This is a rare personal post on this blog, however, I need to get this out of my system. Having watched the lamest excuse for an interview in Christiane Amanpour's self-titled show, what was left of my respect for CNN has sunk to a new low.
How can anyone call themselves an interviewer, when they are 1) completely unprepared, 2) unwilling or unable to listen to the answers and formulate an intellingent follow-up, 3) instead of formulating an intelligent follow-up, simply hurl more accusations, even before the previous question has been answered. I think they managed to tick off even Mugabe opponents. And the facts are pretty easy to find.
1) There are no financial sanctions against Zimbabwe
This is so easily disprovable that it is laughable. Economic/financial sanctions are a matter of record. To quote from the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, Section 4C titled Multilateral Financing Restriction (Multilateral Financing is the type of banking done between governments and the banks that usually lend or extend credit to governments):
Text of S. 494 [107th]: Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY. (c) MULTILATERAL FINANCING RESTRICTION
... the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against--
(1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or
(2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution.
So what are these international financial institutions, where the Zimbabwean government's credit has been frozen, and loans and guarantees withheld, since early 2002? Well that is covered in Section 3 of ZDERA, titled "DEFINITIONS":
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS- The term `international financial institutions' means the multilateral development banks and the International Monetary Fund.
(2) MULTILATERAL DEVELOPMENT BANKS- The term `multilateral development banks' means the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association, the International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Investment Corporation, the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency.
The Effect Of Sanctions
These are the institutions the Zimbabwean government held most of it's credit lines with. These credit lines were frozen in early 2002. We all know the result of a credit freeze on the United States, a country with infinitely more resources than a Texas sized former colony with a neocolonial economy that depends on exports of raw materials and imports of finished goods and fuel. So what were the effects? Well in the year 2002, Zimbabwe recorded it's first ever (considering data from 2000 to 2007) trade deficit. This is the same year consumer prices went into triple digits. And Agricultural GDP growth rate made it's biggest drop before or since. Not a coincidence.
2) Whites farming on stolen land is compensation enough
This should raise the heckles of even the most ardent MDC supporter. The entire issue of compensation has been of compensation paid not to black Zimbabweans, but to white farmers. Under the Lancaster House Agreement's Willing Buyer, Willing Seller program, the British and US governments were to compensate the white farmers for the value of the land (also called 'land purchase'), while the Zimbabwean government was to compensate them for the value of changes made, like infrastructure, buildings, etc. So her complete unawareness of any land reform program is pretty ridiculous.
3) Her complete unawareness of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, the Lancaster House Constitution, and even the Willing Buyer, Willing Seller land reform programme
Christiane Amanpour seemed stunned that land reform was even on the table, even though it was much of what the Liberation war was fought over, and was included in the Lancaster House Agreement through the Willing Buyer, Willing Seller (WBWS) land reform program, back in 1979/1980.
Under WBWS, the Zimbabwean government would compensate the white farmers for the value of buildings and improvements made to the land, and the British and US governments would compensate white farmers for the market value of the land, also called land purchase.
They almost immediately reneged on their obligations, but together with intervention by regional leaders, land reform was held off until 1997. It was in November 1997, that Claire Short Secretary of State in Tony Blair's government to Minister of Lands Kumbirai Kangai:
I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers.
Now unless I am mistaken, when one side of an international agreement pulls out of that international agreement, the other side is no longer obligated to abide by that agreement. So when it is Britain's obligation to fund land purchase, and they state they 'no longer feel' that it is their obligation to do so, not only does that relieve the Zimbabwean government from abiding by the Willing Buyer, Willing Seller land reform program, it possibly also puts an end to the Lancaster House Agreement, which the Zimbabwean government abided by throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s.
There is no proof that anything the government did under the new land reform program, the Fast Track land reform program, was illegal. They were not obligated to compensate white farmers under their own program. You could easily argue that white farmers had been compensated enough, with a century's uses of free land and free labor. The average white farmer had 500 hectares of tobacco under cultivation, and 2000 hectares of idle land. At the same time, the 99% of the population that is African, had been forcibly removed to the low rainfall areas of the country.
4) Her generally condescending attitude
Now condescension is one thing. However, you cannot condescend when you have no grasp of the facts, and on top of that, are consistently wrong about what you believe. Her dismissal of the existence of economic sanctions is a case in point. It made her look, correctly, as someone who has made up her mind and is not interested in such things as facts.
However, her assertion that "archbishop Desmond Tutu is a liberation fighter too" was laugh out loud funny. Can you squint your eyes, and imagine Desmond Tutu as a paid up member of MK? Codename: "The Bishop". 'Some people say' he stashed C4 explosives in his staff and handed them out to his priests to blow up congregations, back in the day. He isn't even a member of the ANC. Enough said.
She made the rather infantile claim along the line that "you were given a beautiful country and look what you did with it", which is mindboggling.
I would rate her interview: F. Next time, do your homework, Christiane.
Paladin accuses NGOs of being paid to stop Malawi uranium mine
By Nyasa Times
Published: October 2, 2009
Paladin Energy Ltd., an Australian company that mines uranium at Kayelekera in Malawi’s northern region, accused some non-governmental organizations in the country of being paid by Western donors to oppose the mining of the metal.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, the Roman Catholic church’s human-rights group, and Citizens for Justice received 49 million Malawi Kwacha ($350,000) from western corporations that are against the use of uranium as an alternative source of energy, Neville Huxham, Paladin’s country representative, told a parliamentary committee on health and population in the capital, Lilongwe.
Huxham didn’t identify the corporations.
The Kayelekera Uranium mine, which will bring in annual taxes and royalties of $45 million for the Malawian government, was commissioned on April 17.
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika said at the opening that the mine “promises to turn the country’s economy around.”
The CCJP denied that it had received any money to be used to attack Paladin.
“Yes, we receive our funding from Catholic Relief Services to carry out our programs in the country, one of which is to monitor uranium mining at Kayelekera,” Charles Chinula, chairman of CCJP, said in an interview Friday from the Karonga district, which borders Tanzania.
“As a civil society organization we want to make sure that uranium is mined safely and in a regulated manner. There are no secrets about our activities on uranium mining.”
The CCJP is concerned that Paladin may back-track on commitments it pledged to the people of Karonga, where it operates the mine, Chinula said.
He accused Paladin of not doing enough to protect water sources from contamination.
There was no harm in mining uranium in Malawi because the country’s uranium is of low quality, Huxhum told the committee.
Huxhum didn’t immediately respond to calls today from Bloomberg News seeking comment. The Citizens for Justice also couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
‘Doing business in Malawi’ – US investors beckoned at breakfast forum
By Nyasa Times
Published: October 3, 2009
The Malawi Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Embassy of Malawi in Washington D.C. held a “Doing Business in Malawi” forum in Washington D.C. on September 30 at the Washington Renaissance Hotel alongside the 7th biennial Corporate Council on Africa US-Africa Summit.
Ambassador of Malawi to the United States, Hawa Ndilowe urged the business community in US to invest in Malawi, pointing out that a conducive business climate has been created.
Ambassador Ndilowe emphasised that Malawi is a safe country, respects the rule of law and investors would enjoy high rates of return on their investment in peaceful nation.
Malawi’s Trade and Industry Minister Eunice Kazembe (pictured) led a delegation of about 13 people from Malawi.
Kazembe reached out to the American business firms by stating clearly that “Malawi is ready and open for business.”
The Minister invited the U.S. Business community to visit Malawi and take advantage of the various incentives for business operators in the southern African country.
She informed U.S. Business firms that the construction of the Nsanje port was underway and that soon Malawi will have access to the Indian Ocean through Mozambique.
The port would also service other surrounding countries and reduce transportation costs in Malawi by up to 60%.
She urged U.S. business firms to seriously look at the various projects in Malawi in the areas of tourism, agriculture, transport, energy and other sectors.
The breakfast meeting attracted about 80 U.S business entities and a number of high profile dignitaries such as the influential democrat -Congresswoman Diane Watson representing California’s 33rd District.
In her remarks at the breakfast the congresswoman appealed to the U.S. business community to consider doing business in Malawi because of its notable achievements in the last five years.
The congresswoman stated that Malawi is one of the shining examples in Africa having been able to achieve food security and feed surrounding countries.
She urged the business community to look at the various investment projects in Malawi and invest in a peaceful, stable country which has been rated the second safest country in Africa after Botswana and the fourth fastest growing economy in the world in 2009.
Congresswoman Diane Watson stated that she was proud to have a President such as Ballack Obama a true son of Africa and that the U.S. and Africa will work together in partnership to assist Africa meet its development goals.
THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) has urged the United Nations (UN) Agencies and embassies based in Zambia to support local entrepreneurs by engaging them as suppliers.
ILO representative for Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia Gerry Finnegan said his organisation was working at linking women entrepreneurs with the ambassadors and head of the UN agencies operating in Zambia.
In an interview in Lusaka during the women’s market day on Wednesday, Mr Finnegan said the UN agencies and embassies should start procuring items from local entrepreneurs especially women.
“I had invited the UN agencies and ambassadors to the market day to mark the end of the month of the Women Entrepreneur and see how they can provide support by buying items from them,” he said.
Mr Finnegan noted that the UN agencies and embassies based in Zambia have massive budgets and should be looking at procuring items from the local entrepreneurs, especially women.
“This is the starting point of trying to encourage the UN agencies and organisations to give support and at the same time, letting them see what Zambian entrepreneurs can offer,” he said.
He said bringing together diplomats would help Zambian entrepreneurs break into new markets.
A number of small businesses think the next step to grow their business would be the export market without realising that other markets within Zambia have not be exploited.
Mr Finnegan said there was a significant market within Zambia, which has remained untapped, adding that there were a lot of opportunities that could enable them access other new markets within the UN organisations.
ILO as a special agency of the UN has links with other UN agencies such as International Fund for Women, International Trade Center (ITC) in Geneva, among others.
Mr Finnegan said the ITC was running a programme called Access the Export Markets (ACCESS) under which a number of Zambian entrepreneurs have benefited from it.
“We don’t see ILO working alone we work with other large number of organisations,” he said.
He however, said the ILO, African Development Bank (ADB) and the office of the First Lady in Egypt were expected to hold an African Women Forum at the end of the month.
The forum will help Zambians and other entrepreneurs in the region exchange ideas and break into the export market.
Mr Finnegan has commended Government for supporting the growth of the local women entrepreneurs in Zambia.
Moyo 'unanimously' readmitted to Zanu PF
ZIMBABWE'S former Information Minister, reputed to be the mastermind behind Zimbabwe's harsh media laws, has rejoined President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF, the party said Friday.
Jonathan Moyo, currently Zimbabwe's sole independent lawmaker, has been welcomed back into the fold, said Ephraim Masawi, Zanu PF's spokesman.
"The politburo considered the application by Professor Jonathan Moyo to rejoin Zanu PF which was unanimously endorsed," Masawi told a news conference.
Moyo is the only independent MP in Zimbabwe's 210-seat parliament where Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has a razor-thin edge with 100 lawmakers to Zanu PF's 99. A breakaway MDC faction holds 10 seats.
He is blamed by critics for crafting Zimbabwe's tough media laws that saw several private newspapers fold during his tenure as information minister.
Moyo quit Zanu PF after falling out with Mugabe and Zanu PF in 2005 after opting to contest as an independent candidate in parliamentary elections. - AFP
It is surprising, and indeed sad, that home affairs minister Lameck Mangani can claim that there is a conspiracy by some diplomats and some citizens of this country to destabilise Zambia by protesting what is clearly a questionable acquittal of Frederick Chiluba and the government’s decision to withdraw the appeal against this faulty judgment. It seems very few of our politicians in government can differentiate between a critic and an unpatriotic citizen out to betray his country.
It seems where there is a critic, they see a traitor, an unpatriotic citizen. In fact, no regard is ever had for the patriotism of their critics, probably unless they happen to die. This seems to be so because those in power, and their ruling party, consider themselves as the government and government as the state. The ruling party, government and their leaders become as sacred as the state.
Any denigration of these institutions and their leaders is tantamount to treason. Criticism per se is non-existent. Hence, whenever opposition to their corrupt and criminal schemes emerges, their first instinct is to smear it with the filth of foreign government being behind it. Every domestic crisis, however self created, will eventually be blamed on foreign governments, on donors.
It is difficult to understand the thinking of these people. Those who support them have the unlimited freedom to do so; they are the only ones who seem to be capable of independent thought and it doesn’t matter who finances them. They enjoy extensive government media coverage and don’t even need police permits to carry out demonstrations in their support. This is wrong. This is dangerous to our multi-party political dispensation and our democracy in general.
Freedom of expression forms the backbone of democracy.
Democracy will only become a reality when there is freedom of speech, including: the freedom, on the part of each individual, to criticise the government and political parties; the freedom of each individual to hold a political opinion that is different from that of the ruling party or the opposition parties; the freedom of each individual to express a political opinion that is different from the ruling party or the opposition; that is: the freedom to have a different line of political thinking and expression.
The enjoyment of the freedom of thought and expression requires a review of the civic education that is oriented towards political manipulation and deceit. Such a form of civic education propagates one line of political thinking at the exclusion of the alternate lines of political thinking. This creates a climate of political intolerance, leading to the infringement of the freedom of thought and expression.
The enjoyment of freedom of expression would require an acknowledgement of the following inclinations in the human persons: the desire to be heard and listened to, the desire to take part in the discussions of the issues that affect one’s life, the desire to provide an input to decisions that affect one’s life and the desire to search and find the truth.
When in a family, the father decides, commands and eventually punishes, without listening to the opinion of others, it is a foregone conclusion that the peace of that home will last only as long as fear or infancy lasts. The day will come when the children will reject such parental authority and will rebel or leave the home. Or they will go out into life diminished.
True love for one’s country is, as it were, an extension of love for one’s family; it is a love given to a wide family. And that which holds within the narrow circle of the home also holds in the wider community which is the nation. Adult people wish to be heard, to take part in discussion and in the decisions which affect their own lives within the national community. People desire to take part. A country is firm and united in so far as its citizens feel that they have a voice in its affairs. This requires that each citizen be allowed one’s own opinion and the right to act with full responsibility and without fear in matters that affect him or her intimately.
Almost 65 years ago, Pope Pius XII wrote: “It is among the rights of citizens which found their expression in a democracy to express their points of view concerning the duties and sacrifices which are imposed on them, not to be forced to obey without being heard” (Christmas message 1944).
Let us work to become a single people. We should not follow leaders blindly; we should critically examine their true intentions, and the direction in which they are leading us. Is it to a richer, more satisfying life? To a life in which we are masters of our own destiny? Or, is it to new forms of oppression, abuse and unfulfilled hopes?
Human beings have an inner propensity to search for the truth and to voice out that truth. This is enhanced within a climate of freedom of thought and expression.
Moreover, human persons are honoured – and this honour is due to them – whenever they are allowed to search freely for the truth, to voice their opinions and be heard, to engage in creative service of the nation in all liberty within the associations of their own choice. Nobody should ever have to suffer reprisals for honestly expressing and living up to their convictions: intellectual, religious or political. We can only regret that this is not always the case in our country.
We can be grateful that freedom of worship is respected. The same freedom does not exist when it comes translating faith into daily life. Freedom of expression is seriously restricted; exposing injustices can be considered as betrayal; revealing some evils of the society is seen as slandering the country.
The respect of the freedom of opinion and expression requires an acknowledgment by each politician and each political party, as well as each individual and each group in the country, of the fact that no person and no group can hold a monopoly of truth and wisdom. As such, room should be left open for an alternative line of political thinking that is wiser and richer than one’s own. It also requires the acknowledgement and respect of each person as an intelligent being, capable of independent thinking and independent opinion.
The people must never be reduced to a mass of subjugated beings vis a vis their rulers, but rather be treated as conscious, intelligent and responsible beings, while those in authority for their part playing their role as servants of the people and carrying out their duties in a spirit of love and justice.
The realisation of the respect of freedom of thought and expression by the government requires that the government be open to criticism and be open to acknowledge and admit its weaknesses and failures.
A first step in the restoration of the climate of confidence may be taken by recognising the true state of the nation. “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32). These words of Christ do not have an exclusive religious meaning. They also express a deep human reality. For too long we have refused to see that and because of this, our country has continued to suffer from many evils. People need to hear the truth. Feeding them with lies and half truths or untruths only increases their cynicism and their mistrust of government representatives.
The enjoyment of the freedom of speech would require that the government allows the people who hold a different line of political thinking an open forum to express their views without government interference. We all know that freedom of expression is the fundamental right for every human being. This right is also enshrined in our Constitution. And it is a matter of justice that it is given to all without discrimination of persons and irrespective of the issue involved. It is sad to note that while those who hold views that are different from those held by those in power are intimidated or silenced in all sorts of ways, are denied permits to hold rallies or processions, the supporters of those in power are given unlimited latitude to do so. It would be disastrous if freedom of expression were not the same for all but dependent on the person who is speaking. Participation in the life of the country is not only a right; it is also a duty that each citizen should be proud to assume and exercise responsibly. However, participation will remain a fiction without the existence of the adequate channels of expression and action: free association of citizens for social and political purposes and the like.
There is nothing sinister about what civil society is doing. Their decision to protest the questionable acquittal of Chiluba and the corrupt decision by this government to withdraw an appeal against that judgment is an open issue that needs no agenda or dark corner meetings. Citizens of this country are free to meet and mingle, discuss, share opinions and views with diplomats accredited to this country. This is a democracy and there is no law that stops citizens of this country from meeting diplomats and discussing with them the acquittal and Chiluba or any other issue that is not of confidential national security matters. And the freedom of Zambians, in this regard, cannot be restricted to issues that those in government feel comfortable about. This is a dangerous path this government is taking. And it is clear to see why they want even to start controlling and regulating the media. This is how tyranny starts. They are on a clear path to tyranny.
Sata wonders why Chiluba can’t be jailed for billions
Written by Patson Chilemba in Kasama
Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:44:43 PM
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata yesterday said Zambians must apologise to prisoners should former president Frederick Chiluba not go to jail. Featuring on Kasama's Radio Mano on Thursday, Sata wondered why Chiluba could not be sent to jail for stealing billions of Kwacha when other people served jail sentences for engaging in petty crimes such as stealing of chickens.
"What I am saying is let's treat all the people the same. There should be no super prisoners," he said.
Sata said PF would be part of the civil society organisations that had vowed to push for the appeal against Chiluba's acquittal through honking and whistling. He asked Chiluba to stop being stubborn but instead repent before the Zambian people for stealing their money.
On Chiluba's statement that he had a damaging dossier against his alleged thieving and corrupt activities, Sata challenged Chiluba to disclose whatever he knew about him and not resort to threats.
He said he had a lot of temptations to steal when he served as local government minister but he was not as greedy as Chiluba who bought himself 300 pairs of shoes and begged President Rupiah Banda's government not to appeal against his acquittal.
Sata said he was cleared by the courts and had no quarrels with the state's position to appeal against his acquittal.
"He is insulting that those who criticise him, they are pocking God's eye. Then you can tell that the person is confused," Sata said. "God did not help Chiluba to steal."
On Chiluba's argument that he contributed towards funding the PF campaigns in 2006 but Sata had failed to account for the money, Sata said PF was not involved in drugs and money laundering but had sympathisers, who supported the party's cause.
"Why doesn't he tell Rupiah Banda to arrest me if I have stolen anything?" he asked.
Sata said he confronted Chiluba over the US $20 million Katebe Katoto arms deal and the US $8.5 million in the Zamtrop account when it was revealed to him by the late Mwanawasa.
"That's when I said 'I can't continue supporting you'. So we stopped following him to the airport and going to court," Sata said. "How can you claim to be a Christian when you are stealing and grabbing other people's wives?"
Sata asked Vice-President George Kunda to pay back taxpayers' money since he had chosen to U-turn on the successful prosecution of Chiluba in the London High Court.
Sata also said the government had spent K400 million to organise several chiefs from Northern Province so that they could come up with a position to endorse the MMD candidate in the forthcoming parliamentary by-election.
He said the chiefs were lodging at MMD Kasama Central parliamentary candidate Burton Mugala's lodges.
Govt is scared of acquittal protests – Lubinda
Written by Margaret Habbuno
Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:43:16 PM
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) spokesperson Given Lubinda has challenged home affairs minister Lameck Mangani to name the diplomats allegedly holding dark corner meetings with some Zambians to destabilise the country.
Reacting to Mangani's statement that the diplomats were holding dark corner meetings aimed at destabilising the country and were behind the planned protests by the civil society organisations, Lubinda said Mangani should name the diplomats who were engaging in such activities.
“I challenge Mangani and President Rupiah Banda to tell the nation which diplomats are sponsoring the civil society organisations (CSOs) to undertake the planned protest. It is just a clear indication that the government is very scared with the honk and whistle [protest]. Mangani is being a coward in his accusations," Lubinda said.
He said the diplomats were highly qualified and mannered people. Lubinda said it was sad that Mangani could reduce them in such a manner.
"Mangani should know that the Zambian community needs the donors more than they need us. So it is important for Mangani to show some element of humility in the way he is dealing with the donor community," he said.
Lubinda advised the government to look at the question of governance from a broader perspective as opposed to being myopic.
"The decision by the CSOs to protest is a domestic issue as much as it is a citizens' issue and Zambians have the liberty to express their opinion and nobody should be seen to take that right away from the citizens," Lubinda said.
He said blaming the donors for the poor governance that the government had shown would not change the present situation in the country.
"If the government wants peace in this country, they should allow for an appeal in the acquittal of former president Frederick Chiluba. Failure to that Mangani should be prepared to face mounting resistance and protestation of the people. Instead of blaming the donors on matters that they don't even have any evidence, they would do well to seek for advice from the donors on how the MMD government can govern the CSOs because the donors are more experienced and have good ideas," Lubinda said.
He said the CSOs should go ahead with the protest because the government did not want to listen to divergent views on national matters.
On Thursday, Mangani accused the diplomats in Zambia of sponsoring civil society organisations to honk and whistle in protest against the acquittal of Chiluba.
Mangani told the press that the government was aware that the planned honking and whistling by the CSOs had the blessings of diplomats.
Rupiah congratulates The Post for its work in Cuba
Written by Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:42:03 PM
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has said he was struck by Cubans’ patriotism and care for their country. In a one-question interview at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport on Thursday, President Banda who congratulated The Post for their work in Cuba said his visit to the Communist island allowed him to appreciate a lot of things.
“For myself and members of my delegation, we have learnt a lot of things that we can emulate back in Zambia especially in areas of health, education, agriculture and patriotism,” President Banda said.
“Patriotism, patriotism as I said earlier on, because I think this is one thing we really all have to learn particularly in Africa. The care for the country, the people, young and old.”
He said Africa and Zambia in particular had to pick up the lesson of caring for the nation.
“It is one major lesson we need to learn from here,” President Banda said.
He said Cubans were very passionate about their country.
President Banda said the Cuban people believed in themselves and were very patriotic to the national cause.
As they took the first step towards the departure gate, President Banda asked The Post reporter in Cuba whether he was remaining behind in Havana.
“Are you remaining here?” President Banda asked. This reporter responded: “Mr President, I operate from here. This happens to be the first bureau The Post opened.”
President Banda: “You are the one who talked to my wife yesterday? She thought you were Cuban.”
The reporter responded in the affirmative.
President Banda urged the reporter to fully learn Spanish.
“Congratulations and continue working hard here,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Banda said relations between Cuba and Zambia had always been good.
He said given his official visit to Havana he expected tangible results from now on.
President Banda, who also visited the African Heroes National Park, said Cubans were wonderful people and envisaged bilateral relations reaching higher heights.
“I think on future relations between our peoples, I foresee a greater future,” he said.
President Banda said very soon a Cuban delegation would be in Zambia to continue with exchanges and then after a Zambian delegation would visit Havana.
He said the Zambian government would also make use of students that studied in Cuba in all aspects involving the island because those already knew Spanish among other things.
“We wish the Cuban leadership full health,” President Banda said. “We wish Fidel Castro full recovery. He is a wonderful leader of the Cuban people who sacrificed his whole life for many people of this world. We shall stand side-by-side with the people of Cuba demanding the lifting of the embargo so that Cuba can develop.”
On his 72-hour-visit, President Banda bestowed Fidel with the Order of the Eagle of Zambia First Division. He toured places of social, economic and scientific interest like the pharmaceutical and biological laboratory, LABIOFAM.
President Banda urged LABIOFAM to help Zambia in fighting livestock diseases including eradication of malaria.
And first lady Thandiwe Banda said she was impressed with the Cuban health care system.
She said the paediatric hospital she visited was impressive.
“Cuba is a lovely country,” Thandiwe said. “I visited the old city [Havana Vieja - Old Havana in English], it is rich with history and I really hope we can also keep [preserve] old cities in Zambia.”
She said what she saw was a big lesson in cultural heritage.
Thandiwe also said she attended the first ladies conference in New York, US that focused on maternal health.
She said as matron of the White Ribbon Alliance she would use the insights from the conference to improve what the alliance was currently doing.
Thandiwe also demanded an end to stigma if HIV/AIDS was to be contained.
Chiluba has been acquitted by govt, not court – Nyirenda
Written by Christopher Miti in Chipata
Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:40:56 PM
FORMER Kasenengwa UNIP member of parliament Timothy Nyirenda has said the government wants to regulate the media to punish newspapers that are critical on issues. And Nyirenda said former president Frederick Chiluba was acquitted by the government and not the court.
Nyirenda, who is also UNIP Revival Forum vice national chairperson, said the media should not be regulated.
“You cannot regulate the media. Let them prepare their own regulation and give them enough time because if you do… knowing well how the government works, they will prepare regulation in such a way to suit them to punish newspapers that are very critical about issues. Tomorrow when they will be going to opposition, they will be the same people who will start fighting for unregulated media," Nyirenda said.
He said the government wanted to regulate the media because they were not happy with the private media.
“Even television stations very soon they will be cracking on them just because they just want to protect themselves before 2011 so that they put rules and regulation on how the media can operate… so that it suits them for campaign. But I’m hoping that Zambians will not allow that to happen, including those who think well in the ruling party,” Nyirenda said. “They should not forget some of these things they pass. Honourable Michael Sata was in the forefront of passing a law so that when people steal motor vehicles they are not bailed. He was one of the first victims, I’m sure now he has learnt that you cannot pass a law to punish the people. Now these who are in power, they have a lot of power. They can do what they want but they should know that tomorrow they will not be there. The same law they are passing now, it will be the same law that will haunt them tomorrow.
“So they should not pass the law to punish others. They should pass the law to protect and serve the society. They should not pass a law to protect themselves. For how long are they going to pass such laws? Chances are 99.9 per cent that in 2011 come June, because now elections have to be held early because of the change in the budget cycle, they will be leaving so they should not regulate the media. They should allow the media to regulate themselves.”
He urged the media not to be selective in their coverage.
And Nyirenda said it was unfortunate that Chiluba's case had been surrounded by politics.
"If the politicians were quiet and the acquittal happens genuinely, one would have said okay they would appeal. But they have refused to appeal. Now one has it that the government actually are the ones that acquitted Chiluba, not the courts. The courts just rubberstamped and it’s unfortunate that if we stop trusting in the courts there will be chaos in this country because right now no politician will trust the court. So the court has got to clean itself. …It’s unfortunate and now this has tainted the whole Judiciary because the Judiciary has got to be really very clean," said Nyirenda. "I will tell you a typical example where the Judiciary went wrong. They had allowed UDA [United Democratic Alliance] at one point, the Chief Justice confirmed that UDA is an illegal organisation but ‘we will allow them to participate in an election’. The Chief Justice allowed that, then later on UDA disintegrated the same Chief Justice allowed the MPs under UDA to sit in Parliament. Clearly all those were terrible mistakes by the Judiciary because there are no MPs for UPND, UNIP or FDD, all MPs are UDA. But the Chief Justice has kept quiet knowing well enough that the same organisation was illegal, was bad and now he has made another one. UDA is not there but the MPs are still there.
“All these are mistakes that even the Chief Justice can’t be trusted. I don't know whether there are a lot of people who trust him. I, personally, I don't think I trust them. So they really have to clean themselves."
Zim farmers to receive $109m donor funding
Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:38:23 PM
ZIMBABWEAN farmers have won a collective US$109 million from donors in efforts aimed at helping the country reap over two million metric tonnes of cereal during the 2009/10 season.
The funding comprises US $74 million announced by the World Bank, US $20 million by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US $15 million extended by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) last week.
USAID and Standard Chartered Bank of Zimbabwe on Wednesday signed an agreement that would enable the bank to expand its lending by US $20 million over five years.
The programme, made possible under USAID’s Development Credit Authority, is targeted at the agricultural sector and will allow the bank to increase the number of loans directly to farmers and enterprises that can provide inputs and technical assistance to small holder farmers with the ultimate objective of increasing productivity and production.
“The credit authority is being established as one of several assistance programmes, above and beyond US humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, which have come about because of President Obama’s commitment to provide agricultural and other assistance to the people of Zimbabwe. President Obama made this commitment to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai during the prime minister’s June 2009 visit to Washington DC. The assistance demonstrates the will of the American people to assist Zimbabwe to restore its once vibrant agricultural sector,” said US Embassy chargé d’affaires Donald Petterson at the signing ceremony.
USAID director Karen Freeman also announced that her organization, through the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, would provide approximately 13,000 vulnerable households with seeds and fertiliser for the coming agricultural season through US $1.7 million in funding to FAO and NGOs.
The World Bank on Wednesday also announced a donation of US $74 million to help poor farmers in Zimbabwe.
World Bank senior agricultural economist David Rohrbach said the money would benefit 700,000 families, helping to buy seeds, fertilisers and other agricultural equipment for the coming harvest.
The money will be channelled through non-governmental organisations involved in the agricultural and humanitarian sectors.
Last week, FAO said it would give about 176,000 vulnerable Zimbabwean farmers seeds and fertilisers for the coming farming season.
FAO's Emergency Coordinator in Zimbabwe Jean-Claude Urvoy said the US $15 million scheme, which is being done in conjunction with the European Union, could possibly double food production this season compared to the previous season when the country reaped 1.2 million metric tonnes.
A decade of economic crisis coupled with intermittent droughts, lack of fuel, tools, seeds and fertilizers has over the years diminished agricultural production.
Others however, blame poor production on seizure of farms from commercial white farmers for distribution to inexperienced indigenous farmers who neither have interest nor agricultural knowhow.
The country, once the breadbasket of the region, has been struggling to feed itself over the years.
The announcements for funding come at a time when the inclusive government was holding a stakeholders agricultural conference that was aimed at finding ways of reviving the shattered agricultural sector in Zimbabwe.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made, senior government officials, bankers, and farming groups were among the participants at the conference, funded by a multi-donor trust fund.
At the conference on Wednesday, stakeholders said a return of the rule of law and respect for property rights were essential to bring back investor confidence and for the restoration of agriculture.
They were referring to the land reform programme in which over 4,000 white farmers have so far had their farms redistributed, mostly without compensation.
A recent report by government stated that since the so-called land reform programme started in 2000, 203 farms out of the gazetted 6,571 farms have been compensated.
The government argues that the rest of the compensation is expected to come from the British government as agreed at the Lancaster discussions.
Role of chiefs in development is cardinal, observes Lumbama
Written by Justin Katilungu in Kabwe
Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:36:42 PM
CENTRAL Province Permanent Secretary Denny Lumbama has challenged chiefs in the province to elect dedicated, selfless and hardworking representatives to the House of Chiefs.
Opening the special provincial chief council meeting in Kabwe on Wednesday to elect three chiefs to represent others in the House, Lumbama said that the role of traditional leaders in spearheading development was cardinal for Zambia.
He said that among the many functions of the representatives to the House would be to initiate and discuss matters that relate to customary law and consider any matter referred to it by the President.
"From this list of functions, it is clear that persons that you will elect to the House should be those who must be committed, hardworking and selfless to the improvement of the status of the people of this province," he said.
The current crop of chiefs to the House was elected three years ago.
Lumbama said that the House in his view could not be the right place for individuals who aimed at advancing their self-interests through membership.
"Let me re-emphasise by appealing that the elements of commitment, hard work, dedication and selflessness should be paramount in identifying people to represent this province," he stressed.
Lumbama said that in Zambia, the government attached great importance to the House of Chiefs.
He said chiefs were cardinal in helping in the improvement of quality leadership and guidance, which were norms that people needed in their lives.
"You and government can influence change in the people's attitudes towards self improvement, consequently chiefs are not only part of our tradition but they are also part of the nation's kit for bringing about necessary social economic change," he said.
Lumbama observed that a number of chiefs had done well while a clique of their colleagues still needed to improve.
Lumbama assured the traditional leaders that the government would continue to undertake programmes aimed at improving their welfare.
He said interventions such as increased chiefs' subsidies were already being made and that most of them now owned vehicles with their palaces lit through solar panels.
And separately, Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union (CSAWU) Kabwe branch chairperson Richard Salivaji junior has urged the government not to use the change of the national budget cycle as a scapegoat for not resuming salary negotiations.
Salivaji said in a statement issued in Kabwe yesterday that the government already foresaw the budget cycle arrangement especially that it even presented a Bill to Parliament over the matter.
"Government cannot wait for the last minute to begin the negotiation process as this is against the spirit of transparency and fair play. We ask the government to call for these negotiations at the shortest possible time," Salivaji said.
He said that upon calling the stakeholders to the negotiations, the government team must attach seriousness to the deliberations considering the time left before the budget presentation.
"We cannot go on heaping the blame on the change of the budget cycle as this was foreseen at the presentation of the bill to Parliament. It is our desire that these negotiations will bear fruitful results for both parties," said Salivaji.
He said the concerns expressed by Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba on government's failure to call for salary negotiations and other conditions of service were timely and justified.
Kwacha appreciates amid copper gains on London Metal Exchange
Written by Joan Chirwa
Saturday, October 03, 2009 5:35:00 PM
THE local currency on Thursday was a touch stronger against the US dollar to close trading at between K4,690 and K4,730. It opened trading during the day under review at between K4,740 and K4,780 against the US dollar.
According to the Citibank treasury market update, the kwacha appreciated on the back of dollar selling on interbank, sparked off by the gains in copper prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME).
“Market players joined the frenzy by tactfully selling dollars yesterday (Wednesday), as they cut their dollar long positions,” Citibank stated.
The local currency was by noon on Thursday firmer with interbank quoting the currency pair at K4,640 and K4,680 per US dollar.
Copper edged higher while other industrial metals retreated in choppy Asian trading on Thursday, with activity muted by the start of a week-long holiday in China.
Sentiment was supported by a US dollar under pressure, which made dollar-priced commodities cheaper, and data showing China's manufacturing sector continuing to gather strength.
Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange added US $7 to $6,162 a tonne, after surging nearly three per cent on Wednesday, thanks to a softer US dollar and end-of-quarter position squaring.
Last week, the local currency had depreciated on the back of sliding copper prices that fell to trade under US$6,000 per tonne.
“The global economy is generally viewed as showing signs of recovery following the crisis and so some analysts anticipate that commodities will hold steady to bullish on account of rising demand, though economic data remains rather mixed, and therefore resulting in bouts of volatility,” stated Citibank.
Zim activists sue state for $500m
CHENGETAI ZVAUYA | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Oct 02 2009 09:58
A prominent Zimbabwean human rights activist and eight others are suing the government for $500-million after terror charges against them were dropped because they had been beaten and tortured, their lawyer said.
Harrison Nkomo, a lawyer for activist Jestina Mukoko, said on Thursday that the national police commissioner, intelligence minister and several police officers were among those being sued for the abduction, wrongful arrest and torture of Mukoko and the others.
Mukoko is seeking $250-million of that settlement, he said, adding that the rest would be split between the other activists.
The country's Supreme Court granted the activists a permanent stay of prosecution on Monday because their constitutional rights had been violated.
Mukoko testified earlier this year that she had been tortured and assaulted in jail. The defendants appeared with bloodied, swollen faces during court appearances late last year.
"It is their prerogative to pursue any legal recourse with regard to any perceived violence they allege may have happened," said police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena. "The police will also advance and argument why they can't be held liable for anything done to Jestina and the others."
Thursday's announcement was made at a press conference hosted by the group Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights. Mukoko attended the conference but did not speak.
The organisation's director Irene Petras also called for Attorney-General Johannes Tomana to resign over his "unethical and partisan" conduct during the activists' trial.
Tomana dismissed the call and told the Associated Press that his officials had been professional.
Accusations that Mukoko and the others had been plotting to overthrow Mugabe had been widely denounced as trumped up and politically motivated. [by the MDC - MrK]
Mukoko was taken from her home in early December and held at an undisclosed location until being jailed December 23. She was freed on bail in March, only to have a Harare magistrate revoke that in May, prompting international criticism.
Some analysts saw the decision to drop charges as a new willingness by judges loyal to President Robert Mugabe to meet demands for reforms.
Mugabe formed a unity government with former opposition leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in February.
Tsvangirai said the case undermined the coalition and called for the dropping of charges against all activists and for attacks against opposition members to be stopped.
Petras said she remained concerned about seven activists from Tsvangirai's party whose whereabouts are unknown.
Hundreds of pro-democracy activists went missing in the wake of Zimbabwe's disputed elections in March 2008. -- Sapa-AP
Biti's HIPC plan triggers concern
Fri, 02 Oct 2009 17:32:00 +0000
THE move by the Minister of Finance Mr. Tendai Biti to declare Zimbabwe a - Heavily Indebted Poor Country, has triggered concern from Advisers on Zimbabwe Debt Management Strategy who say the philosophy has far reaching implications to the economy given that the country is still under sanctions imposed by the same western allies.
Sources close to treasury revealed that the Minister of Finance is working on a Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) project and is deliberately letting the economy bleed by blocking the US$510 million fund given to Zimbabwe by the IMF.
Such a move will lead to the shrinking of the economy to a stage where he can lobby for a decision to declare the country a Heavily Indebted Poor Country.
In principle, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries’ initiative is an intervention jointly structured by the IMF and the World Bank as a way of providing debt relief to countries deemed to be heavily indebted and poor.
And in essence, the underlying philosophy of HIPC is that a country must first publicly announce its vulnerability and degree of high poverty levels and heavy indebtedness before it can get sympathy from the league of lenders.
In the case of Zimbabwe, technocrats feel that there is need for extreme caution to be taken, given that the country is under sanctions imposed by the same people that have a say on whether or not Zimbabwe would get help after self declaration of HIPC status.
It is also important to note that when a country declares itself to be in the HIPC cluster, any delays in the actual assistance as is likely to be the case with Zimbabwe would trigger a sustained worsening of investor-creditors sentiments on Zimbabwe to the detriment of the economy.
If left unchecked Mr. Biti’s HIPC project has the capacity to damage and leave the economy with deep scars that might never heal.
Mr. Biti has over the past weeks been under the spotlight from different sectors which condemned him for holding the country at ransom by blocking the US$510 million unveiled by IMF to member states.
Observers are of the opinion that Mr. Biti is being used by the Western forces to declare Zimbabwe an HIPC state to achieve their regime change agenda as President Robert Mugabe will be held responsible for running down the country by virtue of him being the Head of State and Government.
New Zim constitution on track: Sadc
Fri, 02 Oct 2009 17:12:00 +0000
ZIMBABWE is on track to draw up a new constitution, the head of regional body Sadc's parliamentary forum said on Friday, but he did not say when the charter is expected to be adopted. The new charter will replace the Lancaster House Constitution drawn up in 1979 before independence from Britain.
"I am very confident that Zimbabwe will come out with an answer to the problems of Zimbabwe, including the constitutional dispensation," Prince Guduza Dlamini, president of the Southern African Development Community's (Sadc) parliamentary forum, told Reuters.
Dlamini was speaking on the sidelines of the opening session of the two-day conference of the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA), taking place about 40 km (25 miles) north of Cape Town.
Dlamini did not say when the Sadc, which helped broker the formation of Zimbabwe's inclusive Government, wanted a new constitution to be completed.
The convention in July was part of a process which should lead to the adoption of a new constitution and to elections in about two years.
Dlamini said the charter could have a positive impact on Zimbabwe's neighbours.
"We are all interdependent, so if country X is having problems, those problems are going to filter through to some of the member countries.
"If we are able to live up to the expectations of the community (Sadc), we believe we will develop together," said Dlamini, also the Speaker of Swaziland's parliament.
Dlamini said an Sadc delegation visited Zimbabwe last month on a fact-finding mission and the Sadc parliamentary forum would hold its next plenary meeting in Zimbabwe sometime in October.
COMMENT - Is it a surprise, that a party that has no political history, that has no unifying ideology that it can market to the Zimbabwean electorate and be elected (neoliberalism of the corporate sector), is it surprising that this party has no other arrows on it's bow than 'we will walk out'? Where is there mass support. I want to see them try and convince the Zimbabwean people that ESAP is the way to go. If they can, then they deserve to win, because that is much bigger achievement than getting to power through sanctions. If they could do that, they will have proven that they deserve to be in power and have the backing of the people of Zimbabwe. However, everyone knows that is never going to happen. So much for democracy.
PM Tsvangirai, a principal with no principles
Dambudzo Mapuranga - Opinion
Fri, 02 Oct 2009 10:02:00 +0000
DEAR EDITOR - Flip flop that is the tune that Prime Minister Tsvangirai dances to. An indecisive man can never bring order to his house. This is why the MDC-T is perpetually threatening to do this and that at every turn of the political road.
Like an old tired magician, the MDC-T has one boring trick, which it thinks is a sure showstopper when all else has failed. Their rabbit out of the hat trick has always been the same “when all else fails threaten to pull out”.
How many elections has the party gone back and forth on whether or not it is contesting? How many times did they threaten to pull out of the Sadc-mediated talks? Now the party is threatening to pull out of the inclusive Government because it cannot get its way.
Well, I say tough it is time the other Principals in this inclusive Government told these babies that they are welcome to go back to the playground and play with their dolls.
It is implausible that right after the visit of an European Union delegation the MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai gets this bright idea that his party is going to pull out of the inclusive Government after consultations with “the people”.
The word consultation is one that the Prime Minister likes to use when his has taken a decision or he has been instructed by his principals to take certain action and now wishes to give a pretense of being democratic by fooling his supporters and sometimes coercing them to accept decisions made for them.
Over the past two years Morgan Tsvangirai has traveled far and wide in his consultations.
His closest advisor has been General Ian Khama and his frequent consultation trips to Botswana have always brought a new dimension to Zimbabwe’s politics.
There was that diplomatic offensive right after the elections of 2008 when the Prime Minister and his top lieutenants flew across the globe consulting their many partners in Europe on how best to force President Mugabe out of power.
This would be the first time the Prime Minister has decided to consult his supporters about anything of significant importance.
Remembering that the decisions to participate in elections have always been taken by either the MDC-T’s international friends, the American Ambassador, or by the party President, which is why we have two MDCs because not all in the MDC agree to this sham, one wonders what will come out of this latest escapade.
Mr Tsvangirai’s coming into government was meant to be a chance for the MDC-T leader to redeem himself from the decade long suffering he had bestowed upon the people of Zimbabwe instead he seems hell bent on churning out useless propaganda that further polarizes Zimbabweans.
In his own words PM Tsvangirai has no real understanding on what it means to be Zimbabwean, whilst others were living their homes and families to fight in the War of Liberation he saw their leaving as an opportunity to further his career.
This might explain why he chooses to support the complete eradication of Zanu PF by the West, Zanu PF is the constant reminded of his own inadequacy.
PM Tsvangirai has failed to conceptualize what it means to be Zimbabwean because he never saw anything wrong with Rhodesia and today he still surrounds himself with remnant of a past oppressive era.
He finds security and comfort in the likes of Eddie Cross and Martin Rupiya because they share the same warped values where the white men is superior and the role of blacks it to do as told.
Only a man with no honour and principles can feed on the misery of his brothers and sisters.
For the past couple of months doctors, nurses, teachers and other civil servant have been told to satisfied with the peanuts that Finance Minister Biti has been giving them and yet it turns out the Prime Minister and his entire staff and his ministers have been having tea and crumpets courtesy of the World Bank.
The 'crash and burn' attitude of the MDC-T and its leadership is alien to our African society. Their gospel of destruction and plunder is a serious contrast to what President Mugabe has been practicing since independence.
Was it not President Mugabe who gave the Eddie Cross's and Martin Rupiyas of yesteryear their humanity and yet today they sit in contempt and judgment of the one man who extended to them mercy and reconciliation when there was no real need to.
The butchers of Rhodesia have not changed, instead they have connected with the politically insensitive and have become self-styled messiahs who worship on the alter of money and sacrifice the children of Zimbabwe as offerings to their god in the West.
Like the report card of a delinquent child the MDC-T’s record of operation in Zimbabwe reports incident after incident of regime change activities.
What leader calls for his people to be denied medicines, electricity, water and other provisions until they seem things his way?
While Tsvangirai was busy trying to have all facets of life shut in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe and his team where pushing hard to give a better life to the people of Zimbabwe.
While Tsvangirai was calling for ESCOM to stop supplies of power to Zimbabwe President Mugabe was negotiating to have more power supplied from Mozambique and the DRC.
While Tsvangrai and his support groups where calling on the civil service to strike against the government and seek greener pastures, President Mugabe and his government introduced a skills retention scheme.
While Tsvangirai was calling for sanctions to squeeze life out of Zimbabweans, President Mugabe sought to empower Zimbabwe from all walks of life, farmers received subsidized inputs and implements, schools, colleges and universities received accessories including computers.
The Prime Minister has been in Government since February and with all the money he is receiving from his western backers and yet has failed to give back a dime to Zimbabwe. His global tour proved to be a fundraiser for his support groups and his office.
Zanu PF bigger than individuals
Raymond Utsiwegota - Opinion
Fri, 02 Oct 2009 09:06:00 +0000
IF goings-on at the Zanu PF Youth and Women’s League conferences held in Harare province last month are to be construed as a reflection of what will happen at the National Congress in December this year, then the party needs to act now or go down the annals of history as having consistently and persistently been its worst enemy.
The apparent inertia in dealing decisively with factionalism, itself a manifestation of so-called power politics in the bigger picture of the succession debate is regrettably aiding and abetting regime change maneouvres.
At the moment, the least worry for Zanu PF should be about who will succeed President Mugabe, but rather rallying ranks and ensuring that the tapestry of the party’s electoral appeal is intact, so that it survives the sternest test in its political history.
Members of that party should know that in the event of regime change, and God forbid, the question of who succeeds President Mugabe will become irrelevant. I doubt if any will be as enthusiastic then to do so then as they appear to be now.
It should be pointed out that properly managed conflict is healthy as it stimulates debate and ideas necessary for group development. However, improperly handled conflict is dysfunctional and this is the current state of affairs within the Zanu PF party.
Zanu PF National Chairman, John Landa Nkomo, struggled to decisively deal with factionalism in Harare province. This is an indication of the depth of this phenomenon and the serious threat it poses since members appear to wield so much power to the extent that Cde Nkomo has to tread carefully for fear of alienating faction members whose endorsement he may later need to ascend to the Presidium.
As efforts to separate personal aspirations from party interests are pursued, there is need to establish the beneficiaries of such inertia.
There is a misplaced fear that decisively tackling factionalism and its attendant impact on the succession debate may precipitate a split within Zanu PF reminiscent of the MDC split of October 2005. What utter misinformation by people with a bloated ego. The party is an institution that thrives on collective will and not on personal whims.
Nonetheless, the standoffs between Ambassador Amos Midzi and Deputy Minister Hubert Nyanhongo in Harare Province and the Zvobgo/Hungwe factions in Masvingo have been left unresolved for far too long and, like unattended wounds, could fester and spread to the greater part of the body.
So intense has been the rivalry in the citadel of the Monomotapa Empire that one wonders what could possibly entangle descendents of this great kingdom in irreconcilable differences.
Some critics have written Zanu PF off in Bulawayo following the crossing of the floor by big names such as Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, Macleod Tshawe, Thenjiwe Lesabe, Tryphine Nhliziyo, Effort Nkomo and Andrew Ndlovu, among others, to revive Zapu.
Yet the party has managed to survive without its former stalwarts because personality cults are a thing of the past and the system is greater than individuals.
The costly impact of factionalism should be viewed in the context of Zanu PF’s performance in the 2008 harmonised elections where the party had to field two candidates in some constituencies owing to lack of consensus over which candidate to endorse. This presented other political parties with victories they had neither anticipated nor deserved.
Therefore, divisions have to be bridged because failure by administrators and other luminaries within Zanu PF to re-establish normalcy within the party means that maybe it is high time the First Secretary, Cde Robert Mugabe, stepped in.
But then that would not come as a surprise, considering that he has, more often, shouldered the burden of almost single-handedly defending the party against Western detractors whilst weighed down heavily by fellow party members content on swinging on his coat tails.
Zanu PF and such shenanigans as imposition of candidates, the prime cause of factionalism, are an antithesis.
The credo of the party is that only the most popular candidate gets a short at leading people period.
The party is bigger than individuals and, granted, some people will join while others will leave.
That evolution is natural in any democratic establishment.
Infact, the hallmark of loyalty rests with the ability of cadres to sacrifice their ambitions for the greater good of the party and electorate.
The sooner such cadres come to the fore, the better for Zanu PF and I dare say, easier for the selfish few to leave.
Standard Chartered to loan farmers US$20m
THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Standard Chartered Bank of Zimbabwe on Wednesday signed an agreement that will enable the bank to expand its lending to farmers by US$20 million over five years.
The programme, made possible under USAID’s Development Credit Authority, is targeted at the agricultural sector and will allow Stanchart to increase the number of loans directly to farmers and enterprises that can provide inputs and technical assistance to small holder farmers to increase productivity.
Donald Petterson, a senior diplomat at the U.S. Embassy, witnessed the signing ceremony. He hailed the cooperation between USAID and the private sector to support the recovery of Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.
“The credit authority is being established as one of several assistance programmes, above and beyond U.S. humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe, which have come about because of President Obama’s commitment to provide agricultural and other assistance to the people of Zimbabwe,” said Petterson.
“The assistance demonstrates the will of the American people to assist Zimbabwe to restore its once vibrant agricultural sector,” he added.
Stanchart Head of Origination & Client Coverage Samuel Nhakaniso signed on behalf of Stanchart while USAID was represented by Mission Director Karen Freeman. The ceremony was also attended by senior U.S. Embassy officials and representatives of Stanchart.
USAID Director Freeman also announced that her organisation, through the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, will provide approximately 13,000 vulnerable households with seeds and fertiliser for the coming agricultural season through $1.7 million in funding to the Food and Agriculture Organisation and NGOs.
USAID’s Development Credit Authority Programme is already operational in over 23 countries worldwide, assisting thousands of enterprises to access the financing they need to grow their businesses.
ONE of the 12 nominees to the body that will conduct Zimbabwe’s new elections is a suspected FRAUDSTER on the FBI’s wanted list, New Zimbabwe.com can reveal. Phillip Mazorodze has a warrant for his arrest over charges of “counterfeiting/forgery, fraud and thefts” in the US state of Indiana.
Mazorodze is also listed as “wanted” by the FBI on the Interpol website, but he successfully presented himself as a man of impeccable integrity in interviews for commissioners last week.
His name, along with those of 11 others picked from 25 applicants, has been forwarded to President Robert Mugabe for approval.
But our revelations today will raise new questions about the background checks conducted by Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders into the short-listed candidates.
An alert New Zimbabwe.com reader who couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Mazorodze’s name on the shortlist said: “A little background check will show not only that Mazorodze is not a Dr, but a polished conman.
“This guy is wanted by a lot of Zimbabweans in the United States, especially in Indiana, for conning them. He had to leave his wife and three kids in the US in a huff because the FBI was after him and catching up with him.”
Mazorodze is a founder of a US-registered charity, WISHKIDS. Sources say he used the organisation to appeal for funding from several US companies “under the guise that their donations would be used to support orphaned kids whose parents had died of AIDS in Zimbabwe.”
A source said: “Through WISHKIDS, Mazorodze got computers, printers, medical supplies, clothing, tinned and dried foods and a whole bunch of other stuff that he went on to sell.
“He went on to start a church in Indiana and made himself a church elder. He milked this church dry. It would be sad to have this guy as a member of any organisation in Zimbabwe – let alone the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which must prevent cheating in elections.”
An internet search reveals, however, that some wheelchairs did make their way to Zimbabwe. In May 2008, Mazorodze donated 15 wheelchairs to 12 clinics around Harare promising that 700 more wheelchairs would be delivered from China. It was not possible to confirm if those wheelchairs were delivered.
Our source reveals that Mazorodze, who calls himself Dr, may also be overstating his educational accomplishments.
“He has one of those cut-and-paste Nigerian degrees. He worked in Indianapolis as a physical therapist before they flushed him out,” our source reveals.
It was not immediately possible to obtain comment from Mazorodze last night.
Mazorodze is nominated along with three members of the disbanded Zimbabwe Electoral Commission -- Joyce Kazembe, Theophellus Gambe and Sibongile Ndlovu. The new nominees include University of Zimbabwe Professor Geoff Feltoe, Rev. Goodwill Shana of the Christian Alliance, Anti-Corruption Commission member and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority General Manager Phillip Chigaru.
Moxon: It's like Nazi Germany
by Violet Gonda
KINGDOM Meikles Africa Limited Chairman John Moxon was a guest on SW Radio Africa's Hot Seat programme. In the interview with Violet Gonda, he denies charges of "externalising" foreign currency and claims that he fled Zimbabwe for South frica last year after he was warned that KMAL CEO Nigel Chanakira had motivated Affirmative Action Group Chairman Supa Mandiwanzira, Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, to "molest him".
Broadcast: September 25, 2009
VIOLET GONDA: On Hot Seat this week we continue with the saga surrounding the specification of one of the country’s largest companies, Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited. Last week I spoke to co-Home Affairs Minister Giles Mutsekwa who said he authorised the seizure of the company because Chairman John Moxon committed a serious crime by externalising millions of US dollars. On Thursday I spoke to John Moxon himself, who gives us his side of the story. Thursday was also the day that riot police stopped the company’s shareholders from holding their EGM in Harare, where they wanted to remove group CEO Nigel Chanakira. I first asked Moxon to tell us what happened.
JOHN MOXON: They were to meet in terms of the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) which had been called, giving the appropriate notice – which is just short of a month’s notices. And the purpose of the meeting was to remove three directors from the board. Those being Chanakira himself as the Director and Chief Executive; Callistus Jokonya and Busi Bango – all of whom are closely associated with Chanakira. And they were to be removed because the board felt they were obstructing the process of de-merging the bank from the rest of Meikles – that was Kingdom Bank.
The final resolution was to remove those directors from any of the subsidiary boards of the company. That was the purpose of the meeting. It was to start at 10am and the shareholders assembled at the venue for the meeting but they were told when they got there that there is a court order organised by Chanakira and I assume government to postpone the meeting for two weeks. So the meeting was postponed for two weeks. There were present police and other security forces to ensure that shareholders complied with this order. So they all dispersed and that was the end of it.
GONDA: Was Mr Chanakira himself present for the EGM?
MOXON: No, Mr Chanakira is in Johannesburg. He is allegedly ill, which is one of the reasons given for the court order. In other words they were suggesting that for compassionate reasons the meeting should be postponed. How ill he is I don’t know but we do know from people who spoke to him, yesterday, that he managed to conduct his business quite satisfactory from wherever he was in hospital. So he can’t be that ill.
GONDA: Oh so he is actually in hospital?
MOXON: He was admitted, we understand, to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
GONDA: Is it known what is wrong with him?
MOXON: We heard on record, which is his own voice, voice clips, that he had flu.
GONDA: I spoke to one of the Home Affairs Ministers Giles Mutsekwa and he accused you of externalising funds. Did you commit a crime? Did you externalise funds?
MOXON: Violet, the comment externalisation conjures up in anyone’s mind illegal transfer of monies or assets from Zimbabwe to another country, and that is why I don’t like the word externalisation. In our case money was invested in South Africa from Zimbabwe with Reserve Bank approval and the funds were remitted by the Reserve Bank to South Africa on our behalf. Those were the days prior to the present Reserve Bank governor’s office. It was when Leonard Tsumba was still governor – in other words it goes back before the current people there.
Now the documentation for all this is available and has been given to the Zimbabwe State President in the last few weeks and it is hoped that he will use his offices to rectify these accusations.
As far as the co-Minister is concerned, his comments or his accusations are defamatory and I have handed that over to my lawyers and I imagine they will be taking action against him. He has said things about me which are untrue and which he has to accept responsibility for. I have been advised, in fact, to sue him by other government Ministers – which is interesting. But I am still going to ask my legal people to advise me on what I should do.
GONDA: When you say you got authorisation years ago, you mentioned that it was during the time that Leonard Tsumba was the Reserve Bank governor, how long ago was that exactly, and is it not the case that a company needs to get authorisation for each and every transaction?
MOXON: Yes but that transaction was done in the early 2000s and our whole process of transactions goes back in fact to 1996 onwards. So we are talking over a very long period of time and a period over which the company developed a very good relationship with the Reserve Bank on these investments. Originally the company did its IPO in 1995, 1996 and at that point in time the foreign investors, who had invested in the company, were encouraged to invest on the basis that the company was to go regional and invest not just in Zimbabwe but in the region. And that was the basis in which we raised substantial sums. In fact it was the largest capital raised that Zimbabwe, up to that point, had ever done. And that whole process was negotiated with the Reserve Bank prior to the IPOs and so we are really going back a process of 15 years now.
GONDA: But when you were given this authorisation were you given a blank cheque, you know cart blanche, or the authorisation was just for one transaction?
MOXON: No it was for different transactions. There was a transaction connected to the Cape Grace Hotel (SA), there was a transaction connected with a company called Rebserve. So there were specific transactions at the time and those still exist. The entire business investments of the Meikle group – whether in Zimbabwe or elsewhere - were all displayed in the annual reports every year for shareholders to read and at the investor presentations which were held twice a year for many years – these were all discussed.
GONDA: So can you describe the nature of the allegations against you then and why you think you are being targeted?
MOXON: I think it all goes back to April last year when it came to my view, my opinion that the relationship between us as a family – or me in particular - and (Nigel) Chanakira was not going to survive. The family had the view that he had his own agenda and his own objectives different from the Meikles ones and we didn’t approve with the manner in which he was trying operate or run that company.
Now, moving forward from April, we got increasingly concerned and in August we tried to remove him by calling an EGM for that purpose but he managed to get that blocked in the courts, as we now have now. At that point in time the family – despite having 43 percent of the shares – were isolated because the board of directors as a whole at that time were not terribly supportive of the family nor were certain shareholders. And they all felt that Nigel Chanakira was doing a satisfactory job.
However, by January and February of this year, the major shareholder – Econet -- and the appointees to the board saw that this was not the case and they have been supportive in trying to remove Chanakira from the board. It’s no longer a battle between Chanakira and Moxon which is portrayed in a lot of the press. It is now a battle between Chanakira, his appointees to the board, his friends outside the company, in political circles, and the company itself and management in the company and the workers in the company.
The opinion in the company and the group is that they do not want Chanakira there and hence this effort at the EGM to have him removed and last week's prevention of the EGM from being held has been a big disappointment to management and to the employees of the company because they are really hoping that this situation can be sorted, that the company can progress, that the company can attract additional investment and become a vital company once more, in the Zimbabwean context.
And I am told, although I am in Johannesburg and not in Harare, I am told that the long faces amongst management after the EGM frustration is very relevant. They are furious, they are angry. They are angry that the EGM was once again frustrated, frustrated by elements in government, by Chanakira himself - whether he is ill or wasn’t ill. And all it has done is stop the company from progressing further and looking after its 4 500 employees for the benefit of one or two individuals - in this case probably one individual.
So Violet the issue is that he must go, he must go. He must go his own way and the company must then rebuild and that is where we are at. The whole board, it was the board who called the EGM, not Moxon, not the Meikles family. We were not part of that. It was the board. So over this last 12 months the entire board has gradually come around the view which Moxon saw last year that this man was the wrong man for that job.
And the EGM we had on June 22 – the purpose of that EGM was to separate the group to dis-invest from the (Kingdom) bank. That the bank - which he considers his - goes its own way and that Meikles go its own way. But there were problems involved with that separation and hence the present problems.
The main problem is that the bank has been advanced monies from Meikles to capitalise it properly – in terms of the Reserve Bank requirements – and those funds have to go back to Meikles. And then the case that the bank is going to struggle to do that. So even the de-merger, the publicised de-merger from June 22nd has not been implemented and that is why we still have these problems today. Shareholders at that time were of the opinion that ‘lets de-merge the bank, that the bank goes its own way and let Chanakira go with it and let Meikles then look after itself.’
GONDA: What were the indicators that showed Mr Chanakira was the wrong man for that job because there are allegations that you are victimising him, or only want to remove him from the company because he disapproved with the way you were running the company and had noticed that you were illegally externalising money?
MOXON: Well Violet I think if you were to have a survey today of management and employees and I think the bank inclusive, you will find that there is no support for him. So it’s not me who is saying now that he has been the wrong man for that job. I am saying that, of course I am saying that but I am one of 4,500 people who are saying that and as far as his accusations are concerned, it started off in this manner:
After the merger at the end of 2007, and I will always remember this, we had a very good management conference. He stood up at the conference and told all the managers present and said ‘one thing I can tell you all is that John Moxon is not a racialist’ and then he presented me with a bible, and I have still got that bible. Now that was a start and it was a good start.
But when this dispute started, the first thing that happened was I was accused of racialism. And he has even conveyed those accusations to the State President, which I object to very much. The next thing is he went to the Reserve Bank and made false accusations of externalisation. The next thing that he did was get the family (Meikles) specified, and he achieved that. Now no one is going to start fighting the family’s battles because the family consists of five people only. So no one is going to fight that battle – one of those people is in a mental home anyway. So what does he know about what goes on in the company and in business in general? He is unable to earn a living for his whole life unfortunately.
So now because an EGM was called to remove this man from office, and that EGM was called by the board of directors and not by Moxon, who is no longer a director - he immediately went to government and got his own company specified. Now that I do know for a fact because management, after it was specified, went to see the MDC Minister of Home Affairs to object to the specification - and I noticed that he is saying they were my emissaries. They were not. They were acting on their own and for the 4,500 people. They were concerned and I can understand that. So they went to the Minister of Home Affairs and complained about the company being specified.
Next thing that happens is the EGM being cancelled by government. And that started earlier in the week when the so-called investigators wrote a letter to the chairman of the company saying that anyone who attended the EGM would be committing a criminal offence. They said any shareholder, any employee, anyone -- and if that is not intimidation what is intimidation?
The day before the EGM, the co-Minister had a meeting with the chairman of the company at which the government, through the co-Minister, said they didn’t want this EGM to take place. So they decided that they would stop it on the basis of compassionate grounds for this so-called sick man - and that is what happened. But the result of blocking of the EGM is not whether it hurts Moxon or Chanakira but it has hurt 4,500 people and that is the issue now. And I think there is going to be a heightening of tension now because the company does not want Chanakira and that is it.
Although, I am getting to be an old man now to appoint, the company in fact wants me back and not him. And that is the message you will get if you were to question people in the company, even if you were to ask the waiters, the waiting staff in La Fontaine. If you go to TM supermarkets, the stores, that is the message you will get from them all.
GONDA: Which Minister ordered the blocking of the EGM?
MOXON: It was the MDC Minister for Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa, and he agreed with the Chairman of the company Much Masunda, accompanied by one of the directors of the company called Dennis Stevens; they agreed that on compassionate grounds they would recommend to the shareholders that the meeting would be postponed. Now, when the shareholders as a whole arrived at Meikles Hotel for the meeting and they were denied entry into the meeting place, they were told apparently that a court order had been instituted in the morning with Justice Garwe that the meeting could not take place on compassionate grounds because Chanakira was ill.
Now that was at half past nine; the meeting was supposed to be at 10am and I’m told that they had riot police outside the hotel, they had plain clothes police, there was a real threat there to shareholders who assembled there to do nothing more than to exercise their rights as shareholders to vote.
GONDA: But Mr Moxon, once a company has been specified, is it not a fact that a board, or the company’s board can no longer, or has no legal weight or authority after it has been specified? That under the Anti-corruption Act, once there’s a declaration, the powers of whatever board cease and are then passed onto an administrator?
MOXON: Violet, there are two answers here which I want to make. The first one is, if one was to examine the Act carefully, the board of directors are not restricted from calling an EGM, in fact it is their duty to call an EGM or an AGM, and it’s their duty still to carry out their judiciary duties. In this case, the administrators have adopted powers which are not part of the Act and they are doing this by intimidation of the people in the company.
If you were to speak to some of the management in the company who have close contact with those administrators, it is just like – and I’ll use this expression – it’s just like the Gestapo in Nazi Germany, it is no different. That’s their tactics.
Now the second point I want to make Violet is this, the lawyers, both the company’s lawyers which is Gill, Godlonton & Gerrans, my lawyers which is Sternford Moyo of Scanlen and Holderness have pointed out to government that in fact both the company and the family, the Meikle family, are not in fact legally specified because the specifications were done illegally, they were not done properly and so we are not specified, none of us are specified at law and that the administrators are, as a result of that, unlawfully appointed and it’s a nullity. That is the situation legally but of course in Zimbabwe today, the law - what is the law?
GONDA: It appears from a recent interview you did with Moneyweb recently you only brought in Nigel Chanakira because you wanted him to be a token black face, to be seen as complying with the government’s policy of increased black participation and that you actually never intended to adhere to this policy. Would you agree with that observation?
MOXON: No I don’t agree with that observation Violet. Let me tell you this, in 2007 when the government introduced their indigenisation implications, we as a family decided to embrace that. That was in June, now I know that specifically it was in June 2007, at a dinner in Johannesburg with Nigel Chanakira and his wife. We had dinner and discussed it all and we decided we were going to be proactive. You see, Meikles Africa as it then was, owned at that point in time 34% of Kingdom Financial Holdings. So we knew the people and there are some very good people in Kingdom and we thought we knew Nigel and we agreed to go forward in the proactive sense.
In fact I think with any large business which was viewed as being a white-controlled business, I think we were the only one who proactively progressed along the lines of trying to, not trying, of implementing the indigenisation programme and it was very exciting – we were thrilled with it and this lasted until April 2008. In retrospect I think the job is too big, is just too big for Nigel. That’s the view in Meikles. So it’s not a racial implication at all, it’s just a view on the individual.
GONDA: And you know it’s also believed that Chanakira is a small fish in this whole saga, do you think there is someone or some group or somebody who is bigger or behind Chanakira in this case?
MOXON: Yes, yes.
MOXON: I don’t know who in terms of names but it’s extraordinary, it’s extraordinary how he’s managed to co-opt the State machinery, the State mechanism to assist his position. Now even today, if you have an EGM for the purposes of removing a director, I’ve never heard of a case where that EGM has been postponed because the man in question or lady in question whatever it is, is ill. It’s just extraordinary that the State would step in; the State would step in to deny the shareholders their rights for that reason. It’s just absolutely extraordinary, so where are his influences? I don’t know.
We as a family have always been apolitical; we don’t support the MDC, we don’t support Zanu PF, we have always adopted a completely apolitical approach to business. So we don’t have that sort of clout and I’ve never wanted that sort of clout but he has that sort of clout and I don’t know where it is, I didn’t. It’s basically, it must be Zanu PF I suspect although I don’t know why Minister Giles Mutsekwa has acted as he has – it’s extraordinary to me that. I don’t know.
GONDA: Speaking about the Minister, when I interviewed him last week, he said you sent representatives but you denied this earlier on in the interview, but the minister said you sent in representatives to him and you gave him assurances, through the representatives that you would repay whatever money you externalised. But now you are saying this is a lie, this never happened so what does this really mean? Are you not going to repay the so-called US$21 million that was allegedly externalised?
MOXON: Violet those emissaries, as I think they were described, were not sent to see the Minister by me. They were representing management and the employees of the company, quite rightly to object to the specifications because of its impact on the company and in that context I think they would have told the Minister what they thought. And I don’t know what they told the minister because I’m not privy to that and the Minister at the end or the day after, said he had been misled. He made that comment publicly. These emissaries said that, I understand, that the Minister acted on Chanakira’s advice and he only listened to one side. So they weren’t my emissaries and the Minister has not made any contact with me at all. So that is that situation.
Now as far as the return of funds to Zimbabwe is concerned, those funds were legitimately invested outside Zimbabwe. They were invested with agreements down here in South Africa and so you can’t just suddenly sort of break those agreements and send the money back. But the real issue is this – and this is the important thing – it’s not whether the company should break its agreements with co-investors in South Africa, it’s whether the company should be a responsible citizen, which means that the company will remain a regional operative, a regional investor and attract investment into Zimbabwe, into the company.
Now what hasn’t been given publicity, and I’ll tell you now, is that if this situation is sorted out, the company can expect investment in the company in Zimbabwe of anything up to US$100 million. And that has not been given publicity but that investment is not going to happen, it’s not going to materialise until that company becomes a responsible citizen again. People are very wary about investing, not only in Zimbabwe at the moment, and this is a good example I think, but also in the company unfortunately.
GONDA: But once specified, is it a straightforward task to de-specify the company and also can you translate the loss of business and effects of the specification?
MOXON: Yes, I don’t know legally how easy it is to de-specify, particularly in this case when the lawyers are saying we’re not specified anyway, so I’m not quite sure what the procedure is. All I do say is that it must happen fast because the company is deteriorating rapidly day by day as a result of this. Now where it is deteriorating, it’s deteriorating in its relationship with its bankers, its creditors. The suppliers are worried about it and are not extending normal trading terms to it. We have a relationship in TM Supermarkets with Pick ‘n’ Pay in South Africa and they are very worried about their investment and whether they should be supplying goods and I’m going to see them in fact tomorrow morning to try and discuss that with them.
Now even down to the Cape Grace Hotel with all this going on, it’s in South Africa, it’s in Cape Town and one would think on the surface it’s fairly isolated from what’s going on in Zimbabwe, but one is surprised how all the tour operators who supply the business to the Cape Grace Hotel have all picked up on all this and they’re all contacting the Cape Grace Hotel and saying well should we continue to be putting guests or encouraging guests when they come to Cape Town to go to the Cape Grace. And the Cape Grace management right now having to handle that issue, so it’s doing a lot of damage as we sit here tonight.
GONDA: And in monetary terms?
MOXON: Well let me put it this way, in 2007 at the date of the merger at the end of 2007, the market capitalisation of the group was US$500 million and it was the largest market capitalisation, it was the largest group on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Today, it is unlisted, we’ve lost our listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange so I wouldn’t like to say what it is worth – probably nothing.
GONDA: Are you a fugitive from justice because I understand that you actually fled the country last year and that’s why you live in South Africa? So what is happening here?
MOXON: I’ve been described as two things, the first thing I am, I’ve been described by the company’s attorneys in South Africa as an oppressor – I’m not quite sure who I’ve oppressed, but I’m an oppressor so I’ve got a new way of life now from what I used to have and now I’m an oppressor.
The second thing is a fugitive from justice, fugitive from justice – what does that mean? If you say will I go back to Harare tomorrow morning, which I’d love to do, the answer is "no I won’t" and I’ll tell you why I left Harare which was exactly a year ago and that was in September. And that was just as the family had called for the first EGM to remove Chanakira.
We had a phone call at home in Harare and we were told by a friend to leave our house because we were about to be molested because we had called this EGM. Now we did leave, we left the house and we went and stayed with a friend and then we started making enquiries with some contacts we had and we were told, yes there is nothing wrong in terms of the police which is the same today incidentally, there are no charges of any nature against us today in legal terms, as we sit here today, but we were told that Nigel Chanakira had motivated three members of what is called the Affirmative Action Group to molest us, molest me and I will give you their names right now. One was Philip Chiyangwa, next was a government minister as he is today Kasukuwere, Saviour …
GONDA: Saviour Kasukuwere?
MOXON: Yes and the third one is Mandi, who is current chairholder for the Affirmative Action Group, Supa Mandizvidza.
GONDA: Supa Mandiwanzira?
MOXON: Yes, he was the other person involved in that effort last year. And the fourth one of course is Chanakira himself. So what we are going to do at the age, I’m now 64, I was a younger man last year, I was only 63, so what are you going to do at that sort of age when you get told that these people are going to try and get you locked up in those sort of prison conditions or whatever it is you’ve got in Harare? You reach an age eventually when you lose resilience to face up to that. If I was thirty years old I would have probably told them well I’m going to stay here and go to hell but not at my age.
GONDA: In terms of the rule of law, what does this Anti-corruption law do, as a person who has been affected by this?
MOXON: Well in the case of my family and I, my entire family, we have left Zimbabwe because we don’t want to be harassed by the investigators appointed by government. These investigators have acquired powers which the law doesn’t allow them to have, but they’ve acquired those powers, all of which is intimidatory and very similar to Nazi Germany to be frank.
The law in terms of this Act, this Act is I think fairly unique in the world, I don’t think they’ve got it elsewhere, it was a most unsatisfactory Act, it does not allow for property rights in the normal sense of the word, it doesn’t allow for the rule of law, but even then, in Zimbabwe these people are interpreting the Act to their own advantage so in effect you are living in a complete and utter Nazi Germany type police state and that’s the implication of it.
GONDA: And a final word?
MOXON: The final word is this, since the company was specified, since it was specified, there’s been a lot of interest in the issue internationally about investing in Zimbabwe and about what happens in Zimbabwe and in addition to that there is a lot of questioning of where the MDC stands because of what Minister Mutsekwa has done in this and I think what he did is probably what’s raised interest in this more than anything else because Zanu PF people, I think the international community might have said, well we’ve heard this before, it’s a bit of déjà vu, we’ve heard the land issue, it’s also déjà vu as they see it.
But now that the MDC have appeared to be complicit in the same activity I think that they have an issue, they have an issue internationally which they have to answer for and how they answer that and how the unity government in turn answers this issue will be very, very critical in terms of foreign investment in that country, which we all need to see because there are so many people which are suffering, the Zimbabweans are suffering.
GONDA: OK, thank you very much Mr John Moxon for talking to us on the programme Hot Seat.
MOXON: OK thank you Violet, thank you very much.
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