Saturday, August 01, 2009

(NEWZIMBABWE) Zim reintroduces forex bereaux

Zim reintroduces forex bereaux
31/07/2009 00:00:00

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Friday said it has allowed foreign exchange bureaus to resume full operations as part of reforms aimed at reviving the battered economy.

In a mid-year monetary policy review, RBZ governor Gideon Gono said the bureaus which have in the last seven years served as money transfer agencies for Zimbabweans working abroad, could now buy and sell foreign currency to the public.

In January, Zimbabwe lifted a ban on the use of foreign currency to stem hyperinflation that had rendered the Zimbabwe dollar almost worthless.

The move left Zimbabwe without an interbank market and reduced the central bank to a simple supervisory role as it lacked foreign currency reserves to be the banker of last resort.

"The adopted multi-currency system, together with the liberalisation of exchange restrictions on the current account means that the public is free to transact and deal in foreign currency," Gono said in the review published on Friday.

"This new development makes it possible for the extension of bureaux de change business to include selling of foreign exchange to individuals, using international cross-rates."

Gono said he supported plans to re-introduce Zimbabwe's own currency only when the local economy recovers.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) MDC-T should clarify concerns about the Kariba Draft

MDC-T should clarify concerns about the Kariba Draft
Mhofeti - MDC-T should clarify concerns about the Kariba Draft
Fri, 31 Jul 2009 12:37:00 +0000

DEAR EDITOR - What is it that is in the Kariba Draft that makes MDC-T party want confined to archives and history?

If MDC-T party leaders know of any contentious areas that they may have agreed to for the sake of progress, then the draft gives them a better informed starting position, doesn't it?

I would understand if the intention was not to revisit any contentious constitutional matter on the grounds of having reached a compromise and signed for it in the 2007 Kariba Draft.

Otherwise, MDC-T owes us clear information why they no longer want anything to do with something whose input and outcome they were happy to identify with.

Afterall MDC-T rightly want our constitution-making to be people driven and I don't suppose (people) in this case is exclusive to MDC-T.

Can we therefore have something more than the unfortunate party politics that Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Nelson Chamisa is trying to play with our constitution-making process?


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(NEWZIMBABWE) Zim man dies in freak Canada farm accident

Zim man dies in freak Canada farm accident
31/07/2009 00:00:00

A ZIMBABWEAN man has died in a farming accident in Canada. Asher Mutsengi, owner of online news website, “drowned in a wheat bin and was suffocated by the grain he was shovelling”, according to a message posted by his friend Rodger Savory on the website.

He was in his late 20s, friends said. The accident is said to have happened on July 27 in the grassland province of Saskatchewan.

“Asher died … doing what he loved to do -- working on the land, learning skills he hoped to take back home one day,” Savory wrote, describing the incident as a “terrible accident”.

“He is to be buried back home in Gutu as soon as travel arrangements can be made. He is being mourned by all who met him and worked with him who all say they miss his contagious smile and friendliness. He was a great ambassador for Zimbabwe.”

In his last status update at 1746hrs on July 27 on the social networking site, Facebook, Mutsengi wrote: “(Asher Mutsengi) likes eating fresh fruits.”

Six days earlier, on July 21, he made a bizarre entry at 0828hrs which said: “(Asher Mutsengi) is going to hell, who's coming with me?”

Friends paid their tributes. Loveness Sibanda said on his Facebook ‘Wall’: “Rest in peace Asher, it’s so unbelievable … may God receive your spirit.”

His sister Rumbidzai Mutsengi wrote: “I’m glad I told you several times that I love you ... and you know I meant it.”

Mutsengi graduated from the University of Texas where he studied Natural Resource Management. He listed his expertise as Biological Monitoring of Land, Database Management, Data Compilation & Analysis.

Mutsengi wrote several published opinion articles on New

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The time to act is now!

The time to act is now!
Written by Editor

Diplomats like Bill Nolan who wholeheartedly try their very best to help our country move forward in all areas of human endeavour deserve our respect.Nolan was more than a diplomat to our country; he had become a brother and a friend of our people.

He cared about even the smallest things affecting this country. We thank him for the time he was here and the effort he exerted in his duties to our country. And we give him our most humble thanks. For this reason, we urge all our people, especially our politicians and public servants, to take his advice very seriously.

Nolan yesterday advised our politicians and public servants who carry out their tasks and discharge their responsibilities conscientiously on behalf of the public to have nothing to fear from a free press or a critical civil society. And we are quite sure that most people try to do their jobs as best as they can, even if the result is not always entirely successful. He who has never failed to reach perfection has a right to be the harshest critic. There can be no doubt, of course, that criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life.

As we have stated before, no institution should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t. But we are all part of the fabric of our national society and that scrutiny, by one part of another, can be just as effective if it is made with understanding and accepted in the same way – with understanding. This approach can also act, and should do so, as an effective engine for change in our country.

This is the only way we can build a nation with pride in itself; a thriving community rich in economic prosperity, secure in social justice, confident in political change – a land in which our children can bring up their children with a future to look forward to.

And we should start by recognising the scale of our problems. Our country is not flourishing. The enormous creative and spiritual potential of our nation is not being used sensibly.

But all this is still not the main problem our country is facing today. The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We have become morally ill because we have become used to saying something different from what we think. We have learned not to believe in anything, to ignore each other, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness seem to have lost their depth and dimensions, and for many of us, they seem to represent only psychological peculiarities, or they resemble gone-astray greetings from the Kaunda days.

When we talk about a contaminated moral atmosphere, we are not just talking about the politicians and public servants. We are talking about all of us. We seem to be stuck to ways of the intolerant one party political system and we seem to have accepted it as something unchangeable and thus, we are today helping to perpetrate some of its intolerant practices. In other words, we are all – though naturally to differing extents – responsible for the intolerant practices that we are seeing in our country today; none of us is just its victim: we are all also its co-creators. We say this because every time we tolerate injustice, we tolerate intolerance, we are actually abetting and encouraging it.

And we have to accept this as a sin we are committing against ourselves. By accepting it as such, we will understand that it is up to us all, and up to us only, to do something about it. We can’t blame everything on others, not only because it would be unfair but also because it could blunt the duty that each one of us faces today, namely, the obligation to act independently, freely, reasonably and quickly whenever an injustice is committed.

Let us not be mistaken: the best government in the world, the best parliament and the best president, cannot achieve much on their own. And it would also be wrong to expect a general remedy from them only. We say this because democracy includes the participation and therefore responsibility from us all.

If we realise this, hope will return to our hearts. And in our efforts to rectify matters of common concern, we have something to lean on. For us at The Post, the last few weeks have shown us the enormous human, moral and spiritual potential and civic culture that slumbered in our nation under the enforced mask of apathy. We have learnt that society is a very mysterious creature and it is not wise to trust only the face it presents to you.

To move forward as a nation, we need to try in a new time and in a new way to restore the concept of morality to our politics. We need to teach ourselves and each other that politics should be an expression of a desire to serve, to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community. We need to teach ourselves and others that politics can be not only the art of the possible, especially if this means the art of speculation, calculation, intrigue, secret deals, and pragmatic manoeuvring, but the art of the impossible – the art of improving ourselves and our country.

We seem to have allowed the skirmishes for power to make us lose our souls, honour and dignity. We should not allow the desire to serve oneself to bloom under the fair mask of the desire to serve the common good. It is not really important who is in State House. The important thing is that the best of us, in the moral, civic, political sense should lead. We say this because the policies and prestige of our state depends on the personalities of those we have in power.

As Nolan correctly observed, we have some of the ingredients we need to make Zambia a better country for all of us. We have a Constitution which we are trying to perfect or improve; we have a parliament and what one can say robust party politics; we also have the judiciary and other oversight bodies. But these guarantee us nothing. They offer us instead the opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure. These institutions are simply a promise and a challenge to us. We say a promise because as free human beings, working together, we can govern ourselves in a manner that will serve our aspirations for personal freedom, economic opportunity and social justice. We say it is a challenge because the success of our democratic enterprise rests squarely upon our shoulders as citizens of this country and on no one else. For this reason, every one of us must share in the benefits and in the burdens of our country. And if or when we fail to achieve the standards we have set for ourselves, we should blame nobody but ourselves; we must take responsibility for the fate of our country. In the end, we get the government we deserve.

What is happening in our country today calls for the involvement of all of us in ensuring that a small group of our fellow citizens do not start to run the affairs of the country like it is theirs alone to enjoy; as if democracy in this country begins and ends with elections – after elections, those elected can do as they please. Building this country into a prosperous, just, fair and humane society calls for eternal vigilance from every one of us. Abuse of public resources, intolerance and other injustices against the people should not be tolerated even for a day because if they are, their roots will go deeper very quickly and uprooting them will be difficult and costly. The time to act is now!

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Publicly express commitment to press freedom, Reporters without Borders urge Rupiah

Publicly express commitment to press freedom, Reporters without Borders urge Rupiah
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe, Mwila Chansa and Jane Mwakasungula
Saturday, August 01, 2009 3:23:12 PM

REPORTERS Without Borders have urged President Rupiah Banda to use the incident where MMD cadres physically attacked journalists to publicly express his commitment to press freedom and to ensure that it is better respected from now on. And Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Stephen Lungu has condemned the continued attacks on journalists by MMD cadres.

Wednesday at the airport where Post and Times of Zambia journalists who went to cover President Banda were physically attacked, Reporters Without Borders deplored the incident.

They stated that the facts of incident were not disputed by President Banda, who condemned the assault.

"The President's comments are reassuring, but apologies are not enough and concrete measures are now needed," the organisation stated. "Sanctions must be adopted against the MMD supporters, who often attack journalists. We urge President Banda to take the opportunity offered by this unfortunate incident to publicly express his commitment to press freedom and to ensure that it is better respected from now on."

And Lungu said attacks on journalists should not be tolerated in a democratic country such as Zambia.

"As LAZ, we join the good meaning citizens in condemning the unwarranted attacks on journalists. Being a democratic country, we believe such violence should not be tolerated," Lungu said.

Lungu said journalists needed to enjoy a certain level of independence in the dispensation of their duties and that action should be taken against all the perpetrators of violence against journalists.

Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) said the harassment of journalists by political parties in the country had reached worrying levels and was a sign of lack of tolerance among political stakeholders especially the ruling party.

"Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) wishes to strongly condemn the continued harassment and intimidation of journalists by the MMD cadres. FODEP will not stand by and allow the destruction of the very pillars of democratic governance that we exist to promote because a democratic nation with no media freedom and a conducive operating environment for free expression is no democracy at all," said the organisation's executive director Elijah Rubvuta.

He reminded the MMD that journalists were the light and the voice of the masses in any democratic society as they reveal, through their reporting, hidden socio-economic and political mayhem that those in authority may not want to reveal for fear of losing their grip to power.

Rubvuta reminded political parties especially the ruling MMD and the police that one of the resolutions of 1993 World Conference on Human Rights was the demand for "increased involvement of the media for whom freedoms and protection should be guaranteed within the framework of the national law."

"The responsibility of protecting the physical security of everyone in Zambia including journalists rests with the government through the Police Service. It is therefore, appalling to note, as in this case that in a country like Zambia which has been renowned for being a pioneer of peaceful transition to multiparty democracy, journalists can be harassed by party cadres in the presence of the police officers and senior party leaders and go scot-free! Such levels of intolerance in political parties, especially MMD is very retrogressive, and we expect the party to rise to the occasion and put an end to this," he said.

He advised the police in the country to execute their duties in a professional manner and avoid being partisan because once they become political, it would be difficult for them to guarantee all Zambians security.

Rubvuta said the political parties and the police should be reminded about the importance of allowing journalists to go about their work unimpeded despite the alleged biased reporting.

"FODEP wishes to encourage journalists to remain steadfast and to understand their role and calling. They should bear in mind that sometimes violent campaigns will be carried out against journalists trying to report honestly and accurately," Rubvuta said.

And the International Fellowship of Christian Churches (IFCC) charged that President Banda had introduced barbaric politics by allowing his thugs to continue harrassing Post journalists.

IFCC president Bishop Simon Chihana urged President Banda to strongly condemn the practice, saying he should work towards continuing his predecessor's legacy of embracing and respecting the media.

Bishop Chihana said President Banda's silence on the practice was an indication that pepertrators had his blessings.

"The continued harassment is communicating a language of going back to the UNIP regime. People have nothing to do with violence in this era. Why can't he emulate his predecessor's stance towards the plight of journalists? He is barbaric and I am upset," he said.

Bishop Chihana said President Banda was practicing politics of poverty in a civilised society.

He urged African leaders to stop cadres from welcoming them whenever they attended official functions.

"I also urge other African leaders to stop encouraging cadres from welcoming them at airports or other official functions because America does not tolerate that," Bishop Chihana said.

And Zambia United Christian Action (ZUCA) Bishop John Jere said the country could not encourage brutality.

"It is his [President Banda] duty to protect citizens just like it is my duty to protect my flock from any forms of harassment," said Bishop Jere.

Last Wednesday, Post journalist Chibaula Silwamba was slapped and roughed up by MMD cadres at the airport where he went to cover the arrival of President Banda from Uganda.

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IFJ expresses shock at charges against Kabwela

IFJ expresses shock at charges against Kabwela
Written by George Chellah in Lusaka and Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Saturday, August 01, 2009 3:22:07 PM

THE International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed shock at what they termed “misleading charges” slammed on Post news editor Chansa Kabwela.
Director of IFJ Africa Office Gabriel Baglo called on the government to drop the prosecution of Kabwela.

"We are shocked by the misleading charges slammed on our colleague," Baglo said. "She only made a perfectly ethical and considerate judgment to alert the authorities to the public health crisis. She has no case to answer and charges against her must be dropped."

Baglo said the charges against Kabwela were the more baffling because she deliberately chose not to publish the alleged material and, instead, sent it to the authorities.

"The government is seeking to make media a scapegoat to blame for the terrible state of the health care in Zambia," Baglo said. "They are simply blaming the messenger because they do not like the message."

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide.

And Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia national director Hewitt Chizyuka called upon the government to condemn the harassment of Post journalists and drop unfair charges against Kabwela.

Closing a three-day management workshop for community radio stations organised by MISA Zambia and other cooperating partners in Livingstone last Wednesday, Chizyuka appealed to journalists not to be used by people to settle personal or political scores.

"Realising long before, that a vibrant, free pluralistic and diverse media is at the very fabric of democratic governance, we stand resolved to continue promoting media freedom, and henceforth call upon government to openly condemn the harassment of the media and demonstrate commitment to this by dropping all unfair charges and court cases against media personnel," Chizyuka said. "In the same vein, we urge all political parties to restrain their cadres from harassing media personnel."

He told acting Southern Province permanent secretary Emmanuel Nchima, who represented permanent secretary Darius Hakayobe, that in Livingstone a journalist of a named independent paper was recently a victim of harassment and that the situation risked getting out of hand.

"On behalf of MISA Zambia I wish to categorically condemn manoeuvres to intimidate the media through unnecessary court actions, arrests and beatings of media personnel and continued threats to close down media houses that offer a platform for critical voices, ambiguous and restrictive laws such as those dealing with pornography," he said. "The so-called 'insult' laws and many others need to be reviewed and clearly defined so as to improve the media environment in which we operate. These laws date as far back as 1910 and 1920 and our present environment is different."

Chizyuka said the lack of the implementation of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Act was worrying.

"We cannot continue to hide our concern about the lack of implementation of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act and the ZNBC Act. These laws will improve the media independence and impartiality of the broadcasting media in the country and there is no reason for further delays in operationalsisng them. We may all know that a free and more independent public broadcasting is guaranteed under the ZNBC Act, while the IBA Act enhances the independence of the entire broadcasting sector," Chizyuka said. "There is no justifiable reason why the two Acts cannot be operationalised. ZNBC still continue to be under the control of government even when the current law, as enacted by Parliament , says otherwise. Similarly the ministry of information continues to control the issuance of broadcasting licenses when the IBA Act as an independent body should do so."

Chizyuka said Zambians needed to be ashamed that they continued to drag their feet over straightforward legislation aimed at not only improving the operating environment for the media but also strengthening the country's democratic governance.

He urged personnel from the three radio stations in Southern Province - Musi-o-Tunya, Zambezi FM of Livingstone and Sky FM of Monze - that attended the management training workshop to take the training as an enhancement tool for good governance.

"The role of that radio station play in the democratic governance of this country cannot be over-emphasised. Sky FM Radio has made free speech a reality through its Sky Forum here in Southern Province and parts of Lusaka. It is therefore important that the radio stations strengthen their own self-sustainability and independence," he said.

Chizyuka urged the media in Zambia to be fair, accurate, impartial and truthful in their reporting.

Chizyuka revealed that MISA had purchased broadcasting equipment for 15 community radio stations and was in the process of buying more equipment for eight other stations to improve the radio reception.

And Nchima said government had observed that most media houses lacked editorial polices, well-defined mission statements and outlined visions.

"Media is a good platform for information dissemination, but it is sad to note that some media personnel in Zambia are mishandling vital information in their coverage. With this regard, training remains a major concern in all media houses in the country if we are to overcome this. I therefore, appeal to you MISA to take training of media personnel seriously and make it an ongoing programme so that press freedom is understood by all stakeholders," he said.

Nchima said the government was aware of the struggles that community radio stations faced in resource mobilisation.

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Mpande explains Zamtrop payments

Mpande explains Zamtrop payments
Written by Staff Reporter
Saturday, August 01, 2009 3:20:26 PM

From yesterday Mpande: It is a debt service account of the Ministry
From yesterday

Mpande: It is a debt service account of the Ministry of Finance at the Bank of Zambia.

Kaona: And this Control 63 falls under head 21?

Mpande: Correct.

Kaona: Who is the controlling officer for Zamtrop account?

Mpande: The Director General, ZSIS.

Kaona: What would be your testimony regards the movement of funds?

Mpande: The Ministry of Finance was financing another government department for the purpose of that other government department, in this case ZSIS, to meet its debt obligations and in particular on the contracts of Systems and Willbain.

Kaona: So, when the funds moved from Control 63 to Zamtrop, they were still in government hands, correct?

Mpande: Correct your honour.

Kaona: Was the Ministry of Finance instructing Bank of Zambia to pay funds into the Zamtrop?

Mpande: The Ministry of Finance was instructing Bank of Zambia to pay funds into the Zamtrop account for the benefit of the contracts of Systems Innovations and Willbain.

Kaona: So, at what stage does the role of the Ministry of Finance officials end?

Mpande: It ends once the money moves from the Ministry of Finance account to the other government account.

Kaona: Whose responsibility was it to pay Zamtrop money for Systems and Willbain?

Mpande: That was the duty of the Director General, Zambia Security Intelligence Services your honour. I would not be liable because I am not and was not a controlling officer of the ZSIS.

Kaona: You also told the court that it is a legal requirement that financial reports are prepared each financial year, correct?

Mpande: That is correct your honour.

Kaona: Was there any financial report brought to this court for the years these transactions took place?

Mpande: I believe the report for 1999, 1998 were brought and these other reports do not mention any over-expenditure on head 21.

Kaona: On whose instance?

Mpande: The defence brought your honour.

At this point, Kaona applies for an adjournment.

Magistrate Musona: The matter will stand adjourned to July 31, 2009 at 14:30 hours.

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Clinton will push South Africa to pressure Mugabe

COMMENT - Targeted U.S. sanctions include financial and visa restrictions against selected individuals, a ban on transfers of military items and a suspension of non-humanitarian aid. I guess that would distinguish them from the untargeted US sanctions, such as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, which Hillary Clinton co-sponsored, undoubtedly with the everlasting gratitude of her friend and contributor, Maurice Tempelsman, who holds huge diamond fields in the DRC, which were threatened by Robert Mugabe's support for the 'renegade' (nationalist) government of Laurent Kabila. Kabila was murdered on the same day that Patrice Lumumba was murdered (in which Tempelsman himself was complicit).

Clinton will push South Africa to pressure Mugabe
Written by Reuters
Saturday, August 01, 2009 3:32:49 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will press South Africa to use its influence with Zimbabwe's hardline President Robert Mugabe when she is in Pretoria next week, a senior American official said on Thursday.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, said Clinton would urge the regional diplomatic heavyweight to get Mugabe to fully implement a power-sharing deal with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai so that impoverished Zimbabwe could return to democratic rule.

"We will encourage South Africa as a primary (regional) leader ... to press the government of Robert Mugabe to fully implement the global political agreement that he signed," Carson said of Clinton's meetings with the South Africans.

South African President Jacob Zuma has taken a harder line on Zimbabwe than his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, but the United States would like Zuma to do more to quicken the pace of reform in its neighbor.

Carson met Mugabe earlier this month on the sidelines of an African Unity summit in Libya, an encounter he described as a "little bit difficult." It was the highest level meeting by a U.S. official with Mugabe in many years, said Carson.

"We are trying to encourage reform, progress, commitment to the GPA and improved human rights. We will continue to do so," he said of his meeting with Mugabe.

The United States, troubled by what it sees as an absence of reform in Zimbabwe, has no plans either to offer major aid or to lift sanctions against Mugabe and some of his supporters.

Before any of that can happen, Washington wants more evidence of political, social and economic reforms, said a U.S. official.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into economic ruin. He argues that his country's economic woes, which include hyperinflation and a collapsed infrastructure, are caused by sanctions imposed by the United States and others.

Targeted U.S. sanctions include financial and visa restrictions against selected individuals, a ban on transfers of military items and a suspension of non-humanitarian aid.

Clinton leaves on Monday for a seven-nation trip to Africa. Aside from South Africa she will also visit Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Liberia, Nigeria and Cape Verde. She returns to Washington on August 14.

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Friday, July 31, 2009

(TIMES) ‘Explain Zamtel sale’

‘Explain Zamtel sale’
By Times Reporter

SPEAKER of the National Assembly AMUSAA MWANAMWAMBWA has ordered Communication and Transport Minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa to update Parliament on the stage at which the privatisation of Zamtel has reached.

Mr Mwanamwambwa said that it was imperative that members of Parliament had first hand information on the stages at which the privatisation of Zamtel had reached as opposed to getting information from members of the public.

The speaker made the order after Chipili Member of Parliament Davies Mwila (PF) rose on a point of order as to whether it was appropriate for the minister to be quiet particularly when debates on Zamtel were at the peak among members of the public.

Mr Mwila said that as MPs, it was appropriate for them to have first hand information on the privatisation of Zamtel and not to rely on information from members of the public.

“What is important is for the minister to update or appraise the House on what is going on regarding the status and the future of Zamtel. This House needs to be updated and the minister does not require several days. As early as next week let this House have an update,” Mr Mwanamwambwa said.

He also advised members to desist from participating in debates by the public saying their best medium of debates for MPs was in the House.

“I encourage members not to participate in debates because this is the best forum,”Mr Mwanamwambwa said.

And in a ministerial statement on the 13th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) summit and the 15th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held in Sirte, Libya and Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt respectively, Foreign Affairs Minister, Kabinga Pande said that the two were beneficial to the nation.

Vice-President George Kunda represented the Government at the two summits.

He said that the AU summit whose theme was ‘Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security’ emphasised on member states to address the root cause of hunger and accelerate means of reducing poverty among the citizenry.

Member states, Mr Pande said, agreed that the continent should by 2015 improve productivity of agriculture to attain an average annual production growth rate of six per cent with particular attention to small-scale farmers, especially the women.

Mr Pande said that the theme for the NAM summit was ‘International Solidarity for Peace and Development’ as well as the current ‘Global Economic and Financial Crisis.’

He said that leaders discussed a number of issues particularly of maintaining peace among member countries.

Mr Pande said that the leaders also resolved to work together to tackle the numerous challenges that member states were facing.

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The choice is ours

COMMENT - It is clear to us that no matter what institutions we create and no matter what laws we come up with, unless we elect decent people to public office, good governance will continue to elude us, corruption, arrogance, intolerance and other evils will be the order of the day. - This is not clear to me at all. What is needed is a proper separation of the powers of state, and continuous oversight. Checks and balances. The 'good fellow hypothesis' cannot work especially because at some time, someone of ill will will be elected to higher office. It is then that checks and balances are required. Today, too much power is vested in the president. Where was the oversight on the decision to privatise ZAMTEL, or hire RP Capital Partners? Where were the extensive debates in parliament and the press? That is what is missing, not simply the character of those who have been elected. Where are the extensive policy discussions before the elections, between the candidates. Zambia should have a political tour, where the candidates face eachother in debate, across every of the 9 provinces. Let the people know what future they are voting for.

The choice is ours
Written by Editor

What Edith Nawakwi is seeing about Rupiah Banda today was there in the open during the presidential campaigns of last year. And many people who wanted to see it saw it. What Rupiah is saying and doing today is not new. It is something true to his character.

Edith and her friend Sakwiba Sikota could not see this when they were supporting Rupiah because they didn’t want to see it; they didn’t want to hear anything negative about Rupiah. For them Rupiah had to win the elections at all costs.

Wherever Rupiah went, nepotism, tribalism, regionalism and corruption were not very far. But Edith and Sakwiba couldn’t see this because they were blinded by other considerations, by the benefits of having a man they campaigned for in State House. Sakwiba, who had been a great friend of our newspaper for many years, even joined Rupiah and his minions in denouncing us. At least Edith didn’t do that.

Edith and Sakwiba’s support for Rupiah was not out of ignorance. They knew who Rupiah was and what he stood for. They heard what he was saying and saw what he was doing during the campaign but decided to turn a blind eye and close their minds to it. They saw how public resources were abused. They were being ferried in government helicopters as opposition leaders but they saw nothing wrong with it; they couldn’t see that this was abuse of public resources and corruption in itself.

However, it is good that Edith has realised that Rupiah is up to no good and today she is saying: “Rupiah has set himself on a path of self-destruction which will also have devastating consequences on the nation. We his friends are being abused that ‘your friend doesn’t listen’. He is on a very destructive path, and not only to himself but to the general group. He is not behaving like someone who is elderly. It is disappointing that an elderly man like Rupiah has literally failed to listen to advice on every national issue. You members of the press, I hope you will use a different language to advise him.”

This is what Edith is saying today. At least, unlike Sakwiba, she is able to say it. She has the courage to make criticism where it is due. As for Sakwiba, when he opens his mouth, it is very difficult to get what he is saying; one can’t know whether he is coming or going. We hope one day Sakwiba will pluck up enough courage and do what Edith has done. Well, we hope he is still not waiting for that appointment from Rupiah people have been talking about on the streets. As an opposition leader, Sakwiba has lost it; his respect is gone. Sakwiba today is a president of nothing, his party is finished and he is a deserted man. However, Sakwiba is still young. If he plucks up courage and does the right things, he has a chance to recover and see a reversal of political fortunes. But as things stand today, his only way out is to join the MMD and be adopted as its candidate for Livingstone in 2011.

As to Edith’s request to us in the press to advise Rupiah, using a different language, because them in politics have failed to advise him, we can only say we have done more than they have. If Rupiah can’t listen to them, it’s worse with us. At least Rupiah doesn’t see Edith as an enemy who should be completely destroyed. Rupiah sees us as his worst enemies and he is doing everything possible to obliterate us. This being the case, how can one expect him to listen to us?

If all have failed to advise Rupiah, we can only refer him to the Holy Bible, to Proverbs: “Do not go where evil men go. Do not follow the example of the wicked. Don’t do it! Keep away from evil! Refuse it and go on your way. Wicked people cannot sleep unless they have done something wrong. They lie awake unless they have hurt someone. Wickedness and violence are like food and drink to them. The road the righteous travel is like sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until daylight has come. The road of the wicked, however, is dark as night. They fall, but cannot see what they have tumbled over” (Proverbs 4:14-17).

We are further told: “Worthless, wicked people go around telling lies. They wink and make gestures to deceive you, all the while planning evil in their perverted minds, stirring trouble everywhere. Because of this, disaster will strike them without warning, and they will be fatally wounded” (Proverbs 6:12.15).

And in Proverbs 9:7-9 we are further reminded: “If you correct a conceited man, you will only be insulted. If you reprimand an evil man, you will only get hurt. Never correct a conceited man; he will hate you for it. But if you correct a wise man, he will respect you. Anything you say to a wise man will make him wiser. Whatever you tell a righteous man, he will add to his knowledge.”

Edith is right when she says Rupiah is on a very destructive path not only to himself but to all of us. We hope Rupiah won’t confuse Edith for an enemy the way he has done with us. The Bible says: “Sensible people accept good advice. People who talk foolishly will come to ruin. Honest people are safe and secure, but dishonest people will be caught. Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble, but one who openly criticises works for peace” (Proverbs 10:8-10).

Truly, wickedness doesn’t give security. Conceited people can never be wise, but intelligent people learn easily.

Edith says Rupiah doesn’t seem to know where he is going and at the moment, there is no direction. This is true. It is said that “those who are good travel a road that avoids evil; so watch where you are going – it may save your life”. Arrogance leads to destruction and downfall; “evil people look for ways to harm others; even their words burn with evil” (Proverbs 16:17). Truly, “some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions…” (Proverbs 19:3).

We can go on quoting from the Bible to advise Rupiah and his minions. But we don’t think it is worth it because they will not listen to anybody. There are many people more qualified than us, many clergymen who have tried to advise him but as Edith says, the man doesn’t listen – he only listens to his inner demons.

But this is politics and there are immediate consequences for not listening, for being evil. But this is not the first time Zambians are encountering this type of behaviour from a president of the country. Under altered form, we war with the same tendencies towards evil that were evident in Frederick Chiluba’s time, and are helped by the same tendencies for good.

It is clear to us that no matter what institutions we create and no matter what laws we come up with, unless we elect decent people to public office, good governance will continue to elude us, corruption, arrogance, intolerance and other evils will be the order of the day. We say this because these things come from human beings, rather than from laws and institutions. In a nation, there must be a certain degree of honour in those who lead just as there must be a certain amount of light. But of course where there are men and women without honour, there are always others who bear in themselves the honour of many men and women. These are the men and women who rebel with great force against those who abuse others, that is to say, against those who steal human honour itself. In those men and women, thousands more are contained, an entire people is contained, human dignity is contained. It is understandable that honest men and women should be persecuted, harassed, humiliated in a country where the president is corrupt, intolerant, ruthless, vengeful and dishonest.

We hope one day we will turn our backs on this most ugly chapter and realise that if we are to live in the world and are to be regarded as a decent nation, decent people, we have to act up to different standards than the one that we have been following in the last nine or 10 months of Rupiah’s government.

Again, and as we have stated before, Rupiah and his minions should know that this country will not be a good place for them, or any of us, to live unless it’s a good place for all of us to live in. Lies about this and that will not help Rupiah. There is no mitigation for the violence that Rupiah and his thugs are meting out against our journalists. It is foolish for anyone to claim or insinuate that our journalists are being used to fight personal battles. Personal battles for who and against who? If Rupiah wants to know how we operate, let him come and see how our reporters are every day assigned to various assignments. We don’t operate in his world of narrow and cheap plotting every day where his only discernible preoccupation is to one day catch us wrong-footed, doing wrong things. We have a decent group of young men and women performing their duties as journalists with sufficient honour and integrity and they will never accept to be used in the manner Rupiah is using people. The Post doesn’t use hired mercenaries like Rupiah does. Here no one is rewarded for doing wrong things because in the first place, they will refuse to do wrong things. Whatever is done here is discussed thoroughly. Even the editor-in-chief at The Post is assigned what to do, what to write a comment on. Who has time to waste on personal battles with useless people? We have been doing this job for 18 years and Rupiah is the fourth President we are dealing with. What was personal in our criticism of Dr Kenneth Kaunda? What was personal in our exposure and criticism of Chiluba’s corruption and intolerance? What was personal in the way we went for Levy Mwanawasa when he got things wrong or did wrong things? What was personal in our strong denunciation of Levy over the Kashiwa Bulaya nolle prosequi? What is personal in us denouncing Rupiah’s tribalism and regionalism as exhibited in his campaign last year? What is wrong with us exposing and denouncing Rupiah’s electoral corruption and abuse of public resources? Rupiah should not hide his heinous deeds behind so-called personal battles because they are not there. What is there is wrongdoing on his part and that is what needs to be corrected. And it is not only us who are seeing that. Those who campaigned with him and for him last year are today complaining and are denouncing his practices, his ways of doing things. What is personal about that?

And moreover, no institution should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t. We say this because this sort of criticism, scrutiny can also act, and it should do so, as an effective engine for change of behaviour.

What Edith has said cannot be denied – Rupiah has set himself on a path of self-destruction which will also have devastating consequences on the nation. Let’s heed this warning from Edith and do something about it before we are destroyed as a nation. The choice is ours.

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Rupiah is set on a path of self destruction – Nawakwi

Rupiah is set on a path of self destruction – Nawakwi
Written by Patson Chilemba
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:49:40 PM

EDITH Nawakwi has said President Rupiah Banda has set himself on a path of self-destruction which will have devastating consequences on the nation. In an interview on Tuesday, Nawakwi, who is FDD president and campaigned heavily for President Banda during the 2008 presidential elections, said President Banda was attracting bad omen on himself and the MMD for refusing to listen to advice.

Nawakwi said those who campaigned for President Banda were being blamed for bringing trouble to the nation. Nawakwi said it was disappointing that an elderly man like President Banda had literally failed to listen to advice on every national issue.

She cited the government's move to purchase mobile hospitals and sell 75 per cent shares in Zamtel as some of the issues on which President Banda had exhibited deafness.

Nawakwi said President Banda should call on the clergy and go for a retreat in order to reflect seriously on how he was governing the nation.

"He is talking about mobile hospitals being an offer. If someone offers you a chalice of poison, do you drink it? We don't need mobile hospitals, we want fixed buildings. If the President can go incognito on the streets, we his friends are being abused that your friend doesn't listen. So why does the President want to drink this poison from this friendly government, which government we don't know, because the Chinese have refused? What is it that the President needs to be advised to go on the right path?" Nawakwi asked.

"What language should people speak for him to listen? He's on a very destructive path, and not only to himself but to the general group. It's disappointing that we have one of the elderly statesmen who can't listen. He is not behaving like someone who is elderly. What we know is that people acquire wisdom through the years. He is behaving like a young man on a motor racing tract. For those who are younger than him, like he refused to listen to my brother Hakainde Hichilema, we are lost on how to advise him."

Nawakwi said President Banda should not claim that the mobile hospitals were an offer from a foreign country because there was nothing, which was free in the world. She said donor help always came with conditions.

"Whether it is from Chinese government, when they give you something, you see a horde of Chinese on the streets. That's not free. He can't say they [mobile hospitals] are free. This costs money and this will be paid at a future date, maybe not in his lifetime," Nawakwi said.

"You members of the press, I hope you will use a different language because we in politics have failed to advise him. He's bringing a lot of bad omen to his side, whether as MMD or himself. Tabomfwa [He doesn't listen]."

Nawakwi said President Banda had a fixed position on almost all the issues, which he thought were right.

She said she was completely at a loss regarding what President Banda wanted to achieve for the nation. Nawakwi said President Banda had gathered too much emotion against him in the last eight months for refusing to listen and it was clear that he was not enjoying peace. She said President Banda would not find peace for as long as people were complaining.

Nawakwi said President Banda should listen to advice because God usually speaks through his people.

"Munshebwa aile nefiko kubuko [He who doesn't listen will go with dirt to their in-laws]. Ask Mr Sata, he knows that saying. Even staunch supporters of MMD are saying ‘imwe mwalituletelela ubwafya [you have brought trouble in this nation]’. He should slow down, pick up a phone and call the fathers to go for a retreat, not with his family. That way he will find peace and direction. At the moment there is no direction," Nawakwi said.

"Why is he bent on self-destruction? It is like he is in love with mobile hospitals to the extent that he will be destroyed, this lack of peace will bring about destruction."

And Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata said President Banda wanted to make quick money over the purchase of mobile hospitals and the sale of the 75 per cent shares in Zamtel.

He charged that President Banda wanted to become like his friend Frederick Chiluba who amassed many shoes and suits such that it became difficult to choose what to wear.

On Monday, Sata charged that President Banda was lying over the mobile hospitals and deserved a medal for being the best liar the country had ever had for president.

Sata's comments came in the wake of President Banda's remarks in Mansa on Radio Yangeni that mobile hospitals were an offer from a foreign country.

But Chinese government special representative on African affairs Ambassador Liu Guijin in May said the Chinese government did not play a role in this [US$53 million mobile hospital] deal, and it might be a business dealing between the Zambian government and a private Chinese company.

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Zamtel deal compromises Zambia’s security – Miyanda

Zamtel deal compromises Zambia’s security – Miyanda
Written by George Chellah
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:47:13 PM

HERITAGE Party (HP) president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda yesterday warned that the Zamtel deal compromises the country's national security system.
Brig Gen Miyanda said President Rupiah Banda had opened wide the door to Zambia's bedroom for a few pieces of silver and that at this rate there would soon be no Zambia.

He said breach of security was worse than corruption because a thief is eventually caught and punished but when security is compromised chances are that the enemy who has penetrated your institutions not only takes over these national institutions but also puts his own people who may include compromised Zambians. Brig Gen Miyanda said the 75 per cent privatisation of Zamtel must be opposed outright as a betrayal of the people of Zambia.

"The attacks by the President on those who had been in government before is not a good argument because even himself was at one time in the longest-serving regime of UNIP which lasted for 27 years! He should not vilify [former finance minister Ng'andu ] Magande because he knows what happens in that so-called collective responsibility," Brig Gen Miyanda said.

"Let him come up with better arguments and defences for the betrayal of the Zambian's trust and confidence. I call upon all Zambians, including the workers affected, to stand up against the usual manipulation of information and statistics for eventual delivery of killer punches that have been orchestrated by the hidden hand over many years."

He wondered whether the service chiefs advised President Banda, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the defence forces, over the deal.

"What about Zanaco? While in government a few of us resisted and refused for Zanaco to be sold on the grounds that it was our own independence baby; it was viable and at the time it had a lot of assets and a reasonable balance sheet even in foreign exchange. Some powerful minister wanted Zanaco to merge with Meridien bank; we implored Dr Chiluba to refuse and he obliged. After we left government the idea was revived; I was one of the opposition political leaders who joined the unions in a march and demonstration that ended at Freedom Statue with a petition to President Mwanawasa," Brig Gen Miyanda said.

"The late president changed his intention to sell though later he again went back on his word. Zanaco went for a song; Zambians were at it again. President Banda should not speak against those who were in government; some of us have continued to be patriotic and will criticise him if does things that are not in our national interest or national security. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of our Defence Force. Have the Service Chiefs advised him that it is in order to compromise our national security system? I would be very shocked and ashamed to be one of them if that is what they have advised him.

"Remember how Ian Smith paralysed our communications system and kept our air force glued to the ground without taking off and coming on their frequencies and cheekily announcing 'This is Green Leader, we are not after you Zambians; we are after ZIPRA. Stay on the ground and you will not be harmed'. President Banda are you paying attention or you think only money matters?"

He said his heart was heavy and he was crying for the day when Zambians would wake up and put a stop to this perennial fraud promoted by electoral nonsense which does not assist in identifying leaders who love their motherland.

"No one else can ever end the plunder and rape of our resources except the people themselves. The cheating at elections will not stop because the people are not stopping it; they are tacit participants. That is why I cry, crying for a time when the people will realise that no foreigner comes to help you, they come to help themselves," Brig Gen Miyanda said.

"Zambians must realise that no one donates to you; no one gives you a grant; it is all a form of business and you must earn it and pay back if you owe. Hence Zambians must retrace their steps back to the village, revisiting the principles that helped our forefathers to survive the most devastating economic conditions."

He said listening to communications minister Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa recently on MUVI TV he could not help but conclude that there were traitors in the government masquerading as leaders of the people.

"These are agents of foreign interests and pushers of personal agenda. A traitor is one who betrays a friend, a cause, or his or her people or country. Minister Lungwangwa and his friends have betrayed the cause of independence. Through their conduct they have demonstrated that they do not deserve the trust or confidence of Zambians. Workers' union leaders must be slow to support this treachery until they have fully examined the full impact of what the government scheme is all about. The workers must not just look at the immediate pay cheque but think of the long-term outcome. When Jesus Christ was betrayed, Judah's Iscariot kissed him while the vultures were watching as he identified his prey," Brig Gen Miyanda said. "Minister Lungwangwa and his President have been kissing Zambians with sugar-coated words and phrases about development because they know that Zambians are docile and always ready and willing to be deceived and they seem to enjoy and forget who was manipulating them. They are willing partners in these never-ending hide and seek games. Politicians seek and hide the wealth of the nation, and the people wake up and come out to praise and worship them; a little later they start shouting 'corruption, corruption', forgetting their tacit acquiescence. No law will stop this nonsense; no constitution will stop the plunder."

He said in Zambia the Constitution and other laws were just for displaying to tourists and bogus investors that we are good boys and girls of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"What can you conclude when you hear from a minister of the government words and phrases like ‘government cannot stop expressions of intent; shares must be secondary, Zambians must come along and establish a flag carrier? Etc etc.' Government can stop expressions of interest by the way it frames the laws in the protection of its citizens; other governments do it all the time. As an economist, President Banda must surely be aware that in business and company law, shares are everything; whoever has majority shares owns the company and determines and decides its direction and future, including when to pay or not pay a dividend. For President Banda and the minister to focus only on the money coming in is to be like the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand and leaving the rest of the body exposed and unprotected!" Brig Gen Miyanda said. "It is naive for the minister to invite Zambians to set up a national flag carrier. How can it be a national flag carrier if it is owned by individuals? In any case the minister is not serious in this policy pronouncement and has contradicted himself in his speech. In answer to the interviewer, the minister stated that the logic of the 75 per cent was to attract would-be investors. He went on to say that the US 200 million dollars expected was a lot of money, which was obviously out of reach of many Zambians. If the money is too much for Zambians why was he inviting Zambians to join in this one-sided competition without offering them capital to participate? Clearly he was merely politicking and blindfolding those who were listening to him."

He said learned people were good at covering up their tracks with well-chosen words and phrases.

"But after they finish their convincing verbal performance, it is time to ask them the Heritage million dollar question; ‘What is really in it for Zambians at large? Who are these Zambians you are talking about, minister?' How can Lungwangwa brush off a question about Zambia's security? Breach of security is worse than corruption because a thief is eventually caught and punished. But when security is compromised chances are that the enemy who has penetrated your institutions not only takes over these national institutions but puts his own people who may include compromised Zambians," Brig Gen Miyanda said. "He takes charge of your life, the nation's life, the making or influencing of the making of laws according to his desire to protect his own interests which are almost always opposed to yours. And of course he takes all the money out of our country. President Banda has opened wide the door to Zambia's bedroom for a few pieces of silver. At this rate there will soon be no Zambia; at the rate at which these unpatriotic Zambians are alienating our land there will be no villages left standing; if there will be no villages then there will be no Zambia; if there will be no Zambia then there will be no Zambians, instead we shall remain with the illusive rainbow fluttering in our faces. If there are no nations that have gone extinct, Zambia will be the first. The name Zambia will be a statistic for the archives."

He said Zambians must stand up and fight against this new colonialism brought about by their own so-called sons of the soil.

"God played his part; he is not creating any new lands. You have not heard of new lands being created instead you have been hearing of lands being discovered, trips to outer space to discover and explore what is already created. If you allow yourselves to be cheated and taken for a ride God will not be there for you no matter how many times you declare that you are a Christian nation, for He has said if you do not claim your inheritance someone else will. Stop President Banda and his selfish team from dismembering our country," he said.

He said his party was totally against xenophobia and that the most important function of any President who ascends to office was not the managing of the economy but the protection of the peoples from plunderers and vicious prowlers called investors.

"Today foreigners have easy access to our security installations and cantonments. Today there are Chinese, Russians, Eskimos and all kinds of characters trooping in and out of security places without let or hindrance. Where do you find such a casual and unintelligent arrangement in the world today? Why do you think America has stringent anti-terrorist laws and have convinced Vice-President George Kunda to copy the same laws and impose them on Zambians?" Brig Gen Miyanda asked. "Strangely, the British trained us well and inculcated in us a spirit of patriotism. But even when we were being trained abroad there are certain lectures which were closed to us the foreigners and were strictly for their nationals; we were conveniently sent on tours while their sons and daughters were receiving important tutoring on highly classified lectures. In Zambia we are said to be one and belong to one world, how foolish and naive!"

He said security could not be taken care of by laws as Prof Lungwangwa misled himself.

"The minister must realize and know that security is an attitude of the mind. If he believes that laws will protect us against saboteurs of our nation's security then he better pack up and go back to UNZA to continue theorizing. There is no protection in laws; it seems to me that the passing of new laws by the Banda regime may be a cover up for either offences already committed or those schemed to be committed. Tacitus, a well known Latin historian, is reputed to have said that 'when the State is most corrupt, the laws are most numerous'," said Brig Gen Miyanda. "You can see how many laws are being churned out on corruption even when the current law is clear about this crime. Now these schemers are going to steal Zamtel in broad daylight and pass legislation to legalise this under the very noses of the loquacious but gullible Zambians. How many times have we been told about a parastatal that is alleged not to be viable and yet the very next day after being sold it makes more money than it was bought for?

"I have practical examples of government collusion in the rape of our wealth and natural resources. MSB is one; others are Zambia Airways, Contract Haulage, Zambia Education Publishing House (ZEPH) and Government Printers. While in government I lost many of these battles; but in the end I believe I won the battles because day in, day out, today there are revelations of things I spoke against and those I warned about."

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Not covering Banda will guarantee safety for all journalists – ZUJ

Not covering Banda will guarantee safety for all journalists – ZUJ
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe and Mwala Kalaluka
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:45:36 PM

THE Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Times of Zambia chapter has said staying away from covering President Rupiah Banda and government ministers will be the best guarantee for safety for their members if attacks on journalists by MMD cadres are not stopped forthwith.

And the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) has noted that the violence and intolerance being exhibited by MMD cadres against journalists is giving the country a bad name regionally and internationally. Chapter president Bob Sianjalika yesterday said journalists' lives were at stake.

"Unfortunately these MMD cadres are also found loitering in government offices and not just at the airport when receiving the President. While we appreciate President Banda condemning the beating of the journalists, we expect action from both the MMD and the police," he said. "Today MMD cadres walked into the Times of Zambia newsroom denying ever beating Mr [Anthony] Mulowa and Mr [Richard] Mulonga. What a mockery on journalists when even medical reports can be produced and attackers identified."

Sianjalika said as a ZUJ chapter, they also condemned the attack on Post newspapers journalists.

He said these attacks, whether on the public or private media journalists, were unwarranted and of the Stone Age.

"Zambia is surely way above this. We shall petition this to whoever is willing to listen to our cry," he said.

Sianjalika said the beating of their members by some MMD cadres in Lusaka on Wednesday was a clear demonstration of the diminishing respect for the rule of law in Zambia.

"As journalists at Times of Zambia, this time it is our own members Mr Anthony Mulowa and Richard Mulonga who are victims of the orchestrated kind of beatings by the MMD.

We shall not watch while our members' lives are clearly in danger. Our role as journalists is so noble, rather humble and any reasonable person to appreciate this fact," he said

He said the beatings were not happening in the bush or forests but in broad daylight and in the presence of authorities such as ministers and the police.

Sianjalika said while the MMD cadres had the muscles, the mantle and the numbers to beat journalists, they [journalists] did not have such.

"Our only strength is integrity and reasoning. If our political counterparts cannot appreciate this, as the case appears, then one wonders as in what direction Zambia's democracy and governance system is going. It is very clear that these levels of violence have graduated to such alarming extents because cadres feel they have protection somewhere," Sianjalika said "Our journalists are not politicians. They only meet these politicians because of their nature of duty. So if our political leaders are being surrounded by these violent cadres, it becomes very clear that these leaders are no longer safe grounds to gather news from."

The Press Freedom Committee (PFC) of The Post sent a protest letter to Kabonde over the conduct of Lusaka Province police chief Greenwell Ng'uni and his officers during the assault on journalists by MMD cadres at the Lusaka International Airport.

PFC general secretary Sheikh Chifuwe stated that it was clear that Ng'uni and his men turned a blind eye to a crime, which was being committed against the Post journalists who went to cover the arrival of President Banda from Uganda.

"The Press Freedom Committee of The Post Newspapers would like to express its disappointment and also protest over the conduct of your officers led by Lusaka Province commanding officer Mr Greenwell Ng'uni during the harassment and assaulting of journalists on Wednesday July 29, 2009 at the Lusaka International Airport," Chifuwe stated. "...It should be noted that no person - no matter how powerful and strong and no regime, no matter how authoritarian and brutal - can stop human beings from thinking, inventing and writing freely and positively. We, however, feel the ineptitude exhibited by Mr Ng'uni and his men whilst the journalists were being attacked, not only promotes anarchy but also compromises the fundamental democratic principles in our society."

Chifuwe stated that while the free flow of information and knowledge had become a must for progress and prosperity, Zambia was moving backwards, mainly due to ineffective, incapable and indecisive leadership exhibited by people like Ng'uni.

"We, therefore demand that appropriate action be taken against M Ng'uni for failing to provide leadership by stopping the thuggery that has the potential of compromising the peace of the country," the letter read in part. "...We wish to remind you that you have a duty and responsibility to safeguard the lives of all citizens of this country. Don't brood lawlessness by applying law selectively against those perceived to be enemies of the State."

Chifuwe further noted that in a society that was devoid of press freedom, the State could selectively undermine and destroy fundamental freedoms without public knowledge or otherwise.

"We have repeatedly stated that press freedom is the umbrella under which all essential freedoms in democratic societies are strengthened," Chifuwe stated. "We pray that the police command will take appropriate action in order to restore public confidence in the police service, which is evidently waning."

ZEC spokesperson Fr Paul Samasumo said the violent exhibition by the cadres was undemocratic.

"I think there is nothing much that we can add. The bishops have appealed several times that the government, especially the police, get to grips on this. Violence of any kind on anyone, let alone the media, people who are trying to do their work, should not at all be condoned by anyone," Fr Samasumo said. "Because if we are a democratic society, it means that I have to give you space to say what you say, even if I do not agree with you. That is democracy. There is no justification for any kind of violence."

Fr Samasumo said the violent behaviour by the cadres was contrary to what Zambia was known for, as a peaceful nation.

"This kind of violence will just dent our image and give us a bad name in the region and internationally. I think it is something that can be stopped by the politicians, especially in the MMD," Fr Samasumo said. "I think condemnation is the first step but it is not enough. He [President Rupiah Banda] needs to make sure that those that are responsible for law and order take action."

Asked if the police and the government were portraying double standards in the way they handled violence from opposition political cadres and those in the ruling party's fold, Fr Samasumo said the police should be professional and impartial.

"I think there is nothing paradoxical about it. Whenever there is violence, if it is perpetrated by PF cadres the police should move in fast, and if it is perpetrated by the MMD cadres they should move in fast. In that way they will act impartially," Fr Samasumo said.

And Human Rights Commission (HRC) director Enoch Mulembe said it was extremely unfortunate that Zambia seems to be descending into a country where the practice of journalism is a perilous profession.

Mulembe condemned in the strongest terms the violence perpetrated against journalists who had gone to cover the arrival of President Banda at the airport.

He called upon the leadership of the MMD to ensure those committing such acts were brought to book.

He said it was important for the public and political cadres in particular to be reminded that journalists played a critical role in the governance of the country.

"We all depend on journalists to inform us about national and international events which undoubtedly play a role in shaping the country's destiny. It is important that people respect journalists' individual rights and freedoms as well as their right to practice a profession without fear for their lives. The HRC challenges the police to investigate the incident and invoke the appropriate law," Mulembe said.

On Wednesday, Post journalist Chibaula Silwamba was slapped and roughed up by MMD cadres at the airport where he went to cover the arrival of President Banda from Uganda.

The incident happened in full glare of Ng'uni and other police officers and some of the officers advised Silwamba to leave the airport because the cadres, who they referred to as "bosses", were dangerous people.

The cadres also harassed Times of Zambia photographer Mulonga and punched senior reporter, Mulowa, when he took time to produce his identity card and was only saved after he produced his press card.

Post journalists have suffered at the hands of MMD cadres for over ten months now and information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha recently justified the attacks, saying The Post was reaping what it sowed. President Banda, during his last press conference, also said he had supporters who were angered with the coverage whenever he was attacked in The Post and that they were bound to ask questions whenever they came into contact with the journalists.

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Journalists' beating by MMD cadres worries Speaker

Journalists' beating by MMD cadres worries Speaker
Written by Ernest Chanda and George Chellah
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:43:16

SPEAKER of the National Assembly Amusa Mwanamwambwa told the House on Thursday that the outside world has a perception that Zambia’s peace is at stake due to the conflict between journalists and cadres. And Transparency International-Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka yesterday said the continued harassment of journalists was a source of shame.

Ruling on a point of order raised by Kabwata Patriotic Front member of parliament Given Lubinda who wanted to know if the Vice-President, the minister of Information and the minister of Home Affairs were in order to keep quiet when the harassment of journalists by MMD cadres was threatening peace in the country.

“Let me inform the House that this issue has been referred to in many fora. I have heard a lot of things as I interact, that the peace of this republic is under threat due to such conflicts. I personally will not rule over this matter. However I ask the Honourable minister of information to come and tell us what the conflict is between the media and cadres of a particular party,” Mwanamwambwa said in apparent reference to the continued harassment of journalists by MMD cadres.

“I have to inform you Honourable members from the Executive that I hear a lot of things. The information outside is that the republic is under threat because certain people have the monopoly to speak. So government must explain things whether the peace is under threat or there is a group of people who want to give a perception that peace is under threat. May the Honourable minister also explain the cause of this conflict between the media and cadres from a named political party,” he said as most MMD members of parliament shouted ya, ya, the cause, the cause!

Speaker Mwanamwabwa later asked Lt Gen Shikapwasha and other cabinet ministers to clarify more on the source of the conflict.

“I’m asking the Honourable minister of information and other cabinet ministers to come out and speak out to clarify this perception. With regard to this point of order raised by the Honourable member for Kabwata, let the Honourable minister of information speak to the nation at the earliest possible time, probably next week,” ruled Speaker Mwanamwambwa.

And Lifuka yesterday said the continued harassment of journalists was a source of shame.

"Transparency International Zambia calls on the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) to urgently deal with the growing spectacle of political hooliganism in their rank and file before this spirals into uncontrollable political violence. The continued harassment of the journalists is a source of shame and the fact that this has been going on for some time, speaks volumes about the levels of discipline in the ruling party," Lifuka said.

"The culture of intolerance which is being insidiously promoted by the lack of action of both the MMD leadership and the Zambia Police will sooner than later metamorphose into anarchy and the ruling party will have no one to blame but themselves."

He said the fear for most people was that the cadres have become brazen and feel insulated from prosecution.

"... and thus what will stop such cadres from following people into their homes and offices to harass or beat them? Are we seeing a return of the Vigilantes?" Lifuka asked. "Recently, we heard of similar harassment of people at Soweto Market by suspected MMD cadres- why is the leadership allowing these cadres to tarnish their image and reputation?"

He said Zambia's democracy should be one founded on respect for diversity and MMD as the ruling party should be promoting this.

"Let politics be a platform for competition of ideas - it is a pity that slowly our politics is becoming bereft of issues and high intellectual engagement. We are regressing in our multi-party democracy and it seems a show of brawn over brains is creeping into the country's politics. It is small wonder that most Zambians do not want to have anything to do with politics- it simply not inspiring," Lifuka said.

"We have said this before and we wish to reiterate that MMD cadres who engage in such cases of assault and violence should be arrested and prosecuted. It is sad that the Zambia Police Service including their command, are reducing themselves to innocent bystanders when it is their duty to maintain law and order.

"It is morally not correct for any person to ignore the harassment and bullying of a fellow citizen, but it is negation of duty for a Police Officer to ignore calls for help from a person being assaulted. Such a Police Officer does not deserve his position and should accordingly resign from the Police Service."

He said both MMD cadres and ordinary Zambians need the protection of the Zambia Police Service.

"It is our taxes which are used to pay these Police Officers. For all you know, some of these cadres are loafers who do not even pay any taxes and yet they are the ones receiving favourable attention. Enough is enough and we want to warn the MMD that they will not be able to contain the spiral of violence if they fail to rein in their unruly cadres," he said.

He warned that violence begets violence.

"All that our founding fathers worked for in forging a nation of peaceful people- can easily go up in smoke all because we have cadres who are power drunk. In a similar vein, we want to use this opportunity to urge all political parties in Zambia to promote peace in their actions and language. Zambia is bigger than all the political players and nothing should be taken for granted," Lifuka said.

"The media needs to be respected for the role that they are playing in this country. Political cadres should not over-estimate themselves and imagine that they can set the agenda for the various media houses. Journalists are professionals who should be given the necessary space to do their work without any harassment."

Meanwhile, Speaker Mwanamwambwa urged the minister of communications and transport to update the House on Zamtel.

This was after Chipili PF member of parliament Davis Mwila raised a point of order.

"He has raised a point of order on a matter that has been alive to this House not one, not once but all times. What is important is for the Honourable minister of communications and transport to update the House on what is going on with regard to the status and future of Zamtel," Mwanamwambwa said.

"The newspaper that the member of parliament has quoted from referred to an intention to privatize the company. Even if that is the intention this House needs to be updated. If what is being discussed now is an intention at some point there will be a stage when a prospective partner will be found.

"The Honourable minister does not require several days on this matter. There is a lot of debate going on outside and I encourage this House not to participate in this debate, this is the forum. Let visitors or strangers join in this debate."

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Police spokesperson sympathises with beaten journalists

Police spokesperson sympathises with beaten journalists
Written by Joseph Mwenda
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:41:53 PM

POLICE Spokesperson Bonnie Kapeso has sympathized with journalists who were on Wednesday beaten by MMD carders who went to cover President Banda’s return from Kampala, Uganda. Kapeso who was not in a position to comment further on the incident said it was sad and dangerous that The Post reporter Chibaula Silwamba and Anthony Mulowa from Times of Zambia were beaten in full view of security.

“I am not making any statements on that matter because (Lusaka Division) Commanding Officer Mr. Greenwell Ng’uni was present when that was happening and he will answer the questions.’

“But I will inform the Inspector general of Police that journalists are very emotional. I have been to Times of Zambia, and Daily mail and journalists are very angry with what happened,” said Kapeso.

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Kenya keeps options open on violence court

Kenya keeps options open on violence court
Written by Andrew Cawthorne and Wangui Kanina
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:40:40 PM

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's divided cabinet left options open on Thursday in a politically charged debate over whether to pursue local or international justice for the masterminds of last year's post-election violence. The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) is ready to step in if Kenya's coalition government does not create its way to try those accused of causing violence that killed at least 1,300 people and uprooted more than 300,000.

After an all-day cabinet session -- the third such meeting over the court issue -- a government statement said five options were discussed, but only vague commitments to reforms and the rule of law were approved at the end.

Failure to set up a local court will bring the ICC option closer, and the statement hinted at that.

"Cabinet...reaffirmed its commitment to rule of law, and in particular its commitment to the International Criminal Court and will cooperate and fulfil its obligations to the Court under the Rome Statute," it said in the first of four approved points.

It also promised local judicial reforms, showing the door may still be open for domestic justice.

While some see justice for the 2008 chaos as crucial to future stability in east Africa's largest economy -- which faces its next poll in 2012 -- others warn any judicial process could destabilise Kenya by stirring up old hatreds.

One analyst said the lack of a concrete decision by cabinet showed that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga had lost control of their teams.

"The two principals appear to have lost any clout they had," political commentator Kwamchetsi Makokha said. "They have basically waffled for three weeks over this issue. It shows a loss of control. They are not in charge of their troops."

Analysts accused the cabinet of ignoring a report by a local commission into the causes of the crisis, the Waki report, that had called for a local tribunal to be set up.

"The Kenyan cabinet has again ducked the most important issue facing the country and chosen to delay justice for the victims of the post-election violence further still," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement.

Ben Rawlence, Kenya Researcher for HRW, said the government was now hoping local prosecutions under existing mechanisms would deliver justice.

"This is not what Kenyans expect and it is not what the government promised. It is a dark day for Kenya," he said.

Politicians stoked tribal tensions prior to the last election, and activists say a handful of prominent Kenyans -- including several sitting ministers -- should face justice.

Foreign donors, disillusioned Kenyans and local markets -- which bombed during last year's crisis and have been jittery over coalition divisions -- are following the debate closely.

Kibaki and former opposition leader Odinga disputed the December 27 vote, with Kibaki declared winner by a tight margin but Odinga claiming fraud. After several months of chaos, which paralysed key sectors of the economy, they formed a coalition which stemmed the violence but has been riven by bickering.

Both Kibaki and Odinga support a local court, though the majority of Kenyans want the ICC to take the case, believing a domestic tribunal might be a whitewash.

The Cabinet statement promised "far-reaching reforms" in judiciary and police; a crackdown on impunity for violence and corruption; and improvements to a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission hoped to heal wounds from 2008.

"Cabinet is confident that with proper healing and reconciliation, Kenya will not face the events of last year's post-election violence," it said.



Nigerian militant leader shot in police custody

Nigerian militant leader shot in police custody
Written by Ibrahim Mshelizza
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:38:48 PM

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - The leader of a radical Islamic sect in northern Nigeria was shot dead in police custody late on Thursday after days of clashes between his followers and the security forces killed hundreds of people.

Militant preacher Mohammed Yusuf, 39, whose Boko Haram sect wants a wider adoption of sharia (Islamic law) across Africa's most populous nation, was captured after a manhunt involving military helicopters, soldiers and armed police.

A Reuters reporter and other local journalists saw Yusuf at a military barracks in the northern city of Maiduguri after his capture. He had no visible injuries and was standing up. He was then transferred to the city police headquarters where he died.

"He has been killed. You can come and see his body at the state police command headquarters," said Isa Azare, spokesman for the police command in Maiduguri.

Azare gave no explanation for Yusuf's death, which New York-based Human Rights Watch condemned as a "shocking" extrajudicial killing . Other police officials were quoted by local media as saying he had died in a shoot-out while trying to escape.

A BBC correspondent said a video shown to officials and journalists showed Yusuf confessing and saying he regretted his actions. "The next moment on the video footage he was seen shot...They showed his body," the correspondent said.

The security forces have fought gunbattles in flashpoints across northern Nigeria over the past five days to crush an uprising by members of Boko Haram.

Violence broke out on Sunday when members of the group -- loosely modelled on the Taliban in Afghanistan and whose name means "Western education is sinful" -- were arrested in Bauchi state on suspicion of plotting to attack a police station.

President Umaru Yar'Adua has said the group was procuring arms and learning to make bombs in order to impose its ideology on Nigerians by force. He has ordered the security forces to do everything necessary to contain the sect.

Around a dozen soldiers, police officers and prison officials are among the hundreds killed in the unrest, while the remainder of the dead largely consist of suspected Boko Haram followers, according to police.

National defence spokesman Colonel Mohammed Yerima said there would be a military "show of force" on Friday to reassure civilians that they would be protected.

Eric Guttschuss, Nigeria researcher for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters: "The extrajudicial killing of Mr Yusuf in police custody is a shocking example of the brazen contempt by the Nigerian police for the rule of law."

He said all criminal suspects had a right to due process, and Nigerian authorities must investigate the killing and hold those responsible for it accountable.

Yusuf's death also deprives intelligence agencies of the opportunity to question him about possible links to other militant groups outside Nigeria.

President Yar'Adua, on an official visit to Brazil, spoke by telephone with northern governors on Thursday and urged traditional and religious leaders to use Friday prayers to warn people about the dangers of such sects.

Boko Haram's views are not espoused by the majority of Nigeria's Muslim population, the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. The country's Muslim umbrella group, Jama'atu Nasril Islam, has already condemned the violence.

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Zimbabwe relaxes media restrictions

Zimbabwe relaxes media restrictions
Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:37:29 PM

The Zimbabwean government has relaxed its restrictions on the media and has granted the Daily News, a local independent daily newspaper that was banned six years ago, a licence to begin publishing. The government this week also allowed the BBC and CNN to open up bureaux in Zimbabwe, removing the restrictions that have been in place for eight years.

The media reforms are part of the provisions of the political agreement that established the inclusive government between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC.

On Thursday, a special committee set up by the Ministry of Information and Publicity wrote to the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the publishers of the Daily News, stating that they were now free to resume operations.

"This letter serves to advise you that your application for registration as a mass media service provider was successful. The special board committee mandated by the then minister of information to adjudicate on your application is satisfied that you have complied with the provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)," head of the committee Edward Dube wrote.

"(ANZ is) therefore advised to contact the relevant authority for their licence".

Dube has also written a separate letter to the Ministry of Information informing the government of the committee's decision.

The ANZ group used to publish the private daily newspaper and a weekly on Sunday, sharply critical of President Mugabe's rule, and in competition with a government-controlled newspaper group.

In the face of a political and economic crisis blamed on it, the Zimbabwean government adopted tough media laws in 2002 which made it difficult for the local private and foreign media to work in the country.

The Daily News and its sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday, were banned in 2003 after refusing to register under the country's repressive media laws.

Since the newspaper was closed before a string of harassments and arrests of its journalists, Zimbabwe has had no other daily newspapers apart from the government controlled regional papers - the Herald (Harare), The Chronicle (Bulawayo) and the Manica Post (Mutare).

The unity government formed by President Mugabe and Tsvangirai in February to try to ease the political and economic crisis has been under pressure to implement political and media reforms to win critical foreign aid.

In pursuant of reforms aimed at opening up the media space, the unity government is setting up a new Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) jointly appointed by the parties to the government to spearhead the reforms, including easing restrictive registration and accreditation requirements for media.

ZMC commissioners were interviewed last Thursday.

This commission will replace the Media and Information Commission (MIC), which was established in 2002 under the widely criticised media laws.

This week, the BBC and CNN were allowed to report from inside Zimbabwe for the first time in eight years.

"The Zimbabwe government has told the BBC there is no ban on its operations and it can resume reporting, legally and openly, in Zimbabwe," the BBC said on its website.

The BBC has had no official presence in Zimbabwe since 2001, when its Harare correspondent fled, though its reporters have often filed undercover stories.

In recent years of political and economic turmoil, most Western organizations had been refused government licenses to report from Zimbabwe. Correspondents from the BBC and other media have acknowledged reporting clandestinely from Zimbabwe, at times entering on tourist visas.

"Inevitably, part of the story becomes how our teams are trying to avoid being found and arrested, rather than focusing on the people of Zimbabwe," the BBC's world news editor, Jon Williams, wrote on a blog on the BBC site about resuming reporting in Zimbabwe. "Operating illegally and clandestinely has to be a last resort. So I'm pleased that we've been assured by the Zimbabwe government that the BBC is not banned, and that we can resume our operations in Zimbabwe."

The Post is the only foreign newspaper that has been allowed to operate in the country since 2007.

The other media outlets are television networks South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Network; and news agencies Agence France Press (AFP) and Associated Press (AP).

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MDC minister took phone but didn't steal - lawyer

MDC minister took phone but didn't steal - lawyer
Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:36:24 PM

The lawyer representing MDC deputy youth minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu who was arrested over the theft of a cell phone admitted that his client took the phone but denies theft.

Mahlangu was arrested on Tuesday afternoon and is accused of stealing war veteran Joseph Chinotimba’s Nokia 2310 cell phone at a conference two weeks ago.

According to Mahlangu’s lawyer Charles Kwaramba, Chinotimba is suing for US $19 million because he lost business during the period the phone had been stolen.

Mahlangu, the MP for Nkulumane Constituency in Bulawayo, has been held at Rhodesville Police Station in Harare since Tuesday and was due to appear in court on Thursday.

Kwaramba said although Mahlangu took the cell phone out of the conference venue, he denies having stolen it.

“He got the phone from one of his assistants who picked it up. It had been dropped on the floor. It was picked up by somebody and they handed it over to him thinking that it was his because he has a similar phone. He then said it wasn’t his, and what transpired thereafter is that he kept it. He wanted to give it back to the organisers of the conference,” the lawyer said.

He said Mahlangu, who stays in Bulawayo, immediately left for home after he was handed the phone. According to Kwaramba, his client could not return to Harare in time to hand over the cell phone because of his busy schedule.

“But he doesn’t have this phone now. He had given it to another minister (youth minister Saviour Kasukuwere) who has the phone. He gave the phone sometime ago to that minister. So it is not really like he has had the phone for the past two weeks,” he said.

There were reports claiming that Mahlangu only handed the phone after he learnt that the woman who had the sim-card had been arrested.

Two women, Geraldine Phiri and Patience Nyoni, who are alleged to be involved in the same case, have been in custody since last week.

They are charged with contravening a section of the Telecommunications Act for allegedly using a sim-card without the owner’s permission. The two appeared in court initially on Wednesday but the case never took off.

It is alleged that Mahlangu sat at the same table with Chinotimba during the lunch break when the latter left his mobile phone on the table while he collected some food, and on return he could not find his mobile phone.

Police later tracked the number with the help of the network provider and arrested a woman who was using the sim-card in Hwange, about 900km away from Harare.

The woman allegedly implicated Mahlangu when she was arrested.

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Congolese attack Zambians at Kasumbalesa border

Congolese attack Zambians at Kasumbalesa border
Written by Mutuna Chanda
Friday, July 31, 2009 3:32:58 PM

CONFUSION reigned at Kasumbalesa border yesterday afternoon when some Congolese nationals attacked the Zambian side following reports that a fellow national had died in detention.

The Zambia-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border was closed after the Congolese attacked Zambian registered vehicles and anyone who seemed Zambian both on the Congolese and Zambian sides.

The Congolese were incensed by reports that one of their fellow nationals who was part of a group that was detained by immigration officers had died in custody in Zambia.

According to an eyewitness who did not want to be named, the Congolese pelted at vehicles damaging some of them and charged at anyone who seemed Zambian on the DRC side and the no-man's-land. The eyewitness said the mob surged towards the Zambian side.

Police officers fired warning shots and teargas canisters to disperse the crowds that were advancing onto the Zambian side.

A transporter, who was caught up in the confusion, said the Congolese, some of whom guard trucks at the border, were upset and were under the impression that Zambians were killing their fellow nationals.

The transporter, who also declined to be named, said there were a number of rumours at the border among the Congolese including information that of the 20 fellow nationals who had been detained in Zambia, 15 had been poisoned in detention.

And a businessman, Patrick Tembo, who operates from the border said immigration officers had abandoned their offices and were helping out police officers in restoring calm on the ground.

But police sources dismissed the reports of a Congolese dying in custody, saying of the 60 that had been detained in July, about 30 were still in detention because they had failed to pay the admission of guilt fine.

When contacted for comment, Chililabombwe District commissioner Timothy Musonda said the situation had come under control.

Musonda said he was by press time at the no-man's land meeting Kasumbalesa mayor.

Ministry of Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Ndiyoyi Mutiti said she had received information about the skirmish earlier in the day and was awaiting a full report.

"I received information about the skirmish but as to Zambians being attacked, that I have not received," said Mutiti.

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