Saturday, July 25, 2009
Written by Editor
Friendship and support from friends is something which is a source of tremendous inspiration always and to everyone. It is said that those who are ready to join hands can overcome the greatest challenges. Chansa Kabwela and The Post have no right to be ungrateful for the support of Tamala Kambikambi and the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group.
The stand taken by Tamala and the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group establishes the understanding in us that in them we have friends, we have honest fighters against injustice who feel hurt because other people are hurt, who seek our success because they too seek the victory of justice over injustice. Let us keep our arms locked together so that we form a solid phalanx against injustice. By joining hands, we can overcome problems others think would forever haunt us.
We are conscious of our obligations to do whatever we can to contribute to the advancement of justice, fairness and humanness in our country. Tamala and her colleagues in the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group have felt and recognised that our work advances the very principles on which their organisation is founded. It is truly a demonstration of the spirit of ubuntu, that profound African sense that we are human only through the humanity of other human beings – is not a parochial phenomenon, but has added something very valuable to our common search for a more just, fair and humane society.
The lies of Rupiah Banda about those pictures – we mean the pictures of that woman in labour who was left to give birth in the open and in the process lost her baby – and the half-truths cannot hide and should not hide the treachery of NGOCC and Women for Change in their complicity with Rupiah in his persecution of The Post.
We only hope NGOCC and Women for Change will learn that taking positions that do not strengthen an organisation can lead to a blind alley.
As Mahatma Gandhi has taught us, it is necessary to brave arrests or indeed imprisonment if truth and justice were to triumph over evil. We must never lose sight of the fact that the Gandhian philosophy may be a key to human survival in the 21st century. For us, a willingness to make sacrifices for a loftier purpose can be said to be the unwritten code of our journalism.
We welcome and highly appreciate the support of the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group because no struggle can be waged effectively in isolation.
We don’t know what those treacherous women at NGOCC and Women for Change can now say in the light of Tamala and Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group’s gesture towards Chansa and The Post. Our communication with Tamala and the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group has been much lower than that with NGOCC and Women for Change. But why has it been much easier for Tamala and the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group to understand the goals Chansa and The Post were seeking in not publishing those pictures and in sending them to the Vice-President, the Minister of Health, the Secretary to the Cabinet , the Archbishop of Lusaka and to NGOCC and Women for Change themselves? The answer is there is no honest person who can fail to see the goals that Chansa and The Post were seeking because it was clearly stated in the letter that accompanied those pictures. It is easy to understand why Tamala and her colleagues joined in criticising us. It is simply because that letter and those pictures were not sent to them. And they were honest enough to admit that they were misled by the lies and half-truths that accompanied our being harangued by Rupiah, NGOCC and Women for Change. But later on, on their own, they discovered the truth. And because they were honest people, they changed their earlier position and apologised to Chansa and The Post. This is how honest and honourable people behave. NGOCC and Women for Change know the truth. But they are not able to publicly acknowledge it and apologise because their initial position was not driven by ignorance or by someone misleading them. It was not a product of oversight. They had taken a conscious decision to go for The Post by using lies and half-truths accompanied by a deliberate misrepresentation of facts. They tried to hide under the banner of defending the human rights of that woman whose pictures we had sent them. They accused us of violating her human rights. They totally ignored her life. Or rather they subordinated her life and that of her baby to that of her body. Which human rights activist doesn’t know that the highest human right is one’s right to life, that life is the most sacred thing? Chansa and The Post were much more concerned about the life of that woman and that baby who died whose story is yet to be fully told. We could have made a gigantic story out of it but we chose not to. We decided to deal with the matter quietly and we limited the issue to a few people who we thought were better placed to deal with the problem that was going on in the country. That woman is not the only one who gave birth in the open during that period. They were many around the country. But she was the only one whose pictures were brought to us.
Clearly, if there is any issue that has exposed the complicity, the vacillations and opportunism of the elements who control NGOCC and Women for Change, it is this issue. Now the nation fully knows who they are and what they stand for. Those who don’t understand who these elements truly are, we will help them to do so. In this way they will not be able to deceive any one anymore apart from those who want themselves deceived. Their bare faced malice against Chansa and The Post will be fully exposed when the trial of this matter starts. And after that, they will not be able to deceive anyone with their crowing about human rights. They have made their noise and in the end, the cries of the infant who dies because of lack of healthcare will penetrate the noises of our towns and its sealed windows to say: am I not human too!
As we have stated before, and confirmed by the Archbishop of Lusaka and Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group, among others, Chansa and The Post’s intention was not to humiliate that woman, to violate any of her human rights and of that baby who died in birth. We think Tamala articulated Chansa and The Post’s intentions very well when she said: “This issue the way we have seen it from the National Women’s Lobby Group is that Chansa Kabwela when she received those pictures, she felt for the women because that was at the height of the strike by the medical personnel. She did not publish them but sent them to a few selected eminent individuals and decision makers in this country. Chansa took those photographs to people who she believed would help to deal with the impasse and hence deal with the striking workers to come back and curb that problem that was seriously affecting women. So to us, we felt she was doing a noble job…So we just want to tell you that we will support the young lady because she felt for the women who were suffering and she felt that was a way in which she could agitate those who could make certain decisions. We know that there are colleagues who felt the means did not justify the end.”
As we have stated before, Chansa will always stand her ground, no one can move her to do wrong things. Chansa is a young lady of considerable ability destined to occupy a very important position in Zambian and world journalism. She is a woman of exceptional quality, dignity, very respectful, very warm, very kind to others. Chansa is a very gracious lady, highly intelligent and committed to worthy causes. It is ridiculous for anyone to accuse her of engaging in pornography or indecent things. Chansa was pursuing no other goal with those pictures other than the noblest of human sentiments, of solidarity with those in pain, in suffering. And no honest person can fail to recognise that. Rupiah and his friends at NGOCC and Women for Change have failed to see this because they are not being honest with themselves and others. But in this battle against injustice, there will be no quarter given anyone. We are going to call a spade a spade, and we are going to appeal to the honour of all our people. In the end, those who refuse to repudiate their lies and half-truths are going to self-correct, but in another way; yes, they are going to be smeared with their own offal. One thing we are sure of: in every human being, there is a high sense of shame. Those who try to humiliate and scandalise us with lies are not going to be allowed to get away with it. Throughout history, one sees men and women get arrested and go to jail, or die for honour, values they can hold dear. At The Post, we don’t teach our staff to disrespect the human rights and dignity of others. We teach them to respect the rights and dignity of others and to go beyond and defend them with everything they have when they are attacked; we inculcate in our staff, in our editors the best values from the human point of view, from the point of view of justice, fairness and humanness. We consider ourselves fortunate to have been aware that hatred and prejudice are not political weapons. They are political weapons and in addition, we have the experience to know that principles are the best possible political weapon.
What Chansa and The Post did can’t be done except on the basis of principles, on the basis of ideas, on the basis of ethics. It’s the only way. We believe in the human being, in his ability to acquire an ethics, a conscience, in his ability to make great sacrifices.
There is no great merit in having accumulated the experience that we have accumulated. If there is any merit, it is in the fact of being constant in our loyalty to ideas and principles, of not letting ourselves become all puffed up which is quite frequent among human beings. And of course vengeance – like the one we see from Rupiah – can find no place in our hearts. We can fight with all the determination and strength of will in the world, but we won’t do it out of hate for anyone.
Written by Margaret Habbuno
Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:42:24 PM
ZAMBIA National Women's Lobby (ZNWL) chairperson Tamala Kambikambi has vowed to support Chansa Kabwela because she did not publish the photographs of the woman in labour.
In an interview with Radio Phoenix last Wednesday, Kambikambi said the organisation would support Kabwela because she did not publish the pictures of the woman in labour but instead sent them to a few selected eminent individuals in the country. Kambikambi said the ZNWL had seen the issue in a different way, saying Kabwela had felt for the women and that is why she never published the pictures in the newspaper.
"This issue the way we have seen it from the National Women Lobby group perspective is that Chansa Kabwela when she received those pictures, she felt for the women because that was at the height of the strike by the medical personnel,"Kambikambi said. "She did not publish them but sent them to a few selected eminent individuals and decision makers in this country."
She said Kabwela had done a noble job by sending the said photographs to selected people.
"Chansa took those photographs to people who she believed would help to deal with the impasse and hence deal with the striking workers to come back and curb that problem that was seriously affecting the women. So to us we felt she was doing a noble job and it was unfortunate that there was a lot of debate that ensured a lot of half information, which went around where [to] some ...it was being seen in a different light," she said.
Kambikambi said the ZNWL would support Kabwela because she felt for the women who suffered during the period of the protracted strike.
"So we just want to tell you that we will support the young lady because she felt for the women who were suffering and she felt that was a way in which she could agitate those who could make certain decisions," said Kambikambi. "We know that there are colleagues who felt the means did not justify the end."
Recently, police arrested and charged Kabwela with circulating obscene matters with the intention to corrupt morals of society contrary to section 177 1 (b) CAP 87 of the Penal Code.
The pictures of a woman in childbirth were not published by The Post but were instead sent to Vice-President George Kunda, Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Joshua Kanganja, Minister of Health Kapembwa Simbao, Women for Change (WfC), Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) and the Archbishop of Lusaka to enable them address the problem of the strike by health workers which lasted for over a month.
Section 177 1 (b) CAP 87 of the Penal Code states that: "Any person who - (b) imports, conveys or exports, or causes to be imported conveyed or exported, any such matters or things, or in any manner whatsoever puts any of them in circulation is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable to imprisonment for five years or to a fine of not less than fifteen thousand penalty units nor more than seventy five thousand penalty units."
Kabwela 29, who appeared before Lusaka chief resident magistrate Charles Kafunda pleaded not guilty to one count of circulating obscene matters or things.
Particulars of the offence were that Kabwela, between June 1 and 10, 2009 in Lusaka did circulate two obscene photographs tending to corrupt public morals.
Lusaka deputy division prosecutor, Anderson Simbuliani represented the state in the matter while Remmy Mainza, George Chisanga, Chileshe Kaoma and Sam Mujuda represented Kabwela.
The court then set August 5, 2009 as the date for the commencement of trial, August 24, and September 8 for continued trial respectively.
Written by Michael Georgy
Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:37:53 PM
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Violent riots and threats of a fresh wave of crippling labour strikes may force South African President Jacob Zuma to deliver quickly on election promises and risk scaring investors in Africa's biggest economy.
Just three months after his African National Congress's sweeping election victory, township violence is boiling over in scenes reminiscent of unrest during apartheid.
Charismatic and persuasive, Zuma raised high hopes in his election campaign, vowing to help millions of blacks still living in shacks 15 years after the ANC came to power.
Now the riots have injected urgency into the task, and Zuma is limited by the first recession in Africa's biggest economy in 17 years. He must also reassure foreign investors he will be cautious about spending and not steer the economy to the left.
"Now we are seeing an early test. We are seeing a very visible sign of the extent of discontent, something that hadn't really been on investors' radar screens," said Razia Khan, regional head of research for Africa at Standard Chartered.
"This is something that will sit uncomfortably over the longer term for anyone really concerned about potential next steps, what can be done given the extent of discontent."
TROUBLE ON MANY FRONTS
Zuma faces trouble on several fronts. Labour union allies who helped his rise have wasted no time in pushing hard for leftist economic policies that could unnerve investors.
Labour demands are piling up by the day as frustrations spread in townships where police fired rubber bullets and teargas this week at protestors who hurled stones at them.
A fuel sector union agreed to an improved 9.5 percent wage offer on Thursday but warned it may yet strike in sympathy with paper and chemical workers who downed tools this week.
Council workers are threatening to stay at home from Monday, action that could keep tens of thousands of local government employees at home, crippling the public sector.
Gold and coal unions are considering a pay offer. If they reject it stoppages will hit some of the world's biggest mines.
New strikes could delay efforts to improve basic services, raising the possibility of new riots erupting.
Township residents are calling for the removal of local ANC officials they accuse of corruption and gross neglect of communities lacking jobs, housing, sanitation and medical care.
Even if Zuma had the resources, throwing money at the problem would not help because of the extent of incompetence and corruption in local government, analysts say.
"Even if they put together a Marshall plan at this stage we know that local government capacity is a huge problem," said political analyst Susan Booysen.
"It's almost a brick wall into which all excitement about democracy and participation and improvement of life just crashes."
So far, the rage is focused on local authorities and township residents say it is too early to judge Zuma.
But the long-term credibility of the man who portrays himself as the champion of the poor may rest on whether he takes decisive action against local government officials.
That was clear in flashpoint Siyathemba township. When local mayor Lefty Tsotetsi arrived in an armoured police vehicle to address thousands of seething residents, it was too risky for him to steep out of the vehicle.
Young men, some carrying clubs and pipes, said they have been unemployed for years and accused him of living a life of luxury and handing out jobs to relatives and friends.
He later promised to improve services. No one seemed to believe the mayor and a new house he is building was torched.
Zuma told businessmen late on Thursday that although the government acknowledged problems with delivering basic services, looting, violence and the destruction of property could not be justified.
Tough security measures could deepen alienation.
In Siyathemba, some spoke of a policeman named Doctor who they say was brutal in dealing with the unrest. "He will die like a dog," several young men threatened.
"A crackdown is often going to be difficult, Zuma has to maintain his approach in being more open, more consultative and try to utilise the space that is open, in terms of engagement, that is where the short term solution can come about," said Eurasia Group analyst Mike Davies.
For now, a weak opposition and South Africa's peculiar political system could work in Zuma's favour. The same incensed people who protest against poor services are the biggest backers of the ANC, mainly because it led the fight against apartheid.
"They don't just votes they throw bricks as well. It's a very awkward type of political culture we have. We have practiced that now for quite a number of years. And protest in South Africa does not necessarily mean instability," said
Written by Nelson Banya
Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:36:39 PM
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Friday called for an end to political violence and committed his party to campaigning peacefully as the country marked the start of a national reconciliation process. The southern African country was plunged into violence last year as Mugabe fought to reclaim power in a run-off vote after being defeated by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister in a new unity government.
The formation of the new administration in February has eased political tensions although the MDC says some of its members continue to be targeted by Mugabe's ZANU-PF members in the countryside.
"There are still reported cases of political violence and these must stop," Mugabe said during a ceremony marking three days to observe national healing and reconciliation.
"We will commit members of our party in observation of the principles of non-violence. You should not succeed through violence but the efficacy of your political theory and your campaign," the veteran leader said.
Zimbabwe has had a history of political violence starting from the colonial days and after independence in 1980 when a special military unit led a crackdown against what it branded an insurgency in the Western parts of the country leaving thousands dead.
Civic groups say up to 20,000 people, mostly civilians were killed, but Mugabe, who has previously described the period as "a moment of madness", says the figures are exaggerated.
The southern African country was again plunged into political violence from 2000 when veterans of the liberation struggle started seizing white-owned commercial farms, killing dozens of farmers and opposition supporters in the process.
Last year the MDC said more than 200 of its members were killed in a violent run-off campaign which Mugabe won after Tsvangirai, who defeated Mugabe in a first round presidential vote pulled out, citing gross violence.
Speaking at the same ceremony, Tsvangirai said the reconciliation process should also include the pre-independence period during which the former white colonial government was accused of atrocities against nationalist politicians challenging its rule.
"These three days of dedication must herald the beginning of a genuine open and frank process that includes and incorporates the concept of transitional justice," said Tsvangirai.
"Zimbabwe has suffered so many phases of trauma, upheaval and conflict that there must be agreement on defining the scope of the healing process," he said, adding that retribution would only perpetuate violence.
Analysts say Tsvangirai's push for justice is likely to meet resistance from Mugabe's supporters in his ZANU-PF party and the security establishment, accused of violently clamping down on dissent.
The former trade union leader, who in March 2007 was severely beaten up by police, said the new government should discuss the issue of reparations for victims of violence.
The MDC says its members continue to be harassed by law enforcement agents and that five of its legislators have been convicted on charges of political violence while none from ZANU-PF have been brought to court.
Written by George Chellah and Patson Chilemba
Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:34:18 PM
RUPIAH has lost grip on the MMD, Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata said yesterday. In an interview, Sata said there were currently very few senior MMD members that were still loyal to President Banda.
"We have enough MMD members of parliament and officials who are eager to liberate themselves. I personally had discussions with some of them so I know what I am talking about. I really feel sorry for Rupiah because he has lost grip on MMD," Sata said.
"We are getting information on every move they make and other government information from his very own ministers. Let Rupiah continue depending on information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha, works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti and local government minister Benny Tetamashimba. On the rest he should keep his fingers crossed."
He said President Banda would soon get the message.
"If the Speaker of the National Assembly says no you can't impeach Rupiah, people will get the message. If the courts also say the same, people will listen as well. And when Zambians get the message they will decide just like they did with Kaunda in 1991," Sata said.
"Did you see how they decided against Kaunda's one party state? Kaunda's rigging and intimidation failed to save him and Rupiah knows that and the same will happen to him soon." Sata said if President Banda wanted to make shortcuts in his style of governance, he would not survive politically.
"Rupiah is hiding in useless people and when those useless elements like Tetamashimba, Mulongoti and Shikapwasha blow up they will take him down with them," Sata said. "Even the Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde is useless, he is using the police to be MMD vigilantes."
He said nobody could ever rely on Mulongoti for guidance because he lacked political muscle.
"What politics does Mulongoti know? The highest paying job Mulongoti has ever had was when he was general manager for the late Dawson Lupunga. Mulongoti has never fought any election," Sata said.
"Mulongoti just survives on people's goodwill. It's people like the late Levy Mwanawasa and now Rupiah who keep him going. No wonder he has a short memory, he easily forgets how he came to be where he is today."
He said it was sad that Mulongoti was busy harassing former defence minister George Mpombo.
"He has learnt vindictiveness from Rupiah," Sata said.
On the impeachment, Sata said he was certain that they would get more than the required threshold to impeach President Banda.
"We have 22 UPND members of parliament, 27 PF members of parliament and the difference will come from the MMD we are very set for that actually," he said.
Sata said Vice-President George Kunda was misleading President Banda.
"They have totally abandoned the principles of Mwanawasa and Kaunda. I understand that there is a Bill that they want to table in Parliament where they want to legalise internal spying... because we have a useless minister of justice they now want to get the little freedom Zambians have," Sata said.
"They want to table that bill so that the intelligence could be listening to whatever we are talking even in our bedrooms. They want to be taping our phones. Rupiah thinks whatever George Kunda tells him is correct and he is so desperate."
Meanwhile, in his letter dated July 22, 2009 to Malila, Sata stated: "I would like to acknowledge receipt of your letter reference no. MOJ/101/1/10 dated 20th July 2009 in respect of the above quoted matter. Although my letter was copied to the President Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda and he decided to refer it to you as chief legal advisor, I have to date not received a response to my letter from the secretary of the Judicial Service Commission on the role, if any, the commission did play in the appointments in question," Sata stated.
"I want to believe that your interpretation of Article 98(1) (b) of the constitution is now a subject of a High Court action by Messrs. Simeza Sangwa and Associates in which you are one of the defendants. However, I am amazed at the conclusion in your letter referred to above when you state that: "Accordingly the performance of duties by His Lordship the Chief Justice remains valid and lawful at all times." You make this conclusion despite the fact that the contracts in question constitute fresh appointments and the President has no vested powers under the constitution to waive ratification by the people's National Assembly."
Sata said Attorney General Mumba Malila and Kabonde should be removed from office because they had clearly demonstrated that they were MMD vigilantes.
Sata said the argument by Malila that the performance of the Chief Justice remained valid and lawful at all times even without ratification by Parliament, showed that Malila like Kabonde was another MMD vigilante.
Sata said the government positions even those for ambassadors would have to be ratified by Parliament once PF took control of government.
He said the current system where appointments were not ratified only allowed the President to appoint his relatives to several government positions.
Sata said government had forgotten its functions because all the state machinery had now found its way to Chitambo.
He said Vice-President George Kunda had forgotten how his office looked like because he was more preoccupied with the by-election in Chitambo.
"He will do everything in his position as Vice-President because losing Chitambo would mean losing the Vice-Presidency," Sata said.
Sata also charged that Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa had flouted parliamentary standing orders by travelling out of the country when the House is sitting.
In an interview, Sata said Speaker Mwanamwambwa had left the country in unexplained circumstances when the House was in session.
"The standing orders of Parliament are that the Speaker only travels when Parliament is on recess. But because there is no justice minister in this country people do as they like. The Speaker has flouted parliamentary standing orders and he should explain. This woman [deputy Speaker Mutale Nalumango] is the one who has been running business for two weeks," said Sata.
Written by Ernest Chanda, Christopher Miti and Edwin Mbulo
Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:32:20 PM
SHOPRITE workers at Lusaka Manda Hill branch yesterday protested over low salaries and poor conditions of service. And Shoprite workers in Chipata have also joined in the strike, pressing for better conditions of service and a salary increment.
But Shoprite (Zambia) deputy general manager Charles Bota said management was still negotiating with the union. The workers who sang songs of solidarity outside their offices also complained that management was running away from salary negotiations.
And some officials from the National Union of Commercial and Industrial Workers (NUCIW) who sought anonymity said management had gone outside the workers’ demands. One union official said management were supposed to have continued with negotiations on salary increments, but instead brought in issues to do with an insurance scheme.
“As Shoprite workers we are not happy with what is happening. We have been having negotiations on salary increments with management and on Wednesday this week we declared a dispute with them because they couldn't give us what we had asked for. We had asked for a K235, 000 salary increment across the board, but management was proposing K130 000,” the union official said.
“Management later wrote to us, seeking audience with us, but we were surprised that they brought in a different story. Instead of talking about the salary increments, they brought in the issue of a pension scheme.”
The union official said there was serious undervaluing of the pension scheme.
And another union official complained that Shoprite Zambia workers were the least paid in the Shoprite Group of Companies.
“Going by the 0.5 rate they have given us it means that somebody who has worked for 10 years would get a K3,000,000 pension. And this has to be spread across fours, you will not get it as a lump sum. Do we really have labour laws in this country? And do we have a government that looks at the welfare of its people?” said the official.
The workers vowed to continue with the protests until management met their demands.
And according to a letter dated July 21, 2009 sent to the workers and signed by Shoprite Zambia personnel director Callie Burger, the newly introduced pension scheme took effect on July 1, 2009.
“We are pleased to inform you that Shoprite has set up a staff pension scheme to be administered by African Life Financial Services Zambia Limited with effect from 1 July 2009. Membership has been extended to you subject to your unconditional acceptance of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Africa Supermarkets (T/A Shoprite), the National Union of Commercial and Industrial Workers (NUCIW) and Shoprite (Zambia) Managers on 18 June 2008, the full contents of which you have read, understood and accepted,” read the letter in part.
And Bota said he could not further comment on the matter since management was still engaged in negotiations with the union.
“We are still negotiating with management over those issues, so I can't say much,” said Bota.
And Shoprite premises in Chipata were vacant and security guards were placed at the gate to tell the customers that the shop had not yet been opened.
One of the workers said they were getting instructions from their union leaders in Lusaka.
And branch manager Joshua Museba said the workers had refused to work.
“Me I am working but my colleagues are not working, itís like their grievances have not been met so they have refused to work,” said Museba who refused to comment further on the matter.
Meanwhile, Shoprite workers in Livingstone have also downed tools, forcing management to close the shop and Hungry Lion food outlet.
A check at the shop found workers sun basking while others opted to stroll around the tourist capital’s city centre.
“We are not going back for work until they improve our working conditions and salaries. We are being forced to work like slaves, government needs to set a standard whenever they bring in investors...because we should not be treated like we are under an apartheid regime,” said one female worker who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Branch manager Harry Shompa could not comment on the matter as call on his mobile phone was answered by another person.
Written by Patson Chilemba
Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:30:40 PM
MMD presidential aspirant Professor Clive Chirwa on Wednesday said he might join another political party should his presidential aspirations fail in the MMD. And Prof Chirwa said the Zambian Parliament is a mess and a great shame to the intellectuality of the nation.
During the newsmakers forum held at Lusaka Playhouse organised by the Press Freedom Committee of The Post under the theme Challenges facing the next President after 2011 and how they can be solved”, Prof Chirwa said he had come up with another plan should he fail to get the presidency in MMD.
He said there were other parties that were interested in what he could deliver to the nation.
"Me; coming up with another party is no starter because there are so many political parties. If I have plan B, I will join another party where I feel I will greatly contribute to the future of this country," Prof Chirwa said.
However, he said people were mistaken to think that he was new in the MMD and just wanted to jump on the bandwagon to become president.
He said he had been a member of MMD since 1991 but that he did not have a party card.
"These parties are draconian and they will tend to kill you off. But they have found that Chirwa is not for the kill," Prof Chirwa said.
He wondered why the country was so poor when it was rich in natural resources.
"Why are we diseased, under educated, lost hope and gone into the shell of depression? Why, my Lord? What have we done wrong as Zambians that we are constantly being punished by this world that comes to take everything away from us in the name of investment, while they walk away once the storm has turned and leave us chewing our knuckles," Prof Chirwa said.
"Why are we still not putting labour framework in place in order to help Zambians to permanent employments and hence abolish casualisation?"
Prof Chirwa wondered why the country had so many corrupt and selfish people who were delaying the country's progress.
"Why are we including donor money in our budget, hence chaining ourselves to outside rule? Why are we not doing enough to empower Zambians to self rule? Why are we rewarding those who do very little or nothing, while a democratic system of meritocracy has been dumped?" he asked.
Prof Chirwa said ministerial positions were being given to people who could not read, write or even carry out comprehensive debates in Parliament and to the outside world.
"I attended two sessions. Our Parliament is a mess and a great shame to the intellectuality of this nation. Very few in Parliament are good and deserve to be there acting on statutory instruments and hence participate in formulating real legislations of substance," Prof Chirwa said. "Many are a waste of space and must be purged, let alone receive unwarranted gratuities."
Prof Chirwa urged Zambians to re-think who they were, saying the work ethic should be governed by action and not just promises, which the people were fed up with.
He said on his part, he would continue generating his momentum so that Zambians could be helped.
"I therefore want to let all Zambians know that this campaign is for every citizen who is going to contribute to our future," Prof Chirwa said.
On the nation's development, Prof Chirwa said foreign investment was welcome but there should be laws to ensure Zambians benefited more from the investment.
He said the promotion of industries such as those for steel plants should be used as one of the answers to the country's economic roadmap.
Prof Chirwa said the country should not waste foreign exchange by sourcing steel from outside "when we can make it ourselves and even export to many countries in Africa and anywhere in the world that needs our steel."
He said to deliver the challenges that would face any President after 2011 would require a Cabinet that was full of brains, small in size and decisive in its decision making.
However, most people who attended the discussion disagreed with Prof Chirwa when he said President Rupiah Banda had from day one followed late president Levy Mwanawasa's development policies.
When Prof Chirwa mentioned that President Banda had followed president Mwanawasa's route, but the economic crisis had derailed many of his plans, the people responded: "No, what plans are you talking about?"
But Prof Chirwa maintained that president Mwanawasa's legacy must be continued with vigour by a leader who understood the new generation.
He said a president who would take over after 2011 would require to take into account fundamental issues affecting the Zambian people such as education.
Prof Chirwa said the current state of affairs had failed too many young people who might show potential later.
"That is why my education drive will be to make sure every child has free education up to grade twelve," Prof Chirwa said. "I have been to the director of curriculum at the Ministry of Education and collected syllabi for all sciences, maths and design subjects for Grade one to 7. I will personally write these textbooks that will be very cheap to every child to own and have a better school experience even in rural areas."
On the Zesco electricity tariff hike of 35 per cent, Prof Chirwa said the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) should not allow the company to hike tariffs without presenting a full plan for the future.
On the media freedoms, Prof Chirwa said the media in the country was still regulated by those in authority.
He said media freedom must start with the liberation of Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and Zambia News and Information Service (ZANIS), saying the two organisations should not be government entities.
Prof Chirwa said the two organisations should be open to all political players and members of the public who wanted to air divergent views.
On President Banda's performance, Prof Chirwa said the President was in a difficult position in that he might not be seen to deliver because he had not been intertwined with current affairs.
"He's agreed when we have had meetings. He is doing quite a lot, he has put forward some information which perhaps has been very divisive. He has got a lot of work to do," said Prof Chirwa.
Asked if he would accept a deputy ministerial position like lands deputy minister Michael Mabenga, Prof Chirwa said he would accept any position for the service to the nation.
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:28:51 PM
FINANCE minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane’s proposed monitoring criteria for Zesco’s performance threatens the relevance of Energy Regulation Board.
According to the Letter of Intent to International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dr Musokotwane stated that the government wanted to improve the performance of Zesco because it was aware of the current shortage of power and the risk it posed to sustained growth.
“Although the completion of the power station rehabilitation project will restore generating capacity and reduce load shedding temporarily, new capacity is needed to meet increased demand over the medium term.
Policies will be strengthened to ensure that sufficient electricity generation capacity is installed as quickly as possible,” Dr Musokotwane stated “To this end, the government has adopted a new electricity strategy with measures to adjust electricity tariffs to reflect the cost of service; (ii) attract private investments and competition in the sector; increase the operational efficiency of Zesco and strengthen its governance; and ensure that Zesco has sufficient resources to implement the planned rehabilitation and new generation projects.”
Dr Musokotwane stated that specifically, a revised electricity tariff schedule that would raise the average tariff significantly for 2009 would be adopted and a public announcement would be made of the indicative tariff levels for 2010-11 consistent with the policy to reach cost-reflective levels by 2011, with end of last month being put as structural benchmark.
He stated that the announced indicative tariff levels would reflect the cost of the planned large-scale investment in new generation and other electricity structure, and take into account the tariff setting for the mining sector.
Dr Musokotwane told IMF that in order to encourage more private sector participation in electricity generation, the government would submit the necessary legislation to Parliament for the Zambian Grid Code, which would set out rules and procedures for the operation and pricing of the transmission network by end of this year.
“Further, the management of Zesco will, by June 2009, enter into a performance contract with the Government designed to improve the efficiency and corporate governance of Zesco. The contract will stipulate a number of efficiency enhancing and cost cutting measures with the purpose of reducing Zesco’s operational expenditures, including on wages and salaries,” he stated. “It will also require Zesco to submit semi-annual reports on its overall operations to the committee of ministers tasked with implementing the electricity strategy, in order to monitor progress in implementing the agreed cost cutting measures.”
Dr Musokotwane’s approach has unsettled some senior electricity experts within ERB who have called on the government to clearly state the relationship between the ministerial committee and the energy regulator.
“I don’t think ERB is aware of that because it sounds like usurping the powers of ERB. What that basically means is that by taking over the regulatory regime of ERB amounts to passing a vote of thanks,” the source within ERB who asked not to be named said without giving much information on the matter. “But the best approach you can take is that since the announcement came from honourable Musokotwane, protocol does not allow that we comment, so maybe get in touch with honourable Konga, our minister.”
ERB uses the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor the performance of Zesco.
The principle behind KPIs, which are intended to address areas of concern such as quality of service and institutional efficiency among others were for Zesco to implement self-enforcing incentives embedded in the electricity tariff structure.
During the last assessment by ERB, Zesco scored 42 per cent in the first quarter, 41 per cent in the second quarter and 51 per cent in the third quarter of 2008 in implementing KPIs.
KPIs were agreed upon between Zesco and ERB in 2007 and the indicators aspect of the evaluation of any consideration for tariff adjustment by the power utility.
And when reached for a comment, Konga said there was need to ensure that Zesco adhered to good corporate governance principles and that the exercise was being done by ERB.
Konga said being a public institution Zesco was supposed to be benchmarked so that the output was as per expectation.
The idea is that ERB is supposed to set the benchmarks regarding the financial, technical and customer performance so that Zesco lives up to the expectations of stakeholders and financiers
Konga who seemed surprised said: “Regrettably, I have not yet seen that letter you are talking about but by and large, there is need to ensure we bring to live and perform to customer expectation and the investor.”
Konga requested Business Post to send him a copy so that he could respond competently and by press time, the minister had not.
Recently, the government announced that it is this year going to borrow on nonconcessional terms US$ 400 million for international financial institutions to enable Zesco deal with the current bottlenecks in the energy sector.
Currently, the government through Zesco is seeking financing to carry out two hydropower investment projects namely the Kariba North Bank Extension and the Itezhi-Tezhi Power Station.
It is understood that Zesco required US $800 million for new projects and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.
Written by Florence Bupe in Chongwe
Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:27:25 PM
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has assured that farmers who are selling their maize grain to the agency will receive their payments within 10 days from the supply date in order to allow them acquire their inputs on time.
During the tour of Kanakantapa maize buying depot in Chongwe on Wednesday, FRA public relations officer Mwamba Siame said the agency had devised a system that would allow for farmers to receive their payment in time to avoid delays in the purchase of inputs.
“This year, farmers will be paid their money within 10 days from the time they deliver their produce to the depot. We have given the farmers specific days on which to get their payment from the banks to avoid congestion,” she said.
Siame expressed hope that government would source additional funds for the purchase of more produce above the targeted 110,000 metric tonnes for this year’s season.
FRA has this year been allocated K100 billion for the maize purchasing exercise, amid protests by most stakeholders who have complained that the targeted quantity is too low against the estimated harvest of 1.8 million metric tonnes.
FRA is set to buy 2.2 million by 50 kilogramme bags of maize and 30,000 bags of rice this year.
Earlier this week, agriculture minister Dr Brian Chituwo said the government was trying to source additional funds for the maize buying exercise.
And Kanakantapa depot manager Musa Phiri said the 4,600 by 50 kilogramme bags of maize that FRA had directed each depot to purchase was too low.
Kanakantapa cooperative board chairperson Suwe Zulu said the low purchases would result in discontent among small-scale farmers.
Lloyd Msipa - Opinion
According to the report Somalia ranks first out of the 15 most failed African countries surveyed. Zimbabwe was classified as coming in a close second.
The index ranking was premised on 12 indicators which are meant to quantify a states vulnerability to collapse or conflict. The failed African states so named and their ranks were Somalia (1st), Zimbabwe (2nd), Sudan (3rd), Chad (Fri, 24 Jul 2009 21:41:00 +0000
'THERE are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.' The statement refers to the persuasive power of numbers, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not necessarily support their positions.
I make this statement withreference to the recent report published by a United States based think-tank. This ‘independent’ research organisation tagged the Fund for Peace, released the 2009 Failed State Index report based on a total of 177 countries that were surveyed. 4th), Democratic Republic of Congo (5th), Central African Republic (8th), Guinea (9th), Ivory Coast (11th), Kenya (14th) and Nigeria (15th).
The organizers of the survey define that a state is said to have failed when it can no longer perform its basic security and developmental functions which include the loss of physical control of its territory or the erosion of a legitimate authority to make collective decisions and the inability of that state to interact fully with other states as a full member of international institutions.
The organisers also allude that common characteristics of a failed state also include widespread corruption and criminality, refugees and the involuntary movements of populations and sharp economic decline generally.
What is interesting to note is that organisations like the one above are based in America. America has over the years asserted its might to intervene militarily in the so called ‘failed states’ with devastating consequences. Iraq and Afghanistan being recent examples in our history. However, critics like Noam Chomsky have turned the tables on institutions like Fund and Peace and redefined the term ‘failed state.
Chomsky defines failed states as those "that do not protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction, that regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and that suffer from a 'democratic deficit,' having democratic forms but with limited substance."
In a cursory analysis of Britain and America’s recent foreign and domestic policies, Chomsky assesses Washington's escalation of nuclear risks; the dangerous consequences of the occupation of Iraq; and Britain and America's self-exemption from international law.
America and Britain have what they call democratic institutions that are meant to protect the generality of its citizens. For example the army and police.
The question that arises is to what extent these institutions do the job they are designed to do. If we are to assess the so called characteristics espoused by the Fund for Peace as signalling a failed state, then it would naturally follow that the most powerful economies - America and Britain - are indeed failed states and should be accorded that title.
For example, widespread criminality and corruption are touted as one of the most damaging contributory factors that push a state to the periphery of it being a failed state.
Recently in Britain members of parliament were forced to resign in large numbers as a result of widespread corruption following the widely publicised expenses debacle. If that is not enough, despite having one of the best police forces in the world, Britain is regarded as one of the most violent destinations in the world with gun and knife crime now a common everyday occurrence on the streets of London.
Can we then say because of this Britain is a failed state?
It is obvious that the state has completely lost physical control. Control is a fundamental security principle mentioned as a factor by the Fund for peace think tank in determining whether a country is a failed state or not.
In America gun crime and drug-lords run amok in the streets of New York. Can we then say because of this scourge America is a failed state? African-Americans make up about 12 percent of the American population. What is interesting to note is that 40 percent of this class of people is in prison.
There are more African-Americans in prison than they are in universities. How does this statistic rank on the failed state indices when it comes to America?
It is obvious that America as a state has failed this class of people and therefore should be regarded as a failed state.
Zimbabwe as a country is coming out of challenges that are a result of decisions that the government took collectively in an attempt to empower its people. These decisions were taken by a legitimate government, duly elected by the people in a plebiscite regarded by international organisations as free and fair.
What has since happened in Zimbabwe follows decisions made by a government that was seeking to stay afloat following international isolation as a result of the land redistribution exercise designed to empower the general populace.
Zimbabwe has been labelled a failed state because of its disregard or defiance of some of the unfair international decisions designed to overthrow its institutions of government.
‘Defiance of international norms’ is another index the Fund for Peace uses as a means to measure whether a country is a failed state or not. If we were to define a failed state by its defiance of international law, then the United States has long been a rogue and failed state.
It has ignored the Geneva Conventions left, right and centre by its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay prison, Abu Ghraib and treatment of Iraqi civilians in Fallujah.
The US flouted the United Nations charter, which allows the use of force only when the ‘necessity of self defence arises by unilaterally going to war without a United Nations Security Council resolution to that effect.
Another index the Fund for peace alludes to in their survey is the issue of refugee and the involuntary movement of populations as a sign that a country has failed to look after its citizenry.
The movement of populations from their country of origin can be attributed to a number of reasons and hence it is rather short sighted to attribute the large movement of populations to the failure by that state to adequately protect its people.
Zimbabwe has largely lost large numbers of its citizens due to a number of reasons. Amongst the most important is the shrinking economy that resulted from the economic sanctions and the recession in general, hence its inability to absorb its upward of 80 percent educated Zimbabweans.
Following the recession across the world, there has been large movement of Europeans to Britain, largely for economic reasons. Can we then say that European countries where these people are coming from are failed states?
Norway was voted as the best and most sustainable state in the survey produced by the Peace for Fund survey. Britain receives large numbers of Norwegians seeking jobs every day. Can we then say Norway is the most stable of all the states?
It is sometimes important for us Africans to look at why it is always organisations based in Britain and America who define who we should be.
Is it not time for Africa to come up with parallel structures that also carry out similar surveys?
Africa and indeed Zimbabwe need parallel organisations that carry out these kind of surveys in order to counter these kind of challenges. Parallel organisations would look at other controversial areas like human rights, governance, etc of which Africa is constantly being accused of lagging behind.
Our own surveys will factor in cultural and other African factors that will ultimately affect any survey made.
Our failure to come up with parallel organisations like the Fund for Peace and others will mean Zimbabwe in particular, and Africa in general, will constantly remain victims of “lies, damned lies” through such flawed ‘massaged’ statistics.
The writer Lloyd Msipa is a Lawyer based in the United Kingdom and can be contacted at email@example.com
Fri, 24 Jul 2009 00:43:00 +0000
THE UK economy shrank by a far worse than expected 0.8 per cent between April and June, according to gloomy official estimates. The fifth successive quarter of decline is much bigger than the 0.3 per cent fall in output forecast by economists.
It deals a fresh blow to recovery hopes and claims Britain has already hit the bottom of the downturn. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says the economy has slumped 5.7 per cent since the second quarter of 2008. It is the biggest fall since its records began in 1955. - ITN
Fri, 24 Jul 2009 17:04:00 +0000
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Friday called for an end to political attacks, standing with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to start a prayer weekend for national reconciliation. He and PM Tsvangirai formed an inclusive Government in February this year.
"There are still reported cases of political violence and this must stop," President Mugabe said in a Harare hotel, standing alongside PM Tsvangirai in public.
"Let us move among the people... promoting the values and practice of tolerance, respect, non-violence and dialogue as a sustainable means of resolving political differences," he added.
About 200 lawmakers, government officials and diplomats attended the two-hour event to officially begin three days of national prayer for peace.
Religious leaders plan to lead a prayer service in a Harare stadium on Saturday, which PM Tsvangirai said will mark the start of efforts to find justice for victims of the violence that characterised the aftermath of the March 2009 elections.
"These three days of dedication must herald the beginning of a genuine, open and frank process... accepting responsibilities for the hurts and pains inflicted on so many Zimbabweans," said the prime minister, without blaming anyone for the violence.
"In addition to the three principles of truth, justice and forgiveness, we must openly discuss the issue of reparation," PM Tsvangirai said.
"While it may not be possible to undo what has been done, it is sometimes possible to assist the victims to move on and to rebuild a life that has been shattered," he added.
Analysts hailed the efforts at national reconciliation.
"What they have done today is just a start," said Takura Zhangazha, Zimbabwe director for the Media Institute of Southern Africa.
"Obviously the government is attempting to inculcate the culture of tolerance," he said.
PM Tsvangirai address on national healing
Fri, 24 Jul 2009 17:25:00 +0000
BELOW is an address by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe, on the occasion of the National Dedication Programme Towards Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, Harare July 24, 2009.
Your Excellency, President Robert Mugabe, Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara, Vice President Mujuru, Deputy Prime Minister Khupe, Ministers from the Organ of National Healing, Other Government Ministers and Senior Officials, Traditional Leaders, Civic Leaders, Ambassadors, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;
I stand before you today at the beginning of what will be a long but essential journey to heal our nation.
There can be no short cuts on this journey and no easy way to deal with the pain and suffering that has been experienced by so many of our people. The methods that will be employed for this essential process cannot be prescriptive or imposed upon the people, but must be chosen and endorsed by the people if we are going to achieve the goal of truly healing our nation.
These three days of dedication must herald the beginning of a genuine, open and frank process that includes and incorporates the concept of transitional justice, truth and accepting responsibility for the hurt and pain inflicted upon so many Zimbabweans.
There can be no truth without justice. And no justice without truth.
National Healing cannot occur without justice and justice must be done, as well as be seen to be done. There can be no room or tolerance for retribution as retribution perpetuates the cycle of oppression and suffering.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Organ for National Healing has been charged with undertaking a process of grassroots consultation, together with civil society, to define the form and content of our restorative programme. It must be the people that define the period of time to be reviewed in our National Healing programme.
Zimbabwe has suffered so many phases of trauma, upheaval and conflict that there must be agreement on defining the scope of the healing process. We cannot attempt to address one period of conflict to the exclusion of others. If this process is going to lead towards genuinely healing our nation, we must be inclusive in the scope of the programme.
We must look back resolutely to the pre-independence era, the post independence Matabeleland massacres and the more recent political violence that has torn at the fabric of our society. Many of our people have suffered under each of the phases of our evolution to the Zimbabwe that exists today.
As citizens, we all have a role to play in standing up and taking responsibility for our actions. Today’s victims may be yesterday’s perpetrators and vice versa. We cannot shy away from either our collective or individual responsibility for historic trauma or for the state of our nation today.
In examining how best to heal our nation, we must learn not just from our past, but from the examples of our other countries and other nations that have undergone similar trauma and have sought to unite their nation through truth, justice and forgiveness.
We owe it to all the victims of the violence that has periodically swept our nation to ensure that there is a platform and process that will allow them to begin the process of healing.
Such a process can take many years if it is to be relevant and effective in ensuring that we can move forward as a nation and as a people. In addition to the three principles of truth, justice and forgiveness, we must openly discuss the issue of reparations. While it may not be possible to undo what has been done, it is sometimes possible to assist the victim to move on and rebuild a life that has been shattered.
If these days of National Dedication are to herald the start of a genuine process of National Healing then we, as leaders, must make an unequivocal call to all our peoples and to all our supporters for an immediate cessation of violence, persecution and lawlessness.
As I stand here today, a young woman lies in hospital in Harare after having been brutally assaulted merely for being a member of a political party. Sadly, this is not an isolated case. We cannot begin a healing process while simultaneously allowing the perpetuation of injustice and a culture of persecution and impunity.
As leaders we must ensure that there is no cover-up of past wrongs. We owe it to the many thousands of victims to ensure that our programme of National Healing is effective in addressing past wrongs in order to move towards a future of peace and prosperity.
The Global Political Agreement recognizes the urgent need for a process of National Healing to help our people regain confidence in national institutions.
While it is gratifying that today’s event marks yet another facet of implementation of the GPA, there remain too many aspects of that crucial agreement that are yet to be implemented or adhered to by all the parties – this undermines the confidence in, and potential effectiveness of, any programme of National Healing.
As a nation we cannot hope to promote equality, national healing, cohesion and unity while abusing the rule of law, ignoring the right to free political activity, freedom of assembly and association and freedom of expression and communication.
While we are embarking on this process of National Healing, the state media continues to propagate hate speech and political divisions through the publishing of blatant lies and deliberate distortions. Media reports that question the relative patriotism of any Zimbabwean undermine confidence in the new political dispensation. This too must cease immediately if we are to heal our nation.
While there is cooperation and communication at the top of the political spectrum, this is not cascading down the party structures, fueling the fires of distrust, disrespect and disregard for the commitments that we have made to rebuild our nation, write a new, people-driven constitution and hold free and fair elections.
Indeed, it is the environment in which these elections are held that will by the ultimate measurement of success for this process of National Healing. Will the next elections be held in a culture of tolerance, respect for the rights of the individual and the rule of law?
Will government institutions act with impartiality, openness and accountability and will the police serve to protect the people rather than persecute them? This will be the ultimate test of whether, today we are embarking on this process in a genuine attempt to address and right the wrongs of the past, or whether we are merely trying to pay lip service to the ideals of National Healing without taking responsibility for our actions.
Ladies and Gentlemen, too many Zimbabweans have paid the ultimate price by standing up for the ideals of democracy and self-determination during our country’s history. Too many Zimbabweans have lost loved ones, suffered horrific violence and persecution and lost possessions and the means to make a living for this process of National Healing to be anything but genuine, frank and honest. Zimbabweans demand and deserve a process that embodies the principles of truth, justice and forgiveness.
I call upon all Zimbabweans, as well as the supporters of the MDC, to engage in this process of National Healing, to stand by our ideals of peaceful, democratic change and to move forward with me, my party and our Government in rebuilding our country and healing our nation.
I thank you.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Together we can climb the hills that still lie ahead
by Dina Pule
Among the achievements of the last 15 years, one of the starkest challenges that remain is the condition of people living in rural areas.
Great strides have been made in other areas. We have managed to usher in a new age of democracy and peace. We have reduced poverty, grown the economy, created jobs, facilitated the development of a thriving private sector, and built sustainable settlements and houses for the poor. While these achievements are to be celebrated, much more still needs to be done.
Over the next five years the ANC will focus on creating decent work, education, health care, dealing with crime decisively and rural development. While all these are important, the last of these - rural development -requires particular attention
South Africa is still emerging from a divided past. Such a divide had been entrenched through systematic deprivation of the majority of the benefits derived from the country's abundant natural resources. A central piece of this was the dispossession of land, which would later take the form of bantustan system. The African majority was sandwiched in a mere 13% of the total land cover, while the white settlers took the remaining rich 87%.
The black majority never enjoyed security of tenure and their areas were often neglected and underdeveloped. African areas and rural African settlements have the highest backlog of both social and economic infrastructure. As a result there is a high incidence of poverty, major health problems, high unemployment and widespread malnutrition. These problems have been highlighted in the recent cholera outbreaks and other water quality related problems like typhoid and diarrhoea. These areas have not been spared other health challenges such as high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Top of the rural development agenda is the issue of access to land for agriculture, food security and economic development. History has it that agriculture has always been a springboard for development in all countries. Reform of land use, access and ownership is at the core of achieving a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. The slow pace of land redistribution creates the threat of all sorts of instability.
The experiences of the past 15 years teach us that access to land alone, without adequate support, leads to the collapse of productivity of once highly productive land. In the past ten years we have witnessed how tracts of land have been taken over for non food production purposes, such as golf estates, game lodges and to expand settlements, compromising the food security situation of the country.
On the other hand, greed has led to the destruction of farmer support collectives organised in the form of cooperatives. The advent of high-tech mechanisation has led to a reduction in employment in agriculture. It has also led to environmental degradation owing to deep tillage that puts a strain on our water resources and energy. Agrarian transformation talks to these issues.
We therefore need to move immediately to speed up land and agrarian reform to allow for access to land for both economic and food production.
We should pursue mass food production programmes that are driven by government through the provision of tractors, implements and seeds. No land should be left fallow. Government should also provide technical support through advice by well-equipped extension workers and by broadening access to markets.
It should also provide access to finance through grants and microfinance through structures like the Micro-Agricultural Finance Initiative of South Africa (MAFISA) and provincial agricultural development agencies. Government should support the establishment of community or cooperative banks.
We need to fast track the upgrade of tenure through proclamation of most rural settlements into sustainable settlements with necessary roads, water, sanitation, electricity and communication infrastructure.
Social infrastructure like health and education facilities has to be in place. Efforts should be made to resuscitate agricultural cooperatives to provide peer support and reduce cost of inputs through collective bulk buying.
The ANC understands that societal challenges are more diverse and complex in their nature. Former President Nelson Mandela said that, "after climbing a great hill, one finds that there are many more hills to climb". More hills lie ahead, but working together we can do more.
INCOMING British ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mark Canning has hailed the formation of the inclusive Government saying he was committed to supporting the arrangement.
After presenting his credentials — along with new ambassadors from Qatar, Tunisia and Trinidad and Tobago — to President Mugabe at State House in Harare yesterday morning, Mr Canning told the media that he was "delighted to be in the country at such an important time".
He becomes the first senior British official to publicly pledge support for the inclusive Government at a time the West has expressed scepticism and stands accused of seeking to sabotage the arrangement by maintaining the illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
In his prepared speech to journalists, Mr Canning said: "These are still early days. The inclusive Government is only in its sixth month but it has registered some significant gains, particularly in terms of economic stabilisation. There is much work to be done but a start has been made," he said.
There has been cautious optimism that tentative grounds for rapprochement exist following a "frank" meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and former British Junior Foreign Minister Mark Malloch-Brown on the sidelines of South African President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration in Tshwane in May.
Insiders said President Mugabe pointed out to Mr Canning that the reason why relations between the two countries had remained tense was because of the United Kingdom’s retrogressive attitude vis-à-vis the land reform programme and Zimbabwe’s domestic politics.
President Mugabe also explained the country’s colonial history and how Zimbabweans waged a protracted war against British-backed Rhodesians for the right to reclaim their land and natural resources.
Mr Canning refused to field questions from journalists after the more than one-hour meeting with the President. He takes over from Dr Andrew Pocock, who completed his mission last month.
Mr Pocock had been in Zimbabwe since February 2006 and, although he kept a low profile, relations between Harare and London remained frosty, with his country constantly dabbling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.
Mr Canning, a one-time security co-ordinator, was based in Rangoon, Myanmar, on his last diplomatic posting. The envoys from Qatar, Tunisia and Trinidad and Tobago presented their credentials to President Mugabe soon after Mr Canning.
Qatar’s Dr Bashir Issa Hassan Mohammed Al Shirawi, who will be based in South Africa, said he will work to strengthen diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"I will be looking at strengthening existing relations while exploring other areas of co-operation in areas such as transport and fuel, among others," he said.
The new Tunisian Ambassador, Professor Ahmed Mahjoub, hailed relations between the two countries.
"Our countries enjoy excellent relations and we would want the strong ties to continue so that we build and enhance this co-operation," he said.
Professor Mahjoub boasts a 30-year career in academia, business leadership and governance and was once a minister for Informatics and Internet in his home country.
He said his country would like to work on enhancing co-operation with Zimbabwe in such areas as health, agriculture, information and communication technologies and other fields.
Dr Winston Mahabir of Trinidad and Tobago said the prospects for greater co-operation between Zimbabwe and his countries were "excellent".
He said he would also be representing Trinidad and Tobago’s sister states, Barbados and Guyana, which share similar foreign policies.
"I would want to enhance South-South co-operation between our countries. I will be working in areas of co-operation such as energy, health, education and culture.
"We will also like to extend scholarships for university education for Zimbabweans who will come back and work for their country," he said.
Dr Mahabir will also be based in Pretoria, South Africa.
Meanwhile, the United States Ambassador-designate to Zimbabwe, Mr Charles Ray, was quoted by Internet news sites as saying he would continue with America’s policies on Zimbabwe if his appointment was confirmed.
Mr Ray told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during nomination hearings for proposed envoys to African countries on Tuesday that he would use his diplomatic experience in China to understand Sino-Zimbabwe relations and "how that can complement what we are doing".
Mr Ray added: "I will continue our efforts to assist the people of Zimbabwe in their pursuit of a representative, democratically elected government that respects human rights, adheres to the rule of law and undertakes the economic reforms necessary to bring prosperity back to Zimbabwe."
The US has often hidden behind words like "human rights", "rule of law" and "democracy" to mask Washington’s regime change agenda in Zimbabwe.
If appointed, Mr Ray will replace Mr James McGee, whose tour of duty coincided with a worsening in relations between the two countries as he continuously meddled in Zimbabwe’s affairs and vowed that he would see to it that the US’ illegal economic remained in place.
By Hebert Zharare and Mabasa Sasa
THE Office of the Prime Minister has distanced itself from a policy proposal document that seeks to re-order the functions of Cabinet.
The Herald has a copy of a document which sources say originated from the Premier’s Office and which calls for a downgrading of the importance of the Cabinet, which is chaired by President Mugabe, while seeking a commensurate bolstering of the role of the Council of Ministers chaired by PM Morgan Tsvangirai.
However, yesterday Minister of State in the PM’s Office Gorden Moyo said the document — titled "Comments and Suggestions Alterations" — was a compilation of the views of various ministers from the three parties in the inclusive Government.
He said in its first meeting following the formation of the inclusive Government, the Council of Ministers resolved to form a sub-committee that would collate submissions from portfolio heads on the changes they would like to see made in line with the Global Political Agreement.
The sub-committee, he said, comprised Ministers Patrick Chinamasa, Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti.
"It was agreed that the ministers were free to make their submissions for consideration to the sub-committee.
The three ministers were chosen by virtue of their roles as negotiators in the talks leading to the formation of the inclusive Government.
"There is no official document so far and what was published (by The Herald) might be the submissions of some ministers to the Council of Ministers and these were supposed to be handed over to the sub-committee.
"Not all the submissions are going to be included in the final report of the sub-committee," he said.
Minister Moyo denied that the document was authored by the PM’s Office.
Among other things, the document advocates that ministers report to the PM and not the President, that ministers be allowed to make official public statements that have not yet been approved by Cabinet, and that the Council of Ministers meets more often than Cabinet.
The document said PM Tsvangirai should have no obligation to report to Cabinet, and that President Mugabe should not be referred to as "Head of State and Government", even though it is clear from the GPA and the Constitution of Zimbabwe that this is his designation.
Observers said on Wednesday that the proposals flew in the face of the Cabinet Handbook, which — among other things — defines the operations of Cabinet, its committees and the organs falling under the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet as outlined in the Constitution.
Observers said the proposals were an attempt to "usurp" President Mugabe’s constitutional authority.
Minister Moyo’s comments come on the back of Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa’s reported disownment of a draft ICT Bill that Chief Secretary Dr Misheck Sibanda is said to have declined to transmit to Cabinet because it sought to also unprocedurally re-assign the functions of at least three portfolios.
Yesterday, Minister Chamisa said he could not comment on the draft Bill "because it is a Cabinet issue".
However, Government sources said Minister Chamisa had indicated to his colleagues that he had not authored the document and that it had originated before the formation of the inclusive Government.
One of the sources said: "Chamisa says he was given this document after he was sworn into office by President Mugabe in February."
The source said the draft was "largely created
by the former Ministry of Science and Technology and Minister Chamisa merely forwarded it to other arms of Government".
Last night, Dr Olivia Muchena, who headed the former Science and Technology Ministry and is now Women’s Affairs and Gender Minister, said she could not say if the present draft ICT Bill was the same one that Minister Chamisa was distributing.
She also pointed out that the Bill created during her tenure had been drafted unprocedurally and she had declined to handle it.
"When the ICT policy was approved and launched by President Mugabe in September 2007 there was a plan of action that incorporated an ICT Bill.
"The process for creating a Bill is supposed to start with the ministry getting the set of principles of the proposed law approved by Cabinet.
"That means you do not start drafting a law before agreeing on the principles of that law in Cabinet.
"After getting the principles you start drafting and then after that you approach the Cabinet Committee on Legislation with the draft.
"However, in this case, the people who drafted it did a back-to-front. They started by drafting the law before they had received a set of principles from Cabinet and so I refused to handle it because it had been written without following the proper procedures.
"So I never read the draft and I cannot tell if the document (being distributed by Minister Chamisa) is the same one. I never saw the contents of the draft done when I was Minister of Science and Technology," she said.
Labels: MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
EDITOR. — After reading your story about Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa’s illegal detention at Frankfurt International Airport, I could not help but wonder at the West’s double standards.
It's not over, until it's over isn't it? And, they don’t walk their talk, but expect us to do as they say, and not as they do. And to imagine that this incident happened in Germany of all places, with that historical track record. I guess that some things never change.
Germany becomes so relevant in this issue of walking the talk, for a silent storm is brewing around US President Barack Obama regarding the metaphorical meanings of gestures: raised clenched fist versus raised open palms.
These are symbolic gestures that have permeated the political sphere. In the Zimbabwean context, the clenched fist is used by Zanu-PF, and it became more well-known in the last elections, when the picture of President Mugabe with his fist raised up on high was accompanied by the message, "fist of fury".
Lots of noise was made about it, as some quarters thought that this was confrontational and unacceptable. On the other hand, the raised open palm, though used in praise and worship is also the slogan of the MDC formations.
Obama heightened the tensions about these gestures in his inaugural address last January when he said that his administration was extending a hand to adversaries willing to "unclench their fists."
Depending on who you are and where you were, this was either a reference to Zanu-PF’s clenched fist and/or Iran.
But, according to Kaveh L Afrasiabi in an article entitled "From ‘axis of evil’ to ‘clenched fist’, Obama has failed to break away from the "George W. Bush administration's addiction with negative, and dangerous, metaphors", and this is already becoming problematic when experts are questioning to what extent the raised palm is reflective of other unacceptable gestures.
The fist and the palm mean something, and they can also mean something positive or negative.
The fist has already been demonised, but what does the raised palm stand for? Is it as innocent as we are made to believe?
Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, July 24, 2009 3:18:56 PM
ZANU-PF is set to regain a temporary majority in Parliament, as the MDC's number of legislators is diminishing from a string of criminal convictions. So far, five MPs from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC faction have been banished from parliament while five more are still being investigated. The smaller MDC faction, led by Prof Arthur Mutambara, has also expelled three MPs who have since been banished from the House.
In elections last year, Tsvangirai's MDC overturned ZANU-PF's majority in parliament for the first time since independence from colonial rule in 1980. The party won 100 seats to ZANU-PF's 99. Prof Mutambara's faction won 10 seats, and the 210th seat in the lower House of Assembly is occupied by Prof Jonathan Moyo, an independent.
The fifth MDC MP, Ernest Mudavanhu (Zaka North Cosntituency) was on Tuesday handed a two-year jail term after he was convicted of corruption after he pocketed proceeds from sales of fertiliser he was supposed to distribute to his constituents.
He will serve a year in jail after Harare magistrate Olivia Mariga suspended a year of the sentence - six months for good behaviour and six months on condition he repays US$15,135 restitution.
Section 42 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe says upon the sentencing of a legislator to death or a jail term of six months or more, “such member shall cease forthwith to exercise his functions … and his seat shall become vacant at the expiration of 30 days from the date of such sentence”.
The Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, last week suspended Chipinge East MP Matthias Mlambo after he was recently sentenced to 10 months in prison by a Chipinge magistrate, on charges of public violence. The following day, Zvoma also suspended Mutare West MP, Shuah Mudiwa, following his recent sentence of seven years imprisonment on a charge of kidnapping a 12-year old girl. Both MPs have since appealed against their sentences and are out of prison.
Five more MDC-Tswangirai MPs face similar accusations of abusing the farm inputs programme. They are Hega Shoko (Bikita West), Edmore Marima (Bikita East), Tichaona Maradza (Masvingo West), Hamandishe Maramwidze (Gutu North) and Ramsome Makamure (Gutu East). Blessing Chebundo (Kwekwe Central) faces allegations of raping a minor.
In a statement, the MDC said Tsvangirai's MDC stated that it was concerned by the continued persecution of its MPs, officials and party activists.
“The plot to convict the MPs is a well orchestrated plan by ZANU PF and other mischievous conspirators in the inclusive government to decimate the party's majority in parliament," the party's secretary for legal and parliamentary affairs Innocent Gonese stated.
Prof Mutambara's MDC faction expelled three MPs last week and cautioned a fourth after a disciplinary hearing that was held earlier this month.
Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) ceased to be MPs when the party informed the Clerk of Parliament of its decision.
A fourth MP, Maxwell Dube (Tsholotsho South), was found guilty of a lesser charge and got away with a ticking off, the party's disciplinary committee chairman Lyson Mlambo said in a statement.
The move leaves the faction with seven MPs.
However, the MDC factions will retain their numbers, as ZANU-PF cannot contest these seats when by-elections are called.
A power sharing agreement signed between the two rival MDC factions and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party states that if any of the signatories to the agreement wishes to recall an MP, it can do so without facing a challenge from the other parties to the agreement.
That, in effect, will allow the two parties to cause by-elections to replace the MPs in which ZANU-PF will not participate.
Other political parties not party to the political agreement may contest and the deposed legislators can still run for re-election as members of another party or as independents.
Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, July 24, 2009 3:17:45 PM
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has declared today, tomorrow and Sunday as days of peace, national healing, reconciliation and integration. The three days will not be public holidays, but will be observed by Zimbabweans as days of peace and reconciliation.
"In the spirit of the Interparty Political Agreement, I do hereby declare, set out and dedicate the 24th, 25th and 26th July, 2009, as a period during which the nation may dedicate the Inclusive government, our newfound peace, our freedom, our new spirit of nation-building, National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration to inspire the nation going forward," President Mugabe declared in the Government Gazette Extraordinary dated July 15, 2009.
"(I) declare, set out and dedicate the 24th, 25th and 26th July 2009, as the appointed days upon which, consistent with the deeply-felt desire for freedom, peace, stability and prosperity by the millions of Zimbabweans at home and abroad, all the political parties, formations and factions within and without Zimbabwe, and espousing a Zimbabwean interest howsoever defined, publicly and honestly commit themselves, as indeed it is their constitutional and legal duty."
The President stated that the declaration was consistent with Article VII and Article XVIII of the Interparty Political Agreement, which promoted equality of treatment of all regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.
The Articles also require the inclusive government to put in place practicable measures to achieve national healing, cohesion and unity in respect of victims of pre- and post-Independence political conflicts; to create an environment of tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans from the Diaspora; as well as to assure personal security of all persons and prevent the resort to violence for purposes of settling any disagreements.
President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Professor Arthur Mutambara will lead Zimbabweans in observing peace and unity at a function to be held in Harare today.
Written by Editor
NO sensible and honest person in this country will oppose the need to fight corruption.Corruption is a cancer that has been eating at the very fabric of our statehood. We are afraid that if no serious steps are taken, we could easily find ourselves becoming a failed state. We could become a country beholden to criminal elements and some puppets who run government. Corruption weakens even the strongest and most credible of state institutions and officials. And as Rupiah Banda has correctly observed, corruption creates many problems for our people.
Where there is corruption, people have difficulties even defending necessary or vital state institutions like the judiciary, the legislature and indeed even the presidency itself when they are under attack from corrupt elements. Corruption undermines the dignity of the state and its institutions. The eventual result of such a state of affairs is the total collapse of law and order. This is not too far-fetched. It has happened in many countries in Africa and continues to happen. This is why we ought to remain vigilant and fight corruption wherever it manifests.
It is easy to hide behind general platitudes and slogans affirming the need to fight corruption. This is why we ought to understand very clearly what one means when he or she says we need to fight corruption. We say this because it is possible for someone like Rupiah to say we need to fight corruption without fully accepting and committing himself to the demands of such a declaration, to what fighting corruption entails in his day-to-day decisions and practices.
It will not help Rupiah to make such a declaration and yet fail to deal with the corruption that is right under his nose, that he himself is involved in. A person who wants to fight corruption can never condone what Rupiah is condoning; cannot fail to repudiate what Rupiah is embracing; cannot fail to denounce what Rupiah is praising and defending.
It is hardly a week since Rupiah swore in MMD chairman Michael Mabenga as Deputy Minister of Lands. When Rupiah did this, we did not want to comment on this appointment. We kept quiet because we had said more than enough on this issue that made it impossible for Mabenga to be appointed to any public office for the seven years Levy Mwanawasa was president. Having publicly committed himself to Levy's legacy, we thought Rupiah would not do anything that openly violates Levy's legacy. First, we were very shocked to hear that Rupiah had appointed Mabenga a deputy minister. And second, to see him praise Mabenga as a noble man who has done nothing wrong and that those speaking against his appointment were talking nonsense. There is a High Court judgment about Mabenga's corruption which was also upheld by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court even suggested that Mabenga should be arrested for corruption. To Rupiah all this is nonsense. Why?
We all know the speed with which Rupiah moved to reappoint Dora Siliya into his government because as far as he was concerned, she had done nothing wrong and was cleared by the courts. We don't need to waste time discussing this matter. Our people understand it. Our people also know that Dora was not acting alone, Rupiah's family was involved in what she was doing. And there is unchallenged evidence to this effect about Rupiah's son, Henry’s involvement in the matters that got Dora to appear before a tribunal set up under the parliamentary and ministerial code of conduct Act.
As for Rupiah, he is on record defending the right of his sons to be involved in government business. Rupiah sees nothing wrong with his family using their position to do business with government or front for people wishing to or are doing business with government. In some cases they have even become debt collectors for people owed money by government. To Rupiah there is nothing wrong with this influence peddling; it is not corruption.
This is why we doubt Rupiah's sincerity when he talks about fighting corruption. To him, this is nothing but a convenient ploy to try and earn some points from the donors, from those who are opposed to corruption.
It is not possible to fight corruption without being fully committed. Fighting corruption is not a comfortable business. It is not uncommon for those who try to fight corruption to find themselves having to deal with matters that involve people that one wished were not involved in corruption. But there is no room for being selective. It doesn't matter who is involved, corruption has to be fought. This is one area where Rupiah has failed even before he began. We shouldn't forget that Rupiah was involved in electoral corruption. Contrary to the electoral Act, Rupiah was bribing the electorate to vote for him in last year's election. It was not a difficult thing for Rupiah to hire, at some fee, all sorts of elements to endorse his candidature in last year's election. It is also a well-documented fact that Rupiah's campaign corruptly benefited from Ministry of Health resources. This is corruption, but Rupiah doesn't see it as such. This being the case, what type of corruption is Rupiah going to fight? Any leader of government who wishes to fight corruption must be committed to good governance. This means that the government that he or she leads must be committed to transparency and accountability. Any actions that deviate from these norms are the foundations for corruption. In fact, this is what corruption is. Being a government leader demands that all that Rupiah does should be done in the best interest of the Zambian people first and foremost.
Can anyone honestly say today that Rupiah is truly committed to transparency and accountability in the way he is running government? Or to put it another way, can anyone truly and honestly say that Rupiah is running an honest, clean government? And is there any honest person who can dispute that Rupiah is running a corrupt government?
It is not enough to rattle anti-corruption slogans and target certain individuals who one has political scores to settle with and yet claim to fight corruption.
On the same score, it is dishonest to think that by arresting a few lowly-placed government officers like Kapoko and his friends, then Rupiah and his government are fighting corruption. Everyone in this country knows that the billions of kwacha and millions of dollars that the government has lost at the Ministry of Health were not stolen by Kapoko and his friends alone. Where are the big fish? Where are those who shared their loot from Ministry of Health with Rupiah's campaign? What about the way Rupiah is dealing with appointments? Can anyone say that Rupiah is not being blatantly nepotistic or even tribalistic? Unfortunately for him it is clear for all to see which names are dominating his appointments. This is corruption. Levy was rightly criticised for introducing what others called the family tree in the government. We are not surprised that some of our people have begun to say if Levy brought a family tree, Rupiah has brought a family and tribal forest.
Rupiah's commitment to nepotism and tribalism cannot be a quality that qualifies him to fight corruption. And these appointments cannot be said to be a product of oversight because Rupiah's nepotism and tribalism came out very clearly at the beginning of his campaign last year. Rupiah told the people of Eastern Province, where he hails, to chase away presidential candidates from other regions of our country who tried to venture in to his province and tell them to go back where they came from. We vigorously criticised and denounced this tendency of Rupiah and pointed out the dangers inherent in it. We did so not out of malice or hatred for Rupiah. We did so out of hatred for nepotism and tribalism because of the evils it carries with it. And today we are not surprised that Rupiah is putting in practice this trait of his. At his last press conference, Rupiah said Hakainde Hichilema should not criticise him because they were not tribal cousins. This is the kind of narrow corrupt thinking that Rupiah engages in. What has tribal cousinship got to do with today's national politics in a republic? Rupiah also shamelessly admitted that he engaged in tribal campaigns by asking 'his people' whether they were Tongas to vote for Hakainde. This is not the kind of language that should come from the mouth of a head of state who is not corrupt.
This is why we continue to doubt Rupiah's sincerity when he talks about fighting corruption. He does not mean it at all because he seems to be suffering from an incurable form of corruptionmalitis. It seems to be in his blood, in his bones, it is in every part of him.
Until Rupiah stops behaving in what somebody called 'it is our time to eat' mode, he cannot fight corruption. It seems Rupiah is so used to being a commission agent that he has problems transitioning to being head of state. It is not possible to fight corruption and yet want you and your relatives to unjustifiably eat from the government resources. Until Rupiah deals with this challenge and realises that he is there to serve and not to eat, fighting corruption will be a pipe dream. What is good is that he cannot deceive anyone anymore. Zambians know who Rupiah is and where he truly stands on issues of corruption.