doctrine” and who also has the vision, integrity, selflessness, courage and commitment to help the president take our great nation to the next level of development.
Mr Mbula’s interview also fell on election night for us here in America. I was so proud to note President-Elect Barack Obama’s victory and the gracious concession speech that senator John McCain gave from his home State of Arizona. Senator McCain said, and I quote:
“…Sen. Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has
prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.”
Tonight — tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Sen Obama — whether they supported me or Sen Obama. I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president…”
I could not help but wistfully think of Zambia’s own Michael Sata and his failure to accept defeat graciously.
Like President-Elect Barack Obama, President Rupiah Banda waged a respectful campaign and refused to be drawn into personal insults despite extreme provocation from some circles in the Press.
Similarly, President Banda has been magnanimous in victory to the extent of inviting his former opponents to work with him for the good of the country. My deepest hope is that Mr Sata and others in the opposition will follow the example of Senator John McCain and pledge to do all in their power to help President Banda lead the country through the many challenges facing it.
Like Senator McCain, I hope Mr Sata in particular, will find it in himself to wish the president Godspeed and realise that he is no longer his opponent but his president because he is president of the country that they both love and which looks up to each one of them for an example of level-headed wisdom in these treacherous times.
It remains to the opposition to work out their disagreements with the ruling party in an orderly and lawful manner. And they must be as supportive as possible in order to avoid any unnecessary pain or cost to ordinary Zambians as we press on to the next level of development for our country.-The author is a Zambian based in the US.
Shoprite, Spar reduce mealie meal prices
By YANDE KAPEYA
SHOPRITE and Spar shopping outlets in Lusaka have reduced prices of Roller and Breakfast mealie-meal to the recommended retail price.
The Millers Association of Zambia had directed its agents and depots to sell the commodity at the recommended K52,000 for a 25 kilogramme bag of breakfast and K44,000 for Roller Meal.
Retailers have also been advised to add not more than K5,000 per bag within a radius of five kilometres from the mill.
A check at Spar Arcades found a 25 kilogramme bag of Roller Meal selling at K40,000 while Breakfast Meal was selling at between K51,000 and K55,000.
At Shoprite Manda Hill, a 25 kilogramme bag of Roller Meal was fetching between K39,000 and 46,000 while Breakfast was pegged at K50,000.
Meanwhile, the Forum for Leadership Search in Zambia has advised opposition political parties to desist from politicising the escalating mealie-meal prices.
Forum executive director Edwin Lifwekelo said the high prices of the commodity had partially been caused by the global and financial crisis which had not spared Zambia, adding that those attacking Government and President Banda over the matter were not being sincere.
Mr Lifwekelo said in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday that the responsibility to cushion the escalating prices of mealie-meal could not be left to Government alone, but that all stakeholders needed to be involved.
“Stop demonising President Rupiah Banda over the escalating mealie-meal prices. This has nothing to do with him and the promises he made during the campaigns.”
Mr Lifwekelo urged Government to deal with millers that are hoarding maize.
On Tuesday, Government accused some milling companies of hoarding maize for profiteering and speculative motives.
Government directed milling companies to ensure that traders dealing in their products sold mealie-meal at prices between K40,000 and K43,000 for Roller Meal and K50,000 for Breakfast.
By NANCY MWAPE
INTERMARKET Banking Corporation (Zambia) limited has introduced a ‘Chikwama’ Savings and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) account targeted at Zambians without bank accounts.
Speaking in Lusaka yesterday, Intermarket Banking Corporation head of business development and marketing, Alinani Simukonda said the new product was designed to meet specific financial requirements that would uplift individuals.
Mr Simukonda said the ‘Chikwama’ account was an innovative product that allow them save and ultimately improve their economic status.
He described the ‘Chikwama’ savings account as a comprehensive package that would incorporate all in society.
He said to qualify for this account, which come with an ATM card, one only needed a minimum balance of K20,000.
“The Chikwama ATM account is a unique account specifically designed for customers that transact mainly on ATM. No monthly fees, no hidden charges or costs as long as you use the ATM only,’’ he said.
Mr Simukonda said with the ATM, clientele would be able to deposit cash and make withdrawals.
He said account holders were also eligible for loans.
He said for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs), the bank would provide working capital in form of over drafts and bridging loans.
Mr Simukonda said the bank had further introduced the interDollar savings account for customers wishing to transact in foreign exchange.
He said the interDollar account would attract a minimum balance of US$200, four per cent interest per annum and no monthly fees.
And Intermarket Banking Corporation will soon open a branch in Lusaka’s Kamwala area to tap business from cross border traders, marketeers and individuals.
Mr Simukonda said the bank was providing unique diverse range of financial services and was committed to being the best at creating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with all stakeholders.
By CHARLES MUSONDA
PRESIDENT Banda has asked certain sections of society to stop perpetuating the myth that there is tension in Zambia. “We have a democratically elected government in place and functioning security wings and government should not be forced to use excessive measures on its people.
“Those who feel aggrieved, please go to court because violence is not and will never be an answer,” Mr Banda said during his first press conference held at State House yesterday.
He thanked the people of Zambia for electing him as the country’s fourth republican President.
Mr Banda also thanked the MMD and all opposition political parties that supported his candidature.
He commended the Electoral Commission of Zambia for producing a map that indicated how Zambians voted in the October 30, 2008 Presidential poll.
Mr Banda said the map showed that the MMD covered most parts of Zambia and the ruling party deserved victory.
He reiterated his pledge to be President of all Zambians and work hard with his strength and intellect.
And Mr Banda said his Government would meet challenges of the current global financial crisis.
He said he took time in constituting his team because of the recent major changes that have occurred in the World.
Mr Banda said while Zambia benefited from high copper prices, the country faced the harsh reality of consuming expensive petroleum products.
He said Zambia’s situation in the global economy had become harsher, following the inflation that the country was now facing.
Mr Banda said because of the global financial crisis, people in some countries had reduced their expenditure on goods and services and that was why copper prices were now coming down.
“The mines are earning less money…and there will be less business and less work as mines cut their expenditure,” he said.
Mr Banda said in the light of what was happening in the global economy, the Zambian government could not sit idly by but respond and forge ahead.
“That is why I spent some time to assemble a team that can pull along with me…and I am confident that we will meet the challenges,” he said.
Mr Banda said he would work hard with his new cabinet to honour government’s undertakings.
He said the government must encourage emergence of other economic activities beyond copper mining.
Mr Banda said he would press hard for his government to create jobs and reduce poverty.
He said even if the world economy was in a crisis, indicators for Zambia were positive.
“The Kwacha has started gaining strength and the overall picture is that of peace and stability,” he said.
By ANTHONY MULOWA
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has warned people perpetrating tension and violence in the country that the law will visit them. Mr Banda urged all parties aggrieved with the results of the just ended presidential election to seek legal redress other than fanning tension in the nation.
Addressing his first Press conference at State House yesterday, Mr Banda said the people who were perpetrating tension should immediately stop.
“Those perpetrating tension in the country should stop it. Government should not be forced to use extreme measures on its people,” he said.
The president said the Government would not allow individuals for whatever reasons to take the law into their own hands.
And responding to questions from journalists on whether the Government would accommodate would-be refugees from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mr Banda said Zambians should guard the peace the country was enjoying.
Zambia has always accommodated refugees from war-torn countries in the region but he hoped the situation in DRC would not degenerate to a situation that would lead people from that country to flee to other countries for safety.
He urged the service chiefs to ensure that there was no lawlessness by people fueling tension in Zambia now that the elections were over.
He commended the service chiefs for working hard during the absence and subsequent death of president Mwanawasa.
He said the service chiefs managed to ensure that peace and order reigned during trying moments.
Zambia Army commander Isaac Chisuzi, Zambia National Service commandant Raphael Chisheta and Zambia Air force (ZAF) commander Samuel Mapala would continue in their respective positions.
Inspector General of Police Ephraim Mateyo has, however, been dropped and is yet to be assigned in the diplomatic service.
And Mr Banda said his administration was determined to ensure that the fight against corruption continued and moved further.
Mr Banda bemoaned the slow pace at which most cases by the Task Force on Corruption were being conducted.
He urged the Task Force on Corruption to speed up and conclude the cases as soon as possible.
Government would also look at means in which it could improve funding to the Task Force on Corruption.
When he was the vice president, he was meeting with the donors to find means and ways to raise funding to the institution.
On the electoral reforms, Mr Banda said the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) would ensure that electoral reforms became a reality so as to improve the electoral system in Zambia.
“I hope the NCC will work on these suggestions and improve the electoral process,” he said and dispelled claims that the MMD was the party promoting tribal voting during the last presidential election.
He said the MMD was the only party, which was truly supported by the Zambian people.
He said this was evident in the voting pattern that had been well illustrated by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), which was being circulated in the national newspapers.
Mr Banda said there was however need to find a solution that would end tribal voting, as it was detrimental to democracy and the country.
By KASUBA MULENGA
PARLIAMENT yesterday adopted a report by the Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services with most members of the House calling for media regulation to ensure journalists do not disseminate information that can incite violence.
The parliamentarians observed that the alleged biased coverage of the recent Presidential election campaigns by some media houses was testimony that the media in Zambia could not operate without being controlled.
Gwembe MP, Brian Ntundu (UPND) said the information disseminated by some sections of the media during the campaigns confirmed that the media needed to be regulated.
He was contributing to a motion moved by Namwala MP, Robby Chizyuka (UPND), who appealed to members of the House to consider adopting the report.
“I was disappointed with media organisations that took the role of campaign managers for some political parties. We believe that journalists have ethics to follow,” Mr Ntundu said.
He said coverage of the campaigns made some parliamentarians become doubtful of some media houses.
Matero MP, Faustina Sinyangwe (PF), said it was shameful for a newspaper to publish information that could incite the public into becoming violent.
Mrs Sinyangwe said there should be a body to regulate community radio stations and called for training of journalists in those media organisations.
She said journalists ought to do what was right first regardless of the political party they supported.
Livingstone MP, Sakwiba Sikota (ULP) appealed to parliamentarians to debate the matter with a sober reflection to avoid enacting a law that might be regrettable in future.
Mr Sikota who boasted being an advocate of media freedom, however, said the presidential election campaigns coverage by some media houses made him have difficulties in defending freedom of the media any more.
“I am a firm believer of freedom of the press. At first I thought the press were going to regulate themselves but the recent coverage of campaigns made me have difficulties to continue defending press freedom,” he said.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Mike Mulongoti, said Government’s responsibility was to protect citizens and not to harm them.
Mr Mongoloti said although he valued freedom of the press, he supported that which was responsible.
He said he had never threatened any media organisation as minister in charge but only advised certain media houses to be responsible in their coverage by ensuring that they reported about issues factually.
“The media should exercise maximum control so that they can give the people useful information,” he said.
In winding up debate, Major Chizyuka thanked MPs for their contributions during the debate and for supporting his committee’s report.
Major Chizyuka hoped that Mr Mulongoti had heard the concerns raised by MPs and that he would understand their views and take them in the right context.
By Sylvia Mweetwa
BRITISH High Commissioner to Zambia Carolyn Davidson has paid tribute to President Rupiah Banda’s stance towards good governance and the fight against corruption.
She said that the fight against corruption was key to any economic development and the Government should therefore ensure that it fought the scourge with the vigour it deserved.
Ms Davidson said it was good that Mr Banda is reiterating the need to ensuring that the fight against corruption became a reality and that he was hoping those appointed in various positions would assist him deliver.
Ms Davidson who was speaking in an interview at State House in Lusaka yesterday shortly after the Press briefing by the president said Mr Banda’s vision on corruption should be supported by all.
She said her government was happy with the Zambian Government’s stance on corruption and pledged its continued support.
Former Finance minister, Ng’andu Magande said he was happy that a lot of people appreciated what he had put in since his appointment and was confident that the new team would move on with the same determination.
Mr Magande said he was happy with the appointment of Dr Musokotwane because he already knew what was happening in the ministry.
And newly appointed Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha said he has a big challenge ahead of him and that he would work towards familiarising himself with the operations of the media.
Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said since the media was a partner in development, he would work towards attempting to fit his predecessor’s shoes including the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI).
Agriculture Minister Brian Chituwo commended President Banda for his appointment and pledged to work hard and to ensure that issues of agriculture were addressed.
He would work towards ensuring delivery of the pledges made by the MMD during the just ended election and also addressing the recent increase of mealie meal prices, which has raised concerns.
Dr Musokotwane said the ministry would continue to work towards building investors confidence among local and foreign investors and would build on the relation with cooperating partners who have continued to be partners.
Dr Musokotwane said more investment was still needed in the country.
He said the country’s economy had over a few years recorded some achievement but said there was still a lot that needed to be done to address some challenges the country was facing by reducing poverty among others.
Out-going Information Minister Mike Mulongoti who is now Works and Supply Minister described his relation with the media as excellent and appreciated the players in the industry for helping him understand the role of the media and information dissemination.
Mr Mulongoti said that although he faced some challenges with the media, it made him strong and understand issues regarding the operation of the media in the country both electronic and print.
He would work hard at his new ministry and that he would work with officers for the benefit of the country.
Communication Minister Dora Siliya said her task would be to work towards addressing the problems at Zamtel and Tazara, which require urgent attention.
Ms Siliya said that there was need to investigate what led to the recent strikes which she said could have been avoided and that what was needed was to find ways of resolving the matter for the benefit of the country.
“I will try and get to the root of the recent unrest by the two institutions because it is not a question of changing managements. Surely there should a problem somewhere because how possible is it that ZAIN and the MTN are making progress and our own Zamtel is failing,” she asked.
She said there was need for a new approach towards addressing the Zamtel and Tazara problems to make them effective and attractive.
And retired Inspector General of Police Ephraim Mateyo was happy to be given a chance to serve the police service and the nation as a whole.
Mr Mateyo said who was nicknamed “General Yasha” because of the manner he promoted police officers said he was going out as a proud IG who worked towards addressing the challenges faced by the police.
He paid tribute to President Banda and the late president Mwanawasa and pledged to work hard in his new assignment in the foreign service.
Commerce Minister Felix Mutati said he would work hard and woo more investors into the country.
By BRIAN KAYAYA
KENYAN President Mwai Kibaki says Zambia has continued to champion democracy in the southern African region and expressed confidence that under President Banda’s leadership, the country will build on the achievement.
Mr Kibaki said Zambia should continue to enhance her democratic leadership role on the continent.
This is according to a congratulatory message to President Banda released yesterday in Lusaka by special assistant to the President for press and public relations, John Musukuma.
Mr Kibaki said Zambia had recorded impressive achievements on various fronts, including significant and far-reaching economic reforms under the MMD.
“Your election is a recognition of your commitment to the development of Zambia into a peaceful and prosperous nation. We applaud all Zambians for protecting and nurturing democracy,” he said.
President Kibaki said it was his desire that cordial relations between the two nations should be further strengthened for the mutual benefit of both countries.
And Korean President Kim Yong Nam has wished President Banda great success in his noble work to bring about national solidarity and prosperity to Zambia.
“I want to avail myself this opportunity to express my conviction that the friendly and cooperative relations existing between our two countries will grow further in scope and strength,” he said.
And Serbian President Boris Tadic has expressed hope that the years ahead will be characterised by the continued deepening of the bilateral ties established on a firm foundation of mutual understanding and friendship.
“On the occasion of your election as President of the republic of Zambia, I write to extend to you my sincere congratulations and best wishes for success in discharging your duties,” President Tadic said.
Others who have sent congratulatory messages to President Banda are King Abdalla Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, King Harald of Norway and King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
By PAULINE BANDA
PRESIDENT Banda yesterday appointed George Kunda as Vice President. Mr Kunda will double as Minister of Justice, a position he held in the last administration.
Mr Banda also dropped five cabinet ministers, Mr Ng’andu Magande for Finance and National Planning and Ms Sylvia Masebo who was in charge of Local government and housing. Others are Presidential Affairs Minister, Cecil Holmes, Minister of Agriculture, Ben Kapita and Minister of Gender, Patricia Mulasikwanda.
He announced the changes yesterday at his first State House press conference since winning the October 30 presidential election.
Mr Banda demanded nothing short of high performance from his new team.
He said he was anxious to improve the economy and reduce poverty.
“The current global economic crisis means we have to double our efforts. I want a team which will spare no effort in working for the people of Zambia,” Mr Banda said.
Eminent economist and former University of Zambia don Situmbeko Musokotwane is the new Minister of Finance while Ms Masebo has been replaced by her former deputy, Ben Tetamashimba.
Mr Kunda, who is Muchinga MMD Member of Parliament, is no stranger to doubles.
In the Levy Mwanawasa administration, he once served as Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General.
Veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga is back as chief whip in the National Assembly. Mr Banda has re-nominated Mr Mwaanga to Parliament.
Mr Mwaanga’s last appointment was Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, a position he held until President Mwanawasa fired him.
Cabinet only has a few new faces so far. Some have maintained their jobs and others have moved to new portfolios.
Dr Musokotwane was until yesterday, presidential economic advisor. Before then, he was Deputy secretary to the cabinet.
The new minister of Mines Maxwell Mwale was previously deputy minister while Austin Liato has also been elevated to Cabinet minister in charge of Labour.
Mr Banda has three women in his cabinet, down from five in the last Cabinet.
He maintained Dora Siliya as Minister of Transport and Communications and Sarah Sayifwanda moves back to her initial position of Minister of Gender and Women in Development.
Ms Sayifwanda was until yesterday, co-minister at Agriculture and Cooperatives. She was with Mr Ben Kapita who has been dropped.
Catherine Namugala has swapped cabinet posts with Michael Kaingu. She moves to Tourism and Natural Resources and Mr Kaingu takes over from her at Community Development and Social Services.
Some big guns have remained in cabinet. Notable among them are Minister of Defence George Mpombo, who keeps his position, Dr Kalombo Mwansa who moves from Mines to Home Affairs. Kabinga Pande continues at Foreign Affairs while Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Felix Mutati remains in his seat.
Former Minister of Home Affairs Ronnie Shikapwasha moves to Information while former Minister of Health Brigadier-General Brian Chituwo goes to Agriculture and Cooperatives.
Former Works and Supply Minister Kapembwa Simbao goes to health. Dr Simbao has been replaced by former Information Minister Mike Mulongoti.
Peter Daka maintains his ministerial position at Science and Technology, so does Kenneth Konga at Ministry of Energy and water development.
The new Minister of Lands is Ronald Mukuma who was at Labour.
Bradford Machila is still in Cabinet but it was not clear by yesterday which portfolio he would hold.
The new Minister of Sports is Kenneth Chipungu who takes over from Gabriel Namulambe. Mr Namulambe is now presidential affairs minister.
At Education, Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa has bounced back.
At deputy minister level, notable among the new faces are former National Airports Corporation (NAC) Chief Executive Chileshe Kapwepwe who becomes deputy minister of Finance.
The team of deputy ministers includes Eustackio Kazonga (defence), David Phiri and Misheck Bonshe (Home Affairs), Mubika Mubika (Transport and communications), Chrispin Musosha (Local Government and Housing), Daniel Kalenga and Albert Mulonga (Agriculture).
Others are Mwendoi Akakandelwa (Health), Gladys Nundwe
and Lameck Chibombamilimo (Energy), Clement
Sinyinda (Commerce), Jonas Shakafuswa (Science
and Technology), Stewart Chilembo (Justice), Lucy
Changwe (Gender and women in development), Vera
Chiluba and Mubita Mwangala (Tourism).
The deputy minister of Mines is Boniface Nkhata. Angela Cifire while Dr Kalila, a nominated MP from the Copperbelt will be deputy minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development.
At Community Development and Social Services, the deputy ministers are John Chinyanta and Friday Malwa.
At provincial level, the ministers are Lameck Mangani (Lusaka), Daniel Munkombwe (Southern), Charles Shawa (Northern), Joseph Mulyata (North Western) and Dr Boniface Kawimbe (Luapula ).
Others are Ackimson Banda (Central), Isaac Banda (Eastern), Mwansa Mbulakulima (Copperbelt) and Adons Mufalali (Western).
Mr Banda also maintained the Defence Chiefs but retired Inspector general of Police Ephraim Mateyo. Commissioner of Police, Francis Kabonde will act as Inspector General of Police. The former
police chief will go into diplomatic service.
Dr Joshua Kanganja has maintained his position as secretary to the cabinet.
Mr Banda warned that the new cabinet should be ready to work hard and move the country forward. He said most of the appointees were well trained and others even “uniquely qualified” for their new jobs.
Deputy ministers dropped are Mr Richard Taima for sports and Grace Njapau who was at Home Affairs.
Open Editorial: Namibia's New Era paper
Fri, 14 Nov 2008 09:28:00 +0000
TIME is fast running out on Zimbabwe’s Morgan Tsvangirai. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Johannesburg last week threw down the gauntlet – share the highly contested home affairs ministry, full stop.
This unequivocal message from the SADC regional summit to the parties in Zimbabwe comes in the wake of protracted negotiations and an impasse on the division of ministries between the ruling Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Tsvangirai.
After tough negotiations between the parties and shuttle diplomacy involving former South African President Thabo Mbeki, the issue of sharing ministries was settled except for home affairs under which the police and customs and immigrations falls.
The SADC decision for the contending parties is for them to co-manage the ministry of home affairs in order to break the deadlock and ensure the implementation of the power sharing agreement that was signed by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Designate Morgan Tsvangirai and his Deputy Arthur Mutambara two months ago.
The co-management of the ministry is subject to review after six months by the two parties, SADC, the African Union and mediator Thabo Mbeki. SADC further urged the parties to implement the Constitution of Zimbabwe amendment no19.
Tsvangirai has balked at the idea of co-running the ministry of home affairs, as per the SADC decision. In fact, he has gone further to criticise the regional body.
“SADC approached this summit without any strategy and did not have the courage to look Mr Mugabe in the eyes and tell him that his position was wrong” said Tsvangirai after the just-ended regional summit.
He went on, “ The issue of co-sharing does not work. We have said so ourselves. We have rejected it and that’s the position.
“It is about power sharing, it is about equitable power sharing, it is about giving responsibility to the party that won an election and has compromised its position to share a government with a party that lost.”
Clearly, the Zimbabwe opposition leader is behaving as though he is owed something. This, of course, stems from his misplaced view that he is the rightful winner of the Zimbabwe presidential election.
Tsvangirai and his backers are under the illusion that because his party won the parliamentary election, he automatically won the presidential election.
What the opposition leader does not acknowledge and would not concede is that he messed things for himself. He had the opportunity to win or lose the presidential election in an open contest but decided to pull out at the last hour. This was a tactical blunder on his part and he has to learn to live with it for the rest of his life. If anybody snatched victory from the jaws of Tsvangirai, it was Tsvangirai himself.
The MDC’s refusal to co-manage a ministry with Zanu-PF is illogical and makes little sense. Hence the party has to reconsider its position and put Zimbabwe first.
If the MDC is prepared to share power with Zanu-PF, there is no reason why the two cannot co-manage a ministry. Shared power of necessity means sharing responsibilities. It requires the two parties to run government through consensus and not unilaterally and individually.
The fact that certain ministries will resort under the leadership of a political principal from Zanu-PF or MDC does not give them carte blanche in terms of decision-making.
The MDC should understand that many countries in the world are currently grappling with major internal problems. Subsequently, they have become inward looking.
President-elect Barack Obama is inheriting multitudes of problems and would have little time to spare for a dispute over the sharing of a single ministry. So is everybody else including South Africa that must deal with its own internal wrangling and runaway cost of living.
The war in the DRC where one of the regional powers, Angola is to dispatch troops is a more pressing problem. SADC and the African Union will have to mobilise resources and time to avert a major catastrophe in that country.
Tsvangirai must come to terms with this new reality. The world has not remained static. It is moving past Zimbabwe. There are now new challenges and new priorities. Zimbabwe is becoming less of a priority for the world including the US and Britain and the sooner the MDC leader understands this, the better.
The world financial crunch and the potential for a meltdown have partly created these new conditions.
It is therefore desirable that Zimbabweans themselves come together and implement the power sharing deal that they agreed upon and save their own country and people. Control over a single ministry cannot and should not be allowed to undo what has so far been achieved. And that is why Mr Tsvangirai has to rise above petty politicking and show great leadership and statesmanship.
Article first published in Namibia's New Era newspaper
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:50:33 AM
ZAMBIA lacks a class of technocrats to discuss the implementation and meaningful domestication of good economic policies, University of Zambia (UNZA) head of economics Professor Manengo Ndulo has observed.
Prof Ndulo said owing to lack of opinion makers who could debate and spearhead the execution of good economic policies, the country was lagging behind in implementing and domesticating good economic treaties that the country sometimes signs.
In an interview, Prof Ndulo proposed that a group of technocrats need to work with the civil society and other interest groups specifically to look at spearheading the economic policies and direction of the country.
Prof Ndulo also observed that although most of the existing civil society organisations were currently engaged in implementation of policies and programmes for the country, most of them had a strong inclination towards politics at the expense of economic issues.
“In Zambia, we clearly lack opinion leaders who can meet in terms of promoting good ideas and not bad ideas. Good ideas can be very popular and can dominate but they won’t get you anywhere,” Prof Ndulo explained. “But that can only be something which would come from a group of technocrats within society which cannot only promote those ideas but also transform those ideas in terms of implementation.”
He observed that the political inclination of most civil society organisations in Zambia was hurting the country’s ability to foster economic development.
“It is this element of debate and especially in the economic management and policy that we lack…what you could call a class of technocrats and policy makers who can debate and argue policy choices which can be made,” said Prof Ndulo. “The civil society organisations are part of the opinion makers but if you look at what I call opinion makers in Zambia, it is overburdened by political civil societies who are more than where the issues are and these are the economic policy issues.”
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:48:31 AM
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has advised Lafarge Cement Zambia to satisfy the local market before considering exporting the commodity to other countries.
And President Banda directed the management at Lafarge Cement to cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and other stakeholders to ensure that retail prices of cement are not subjected to manipulation by traders.
Meanwhile, Lafarge Cement division president Guillaume Roux has said the new cement production plant has been built with features that would allow less emission of dust and other related particles.
Current wholesale prices by Lafarge stand at K42,000 per 50 kilogramme pocket but traders sell the same product at K65,000.
Officially commissioning the US $120 million new cement manufacturing plant in Chilanga yesterday, President Banda said the people of Zambia have been subjected to escalating cement prices in the past and now an opportunity exists for them to benefit from the new plant through lower prices.
“The rising price of cement in the past few years has been a cause of concern for government, investors and the general public and many Zambians have been subjected to escalating cement prices in the past,” President Banda said. “And may I take this opportunity to appeal to Lafarge management to give priority to the domestic market before considering exports, which should be considered after satisfying the local market.”
He said the commissioning of the plant was timely in that the construction sector was booming with many residential and commercial properties being built.
“We expect the use of cement to expand further as we embark on other economic ventures such as the multi facility economic zones, new hydro-power projects, roads and other infrastructural projects,” said President Banda. “And with the coming on stream of the new plant, I have been informed that the company’s output of cement will double from its current level and that cement output will be far in excess of current demand and the entire nation expects the price to come down so as to end profiteering in this commodity.”
And Roux, who is based in France, said Lafarge International has embarked on establishing 50 per cent of its operations in emerging markets like Zambia.
He said the new plant at Chilanga has state-of-the-art modern features that would allow less emission of dust and other related particles.
“We also utilised three million man-hours in the construction of the plant but with only two minor accidents hence our safety level is high and we are committed to our workers who are essential and we are also involved in various community projects,” said Roux.
And Lafarge Cement Zambia chairman Muna Hantuba said cement would now be delivered at the ‘door steps’ of every customer.
“This is a very good achievement to bring the plant to this level and we received favourable response from banks, the capital markets and other stakeholders,” said Hantuba.
Written by Florence Bupe
Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:43:42 AM
AFRICA should view itself as a big market for its own commodities, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agriculture head Professor Richard Mkandawire has advised.
Prof Mkandawire observed that the projected increase in demand for staples over the next 10 years should make African countries seize the opportunity to export their produce within their regions, and the continent.
“There will be a huge demand for staples over the next 10 years, especially by the urban population, due to the continued trend of urbanisation,” he said.
Prof Mkandawire advised African countries to address barriers to the free flow of products as they were an impediment to development.
“If we close borders and impose barriers, we are hindering the free flow of commodities, thereby continuing the circle of poverty and hunger in Africa,” he said.
Prof Mkandawire said African countries should institute policies that would encourage the flow of commodities from surplus to deficit regions.
He observed that current export bans on selected commodities and market protectionism were negatively impacting on the fight against poverty.
Prof Mkandawire further called for the involvement of farmers in policy formulation, observing that peasant farmers were usually sidelined in decision-making processes.
“Policy makers need to realise that farmers are knowledgeable about the environment, and therefore, there is need to get them involved in research, they should not just be subjects of research and policies. This will help reduce poverty at grass root level,” said Prof Mkandawire.
WHO implores govts to improve health systems
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:41:09 AM
WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) director general Dr Margaret Chan has called on all governments and political leaders to maintain their efforts to strengthen and improve the performance of their health systems in view of the present financial and economic crisis.
Commenting on the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on health, Dr Chan said the current financial crisis was rapidly becoming an economic crisis and threatens to become a social crisis in many countries.
She said the crisis comes at a time when commitment to global health had never been higher.
“It comes in the midst of the most ambitious drive in history to reduce poverty and distribute the benefits of our modern society, including those related to health, more evenly and fairly in this world - the Millennium Development Goals,” she said.
Dr Chan said a previous effort to use health as the route to socioeconomic development, launched in 1978, was followed almost immediately by a fuel crisis, soaring oil prices, and the debt crisis of the early 1980s.
“In the international response to these crises, mistakes were made when budgets were shifted away from investments in the social sectors, most notably health and education. Many countries are still suffering the legacy of these errors,” she said.
Dr Chan said it was not yet clear what the current financial crisis would mean for low-income and emerging economies, but many predictions are highly pessimistic.
She said in the face of a global recession, fiscal pressures in affluent countries may prompt cuts to official development assistance.
“Worse still, is the prospect of cuts in social spending - health, education and social protection - that many countries, especially low-income countries, may be forced to undertake. Both of these responses have occurred in the past. And both could be as equally devastating for health, development, security and prosperity as they were in the past,” she said.
Dr Chan said it was essential therefore to learn from past mistakes and counter this period of economic downturn by increasing investment in health and the social sector.
She said this was important to protect the poor as rising food and fuel prices, along with employment insecurity, were among the factors leading to increasing inequities during an economic downturn.
“In this context, impoverishing health care expenditures - that in “good” times push more than 100 million persons annually into poverty - are likely to increase dramatically. Inevitably, it is the most vulnerable who suffer the most; the poor, the marginalised, children, women, disabled, the elderly, and those with chronic illness. Stronger social safety nets are urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable in rich and poor countries,” she said.
Dr Chan said this was also important to promote economic recovery and to promote social stability as equitable distribution of health care is a critical contributor to social cohesion.
she said it was important to also generate efficiency and build security.
“A world that is greatly out of balance in health is neither stable nor secure. Robust health systems are essential to maintain surveillance and response capacity in the face of pandemic threats. The lack of investment in sub-Saharan African health systems in the 1980s meant they were tragically unprepared for the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the decade that followed,” said Dr Chan.
Written by Lambwe Kachali
Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:33:34 AM
PARLIAMENTARY committee on local governance, housing and chiefs’ affairs chairman Katele Kalumba yesterday expressed concern at continued failure by councils countrywide to retire imprest and poor utilisation of the Constituency Development Funds (CDF). And Kalumba said it is disappointing that the government has failed to implement the decentralisation policy despite initiating it.
Moving the motion in Parliament to adopt a report of the committee on local governance, housing and chiefs’ affairs, Kalumba said despite several recommendations and appeals made by the committee and auditors, for principal officers in local authorities to abide by management of public funds, little progress had been recorded.
He said according to the current report made by former local government minister Sylvia Masebo, most councils did not prepare timely annual accounts as required by financial regulations.
“The report also revealed rampant failure by councils to maintain a range of accounting documents such as general and subsidiary ledgers, stores registers, fixed assets register, to mention but a few. Your committee also noted that guidelines pertaining to the retirement of imprest and the utilisation of the Constituency Development Funds have continued to be overlooked,” Kalumba said.
“Your committee are with the view that without strong and good leadership, the current accounting failures in local authorities will continue and our shared ambition and aspirations for accountability of public funds in all public institutions across the country will not be realised. Therefore, we strongly urge the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to closely monitor local authorities to ensure that guidelines and financial regulations are followed.”
Kalumba further said the government should come up with another policy direction if they had failed to implement the decentralisation policy. He said the government lacked political will to implement the decentralisation policy.
“Your committee are alive to the fact that the decentralisation process, in seeking to democratise and transfer powers, often threatens many actors who are reluctant to implement it. They [committee] request the government to provide leadership on the matter,” he said.
He also called on the government to ensure that local authorities in the country had adequate and qualified human resource. He said the local government service commission would not have meaningful impact on the performance of the councils, if they did not have resources that could attract and retain qualified staff to the councils.
And seconding the motion, Mwembeshi UPND member of parliament Edward Kasoko urged the government to decentralise the issuance of title deeds in the country.
Kasoko said the government should take leadership in helping the council.
Meanwhile, local government deputy minister Eustaricko Kazonga said the ministry had started developing capacity building to improve the operations of the councils in the country.
Written by masa
The talk among our politicians of sorting out The Post and of increased regulation of the media reminds us of an old refrain that says human beings are the only animal who stubs their toe on the same stone twice.
This is especially so if that stone is the struggle for political power, so his having done so isn’t very important. Coming from the one party state just over 17 years ago, our politicians should understand better what it means not to have an independent media. We know that most of today’s politicians were not in politics under the one party state. And they were also not in politics in the early 1990s. So they may not know the difference. But good politicians always endeavour to delve into history.
The independent media, the free media doesn’t exist solely for the benefit of its staff and shareholders. It primarily exists for the benefit of society. Curbing press freedom will not only harm the media. It will much more so harm the same politicians who are today championing the enactment of anti-press laws. Life and time have their own way of equalising things.
There is so much blame being put on the media for what are clearly the inadequacies of our politicians. It is surprising that today at the forefront of campaigning against press freedom, and The Post in particular, are leaders of the opposition UPND. It is very easy to forget history. When the UPND started, it was only The Post that was really there for it and gave it extensive coverage that made the people of Zambia quickly know its leaders and its programmes or intentions. It is dishonest for the UPND not to recognise and accept its own problems that have led to its declining political stakes. Today the UPND is claiming that its poor performance in last month’s presidential election was because there was no media adequately covering it. They are claiming that while the state media was concentrating on Rupiah Banda and the MMD, The Post was exclusively covering Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front. This is not true.
Hakainde Hichilema received adequate coverage in The Post in line with the level of his political campaign. And what they are forgetting is that in 2006, The Post exclusively went for Sata and the Patriotic Front but they still outperformed UPND. Despite our consistent attacks for a number of weeks, Sata polled more votes than Hakainde and the Patriotic Front won more parliamentary seats than UPND.
For those with short memories, our attacks on Sata and Patriotic Front in 2006 were not because we hated him and his party. It was because he had embraced plunderers, his party had adopted parliamentary candidates who were facing corruption charges in our courts of law. Sata had even promised to drop all charges against them. Our position or stand on this issue needs no further disposition because it is well known. We have never been neutral, and we will never be neutral, between good and evil. Evil has to be denounced and punished.
In the last election, Rupiah and MMD took over all the wrong things Sata and the Patriotic Front were harangued for in 2006. As if this was not enough, they also took the tribal or regional issues that UPND had been in trouble for as a result of the tribal politics that had beset the party following the death of its leader, Anderson Mazoka.
But both UPND and the Patriotic Front seem to have learnt a lesson and stayed away from these issues in last month’s election. There was no tribal or regional campaign that Hakainde or Sata are known to have carried out in last month’s campaign. They also kept a safe distance from known corrupt elements and were not in any way involved in electoral bribery or corruption. And for this reason, we had no reason to attack them. All we could do was cover them while they themselves created the news by what they said and the size of their political rallies. We never told them what to say and we never created the size of their rallies. We merely covered them.
If it benefits UPND to get us sorted out, let them go ahead. If the grave of The Post will help nourish their political fortunes, let them take it to its grave quickly.
But from the experience of our own country and that of our neighbours, especially Zimbabwe, we are very sure that efforts to over-regulate the media, to stifle press freedom will not help promote and entrench democracy in this country. We are sure of one thing: the opposite will happen and tyranny will set in.
If our politicians have problems or irritations, and these may be many and legitimate, with The Post or the media in general, the solution is not to devise laws that will curb press freedom, but to broaden the level of public discourse so that citizens can better sift through the chaff of misinformation and rhetoric to find the kernels of truth.
One thing they must also ask themselves is why there have been very few newspapers in this country since 1890 when this country was first colonised by the British South African Company to date. It’s very easy to start a political party and to contest the elections. It doesn’t take much. But it takes many years and a lot of effort to set up a national newspaper. And this may explain why today we have very few newspapers in this country. It may be easy to destroy The Post but it will certainly be very difficult to replace it. It may be bad for some of our politicians to live with The Post, but it will certainly be worse for them to live without it or a meaningful replacement of it. We will be back to an environment that is totally dominated by the state-owned and government-controlled media. If it was that easy to set up newspapers, every political party in this country would today be running a newspaper. UNIP tried it and failed. And the MMD tried and they also failed. Why?
We have from time to time quoted the advice of Nelson Mandela on this issue and we will never get tired of repeating it: “A bad free press is preferable to a technically good subservient press. None of our irritations with the perceived inadequacies of the media should ever allow us to even suggest faintly that the independence of the press could be compromised or coerced. We should put the freedom of our press and media at the top of our priorities as a democracy. How the forces of democratic governance and a civil society interact is the challenge we face and have to work through as a continuing and dynamic process in our new democracy. There is an old saying that freedom and order are constantly in tension with one another in society. Order without freedom leads to totalitarianism. Freedom without order leads to anarchy. It is also said that societies recover quicker and more healthily from too much freedom than they do from totalitarianism” (Speech delivered at the 10th anniversary of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg, 2002).
It is said that every man or woman should have an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he or she pleases before the public; to forbid this, to curb this, to limit their capacity of doing so, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he or she publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he or she must take the consequences of his or her own temerity. And as things stand today, we have enough laws to deal with this. Our Penal Code is full of laws that deal with criminal defamation or libel. And our courts are able to deal with civil defamation and there is enough case law to help them in this.
So, what laws are our politicians going to enact over and above these? We hope they won’t come up with crazy laws that will make our country the laughing stock of the world and push us backwards on the scale of good governance. Again, we emphasise the fact that we are not seeking a favour from our politicians on this score. Let them go and enact whatever they want. It is not the staff of The Post that will suffer from such tyrannical laws; it is themselves who will suffer. And moreover, after they have done so, they should not in any way expect a rational person to invest in a newspaper, a radio or television station. Again, who will suffer?
Sometimes we wonder if our politicians are really serious and have the ability to think beyond their immediate political interests. We remember how some of our politicians, who are still there today, celebrated after passing the 1996 Constitution whose sole aim was to bar Dr Kenneth Kaunda from contesting the presidency. They danced and sang: “Kaunda alala, alala! Kaunda alala, alala…” Can they still today dance and sing the same song? They are busy trying to undo that same bad constitution of theirs but at such a great cost to the people of Zambia. This is how irresponsible our politicians, who claim to be responsible, can sometimes be. It therefore calls for eternal vigilance on the part of our people to ensure that they don’t do crazy things to satisfy their political expediencies of the moment. Look at the destruction Frederick Chiluba caused to this country in all sorts of ways, including daylight theft of public funds. And while this was happening, some of these same politicians were cheering him on, defending him whenever we exposed and denounced him. And they harassed us for doing so. Today, they are cheering and defending Rupiah. Tomorrow the same characters will be denouncing him – and it won’t be long. Let them say whatever they want against us. Let them legislate against the media in whichever way they want. Time will tell and time alone will tell. And it won’t be long before this happens.
Written by Nicholas Mwale and Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:25:57 AM
TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka has said Radio Icengelo station manager Fr Frank Bwalya's arrest and detention is a bad way for President Rupiah Banda to start his term of office.
And Caritas Zambia director Sam Mulafulafu said the arrest and detention of Fr Bwalya was the beginning of reprisals to media houses.
Commenting on Fr Bwalya's arrest and detention by the police in Kitwe, Lifuka yesterday said TIZ considered the act to be a serious violation of human rights and the freedom of expression that every Zambian should enjoy.
"Transparency International Zambia finds the arrest of Fr Frank Bwalya totally unacceptable and a blight on our democratic credentials as a country," Lifuka said. "Zambia is not a police state and we urge President Rupiah Banda to put his house in order because clearly, this is a bad way to start his term of office. We also find this to be a blatant intimidation of the media which unfortunately in the last few months has become fashionable."
Lifuka observed that it was also wrong for the Zambia Police to have denied Fr Bwalya access to his lawyers, as it was his constitutional right.
He said robust debate and the exchange of ideas was considered to be healthy in any mature democracy.
"In this instance, a post-election programme which analyses the outcomes of the 2008 presidential elections is timely and necessary," he said. "It is a reality that not every Zambian is happy with the outcomes of the elections. It is also common knowledge that the Copperbelt voted in a particular manner and people participating in a live phone in radio programme would be inclined to express themselves emotionally."
Lifuka said TIZ believed that Radio Icengelo was a professionally run radio station that would do everything possible to ensure that the callers did not defame or insult the political leadership but urge them to use moderate language in expressing their views.
"Against this background, we are totally disgusted by the unwarranted and heavy-handed approach of the Zambia Police Service and we want to warn them that such actions will in fact tarnish our reputation as a democratic country which is tolerant of divergent views," he said. "Additionally, Radio Icengelo belongs to the Catholic Church and it falls under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ndola Diocese.
Why is Zambia Police pursuing Fr Bwalya and not Bishop [Noel] O'Reagan who is the head of the Diocese?" Lifuka asked.
He explained that the intimidation would not deter Zambians from freely expressing themselves within the confines of the law.
"We have come a long way as a country from the second Republic where anyone who criticised government was considered to be the 'enemy of the state.' We should not allow ourselves to return to those inglorious days where we constantly had to watch over our shoulders. We should not be the enemies of democracy - and we urge all Zambians to condemn this action," Lifuka explained. "Today, it is Fr Bwalya being persecuted. Tomorrow it will be another person."
He urged leaders and senior police officers not to imagine that they would be in their positions forever.
"Tomorrow, they will need the protection of the same laws and rights that they are violating with impunity," he observed.
Lifuka said the action indicated that the only views that were legislated for in the country were those that present the ruling party and government in good light.
"Clearly, if Fr Bwalya had spent time praising and eulogising the MMD and its government, Zambia Police would not have acted in the manner that they did," observed Lifuka.
"This is a familiar scenario where we have previously seen MMD cadres demonstrating without a police permit and Zambia Police have done nothing. We have also heard MMD people threaten and incite the public but again, Zambia Police has not been moved to action. We condemn this selective interpretation of the law and we demand for the immediate release of Fr Bwalya."
And Mulafulafu said Zambia was a democracy and people should be free to discuss electoral issues.
"More so for the fact that we have just come from elections whose outcome has raised more questions than answers. Citizens should be free to exhaustively discuss these issues without the impediment of fear and intimidation. We shudder to think that the outcome of these elections is the beginning of a police state in Zambia," he said.
"We refuse to be intimidated and instead of government burying its head in sand, we advise those in leadership to deal with the many political questions that Zambians are asking about these elections and our electoral process."
He said people could not be bullied into compliance in the face of so much injustice.
"We recall the threats to the media issued by some MMD senior cadres during the campaigns and we see this as the beginning of reprisals to media houses critical of the shortcomings of the governing regime. We appeal for solidarity on this issue from all progressive civil society organisations and individuals because this action takes us many years back in our journey of democracy," he said.
Mulafulafu appealed to the Inspector General of Police not to turn the police service into a tool of oppression of innocent citizens.
Mulafulafu said as it currently stands, the Police Service had a great challenge of fighting the increasing crime rate in townships and this should give them enough work instead of harassing innocent citizens.
Written by Noel Sichalwe and Patson Chilemba
Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:23:37 AM
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has dropped three Cabinet ministers, including finance minister Ng'andu Magande. But Magande said he had accepted President Banda's decision, saying it was a sigh of relief. During the first press conference after assuming the presidency following the disputed October 30 polls yesterday at State House, President Banda dropped Magande, local government minister Sylvia Masebo, agriculture minister Ben Kapita and gender minister Patricia Mulasikwanda.
Magande was replaced with late president Levy Mwanawasa's special economic advisor Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane. Dr Musokotwane will be deputised by former National Airports Corporation (NAC) managing director Chileshe Kapwepwe who has since been nominated.
Masebo has been replaced by Benny Tetamashimba who was local government deputy minister while Mulasikwanda has been replaced by former agriculture minister Sara Sayifwanda.
President Banda appointed George Kunda as his Vice-President and retained him as justice minister.
President Banda also appointed veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga as parliamentary chief whip.
Other reshuffles included former Minister of Works and Supply Kapembwa Simbao who has been moved to health and replaced with former information minister Mike Mulongoti. Simbao will be deputised by Mwendoi Akakandelwa while Mulongoti's deputy is Mundia Ndalamei.
Former home affairs minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha will now assume the position of Minister of Information and chief government spokesperson while former minister of community development Catherine Namugala swaps with her counterpart from tourism Michael Kaingu. Lt Gen Shikapwasha would be deputised by Elijah Muchima while Namugala's deputies are Vera Tembo and Mubita Mwangala. Former finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa has been moved to the Ministry of Science and Technology in the same capacity.
Kabinga Pande [foreign affairs], Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa [education], Peter Daka [science and technology], Dora Siliya [communications and transport], George Mpombo [defence], Kenneth Konga [energy], Daniel Munkombwe [Southern Province], Adonis Mufalali [Western Province], Lameck Mangani [Lusaka Province] and Ackimson Banda [Central Province] have all been retained in their ministerial positions while former Eastern Province minister Charles Shawa has been moved to Northern Province and will be replaced with Isaac Banda.
Former sports minister Gabriel Namulambe has been moved to presidential affairs ministry while former North-Western Province minister Kenneth Chipungu replaces him. Former Minister of Health Dr Brian Chituwo has been moved to the Ministry of Agriculture while Mongu Central member of parliament Joseph Mulyata has been appointed North-Western Province minister.
Former labour minister Ronald Mukuma is the new lands minister while former mines minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa is the new home affairs minister. Former mines deputy minister Maxwell Mwale becomes the new mines minister while former deputy labour minister Austin Liato has been elevated to the position of minister.
Other deputy ministers appointed and retained include Gladys Lundwe and former Northern Province minister Lameck Chibombamilimo [energy], Albert Mulonga and Daniel Kalenga [agriculture], Borniface Nkhata [mines], John Chinyanta and Friday Malwa [community development], Dr Kalilia and Angela Cifire [sports and youth], Lucy Changwe [gender], Mubika Mubika [communications and transport], Professor Fashion Phiri [foreign affairs], Clement Sinyinda [commerce], Stewart Chilembo [justice], Eustarckio Kazonga [defence], Misheck Bonshe and former information deputy minister David Phiri [home affairs].
President Banda said Inspector General of Police Ephraim Mateyo would go into foreign service and he has been replaced with commissioner of police Francis Kabonde in an acting capacity. All defence chiefs General Isaac Chisuzi [Zambia Army Commander], Major General Raphael Chisheta [Zambia National Service commandant] and Lieutenant General Samuel Mapala [Zambia Air Force commander] have been retained. Attorney General Mumba Malila and Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Joshua Kanganja and his deputy Robert Mataka have also been retained in their positions. Former energy deputy minister Gastone Sichilima becomes deputy minister in the Office of the Vice-President.
Others who have been dropped include former deputy minister of sports Richard Taima and home affairs deputy minister Grace njapa.
President Banda thanked the MMD and opposition parties that supported him in his election.
He said he was happy that the elections were declared free and fair.
He said the MMD deserved victory in the just-ended elections and pledged to work for the Zambians with all his energy and intellect.
President Banda said Zambia was facing serious challenges arising from the economic meltdown from the United States and other developed countries.
He said the country was facing the pain of falling copper prices
He said it was necessary to assemble to meet the economic challenges that had affected the world.
He said his focus would be job creation, reduction of poverty, improving the economy and overall development.
President Banda said he intended to push the ministers to ensure that they delivered.
He further said the government should not be forced to use extreme measures on its people in the aftermath of elections following some protests on the Copperbelt Province by Patriotic Front (PF) cadres.
He said those perpetrating the myth that there was no peace in the country should stop.
He said those that were disputing elections should go to court to determine their grievances.
"We must not allow any individual whatsoever to take the law into their own hands," he said.
President Banda hoped that the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would not deteriorate further.
He said Zambia had always been helping neighbouring countries and that they would discuss the matter if there would be need to host any refugees.
President Banda also hoped that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other African leaders would resolve the Zimbabwean problem, which he described as serious.
However, he said people should not expect him to take a position that late President Mwanawasa took on Zimbabwe.
He also said information was important and that they could not allow some sections of the media to create confusion.
President Banda further said there was need to learn from the regional votes that people cast in the just ended elections.
He said the MMD was voted by many provinces countrywide while the opposition got regional votes.
He hoped that the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) would conduct its work thoroughly and hoped that things could improve.
President Banda said he was open to an open society where everything done was free and fair.
He urged the civil service to work harder and ensure that there was accountability in government.
President Banda was confident that the people he had appointed were suitably qualified and experienced to run the affairs of the country.
And after the briefing, Dr Musokotwane was happy with his appointment, saying it was a challenge.
Namugala also pledged to deal with environmental issues as a means of mitigating poverty levels in the country.
Mulongoti also expected to settle down and start working in his ministry.
But Magande said he was not bitter because his five years in office had helped him become an experienced consultant for Zambia's problems.
He said he did his best as finance minister to put the country on the current economic stride.
"I don't feel any sorrow at all. I just feel I am relieved to rest. It was just a bit too much. Now the budget vocabulary and HIPC is out. It's up to those appointed in the new position to continue with the programmes," Magande said. "I would be sad if I left government without any achievement. I feel extremely happy that I'm leaving behind government without having quarreled with anybody and without being accused of stealing a single ngwee."
Magande said he was glad that the two people who once served under him, Dr Musokotwane and Shakafuswa, had remained in government.
Asked if he was left out for having challenged President Banda in the MMD presidential race, Magande responded: "I think that question should better be asked to the President himself."
Asked if he would contest the presidency in future, Magande responded: "As far as I am concerned Zambia is still there and if the opportunity comes, I will try again."
Magande said being member of parliament, he would work with government in ensuring that MMD policies were implemented.
Mulasikwanda said she was happy at being left out from Cabinet.
Mulasikwanda said leadership was about going up and down.
She thanked late president Mwanawasa for having given her the opportunity to serve in government and that she would support President Banda in implementing programmes.
Earlier during the press conference, MMD cadres heckled at Reuters correspondent Shapi Shacinda after he asked questions pertaining to the rigging of elections. The cadres threatened that they would sort journalist out. After the conference, Shacinda was escorted by security personnel out of State House.
Written by Inonge Noyoo
Saturday, November 15, 2008 4:22:04 AM
THE Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has petitioned the October 30 presidential election demanding a scrutiny and recount of votes cast in all the 150 constituencies.
And Sata has reiterated his call to his supporters to resist violence even in the midst of provocations from senior police personnel.
In his petition filed in the Supreme Court by party lawyers Winter Kabimba, Mumba Kapumpa, Mathew Pikiti and Edgar Lungu, Sata averred that President Rupiah Banda won by a narrow margin of 35,209 votes or 1.86 per cent of the total votes cast in the 150 constituencies of the country.
Sata stated that out of the 1,791,806 total votes cast 23,596 were declared as rejected votes mostly in urban constituencies which figure he said appeared unreasonably high.
He said from the information received from his election agent the votes cast in the elections were not correctly recorded and accurately counted at some polling stations.
Sata complained that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) declared the presidential polling day as of October 30, 2008 from 06:00 hours to 18:00 hours.
He averred that at Sikongo and Sinjembela polling stations in Kalabo and Shang’ombo constituencies voters were unlawfully permitted to vote on October 31 and November 1, 2008 which were not the prescribed polling days adding that the votes cast at these stations should thus be discounted.
Sata stated that the cursory perusal of the vote result sheets for some of the rural constituencies as opposed to urban constituencies show that there was a negligible number of spoilt or rejected papers or none at all which does not reflect the true levels of literacy.
He averred that although there was the general poll turnout in the range of 40 to 45 per cent, there was an inexplicable high voter turnout in certain rural constituencies such as Mkaika, Vubwi and Sinjembela, which coincidentally recorded majority votes for President Banda.
He said the high voter turnout in these areas raises possibilities of mispostings, miscounting or transmission of wrong results due to human error.
"That in some polling stations there were disparities in the total votes cast and the total number of used ballot papers as in the case in Lyatimbwa [Nalolo constituency], Mutwa [Senanga constituency], Muyumbana School [Kalabo Central constituency], Imilangu School [Kalabo Constituency], Kalenga [Kalabo constituency]. That some of the constituency announcement poll results were processed by persons who were duly gazetted as constituency returning officers as is the case in Chisamba, Mwembeshi, Mchinga, Serenje, Milengi, Mbala and Senga Hill constituencies," he stated.
Sata averred that there were disparities in some of the constituencies and polling station results announcement forms between the recorded results in figures and in words for constituencies such as Nalikwanda [Lwiimba polling station], Luena [Ndanda, Itufa and Nambwae polling stations], Bwacha , Mangango, Lusaka Central, Rufunsa, Kasempa, Kabushi and Nkana.
Sata said some poll announcement result forms such as those from Masaiti on the Copperbelt, Limachi and Itufa in Western Province showed that the results were altered without any witnesses authenticating the alterations.
He said some of the announcement result forms were not authentic as they were not signed by the constituency returning officers as in the case of Lumezi Constituency.
Sata stated that the results for Lwambi and Nyengo polling stations in Sikongo Constituency were identical in respect of all the four candidates adding that such electoral results were not only incredible but cast statistical doubt on their accuracy.
He asserted that during the verification of the ballot papers held in all constituency totaling centers on Thursday November 6, he was informed by his agents in constituencies such as Chongwe, Senanga and Zambezi West that ballot boxes were found unsealed contrary to the electoral regulations.
He stated that this raises the possibilities of tampering with the ballot boxes thereby requiring careful scrutinising of all the election materials.
Sata averred that as a result of the foregoing errors or disparities in the results at polling stations or totalling centres, President Banda only required an average of six votes at each of the 6,456 polling stations to win by a margin of 35,000 votes or for him to be under-credited by the same number to lose the election.
"In view of the forgoing, it is highly probable that the narrow margin of 35,209 in favour of President Banda can be obliterated through the scrutiny and recount of all ballot papers and election materials," he explained.
Sata is asking court to declare as president whichever candidate is found to have received the highest number of votes cast, any other equitable relief as the court may determine and cost.
And addressing his supporters who had gathered in front of the Supreme Court chanting; 'we want change' and carrying a poster of USA president elect Barack Obama, Sata said the filing of the petition was the beginning of the fight of the party's victory and right.
"Today is the beginning of the fight for our rights, we are going to use our brains not our fist, if you look at the policemen surrounding you they are suffering like you. So we don't want to make more problems for them if anything, we have to help them there will be lots of provocations from their bosses but it is from their bosses not them...We need to cooperate with them, no violence no fighting," said Sata.
Friday, November 14, 2008
The Herald (Harare)
23 May 2008
Posted to the web 23 May 2008
The ongoing wave of price hikes, while designed to compel people, particularly urbanites, to endorse Morgan Tsvangirai over President Mugabe in the run-off on June 27, should actually awaken the doubting Thomases to the manipulation we have been subjected to since the stand-off with Britain began in November 1997.
The Western countries -- led by Britain and the United States -- mooted the idea of an opposition to topple Zanu-PF and President Mugabe from power for daring to go beyond the façade of flag independence to holistic empowerment. This is the whole discourse of regime change. They, however, realised that in Zanu-PF and the Government, they faced insurmountable odds on account of the great strides Government made in improving livelihoods since 1980. To this end, they decided to systematically undo those gains in a bid to separate the majority from the leadership by laying the blame for the erosion on the Government while presenting the MDC as a viable alternative.
This strategy was exposed by former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Chester Crocker who, in a testimony to the US Senate in 2001, said "to separate the Zimbabwean people from Zanu-PF we are going to have to make their economy scream".
This set the stage for the imposition of illegal economic sanctions that cut our lines of credit from all multilateral lending institutions that have dealings with the US. The situation was not helped by the fact that the economy was, and still is dominated by over 400 British companies that were only eager to toe London's line. These companies either deliberately cut down on production and channelled the few products they made to the illegal parallel market where they were sold at extortionate prices, or simply hiked the prices of goods and services to unrealistic levels, all in a bid to abet the sanctions and force people to vote against the Government. This is why every major election has been preceded by a wave of price hikes. We saw this ahead of Election 2000, we saw it in the 2002 presidential election, we saw it in the general election of 2005 and again in the just-ended harmonised elections.
The closeness of the last contest that saw Zanu-PF trail the MDC-T in the presidential and House of Assembly elections on the back of protest votes made the Western hounds smell blood. They, thus, decided to ensure that voters are really squeezed so that come June 27, they seek recourse in the MDC-T. This is why the past few weeks have been characterised by spiralling inflation, shortages of basic commodities, incessant power cuts, high transport costs and intermittent disruptions to water supplies, which are all part of the regime change agenda as President Mugabe pointed out on Wednesday.
Thus, if some among us continue giving the Westerners hope by voting for the MDC, they will only be too eager to keep ratcheting the pressure in the hope that one day; we will capitulate. However, if we send a clear message to them that we have seen through their ruse by shunning Tsvangirai and overwhelmingly endorsing President Mugabe, they will be compelled to leave us alone.
June 27, is the day we should send that message, let it be the day we disembowel the neo-colonial project.
By Naomi Klein
The more details emerge, the clearer it becomes that Washington's handling of the Wall Street bailout is not merely incompetent. It is borderline criminal.
In a moment of high panic in late September, the US Treasury unilaterally pushed through a radical change in how bank mergers are taxed--a change long sought by the industry. Despite the fact that this move will deprive the government of as much as $140 billion in tax revenue, lawmakers found out only after the fact. According to the Washington Post, more than a dozen tax attorneys agree that "Treasury had no authority to issue the [tax change] notice."
Of equally dubious legality are the equity deals Treasury has negotiated with many of the country's banks. According to Congressman Barney Frank, one of the architects of the legislation that enables the deals, "Any use of these funds for any purpose other than lending--for bonuses, for severance pay, for dividends, for acquisitions of other institutions, etc.--is a violation of the act." Yet this is exactly how the funds are being used.
Then there is the nearly $2 trillion the Federal Reserve has handed out in emergency loans. Incredibly, the Fed will not reveal which corporations have received these loans or what it has accepted as collateral. Bloomberg News believes that this secrecy violates the law and has filed a federal suit demanding full disclosure.
Despite all of this potential lawlessness, the Democrats are either openly defending the administration or refusing to intervene. "There is only one president at a time," we hear from Barack Obama. That's true. But every sweetheart deal the lame-duck Bush administration makes threatens to hobble Obama's ability to make good on his promise of change. To cite just one example, that $140 billion in missing tax revenue is almost the same sum as Obama's renewable energy program. Obama owes it to the people who elected him to call this what it is: an attempt to undermine the electoral process by stealth.
Yes, there is only one president at a time, but that president needed the support of powerful Democrats, including Obama, to get the bailout passed. Now that it is clear that the Bush administration is violating the terms to which both parties agreed, the Democrats have not just the right but a grave responsibility to intervene forcefully.
I suspect that the real reason the Democrats are so far failing to act has less to do with presidential protocol than with fear: fear that the stock market, which has the temperament of an overindulged 2-year-old, will throw one of its world-shaking tantrums. Disclosing the truth about who is receiving federal loans, we are told, could cause the cranky market to bet against those banks. Question the legality of equity deals and the same thing will happen. Challenge the $140 billion tax giveaway and mergers could fall through. "None of us wants to be blamed for ruining these mergers and creating a new Great Depression," explained one unnamed Congressional aide.
More than that, the Democrats, including Obama, appear to believe that the need to soothe the market should govern all key economic decisions in the transition period. Which is why, just days after a euphoric victory for "change," the mantra abruptly shifted to "smooth transition" and "continuity."
Take Obama's pick for chief of staff. Despite the Republican braying about his partisanship, Rahm Emanuel, the House Democrat who received the most donations from the financial sector, sends an unmistakably reassuring message to Wall Street. When asked on This Week With George Stephanopoulos whether Obama would be moving quickly to increase taxes on the wealthy, as promised, Emanuel pointedly did not answer the question.
This same market-coddling logic should, we are told, guide Obama's selection of treasury secretary. Fox News's Stuart Varney explained that Larry Summers, who held the post under Clinton, and former Fed chair Paul Volcker would both "give great confidence to the market." We learned from MSNBC's Joe Scarborough that Summers is the man "the Street would like the most."
Let's be clear about why. "The Street" would cheer a Summers appointment for exactly the same reason the rest of us should fear it: because traders will assume that Summers, champion of financial deregulation under Clinton, will offer a transition from Henry Paulson so smooth we will barely know it happened. Someone like FDIC chair Sheila Bair, on the other hand, would spark fear on the Street--for all the right reasons.
One thing we know for certain is that the market will react violently to any signal that there is a new sheriff in town who will impose serious regulation, invest in people and cut off the free money for corporations. In short, the markets can be relied on to vote in precisely the opposite way that Americans have just voted. (A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans strongly favor "stricter regulations on financial institutions," while just 21 percent support aid to financial companies.)
There is no way to reconcile the public's vote for change with the market's foot-stomping for more of the same. Any and all moves to change course will be met with short-term market shocks. The good news is that once it is clear that the new rules will be applied across the board and with fairness, the market will stabilize and adjust. Furthermore, the timing for this turbulence has never been better. Over the past three months, we've been shocked so frequently that market stability would come as more of a surprise. That gives Obama a window to disregard the calls for a seamless transition and do the hard stuff first. Few will be able to blame him for a crisis that clearly predates him, or fault him for honoring the clearly expressed wishes of the electorate. The longer he waits, however, the more memories fade.
When transferring power from a functional, trustworthy regime, everyone favors a smooth transition. When exiting an era marked by criminality and bankrupt ideology, a little rockiness at the start would be a very good sign.
About Naomi Klein
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (September 2007); an earlier international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). more...
Written by Mukuka Lunda
Friday, November 14, 2008 8:17:13 AM
Kindly, allow me to present my views on the just-ended presidential elections, in which Rupiah Banda was declared winner and sworn in within hours. May I first commend the people of Zambian for the manner in which we conducted ourselves over the seemingly controversial outcome of the elections.
The paradox of MMD's rural popularity is that the very people they claim voted for them are the very ones who are worst hit by poverty, unemployment, poor health facilities, very bad roads and many other problems.
One can only wonder why the party in power claims to be popular in rural areas when there is literally and practically nothing they have done to uplift the standard of living of the people in rural areas.
Most people in rural areas find refuge in the Church. The Church has now taken it upon itself to help these people, because it is difficult to worship God without anything in the stomach.
The Church should be commended for its tireless work of helping the neglected people in the rural areas.
It is ridiculous and unfair to claim you are popular in rural areas when you only remember these people during campaigns. Ask the Catholic Church, or the SDA, or the United Church of Zambia and many others, and they will tell you the real problems people in rural areas are facing, because the Church is closer to the people than the politicians. As a result, people in rural areas are forced to move to big towns in search of means of survival. Lastly, I appeal to all well-meaning politicians, who have the interest of the Zambian people at heart to heed the timely observation of the Catholic bishops. God bless Zambia!
Speak out, Fr Bwalya
Written by Kaiche
November 14, 2008 8:16:19 AM
I was listening to Radio Chengelo at 16:20 when Fr Frank Bwalya, the director of Radio Ichengelo was speaking the truth about the just-ended elections.
It is very true that the country is mourning because the new president, Rupiah Banda, has not been welcomed due to a lot of malpractices that have taken place during the electoral process and campaign.
Fr Bwalya was on Wednesday arrested by the police yet every one has the right to speak out, that is the freedom of the press. Fr Bwalya, continue giving the people the true message of hope. We need change. We need great change with people of high calibre, who will serve the people and not those that are stealing.
Challenges for the govt
Written by Mwewa Yamba.
Friday, November 14, 2008 8:14:17 AM
Zambia has just come out of the presidential elections and of course with the system at play which favours the MMD, the elections went that way.
The challenges that are in our midst include a predictible developmental agenda that is for the entire country and not regional based; reducing the size of our bloated governmentt with many people doing nothing but being sustained by the government, having an action-oriented government and not a rhetoric one which makes serious statements during campaigns and thereafter deliberately neglects its duties and obligations, having a well-thought constitution which will stand the test of time and meant to serve the poor majority within a year. We desperately need an accountable government which easily accounts for every kwacha meant for the gocernemnt.
There is need to streamline the government establishment, ministries and their roles to meet the challenges the country has. Let us learn seriously from countries in our neighbourhood like Botswana where development is the national agenda contrary to the Rhetoric that we have here.
Those of us in leadership should be ashamed of the failures we have continued to score for sometime now.
Rural media coverage
Written by Kaunda Wisdom
Friday, November 14, 2008 8:15:34 AM
Zambia boasts being one of the few countries in Africa which had the first television and radio stations. Nevertheless, today, we are so behind that most citizens prefer the foreign media to local ones.
Additionally, the local media has failed to penetrate the rural areas where masses are faced with ignorance and limited access to private media. Urban Zambia, especially Lusaka, has several radio and TV stations which update people unconditionally as compared to government-owned media.
The private sector has a huge challenge to ensure that more private stations reach the remotest parts of our country.
We want to see Radio Phoenix, Qfm, MUVI TV and other media houses reaching all parts of the nation in order to reduce ignorance. Additionally, the continued monopoly of TV Licence fees use by ZNBC needs to be looked into as it is unfair for the private sector. The media's role in every society is to inform so that people make informed decisions. It is therefore injustice to deny people an opportunity to be informed.