Saturday, June 27, 2009

(NYASATIMES) Water shortage hits Mzuzu city as residents protest

Water shortage hits Mzuzu city as residents protest
By Nyasa Times
Published: June 26, 2009
Water crisis hit hard in Blantyre City

Some residents of Zolozolo in Mzuzu City on Wednesday gathered in the area to protest and demand an explanation from Northern Region Water Board on the water shortage problem which has recently become persistent in the area.

The angry residents who grouped at Zolozolo clinic in the area threatened to smash any NRWB car found in the area and to deal with any NRWB official found disconnecting water or taking meter readings.

The residents complained that they are spending sleepless nights waiting for the water as the taps start running at dawn and the water supply is unpredictable. They also complained that most of the times the taps run just for thirty minutes, yet the water bills are rising.

“It’s surprising to hear them [NRWB] going around the area using their public address system and announcing they are going to disconnect water, what are they going to disconnect when there is no water?” wondered Preacher Mgabadere.
Responding to some of the queries the residents raised, NRWB public relations officer, Edward Nyirenda, attributed the irregular supply of water to the intermittent power supply and the fast growing population in the city for the past five years which he said has put pressure on the board’s infrastructure capacity.

“About 70 percent of our customers are connected to the main pipe from our treatment works, which means any pumping interruption due to loss of power supply has a direct effect on the consumer,” said Nyirenda.

While accepting the query that some houses in the same area do not experience frequent dry taps as others do, Nyirenda said this is because “such houses are connected to one of the four storage tanks in the city which sustain water supply during electricity black-outs when we are unable to pump water.”

Earlier, the discontented residents had chased away the Board’s meter reader who was taking the readings.

However, a few representatives of the disgruntled residents were chosen to discuss the matter with the NRWB Management at the institution’s premises. The discussion lasted about two hours.

After the meeting, the two parties agreed that the board should soon hold a meeting to explain to the residents why there is persistent water shortage, the billing process and what the board is going to with big volumes of dirty water that comes out just as soon as the water starts running which the residents say they do not use.

Meanwhile, NRWB is reported to have held talks with Escom management where it was agreed that the treatment plant should have power supply at all times, including times of load shedding to minimize water shortages.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Govt to review grain prices

Govt to review grain prices
Ralph Mutema
Sat, 27 Jun 2009 13:40:00 +0000

THE Zimbabwe government will review grain prices in a bid to encourage farmers to produce more, according to a statement made by President Mugabe on Friday

Addressing the Zanu PF National Consultative Assembly yesterday, President Mugabe acknowledged the hard work farmers, especially new ones are putting in, in order to increase yield in this season.

The president singled out tobacco farmers whom he said were doing a sterling job, but were getting only US$30 dollars per kilogramme.

“We are reviewing the situation to see how these farmers can be compensated to encourage them to perform better,” said President Mugabe who was concerned that some contractors were cheating farmers by deducting huge amounts of money from crop sales.

Contractors would have provided the farmers with inputs such as fertiliser and seed.

President Mugabe urged farmers to start preparing for the 2009-2010 cropping season and said the government will offer the key inputs.

The president said farmers should not only concentrate on cash crops, but must also grow maize and small grains to ensure food security, adding that the Grain Marketing Board would be given another US$500,000 to buy maize.

President Mugabe also discouraged farmers from selling to non-governmental organisations.

Meanwhile the Grain Marketing Board has resumed buying grain from farmers and letting out silos to farmers and private companies wishing to stock grain.
The silos will be open to those farmers, commercial and communal, who can bring their grain at the correct moisture content.

The president also commissioned a state-of-the-art milking parlour at Gushungo Dairy Estates in Mazowe. This is rated the second-best technological set-up on the African continent.

It can milk 64 cows at once, or 251 cows in three hours making it the best technology in the country at the moment. Gushungo Dairy Estates produces 6,500 litres of milk a day.

President Mugabe said his wish was to see once such piece of machinery in each province to cater for people’s needs.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai to run for two presidential terms

Tsvangirai to run for two presidential terms
RESTRICTIVE...MDC's constitution adopted at the party's formation in February 1999
27/06/2009 00:00:00

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai intends to run for President at the next election and should he win, he will serve out a maximum of two five-year terms, he says in a new interview.

Tsvangirai, who has been the leader of the former opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for a decade, says Zimbabwe “needs to adopt term limits as a principle”.

Asked by the France 24 news channel on Friday if he will run for elections, possibly in two years, Tsvangirai said: "Certainly, I think that my party will put me forward as their candidate.

“One thing that I am committed to is we have to commit ourselves to 10 years because I think that historically, it allows for regeneration of political leadership, it allows for new ideas to come into the political sphere and so I think that Zimbabwe needs to adopt term limits as a principle, two terms of five years each."

Zimbabwe’s current constitution is silent on term limits for the President which has allowed Robert Mugabe to rule uninterrupted for 29 years, first as Prime Minister and later as President.

The country has begun a process to come up with a new constitution within two years, expected to be followed by elections. Imposing term limits for the President is likely to be one of the key discussion areas.

Tsvangirai’s public commitment to term limits may expose him to an uncomfortable discussion within his own party whose constitution adopted in February 1999 says the party president “shall serve a maximum of two terms”.

If the MDC constitution was correctly applied, it would block Tsvangirai from standing again as president of the party and the country – unless if he runs as an independent.

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Letters - Governance

Rupiah’s obsession with Dora
Written by E S, Disturbed citizen

I wish to comment on the lead story of The Post of June 24, 2009, "Dora faces CBU Students Demo." This demonstration is seen the day after the rejection of the same Dora by the University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU).

I love Dora myself in as far as her good looks are concerned but when I consider her re-appointment as Cabinet minister, my hair stands on end and pressure mounts in me like magma in a volcano desperate for eruption. Running a ministry, especially the Ministry of Education, is extremely demanding.

It has nothing to do with Dora's immaculate looks. How can someone who failed to cross anthills manage to cross mountains? How can someone who failed to ride a bicycle downhill cycle up to the summit of Mount Everest? I am asking these questions because the Ministry of Education is more demanding than the Ministry of Communications and Transport where Dora Siliya was.

The RP Capital scandal clearly shows that Dora was weighed in the ministerial balances and was found wanting. Never mind the judgment of the court over the case. Judges are human beings and they are bound to err. In fact, no-one can rule out miscarriage of justice in certain issues especially in the Zambian situation where there is no real separation of powers worth to write home about.

When we say that as education minister, Dora Siliya is a square peg in a round hole, we mean it. We produce this statement without rancour, malice, ill-will or vindictiveness. We know the political campaigns Rupiah Banda made in the direction of quality education. Education for all by 2015, for instance, requires an able minister of unquestionable management ability, otherwise the promise will be a noisy gong, a tinkling cymbal. Dora cannot live up to our expectations.

Now that the UNZA and CBU have rejected Dora, the whole nation will eventually sing the anti-Dora song. Yet Rupiah Banda, going by his recently held bogus press conference, still insists that he cannot take advice from the opposition or from students. Now that Zambia has rejected Dora as education minister, who will benefit from the ministry? Only Rupiah will benefit and Rupiah is not Zambia.

To err is human. Rupiah Banda is human. Therefore, he errs - simple syllogism. It was an error for Rupiah to re-appoint Dora as minister, worse still as education minister. We need a credible minister who will not be a let-down. When we voted for Rupiah as President, we did not sign a contract that we will blindly follow Rupiah's decisions. After all, there is no school where people train to be presidents. In Rupiah's case

Rupiah’s misplaced priorities
Written by Your Citizen, C. K. Lusaka
Saturday, June 27, 2009 4:07:39 PM

Rupiah Banda,

You had me lost when you were addressing the nation on Wednesday June 25. Surely you never touched on any pressing issues other than showing us that you and your friends' bellies are full and we should remain hungry.

First the ‘picture’. I have not seen that picture but you see situations probably allowed someone to show the world what is going on in Zambia today.

And regarding the pictures that seemed to be of much concern to Rupiah than the welfare of the Zambian people, it is clear that in a normal situation, photographers would not have been allowed in maternity wards unless with the permission of the people involved, but that was in the corridors. Our mother, like you rightly put it, was not attended to, why?

The answer is simple Mr President, it is because you are not attending to the grievances of the health workers. How should a story be told Mr President, sir? Maybe those who took it thought you would only act if you see the real situation since you said you have no time to meet health personnel because you have your ministers who can deal with that.

Wars have been stopped when the gravity and consequences have been exposed, as you saw in Gaza, the beheading in east Timol, Iraq just to mention a few. It is your intervention that people are asking for, not threatening thephotographers. Many people, children included, I am sure witnessed the happenings at UTH not just the photographer.

My advice to Rupiah is that he should amicably fix the problems in the Ministry of Health becaues threats won’t help. Let’s treat that as a lesson learnt. Second, you chose to answer Patrick Mwasawasa at such an important forum; why should the young man be a national issue when he was just responding to one of your minister’s remarks? Do you need a person to attend your rallies for them to be appointed or known or that could be done on merit? I’m sad, sir. On Mr Sata, The Post and HH, surely you spent almost all your time talking about them when nurses, teachers and miners were eagerly waiting for solutions to the many challenges they are facing. From the many jokes and healthy laughter I got from my radio, I surely concluded that Bob Marley was right when he sang..."Them belly full but we hungry". No offence intended, sir.

Simbao’s ignorance
Written by Concerned citizen, Lusaka
Saturday, June 27, 2009 4:06:33 PM

Allow me to comment on the press briefing by the Minister of Health saying nurses will be fired and those roaming the streets should apply for position that will be left vacant by dismissed nurses.
Please, do we really know health sector? It’s shame for the minister to say something that cannot happen. Let him tell the nation where these nurses without jobs are, as tbe country is in a shortful of almost 12,000 nurses. Where is the money coming from to pay the health workers on these conditions. If this was coming from Dr Chituwo I was going to get surprised because he knows the health sector from ward, Director to a minister. Simbao should consult doctors from the Ministry of Health before making statements and job offers.

It’s even making worse, as I quote, the Presiden’s speech, "the current strike has been going on with the health workers and according to you, it’s not about 15 per cent, its allowances night duty, overtime whatever they call it". It’s a shame mocking workers when it’s clear that the head of state does not even know the allowances involved.

Harrington is pursuing a noble cause
Written by E W, Katete

Allow me space in your esteemed paper to resound MM's (The Post - Thursday June 25) call for financial help towards Harrington as he pursues the Dora Siliya saga in the courts of law.

There is absolutely no stress needed to convince any transparent and just citizen (not just Zambian citizens) that what Harrington is pursuing is indeed a national course that the majority of us citizens feel part of. It would, therefore, do well to not only be emotive about the saga, but to pull together our resources where our emotions lie. It is common knowledge that lawsuits come at great financial costs.

May I, therefore, propose that Transparency International - Zambia (TIZ) opens a "DS Scam Support" account with a countrywide represented bank so that as progressive citizens, we can contribute towards this just and noble course. Viva unity in just purpose Zambia!

What do others think and say?

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Teaching an old dog new tricks

Teaching an old dog new tricks
Written by Editor

The Bible says a ruler without good sense will be a cruel tyrant. One who hates dishonesty will rule a long time (Proverbs 28:16). The Bible also says it is not right to favour the guilty and keep the innocent from receiving justice (Proverbs 18:5). Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to downfall (Proverbs 16:18).
Don’t commit any crime against the general public. And don’t disgrace yourself among your fellow citizens (Sirach 7:7).

Anyone who is sincere and ready to learn can learn how to be decent. It is possible to learn how to conduct oneself in a manner that is noble. We say this because good virtues do not come easily. They have to be learnt.

If good virtues could easily be attained, then a lot of people would lead very virtuous lives. Good virtue is like physical fitness. To attain physical fitness, most of us have to do a lot of strenuous exercises. If you do not exercise, you run the risk of losing good health and proper bodily functions due to lack of fitness.

When we are young and youthful, it is easy to take physical fitness for granted. This is because we do a lot of exercises without realising it. We walk more and are generally more mobile. This gives an average body sufficient exercise to keep fit.

But as we grow older and time begins to be a pressing commodity, we reduce the level of exercise to engage in. We become sedentary. Many people spend a lot of time behind a desk. And if you want to be fit, you have to take deliberate steps to exercise.

But even for young people, strenuous exercise is necessary for those who want to engage in extra activities such as sport. They need to be super fit to be good sportsmen or sportswomen. This is how life is. Nothing comes without any proper training and preparation.

What the body needs to retain physical fitness the mind also needs to retain fitness and usefulness. Good virtues cannot come without work, without a deliberate decision to strain oneself towards virtue.

We learn what may be called good virtue from being socialised in a community. This training or socialisation is important to make us responsible and profitable members of the communities to which we belonging.

But just like in physical fitness, if you want to engage in strenuous mental exercises such as leadership, you will have to be ready for the strenuous exercise that is required.

There is a lot someone needs to learn before becoming a leader. This is why our laws put limits on the age of people who can aspire to be our political leaders. Children are not expected to have developed enough to be able to lead. The contrary is also true. Adults who aspire for political leadership are expected to be trained, to be ready for the rigours of the office to which they aspire.

This is what we expect from Rupiah Banda as President. We expect that his mind should have been trained for the rigours of the office he has accepted. For a man of his age, a certain etiquette and behaviour should be natural.

One of these qualities that he should have been trained in is honesty. A man in Rupiah’s position should not deliberately mislead or worse still, tell lies to the nation.

Honesty would help his leadership greatly. The problem that we have is that it does not seem that Rupiah’s involvement in public affairs has always been honesty. It appears that Rupiah does not have any scruples. He seems ready to mislead if he can see a political benefit.

With this attitude, it will be difficult to win the confidence of the nation and others who are watching the way he is running the country.

The question is; is Rupiah trained in honesty and open dealing? Is his history able to attest to this?

The little that we have seen does not give us much hope. We say this because we have been observing the way that Rupiah has been trying to deal with public issues. He wants to twist issues in any way that he thinks will help him hoodwink the people or even the donours. Rupiah does not seem to have any commitment to the virtues that will make him a good leader. He is not prepared to train himself in the virtues that will make him a better leader.

Honesty and transparency, although painful avenues in the beginning, are the only way that anyone can hope to run the affairs of the nation in a successful way. These are things that Rupiah, even with his advanced age, needs to learn. The pride and arrogance that characterizes his presidency will have very predictable consequences.

Yesterday, when swearing in Dora Siliya, Rupiah chose to show his disregard for morality and ethics. He wanted the nation to accept that Dora is blameless in the way she conducted herself in the matters that went before the tribunal.

Rupiah knows that this is not true. He was being clearly dishonest. But he nonetheless was happy to mislead the nation.

It is not our place to start explaining what Lusaka High Court judge Philip Musonda’s decision means; whether he cleared Dora or not. For now, the question that we ask is that: Was Dora blameless in the way she conducted herself to the nation in relation to the matters that were before the tribunal? Was she cleared of all wrongdoing?

No one can argue, not even Rupiah himself, that Dora followed the law in the way she behaved in those transactions. The tribunal found as a fact that Dora did not follow the laid down tender procedures in the award of the Zamtel contract to RP Capital Partners. Dora even committed the Zambian government to a minimum of US$2 million in relation to that transaction.

Yes, the tribunal said they did not consider her misconduct to fall within the Ministerial Code of Conduct offences but she flouted the tender processes. If Rupiah was honest, he would have looked at these issues and dealt with them sincerely. But we are not surprised that Rupiah does not seem to know what was contained in the tribunal report because probably he is still studying it, as he told the nation.

Rupiah can distort matters as much as he likes. He is simply digging a hole for himself. These matters will catch up with him sooner or later.

It is not possible to be a successful leader and take on the rigours of the office without a commitment to truth, sincerity and honesty. And these virtues will not come to Rupiah unless he embraces them and commits himself to their requirements.

But even as we are saying this, we know that expecting these things from Rupiah is expecting too much. The English have a saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This means that it is difficult for someone who has grown up doing the wrong things to embrace virtues in their old age. They become so set in their ways that it is almost impossible for them to even appreciate that what they are doing is wrong.

This is why Rupiah sees nothing wrong with what Dora did. Anyway, we have always said that what Dora was doing was Rupiah’s deal. Rupiah’s son was in the forefront of this deal. Could Rupiah have been far away from it?



Rupiah has always been a total failure - Sata

Rupiah has always been a total failure - Sata
Written by Patson Chilemba
Saturday, June 27, 2009 3:54:13 PM

RUPIAH Banda has always been a total failure and those expecting anything better from him are living in a fools-paradise, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata charged yesterday. And Sata said President Banda’s misrule is sickening such that even monkeys are beginning to protest by urinating on the President.

Commenting on President Banda’s press conference on Wednesday at State House, Sata said those who were expecting anything better from President Banda were living in a fools-paradise because President Banda had never been successful at anything. He said President Band’s mediocre press conference was a reflection of how the President had failed to address national issues.

“Rupiah Banda has always been a total failure and survives on disparaging others. He took over from me as governor of Lusaka, can he tell us what he did. Which toilet did he build? He failed to run his own farm and gave it to Sable, what about a country which is bigger than his farm?” Sata asked. “Look at what happened to NAMBOARD, everything he touches fails. It is too much to expect anything from Rupiah Banda. So, we are in for a ride, thanks to Danny Kalale because that is what he wanted.”

Sata said it was sad that President Banda failed to address the pressing issues affecting the nation when he held the nation to ransom for two hours. He said President Banda concentrated on attacking individuals rather than addressing national issues.

“He is always accusing me of insults, but if you look at that press briefing of his, you will find that he spent the nation’s time insulting me and other individuals. The public will judge who insults between me and Rupiah Banda,” Sata said.

He asked President Banda to take his [Sata’s] criticism seriously, saying there was nothing about traditional cousinship in the criticisms.

“When I advise him, there is no cousinship. I have been in government more years than Rupiah Banda. So I have more experience which will take time for him to acquire,”Sata said. “He didn’t listen to my advice, he says I am his cousin. He was just bluffing.”

On President Banda’s questioning of his [Sata’s] mental status, Sata said it was in fact President Banda who had problems with his mind.

“Rupiah Banda doesn’t understand anything. It is very difficult to understand my mental state when he doesn’t understand his. The workers are striking because Rupiah Banda’s mental state is finding it difficult to understand the problem,” Sata said.

“I don’t need to be upset because Rupiah Banda has never even been a scrubber in hospital. So who is he to talk about my mental state? He’s ill-qualified on practically everything. On medical he is even worse. I would have been worried if it was Brian Chituwo who said that, not Rupiah Banda or Benny Tetamashimba or Dora Siliya.”

Sata also asked President Banda to address the striking health workers demands by cancelling mid-term gratuities for members of parliament. He asked President Banda not to hide under the disguise of consulting with MMD members of parliament.

Sata said he had known the President for more than 30 years now, and had know him for his greediness.

“He is very greedy, and it is on that point where he always differed with Dr Kenneth Kaunda on all his appointments. He is inconsiderate of other people except himself and his children,” Sata said. “It is that greediness that will make him fail to govern the nation.”

On President Banda’s attacks against The Post and its editor Fred Mímembe, Sata said President Banda’s government had resorted to desperate attempts of creating false stories such as pornography to pounce on The Post. He said he had never seen any pornography in The Post newspaper.

Sata said President Banda was being provocative and indirectly justified the beating of Post journalists. He urged the Post to continue doing the good work of speaking for the voiceless majority.

“I take strong exception for him to say that people are going to be beaten if they are provocative. He’s being provocative himself. That whole press conference was filled with provocation. Are we going to beat him for provoking us?” Sata asked.

On President Banda’s statement that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema would be swallowed by the ‘snake’, Sata said Hichilema was very much assured and that he should not be misguided by Presidents Banda’s ill attempts against the PF/UPND pact.

And Sata said it was the worst protest of any kind for monkeys to urinate on the President. He said even monkeys had joined in the struggle against President Banda’s misrule

“Those monkeys are more friendly, Dr Kenneth Kaunda was in State House for 27 years and they never urinated on him. Frederick Chiluba, despite his dubious ways, the monkeys were still friendly to him. Levy Mwanawasa ruled for seven years, the monkeys were still friendly to him,” Sata said.

“The monkeys are now protesting, where are the human beings?” They have never had any occupant who is so troublesome like him. Nobody has seen a monkey urinating. So if a monkey urinates on the President, it’s a big message. If monkeys can protest, that’s the worst protest we have seen in 44 years.”

Sata said it was a lie for President Banda to claim that the opposition lost narrowly because the MMD did not have enough time to prepare. He said in fact, President Banda did not win the elections but was only saved by the Supreme Court just like Dora Siliya was saved by the High Court.

“If there was a recount, Rupiah Banda would not be President, he would not be in State House,” Sata said.

He said it was President Banda who took advantage of late president Levy Mwanawasa’s body by taking it to the nine provinces of the country in order to win sympathy from the people.

On President Banda’s defence of Siliya, Sata said the President denied having sat next to Siliya during a conference in Livingstone but failed to deny that he went into a private room with the education minister.

“He knew Siliya when she was young, so what more is there to justify?” asked Sata.

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Zambians are docile – Milupi

Zambians are docile – Milupi
Written by Margaret Habbuno
Saturday, June 27, 2009 3:51:21 PM

PARLIAMENTARY Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Charles Milupi has said Zambians have displayed a special talent of being docile on several issues. And Federation of Free Trade Unions in Zambia (FFTUZ) president Joyce Nonde Simukoko said over-respecting of leaders by citizens in the country has contributed to poor leadership.

Speaking on Let the People Talk programme on Radio Phoenix yesterday, Milupi said it was sad that Zambians remained docile on issues of governance.

“It is important to know and appreciate the fact that over the years, Zambians displayed a special talent of being docile in the way we reflect on issues. If you look at governance issues in the number of countries, it’s the citizens themselves that drive what needs to be done in the nation,” he said.

Milupi said in developed countries, it was citizens themselves that blocked massive rigging in an election.

“It is the citizens themselves that do not tolerate if there has been massive rigging in an election. With the Zambian context, we need to look at things in a different way. Maybe we are peaceful which is a good thing,” he said.

Milupi said if Zambians had displayed an attitude of unity and fighting poverty in the country, positive results would have been achieved.

And Simukoko bemoaned the pattern of voting in the country.

“The pattern of voting in this country is bad because it is based on friendship, tribe - somebody who is sociable, somebody who can buy us beer,” she said.

Simukoko said it was important that the Zambians start taking the government to task by providing checks and balances.

“We have been complaining about the bad state of roads in the country. We should engage government to monitor their activities and look at their expenditure, income and wastage. We have the Auditor General’s report coming out every year. But have the unions taken management to task? Now I am criticising the unions. Yes I am criticising myself as a union. Because we are so scared when we put our leaders in office and because of that, we have been unable to provide checks and balances to our leaders in the country.

“We must be in good books with them so that we get favours from them there is no sacrifice. So we are the ones who have made the leaders to be the way they are in this country today,” said Simukoko.

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We’re ready to be fired - C/belt health workers

We’re ready to be fired - C/belt health workers
Written by Staff Reporters
Saturday, June 27, 2009 3:45:35 PM

ZAMBIA Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba has said issuing threats against the striking health workers will not solve any problem.
And police officers were yesterday deployed to various clinics in Lusaka as the strike by health workers continued.

Meanwhile, health workers on the Copperbelt have declared that they are ready to be fired as they will not resume work if their demands are not met.

Commenting on health minister Kapembwa Simbao's order to striking health workers to resume work by Monday failure to which they would be sacked, Hikaumba said intimidation of health workers would equally not work.

Hikaumba said the health workers could not be fired if there was no suitable and adequate replacement.

"If the nurses decide not to reapply, where do you get the manpower? They are banking on retired nurses, they are not even enough to cover the whole country because you are firing people doing field work. Where can you just fire people and get a replacement immediately without problems?" Hikaumba asked.

He said as a union, they had been persuading health workers not to leave the country looking at how marketable their profession was.

"We encourage them to work within the country. If you look at other countries and compare the conditions of service, there is a big temptation to work outside the country so as a union, we are talking to our members. Let us motivate our own people, if all our health workers went out of the country, what will happen to the majority of Zambians?" he asked.

Hikaumba said the health workers' grievances were valid and legitimate because they had been complaining about allowances that had not been reviewed for the past six years.

He said the matter needed to be resolved amicably and that whatever action would be taken should be aimed at finding a solution to the problem.

"Comments made should be aimed at finding a solution. If they are going to say things that will aggravate the situation, it is not good for us. Let us be very conscious so that we handle the situation very strategically. The language from government should be persuasive rather than intimidation and use of threats," he said.

Hikaumba said health workers were human beings who were capable of listening.

And police officers were deployed to Bauleni, Kalingalinga and Matero referral clinics following the statement by Simbao.

A check at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) found the nurses gathered near the car park at the casualty ward.

One of the nurses spoken to said as far as they were concerned, the government had not communicated anything to them.

The nurse said health workers had a number of meetings with the government and they did not expect to be addressed through the media.

"As far as we are concerned, that was just a national address," the nurse said.

Another nurse said they would continue going to the hospital because a nurse belonged to a hospital just as a teacher belonged to a class.

The nurse said the government should not create enmity between the nurses and the police by using the latter to intimidate them.

The nurse said they were still waiting for feedback from their union leader and labour minister Austin Liato as promised after the meeting on Monday.

"If they want to fire us, let them give us our packages instantly. We are better off working for a white man and we will not return to work unless we are met half-way and do not be cheated, there is no one who is working. If they decide to fire all of us, they will have to close all the clinics as well," the nurse said. "If they do not have money to pay as they claim, where are they going to get money to pay expatriates? We know what we want. Why is it so difficult to sign the agreement we want, to commit themselves? Why is Simbao so quick to issue threats when no single day did he come to address us? He is contradicting himself because Liato said he would get back to us as soon as possible so we are waiting for him, at least he made an effort to come and see us. Let him [Simbao] leave this to Liato. He wasn't interested as a father to come and address us and left it to our uncle [Liato]."

And police in riot gear sealed off Ndola Central and Kitwe Central hospitals, blocking health workers from holding their meetings at the premises.

During a meeting held at Kansenshi Cemetery in Ndola after they were blocked from holding their meeting at Ndola Central Hospital, the health workers said they were ready to be buried and would not report for work as demanded by Simbao.

Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ) Ndola district branch chairperson Joy Beene asked the workers if they were ready to be fired to which they answered in the affirmative.

"Firing should not be without money," Beene said. "They should give us dismissal letters with our packages."

Beene said the health workers had forwarded their demands to Liato and expected him to return with answers to them.

"Liato promised us 'let me go and consult' and that consultation was just a phone call consultation and we all remained there in the cafeteria with the provincial health director, Ndola Central Hospital director but he went for good," Beene said. "It was the minister of labour who opened the meeting and I am just sitting in for him. I can't close the meeting for him he just has to come and close it."

He noted that Liato was on record as having indicated that President Banda did not say that health workers would be fired.

"What Simbao said [on firing health workers], he did not liaise with the labour minister," he said. "He was supposed to get instructions from the labour minister."

Beene urged workers who would receive letters of dismissal or disciplinary action not to be intimidated.

One of the health workers challenged Simbao not to address them on television but to get to the ground and face them.

Another health worker remarked that they only watched Al Jazeera and not ZNBC television and as such Simbao's message would not reach them.

Another health worker, who said she served during Dr Kenneth Kaunda's era when the health workers strike went on for 40 days, testified that at the time, doctors were evicted from their houses and that should a similar thing happen, the health workers who would be removed from their houses could seek refuge from their colleagues who were ready to accommodate them.

Another health worker said government officials were contradicting themselves.

"They should be organised," she said. "Liato said they won't dismiss us and then Simbao says you'll be dismissed. Let them behave like adults and be organised."

Another worker reminded fellow health workers that the government was making frantic efforts in trying to ensure that they returned to work in view of the forthcoming Zambia International Trade Fair (ZITF).

The worker said the government did not want to be embarrassed before international visitors at the ZITF that the health system had ground to a halt in case anyone sought medical attention during the annual event.

The health worker said Simbao did not seem to understand how the health ministry operated.

The worker said those who had left Zambia for greener pastures in South Africa and other places would not return to take up vacancies that will have been created as a result of poor working conditions in the health sector.

The health worker told colleagues not to be tempted by allowances that would be given during the child health week planned for next week.

He encouraged his colleagues not to change their minds because if some went back to work then the government would have a reason to dismiss those who did not return.

One of the health workers accused the government of turning to the former health workers whom it had retired without paying benefits.

"Health workers were retired five years ago and they have not been given their packages," said the health worker. "They have been reduced to beggars and now they are asking them to re-apply. We won't be reduced to beggars."

The health workers resolved to meet at Kansenshi Cemetery on Monday at 08:00 hours.

And the health workers in Ndola who initially were supposed to meet at the Ndola Central Hospital were dispersed by police led by Ndola district deputy commanding officer Anderson Chengo.

In Kitwe riot police sealed off the Kitwe Central Hospital entrance.

In Luanshya, health workers refused to return to work, saying they would only do so when their demands are met.

Health workers in Luanshya said threats would not help the government.

Luanshya district commissioner George Kapu went to Roan General Hospital where health workers were meeting and went into another meeting with management and district union officials.

Health Workers Union of Zambia vice-chairman Innocent Daka said when union leaders went to speak to the workers after meeting Kapu, they refused to return to work and resolved to meet at Thomson Hospital on Monday.

The workers said they would meet at the graveyard if it so happened that they were chased away by police from the hospital premises.

Meanwhile, police in Chingola arrested four health workers union officials for gathering illegally in the hospital premises.

According to Patrick Chisanga, a member of the health workers' union, the officials wanted to brief their colleagues at Nchanga North Hospital on what transpired during their meeting with Liato in Ndola.

Chisanga said the police picked up the four leaders - Musonda Mabenga, Divan Kamuka and Shaderick Makopo - and took them to Chingola Central Police Station.

By press time the four were not charged but Chisanga said their arrest was pure intimidation by police.

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Masebo asks Chibbonta to report her if she acted corruptly

Masebo asks Chibbonta to report her if she acted corruptly
Written by George Chellah
Saturday, June 27, 2009 3:44:12 PM

FORMER local government and housing minister Sylvia Masebo has asked local government permanent secretary Coillard Chibbonta to report her to the relevant investigative wings if she acted corruptly on transactions involving the ministry.
And Masebo stated that she was surprised, disappointed and saddened that she should be called back to answer to past transactions when there was a sitting minister with all the supporting staff and files to help answer such past administrative or policy decisions.

In a letter to Chibbonta dated June 24, 2009, Masebo wrote to the permanent secretary following President Rupiah Banda's permission for her to explain the transaction involving the hearses.

"I wish to refer you to the above mentioned letter dated 31st May, 2009 which was addressed to me and copied to you among others and the various press statements made on the same subject by the minister of local government and housing, Hon. Benny Tetamashimba which are hereby attached for ease of reference," Masebo stated. "I also wish to draw your attention to today's press conference by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Rupiah B. Banda in which he has given me clearance as former minister of local government and housing to explain to the public details on the said transactions. His Excellency indicated that he too like others has no information and is equally anxious to know how these 100 hearses were procured.

"It is against this background that I write to you as permanent secretary and controlling officer to request that you avail me the necessary files or documents on the said transactions to help me respond to all queries by the public and the minister of local government and housing. You will appreciate that it would be difficult for me in the absence of documentation to clear the allegation that these hearses were not sold to government at US $29,000 dollars per unit but at US $9,000 dollars per unit."

She stated that it was also being said that boats purchased were not safe and may kill somebody.

"In short, am being challenged to explain the various projects that were undertaken during late Mwanawasa's administration when I served as minister of local government and housing as if there are no officers or files to refer to or as if there were some illegality in the said transactions that nobody is now willing in the ministry to explain to the public. I'm nonetheless grateful and happy that His Excellency the President has granted me permission as former minister to help explain the details on these transactions so that I may be able to clear the misinformation that has so far been given to the public," Masebo stated. "However, for the record let me state that am surprised, disappointed and saddened that I should be called back to answer to past transactions when there is a sitting minister with all the supporting staff and files to help answer such past administrative or policy decisions, especially considering that this current government is the same MMD government except for the different faces in the offices today.

"What has happened to the principle of collective responsibility? Unless one is insinuating that I may have been corrupt whilst acting as minister and if that be the case, you should be reporting me to the relevant investigative wings of government instead of calling me back to be explaining administrative matters as if there are no people in the ministry. I find this style of running government very strange. Let me conclude by stating that I will be in your office tomorrow Thursday, the 24th June, 2009 at 10:00 hours and will appreciate if you and the relevant officers connected to these transactions can assist me with the relevant data to help me explain and hopefully rest these queries."

In his letter dated May 31, 2009 to Masebo and copied to Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Joshua Kanganja, Post editor Fred M'membe and his permanent secretary Chibbonta, Tetamashimba stated that Masebo bought 150 vehicles for the Keep Zambia Clean campaign, hearses and unfit speedboats without involving him as her deputy then.

"...Hearses, Speedboats, Keep Zambia clean vehicles and plot at Lusaka Girls.

There is no doubt that when you decided to buy the above-named, I did not know as it was all between you, your permanent secretary Mr Joe Ngo, director Z. Zulu and head of procurement. I was never part to any but as current minister, all falls under me," Tetamashimba stated.

He stated that 150 vehicles were bought from Top Motors without his knowledge as deputy minister and only saw the vehicles for the first [time] when they were being handed over to Masebo.

"I have never seen any one of Top Motors managers ever since, nor do I have their cell numbers. I do not even know where their offices are," Tetamashimba stated. "Lusaka Girls: Honourable Masebo, you brought this issue in the Parliamentary committee when my permanent secretary appeared before the committee and implied that there was corruption in the way the investor got the plot."

Tetamashimba further stated that it was a well-known fact that the original file after the approval by previous minister of local government and housing, Andrew Mulenga, which Masebo requested was misplaced or hidden by her and the Lusaka City Council (LCC) was made to produce duplicate copies.

"I know that you personally, against advice of the staff wrote Lusaka City Council to tell the investor to stop building, but the investor's lawyers, namely Mr Sunday Nkonde and Dr [Patrick] Matibini SC challenged the town clerk on reasons for stopping their client to build and both Lusaka City Council and you feared to be taken to court and the investor continued to build," Tetamashimba stated. "I challenge you to bring evidence that I have ever met Mr Sunday Nkonde, Dr Matibini SC or the investor on the development issue as implied by the 30th May, 2009 Post newspapers. I also challenge Dr Matibini SC, Mr Sunday Nkonde or the investor if I have ever been bribed by any one of them and if not, to take legal action against those accusing them [that] they bribed me."

Tetamashimba accused Masebo of buying speedboats that were not fit for the Zambian waters.

"You personally with your staff without involving me as your deputy minister decided to order speed boats and when you were still minister, you are aware that the Siavonga speed boat sunk and the report on file is that you and your director ordered boats not fit for our waters. What did you do to alert people who were to be using these boats?" Tetamashimba asked. "If one will sink and kill people like what happened in Siavonga, the people will be on my neck."

Tetamashimba stated that Masebo confessed to Vice-President George Kunda that she was the architect of the project to buy hearses.

"You never involved me in your decision to purchase the hearses. Even the tender procedures as per records at this ministry were only privy to you and not to me," Tetamashimba stated. "When The Post ran the story, you went to confess to His Honour the Vice-President that you were the architect of the hearses. On 23rd May, 2009, when you returned my call, you explained what transpired and we agreed that since I had no idea on how you decided with the directors, you brief the press to explain the issue before Thursday 21st May, 2009 but you failed to brief the press or even explain to The Post through their managing editor, Amos Malupenga."

Tetamashimba further stated that Zambians were suspecting that there was corruption in the purchase of hearses hence Masebo could not continue hiding in a hole.

But Masebo responed that in line with the Cabinet handbook, she had applied for clearance from President Rupiah Banda to allow her as a former minister to divulge information on the transactions that took place during her tenure.

During his press conference on Wednesday, President Banda granted Masebo permission to explain the procurement of 100 hearses, saying he too like many Zambians would like to know what happened.

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Dora demands to take photo with Rupiah

Dora demands to take photo with Rupiah
Written by George Chellah and Joseph Mwenda
Saturday, June 27, 2009 3:42:35 PM

EDUCATION minister Dora Siliya yesterday demanded that she stands next to President Rupiah Banda so that they could be photographed together during a photo session after her swearing in ceremony at State House. And President Banda told Siliya that he was happy that her matter has ended this way for her.

When preparing for a photo session, Siliya told newly appointed community development and social services permanent secretary Gladys Kristafor that she wanted to stand next to President Banda.

As the group was positioning itself in readiness for the photo-shoot before President Banda joined them, Siliya grabbed Kristafor by the shoulder instructing her to stand on the other side of the President.

"We will put him in the middle so that we are really standing next to you want me to wave? I can wave too," Siliya mockingly told photographers.

Later on when President Banda joined the group, Siliya remarked: "This time I must really stand next to you." And President Banda responded: "Ya! So that they don't have to lie, the pictures will be genuine... they won't have to go to hell for telling lies and manipulating pictures and no one wants to go under the tree today."

During the swearing in ceremony at State House, President Banda expressed satisfaction with the court's decision on Siliya.

"I would like to start by saying a few words about one minister that we have sworn in today. I thank you that you have cleared yourself. And the whole country knows what has transpired with regard to Honourable Dora Siliya and as people believing in our legal system, we believe that the courts will always guide us on how to proceed and having enough precedence," President Banda said. "...Enough examples of people who have gone through similar situations as Honourable Dora Siliya has gone through and have been cleared by the courts and have been reinstated by previous presidents. I am happy that it has ended this way for you."

He pleaded with the country not to join those whose business was to make one Zambian to fight another.

He told Siliya that she was a loyal servant of the Zambian people.

"I have seen you work, I found you in this position as Cabinet minister under the previous president and I am very impressed with your work. I am very happy that you have been set free by the courts, on all counts you are innocent. I wish you all the best. Continue doing your humble service," he said.

President Banda told the newly appointed permanent secretaries that they had come at a time when the country was facing a lot of problems.

"At the last press conference, I think those with ears heard. I see that there are some who are deaf and didn't hear when I said that the country was going through difficulties similar to those other countries are passing through and financial difficulties," President Banda said. "I count upon you permanent secretaries to implement some of the issues that we discussed at the press conference namely; to ensure that we cut down on expenditure in the various ministries, at State House and everywhere.

"I count on you, I know each one of you personally. I have no doubt that you are loyal servants to the Zambian people. Once again, I congratulate are truly a well-selected team and you will work well."

Among those sworn-in were Siliya, State House chief of staff Dr Austin Sichinga, State House chief analyst political affairs Dr Francis Chigunta, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) commissioner Aaron Zulu, communications permanent secretary Dominic Sichinga, permanent secretary management, development division at Cabinet office Ngosa Chisupa, community development permanent secretary Gladys Kristafor and senior private secretary in the Vice-President's office Kenneth Musonda Ngosa.

On the new DEC commissioner, President Banda said: "Mr Zulu, you are commissioner to the Drug Enforcement Commission, a very important section of our governance system. You know the emphasis is now to fight corruption and all the various vices that have inflicted this country. We are in danger of losing our freedom and our peace because of these vices."

In his closing remarks, President Banda jokingly mocked the photographer who took the picture when a monkey urinated on him.

"Unfortunately, for the young man who took my picture of a monkey, there are no monkeys here. I won a bet that was said by Mr Nkonde. He was arguing with someone that I bet the headline tomorrow in the famous paper will be, 'Monkey urinates on Rupiah". He won K50,000. So thank you very much for everything. Let us continue to work hard," said President Banda.

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Never forget it’s Swedish taxpayers who contribute funding – envoy

COMMENT - The envoy should never forget, that Zambia is losing $4 billion per year because we no longer own the mines. And that Africa is financing it's own 'donor aid' four times over, because we do not benefit from our raw materials exports. Remember that we can take them back, Swedish envoy.

Never forget it’s Swedish taxpayers who contribute funding – envoy
Written by George Chellah
Saturday, June 27, 2009 3:39:13 PM

SWEDISH Ambassador Marie Andersson de Frutos yesterday told President Rupiah Banda that her country is deeply concerned with the information recently received that the embezzlement of funds at the Ministry of Health has been ongoing for several years.

And Ambassador De Frutos said people should never forget that it was the Swedish taxpayers who contribute funding to improve the living conditions of the poor.

Presenting her credentials at State House, Ambassador De Frutos said in the health sector, Zambia and Sweden had worked together almost since independence.

"Sweden has supported numerous programmes and we feel a strong connection here. We welcome the action the Zambian authorities have taken with regard to the embezzlement of funds that has been ongoing within the Ministry of Health," Ambassador Dr Frutos said.

"At the same time, as you understand Mr President, we are deeply concerned by the information we recently received that this has been ongoing for, as it seems, for several years. In this context, we should also never forget that it is the Swedish taxpayers who contribute funding to improve the living conditions of the poor."

Sweden and the Netherlands recently suspended funding to Zambia's health sector following revelations of corruption in the Ministry of Health.

Ambassador De Frutos said Sweden would continue to be an active and constructive partner to Zambia.

"We will continue to constantly highlight our overall goal for global development to contribute to a equitable and sustainable development and to creating opportunities for poor people to improve their living conditions. Our commitment to human rights and democracy is of course a basic pillar of our engagement," she said.

Ambassador De Frutos said on July 1, 2009 Sweden would take over the presidency of the European Union (EU).

"The motto of the Swedish presidency is 'Taking on the challenge'. And we can see that most probably the financial crisis and the climate change will be the cornerstone of our presidency," Ambassador De Frutos said.

"For Africa we will focus on security issues, governance and further developing the EU/Africa partnership. When it comes to Zambia we will continue to embark on the fruitful and constructive Articles 8 dialogue that my predecessor started as local president under the Czech presidency."

And President Banda said the government recognizes Sweden's commitment to strengthening relations with Zambia.

"As you rightly pointed out, development cooperation is a vital part of our relations and it is in this regard that our two countries should explore further areas of cooperation that will add both political and economic impetus to our friendship," President Banda said.

"It is sad, though, that our efforts to eradicate poverty, let alone to provide quality health services to our people, are being undermined by a few greedy individuals. My administration will deal decisively with corrupt elements."

He said Zambia welcomed Swedish investment in the country.

"This is in line with our resolve to implore the economy and the welfare of our people. My administration has identified agriculture, tourism, mining and manufacturing as priority sectors in our economic development efforts," President Banda said.

"In this vein, I wish to take this opportunity to appeal to Your Excellency to apply your personal efforts and encourage the Swedish business community to enter into partnerships with their Zambian counterparts in order to exploit the immense potential existing in these sectors."

President Banda urged Ambassador De Frutos to work towards enhancing agriculture, trade and investment and promoting tourism between the two countries.

And presenting his letter of credence, Belgian Ambassador-designate Paul Jansen said the tourism business in the country was a huge industry that would attract a lot of big investors.

“And I hope that many investors will find their way into Zambia,” he said.

He said under the leadership of the late president Levy Mwanawasa and President Banda's leadership, Zambia has been a good example of good governance and political freedom.

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Namibian minister urges regional cooperation in livestock diseases fight

Namibian minister urges regional cooperation in livestock diseases fight
Written by Nicholas Mwale in Katima Mulilo, Namibia
Saturday, June 27, 2009 3:37:23 PM

NAMIBIAN Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa has called for regional cooperation in the fight against livestock diseases.

Launching the Kwando-Zambezi Regional Tsetse Eradication Project in Katima Mulilo District in Namibia on Monday, Mutorwa said regional cooperation was key if the fight against livestock diseases was to be achieved.

“Diseases and pests know no boundaries,” Mutorwa observed. “They do not need visas to cross countries. Therefore, sustainable control demands regional cooperation.”

Mutorwa challenged the technocrats to expand the regional cooperation with respect to tsetse fly control to other trans-boundary animal diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), lung sickness and others which were of economic and food security importance.

The Kwando Zambezi regional tsetse eradication project comprises four countries namely Zambia, Namibia, Angola and Botswana and is aimed at eradicating tsetse flies through aerial spraying.

The project commenced in 2006, with Angola and Namibia as the first countries to spray in the same year.

Meanwhile, agriculture and cooperatives deputy minister Albert Mulonga said eradication of tsetse flies would help increase income generation among livestock farmers.

“Cattle are the major source of livelihood in the areas infested with tsetse flies,” said Mulonga. “The Zambian government will therefore support this programme in a bid to improve income generation from livestock among farmers.”

And Caprivi Region governor Leonard Mwilima said his region would continue to give unwavering support to the regional tsetse eradication project until its successful conclusion.

“Livestock production is the mainstay of the economy in the Caprivi Region,” he said. “During periods of export of beef, farmers earn some N$2.4 million on a monthly basis, which highlights the importance of livestock to the region.”

Mwilima explained that tsetse flies were one of the main constraints to livestock productivity in the region.

“Some of the losses suffered included deaths, weight loss and reproductive failure. Farmers also incurred treatment costs as they managed Trypanosomiosis, known as Nagana in animals, which is a diseases emanating from tsetse flies,” said Mwilima.

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Don’t sell products to briefcase buyers, Kapiri DC tells farmers

Don’t sell products to briefcase buyers, Kapiri DC tells farmers
Written by Isaac Zulu in Kapiri Mposhi
Saturday, June 27, 2009 3:35:59 PM

KAPIRI Mposhi district commissioner Cosmas Musumpuka has advised farmers in the area not to sell their produce to briefcase buyers.

In an interview yesterday, Musumpuka explained that he was aware of briefcase businessmen that had entered the district and were currently buying maize cheaply.

He advised farmers to exercise patience and sell their maize to the Food Reserve Agency at a better price.

“I have heard reports of briefcase businessmen that are buying farm produce at very low prices,” Musumpuka explained. “This is to the disadvantage of our small scale farmers who toil for their produce. I would advise the farmers to exercise patience and ensure that they sell their maize to FRA at a good price.”

He observed that it was difficult to convince the farmers to hold on to their produce until the Food Reserve Agency starts buying their maize, saying most small-scale farmers are forced to sell their produce at low prices due to poverty.

“I know it’s difficult to convince them to be patient; and it’s because of poverty,” he observed. “You know for our small-scale framers, this is their annual income and not monthly income, and they would want to meet daily needs and pay fees for their children.”

Musumpuka further attributed the problem to the delay in payments experienced by farmers in the past when they sold their maize to the Food Reserve Agency, but was quick to note that the FRA had this year promised to pay farmers cash on delivery.

Last week during the District Agricultural and Commercial Show, Kapiri Mposhi district agricultural show chairman, Fredrick Musonda bemoaned the shortage of FRA depots to allow farmers sell their produce easily, saying this had resulted in many farmers falling prey to unscrupulous buyers who were buying agricultural produce at very low prices.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

(NYASATIMES) Miss Malawi in USA, South Korea to fund raise for prisons

Miss Malawi in USA, South Korea to fund raise for prisons
By Nyasa Times
Published: June 26, 2009

In an effort to perfect the appalling kitchen environment in the country’s prisons, Miss Malawi Joyce Mphande, is in United States of America (USA) on a fundraise mission.

The 20-year-old Lilongwe-based beauty queen left the country for USA last Friday for a two-month goodwill tour.

Mphande’s trip has been sponsored by Crops of Love Ministries, a religious organization working with the Malawi Prison Service to alleviate the plight of inmates in the country, according to the trip’s facilitator Maganizo Mazeze.

Mazeze told Nyasa Times in an interview, Mphande, who is also Ambassador for Malawi Prisons, will raise funds to purchase electrical or kerosene cookers for the prisons.

“It is believed that if all prisons stop using firewood for cooking, half a million kilograms of wood would be saved each year,” said Mazeze, who is communications consultant for Crops of Love Ministries.

While in USA, Mphande will also visit South Korea for two weeks where she will also fund raise before returning to the USA. Crops of Love Ministries’ partners in USA and South Korea are hosting her.

Mazeze said Mphande is expected to raise about US$50000 (K7 million) which will help all prisons in Malawi but in phases.

“Spiritual life has huge bearing in lasting behavioural change, more critical for those who have been in conflict with the law. And this project is an environmental one. Saving the forests for future generations is the key focus in this endevour,” said Mazeze in an email response to a questionnaire.

Among others, Miss will make awareness speeches to various gatherings including churches about Climate Change, meet influential leaders in several cities in America and will be a guest at an event to mark 45 years of Malawi’s Independence at the Malawi Embassy In the USA.

“She is also attending a number of Breakfast Fundraising events and dinner dance activities before returning in mid August,” said Mazeze, a trained broadcast journalist.

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(NYASATIMES) Malawi bans exportation of raw cotton, prescribe prices –VEEP

Malawi bans exportation of raw cotton, prescribe prices –VEEP
By Nyasa Times
Published: June 26, 2009

Malawi government has banned the exportation of raw cotton , Vice President Right Hon Joyce Banda has disclosed. The Vice President made the disclosure on Thursday when she launched a cotton investment project, Integrated Cotton and Textile Manufacturers, a Chinese company, in Balaka.

“It is the wish of the government that all cotton grown in Malawi should be processed in the country,” said Right Hon Banda. She said it is the wish of President Bingu wa Mutharika and his government to ensure cotton farmers in the country earns more money on their commodity.

Banda said the only way to improve proceeds farmers earn on cotton products, government has set minimum buying prices.

The Vice President said all cotton buyers who did not agree to K75 per kilogramme minimum price can go elsewhere saying it is the President’s directive for the prescribed procurement prices.

Banda urged companies to utilize locally grown cotton to feed into the textile manufacturing rather than exporting it.

Like tobacco farmers, many cotton farmers have been complaining that they were being exploited by pricing problem suspecting that buyers appear to have formed a cartel to fix prices.

Last year, the country’s largest textile manufacturing company, Mapeto David Whitehead and Sons Malawi Limited, sent its staff on leave due to the scarcity of cotton. The company uses about 1,200 metric tons of cotton a year.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Eunice Kazembe speaking at the same function said cotton has been given prominence by the current administration and would become Malawi’s second cash crop after tobacco.

She said the opening of the cotton factory in Balaka will live to government’s goal to turn Malawi into a producing and exporting nation.

Chinese ambassador Lin Songtian said the company will employ about 1,000 Malawi and that the company will also be producing cooking oil and manufacturing clothes.

He said final product will be exported to China.

In his State of National Address under the theme ‘Malawi’s Economic Miracle’ delivered during the opening of the 41st session of Parliament and the 2009/2010 Budget meeting in Lilongwe, President Mutharika said the country’s total export revenue last year increased by about 30 percent from K80.4 billion to K104 billion in 2007.

According to the President, cotton was the third after tobacco , tea which contributed greatly to export earnings .

Malawi grows about 75,000 metric tons of cotton per year.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) US names new ambassador to Zimbabwe

US names new ambassador to Zimbabwe
by Lebo Nkatazo
26/06/2009 00:00:00

UNITED States President Barack Obama has nominated a retired army major to be the new US Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

Obama said Charles Aaron Ray is a “talented and dedicated individual” and looked forward to working with him “to strengthen our relationships in the global community and our standing in the world”. He replaces fellow African American James McGee who leaves Zimbabwe next week.

Ray’s appointment comes at a watershed moment for Zimbabwe following the first government-to-government talks between the two countries after almost a decade of frosty relations.

Ray, a member of the Foreign Service since 1983, has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs and Director of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office since 2006.

He was responsible to the Secretary of Defence for policy development and oversight of all matters relating to missing personnel.

Ray served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1982, retiring with the rank of Major. During his military career, he served at a number of places in the U.S. and abroad, including two tours of duty in Southeast Asia.

Since joining the Foreign Service, he has served in China and Thailand, and was Deputy Chief of Mission in Sierra Leone.

In 1998, he was appointed as the first U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 2002, he was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, where he served until 2005.

Ray served as Diplomat in Residence at the University of Houston for the 2005-2006 academic year.

He holds a Bachelors Degree from Benedictine College, a Masters from the University of Southern California, and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the National Defence University.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe: Zim to revive currency

COMMENT - Zimbabwe should have tried local currencies to keep commerce going and take pressure of the national currency.

Mugabe: Zim to revive currency
by Cris Chinaka
26/06/2009 00:00:00

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe may revive the use of its own currency because the US dollar introduced to tame hyperinflation was unavailable to a majority of people.

The state Herald newspaper on Friday quoted Mugabe as saying his new unity government with rival Morgan Tsvangirai was battling to ease economic hardships, but that Zimbabwe could not have a system where rural people were forced to trade their livestock.

"We cannot have a country like that. We are reviewing this so that we can go back to the use of our own national currency," he was quoted as telling a meeting of his Zanu PF party.

Mugabe said while Zimbabwe had allowed the use of multiple foreign currencies in January to stem hyperinflation of over 230 million percent which left the Zimbabwe dollar almost worthless, this had caused untold suffering because rural people had no access to the dollars and South African rands circulating in towns.

His comments contradicted those of economic planning minister Elton Mangoma who told a mining investment conference in London on Tuesday Harare had no plans to move away from the US dollar until southern Africa adopted a regional currency. - Reuters

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Help our people

Help our people
Written by Editor

Rupiah Banda’s lack of seriousness is very costly to this country. It is heart-breaking that at a time when the nation needs hope, reassurance and encouragement, Rupiah is doing nothing except to bring hopelessness. The crisis in our hospitals is not a small thing. It is a gigantic problem that requires inspirational leadership if it is going to be resolved. But as we said yesterday, instead of addressing the plight of the workers in a serious and focused way, Rupiah chose to treat the nation to comedy .

We are not surprised that our brothers and sisters in the medical fraternity are taking the hardened stance that is apparent now. Rupiah has no capacity to inspire anyone – not even the monkies that he lives with at State House. This explains why Rupiah is so quick to resort to threats, intimidation and in the case of dealing with journalists, encouraging violence.

Rupiah cannot command loyalty on the basis of morality and a life dedicated to high principles and virtues. With this handicap, he is quickly resorting to tactics of carrot and stick. This is why the people closest to him must always be singing one meaningless praise or another on a daily basis. If they don’t, they might find themselves in trouble because Rupiah cannot deal with the truth. Rupiah wants to be flattered.He wants to deal with those who are ready to be boot-lickers and praise singers.

This is the problem that he has with us. He wants us to praise him when he has done nothing deserving any praise. We will continue to say that unless Rupiah changes his approach, he is doomed to failure.

This would be fine if such failure were his alone, but unfortunately, his incompetence and failure to lead has a direct impact on our people.

This is what we saw the other day when he addressed his second press conference since becoming President. He lamentably failed to inspire any confidence on any of the issues that are important to our people. His government is failing to deal with the strike action by the health workers.

Rupiah showed the whole nation that he doesn’t care and cannot be bothered about the plight of the nation. It was frightening to see how he tried to trivialise his failure to lead. Rupiah also showed marked levels of insensitivity when he discussed his own medical requirements. When a journalist asked him to comment on a call made by the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions that leaders should be treated in Zambia, he said he could not go to our hospitals to have his knee attended to, saying: “… so if all the doctors are on strike, like when I was in South Africa, the doctors were on strike here and the nurses, I should have brought my broken leg and say akanikonze when there was a strike?”

In saying what he said, Rupiah proved his insensitivity and lack of care for our people. We say this because first and foremost what was Rupiah doing in South Africa when the entire medical sector had closed down in Zambia due to industrial action? What kind of President leaves such a crisis in his country to go and attend a conference – to wine and dine with the rich and famous of the world? During this same period the education sector was also paralysed by strike action. And yet Rupiah saw it fit to go to Chililabombwe to watch football – bola! After watching football, having bypassed the striking workers at Ndola Central Hospital and Kitwe Central Hospital, Rupiah flew to Zimbabwe and from Zimbabwe to Cape Town. And when he sneaked back into Zambia, for what we imagine is a short visit before heading off on another ‘important tour’, he has virtually been silent on all the important issues the nation is facing. When Rupiah opened his mouth on Wednesday, it was total disaster.

Rupiah is telling our people that when he is sick, it does not matter that there is strike at home; after all, he can get his treatment in Cape Town. The message that this careless statement sends is that Rupiah does not care about the striking workers because there is no real risk to his health or that of his friends and relatives. They can get treated in South Africa. What kind of President is this? What kind of leader is this?

It is this kind of attitude that is annoying our brothers and sisters in the medical sector who are taking a very hard stance at the moment.

There is no denying that Rupiah has failed to provide leadership on this issue, just like on many other issues before. This is why he can arrogantly say that it is not his job to ensure that the negotiations with the workers are done. If it is not the job of the President to ensure that the government machinery is running and delivering according to the people’s expectation, then whose job is it? What is Rupiah’s job? This is why we say Rupiah thought going to State House was an extended holiday. He did not think that being President demands hard work.

At his press conference Rupiah clearly told our people who work for the government that it is not his job to deal with their problems. This is the kind of President we have. This is a kind of leader Rupiah is. We are very sure that if his knee did not need constant messaging, he would have been on the road or in the air going somewhere. Rupiah is a kamwendo munjira – he cannot sit still and do the job that he is paid for.

How can this man inspire our health workers to go back to work, when he seems to have problems even inspiring himself to work? Anyway, no serious person should rely on Rupiah for inspiration. If anyone was in doubt, Wednesday’s press conference should clear such doubt.

This is a man who receives photographs sent to his government in their capacity as government which depict the gruesome consequences of the current strike and instead he and his shameless supporters choose to see pornography in the suffering of a poor woman!

This is why almost two weeks ago we pleaded with our brothers and sisters in the medical fraternity to find a way of getting back to work. We were not saying this out of insensitivity or a lack of appreciation of their plight. We were pleading because we recognised Rupiah’s recklessness. As long as he and his family are happy and able to access medical care, he doesn’t care about anybody else. This is the message Rupiah gave on Wednesday. Our call to the medical fraternity is to find a way to surmount Rupiah’s pettiness and help our people who desperately need their services. We continue to make this plea with heavy hearts because we cannot dispute the grievances that the medical personnel are making. We can only say please help our people.

We make this plea because of what we see in Rupiah. We do not think he is bothered to check the statistics of our people who are dying because of the current strike. Rupiah has chosen to ignore our people. We must find a way of moving forward inspite of this insensitive and selfish man.

On Wednesday, he was pretending to be concerned about government expenditure on things such as foreign trips, but we all know that excessive amounts of money are being spent on his trips. Is Rupiah going to lead by example? We doubt. This is not the way Rupiah views leadership. It is not long ago that he took a delegation of forty to fifty people, including his children, to Zimbabwe to go and see the tree he used to climb as a child at government expense. Maybe we are wrong, maybe his children reimbursed Cabinet Office the money government spent on them on their trip to Zimbabwe.

This is the Rupiah the nurses are dealing with. Our people are more precious than this selfish man. Help our people.



We can’t survive on nobility – health workers

We can’t survive on nobility – health workers
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe in Lusaka and Mutuna Chanda in Ndola
Friday, June 26, 2009 4:06:48 PM

STRIKING health workers in Lusaka have refused to go back to work, saying they cannot survive on nobility.And health workers on the Copperbelt on Wednesday resolved to continue with their strike action after labour minister Austin Liato pleaded that he could not immediately respond to their demands. During a check by The Post at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), nurses were found sitting near the car park.

One of the health workers, who declined to be named for fear of victmisation, said they would not resume work and were still waiting for feedback from their union leaders.

"We are not agreeable with what the President said yesterday. As much as we chose to be nurses, we need to be motivated. He said our career is a noble one but we can't eat nobility. They are saying that the government has no money but where did [former human resource manager in the Ministry of Health Henry] Kapoko get the money? This case was an eye opener to health workers," the health worker said.

The health worker warned that should any health worker be fired, they would "spill the beans."

"I also want to appeal to the nurses that are easily swept by stories that let's stick together. We are waiting because our union leaders are supposed to be in a meeting so we will wait but no money, no work. If it takes six months to respond to our need, then so be it. If they fire us, we will join the private sector or go abroad," the health worker said.

The worker said their colleagues were always looking for greener pastures.

Another health worker said the UTH human resource department had threatened not to give the health workers their June salary.

"As far as we are concerned, we are getting our salaries because if we don't get them then, they will be going to another person," the health worker said.

They also insisted that no political leader or media organisation was inciting them to continue with the strike.

"When we started the strike, it was not because we were incited by anyone, it was our payslips, leave the opposition leaders alone, they are innocent, and leave The Post alone, they are just doing their job. That's why we also like Muvi television because they report the truth like The Post," one of the health workers said. "The Bible says 'people will hate you when you tell the truth but the truth will set you free'."

The health workers said they appreciated President Banda's speech yesterday but as father of the nation, he should consider the suffering of the ones that put him into power.

They also said there were so many ordinary people that needed specialist treatment abroad but could not be flown out by the government.

They said as nurses, they treated everybody the same whether they belonged to the ruling party or to the opposition.

"Whether PF, MMD or UPND, we treat anyone equally so no one is inciting us, it's our payslips. We see a lot of children and people on television appealing for assistance to go out of the country, why aren't they helped by the government like politicians?" one of the nurses asked.

And student nurses are now working from 18:00 hours to 07:00 hours in the morning instead of studying.

One of the student nurses complained that this might affect their examinations, which had been postponed due to the strike.

And on the Copperbelt Province on Wednesday, Liato instead said he needed to consult over the health workers' demands and that he would return with a response.

The health workers who were clad in black attire and gathered in the Ndola Central Hospital cafeteria initially heckled Liato when he tried to relate to their aggression as they chanted slogans before laying their demands.

"I have been representing workers for 16 years," Liato said as the health workers shouted unison: "Awe! Awe!"

Liato then pleaded with the health workers to listen to him and proposed that they give him their grievances before he responded.

One of the workers, who said she had been a nurse for over 16 years, compared some of the allowances on her payslips in 1990 and 2009 and lamented that nothing much had changed.

"If you have come here and are expecting that we will go back to work, that won't happen. In 1990 my night duty allowance was K12,000, my overtime was K20,000. This is 2009, today my night duty allowance is K30,000, commuted overtime allowance K40,000. Shame!" the health worker said as her colleagues echoed the word.

"Honourable minister, slave trade ended a long time ago. We are not slaves, be realistic in things. You are telling us you are going to fire us. These allowances I've told you, to some of you in government that is small change. That is the money you give to your children to go and buy sweets. Ministry of Health is one of the richest ministries in the country. We know this because we've seen how much money is being stolen and wasted. Honourable minister enough is enough. We have been listening today, our ears are blocked; we are deaf. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar."

She asked Liato to report that health workers on the Copperbelt would not report for work if their allowances were not improved in line with their demands and further said they would not resign because they loved their jobs.

"Night duty allowance K1.9 million un-debatable! Seven days of working night duty is not a joke. People sacrifice; they leave their babies, they leave their husbands, they leave their wives for seven days. We have all slept at funerals and we know what it means to spend a night at a funeral. Overtime allowance K500,000. Uniform allowance and upkeep K1.5 million, our risk allowance should be K1 million un-debatable."

In response, Liato said President Rupiah Banda did not ask health workers to resign and neither did he say that he would fire them but that he asked Cabinet and deputy ministers who did not tow with his vision to step down and that the government was willing to negotiate with the striking health workers.

Liato said he had not travelled to the Copperbelt to intimidate health workers but was there to understand clearly what their problems were.

One of the health workers told Liato that members of parliament needed to forego their mid-term gratuity, saying when it came to their allowances, lawmakers indicated that it was their entitlement but did not treat health workers' demands as such.

In responding to mid-term gratuity, Liato said President Banda had indicated that he would consult over the matter before making a decision.

Liato said opposition parliamentarians had kept quiet over the mid-term gratuity because it suited them.

He urged health workers to demand that opposition parliamentarians also forego their mid-term gratuity.

The health workers then chided Liato not to involve politics in addressing them.

Another health worker demanded that they be paid their gratuity for working under the Central Board of Health (CBOH) after it was abolished before they were re-engaged by the Ministry of Health.

He said health workers were served with letters of offer beginning this year that they were re-employed by the Ministry of Health following the abolition of CBOH.

Later, Liato sought leave to enable him consult over the demands the health workers had presented to him.

And as Liato was leaving, he introduced Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba as the next speaker but the workers booed the labour leader.

The workers heckled Hikaumba and called for change as the labour leader tried to address them.

The health workers broke into different songs and chants interrupting Hikaumba whenever he tried to speak.

An ashamed looking Hikaumba tried for over 10 minutes to speak to the workers but to no avail as they chanted and sung "Hikaumba Kuya bebele! [Hikaumba must go!]"

Hikaumba vowed not to leave the podium until he spoke to the workers.

The health workers only allowed Hikaumba to speak after Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ) Ndola district chairman Joy Beene pleaded with them to allow him to speak.

"You workers are powerful. Now for my sake let Hikaumba address you," pleaded Beene. "It's these people who are going to defend you."

Hikaumba then addressed the workers by conceding that tempers were high.

Later, Hikaumba was cheered by the health workers after he pledged to protect those who were targets of victimisation by their managements.

"As we are sitting here some people are reporting you to management," said Hikaumba. "We refuse any kind of intimidation. This solidarity you have displayed, no one should be intimidated and suspended. The pledge I made is that if anyone touches any of the workers, that will be war between the union and government. I have told my colleagues that if you are made of wax don't stand in the sun because you will melt. As for me, I stand for the workers and will protect any worker who is going to be victimised. I'm still the same person you've known over the years. I have not changed."

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Judiciary has challenges, says Lungu

Judiciary has challenges, says Lungu
Written by George Chellah
Friday, June 26, 2009 4:04:33 PM

LAW Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Stephen Lungu yesterday said the Judiciary has challenges that are neither peculiar nor insurmountable. And Lungu said constant attacks on the Judiciary tend to go to the very fabric of its independence.

During a press conference held at the LAZ secretariat, Lungu said the association had noted with great concern that it had become common practice for lawyers to speak off the cuff.

"...And express their opinions publicly without due regard to the effect of their statements on those they comment on, their clients and the members of the public in general," Lungu said.

"As an association, we therefore wish to make the following statement that whereas we recognise that the Constitution has given every citizen of this country the freedom of speech, it is mandatory that all legal practitioners must adhere to the legal practitioner's Act and the rules promulgated there-under."

He warned that every legal practitioner should not engage in conduct likely to bring the profession into disrepute.

"Every legal practitioner being a learned member of the bar and an officer of the court shall not engage in conduct whether in pursuit of their profession or otherwise, which is prejudicial to the pursuit of the administration of justice or which is likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or the administration of justice or which conduct is likely to bring the profession into disrepute," Lungu said.

"As an association we are alive to the fact that the Judiciary has challenges, which challenges are neither peculiar nor insurmountable. "

He said the media was certainly not a forum for lawyers to attack the Judiciary.

"The council of the Law Association of Zambia wishes to strongly urge our members to forthwith refrain from using the media as the mode of communicating their grievances against the Judiciary," Lungu said.

"And any lawyer whose conduct will be found to be in contravention of the provisions of the legal practitioner's Act and its rules will be subjected to the necessary administrative sanctions. As council and as an association, we will defend the integrity of the Judiciary against unwarranted attacks."

He said the association could not comment on the case involving newly appointed education minister Dora Siliya because it was currently in court. He said the association would at an appropriate time issue an appropriate statement when the matter was concluded.

"As an association we were preparing to come up with a statement and an appeal was lodged on Friday last week," he said.

Lungu said lawyers had mechanisms through which they could express their grievances.

"Tomorrow [today] we are having what we call a bar bench conference where all lawyers and judges meet to discuss matters that affect the profession. At this gathering all grievances which lawyers have are tabled and all grievances that the Judiciary has got against lawyers are tabled and discussed," he said.

He said the constant attacks on the Judiciary were not good.

"... If we continuously attack the Judiciary on every decision that it makes, it brings the aspect of independence of the Judiciary into question because at the end of the day we will all stop having the confidence we are supposed to have in the Judiciary for the purpose of the dispensation of justice," he said.

Lungu explained that if everyone went to court and complained after that in public, it goes to show that the independence of the Judiciary was beginning to be questioned.

"We should not isolate one matter or two matters and judge the Judiciary as to whether it is independent or not," said Lungu.

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Govt ponders bill to change budget cycle

Govt ponders bill to change budget cycle
Written by Patson Chilemba
Friday, June 26, 2009 4:02:50 PM

VICE-President George Kunda yesterday announced that the government will introduce an amendment bill in the next sitting of the National Assembly to change the budget cycle.

Addressing the press at his office, Vice-President Kunda said the purpose of the amendment was to change the budget cycle so that the national budget could be approved before the commencement of the financial year.

"The financial year in Zambia is from 1st January to 31st December of each year. This means that the budget will be approved within 90 days before the commencement of the financial year, if the amendments are enacted by Parliament in the next sitting of the National Assembly which commences on 14th July, 2009," he said.

Vice-President Kunda said the amendments would improve budget implementation in that the government would have the whole year to implement it.

He said according to the current cycle, the budget was approved within the first three months of the commencement of the financial year, from January 1 to March 31.

He said this meant that there was only nine months for budget execution.

"This militates against the efficient implementation of developmental projects," Vice-President Kunda said. "As a result members of the public, parliamentarians and co-operating partners have called for the change of the budget cycle and government is merely responding to such calls."

Vice-President Kunda said the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) had already approved the amendment as recommended by the Mung'omba Constitution Review Commission.

He called upon all Zambians, civil society, political parties and parliamentarians to support the amendment.

Vice-President Kunda also announced that in addition to the Constitutional Amendments, government shall present a number of bills aimed at reforming the laws and improving governance. Vice-President Kunda said the bills include: the Non-Governmental Organisations bill; Public Private Partnership bill; Zambia Law Development Commission (Amendment) bill; Legal Practitioners (Amendment) bill; Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (Amendment) bill and several other bills listed on the Gazette notice No.302 of 2009.

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Katuka accuses govt of stifling Equinox’s development

Katuka accuses govt of stifling Equinox’s development
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday, June 26, 2009 4:01:42 PM

THE parliamentary committee on government assurances chairperson Stephen Katuka yesterday accused the Ministry of Mines of deliberately stifling the growth of Equinox Minerals Limited in North Western Province in preference to Chinese prospecting investors.

Katuka said there was need to allow and support Equinox Minerals Limited’s plans to use the close to US $1 billion Lumwana Mining Company to spread its operation in the province.

He said this when a delegation led by mines permanent secretary Dr Godwin Beene appeared before his committee.

Katuka, who is also United Party for National Development (UPND) Mwinilunga East member of parliament, said there were a lot of irregularities with the issuance of mineral exploration licences with a view to favouring the Chinese.

Katuka dismissed recent statements by the government that some named Chinese minerals investors were planning an estimated US $3.6 billion injection into resource development in North-Western province.

“I don’t see why you should kill a child who is already born just because your wife is about to conceive another baby…,” he said.

Katuka also urged Dr Beene to clean up the many reported cases of corruption allegations at the Ministry of Mines.

In response, Dr Beene explained that Equinox Minerals had reduced on the amount of land under its ownership in line with the new mines and minerals Act which required that no one single entity should possess more than 1, 000 square kilometres of land for exploration purpose.

Dr Beene also assured the committee that he would address the concerns raised regarding the administration of the mining sector in the country.

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