Friday, September 04, 2009
Land Grabs: A direct infringement on Land Rights
Countries with surplus money are pushing to find land, water and good climate. And recently more global corporations are looking at Africa in a different way, not seeing the hungry, but rather, noticing the extensive land mass.
By Michael Muleba, Executive Director, Farmer Organisation Support Programme
01. September 2009
The international hunger for farmland is causing unrest around the world as farming has become a serious business with an estimated 800 million people going hungry by the end of 2008 (Robyn Joubert, 2009). Countries with surplus money are pushing to find land, water and good climate. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 3 billion hectares of additional land will be required to meet projected food demand in 2050 – and nearly all of this will be in developing countries.
Africa, with only 14% or 184 million hectares of its arable land under cultivation, is a prime target for such land grabs. Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Sudan, Senegal and Zambia are all good examples of where foreigners have invested in these agricultural resources. Land grabbing is happening through various ways including: land purchases, long term leases, and large investments in existing farms as well as barter-type principles. Major drivers of current land grabs are the increasing global food insecurity, petrol dollars, agro-fuels and the current credit crunch. The people suffering from this land grab phenomena are the poor – therefore we need to protect them through communal land titles while pushing for sound land policies.
The hunger for foreign land
To feed the world we have to double global food output in 21 years, says Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agricultural Business Chamber – South Africa. Expanding food production at the same rate as demand will be difficult as global farm land is disappearing rapidly, making this target harder to achieve. About 50 million acres (over 20 million hectares) vanish each year to urbanization, population growth and economic and industrial development. In Iraq, 30% of farm land is expected to be lost through upriver damming in Turkey. Vietnam lost 1.2 million acres (485.623 ha) of farm land from 2001 to 2007 through developments including over 100 golf courses. In China and India many of the most fertile areas are being developed for roads and factories. “There is a new wave of investment in land by developed countries like the US and developing countries like China, as a result of the pressure to satiate the world’s energy and food requirements in the long term” says Dr Purchase.
Neocolonial land grabs
In October 2008, the global food security-focused NGO Gran issued a report citing over 100 examples of what are termed neocolonial land grabs. “Africa is the last region with potential for considerable horizontal expansion in terms of commercial agriculture”, says Dr Purchase. And Dr Mohammed Karaan, Dean of Faculty of Agri-sciences at Stellenboch University, points out that many countries have been pushed to invest in good natural resources, which are becoming increasingly scarce.
Dr Karaan says until now, the US has led foreign purchasing, although its forays were mostly into South America. “Japan is also active and to some extent, Taiwan. But China has probably taken the lead in terms of investing in foreign farm land because it has the most available cash. China is a giant in terms of consumption and it needs resources to feed itself.” The country has widespread interests in African continent as well as in Burma, Laos, Russia and Kazakhstan.
Petrol Dollars for land
Another investor that should not be ignored is the oil rich, water-poor Middle East, which has surplus cash and is looking to secure food supplies. Gulf Cooperation Council countries are expected to import 60% of their food by 2010, according to the FAO. Arab investors are increasingly attracted to Africa’s agriculture, construction and telecom sectors and are viewed by African states as a useful counterweight to China’s influence.
Sudan is already attracting its share of petrol dollars. United Arab Emirates has farms in several Sudanese provinces, growing wheat and maize. Oil producer Abu Dhabi announced plans in July 2008 to develop 70.000 acres (28.328 ha) of farm land to grow alfalfa for animal feed and possibly maize, beans and potatoes in Sudan.
The world is not only short of food, it’s also short of fuel. The World Bank development Report (2008) on agriculture states that over the last decades, the number of the poor in Africa doubled to 300 million, comprising more than 40 percent of the continent’s population. Yet the demand for agro-fuels seems to be insatiable, more global corporations are looking at Africa in a different way, not seeing the hungry, but rather, noticing the extensive land mass. Africa is an obvious target for agro-fuel developers with its large land mass and relatively cheap labor. Fifteen African countries – nicknamed the Green Opec – have a combined arable land base larger than India available for agro-fuel crop production.
This has led to an expansion of agro-fuel and non-food oil plantations in developing countries. “There’s no doubt the need for oil and energy is another key driver of foreign land buying” says Dr Purchase. Europe for example, is establishing jatropha plantations in Mozambique and Zambia. The Mozambique government favors jatropha and the country has seen a rash of bio-fuel investment – seeing European Company Bio-diesel Africa build two refineries in that country.
Japan and the US are also very active, working their agro-fuel interest into various aid, trade and investment agreements with the African continent. Brazil has cut deals for ethanol imports and technology transfer with several African Countries including Senegal, Nigeria, Mozambique and Angola. China has secured a long-term deal for Nigerian cassava for its domestic ethanol distilleries.
China recently requested 2 million hectares for jatropha cultivation in Zambia, the biggest lease of land in a country which faces a food shortage following flooding and droughts. UK-based D1 Oils has planted more than 156.000 ha of jatropha in countries across Africa including Swaziland and Zambia as well as India and Southeast Asia. Germany’s Flora EcoPower is investing 77 million US$ in Ethiopia. Also, Swedish ethanol producer Sekab group plans to produce 100 million liters of ethanol a year in Tanzania by 2012. Also about to jump on board is British-based energy firm Cams Group, which last year bought 45.000 ha in Tanzania to produce 240 million liters of ethanol a year from sorghum. British firm Sun Biofuels also plan to grow jatropha in Tanzania to supplement yields from its other plantations in Ethiopia and Mozambique.
The fine print
The terms of these land deals vary according to requirements. Some involve land purchases, others long term leases, while some require large investments in existing farms. Others are based on barter-type principles. For example, in May 2008, the Libyan government gave Ukraine an oil and gas contract in exchange for 247.000 ha of Ukrainian land to produce its own food. Some East African countries, like Ethiopia, lure investors by leasing their arable land at minimal cost. The hope is that the resultant job creation, access to capital, agricultural know-how and investment in farming infrastructure will be compensation enough. But it does not always work that way. There are numerous examples of investors using the country’s land and water resources and bringing in outsiders to supply fertilizer, seed, specialized labor and tractors.
A few years ago Libya snatched up an offer to acquire control of 100.000 ha in the office du Niger, Mali’s main rice producing area. As part of the deal, Libya agreed to improve local infrastructure including enlarging canal and improving a road. But when it came to awarding these contracts and to finding a supplier of rice seeds, local firms were snubbed in favor of Chinese and Libyan ones.
Land grabs by foreign countries has become a serious issue in Africa. In one of the most controversial deals, South Daewoo recently acquired a 99-year lease on 1.3 million hectares of land in Madagascar to grow palm oil and maize. The agreement represented half the islands arable land and caused widespread anger, fuelling revolts which led to the death of 135 people and the downfall of President Marc Ravalomanana.
See Chart detailing the amount of land coveted by agro-fuel investors in African States (word doc)
Populations protest, but governments are in charge
The Seychelles recently cancelled a large new hotel development by an international investor which was zoned for 20 ha of prime agricultural land. This followed strong objection from local residents worried about food security. In Pakistan, small scale farmers protested in January 2009 against the government’s plans to invite foreign investors to establish large scale farms, cultivated with heavy machinery. Investors would be allowed to repatriate the all crop. Pakistan already suffers from a food shortage and imports wheat every year, and farmers fear foreign investors taking a share of the country’s production would worsen food security.
In the face of credit crunch, activities by many governments will drive many deals – Angola state media recently reported that Beijing has granted the country a US$ 1 billion agricultural loan. In February, the Chinese president went on a four-nation tour to cement ties with African countries. This month (July 2009), President Barrack Obama was in Ghana, proposing ‘Farm Aid’ for Africa – what does this mean especially on land issues; will we see more land deals?
The question for Zambia is, how are we going to manage and protect our land? What should be the role of the civil society in protecting the poor who are/will be loosing land to foreign investors?
The way forward
The land grabbing has become very sophisticated and the poor are bound to suffer. While we continue lobbying government for policy change, we need to sensitize and assist the poor access and legally own land.
The advertising that agro-fuels will assist small scale farmers is only accurate if decisions about the use of land remain decentralized within the country. The farmers can then decide how to plant xx kilometers of Jatropha tree fencing to produce oil for lamps or soap or bio-diesel for their own vehicles. But this scenario is not the one that global corporations are setting, theirs is the usurpation of huge tracts of African land for overseas consumption, and if they ruin the ecosystem, they will move on.
We therefore need to build the capacity of small scale farmers and their organizations to be part of the new agribusiness dispensation through direct investments as well as in partnership with foreign investors. We need to empower the rural communities’ access and communally own land through ‘Community land titles’ to protect them in the future land concessions.
FOSUP’s interventions in partnership with Nyimba District Farmers Association is about to provide titles to over 150 poor farmers in Mitilizi Resettlement Scheme through ‘Communal Land Title Acquisition Approach’. So far, meetings and agreements have been reached between FOSUP, Ministry of Lands, Department of Resettlement and Ministry of Agriculture.
Posted in north Korea by gowans on September 3, 2009
By Stephen Gowans
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the U.S. journalists who snuck into north Korea and were captured, tried and sentenced by north Korean authorities, have recounted their story in the September 1st edition of The Los Angeles Times. Their op-ed piece is more a propaganda offensive aimed at vilifying north Korea (and excusing their crime) than an honest account of their ordeal.
The journalists, freed last month after former U.S. president Bill Clinton flew to Pyongyang to arrange their release, acknowledged that they entered north Korea illegally, a charge U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton originally dismissed as baseless. The U.S. media, acting in its accustomed role as unofficial propaganda apparatus of the U.S. government, accepted Clinton’s claim, never wondering whether the charges were indeed baseless or how Clinton could know one way or the other.
But while admitting their actions were illegal, the two journalists nevertheless sought to extenuate their guilt. “There were no signs marking the international border, no fences, no barbed wire,” they wrote, suggesting they stumbled innocently into north Korea, and that part of the blame lies with north Korea for failing mark its border clearly. They also suggested that their guide had ‘set them up.’
But it’s clear the two journalists (a third, cameraman Mitch Goss, eluded capture) knew they had crossed an international border. They were led by a seasoned Korean Chinese guide who knew the terrain. And they recognized that the frozen Tumen River, which they walked across, marked the frontier. When “our guide beckoned for us to follow him beyond the middle of the river” (i.e., the international border) “we did, eventually arriving at the riverbank on the North Korean side,” the pair wrote.
Ling and Lee had travelled to the area to interview what they called “several North Korean defectors – women who had left poverty and repression in their homeland.” The designation of the women, economic migrants, as ‘defectors’ (are Mexicans who cross the Rio Grande ‘defectors’?) is a standard practice of Western journalists seeking to vilify an ideological enemy. So too is the obligatory reference to ‘repression.’
Yet while the journalists invoked hoary anti-communist shibboleths, they failed to cite even the flimsiest evidence that the women were fleeing repression, noting only that “most of the North Koreans we spoke with said they were fleeing poverty and food shortages.”
Indeed, it is poverty, not political repression, which compels north Koreans to leave their country. They leave in search of a better life elsewhere, just as poverty compels countless Latin Americans to migrate to the United States, many illegally, also in search of a better life.
Ling and Lee failed to ask, or indeed to illuminate, why north Koreans are poor and short of food in the first place, implying, in the standard U.S. media fashion, that north Korea’s command economy has failed north Koreans. The real reason has much to do with U.S. foreign policy.
Korea scholar Bruce Cumings explains that north Korea “has been sanctioned since 1950, when the Korean War began. It’s been isolated by the United States since the regime was formed in 1948.”  Why? According to David Straub, director of the U.S. State Department’s Korea desk from 2002 to 2004, “North Korea’s closed economic and social system means the country has virtually nothing of value to offer the United States.”  U.S. policy since 1948 has been to pressure north Korea militarily and economically to open its doors to U.S. exports, investments and military bases. Pyongyang has, however, successfully resisted Washington’s pressure, remaining closed to U.S. domination, and therefore remaining of virtually no value to the U.S. corporate class. As a consequence, it is an object of U.S. enmity.
Despite being sanctioned, north Korea managed to rebuild after the Korean War (the U.S. Air Force flattened every structure in the country over one story) and was able to grow economically at a faster pace than south Korea, until the mid 1980s. And this despite the reality that south Korea received huge injections of aid from the United States and Japan, while Pyongyang received far less from the Soviet Union and China.
A major set-back came when the socialist bloc collapsed. North Korea was deprived of its markets, and this eliminated counter-pressure against the West’s sanctions. Now, the sanctions bit more deeply.
On top of economic warfare, north Korea faced unceasing U.S. military hostility. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops were stationed on Korean soil, and continue to be stationed there, while 40,000 more are deployed in nearby Japan. U.S. warships patrol the country’s maritime borders, and U.S. warplanes fly menacingly close to its airspace. Washington introduced battlefield nuclear weapons into the Korean peninsula soon after the war, and while claiming the weapons have since been withdrawn, refuses to renounce the first strike use of strategic nuclear weapons against north Korea – and refused even before Pyongyang acquired its own nuclear weapons capability. The principal reason north Korea embarked on a program of nuclear proliferation is to deter U.S. nuclear aggression. Had the U.S. Strategic Command not announced in the early 1990s that, with the Soviet Union having collapsed, it was re-targeting some of its missiles on north Korea, Pyongyang might never have withdrawn from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
North Korea hasn’t been the only country to face Washington’s hostile treatment. What Felix Greene wrote in 1970 of China and Cuba, remains true of north Korea today.
“The United States imposed a 100 percent embargo on trade with these countries; she employs great pressure to prevent her allies from trading with them; she arms and finances their enemies; she harasses their shipping; she threatens them with atomic missiles which she announces are pre-targeted and pre-programmed to destroy their major cities; her spy ships prowl just beyond these countries’ legal territorial waters; her reconnaissance planes fly constantly over their territory. And having done all in their power to disrupt these countries’ efforts to rebuild their societies by means of blockades to prevent essential goods from reaching them, any temporary difficulties and setbacks these countries may encounter are magnified and exaggerated and presented as proof that a socialist revolutionary government is ‘unworkable’.” 
Faced with much larger, hostile adversaries (south Korea’s military budget is many times larger than north Korea’s) Pyongyang has been forced to channel a crushingly large percentage of its meagre budget into defense. With scarce resources going to the military, productive investments can’t be made. That, in combination with sanctions and financial isolation, has meant poverty for millions of north Koreans.
The United States used the same strategy against the Soviet Union. The Reagan administration spent massively on an arms build-up in the 1980s in an effort to spend the Soviet Union into bankruptcy.  As the Soviets struggled to keep pace, their more limited resources were diverted increasingly into arms spending. Improvements in living standards were slowed and investment and consumption expenditures were forced to take a back seat to military outlays. U.S. cold warrior Robert McNamara explained the strategy.
“The Soviet Union came out of the Second World War with a brilliant military victory. With heavy casualty and high economic expenditure…this country had three priorities for its plan after the war. 1. Renewing the country’s infrastructure completely so the Soviet people could reach the promise of communism; 2. Rebuilding and renewing the country’s defense in the face of the stalking capitalist world; 3. Gaining new friends in the world, especially in Eastern Europe and the Third World…
“If the United States succeeds in engaging the Soviet Union in an arms race, then all these plans would go out the window…Our goal was very simple: the second priority would, if possible, replace the first priority. In other words, first increasing the military expenditure and last, improving the people’s standard of living…and of course this would affect the third priority as well.
“What is the meaning of this? It means that if the Soviet Union is dragged into an arms race and a massive portion of its budget, 40 percent if possible, is allocated to this purpose, then a lesser amount would be left for improving the people’s lives, and therefore, the dream of communism, which so many people are awaiting around the world, would be postponed and the friends of the Soviet Union and the supporters of the idea of communism would have to wait a long time…On the basis of this calculation, the arms race may even threaten Soviet ideology in Moscow.” 
With few socialist countries left, and Cuba and north Korea struggling with poverty, the received doctrine is that socialism is unworkable. But as author William Blum points out,
“…every socialist experiment of any significance in the twentieth century — without exception — was either overthrown, invaded, corrupted, perverted, subverted, destabilized, or otherwise had life made impossible for it, by the United States and its allies.
“Not one socialist government or movement — from the Russian Revolution to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, from Communist China to the FMLN in El Salvador — not one was permitted to rise or fall solely on its own merits; not one was left secure enough to drop its guard against the all-powerful enemy abroad and freely and fully relax control at home.
“It’s as if the Wright brothers’ first experiments with flying machines all failed because the automobile interests sabotaged each test flight. And then the good and god-fearing folk of the world looked upon these catastrophes, nodded their heads wisely, and intoned solemnly: Humankind shall never fly.” 
“North Korea is the most sanctioned nation in the world,” noted then U.S. president George W. Bush in 2008, adding that it would remain the most sanctioned nation on earth for some time.  Is it any wonder north Koreans are poor and short of food?
While the causes of north Korea’s difficulties are partly endogenous, they are largely exogenous. In an effort to discredit socialism and create the impression that it is misguided and unworkable, anti-communist ideologues attribute all of north Korea’s difficulties to internal factors, deliberately ignoring the larger external causes. Ling and Lee portray themselves as motivated by humanitarian concern over the plight of impoverished and hungry north Koreans, seeking only to bring their hardships to light. But if they were genuinely galvanized to bring relief to north Koreans, they would have trained their sights on the anti-north Korea policies their own government has implemented, rather than blaming the victim. Poor and hungry north Koreans aren’t sneaking across the border into China because they’re repressed, and they’re not poor and hungry because socialism is incapable of providing for their material needs. Prior to the collapse of the socialist bloc, north Korea was a rapidly industrializing country that left U.S. State Department planners in despair that their south Korean neo-colony would never catch up.  North Korea’s problems are not related to socialism. Indeed, it is far more likely the case that north Korea’s socialism has mitigated its externally-imposed difficulties. North Korea’s problems have been largely created by Washington, whose goal since W.W.II has been the domination of the Korean peninsula in its entirety, and the destruction of pro-independence forces within.
1. “North Korea warns of new tests as nuclear standoff intensifies,” Democracy Now!, October 11, 2006.
2. Kim Hyun, “U.S. Has No Intention to Build Close Ties with N Korea: Ex-official,” Yonhap News, September 2, 2009.
3. Felix Greene, The Enemy: What Every American Should Know about Imperialism, Vintage, New York, 1970, p. 292.
4. Sean Gervasi, “A full court press: The destabilization of the Soviet Union,” Covert Action Quarterly, Fall 1990, 21 – 26. 14.
5. Robert McNamara, cited in Bahman Azad, Heroic Struggle, Bitter Defeat: Factors Contributing to the Dismantling of the Socialist State in the USSR, International Publishers, New York, 2000, p. 138
6. William Blum, “The Anti-Empire Report,” September 2, 2009. http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer73.html
7. The New York Times, July 6, 2008.
8. Bruce Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2005.
GLYNNIS UNDERHILL AND MMANALEDI MATABOGE - Jul 25 2009 06:00
The ANC faces a major headache as it tries to stabilise its structures in the Western Cape and North West provinces. Some of the prominent personalities who were part of structures that the party recently disbanded are preparing to fight for their former positions.
The ANC's leadership in both provinces was disbanded for promoting division and factionalism. But less than a week after the two provincial executive committees (PECs) were given the boot, lobbying has already started to return them to power.
Former North West secretary Supra Mahumapelo, his chairperson Nono Maloyi and former Western Cape chairperson Mcebisi Skwatsha are likely to make a comeback when the provincial conferences are called in the next nine months. The three are now ordinary members of the ANC.
Skwatsha said he would stand for re-election if nominated. "I will be happy and ready to lead the ANC. I believe I have a lot to offer."
Mahumapelo refused to say if he would accept or decline a nomination to stand again. But his supporters told the Mail & Guardian they were preparing to return him to office.
Although Skwatsha has a dedicated following in the party, Ndoda Ngemntu, the Western Cape ANC Youth League spokesperson, said he would prefer not to see him re-elected because the PEC had failed in its duty.
"We raised a number of complaints, including that we have to reach out to all communities in the Western Cape. The ANC is popular in the African townships, but we have to practise non-racialism," he said.
Khaya Magaxa, the SACP provincial secretary, said the SACP was delighted that the ANC had heeded its call for intervention.
"Our major concern was the squabbles within the ANC in the province and the fact that those in government were battling with those in the organisation."
Skwatsha did not deny that factionalism existed in the province, but said he had tried to counter the problem in the short time allocated to his team.
Only two months after the PEC was elected in September, he pointed out, the national ANC appointed a task team to run the province.
"It [factionalism] has been there, and it is something no one in the ANC should be proud of," he said.
The M&G has learnt that the branches which installed the North West PEC will field the same list of candidates as was submitted to last year's Sun City conference.
"Our position is very clear that the same leadership will emerge," said a regional executive committee member from Bophirima.
The opposing group, which lost the election last year, will adjust its list, adding former MP Khotso Khumalo to challenge Mahumapelo for the position of secretary.
Although Mahumapelo commands enormous support, Khumalo might present a serious challenge. He is the former organiser of the ANC Youth League in the province and has built a national profile as a member of Parliament's portfolio committee on communications.
"We need someone who will rebuild our structures, someone who is strong in administration, because we're starting from scratch," said a member of the group supporting Khumalo.
Mahumapelo's supporters were adamant this week that they would not settle for anyone else. But an ANC provincial office staffer sympathetic to the disbanded PEC said it would be difficult to erase the legacy of Mahumapelo, whose supporters referred to him as "Jesus".
Meanwhile, a row has erupted over speculation that Lynne Brown, the outgoing Western Cape provincial deputy chairwoman, and Sipho Kroma, the ANC provincial secretary, have been drafted into an interim provincial task team, while Skwatsha has been sidelined.
Ngemntu said that Gwede Mantashe, the ANC secretary-general, had not had permission to draw up a list of 22 interim task-team members the list should have come from the national working committee.
Mantashe visited the regional offices this week and met several leaders who were on the task-team list, which has been leaked to media and party members.
"We will not support a bunch of irresponsible politicians," Ngemntu said. "Brown and Kroma have failed as leaders and we will strenuously object to them being in the task team."
JAMES MACHARIA | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - Sep 04 2009 12:36
Workers at South Africa's Impala Platinum, the world's No. 2 platinum producer, attacked union leaders who tried to persuade them to return to work, injuring a top union official, the company and union said on Friday.
Implats spokesperson Bob Gilmour said on Friday there was still no output at Implats' biggest mine, Rustenburg, where workers on Thursday evening stoned and beat union officials who tried to persuade them to accept Implats' pay offer and go to work.
The strike at Impala Platinum (Implats), which supplies a quarter of world's platinum, is in its second week.
Shane Coshane, a spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers, South Africa's biggest union, said divisions within the union were showing.
"Factionalism is starting to emerge, there was a fight at Rustenburg, and some leaders were attacked," Coshane said.
South Africa produces four-fifths of the world's platinum, which is mostly used in making catalytic converters to cut pollutants from car exhausts, and in jewellery. The strike has not had affected platinum prices, largely because of a slump in the car manufacturing sector.
But there is still concern the strike could spread after workers at Anglo Platinum also rejected a pay offer. Another round of wage talks at Anglo Platinum is due on September 7.
Pete Matosa, the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) deputy president, was injured in the attack late on Thursday and taken to hospital, Implats and union officials said.
"There were stones thrown by some rogue elements among the workers, and he was hit in the face," Gilmour said. "I understand he was trying to persuade them to take the offer and return to work, but some guys were angry with that."
NUM's Coshane said leaders were convinced that Implats' was unlikely to budge from its pay offer of a 10% increase and agree to the workers' demands for a 14% wage raise. Workers also want transport and housing allowances.
Implats, facing lower earnings and rising costs, has said it cannot afford the 14% pay increase, which is more than twice inflation of 6,7%.
No formal wage talks were planned for Friday after talks this week failed to bridge the divide, Gilmour said.
Gilmour said most workers on strike at its smaller Marula mine had returned to work, production had re-started and would run a full day and night shift on Friday and Saturday.
The company's metal refinery in Springs, east of Johannesburg, had not been affected by the strike, he said.
Gilmour said all employees at Rustenburg's processing plant were back at work, but the unit could not yet carry out any operations because the mine was at a standstill.
The strike has so far cost Implats more than 20 000 ounces. The Rustenburg mine produces about one million ounces a year. -- Reuters
By Nyasa Times
Published: September 4, 2009
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika will join Zambia President Rupia Bwenzani Banda and Mozambique’s Armando Guebuza at this year’s Kulamba traditional ceremony of the Chewa people of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia in Katete on Saturday.
Accoridng to a report monitored on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Mutharika, Banda and Guebuza will officiate at Kulamba traditional ceremony of a large ethnic group, the Chewa people, who are settled across the three countries. ZNBC quoted the statement released Zambia by State House Aide, Dickson Jere.
Malawi authorities also confirmed that Mutharika will grace the annual traditional homage-paying ceremony in Katete District at the headquarters of the Chewa people, situated about 490 kilometres south of the Zambian capital, Lusaka.
This will be the second time for Mutharika to attend the Kulamba ceremony. The Malawi leader and Guebuza together with the late Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa graced the same ceremony in 2007.
Kulamba traditional ceremony is meant for Chewa people to pay homage, explain their achievement and problems to their paramount chief, Kalonga Gawa Undi, who is the overseer of his people in the three countries.
Kulamba traditional ceremony displays various Chewa dances, particularly the Nyau dance performed by male youths clad in a mask, feathers on the head, animal skins and sacks on their private parts.
Nyau dance, which is performed as a symbolic process for a young male’s turning into adulthood, is shrouded in secrecy. Nyau dancers emerge from the nearby bush with their attire smeared with mud to disguise themselves.
By Nyasa Times
Published: September 4, 2009
South African engineering company Thuthuka Group has entered into a $10,6-million joint venture (JV) agreement with Globe Metals & Mining to potentially earn a 25% interest in the Kanyika project, in Malawi. The investment makes it possible to immediately initiate a bankable feasibility study for the project.
According to the agreement, Thuthuka will be responsible for the metallurgy and process design, mining, social- and environmental- impact study, key enabling infrastructure, procurement management, the power plant study and design, and the transport logistics study.
The bankable feasibility study will fast-track the development of the project, which Globe will use to honour a supply agreement.
According to the agreement, Globe will supply 1 000 t/y of niobium to an international client once the project reaches first production, which, the company reports, is expected in 2012. Globe executive director exploration Dr Julian Stephens reports that the 1 000 t of ferroniobium equates to about 700 t of niobium metal, which represents about 23% of Globe’s planned yearly production of 3 000 t from Kanyika.
“The new memorandum of understanding (MoU) increases the proportion of annual production that is subject to a customer supply MoU to 35%,” says Stephens. He adds that the company expects to make further supply arrangements as it progresses the development of the project.
Stephens reports that there is strong community involvement in the project.
“The local community is closely involved in the development of the project. Regular community meetings are held on site to inform all local stakeholders of the project’s progress and potential impacts.
“The company employs up to 44 local people in various capacities during its drilling campaigns. If the project is successfully commissioned, between 300 and 500 people will be employed during operation, and up to 2 000 during the construction phase.”—Creamer Media
By Nyasa Times
Published: September 3, 2009
Malawi’s gospel star Ethel Kamwendo-Banda will perform in West Yorkshire, the northern part of England on September 5 and September 12. Kamwendo-Banda, who is on PowerHouse International Church mission in the UK, will hold a performance at a gospel explosion in Bradford City on Saturday September 5.
The show will take place at the Girlington, 508 Thornton Road, Bradford– BD8 9NA. Next concert for the gospel diva will be Leeds City on September 12. The venue will be St Agnes Church Hall, 21 Shakespeare Close, and Burmantofts –LS9.
Patrons to both shows will be required to pay a contribution of £10 for adults and £5 for children.
Kamwendo-Banda, who has been in the music industry for over 10 years, will be joined by other artists like Pastor Harry Tsegula, Mzaza family and PHI praise team.
Organisers say the line-up has been expanded in response to the request by fans for the inclusion of other artists.
Nyathi - Opinion
Fri, 04 Sep 2009 07:17:00 +0000
Senior Labour politician Tony Benn. He retired from Parliament in 2001 to "devote more time to politics" and he has since thrown himself into anti-war campaigning, all of which he has carefully chronicled.
DEAR EDITOR - I refer to a recent article in which you quoted senior Labour government Tony Benn. Mr Benn is the only establishment figure who has told the truth about the United Kingdom government's hypocrisy about lecturing Zimbabwe on democracy given that country's own record when it ruled Zimbabwe as a colony.
It is a known fact that the majority of Zimbabweans made many fake asylum claims about persecution in Zimbabwe. The fake Zimbabwean asylum seekers were aided in this charade by MDC-T which was providing fake MDC-T membership cards and support letters for a price.
The UK government is also guilty of encouraging this practice because it wanted to build evidence against Zimbabwe at the United Nations, so that it could put Zimbabwe under sanctions.
The most interesting observation is that the same people who faked their asylum claims and have now got legal status in the UK are making numerous trips back to Zimbabwe - the same country that persecuted them according to their lies.
Those Zimbabweans who lied and continue to lie about repression and lack of democracy in Zimbabwe know who they are. By their lies they relegated millions of Zimbabweans to their deaths and made millions more destitute.
The UK government also has to acknowledge its culpability for the sad events have unravelled in the country. It has to admit that it failed to deal with the Land Question adequately when it drew up the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979.
The UK government should also admit that it was wrong to turn a bilateral disagreement with Harare into an international dispute. It should also admit that the impasse between itself and Zimbabwe is mainly to do with the land reforms, its own vested interest in the Zimbabwean economy and the geo-political games the West is playing in the Sadc region against China.
For the UK government to step up on the podium and preach democracy to Zimbabwe is a bit much given the fact that the UK ruled Zimbabwe for almost a century and did not bother to address democracy or human rights issues during that period.
The Lancaster House Agreement only came about because the black Zimbabweans decided to engage in a protracted liberation struggle that made the country ungovernable. So to the ordinary Zimbabwean on the street, the UK government cannot preach the doctrine of democracy to Zimbabwe having utterly failed to bring it about in a century.
This is the hypocrisy Tony Benn is referring to and the majority of Zimbabweans are in total agreement with him. The only honourable thing the UK government should do is to remove the sanctions, revisit the Lancaster House Agreement and honour its commitments pledged then.
That country should also do the honourable thing by granting the failed asylum seekers from Zimbabwe the right to work legitimately and not treat them like criminals. Many Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers are destitute, some have developed mental health problems and others have been deskilled because of being denied the right to work for years.
The UK government is also incarcerating children from Zimbabwe in detention centres, which are basically prisons. This is inhuman and goes against the grain of upholding human rights and protection of vulnerable children.
Since the UK has played a very significant role in the implosion of the Zimbabwean economy (by imposing illegal sanctions against the country) that has forced its citizens to look for greener pastures elsewhere, it is only right that it assists those Zimbabweans in the UK.
It is now an open secret in Zimbabwe that the UK treats failed asylum seekers and deportees from Zimbabwe in a very inhuman way. When the same country then turns around and tells the ordinary Zimbabwean that it is fighting for his/her human rights, the resounding response to that is:
"What a load of codswallop and hypocrisy!" If the West had not deliberately destabilised Zimbabwe, the majority of Zimbabweans would have remained in Zimbabwe and would not have been forced to emigrate and resort to fabricating lies and tarnish the image of their country just to gain leave to remain in the UK. The truth has to be told.
*Nyathi is an acronym for the contributor who wrote this opinion piece.
Thu, 03 Sep 2009 19:00:00 +0000
A MAN from Slough, United Kingdom has been arrested on suspicion of murder of Tarirai Ransome Munjanja - a 23-year-old Zimbabwean man. The man is expected to be interviewed by detectives today following the death of Munjanja after an incident in Bradley Road, Slough, on Saturday.
He was arrested in Maidenhead at about 10.30am this morning. Munjanja was taken to Wexham Park Hospital and died there just over an hour later. The Zimbabwean man was known by many as 'Terry'.
A post mortem, carried out on Sunday afternoon, determined the cause of death as haemorrhage due to a stab wound to the stomach.
Thu, 03 Sep 2009 18:13:00 +0000
THE largest delegation of U.S. lawmakers to visit Zimbabwe in a decade has completed a visit to Zimbabwe and said they are supportive of the inclusive Government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The delegation concluded a two-day visit Thursday to monitor the progress of the inclusive Government formed in February. The visit included meetings with President Robert Mugabe and other senior government leaders, including Prime Minister Tsvangirai.
The delegation included Gregory Meeks (D-New York), Jack Kingston (R-Georgia), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Melvin Watt (D-North Carolina) and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio). The Obama administration, unlike Bush administration, has thrown support behind the inclusive Government.
Meeks said: “Our support for the Zimbabwean people cannot be questioned. U.S. direct assistance to the Zimbabwean people exceeded $310 million, primarily food aid, non-food emergency assistance, health assistance, and democracy building support this year. We have always stood ready to help the Zimbabwean people.”
Meeks said only the inclsuive Government had a "reasonable prospect of delivering benefits to the Zimbabwean people."
Fri, 04 Sep 2009 07:52:00 +0000
THE International Monetary Fund has disbursed US$400 million to Zimbabwe, with an additional US$110 million scheduled for release next week to help the country stave off the effects of the global recession and buttress the economic revival programme, a report in The Herald said.
According to the daily, the funds have already been deposited into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s account.
The IMF last extended assistance to Zimbabwe 10 years ago and has, over the years, been constrained by the blocking vote of US representatives who are barred by the US sanctions law, the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), from voting in support of financial assistance to Zimbabwe.
"The latest development comes in the wake of months of behind-the-scenes interactions between the RBZ and the IMF after the former successfully lobbied for the injection of funds to stimulate the economy," says The Herald.
RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono confirmed the development last night.
"Yes, I can confirm that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe did indeed receive the funds and as responsible advisors to Government, we are consulting widely before any utilisation.
"We have been in constant delicate discussions with IMF technical teams over the past few months and I am pleased to now say that we have gotten somewhere," he said.
Already SDR 262 million, which is equivalent to US$400 million, has been received as the first instalment, with the balance expected next week.
Dr Gono would not divulge more details on the latest development.
"As Governor I have already communicated to my principals in Government this good news and have specifically invited my Honourable Minister of Finance (Tendai Biti) for us to discuss the modalities of operationalising usage of these funds.
"I am very confident that all this will yield very fruitful results over the next few days.
"All we kindly ask of our stakeholders is that we rise above personality issues and work as a nation.
"As a central bank, we express our high indebtedness to the IMF technical teams for their valuable professionalism, and the entire IMF board and management for their continued trust in the Reserve Bank’s capacity to handle and manage developmental resources," said Dr Gono.
The RBZ chief also commended the G-20 for their hand of assistance in seeing the value of transforming the IMF into an institution of "monumental" help to the developing world.
Zimbabwe remains a member of the Bretton Woods institution, following the settlement of an outstanding US$210 million by the RBZ in 2005/2006, a payment that created widespread controversy and debate as some stakeholders argued that Dr Gono and his team should not have released the money.
Zimbabwe last received financial assistance from the IMF in 1999 when it approved a standby facility of US$193 million of which only US$24 million was disbursed.
The IMF move is expected to spur other multilateral institutions to open Zimbabwe’s lines of credit.
Written by Editor
Tyranny is a cancer that can destroy any society. Tyrants do not allow their people to bring out their best and do what is good for the nation. Tyranny is a destructive force that should be fought at every opportunity.
Fear and despair are the greatest allies of tyrants. This is why tyrants try to instill fear and despair in the people they oppress. We all have a choice to make when we are faced with a despot.
We can choose to be afraid and stand for nothing or stand up and be counted. This newspaper has never considered fear or despair a luxury it can afford. Our calling is to stand on the side of truth. Like every human being, we have our emotions, high and low but we do not allow fear or despair to overtake us. Over the years, we have learnt to master these emotions and use them to our best advantage.
Being in business for 18 years in a country that has not always been media-friendly, we have learnt to be nimble and calculating in everything that we do. We do not allow ourselves to be carried away by pride or even excitement about the things that we do. We try not to allow anger or indignation at the many wrong things that we have to report and experience to cloud our judgement.
We strain ourselves to retain objectivity and passion without forgetting the environment in which we work. There is no price too big for us to pay to retain our right and dignity to write as we please. Tyrants will come and go but our people always deserve to know the truth. We strain ourselves to give it to them.
We may make mistakes but never deliberately. Our loyalty is to the truth. It does not matter how uncomfortable the truth might be or who may be offended by it. We write it anyway. That is what The Post stands for. If we were not committed to the truth and the demands that it puts on us, we would not have survived 18 years.
There are many people who have considered us their enemies. They would have only been too happy to destroy us. What is it that has saved this newspaper? It is an unyielding commitment to the truth. You may not like what we say or how we say it but many of our people who are honest will have to admit that we strive to tell nothing but the truth.
We do not feel an obligation to be nice about it. This is because when people are doing rotten things, they shouldn’t expect polite reminders about the rottenness of their actions. We are not their public relations officers. We are not there to make them feel nice about themselves. Our job is done when we report the truth.
We have always said and we say again that you cannot call others to virtues that you are not prepared to live by. This is why when we are called upon to suffer one indignity or the other in the course of defending the cause we have committed ourselves to, we have no problem volunteering.
In the 18 years of our existence, we have been arrested, molested and harassed in various forms but this has not stopped us from continuing with our work. If it did, tyranny would have succeeded. We cannot allow tyranny and its servants to subdue us. We must fight for what is right. This is our duty and also our right.
Tyranny is determined to produce bad men and women out of good men. This happens when we refuse to stand for what is right or when we defend what is wrong.
No one can deny that tyranny is on the upswing in our country. Rupiah Banda and his minions will stop at nothing to subdue all of us. They will use every opportunity that they have to humiliate us and try to break our spirits. But they should know that this is not the first time tyrants have tried to break us. We have lived to tell the story. Frederick Chiluba tried every trick in the book- and he had many - to destroy us but he failed.
He did not fail because there was something special about us or what we did. We decided to side with a force that he could not defeat - that force is truth. Truth has never failed us. It does not matter how vicious or malicious an attack mounted against us is. Truth always triumphs. It may take time, it might even appear unprofitable but it always triumphs.
Proverbs 29:2 says: “Show me a righteous ruler and I will show you a happy people; show me a wicked ruler and I will show you a miserable people.” No honest Zambian will deny that our people are miserable. Our people are angry because they cannot see where Rupiah and his bungling minions are taking us. On every important issue, Rupiah is not prepared to side with the people. Proverbs 29:4 also says: “When the king is concerned with justice, the nation will be strong, but when he is only concerned with money, he will ruin the country.”
This is such an apt description of where we find ourselves as a nation. We have so-called leaders who care nothing for justice but are pre-occupied with money-making schemes. Paramount amongst these schemes is their desire to maintain power at whatever cost. This desire is enough to drive them, to pervert the course of justice by destroying the prosecution of Chiluba’s cases.
In so doing, they have clearly shown themselves prepared to ignore the best interests of our people and concentrate on their own benefit. If they can retain power with Chiluba’s help, then it does not matter what principles, what virtues they jettison on the way. This is the Rupiah type of politics. This is the president who is not concerned about justice and the interests of the people but about his politics and the benefits he thinks that will bring to him.
This is why his government has no problems defending the shameful withdrawal of the appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal. This government sees no reason to protect the fundamental liberties of its people if in so doing, it believes its hold on power will be weakened. This is why we see today, as Hakainde Hichilema has correctly observed, people being beaten at courts of law, journalists being molested in full view of police chiefs. And yet when an ordinary citizen does something that does not please Rupiah, the whole police machinery is unleashed. This tyranny will not stop on its own. Rupiah and his minions will continue to abuse the state machinery to punish their opponents, political and otherwise. This is what tyranny looks like. This is the face of despotism.
We can choose to give in and keep quiet, thereby hope to have some peace. But this would be a shameful choice, a choice that condemns succeeding generations for whom we should start thinking. You have a president like Rupiah who is in his 70s but does not seem to care that he has small children to whom he must leave this country. Even if he left his children all the money that he hopes to earn by being president, Zambia would still be their home.
And if their home is in shambles, their wealth and inheritance would count for very little. This nation is our collective inheritance. We need to look after it. We all have a right to pursue happiness and liberty without fear of state molestation. This is the right that Rupiah and his type of politics threaten. He wants to turn all of us into his praise singers; his minions who have no opinion expect his. No country can develop with this kind of politics.
We owe it to ourselves to say no to this type of politics. We are supposed to be a constitutional democracy run by laws. We will not yield to Rupiah’s whims and capriciousness. It does not matter how many times they throw us in jail or threaten to throw us in jail; we will never yield to tyranny and the threats of despots. We will always write the truth and write as we please. This is our right. Journalism is the avenue that we have chosen to make a contribution to our country. Other compatriots have chosen their avenues. We will not stop them, neither should they stop us. They have the right to pursue their ambitions to serve their country through their chosen vocation and so do we.
Although we say that all of us have the right and should enjoy the dignity to pursue service to our country through our chosen vocations, no one has the right to steal from the people; no one has the right to abuse state resources for their personal benefit. It is this propensity of Rupiah, his minions and all their agents that we will continue to denounce. They can do what they like to us; they can arrest us a million times, we will never stop denouncing their abuses. This is our right; this is our duty.
Written by George Chellah
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:17:37 PM
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema yesterday urged Zambians to join the media in challenging President Rupiah Banda’s dictatorial and corrupt administration. In an interview, Hichilema said the media should not be left to fight alone.
Hichilema said there was no doubt that President Banda had failed to provide leadership in many respects. He warned that a crime does not get eaten away by a rat or ants, saying it remains there.
"Zambians must stand up and say no! I don't know when Zambians will stand up and consider it enough, for me I have reached that position, this is enough. Rupiah Banda was never a leader that was going to provide leadership in this country," Hichilema said.
"This is confirmation of what we knew before Rupiah became President. Zambians will have no say in the governance of their country. The situation will be worse because all that matters to Rupiah is to stay in office in 2011."
He said Zambians would not participate in any governance arrangement in the country under President Banda.
"Where is the rule of law if you can be beaten at the airport, at the magistrate court, if Gaston Sichilima can beat up people publicly? Our systems have collapsed beyond retrieval. Under the MMD leadership you can't retrieve them, look at the Judiciary, what Judiciary can you talk about?" Hichilema asked.
"[Post news editor Chansa] Kabwela is in court today because Rupiah directed that. Everything falls squarely on the inability for Rupiah to provide leadership."
He said Zambians must not be intimidated.
"This is what happens when a government is going out. Just remember what UNIP started doing in the late 1980s. But people stood up...we will stand up against this nonsense you can count on me to stand up to this nonsense. What is happening now is that every move I make they are following," Hichilema said. The end is near we must not be intimidated by these people running in little holes like rats."
Hichilema admitted that there was tension in the country and that President Banda was 120 per cent responsible for this situation.
"He is responsible for the violence, corruption...I agree that this country is under no pilot at all. It's just free for all, we must all come together. We can only succeed together in unity we have succeeded before. I was surprised to hear the European Union saying they are happy with the fight against corruption," Hichilema said. "Our colleagues are not being given correct information. This is what dictators do. When they come for [Post editor-in-chief Fred] M'membe there, the message is clear. The systems have collapsed!"
Hichilema said donors should not sharpen the knife for the corrupt MMD government to cut Zambians' heads.
"The international community should not mislead itself by helping this dictatorial party. They should move away from budget support to project or programme support. By giving money to the treasury it is perpetuating the abuse of public resources," Hichilema said. "Donors should go back to what they used to do. When you have a corrupt and thieving MMD government, budget support is not good."
He said the opposition in consultation with other stakeholders would mount pressure both locally and internationally.
"We can indicate that we are up to something. If you see us in the streets demonstrating and under the law, no one should stop us. That's a clear message and I mean no one. You are going to see various forms of pressure, all legal and all democratic because we know we are dealing with a dictator," said Hichilema.
"We must work together with upright churches. We will mount both an international and local campaign against Rupiah Banda's current violations and dictatorship. This diplomacy prevailing amongst donors is not helping the country. To praise wrong things!"
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:15:42 PM
FORMER first lady Maureen Mwanawasa has said her late husband, Levy Mwanawasa, protected freedom of expression and press as mandated by the Zambian Constitution. And president Mwanawasa's biographer Amos Malupenga said it pained him that people who worked closely and loyalists of president Mwanawasa are not defending or clarifying the wrong and incorrect things that are being said about the late president.
Meanwhile, former president Dr Kenneth Kaunda said the biography is a great narration of the life story of president Mwanawasa, whom he described as a great statesman and revered African leader.
Speaking at the launch of the biography Levy Patrick Mwanawasa - an incentive for prosperity written by Post managing editor Amos Malupenga at Hotel Intercontinental in Lusaka on Thursday night, Maureen said Mwanawasa invoked the provisions of Article 20 of the Zambian Constitution on the protection of freedom of expression.
"Above all he had sworn to uphold the Constitution to its fine details and Zambians came to understand that the rule of law was president Mwanawasa's yardstick of measuring power and authority and God consequently helped him to lead this beautiful country, Zambia," Maureen said.
"Allow me your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen to underscore this point by reading Article 20(1) (2) in the interest of justice and fair play. I need my glasses! Your Excellency Article 20 (1) reads: except with his own consent no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression. That is to say freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference. Freedom to impart and communicate ideas and information without interference whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons and freedom from interference with his correspondence. Article 20 (2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution no law shall make any provisions that derogate from freedom of the press."
She explained why president Mwanawasa allowed Malupenga to write his biography.
"Many of you present here tonight as well as those not with us must be wondering how president Levy Mwanawasa could allow his biography to be written by Amos Malupenga, the managing editor of the most controversial newspaper in our land, The Post to be specific," Maureen said.
"The answer is simple. President Mwanawasa agreed to this arrangement and he said, and I quote, 'I want my biography to be written by someone who can even have the courage to punch holes in my character and my administration'."
She said president Mwanawasa had realized that Zambia had been challenged with the misuse of public funds which made the country's treasury suffer.
"President Mwanawasa believed that there was need to cure the cancer that had gripped the nation and efforts to grow the economy would be futile without change of attitude towards public property and resources," she said
Maureen emphasized that president Mwanawasa spearheaded the corruption crusade on behalf of Zambians and at no time was it a personal agenda.
"President Mwanawasa understood that corruption retarded the economic growth of nations and Zambia was no exception. He recognized one of the factors that has seen Zambia lag behind and remain mired in poverty as the tendency by some leaders and public workers to look after their own interest at the expense of national interests. This in many cases results in dictators who hold large amounts of money in foreign accounts," Maureen said.
She said one of the greatest challenges facing Africa and Zambia in particular was to develop leadership corps that was not entangled in corruption practices.
"The onus is on the electorate to vote for quality leadership. At a higher level, the constitutional level there is need to put in place safeguards that will ensure that there will be no rigging of elections so that the leadership that is put in place in any given African country reflects the will of the nation," Maureen said. "The above stated tenets espoused by president Mwanawasa are by no means exhaustive. What president Mwanawasa stood for cannot be summarized on a platform such as this one."
She said Zambia needed more people of president Mwanawasa's caliber in order for the country and Africa to grow in a sustainable manner.
"President Mwanawasa's visionary leadership can be called an institution and the more we read, talk and champion some of these beliefs, the more we can make a difference for ourselves and the generations yet to come," Maureen said.
She said president Mwanawasa's administration brought the cost of doing business in Zambia down.
"I am sure we have not yet forgotten his famous quote: 'putting money in the pockets of ordinary Zambians and creating a middle income economy'," Maureen recalled. "He believed in hard work. His message was simple, yet poignant. President Mwanawasa believed in leadership for transformation. Leadership which is able to change the way things stand and chart a new path of prosperity into the future. A leadership that can make a country enjoy a great degree of stability and economic growth."
Maureen said having worked closely with president Mwanawasa as one of his special assistants, though not on salary, she was duty bound to be among the advocates of the late president's legacy.
"The date 3rd September bears special significance in the life history of the late president Mwanawasa. President Mwanawasa was born on 3rd September 1948, he was buried on 3rd September 2008 and today [Thursday] 3rd September 2009 we are launching his visionary biography," said Maureen. "Is this mere coincidence? Whatever the reason behind these coincidences, 3rd September will remain a magical and memorable date to me and the children and the rest of the family."
However, government officials or any ministers serving in the current administration who were close allies of president Mwanawasa shunned the ceremony.
And in his speech, Malupenga wondered why president Mwanawasa's loyalists were not defending the decisions of the late president.
"Without sounding political, I just want to say that it pains me, it pains my heart sometimes especially in the last few months when I see the people that worked closely with Mr Mwanawasa. Those who the public know as members of the family tree; you know the story. Those are the people who were considered, not necessarily that they were members of the family tree, I think there was that expression but I am referring to those people who were considered to be Mr Mwanawasa's lieutenants, those who knew him better, those who understood what was happening in the background," Malupenga said. "Of course I discussed this issue with him several times during my interactions with him about the need to appoint people with the necessary competence to execute national duties and he kept on insisting and he said, 'that is very important but sometimes you need to strike a balance because you need to find people who need to be loyal to you, people who are ready to die for you'."
He said during his interaction with president Mwanawasa, the late president mentioned a few names of the people he considered to be his loyalists.
"Of course I singled out that name in the book and that is Mr Alfred Chipoya and he is here, so I want to commend him because I see that he is trying to die a little for Mr Mwanawasa," Malupenga said. "But a point I am making is that there are a few of those who worked very closely with him, who understood him better and he considered these men and women as his loyalists, so to say. There are so many things that are being said about Mr Mwanawasa today, most of them wrong, incorrect and I expect that those loyalists, those who understood him better, those who knew the behind the scenes should cease the opportunity since the man is not here to clarify or defend his position. But unfortunately most of these are very quiet and it pains me that they are not clarifying. They are allowing, to borrow honourable [George] Mpombo's words, they are allowing the legacy to be harassed. I hope honurable Mpombo will not accuse me of practicing politics of braggadocio."
Malupenga said he initiated the idea to write president Mwanawasa's biography when the late president was in Mfuwe during his last working holiday.
"I mentioned to him that there will be need for me to put his life in form of a book by way of writing a biography. He didn't seem so much interested but he welcomed the idea. He said, 'put it in writing. Let's consider it when we get back to Lusaka.' And indeed that is what I did and of course he was busy, there were so many things to look at but in April we met and resolved that we proceed as I proposed," Malupenga narrated. "He was a good family man and goodness, his love was not just confined to his children, I think it was to the entire family."
He commended The Post for giving him time to work on the biography and the editor of the biography, professor Fackson Banda.
"The Post gave me all the support; sometimes they allowed me to stay away from work just to concentrate on this project. I think the entire management and staff, they gave me all the support that I expected and I need from them, for that I would like to thank you all my colleagues," said Malupenga.
"President Jakaya Kikwete wrote the foreword. This foreword in my view is a huge contribution to the summary of the life of president Mwanawasa. He [President Kikwete] has ended his foreword by throwing a challenge to us, he said: 'President Mwanawasa lived his life, our challenge is to live his legacy.' This is a challenge for all of us in this country."
Meanwhile, Dr Kaunda said Malupenga, through the biography had paid a fitting tribute to president Mwanawasa.
"Most of us believed that we knew him [Mwanawasa] well during his lifetime, yet this book tells us more about his story. Amos Malupenga has through his writing this book demonstrated his impeccable aptitude to put together Levy's thoughts before his passing."
He said the story of president Mwanawasa went beyond Zambia's boundaries.
"I am in this regard delighted that another distinguished son of Africa and head of state of Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete has provided the foreword to this book in glorious terms," said Dr Kaunda.
The event attracted a cross section of people in society drawn from the diplomat corps, financial, banking, political, educational, and media sectors.
Written by Patson Chilemba
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:13:51 PM
FORMER foreign affairs minister Mundia Sikatana yesterday charged that statements coming from the state over Frederick Chiluba's acquittal are unprecedented in the history of the country.
In an interview, Sikatana, who is also a lawyer, said when one hears the statements coming from President Rupiah Banda, Vice-President George Kunda and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga, it was as if there should never be any appeals over such matters involving Chiluba. He wondered what President Banda and his government were trying to protect in Chiluba.
"The interest by the state is unprecedented. The manner in which the state is reacting against the acquittal, let us see the views of the Supreme Court," Sikatana said. "When you hear the President, his Vice-President and the DPP, it is as if there should never be such appeals. All I am saying is the law allows for appeals."
Sikatana said the justice system in the country allowed for appeals up to the apex [Supreme Court].
"This matter should not raise so much hullabaloo; I believe that the DPP should allow the case to go on appeal to the Supreme Court to determine based on the judgment of the [Magistrates] court acquitting president Chiluba. In other words, I'm one of those people who wish to see the matter go up on appeal," Sikatana said.
"You will agree that during a lengthy trial, a lot of evidence shown had to make people to conclude that the acquittal cannot stand."
Sikatana said those in authority should not be seen to be protecting those that held high office.
He said if the grounds for the appeal against the acquittal were weak, as claimed by Mchenga, Chiluba would still be acquitted.
"It is not for anybody outside the Judiciary to tell the nation whether or not the grounds are weak," Sikatana said.
He said the matter involving Chiluba gave the nation a guarantee of the future, where those that held high office should be prepared to undergo trial and should not be protected.
Sikatana asked President Banda and his government to stop stifling the justice system in the country.
He said President Banda should try harder because late president Levy Mwanawasa's legacy could not easily be imitated.
He said the manner in which President Banda had handled Chiluba's issue was a major departure from president Mwanawasa's legacy.
"Levy would not have tolerated stifling of justice in the country. This [President Banda's conduct over Chiluba] amounts to stifling. Those of us who seem to have contrary views should not be seen to be inimical to the interests of the state. We mean well," Sikatana said. "When you hold such a position, it is very easy to be cheated, to be carried away by the wind, which the current government should try by all means to avoid."
Sikatana revealed that he was one of those who had been invited to join the group that is seeking a judicial review in the High Court against Mchenga's withdrawal of the appeal against Chiluba.
"All the public is saying is, there is abundant evidence shown publicly... it cannot be buried alive. There was so much evidence. You go through that. What do we do to the evidence? Just bury it? It will rise from the dead," he said.
On Chiluba's calls to have his legal immunity restored, Sikatana said there was no constitutional provision which stipulated that the immunity could be restored once it was lifted.
He said he was in fact the one who raised the motion to have Chiluba's immunity lifted and did not regret the action.
"I don't know of any provision in the law that would compel Parliament that had withdrawn his immunity to restore it. I was MP [member of parliament] when it was withdrawn," said Sikatana.
Written by Patson Chilemba and Chibaula Silwamba
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:12:30 PM
THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) yesterday said it is strange that Frederick Chiluba is asking the association’s interpretation on constitutional provisions over his immunity, saying he failed to do so when he wrote to Parliament. And Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has challenged Chiluba to raise specific legal provisions in the Constitution to back his demands for the restoration of his legal immunity.
Commenting on former president Chiluba's reaction to FODEP to stop abusing its position and allow legal experts like LAZ to interpret constitutional provisions on the lifting of his immunity, LAZ president Stephen Lungu wondered why Chiluba should be concerned about what people were saying.
Lungu said Chiluba wrote to Parliament because he realised that Parliament was an appropriate body to adjudicate over the lifting of his immunity.
"And therefore for us, we find it very, very strange. When they were writing that letter, there was no consultation with LAZ, and now they are asking that LAZ should interpret the law," he said.
Lungu said FODEP had come up with a legal position over the matter, and they reserved the right to speak, saying no one could say that they should not speak.
He said LAZ was not an adjudicating body but could express its views on respective issues.
"I notice, I think in one of the articles, I am being told that they [Chiluba and his team] are saying that 'let the lawyers interpret'. But if they have written to Parliament, then I do believe that they believe that Parliament is the right adjudicator, the right body to decide the issue of his immunity and not anybody else," Lungu said. "So, with regard to that, I would say since they have written to Parliament, let them deal with Parliament, and they should not concern themselves with what people are saying. Because you see, everybody has got the right to express themselves."
On the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) withdrawal of the appeal against Chiluba's acquittal by the magistrates’ court, Lungu said LAZ had deliberately remained quiet because most of the issues touched on the law and the matters were still in court.
He said he could not say anything on the matter because the stipulated 14 days had not yet elapsed and was still waiting to study the judgment.
"Because you see, once we read the judgment, we are going to look at the issues that have been raised, and will come up with a position as to what we think based on the evidence that was before the court," Lungu said.
And FODEP legal committee chairperson Charles Chanda challenged Chiluba to use legal provisions in the Constitution in his arguments.
He wondered why Chiluba's spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba could not point out the perceived mistakes that FODEP made in its interpretation of the Constitution.
"In what sense did they say we are misinterpreting the Constitution? Are they saying those provisions [we quoted] are not there in the Constitution or what? It would have made more sense if Mr Mwamba was being specific on specific issues to enable us respond accordingly. But he has not addressed anything specifically," Chanda argued. "FODEP has got a mandate to comment on the Constitution; it's a constitutional right for any Zambian, for that matter, to express themselves freely. The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in our Constitution."
Chanda said Chiluba's demand for his legal immunity against prosecution to be restored was a constitutional issue and everyone was free to comment on it.
"If we have made any misinterpretation, they are free to specifically interpret the constitutional provisions in the manner that is specific; we have raised specific issues, we are not talking about personalities, and so let them also raise specific issues about our interpretation of the Constitution," argued Chanda.
On Wednesday, Mwamba asked FODEP to stop abusing its position and allow legal experts like LAZ to interpret constitutional provisions on the lifting of his immunity.
Mwamba said FODEP's interpretation was wrong and misdirected.
He said Chiluba's immunity was lifted by a motion of Parliament and it could be restored by such a motion.
"And Dr Chiluba feels very strongly that FODEP should remain, FODEP and other organisations should remain focused on their specific areas of competence. In this case, FODEP's area of competence is election monitoring, voter awareness," Mwamba said. "Let LAZ interpret that. Let us allow LAZ to interpret that, or eminent constitutional officers or constitutional lawyers. Let the court interpret that. FODEP is assuming to be constitutional experts when their role and their specific area of competence is well known.
"They are abusing their position in this country. What we hold is that Dr Chiluba's immunity should be restored. That is what we hold. And I don't think that there is any strong ground not to restore [the immunity]," said Mwamba. "We emphasise that the immunity was lifted by a motion of Parliament, and it can be restored by a motion in Parliament."
In an analysis of the legal provisions in relation to Chiluba's application to the Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa seeking the restoration of his legal immunity from prosecution, Chanda guided Speaker Mwanamwambwa to decline Chiluba's request because the Constitution had no provision for the National Assembly to confer immunity on a former president whose immunity was lifted.
Chanda stated that the jurisdiction of the National Assembly was only limited to removal of such immunity.
He said FODEP strongly opposed the idea of restoration of Chiluba's immunity because doing so would be unconstitutional.
"Article 43(3) of the Constitution provides as follows: (3) a person who has held, but no longer holds, the office of President shall not be charged with a criminal offence or be amenable to the criminal jurisdiction of any court, in respect of any act done or omitted to be done by him in his personal capacity while he held office of President, unless the National Assembly has, by resolution, determined that such proceedings would not be contrary to the interests of the state.”
In this Article, the jurisdiction of the National Assembly with regard to the issue of immunity is clearly limited to the removal of such immunity only and nothing can be read into it empowering conferment of the same. It is on this basis that we are urging the Speaker to respectfully decline such demand and call upon all the members of parliament not to even entertain the idea," stated Chanda.
Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:10:52 PM
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba has said the single biggest issue threatening the inclusive government is the illegal sanctions that continue to be slapped on Zimbabwe. Charamba told state media on Wednesday that the so-called "outstanding issues" that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai kept on raising as potential threats to the unity government were nonentities.
"The sanctions have had a devastating impact not only on the generality of the people of Zimbabwe and economic turnaround efforts, but also on harmony within the inclusive government. This is the single largest threat to the fulfilment of the GPA [Global Political Agreement]," he said.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tsvangirai told journalists that his party could pull out of the inclusive government if it does not work.
As before, Prime Minister Tsvangirai said his party was disappointed with ZANU-PF for not fully obliging to the requirements of the GPA.
He cited issues pertaining to the so-called arbitrary appointment of the central bank governor and the Attorney General by President Mugabe and the delays by the president to swear in Roy Bennet whom Prime Minister Tsvangirai has nominated for the position of agriculture deputy minister among other issues.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai feels his party should have been consulted before the two appointments were made and that Bennet, who is still facing criminal charges for his part in an orchestrated move to militarily topple President Mugabe two years ago, must be sworn in.
But Charamba said these were only bogey issues that MDC employed in covering up for its failures to yield to ZANU-PF demands.
"This is a bogey issue that MDC-T whips out of its deep pockets each time they are confronted with any demand from ZANU-PF. Tsvangirai was not in government when these appointments were made," Charamba argued.
"The President had no obligation to consult him. Is it being suggested that Zimbabwe should have proceeded for all those months that MDC was dithering on inclusivity without a central monetary authority and an Attorney General? Financial transactions are taking place every day with or without a prime minister. Criminals are committing crimes every day with or without an inclusive government. Trying to imagine a Zimbabwe without these two officials for just one hour, let alone eight months, is inconceivable."
Charamba said President Mugabe had made it clear that Bennett's swearing in would only take place if he were cleared of the criminal charges he is facing.
"He decided to be a fugitive from justice when he skipped the border and went to South Africa and President Mugabe cannot consequently just swear him in. Tsvangirai knows that the President cannot budge on this one," he said.
Charamba said President Mugabe would draw the attention of next week's 29th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit to the persistent sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:09:42 PM
CAVMONT Capital Bank has embarked on a series of conversion tests to introduce advanced information technology banking systems to reposition itself on the Zambian market.
Explaining the bank’s repositioning theme of ‘Embracing Change’, company acting marketing and communication manager Astrida Kaseba said Cavmont Capital was getting ready to play a significant role on the Zambian financial market.
Kaseba said the repositioning process of the bank started two years ago when the board decided to recapitalise the institution through a rights issue on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) that resulted in raising over K15 billion.
She explained that the theme of ‘Embracing Change’ defined the changes that the Zambian financial market was going through and how Cavmont Capital Bank was embracing the changes to better position itself in the Zambian banking sector.
“We are replacing the current IT system, the micro banker which has served us well over the last 10 years. With continued technological advancements, we decided to switch to a more advanced system which is currently being used by our sister banks in Namibia and Botswana,” Kaseba said. “The micro banker, which was also being used by other banks in Zambia, is being phased out by the service providers who have developed a new and more advanced banking system, so last week, we had the first conversion test and we shall soon implement the new banking system in order to offer innovative products and services.”
She said employees were currently being re-trained to keep abreast with the new and ever changing banking environments in areas such as banking technology, innovation, credit risk management, customer service and relationship management, among other skills.
“Lastly, we will look at the market position of the bank and to realign its products and services and to get value proposition to its customers, shareholders and other stakeholders as well as visibility,” said Kaseba.
Written by Florence Bupe
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:08:02 PM
A FOREIGN exchange market analyst has urged caution on the prospects of the kwacha as there is likely to be an upturn in dollar demand during the last quarter of this year.
According to a foreign exchange alert released by Standard Chartered Bank titled ‘The great moderation in African foreign exchange’, an analysis conducted by Stanchart UK senior foreign exchange strategist, Robert Minikin, warned of a possible slump in copper prices, a situation which could impact on the performance of the kwacha, considering Zambia’s economic exposure to the copper market.
“Given the powerful surge in copper prices, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Zambian kwacha has traded with a firmer tone in recent months. We remain cautious on the unit’s near term prospects as there is a seasonal upturn in demand for US dollars in the fourth quarter, while our commodity team warns that copper could suffer a setback as prices are stretched a long way above the cost of production,” he warned.
He observed that the reopening of some commodity export markets and the improvement of other commodity prices had greatly helped in the recovery of currencies.
“Encouragingly, some commodity export markets have now reopened, such as that for diamonds, while some commodity prices are now substantially above the levels which seemed likely just a few months ago, notably copper, helping the Zambian kwacha,” he stated.
Minikin further indicated that the powerful foreign exchange cycles over the last five years were expected to give way to more orderly trading conditions.
Written by Mutuna Chanda in Kitwe
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:06:16 PM
STANDARD Bank London head of Commodity Research, Walter de Wet, has said copper prices may fall from the current level of over US $6,000 per tonne but may not decline to lower than US $4,200.
And Standard Bank South Africa head of Africa Research Group Economics, Yvonne Mhango, has said Zambia’s inflation is unlikely to drop below 10 per cent this year and will mainly be driven by the rate at which food prices increase.
Meanwhile, Standard Bank Group Southern Africa chief economist Goolam Ballim noted that Africa will be less of a priority in donor funding as most of the developed states that supported it are hit by the economic downturn.
During an economic briefing on the global and Zambian economies with a special focus on copper in Kitwe on Tuesday afternoon, de Wet said the current projections of the lowest prices of copper for the remaining part of the year could be upgraded from US $4,200 per tonne to US $4,500 per tonne.
He said that he did not see stronger copper prices this year than the current levels owing to high debt levels on the world market.
De Wet cited the United States consumer expenditure patterns which showed that four to five per cent of spending was taken away from the global economy and channelled to savings which was not the case prior to the world economic downturn.
He said consumer spending in China could not be matched with the US.
De Wet also warned of expected lower global car sales which had recently been on the rise in China, among other markets.
He said car sales were expected to drop after an end to government supported policies in some markets for people to buy cars.
De Wet said lower car sales were not good news for copper, aluminium and steel, among others.
And Mhango projected Zambia’s end year inflation at 13.7 per cent.
She also projected that Zambia’s economy could grow by 3.9 per cent this year, and forecasting the country’s exchange rate at K5,180 per US dollar at the end of the year.
She further said the effects of the global economic downturn were more telling on Zambia’s external exports sector as reflected by the overall depreciation of the kwacha against major convertible currencies.
Mhango however said Zambia’s real economy, which excluded copper, had not been so much impacted and cited the strong performance of the wholesale and retail trade, construction, transport and telecommunications sectors.
And Ballim said Africa suffered the indirect consequence of the economic downturn although its banking sector was healthy.
He said Africa’s trade and foreign investment inflows had been affected as a result of the global economic downturn.
Ballim further said remittances to African countries declined owing to job cuts in developed countries where Africans worked in the Diaspora.
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:04:49 PM
COMMERCE minister Felix Mutati yesterday said the exclusion of many countries, including Zambia, in negotiations for world trade talks is complicating the conclusion of the Doha development agenda.
Speaking ahead of the mini-ministerial meeting taking place today in India with only a few selected countries to be in attendance to discuss global agriculture negotiations, Mutati said in Lusaka that all WTO-member countries must be involved if the discussions were to be meaningful and to result in binding agreements.
It is expected that the conclusion of the global round of trade talks under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) known as ‘Doha agenda’ would help to mitigate the impact of global recession through improved and fair world trade.
“In fact we have said that exclusion of certain countries especially LDCs and formation of groupings are complicating the process to have meaningful discussions since all of us must be involved, it is fine to have bilateral talks but negotiations should involve all of us including least developed countries (LDCs),” Mutati said.
“WTO rules are based on consensus that what is discussed and negotiated must be agreed upon by all parties and that nothing is concluded unless everyone has been consulted and agrees to the proposals, so there must be no exclusions because whatever outcome of those isolated meetings will not be accepted by the rest of the WTO membership hence the Doha talks will become a complicated issue.”
He explained that there were too many trade distortions and restrictions and various forms of trade barriers that needed to be addressed at the WTO level for the Doha round to make progress.
“We have tariff issues relating to the non-agriculture marketing access (NAMA) and the big powers have agriculture subsidies so even when they give you market access, how do you compete with products that are highly subsidised and despite opening doors for trade, the same big economies still impose various forms of non-tariff barriers so that our exports do not enter their markets,” said Mutati.
“And there are barriers like Rules of Origin and sanitary and phyto sanitary (SPS) standards but why should we pass through many rigorous stages just to export in fact these measures prevent us from entering their markets despite the door being wide open.”
Today, India is expected to host a mini-ministerial meeting in an effort to break the impasse towards concluding the Doha Round of WTO expansion.
Trade ministers from only a few countries, out of the 150-WTO membership, have been invited to discuss issues relating, but not limited, to agricultural negotiations.
Labels: FELIX MUTATI
Written by Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Friday, September 04, 2009 5:02:52 PM
AFRICAN Union (AU) commissioner for Economic Affairs, Dr Maxwell Mkwezalamba has said current global financial crisis has made African countries realise the need for urgent financial integration.
During a working session on formulation of a strategic framework and action plan for enhanced engagement of Sub-Saharan Africa with the World Bank, Dr Mkwezalamba said the AU was looking forward to the World Bank’s review of Africa’s financial access mobility rate.
“We at the AU are looking forward to a favourable conclusion by the World Bank as they table the financial access mobility rate either today (Tuesday) to enable low income countries access more loans in the light of the financial and economic crisis. The current financial and global crisis has made Africa realise the need to execrate the agreements for financial integration. I would like to thank the World Bank group too on the regional integration, there is a strong commitment to support Africa’s regional integration and AU is ready to work with the World Bank in this endeavour. We need to execrate this integration as a means of gaining financial independence for our continent,” he said.
Dr Mkwezalamba added that Africa needed to look at mobilising its own resources and called for all countries to support the formation of the Pan African Banking Institution.
And finance deputy minister Chileshe Kapwepwe said the World Bankís credibility had been undermined due to its excessive missions for feasibility studies which took too long.
“Regarding our experience with the World Bank, the rate of reaction of the global financial crisis has been lukewarm. It also lacks predictability in disbursement of resources. For instance a US$20 million budget support facility that was agreed in January 2009 has not yet been released citing an unachieved conditionality. This is despite the country being faced with huge revenue deficits in the budget caused by the crisis. The bank, unlike other IFIs [International Financial Institutions] has been reluctant to frontload assistance to deal with the effects of the crisis,” Kapwepwe said.
“We have also noted that the bank still has an exercise number of missions for feasibility studies on projects, which take too long. These are followed by lengthy projects designs and approvals. This practice has continued to during the crisis without reform. This has resulted in the undermining of the banks role as a global leader in the development financing.”
She added that the impact of the global economic crisis was significantly felt in foreign portfolio investment that declined significantly by 146 per cent at the end of 2008 as a net position from an increase of 52.5 per cent at the end of 2007.
Kapwepwe said this negatively impacted the local currency as the Zambian kwacha depreciated by 45.6 per cent between June 2008 and March 2009.
She further added that this was caused by the combined effects of withdrawal of portfolio investments and falling copper prices.
“This caused a serious fall in revenue from trade taxes which reduced by about 27 per cent below projection in the first half of 2009. Secondly, in an effort to smoothen the volatility that was being experienced with the currency, the central bank intervened in the market from time to time. This resulted in foreign reserves declining from 3.6 months of import cover recorded during the first half of 2008 to 2.8 months in the first quarter of 2009. The reserves have however shown recovery to about 3.3 months of the import cover at the end of the second quarter of 2009,” said Kapwepwe.