Saturday, January 17, 2009

LCM announces complete pullout

LCM announces complete pullout
Written by Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe
Saturday, January 17, 2009 5:45:54 AM

SHAREHOLDERS in Luanshya Copper Mine (LCM) have announced a complete pullout of their stakes in the mine. The shareholders made the announcement during a shareholders' meeting held at Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka last Tuesday.

"They have pulled out because they are saying that they are not making any profit from the mine," said a highly placed source.

The source said the shareholders held two meetings, one with Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) and the other with the LCM board.

The source said the announcement was made during the meeting with ZCCM-IH.

They said the shareholders however indicated that they would only re-open Chambishi Metals.

"But this will depend on government, whether they would give them a go-ahead," the source said.

According to the source, the investors were not interested in LCM but want to keep Chambishi Metals Plc.

"LCM has no smelter so if it is sold and the investor is still holding on to the smelter, where will they be smelting their copper? It will mean people that will run LCM will have to find a smelter," source said.

The source explained that the government had asked management at the mine to pay all obligations such as contractors and terminal benefits.

"Management has indicated that they will pay the workers and contractors. The biggest amount is the terminal benefits, which are in the range of US$13 million to US$15 million. The stance taken by government is that for them to take over the running of the company in the short term, LCM should offset all the debts," the source said.

The source also noted that it was wrong for investors to use the low copper prices as a reason for their exit because any mine could remain afloat with prices of US$2,000 per tonne.

"A mine can only be affected if the price of copper falls below US$2,000," the source said.

Both LCM chief executive officer Derrick Webbstock and operations manager James Bethel could not be reached for immediate comment as they were not answering their mobile phones.

LCM was owned by ENYA Holdings BV which is jointly controlled by Bein Stein Group Resources (BSGR) of Israel and the International Mineral Resources (IMR) with 85 per cent shares while 15 per cent shares are held by the government through ZCCM-IH.

LCM is currently under care and maintenance and government had expressed willingness to take over operations although it would not be immediate as it has to study the laws relating to the same.

Over 1,600 workers at LCM lost jobs following the closure of the mine last month.

LCM, which operates the Baluba Copper Mine and Chambishi Metals Plc, also suspended the US$354 million Mulyashi copper project, which was due to start producing 60,000 tonnes of copper in 2010.

Copper mining is Zambia's economic lifeblood and the mines are a major employer and accounts for about 63 per cent of the country's export earnings.

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Self-regulation is non-negotiable for us, charges Kabwela

Self-regulation is non-negotiable for us, charges Kabwela
Written by Maluba Jere, Constance Matongo and Agness Changala
Sunday, January 18, 2009 6:20:22 AM

SELF-regulation is non-negotiable for us, Press Freedom Committee of The Post (PFC) chairperson Chansa Kabwela has said.

And Radio Icengelo station manager Father Frank Bwalya has said President Rupiah Banda's address during the opening of Parliament on Friday was devoid of good news for the media. Meanwhile, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia has said that the media's ethical conduct cannot be enforced under statutory regulation because it is the watchdog of the three arms of government.

Commenting on President Rupiah Banda's statement when he officially the third session of the 10th National Assembly that his administration believes in media self-regulation but urged media houses to join Media Ethics Council (MECOZ), Kabwela said the PFC would not be coerced into submission over the matter.

She said it was unfortunate that President Banda was calling for self-regulation of the media and at the same time asking the media to join MECOZ without exception.

“It's a pity that instead of making strides towards enhancing an enabling environment for journalists, we are going backwards in terms of media law reforms,” she said. “There is no way the same government can say it supports media self-regulation and at the same time force media houses to join MECOZ. Forcing the media to join MECOZ amounts to regulation. The moment threats are applied, it becomes regulation so us, in the PFC, will not do that.”

Kabwela also said it was disturbing that President Banda could stand on the floor of Parliament and blackmail the media on the issue of self-regulation.

“That statement by the President is itself an attempt to regulate the media,” she said. “We don't need to belong to MECOZ because we always regulate ourselves on a daily basis. We get a lot of information, stories and even letters and we try as much as possible to pick from what we have and that in itself is regulation. If the government is truly committed to self-regulation by the media, then joining MECOZ should be voluntary.”

Kabwela also stressed that people's right to information, was unavoidable. She explained that it was only proper access to information that paved way for debate on national matters and enhance accountability and transparency in a democracy.

Kabwela further said there could be no meaningful decision making if the public was not given sufficient information adding that the media needed an enabling legal environment to operate effectively.

“Yes freedom comes with a price but as the PFC, we want to believe that journalists are responsible, effective and professional enough to work without being regulated,” Kabwela said. “We know that we are accountable and socially responsible to the people.”

Kabwela also called on all Zambians to join the media in fighting for better law reforms. She said a free press was not only a political imperative but also essential for economic life.

“We feel we have tried to regulate ourselves even in times when we have misrepresented someone, we have never hesitated to apologise and that in itself is self-regulation,” Kabwela said. “We have enough laws in the country that people can use if aggrieved by the work of the media. So, those are the ways we can use.”

She also said those proposing media regulation 'indirectly through MECOZ' should know that regulating the media would affect the end users of information obtained by journalists, saying they would not be getting adequate information to make informed decisions.

And Fr Bwalya said he expected President Banda to make progressive pronouncements on the media regarding critical outstanding and long overdue issues such the implementation of ZNBC Amendment Act number 20 of 2002, the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act number 17 of 2002 and the enacting of the Freedom of Information Bill (FoI).

“These are issues that are very critical in making progress towards a desirable media legal environment. Moreover, these are tenets of democracy that should serve as a litmus test for our young democracy,” he said.

Fr Bwalya regretted to note that the government had clearly lacked political will to move the country forward regarding these critical media law reforms.

“From the way the President spoke, it is clear that his government is unlikely to pluck up political will and do the right thing. As such, I call upon President Banda to prove that he is a progressive and democratic President by addressing the critical media issues that we have been wrestling with for many years,” he said.

Fr Bwalya said it would be difficult for anyone to believe that President Banda was serious with fighting corruption if he did not commit himself to enacting the FoI.

“Corruption today is going unnoticed and in some cases noticed but not reported due to the absence of a legal framework to obtain vital information about the operations of public institutions where corruption and outright theft is rampant,” Fr Bwalya said. “I therefore challenge President Banda to show his government's commitment to good governance by enacting the FoI and implementing the ZNBC Amendment Act number 20 of 2002 and IBA Act number 17 of 2002.”

Father Bwalya however said if President Banda fails to enact the media laws, then he should forget about leaving a legacy as far as the media and progressive Zambians are concerned.

On President Banda's statement that the government would regulate the media if some media organisations did not subscribe to MECOZ, Fr Bwalya said the President needed to be advised that it was fallacious to think of regulating the media on that basis.

“The President needs to be made to understand that government cannot force any media organisation to subscribe to MECOZ because it is a voluntary self-regulating body. However, it is desirable that all media organisations belong to MECOZ but those that choose not to belong cannot be forced by anyone and this is part of democracy,” he said.

Fr Bwalya said Zambia had adequate laws to deal with erring media organisations and practitioners. He welcomed the pronouncement that the government would review radio licensing procedures to enable electronic media expand coverage.

“But we expect concrete and honest steps towards the realisation of this seemingly promising announcement. Already, there are media organisations, both radio and television, that have been fighting to extend their coverage areas,” he said.

Fr Bwalya hoped that applications for extending media coverage would soon be granted.

“I look forward to watching MUVI TV in Kitwe and listening to some Lusaka-based radio stations,” said Fr Bwalya. “If government fails to move in this direction soon, one thing will be clear, that the announcement was made to divert attention from government's failures in the area of media law reform. The onus is on President Banda to prove his sincerity on this issue.”

And MISA Zambia chairperson Henry Kabwe said the media provided checks and balances on the three arms of the government. He said statutory regulation of the media might be used to hamper the media's role as a watchdog.

“However, unlike any other profession, the media's ethical conduct cannot be enforced under statutory regulation because the media is the watchdog of the three arms of government,” he said.

Kabwe, however, called on all media institutions in Zambia to heed to the call by President Banda to ensure that they fell under one voluntary but non-statutory media ethics regulatory body so as to make the profession more dignified.

He said as things stood, the media sector's disunity and lack of common ground where media ethics and professionalism were concerned had sent wrong messages to Zambians.

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Rupiah doesn’t believe in media self-regulation

Rupiah doesn’t believe in media self-regulation
Written by Editor

Rupiah Banda yesterday told Parliament that his administration “believes in media self-regulation”. And he added: “However, the onus remains on the media to work out such regulations which must be respected by all and clearly stipulate the sanctions against erring journalists or media hous

With that in mind, I would urge all media outlets and practitioners to consider joining the Media Ethics Council. I would rather this be the course of action than forcing government to act. If other media houses think they are above self-regulation and refuse to co-operate with their colleagues in the Media Ethics Council, then the government will assist to provide one.”
This is what Rupiah told Parliament yesterday. But what does it amount to? And who is he talking about?

This amounts to a threat, blackmail or coercion. It amounts to forcing those who are not members of the Media Ethics Council of Zambia (MECOZ) to join this body. And Rupiah is certainly referring to The Post because it is one of the few, if not the only major media house, that is not a member of the MECOZ.

No one – not even Rupiah himself – will force us to join MECOZ against our will. And this decision of ours is guided and protected by Article 20 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia which reads: “Except with his own consent, a person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to impart and communicate ideas and information without interference, whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons, and freedom from interference with his correspondence. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a law shall not make any provision that derogates from freedom of the press. Nothing contained in or done under the authority or any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this Article to the extent that it is shown that the law in question makes provision: that is reasonably required in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or that is reasonably required for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings, preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, maintaining the authority and independence of the courts, regulating educational institutions in the interests of persons receiving instruction therein, or the registration of, or regulating the technical administration or the technical operation of, newspapers and other publications, telephony, telegraphy, posts, wireless broadcasting or television; or that imposes restrictions upon public officers; and except so far as that provision or, the thing done under the authority thereof as the case may be, is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.”

And for all the derogations permitted under the Constitution, we have more than adequate laws in our statutes and common law to deal with that. We have criminal defamation laws in our Penal Code and our courts of law have more than demonstrated ability to deal with civil cases of defamation.

So, what is it really that Rupiah and his friends are seeking in trying to force us to join MECOZ? It is definitely something that falls outside the permissible derogations that Rupiah and his friends are seeking. And they want to abuse their legislative powers to do that which three regimes before them – under which The Post has operated – have not done.

But what Rupiah and his friends should know is that we sincerely and deeply believe in the freedom of the press. And we know from experience that press freedom in this country has not worked as well in practice as it has done in speech. And since informed public opinion is the most potent of all restraints upon mis-government, continued control by the government of the media in general through its agents like those of MECOZ and its direct ownership of newspapers, radio and television stations cannot be regarded otherwise than with grave concern.

What Rupiah should realize is that The Post will never be blackmailed into doing things it doesn’t believe in. We believe in press freedom and nobody forced us to do so. A belief should be based on reasoning, on the development of thought and feelings. The two things are inseparable.

If you have to accept things because you are told they are a certain way, you can’t argue or reason them out. Moreover, if the main argument used is reward or punishment – punishment more than reward – then it is impossible to develop the reasoning and feelings that could be the basis of a sincere belief.

We really think this is a bad way to develop any kind of deep conviction in a human being. We have never been able to imagine how a belief might be based on something that is inspired by fear of something or by a reward. We believe that people’s beliefs should be based on understandable reasons and the intrinsic value of their actions.

We believe that what’s done out of fear of punishment or in search of reward isn’t entirely kind or noble. It isn’t really worth of praise, admiration or esteem. What we have done, what we are doing, has never and is not motivated by the idea of punishment. It can only be explained by deep conviction. Conviction is what makes martyrs. We don’t think anybody becomes a martyr simply because he expects a reward or fears punishment. We don’t think anybody behaves heroically for such a reason. People who do something out of fear generally fear the fire, the martyrdom and the torture even more. They don’t dare defy them.

We are motivated by something more inspiring than fear of punishment. We think it’s a great merit for a man to give up everything he has, even his life, for an idea and to fight, knowing that he may be annihilated, but he upholds the idea, the moral value, so firmly that he defends it with everything he has without expecting a reward.

Our ideas on press freedom and self-regulation are very clear. Our convictions on these issues are very deep, our decisions are very resolute. We are ready to face up to the most difficult situations.

Rupiah shouldn’t cheat anybody that he believes in a free press, in self-regulation. He doesn’t. One who believes in self-regulation cannot force someone to join an organization that he doesn’t want to join. One who believes in self-regulation cannot think of regulating ‘self-regulation’ simply because one media institution has refused to become a member of MECOZ. This is a contradiction which makes one’s claim of believing in self-regulation hypocritical and appears to be based on ignorance of what self-regulation means. If Rupiah understands what self-regulation means, he would know that self-regulation does not begin and end with joining MECOZ. Self-regulation starts with the individual journalist and organization he works for, if any. It has very little to do with media councils. The United States media regulates itself, but it has no media councils. The attempts to set up media councils in many states of the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s failed and were abandoned because they were found to be unprogressive or retrogressive and stifling to the media.

The Post is regulating itself within the provisions of our Constitution and a myriad of other repressive media laws that are still on our statute books.

If Rupiah and his friends want to enact a legislated MECOZ, they should just go ahead and do so and stop using The Post’s refusal to voluntarily join MECOZ as a scapegoat. Moreover, if there has to be any self-regulation under MECOZ, membership to MECOZ should be voluntary. If not, one cannot say there is any self-regulation under MECOZ. Membership to MECOZ is voluntary and not mandatory. We have a choice to associate or not to associate with MECOZ. But Rupiah and his friends should know that there is very little that they will achieve, politically or otherwise, with a legislated media council than they have been able to achieve with the current repressive media laws. Anyway, desperation and ignorance sometimes lead to wild illusions and dreams.

But again, we refer Rupiah and his friends to the very wise advice of Nelson Mandela: “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.”

Clearly, few would argue that the news media in Zambia always carry out their functions responsibly. They are sometimes sensational, superficial, intrusive, inaccurate and inflammatory. The solution to all these deficiencies of our media is not to devise laws or put up some legislated media council, 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.

We believe that as soon as our press begins to accept to be forced into becoming members of MECOZ, it will suffocate itself under the blankets of its worst pretensions.

We exalt everyone to meditate on these issues carefully and truthfully and with broadmindedness.

What we have said on this issue are ideas born from the experience of our struggles in the media, from the experience we have lived through, from sleepless eyes that try to see the evolution of events – are our convictions. We must nurture values. There is no alternative; authentic values are those practiced in the greatest freedom.

Rupiah and his friends are trying to come up with all sorts of repressive measures to control citizen views and actions because they are shaping a country or a nation which they themselves are scared of.

Our battle is not only a battle for survival, it is not just surviving for the sake of surviving, no. It is a battle to take part in the struggle for a better country, a better nation, to participate in the struggle along with our people. We think that the idea of the future nation, country is the most important and most noble idea that any progressive citizen of this country can harbour. Progressive people have always fought for the future. And to fight for the future does not mean to avoid doing every day what must be done for the present. It is a sacred duty to do all that can be done within each person’s reach.



Zambia, China hold talks on TAZARA operations

Zambia, China hold talks on TAZARA operations
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Saturday, January 17, 2009 5:43:19 AM

GOVERNMENT has commenced discussions with China to find ways of revamping operations at the Tanzania Zambia Railways (TAZARA).

And President Rupiah Banda has said both Chinese and Zambian investors must be given equal business opportunities in the proposed economic zones.

Meanwhile, Chinese commerce minister Chen Deming said China would continue providing various forms of support to Zambia without attaching any conditions.

Officially launching the construction works at the Lusaka sub-zone of the Chambishi Multi Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) on Thursday, President Banda said China had always come to the aid of Zambia during the most difficult times.

He said China had assisted Zambia when other cooperating partners considered impossible to construct the TAZARA railway line.

“China has been an all-weather friend and has always come to the aid of Zambia during difficult times. We are, therefore, overwhelmed by the Chinese responses that have always come at the most opportune times,” President Banda said. “And to sustain the exporting and importing of goods to the East coast through TAZARA, we have started discussions with the Chinese government to find ways of revamping operations or rebuilding the railway line and I am hopeful that the talks will be concluded soon.”

TAZARA, which is a joint venture between the governments of Zambia and Tanzania, was established over 40 years ago, but currently, the railway company has been facing serious problems. The company currently has total debts amounting to around US $60 million owed to various institutions.

President Banda said the most important thing for Zambia at the moment was to open up and let other people bring investment and expertise into the country.

“The MFEZ will be the most credible platform for strengthening investment cooperation between Zambia and China and anybody who brings jobs to Zambia is our darling and we hope other companies from other countries apart from China will also invest in the economic zones and this launch of construction works shows that Zambia is still a good and attractive investment destination,” he said.

He called for strong partnership between Chinese investors and Zambian businesses in establishing companies in the economic zone.

“This is important for our citizen’s empowerment programme and to enable Chinese companies tap into local expertise, knowledge and culture, in the same vein, I suggest that both Chinese and Zambian investors must be given equal business opportunities at the economic zone,” said President Banda. “And I call upon all Chinese and other foreign investors to support local suppliers and contractors as opposed to promoting foreign suppliers since it is important to utilise goods and services that can be obtained locally.”

And Chen said Zambia had become the first country to have an economic zone and industrial park outside China.

He said the development was expected to elevate the cooperation between the two countries to another level.

“We are happy that the first economic zone and industrial park outside China has started and we shall remain faithful friends of Zambia and for over 40 years, we have supported various projects and we shall continue doing so without any attached conditions but with the best of our abilities,” said Chen.

And China Non-ferrous Metals Mining (CNMC) group president Luo Tao said China was committed to invest in Zambia despite the global economic meltdown.

“We remain confident and committed to continue with investments in Zambia and we shall create job opportunities and despite the decline in copper prices, we will not lay off any worker and we will not reduce any tonne of production in Zambia,” said Luo.

The Chinese government, through the CNMC group, has pledged to invest US $ 900 million in the Chambishi MFEZ, where about 60 companies would be established and would mainly be involved in value addition and related manufacturing.

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Court adjourns Aaron Chungu, Kabwe’s Task Force suit case

Court adjourns Aaron Chungu, Kabwe’s Task Force suit case
Written by Maluba Jere
Saturday, January 17, 2009 5:41:36 AM

LUSAKA High Court judge Christine Phiri has adjourned to January 29, 2009 the matter where former Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) directors Aaron Chungu and Faustin Kabwe are challenging the legality of the Task Force on Corruption.

This is after judge Phiri granted an application by the duo for judicial review over the decision by the Task Force on Corruption requiring them to attend interviews at Woodlands Police Station. She directed that all further proceedings on the decision in question be stayed until after the hearing of motion for judicial review.

This means that Chungu will not be arrested by the Task Force before judge Phiri concludes the matter.

This is in a matter where Kabwe and Chungu have applied for leave for judicial review in the High Court, seeking an order of certiorari for the purpose of quashing the decision by the Task Force on Corruption requiring them through call-outs dated December 19, 2008 to attend interviews at Woodlands Police Station in connection with allegations of theft of US$149,000 and K226 million.

The duo has applied for judicial review in the matter pursuant to Order 53 Rule 3 of the Supreme Court Rules. Kabwe and Chungu are seeking, among other reliefs, a declaration that the Task Force on Corruption has no power to receive, investigate and prosecute complaints of alleged corrupt practices under the Anti-Corruption (ACC) Act or any other law.

The duo explained that there is no Act of parliament that had been created which stipulates the authority or functions of the Task Force on Corruption and that the Constitution of Zambia did not provide for the creation of the Task Force on Corruption.

The matter comes up on January 29, 2009.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Rupiah’s press aide harasses Post journalist

Rupiah’s press aide harasses Post journalist
Written by Staff Reporter
Friday, January 16, 2009 9:27:44 PM

STATE House chief analyst for press and public relations Dickson Jere yesterday publicly harassed Post journalist Chibaula Silwamba at State House and accused The Post of being unprofessional.

And Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA- Zambia Chapter) has expressed disappointment over Jere's conduct.

Meanwhile, Post managing editor Amos Malupenga has advised Jere to be level-headed and quickly understand the role of his office. Silwamba said the incident happened just after he finished covering President Rupiah Banda and Chinese commerce minister Chen Deming's meeting at State House, where the latter and finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane signed framework agreements and a letter of exchange.

Silwamba said after the function in the conference room, he and Radio QFM journalist Wamunyima Walubita walked to the passage, where Jere found them.

He said Jere confronted him, shouting on top of his voice, much to the dismay of onlookers. Silwamba said Jere was raising his hands and pointing at him as he rebuked him.

“Mr. Jere was shouting at me, saying 'How do you write that? What kind of journalism is that? Where did you learn your journalism?'” Silwamba narrated.

He said when he asked Jere to single out the story he was complaining about, he could not do so but continued to angrily shout at him.

“He said, 'where have you seen that kind of journalism?' He said as a journalist who worked for an international media organisation, they don't write stories the way The Post did,” Silwamba narrated. “Mr. Jere said: 'we don't do that kind of journalism as international journalists. No! No!'”

Silwamba said he told Jere that if he was complaining about the stories he had written on President Banda during his tour of Northern Province last week, he was ready to challenge anybody because all the stories were accurate.

At this stage, Jere said the names mentioned in a Post story concerning some people purporting to have been appointed by President Banda in foreign service and stayed at a lodge for free, imposter story, were inaccurate.

“Mr Jere was shouting that none of the people alleged to be imposters were from State House. 'There is no David Banda here [at State House]',” Silwamba narrated.

Silwamba said after Jere realised that he was being challenged on anything he said, he decided to stop shouting and opted to talk to other journalists before walking away.

Recently in Northern Province during President Banda's visit to Paramount chief Chitimukulu palace in Mungwi, Jere refused to tell Post photojournalist Collins Phiri where the President was landing from.

Phiri had asked Jere to tell him where President Banda was landing from so that he and Silwamba could cover the President on arrival.

“Jere rudely responded, 'I don't know!'” Phiri narrated.

Phiri and Silwamba said after President Banda's political advisor Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika heard the manner in which Jere responded, he directed The Post journalists to the venue where President Banda was landing.

“Akashambatwa, who was in the same vehicle with Jere, presidential affairs minister Gabriel Namulambe and driver, decided to open the window of the vehicle. He said he did not really know where President Banda would land from but he gave us a rough direction. And for sure when we followed the direction Aka gave us, we found a presidential motorcade there waiting for President Banda,” Phiri said. “Surprisingly, Jere also came there. That shows that he knew where the President was landing from but did not just want to tell us.”

In another incident last month, Jere instructed security personnel to block Chipata based Post journalist Christopher Miti from attending President Banda's function in Chipata during his visit there.

Miti said after President Banda featured on Radio Breeze FM in Chipata, he invited journalists for dinner at Mamalula Lodge. He said when he and other journalists from Radio Maria, Breeze FM, Times of Zambia and Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) went to Mamalula Lodge, security personnel told him that they had been told not to allow a Post journalist to enter.

“When my colleagues from other media organisations went inside, they told Jere that, 'we have a colleague, Christopher Miti, from The Post.' But Jere told them that, 'we did not invite The Post,'” Miti narrated.

Miti said when the function started, President Banda asked a ZANIS journalist if he [Miti] was there.

“My colleague from ZANIS told me that the President wanted to know if I was there. It seems the President wanted me there but I had been blocked. The journalist from ZANIS told the President that I was not there. Jere did not say anything,” said Miti.

And MISA-Zambia chairperson Henry Kabwe implored Jere to exercise tolerance towards the media in responding to queries in a dignified manner befitting his office. Kabwe said as chief analyst for press and public relations, Jere was expected to exhibit high standards of professionalism and ethics in dealing with the media. He appealed to Jere to use appropriate channels should he feel aggrieved with the way the media reports.

"MISA Zambia equally implores the media in Zambia to be factual, fair and balanced in their reportage," said Kabwe. On Monday, Jere told The Post to go ahead and publish the trash they always publish when he was contacted over the alleged imposters who were staying at a lodge in Lusaka without footing the bills purporting that State House would foot the bills as President Rupiah Banda had offered them jobs in the diplomatic service. And Malupenga said it was clear that Jere was headed for a tough time with the media if he did not change his approach.

“It is clear that Dickson is dangerously puffed up with pride, which is usually not associated with public relations practitioners,” Malupenga said. “I urge him to sober up and be level-headed. He should understand that the main role of his office is to bridge the gap between his boss in State House and the media. Of course, we know that some people get confused when they operate from State House and start behaving like they are small presidents. Dickson is mistaken if he thinks that discrediting The Post is the only way for him to show Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda that he is working well. If Mr Banda is not aware, Dickson's first newsroom experience was with The Post, the newspaper he is despising today.”

Malupenga advised Jere to be aware that his behaviour in his official capacity reflected on the character and instructions he has received from the appointing authority.

“We have been ignoring Dickson's misbehaviour for sometime because we thought he was trying to find his feet in the new office,” said Malupenga. “But it appears this is his way of doing things. Unfortunately, it is a wrong way of doing things. In case he is under the illusion that he can trample on The Post's credibility with impunity, let him be informed that he is striving after the wind. He has embarked on an exercise in futility. Many before him in that institution have tried to annihilate The Post but they have lamentably failed.”

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Malawi-China agree to further cooperation

Malawi-China agree to further cooperation
16 January, 2009 01:51:00

Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister Joyce Banda on Thursday held talks with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Lilongwe where they exchange views on bilateral ties and China-Africa cooperation.

Banda said she held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister and reached an agreement to develop China-Malawi relations.

She said they exchanged views on the implementation of the consensus of leaders of the two countries and ways to further develop the friendship and cooperation.

The China and Malawi Foreign Ministers reached an agreement to develop the relations in the following aspects:

-- To further political exchanges with the aim to improve mutual understanding, trust and support on the key interests of each other.

-- To further explore cooperation potential so as to expand trade and achieve mutual benefits.

-- To continue cultural and personnel exchange programs in order to enhance friendship between the two peoples.

-- To strengthen coordination on and cooperation in new international and regional issues, so as to safeguard the interests of the developing countries.

-- To enhance cooperation between the two foreign ministries for a more active role in promoting China-Malawi friendly and cooperative relations.

The foreign ministers signed a series of cooperation agreements after their talks.

Yang is currently on a six-nation tour to Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, Brazil and Portugal.

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(NYASATIMES) Govt distributes maize in Kaliati constituency

Govt distributes maize in Kaliati constituency
16 January, 2009 01:04:00

Just a week after Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati got shocked with news of maize scarcity in his home area, Mkando, government on Wednesday 14 January started distributing maize to Admarc depots in the area.

This came after people of Mkando last week forced UDF national chairman Dr Bakili Muluzi to stopover witness how people are scrambling for maize husks at Mkando market, just some meters away from Kaliati's home. Government has since made available sixteen trucks of maize in the constituency.

“We have already distributed the maize to Chingoli and Sanjama Trading Centres; we are yet to continue with the distribution exercise as per instructions,” said one of the officials involved in the exercise.

“It was like a surprise to the people of Mkando who have been surviving on madeya when they saw sixteen trucks of maize in the area I think Muluzi did a good job,” he said.

Mkando is one of the areas in Malawi where people have been severely affected by the hunger.

Last week a small basin of maize bran was going at K100.00 but government spokesperson, Kaliati maintains that the country has enough maize.

“Our minister and Member of Parliament for this constituency comes from [there] she passes by here and she sees us scrambling for maize, yet we hear her on radio saying we have enough maize,” said one old woman, Nyamazao Mkumba, who was found at the market.

The Nation newspaper on Tuesday reported of food crisis in prisons where thousands are sleeping on empty stomachs.

Minister of Home Affairs minister Ernest Malenga told the paper that it was due to government's failure to realize funding to buy maize to feed an estimated 7,000 in mates in Malawi prisons.

But Finance Minister Goodal Gondwe dismissed his colleague's claims on the delayed funding.

Commentators have said that the misunderstanding is an indication that government is failing to source maize for prisoners.

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(DAILY MAIL) RB unveils economic zone

RB unveils economic zone

PRESIDENT Banda yesterday unveiled the Lusaka sub-zone of the Chambishi Multi facility Economic Zone which will be used as an area for raw material value addition.

The sub-zone is an extension of the Chambishi Multi-facility Economic Zone which was unveiled by President Mwanawasa in 2007 with the support of the Chinese government.

President Banda said the launch had come at a time when the global financial meltdown had exerted massive pressure on most economies in both developed and developing countries.

“This launch we are witnessing today will go a long way to show that Zambia is still an attractive investment destination and give confidence to existing firms not to start scaling down their operations,” he said.

Mr Banda said Zambians would benefit greatly from the investment earmarked for the sub-zone through employment creation and skills transfer, among others.

“My government will continue diversifying the economy to sustain the country’s economic growth and minimise the negative impact arising from the global economic down-turn,” he said.

Mr Banda said the Lusaka sub-zone would specialise in value addition and light manufacturing activities. He said unveiling of the zone would change the face of Lusaka East and the Zambian economy in that raw materials would now have chance to enjoy value addition.

“The investments will have linkages to the rest of the economy as the investors in the zone will require other products and services such as inputs, raw materials, housing, most of which will be sourced locally. This will improve the quality of life for the people in Lusaka and the surrounding areas and the economy of Zambia as a whole,” Mr Banda said.

He thanked the government and people of China for choosing Zambia as the destination for the establishment of multi-facility economic zones. He said it was Government’s hope that more Chinese investors would partner with Zambian businesses in establishing companies at the economic zone.

“This is important for our citizens’ empowerment programme and to enable Chinese companies tap into local expertise, knowledge and culture. I wish to suggest that both Chinese and Zambian investors be given equal business opportunities at the economic zone,” Mr Banda said.

He urged Chinese and other foreign investors to support local suppliers of goods and services to promote the growth of local industries.

“For example, the Chambishi copper smelter which is still under construction, is expected to employ 1,000 more people. The smelter will also increase copper processing capacity by 150,000 tonnes annually,” Mr Banda said.

He said infrastructure development of Chambishi Copper Smelter was progressing well and that already, a total investment had reached US$100 million.

He said by the year 2011, CMFEZ would accommodate 50 to 60 zone enterprises with an output volume exceeding US$1.5 billion of which more than US$600 million would be exported while employing more than 6,000 locals.

And Chinese minister of Commerce, Chen Deming, said the launch of the sub-zone would elevate relations between China and Zambia.

He hoped that the Zambia China Cooperation Zone (ZCCZ) would follow requirements set by President Banda’s administration and turn the zone into the best in the world.

Mr Chen urged government to continue providing support and preferential policies.

And China Non-ferrous Metal Mining Group Corporation Limited (CNMM) president, Luo Tao, said the company would not lay off any workers but would further increase investments to create more jobs. Meanwhile, President Banda said Zambia and China
are holding talks to resuscitate Tazara.

“We want to have more goods being transported to Asia and other destinations. We hope the talks will be concluded soon,” he said.

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Sata seeks to make ECZ start voter registration

Sata seeks to make ECZ start voter registration
Written by Lambwe Kachali
Friday, January 16, 2009 9:25:43 PM

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said he has instructed his lawyers to obtain Writ of Mandamus against the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) over its failure to conduct continuous voter registration.

Sata yesterday said in 1996, the country enacted a law compelling ECZ to conduct continuous voter registration, but the institution had abrogated this law for over a decade now.

Sata said as a result, ECZ had continued to disenfranchise the people of Zambia as evidenced in last year's presidential election.

He claimed that ECZ was also taking advantage of the small number of voters to print extra ballot papers in order to manipulate the votes and the people of Zambia.

Sata described ECZ as an impotent and incompetent institution, which required to be challenged in the courts of law. "In 1996, we enacted a continuous registration of voters law and [former] president [Frederick] Chiluba assented to the said law. President Chiluba was reluctant to bring continuous registration law in operation," Sata said. "We now appreciate why he did not bring the law in operation."

He said if ECZ was challenged now, the 2011 general elections would not be rigged.

He said the failure to implement the law by ECZ had hindered many potential voters' constitutional rights, saying there was great need to avoid a repeat of that in 2011.

Sata therefore, urged his legal representatives to obtain a Writ of Mandamus to force the commission to start voters registration immediately.

"To avoid future rigging of elections, we need the above law implemented immediately. Can you please therefore, obtain a Writ of Mandamus to force the Electoral Commission of Zambia to start continuous registration of voters," stated Sata in a letter to his lawyers.

For many years now, civil society organisations including, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), Anti-Voter Apathy (AVAP), Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordinating Council (NGOCC) among others have been expressing concern about the failure by ECZ to implement continuous voters registration exercise despite the law being in place.

However, ECZ has attributed the failure to lack of finances.

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HH challenges Rupiah to give economic recovery guidelines

HH challenges Rupiah to give economic recovery guidelines
Written by Lambwe Kachali and Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday, January 16, 2009 5:03:40 AM

UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has challenged President Rupiah Banda to critically spell out a stimulus plan for the country's economic recovery in his speech to Parliament today.

And Hichilema charged that Zambia has become a political talking-shop with no practical implementation of economic programmes, alleging that President Banda's leadership is politically confused.

Meanwhile, the University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) has stated that it expects President Banda to state what the government is doing about the job loses as a result of the global economic turndown in the mines.

In an interview, Hichilema said although most Zambians were aware of President Banda's leadership failures, the only way to regain the trust of the people was for him to take charge of the country and spell out guidelines about the country's roadmap to recovery.

Hichilema said while many countries around the globe were committing their energies towards addressing similar economic problems arising from the world economic meltdown, Zambia under President Banda's leadership was still dreaming.

He said President Banda's speech to Parliament would either bring hope or take Zambia's hope away.

Hichilema said it would still be worthless for President Banda to present to Parliament a well-spiced speech without implementing it to the benefit of the country.

Hichilema said it was disastrous to the country's future for President Banda to continue giving Zambians lame excuses that he was still settling down and therefore should be given more time before fulfilling the promises.

"Rupiah is running the opposite of his predecessor [late president Levy Mwanawasa]. By looking at what is happening in the country, there is no continuity; it is clear that he's not taking charge towards finding solutions to the country's numerous problems," Hichilema said.

"As he presents his first speech to Parliament, Rupiah Banda must specifically spell out comprehensive short and long-term stimulus plan, how he will overcome problems sector by sector. Knowing his lack of capacity, Rupiah should wake up and face these problems head on. Job losses ought to be prevented from spreading to all sectors."

He said President Banda should bear the consequences of duping Zambians into thinking that he was a presidential material worth his salt.

"To make matters worse, he mocked people who voted him into office by admitting that he is forgetful and those are the consequences of voting an old person as President. That statement to me amounted to mocking the people," Hichilema said.

“He has also sent a clear signal for 2011 that old people of Rupiah's calibre are not capable of driving our country to better heights."

However, Hichilema said Zambians were not to blame for electing what he termed as mediocre President, saying they were cheated.

"I feel sorry for the people of Zambia. I know that currently the MMD government is just forcing itself on the people through its usual political lies and tricks. Because even myself, I feel guilty that a country like ours is led by mediocre and discarded leaders, because we know that we deserve better leadership. But I have every hope that Zambians will blow a last whistle to MMD in 2011," he said.

He said in a country like Zambia whose leadership was confused with blurred vision, citizens should not expect quick answers to their problems.

Hichilema also said although President Banda was boasting around the country that mealie-meal prices had reduced, hunger would continue to ravage the people because fertiliser prices were still high.

"When we criticise him, his dull ministers including himself Rupiah Banda say we are politicking. There is nothing politics about this. The Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) has been a disaster. Intended beneficiaries have not accessed the commodity, and the price has not been reduced as promised in the run-up to election last year. So, this means that our farmers have been affected and [this] will result to poor harvest," Hichilema said.

"And also cholera which is a preventable disease has become an annual ceremony in Lusaka and beyond, resulting to indefinite closure of schools. I think Rupiah should be ashamed of his leadership."

Hichilema also confirmed that President Banda through his special assistant for political affairs Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika had responded to his letter that he wrote to him last month in which he tabulated measures on how to tackle problems faced the country.

He said President Banda expressed commitment to implement the proposals.

And in a statement signed by UNZASU vice-president Duncan Nyirongo and secretary general Charity Samunuma, the global economic meltdown presents an opportunity for the President Banda-led administration to demonstrate that it had minds or capacity to govern the country and hence solve the problems that confront this country, including the current economic crisis.

The union said Zambian Airways was the only pride in terms of airline and needed to be bailed out.

They stated that a decision in the best interest of the nation should be made on Zambian Airways.

"The debt is internal but something we as a nation can help out, instead of pushing them out of business," he said.

The union stated that the President should also explain why the government decided to export maize to Zimbabwe even when the food security of the nation was not certain.

They also urged the government to pay particular attention to infrastructure development and basic social infrastructure in terms of education and health.

The union also stated that bad roads and inadequate hydro-power compounded the negative effects of the global economic meltdown.

The union stated that increased access to education and skills development would enable the people to comprehend the dynamics of the global economy.

"While good health will be a key pillar to enhanced economic growth as a healthy population enhance productivity. Hence, UNZASU expect increased finances to the education and health sectors," stated UNZASU.

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Investrust MD calls for policies that encourage indigenous bank ownership

Investrust MD calls for policies that encourage indigenous bank ownership
Written by Florence Bupe
Friday, January 16, 2009 5:01:15 AM

INVESTRUST Bank Plc managing director Friday Ndhlovu has called on the government to encourage Zambian ownership of banks through conducive policies.

And Ndhlovu has disclosed that the bank was in consultation with international organisations to try and outsource funds for increased lending portfolio.

Speaking during the signing ceremony of the collective agreement between Investrust Bank and unionised staff under the Zambia Union of Financial, Industrial and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) on Wednesday, Ndhlovu said the government needed to put in place policies that would encourage the growth of the financial sector through indigenous ownership.

“We have been approached by many banks asking to buy us out, but we have always turned down these offers,” Ndhlovu said. “We want to continue being an indigenous Zambian bank, and government must put in place policies that will increase the ownership of banks by Zambians.”

And in an interview, Ndhlovu said although the bank had not been entirely spared by the global financial crisis, mitigation measures had been instituted to ensure that it continued to grow.

“As a bank, we have continued to grow, though at a lesser rate. To ensure our continued growth, we have put in place measures to increase our share of the loan market,” Ndhlovu said. “We are trying to access credit from international organisations in a bid to increase our loan portfolio.”

Ndhlovu also said the bank was increasing its presence in the country as a means of raising the level of business.

He also said the bank was trying to control its operational costs in a bid to stabilise lending rates.

He expressed hope that the country’s inflation rate, currently standing at 16.6 per cent, would be contained and possibly reduced, to lower the chances of increased lending rates.

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Govt to establish statutory bodies in livestock sector

Govt to establish statutory bodies in livestock sector
Written by Florence Bupe
Friday, January 16, 2009 4:51:54 AM

AGRICULTURE minister in charge of livestock and fisheries Bradford Machila has disclosed that the government is in the process of establishing statutory bodies to direct the livestock industry.

Officiating at the Livestock Industry Stakeholders meeting in Lusaka, Machila said there was urgent need to institute effective partnership between government and livestock industry stakeholders if any meaningful growth was to be attained.

He reiterated that the livestock industry was an integral part of the vitality of small-scale farmers and a major component of the commercial agriculture sector.

“The livestock sector contributes significantly to the agricultural industry in Zambia as it accounts for about 35 per cent of the total agricultural production and about 7.4 per cent to gross national product,” he said.

He noted that livestock production in the country had continued to be far below its capacity due to the various challenges affecting the sector.

Machila cited animal disease outbreaks and poor support services as some of the main challenges facing the livestock sector.

He called for the strengthening of district agricultural development committees dealing with livestock diseases, as well as a defined disease control vaccination programme.

Machila further bemoaned the backdated legislation governing the livestock industry, particularly the poultry sub-sector.

And Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba urged the government to boost agricultural productivity through the provision of incentives for the industry.

“It is very clear that as a country, we need to move into an emergency mode before we are faced with a major crisis. On our part, we have made national budget proposals… zero rating all agricultural products for VAT (value added tax) would have an immediate impact through the ultimate lowering of consumer prices,” said Zimba.

The meeting drew various stakeholders from the livestock industry including farmers, consultants and traditional rulers.

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Kopulande urges value addition to local products

Kopulande urges value addition to local products
Written by Mwiinga Mukuwa
Friday, January 16, 2009 4:48:29 AM

ZAMBIA Association of Manufacturers vice-president Sebastian Kopulande has called for value addition to locally-produced commodities to promote exports. In an interview, Kopulande said there was need for natural resources such as copper to be processed here within Zambia considering that there was increased demand for the commodity by the electronic industries worldwide.

He called on the government to revisit its policies on production and exports of commodities.

“The highest levels of copper products we export are copper concentrates which are the first stage in manufacturing where you raise the grade of copper and that is processed into finished products,” Kopulande said. “The very same copper we export to other countries is imported here in Zambia already processed by countries such as Japan and China where they make final products. Why can’t we do it here when the raw material is down here? It’s most unfortunate and we must therefore revisit our policies.”

Kopulande said the government should ensure that natural resources such as copper were processed into the final products locally.

“That way, more employment can be created which will also provide an even distribution of wealth,” he said.

He said processing copper locally would increase demand for the commodity while stimulating further investment into other productive sectors of the country’s economy.

“There will be creation of disposable income in the hands of the people, meaning an improvement in our economic activities which will create economic growth we are aiming at,” he said.

Kopulande said Zambia’s economy still had the potential to register growth despite the global economic crisis owing to its abundant natural resources which needed to be fully utilised.

“We need to add value to our raw materials, that is what manufacturing is all about,” he said.

And Kopulande said the government had not taken serious measures in mechanising the agricultural sector despite the country having plenty of arable land.



Continuous voter registration

Continuous voter registration
Written by Editor

Having free and fair elections is beyond having transparent ballot boxes.For elections to be free and fair, an elaborate process of conducting elections must be seen to be free and fair, not just on a polling day. This is why the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s mandate is not merely to conduct elections.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia is mandated, inter alia, to carry out voter education, voter registration and to organise and supervise elections.

But usually, and from experience, the Electoral Commission of Zambia does not fully carry its mandate because certain things are not done. That is why every election comes with its own complaints. We are yet to witness an election whose results are accepted by all participating parties or candidates arising from the transparent manner the elections were conducted.

Why is this? It is said that if you are familiar with the beginning, the end will not give you trouble. If you plan a task well at the beginning, the chances of successful completion will be greater.

It is from this angle that concerns by Patriotic Front president Michael Sata on the continuous voter registration must be seen. This process is very critical to rendering elections as being free and fair. That is why continuous registration of voters had to be made into law, which law unfortunately has not been followed by the Electoral Commission of Zambia.

The reason for continuous voter registration is simple. This is because voters die and those who die must be replaced on the voters’ roll. Some voters leave the country or move to other cities and towns, so they require to register as voters in their new locations if they are to participate in elections. Other voters just lose interest in elections.

With continuous voter registration, the deaths and movements will have no negative impact on an election in terms of numbers. And the registration has to be continuous because elections are continuous; elections do not come once in five years. In almost every quarter of the year, there are by-elections.

In 2006, Zambia had presidential elections and the next elections were expected in 2011. But the unexpected happened when Levy Mwanawasa died and so in October 2008, Zambia experienced another presidential election.

That is why it is critical that the government, through the Electoral Commission of Zambia, adheres to the law on continuous voter registration to ensure that no eligible voter is disenfranchised.

It cannot be denied that the October 30 presidential election attracted a lot of interest but only those who were registered voters participated fully. The huge numbers of people that attended various political meetings is a clear manifestation of the kind of interest the last October’s election generated. In other words, many eligible voters’ right to vote for their preferred candidates was denied because they could not participate in elections as voters because they were not registered.

We remember that some organisations even went to the High Court to try and get some orders to compel the Electoral Commission of Zambia to register voters. But these efforts were in vain. In short, many voters’ were disenfranchised. This is undemocratic and it should not be allowed to continue.

There is no need for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to wait until we are six months away from elections in 2011 for them to start voter registration. The time to do this and do it well is now.

However, there is also need to pay attention to the challenges that the Electoral Commission of Zambia face in this regard. Much as we would like them to carry out continuous voter registration, it should be remembered that this is a very costly exercise, which requires a lot of co-operation and support from the government and other stakeholders. This exercise requires billions of kwacha, which in most cases the Electoral Commission say they do not have.

This is where political will comes. Non-continuous registration of voters in most cases is in favour of the ruling party. So for as long as they can manage, the government will frustrate this process for obvious reasons. And the excuse of money will become convenient.

But we know that there are so many other projects, which are not as important as voter registration, which have received overwhelming financial support from the government. The government always goes out of its way to look for money for things that they desperately want to accomplish. In such cases, money is not a problem to find.

We call upon all those who treasure free, transparent and fair elections to join hands and mount pressure on the government through the Electoral Commission of Zambia to obey the law on continuous voter registration. This is a good and progressive law. But of what good will this law be if it is implemented? A good law that is never implemented is just as good as a bad law.



ACC arrests Mines Development director

ACC arrests Mines Development director
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday, January 16, 2009 4:36:31 AM

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has arrested director of Mines Development Gerhard Kangamba for corruption involving K139 million.

ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono confirmed yesterday that Kangamba had been arrested and charged with four counts of abuse of authority of office contrary to sections 37(2)(a) of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act No. 42 of the Laws of Zambia.

Moono said in the first count, it was alleged that Kangamba on or about the 27th day of July 2004 in Lusaka, being a public officer namely Director of Mines at the Mines and Mineral Development Department in the Ministry of Mines, did abuse the authority of his office by directing Kagem Mines Limited to pay K22,500,000 to Metro Investments Limited for his accommodation rentals of Flat No. 16 UNICO Flats, Kabanga Road, Lusaka and did in consequence thereof obtain an advantage or profit for himself.

He said in the second count, it was alleged that Kangamba on or about the 10th day of January, 2006 in Lusaka did abuse the authority of his office by directing Kagem Mines Limited to pay K34,400,000 to Metro Investments Limited for his accommodation rentals of Flat No. 16 UNICO Flats, Kabanga Road, Lusaka and did in consequence thereof obtain an advantage or profit for himself.

"In the third count it is alleged that Kangamba on or about the 25th day of October, 2006 in Lusaka did abuse the authority of his office by directing Kagem Mines Limited to pay K36, 400, 000 to Metro Investments Limited for his accommodation rentals of Flat No. 16 UNICO Flats, Kabanga Road, Lusaka and did in consequence thereof obtain an advantage or profit for himself," Moono said.

He said in the fourth count, it was alleged that Kangamba on or about the 11th day of July, 2007 in Lusaka, did abuse the authority of his office by directing Kagem Mines Limited to pay K46,400,000 to Metro Investments Limited for his accommodation rentals of Flat No. 16 UNICO Flats, Kabanga Road, Lusaka and did in consequence thereof obtain an advantage or profit for himself.

Moono said Kangamba had since been released on a K50 million bond and would appear in court on January 20 for plea.

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Petauke council to discuss misappropriation of funds

Petauke council to discuss misappropriation of funds
Written by Christopher Miti in Chipata
Friday, January 16, 2009 4:35:02 AM

EASTERN Province local government officer Alex Bwalya has said Petauke district council will soon meet to discuss the alleged misappropriation of funds at the council.

And Bwalya said all councils in the province were putting in place measures to ensure that there is good sanitation in their areas.

In an interview, Bwalya said the council was expected to come up with a resolution on the matter.

"Once they meet, they will make resolutions, if they see that there are some anomalies, they can communicate to the ministry so that it could appoint some auditors to audit the books," Bwalya said.

He said public offices like the council must always be transparent to the general public.

Petauke district council secretary Osman Ahmed Moosa locked the key offices at the council due to alleged misappropriation of funds.

Moosa said the offices would remain closed until the provincial local government office sent some inspectors to check the financial records at the council.

And Bwalya said it was good that none of the districts in the province had recorded cholera cases.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009


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(LUSAKATIMES) RB launches Lusaka Sub Economic Zone

RB launches Lusaka Sub Economic Zone
January 15, 2009

President Rupiah Banda says his government will accelerate the diversification of the Zambian economy as a way of mitigating the effects of the global economic and financial crunch. And President Banda has called for increased economic corporation between Zambia and China.

Speaking at the launch of the construction works of the Lusaka Sub-Zone of the Chambeshi Multi-facility Economic Zone, Mr. Banda said his government has already started working-out modalities aimed at addressing the various challenges associated with the global and economic meltdown.

President Banda said one such measure of mitigating the financial crunch was to seek for more donor assistance and to woo more foreign investors into the country.

He further said that his administration was also putting in place extra remedial measures aimed at promoting development in all the key sectors of the economy.

Mr. Banda said his government will continue diversifying the economy in order to sustain the country’s economic growth and minimize the negative impact arising from the global economic down turn.

He however said the launch of the Lusaka Sub-Zone of the Chambeshi Multi-facility Economic Zone had come at a right time when the global financial meltdown had started exerting massive pressure on most economies in both developed and developing worlds.

Mr. Banda said the multi-facility economic zone will show that Zambia was still an attractive economic investment destination and give confidence to existing investors to redouble their efforts of increasing investment portfolios in the country.

He said the construction of the Lusaka Sub economic Zone was progressing well and that a total investment infrastructure development had reached US$100 million.

He said by the year 2011, the economic facility will accommodate fifty to sixty zone enterprises with an out put volume exceeding US$1.5 billion of which more than US$600 million would be exported while employing more than 6, 000 local people.

Mr. Banda is happy that Zambia is the first African country to benefit from the China-Africa economic commitment through the establishment of the Chambeshi multi-facility economic zone in which investment will amount to US$900 million.

President Banda further called on the Chinese and other foreign investors to support local suppliers of materials in order to support the growth of the local industry.

Speaking at the same function, Chinese Minister in Charge of Commerce Chen Deming reaffirmed his government is committed to supporting Zambia’s economic development agenda.

He said his government and the people of China will work hand in hand with the Zambian government in enhancing economic trade between the two sister countries.

Mr. Deming further said his government would continue supporting Zambia in its various development programmes and ensure that the Lusaka Sub-economic zone remained the best facility in Africa after its completion.

And China Nonferrous Metals Mining Company (CNMC) President Luo Tao said the construction of the Lusaka Sub economic zone was a symbolic project for continued economic ties between Zambia and China.

Mr. Tao further assured the Zambian government and the people that despite the economic problems that his company was going through, the company remained determined to ensuring that no worker was laid-off in view of the economic crunch.


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(FT) 'Shock therapy' sell-offs blamed for 1m deaths

'Shock therapy' sell-offs blamed for 1m deaths
By Andrew Jack in London
Published: January 15 2009 02:00

"Shock therapy", or rapid mass privatisation, in the former Soviet bloc in the first half of the 1990s was responsible for the early deaths of 1m people, according to a paper to be published today in The Lancet, the medical journal.

An analysis of the 3m working-age men who died across the former communist countries of eastern Europe suggests at least a third were victims of mass privatisation, which led to widespread unemployment and social disruption.

The study adds to a growing body of research in recent years demonstrating how far the economic transition led to widespread suffering through death and physical and mental illness.

The research, by David Stuckler and Lawrence King from Cambridge University and Martin McKee from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, takes a specific swipe at the legacy of Jeffrey Sachs, the US economist, who advocated shock therapy at the time.

Mr McKee stressed that death from alcohol poisoning was the most important immediate explanation for the surge in deaths, while poor diet and the increasing gap between western and communist healthcare from the 1960s also contributed.

However, he said redundancies, particularly among the less well educated and those without forms of social support, was one of the main underlying reasons.

Mr Sachs was unavailable to comment yesterday. A note accompanying The Lancet's paper, written by Martin Bobak and Michael Marmot from University College London, warned that studies were difficult because communist countries varied in their economic strength, health status and ability of governments to respond to transition.

Also here:

Countries undergoing economic change urged to limit social and health costs for populations

Huge rise in male mortality coincided with move from communism to capitalism

Countries seeking to make massive changes in the way their economies are run, for example by privatising formerly state-run sectors, must take into account the potential impact of such changes on people's health, experts warn today.



Financial services are critical tools – Fundanga

Financial services are critical tools – Fundanga
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Thursday, January 15, 2009 9:00:58 AM

BANK of Zambia (BoZ) governor Caleb Fundanga has said financial services are critical tools in assisting people to step onto the economic growth ladder.

During the launch of Barclays Bank Zambia’s queue management system (QMS) and four enhanced ATM lobbies that will result in customers to spend less waiting time before being served, Dr Fundanga said Barclays’ expansion programme had a positive bearing on the economy with many people enjoying access to services in the country.

“This is instrumental for broader human development by letting clients invest in themselves and seek protection from shocks and bad fortune,” said Dr Fundanga. “Therefore, I am impressed with the Barclays’ efforts of decreasing congestion in branches though innovative systems because we continue to receive complaints from customers of different banks on congestion in branches as well as faulty automated teller machines (ATMs).”

And Barclays Bank chief operating officer Bedah Salasini said QMS machine would be placed at the entrance of the bank.

“Customers when getting inside customers will get a receipt whose number will be called and the customer will then be directed to go to a certain counter to be attended to by the teller. We have installed one at Mutaba house branch and another one will be installed at Long Acres. This machine which costs about US $ 20,000 from South Africa will improve the systems and efficiency and will shortened the time that customers wait to be attended to in the bank,” said Salasini.

And Barclays Bank managing director Zafar Masud said the bank would by May this year increase the number of ATMs from 90 to 150 countrywide.

“The increase in ATMs is already bearing positive results on the economy as it is providing people with easy access to their money and our retail expansion programme has improved the culture of banking among ordinary Zambians and this has resulted into availability of more funds to the banking sector for onward lending to other productive sectors,” said Masud.

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Don’t rejoice over Zambian Airways’ troubles, Ililonga advises govt

Don’t rejoice over Zambian Airways’ troubles, Ililonga advises govt
Written by Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe and Ernest Chanda in Lusaka

ZAMBIA Consumers Association (ZACA) executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga has advised the government not to rejoice over the troubles of Zambian Airways.
And the Airways and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (AAWUZ) has dismissed media reports that management at Zambian Airways had not been available to discuss problems with the union.

In an interview yesterday, Ililonga said the suspension of operations by Zambian Airways signaled a lot of problems for the nation.

"Government does not see that it is obliged to protect job losses in the country. Government talks about caring for the poor people but in reality it does not care, it does not do things to their logical conclusion. The trouble of Zambian Airways should not bring joy," Ililonga said. "From the consumers' point of view, it's a sad development. We have lost a company that had in a way put the image of the country across the borders. It worked to fill the gap left by government. It makes a very sad development."

He said Zambian Airways would not have been troubled if the government was committed to ensuring that the cost of doing business in the country was affordable.

Ililonga said it was unfortunate that the government had not shown sustainable efforts aimed at reducing the cost of doing business thereby reducing the cost of living in the country.

"Recently, government boasted that they were going to reduce bus fares, but bus fares are not being reduced. People travelling from Lusaka to Kitwe are still paying K65,000 despite the pump price of fuel being reduced," he said. "This government always wants to make pronouncements which are not practical on the ground."

Ililonga urged the government to completely remove excise duty on the price of fuel in this year's national budget

And AAWUZ union president Steve Selenge said his team had been in constant talks with management at Zambian Airways.

"As a union we have been fully aware of problems the airline has been passing through and we have been talking to management to chart the way forward. It is not true that we have not known anything from the beginning, but we had all the information about the problems the airline was going through," Selenge said. "And earlier on we did not want to comment about the suspension of operations at the airline, but for now we can say that we are saddened by the move. As a union we are appealing to government to come in and find ways of helping employees. Again I must say that it is not true that we do not know anything about issues surrounding Zambian Airways."

Selenge said the union was still discussing the matter with the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to chart the way forward.

Zambian Airways last weekend announced the suspension of operations, citing high operation costs due to the high fuel costs.

On Tuesday, the Times of Zambia quoted Selenge as having said AAWUZ had difficulty to get full information about the suspension of operations at Zambian Airways because management officials had since Saturday not been available to discuss the way forward with the union.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) 'MDC men threatened to kill Shiri attack probe cops'

'MDC men threatened to kill Shiri attack probe cops'
By Lebo Nkatazo
Posted to the web: 15/01/2009 00:36:41

ZIMBABWEAN prosecutors have charged two officials of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over death threats issued against police officers investigating an alleged assassination attempt on Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the commander of the Airforce of Zimbabwe.

Dumiso Wakatama, the opposition mayor in the town of Bindura and Tongai Jack, described as a senior MDC security officer, were brought before a Bindura magistrate on Wednesday charged with making death threats against the Officer in Charge of Bindura Central Police Station and two other detectives. Prosecutors say the threats were left on the investigators’ phones.

The men’s lawyer Aleck Muchadehama said prosecutors had no case, and applied for them to be freed without charge.

A magistrate remanded the two men in custody to January 26 on $50 billion bail each pending trial after ruling that there was a prima facie case against them.

Shiri was reportedly shot in the hand after he was ambushed by gunmen while driving to his farm. No arrests have been made.

Prosecutors say Wakatama, Jack and another man sought by police, Shakespeare Kamutoro, made several calls between December 10 last year and January this year to the detectives, using threatening language. Prosecutors say the men wanted police to drop their investigation.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Don’t include 50%+1 vote in Constitution Govt tells NCC

Don’t include 50%+1 vote in Constitution Govt tells NCC
January 14, 2009

The Presidential Affairs Minister has cautioned members of the National Constitution Conference (NCC) against including the fifty percent plus one in the constitution on Presidential elections.

Gabriel Namulambe said the current system of a Presidential candidate winning with a simple majority is good for Zambia.

Mr. Namulambe said Zambia has no resources for holding Presidential election re-runs as demanded by the fifty percent plus one alternative.

He said its inclusion will be a burden as the government will be forced to use funds for development for re-runs in case the winning President does not secure the required percentage.

Meanwhile United Party for National Development vice president Richard Kapita has urged NCC members to support the inclusion of the fifty plus one percent.

Mr. Kapita said Zambia can only have a majority President using the fifty plus one percent.

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NCC allowances

NCC allowances
Written by Editor

It is shocking to hear National Constitutional Conference (NCC) spokesperson Mwangala Zaloumis say that the K500,000 delegates to the NCC get as sitting allowance per day is not enough compared to the kind of work they are doing.We say it is shocking because we know that the minimum wage in Zambia, as by law established, is K265,000 per month.

There are very few civil servants and public workers who get the kind of money these NCC delegates receive per month. Of course, they do not do the same kind of work. But it will not be correct for Zaloumis to say the K500,000 sitting allowance per day is insufficient when we all know that these delegates just sit for about three or four hours per day.

When one takes a closer look at the composition of the NCC, it will be discovered that the majority of delegates are already being sustained by taxpayers’ money. Why do we say so? Because all the ministers and members of parliament receive a salary from taxpayers’ money, besides the allowances we are talking about. The technocrats seconded to NCC are civil servants being paid by the taxpayer. It’s just a handful of people coming from the private sector, other political parties and civil society members who are not to be paid by the taxpayer in their usual work.

Even then, we know that K500,000 is not the only amount that the government is spending on each delegate per day. There is the question of lodging and transport allowances. When all this is put together, it can safely be said that over K1.5 million is being spent on each delegate per day, especially those coming from outside Lusaka.

In saying this, we are not in any way suggesting that these delegates do not deserve to be looked after by the government. What we are trying to say is that there is need for modesty in the manner we choose to spend government resources.

Yes, a national constitution is an important document and all well-meaning Zambians are in a hurry to have a good constitution that will stand the test of time, a constitution that will help in the good governance of the country. But this should not be done at the unnecessary expense of the taxpayer.

We have not forgotten how some people, or is it some sectors of our society, offered their services for free to the NCC or anybody that was to be constituted to review the Constitution. This was after the late president Levy Mwanawasa expressed some reluctance in constituting the much-proposed Constituent Assembly, saying it would be a very costly exercise. We remember that some of the people who are today complaining that the allowances they are receiving as NCC delegates are insufficient actually told Levy that money should not be an excuse because some civil society members were ready to approach donors for funding while others actually offered their services for free, in national interest.

What has changed today for these delegates to be complaining that their allowances are insufficient?

We are aware that some ministers had actually even approached Levy before he died complaining that ordinary members of parliament on the NCC were getting more allowances than ministers. Those who approached Levy on this matter will recall how Levy reacted to their complaint.

It appears that some delegates are using the NCC as a fundraising venture. Zaloumis says these delegates actually deserve more, although they have accepted what they are currently receiving, because they do a lot of thinking. This is not true.

Yes, there are some delegates who fully apply themselves for the sake of giving Zambians a good constitution. But we are also sure that there are more delegates who are really getting a sitting allowance; they get the allowance for just sitting, just warming those chairs without any meaningful contribution.

This is similar to what happens in the National Assembly. Not all members of parliament have put their names in the Hansard in a meaningful way. Some of them only say “hear, hear” to other members’ debates. This is their only contribution.

Making a constitution is very noble task and those who have this privilege should concentrate more on what they are contributing to the nation and not what they are earning out of their contribution to a noble task. Yes, everyone likes money. But liking it too much can be dangerous. We say this because where people put money above everything else, no meaningful development can be achieved.

We see this in the civil or public service. There are some senior government officials who are forever out of their offices, attending workshops and board meetings at the expense of work in their offices. They move from one workshop to another just to accrue more per diem. Why should one permanent secretary sit on several boards?

That is why some of these delegates are proposing to extend the period for NCC sittings. They are not in a hurry to finish the constitution. They want to make as much money from this process as possible before Zambia can have a new constitution. We hope these delegates pay as much attention to the constitution’s contents as they are paying to their allowances.

We need to be vigilant, as taxpayers, on how national resources are expended because there are so many competing needs. Those who have critised the expenditure of the NCC are just as patriotic, if not more patriotic, as those writing the Constitution. Zambians will not allow the NCC to be a bottomless pit. And because NCC is using public resources, members of the public deserve to raise any concerns or questions on how NCC is using or abusing public resources.

There is no need to shut down people who want to say something on this matter. If Michael Sata is peddling lies about NCC, just expose those lies. Otherwise, he has a legitimate right to question how NCC is spending taxpayers’ public money.



NCC rejects proposal on appointment of envoys

NCC rejects proposal on appointment of envoys
Written by Katwishi Bwalya
Thursday, January 15, 2009 3:29:10 AM

THE Legislative Committee of the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) has rejected a proposal that appointments of ambassadors and high commissioners be subjected to parliamentary ratification.

During the ongoing NCC committee sittings, commissioners noted the need to include the ratification of appointments of high commissioners and ambassadors in the draft constitution.

“There is need to ratify the appointments of ambassadors and high commissioners unlike what we are seeing. When a president wins elections, he is surrounded by a lot of people who are given jobs in the foreign mission. There is need to scrutinise these people because most of them are not fit for these positions,” commissioner Kenworth Gumboh observed.

And another commissioner, Crispin Sibeta, observed that there was need to ratify diplomatic appointments to ensure that only qualified people were appointed because their job was more than just ensuring good neighbourliness.

“We should also subject these people to ratification so that only credible people are appointed in foreign missions unlike the current situation where we can’t question the president on some people who are appointed in foreign missions,” said Sibeta.

But commissioner Vernon Mwaanga , who is also parliamentary Chief Whip, opposed the idea saying the system could not work in Zambia.

“Yes, that is the system that America uses when it appoints diplomats in foreign mission, the Senate will ratify the appointments but you should understand that here in Zambia, we belong to the Commonwealth which does not follow that system,” said Mwaanga.

And chairperson of the committee Mutale Nalumango said it was not necessary to put the clause in the draft constitution because diplomats reported to permanent secretaries whose appointments were not ratified by Parliament.

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Mbeki 'vindicated' by Zuma ruling

Mbeki 'vindicated' by Zuma ruling
Written by Reuters
Thursday, January 15, 2009 3:24:32 AM

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has said he feels vindicated by a court ruling reviving corruption charges against his rival, Jacob Zuma. Mbeki said the appeals court was right to overrule a judge who suggested he had interfered in the case against the African National Congress leader.

That judgement led the ANC to order Mbeki's resignation as president. Mbeki said lying for political gain was becoming entrenched in South Africa and it would corrupt society.

On Monday, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein said state prosecutors could resurrect their corruption case against Mr Zuma, who is tipped to become South Africa's next president after general elections due this year.

Zuma denies the charges and has unwavering support from the ANC leadership, the trade unions and Communist Party.

His supporters have always said that a series of charges against him were part of a plot to prevent him becoming president.

But judges on Monday cleared Mbeki of allegations of political meddling in the Zuma investigation and ruled High Court Judge Nicholson Chris had "overstepped" his authority.

In a statement, Mbeki lambasted the High Court judge, saying he had made "unjustified findings against persons who were not called upon to defend themselves".

Like the appeals court, Mbeki accused the judge of having failed to distinguish between allegations, facts and suspicions when he made the ruling last September.

Mbeki - who was replaced as president by Zuma ally Kgalema Motlanthe - said he was pleased the appeals court had insisted that nobody's integrity should be attacked on the basis of untested allegations.

Now that the former president has been cleared of taking part in a political conspiracy against his old rival Zuma, some of his backers are calling on the ANC to apologise for sacking him.

The bitter row over whether there was any political interference in the case has already led to several senior ANC officials leaving the party and setting up a rival group - Congress of the People (Cope).

Zuma has said he would resign from public office if convicted. He could still be prosecuted if he became president.

The 16 charges of corruption, money-laundering and racketeering stem from a controversial $5bn (£3.4bn) arms deal in 1999.

In a separate case, Zuma was also charged with rape, but acquitted in 2006.

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Uganda bars Gaddafi kings' forum

Uganda bars Gaddafi kings' forum
Written by Reuters
Thursday, January 15, 2009 3:21:20 AM

Uganda has stopped a planned meeting of African traditional rulers led by Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi, saying it would be too political. The group had planned to discuss Col Gaddafi's plans for African unity, such as a single currency and army.

This contravened Uganda's constitution, which bans traditional leaders from politics, an official said.

The forum was launched last year, when more than 200 African kings and rulers named Col Gaddafi "king of kings".

Senior foreign ministry official James Mugume issued a statement saying that having traditional rulers discuss political issues without a mandate from their governments could lead to instability, reports the New Vision newspaper.

About 200 kings, princes, sultans, sheikhs and traditional leaders had been due to attend the meeting in Kampala on Tuesday to elect a secretary general for the eastern zone of the organisation, the paper says.

Col Gaddafi has been promoting his vision of African unity for several years but Africa's political leaders are lukewarm about his vision of a single government.

Correspondents say he launched the forum of traditional rulers so they could join his campaign and press Africa's national governments to sign up to his vision.

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Councillors threaten walk-out over allowance

Councillors threaten walk-out over allowance
Written by Lemmy Likando in Siavonga
Thursday, January 15, 2009 3:17:28 AM

COUNCILLORS who are attending a workshop in Siavonga on Monday threatened to abandon the workshop after word went round that they would only be paid K150,000 as out-of-pocket allowance for the five days.

The councillors are attending a five-day women-in-local-government workshop at Leisure Bay Lodge. The workshop has attracted women councilors from across the country.

Namwala Central ward councillor Ellie Mweetwa said it was unfortunate that councillors were not regarded as anything despite being voted into office.

"We can’t be here for five days and you only pay us K150,000. Don't take us for granted," she warned.

"This is January and we have a lot of responsibilities. We need to send our children to school so we need money."

The councilors were, however, calmed after assurances of reasonable allowances.

Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) president Charles Mumena pleaded with the women not to abandon the workshop, assuring them that reasonable allowances would be paid to them during their stay in Siavonga.

And Mumena accused members of parliament from both the opposition and ruling party of being the ones blocking and frustrating efforts aimed at improving the welfare of councillors.

Mumena charged that councilors would have been getting reasonable allowances from government if only they were getting support from their members of parliament.

He said unfortunately, members of parliament were the ones in the forefront of frustrating and shooting down every little effort that councillors were making aimed at improving their current meagre allowances.

"I want to tell you now that your fellow councilors who are part of the NCC are being fought by your MPs for speaking on the need to increase allowances. Tell your MPs to come and challenge me if what I have said is not true because what they want is to see you continue living in misery" he said.

Currently government pays councillors attending municipal council meetings allowances amounting to K105, 000 of which K75, 000 is paid as subsistence allowance while K30,000 is transport refund.

Mumena observed that councillors despite being paid peanuts spend most of their time doing community projects unlike members of parliament who spend most of their time in Lusaka.

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Tilyenji to re-contest UNIP presidency

Tilyenji to re-contest UNIP presidency
Written by Gloria Siwisha
Thursday, January 15, 2009 3:13:53 AM

UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda yesterday announced that he will re-contest his position at the forthcoming party’s national congress.

Briefing the press, Tilyenji said he would shift the party's vision from independence to national integration once voted back into office.

Tilyenji said an imaginative, visionary and constructive national integration programme was needed to deal with the various challenges the country faced so as to bring about a transformed and integrated Zambia.

He said UNIP was currently engaged in a national conversation about the question of national integration in Zambia.

Tilyenji said integration was an important issue that concerned and affected all Zambians.

He also observed that there was need to move away from tribal politics, which he said had taken precedence during and after the last presidential elections.

He said the current political fragmentation had generated unacceptable levels of tribal and regional tendencies that could easily explode into something Zambians could not contain in future.

"There is need to detribalise the politics of the nation. Zambians need to come together to build the nation otherwise we are headed to the Rwandan situation," Tilyenji said. "We are currently preparing for a party national congress and I think that I will definitely contest for the position of party president. We are a party with a vision and now focusing on integration, which is the key to national development. So I will build on from what has already been done, expect more good things."

Earlier, while launching the UNIP TODAY a monthly party publication whose objective is two fold, Tilyenji said the first objective was to improve communication between the party and the public, and second among members.

He said accurate information on the party and its activities were vital for a balanced view and objective projection of the reality of UNIP and the political market.

"We intend to carry in the pages of UNIP TODAY the activities of UNIP leaders and members as well as our official position on many topical matters of national interest. We hope that both members of the press and our party members will find the publication as a useful platform for communication and better understanding of one another," said Tilyenji.

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