Saturday, November 21, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009, 5:48
Defence minister Kalombo Mwansa has re-assured Zimbabwe and its citizens of Zambia’s continued support during this period when the Southern African country is facing various social- economic challenges.
Dr. Mwansa expressed government’s hope is confident that the prevailing dark period in Zimbabwe will continue to improve not only for the benefit of its citizens but in the entire region.
He said this during the official opening and closing of the 25th session of the Zambia/Zimbabwe joint permanent commission (JPC) on defence and security held in Lusaka today.
Dr. Mwansa said the peace and stability among the two countries can only be guaranteed in the defence and security services which should continue working closely together in finding lasting solutions to challenges of mutual interest.
He pointed out that there is an increased tendency by illegal migrants from the horn of Africa and other regions to use the Zambia/Zimbabwe border as a transit route.
He observed that incidents of cross-border crime such as smuggling, poaching, cattle rustling and illicit drug trafficking have continued to be a source of concern.
Dr. Mwansa further said there is need for strengthened joint efforts in dealing with these vices.
And Zimbabwe’s minister State for National Security Sydney Sekeramayi thanked all the SADC member countries that have continued to render support to his country.
Dr. Sekeramayi especially thanked the Zambian government and its people for its continuous support especially during the liberalization struggle in which many Zambians lost their lives.
He said despite the Zambian economic development being hampered during the liberalization struggle, the mineral rich country has not stopped supporting Zimbabwe to gain its independence.
He added that the 25th session should act as a stepping stone in laying a firm foundation to strengthen defence and bilateral relations between the two countries.
Saturday, November 21, 2009, 5:46
United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema has thanked the electorate of Solwezi Central for giving the PF/UPND pact victory in yesterday’s parliamentary by election.
Mr Hichilema said the battle was not an easy one and that he was grateful to the people of Solwezi central for listening to his appeal and voting for Watson Lumba.
Speaking when he addressed a meeting at Solwezi show grounds this afternoon, Mr Hichilema urged the people in the Constituency to celebrate the UPND’s victory peacefully without intimidating other people.
He said the journey to 2011 has just begun adding that supporters should continue with the same spirit of uniting with purpose in order for them to continue winning elections.
The UPND leader urged the newly elected Member of Parliament to provide leadership as the victory is not his but for the people that gave him the votes.
He said Mr Lumba should identify issues of development and deal with them expeditiously as there is little time for him to be celebrating his victory.
And speaking at the same meeting newly elected Solwezi Central Member of Parliament Watson Lumba thanked the people of Solwezi Central for giving him an opportunity to represent them in parliament.
Mr Lumba said the victory was for the party and the constituency adding that he will endeavor to represent and serve the people of Solwezi central diligently.
The PF/UPND pact candidate Watson Lumba was yesterday elected as Solwezi Central Member of Parliament after polling 5,669 beating Albert Chifita of the MMD who got 4,457 votes in the parliamentary by election that came after the death of area Member of Parliament Ben Tetamashimba.
By Mutuna Chanda, Brighton Phiri and Patson Chilemba
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has declared that the PF-UPND pact’s Solwezi Central parliamentary by-election victory is an indication that MMD is exiting in 2011 because Zambians are tired of their corruption and failures.
And Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said the defeat of MMD should send a clear message to President Rupiah Banda and his MMD colleagues that people have rejected them and they should therefore start packing their bags.
Meanwhile, MMD’s campaign manager for the Solwezi Central seat Kabinga Pande yesterday conceded defeat. This follows UPND-PF pact candidate Watson Lumba’s win in the Solwezi Central parliamentary by-election with 5,669 votes while MMD’s Albert Chifita polled 4,457.
At the tail end were Forum for Democratic Alternatives (FDA) candidate Muhammed Kalela with 189 votes and independent candidate Thomas Kafula with 51 votes.
Addressing an impromptu thanksgiving rally yesterday at Solwezi showgrounds for Solwezi Central voters for handing victory to Lumba, Hichilema attributed the win to - among others - MMD structures which he said helped the UPND-PF pact carry the day.
“This election we have won against the government, we have won against Rupiah Banda, we have won against George Kunda, we have won against (information deputy minister Elijah) Muchima, we have won against (foreign affairs minister Kabinga) Pande, we have won against the police; the battle was not easy,” Hichilema said.
“Society wants change because they are sick and tired of the corrupt, non-visionary MMD.”
Hichilema thanked MMD structures for helping UPND-PF pact ensure victory. He said the pact used the structures of MMD to win the Solwezi Central seat.
He also thanked elder councils of various tribes in North Western Province for supporting the UPND-PF pact.
Hichilema urged Lumba to provide the servant leadership he had pledged to adopt in his tenure as member of parliament.
He challenged him to get to the people in Solwezi Central constituency and address their problems.
And UPND vice-president Richard Kapita said that if MMD were clever, they would stop fooling Zambians by trying to woo them with salt, sugar, soap and cooking oil, among other items.
He said the people of Solwezi Central taught the MMD a good lesson by handing them defeat.
Lumba in an interview shortly after he was declared winner around 01:40 hours said he won the seat because of the impact of the PF-UPND pact.
“I do not know what to say. I am happy. I won, not because I’m popular, but because of the impact of the pact and the wind of change blowing,” said Lumba. “I thank my president for having had confidence in adopting me as the sole candidate for Solwezi Central, and as such, I will make good representation.”
Lumba also congratulated Chifita for the efforts he put in the campaign race saying that he (Chifita) was welcome to stay in Solwezi.
“I congratulate Chifita for the efforts he put in during the race. If Chifita loves Solwezi, I will invite him to stay in Solwezi,” he said.
And Pande said MMD had accepted the outcome of the result but observed that the electoral laws should be reviewed to address issues such as violence and malpractices that threatened the development of Zambia’s democratic processes.
Solwezi broke into wild celebrations from around 22:00 hours on Thursday night when exit polls indicated that Lumba was headed for victory.
However, tense moments characterised the final two hours before the official results were announced at the Electoral Commission of Zambia results centre housed at the Solwezi Municipal Council as UPND-PF pact members expressed concern over the delay in announcing one polling station which had 209 registered voters.
With 29 polling stations counted, there was an almost two hours delay in recording the results of the last polling station called Kandakanda leading to flaring of tempers in the results centre.
Sporadic comments from among pact members warned against manipulation of the vote though Lumba had an unassailable lead even if it meant that Chifita had gotten all the 209 votes.
Electoral officials explained that the road from the polling station was bad and that ballot papers could not arrive on time.
However, during that time, celebrations had already begun and around 01:40 hours, Solwezi Central constituency returning officer Elizabeth Kanoka declared Lumba as duly elected member of parliament.
And UPND-PF pact candidate Patrick Mwimbila scooped the Nyakuleng’a ward by-election in Zambezi East against the MMD candidate Maseka.
Meanwhile, Sata yesterday said the defeat of MMD should send a clear message to President Rupiah Banda and his MMD colleagues that people had rejected them and they should, therefore, start packing their bags.
Sata wondered where President Banda’s lie had gone because he lied to King Mswati of Swaziland that he received 100 per cent votes in Solwezi during the 2008 presidential elections.
He said the win had shown that the PF-UPND pact was formidable and that people did not buy insults from President Banda and Vice-President George Kunda.
Sata congratulated Hichilema and the traditional leaders in North Western Province who remained non-partisan.
He also mockingly congratulated President Banda and Vice-President Kunda for trying to put up a false impression that they were popular but forgot that they were dealing with people who were much more intelligent than them.
Sata said the MMD should examine their future because their candidate was a former district commissioner who could have easily won if he had performed.
“This is the beginning of diminishing returns for MMD because the loss in Solwezi is very different from Kasama. Solwezi was their seat. So when they start losing what they have, I feel sorry for them. They have started losing what they have so Mr Rupiah Banda must start packing his bags,” said Sata.
“Mr George Kunda must start packing his bags. I am still insisting that ‘why don’t they tell their image builders, those conmen from Luapula to resign so that we can go and take our seats?”
Sata said after President Banda’s loss in Solwezi, the pact would now go for him in former defence minister George Mpombo’s Kafulafuta constituency.
“We don’t want anymore shadow boxing,” said Sata.
He said the pact would raise issues with the mines in Solwezi who denied 3,000 miners from voting in the by-election.
Meanwhile, acting MMD spokesperson Mike Mulongoti said the MMD should take the blame for the loss and not just blame it on President Banda.
Mulongoti congratulated the pact for their victory. He said MMD would need to do postmortem on what went wrong. He said he was disappointed at the loss.
Asked if the vote could be a confirmation on the misgivings some MMD members and the people of Zambia had over President Banda’s governance, Mulongoti said the government was a collective effort and it would not be fair to place the blame on one individual person.
He said the MMD needed to analyse the issue and not to be emotional about it.
“We want to be sober and look at the issues in a manner that will help us find solutions. I reject the notion that we should put the blame on one individual. If that was the case, then Cabinet should not be there, NEC should not be there. Then it becomes one man show,” Mulongoti said.
“I know he provides leadership as party president and Republican President, but we cannot heap the blame. All of us must examine ourselves; are we doing enough? What is it that we are doing to contribute to the enhancement of the development agenda in the country?”
Mulongoti said President Banda did not put himself in the leadership position.
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT
The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection has made very interesting observations on Zambian politics that cannot be ignored, that call for deep meditation.
They have observed that the kind of politics exhibited over the last three quarters in Zambia does not truly serve the citizens who must be the custodians of politics. And they have further observed that Zambian politics are still unstable and manifest immaturity to an extent of attempting to shut down all opposing views.
The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection also observes that “Zambian politics seem to be validating the old adage that ‘politics is a dirty game’ in addition, the Church has been told it has no role in politics but only to praise-sing government”.
They say this has been manifested in the recent non-governmental organisations Act, the banning of demonstrations over the acquittal of Frederick Chiluba, criticism of the Church’s valid concerns about lack of democracy and good governance in Zambia, and the limiting of freedom of the press.
They say Zambian politics remains that of name-calling, name-dirtying, lies, and just a dirty game to get into positions of power and that we are yet to see mature and honest politics that have people’s needs and aspirations at heart. And they are surprised that “churches that sing praises to government are highly commended by government.
Such hypocrisy,” they observe, “is not building our nation but dividing it. How can the Church remain in the pulpits when they reach to people that are poor, hungry, suffering because of bad policies, lack of good healthcare, do not know where public resources go?
The Church would be failing to preach the word of God if they remained in the pulpit and remained blind to the harsh realities that people go through in their day to day lives. It would be sad to see churches persecuted for telling the truth or trying to work hard to improve the lives of people they preach to. It is a sham to embrace democracy and good governance in rhetoric”.
These are the serious observations made by the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection. We fully share these observations, we agree with them.
Truly, we should not allow Zambian politics to be relegated to trivialities chosen precisely because they salve the consciences of the rich and politically powerful, and conceal the plight of the poor and powerless.
It should never be that the anger of the poor should be the finger of accusation pointed at all of us because we fail to respond to the cries of the people for food, shelter, medicine, for the dignity of the individual. None can be at peace while others wallow in poverty and insecurity.
The task of those in our country’s politics should be to give millions of Zambians an essential piece of dignity in their lives – the dignity that comes from having a solid roof over your head, running water and other services in an established community.
As to the role of the Church, priests, in politics, we believe that the Church, the priest have both the right and duty to participate fully in building a just and peaceful society with all the means at their disposal. A church is not fully rooted among its people if it does not try to establish justice.
How, for example, can any spiritual guide of a human collective ignore its material problems, its human problems, its vital problems? Can it be that those material, human problems are independent of the historical process? Are they independent of social phenomenon? We have experienced all that. We always go back to the time of primitive slavery. That’s also the time when Christianity emerged.
Christians had gone from a stage in which they were persecuted to others in which they were the persecutors. And the Inquisition was a period of obscurantism , when men were burned. Now, Christianity could be a real rather than utopian doctrine, not a spiritual consolation for those who suffer.
With good politics, with the commitment of everybody, including the Church and its priests, there would be a revival of early Christianity, with its fairer, more humane, more moral values.
There is great coincidence between Christianity’s objectives and the ones honest and fair-minded politicians seek, between the Christian teachings of humility, austerity, selflessness, and loving thy neighbour and what we might call the content of an honest politician’s life and behaviour.
Responding to different motivations, they advocate attitudes and behaviour that are quite similar. We are living at a time when politics has entered a near-religious sphere with regard to man and his behaviour. We also believe that we have come to a time when the Church and its priests can enter the political sphere with regard to man and his material needs.
Honest politicians, those who mean well and are true to the aspirations of the great masses of our people, cannot fail to be strategic allies, permanent allies of the Church and its priests.
We have a deep conviction that there need not be any contradiction between the practices of honest, fair, humane and just politicians and the people’s religious beliefs and the work of their church and its priests. Why must the ideas and practices of social justice clash with religious beliefs and practices? Why must they clash with Christianity?
We shouldn’t forget that Christ’s entire doctrine was devoted to the humble, the poor; his doctrine was devoted to fighting against abuse, injustice and the degradation of human beings. We would say there is a lot in common between the spirit and essence of his teachings and the ideas and practices of honest, fair, just and humane politicians. This being the case, we see no reason why the Church and its priests cannot form a strategic alliance, but not a tactical one, with such politicians.
We see that Jesus’ spirituality was life in the spirit, within the historical conflict, in a communion of love with the Father and the people. This spirituality was the result of his opening to the Father’s gift and of his liberating commitment to the life aspirations of the oppressed.
For Jesus, the world wasn’t divided between the pure and the impure, as the Pharisees wished; it was divided between those who favoured life and those who supported death. Everything that generates more life – from a gesture of love to political change – is in line with God’s scheme of things, in line with the construction of the kingdom, for life is the greatest gift given to us by God. Whoever is born is born in God to enter the sphere of life.
In that communion with the Father, Jesus found strength for struggling for the scheme of life, challenging the forces of death, represented particularly by the Pharisees, against whom the gospels present two violent manifestos (Matt 23, Luke 11:37-57). And in this sense, all who struggle for life are included in God’s scheme, even if they lack faith.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee or naked and clothe thee? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’” (Matt 25:37-40).
It is your fellow man, and especially the one who lacks life and needs justice, in whom God wishes to be served and loved. They are the ones with whom Jesus identified. Therefore, there is no contradiction between the struggle for justice in which the Church and its priests are today involved in our country and the fulfillment of God’s will. One demands the other.
All who work along that line of God’s scheme for life are considered Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Mark 3:31-35). This is the best way to follow Jesus, especially in Zambia’s present situation. We prefer to say that Jesus had a spirituality of the conflict – that is, a vigour in his commitment to the poor and to the Father who granted him immense eternal peace.
We think all our politicians know all this. But it is selfishness that makes them take contradictory positions. They have got a reverend, a pastor like Ronnie Shikapwasha in politics and in government who preaches in the pulpit on Sundays. Shikapwasha is participating in politics and in his church.
But the same Shikapwasha and his friends don’t want other members of the clergy and their churches to do the same. Why? The truth is they are not opposed to the Church and priests’ participation as long as they are on their side and not on the opposite side of the political spectrum. This is why we say if one is honest, truly honest, he cannot fail to see the good role the Church and its priests have been playing in the affairs of our country, especially in advancing peace and justice.
If one is unassuming and has a clear understanding of the worth of people and of himself, one cannot fail to see the need or necessity for the Church and its priests to do and continue doing what it has been doing.
There is need for our politicians to re-visit the basic meaning of the word “democracy”. The word “democracy”, of Greek origin, means power or strength of the people. Democracy is based on the principle of the subordination of the minority to the majority and on the recognition of freedom and equality in terms of civil rights.
We are accustomed to see it only in its formal terms, divorced from social reality. When those in power feel safe and it is in their interests, they are proud of democracy and use it as a surgical tool or as acupuncture needles for exercising political control.
The democratic apparatus is structured to inhibit political activity by the masses and to limit the workers’ participation in decision making. For us, democracy means that governments are closely linked to the people, arise from the people, have the support of the people and devote themselves entirely to working and struggling for the people and the people’s interests.
Democracy implies the defence of all the rights of citizens, including the right to independence, freedom, national dignity and honour. For us, democracy means fraternity and true equality among all our people and equal opportunities for all, for every human being who is born.
And this is why we are opposed to any practices that seem to divert from this and push us in the direction of a de facto one party state. We have been through that experience before and we don’t want to go back to it in any way because that is a recipe for tyranny, a disaster.
What we need to see is a government that devotes itself entirely – heart and soul – to reducing the suffering of our people. The existence of large numbers of hungry and under-nourished people in our country is an affront to all of us.
A stable, permanent solution must be found for this serious problem. This is what the Church and its priests are struggling for. And institutions or individuals who are involved in such struggles deserve the respect and support of all.
By Agness Changala
Mon 23 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT
EUROPEAN Union (EU) head of delegation in Zambia Derek Fee on Saturday reiterated that EU’s taxpayers’ money is meant to benefit ordinary Zambians.
Dr Fee said this when he committed to Zambia 4.6 million euros about K32 billion through World Food Programme (WFP) meant for urban food vouchers project during the launch of the Mobile Delivery Tracking in Kafue.
The agreement which was signed between Dr Fee and WFP country representative Pablo Recalde would last over 18 months.
Dr Fee said the 4.6 million euros would assist improve the lives of malnourished children, those on Anti Retrial Viral (ARV) drugs and Tuberculosis (TB) patients.
“This will be implemented by the WFP, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and will contribute to improving the lives of the vulnerable in society,” he said.
Dr Fee also called on improved productivity of food by investing in the agriculture sector, saying Zambia had enough resources to produce more food.
And WFP together with other partners lunched the Mobile Delivery and Tracking (MDT) system which is a new food distribution mechanism to address hunger among the vulnerable households.
Recalde explained that MDT was developed by local financial services and software specialists.
He said the system involved the use of mobile phone technology allowing for real time registration of beneficiaries and the movement of money to suppliers of the food.
Recalde said the approach followed a similar system as that of the scratch card by mobile phone networks in Zambia.
He said the targeted beneficiaries would receive a scratch card through a clinic or health centre which identified them to a specified food ration basket from the designated retail agents in their respective locations.
Recalde said each scratch card had a specified value and was redeemable only within that district.
He said the programme’s overall objective was to ensure food security among the most vulnerable households affected by the rising cost of staple food commodities.
“The programme will protect livelihoods of the very poor, those affected by the high food prices as well as create a sustainable and cost effective delivery mechanism of food commodities and strengthen a coordinated approach to targeted safety nets,” Recalde said.
He said his organisation was committed to work in line with the government’s Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP) in ensuring that Zambians were empowered at individual and household levels.
“This will increase private sector participation in the economy which will help the country achieve its 2030 vision of becoming a middle income country by that date,” said Recalde.
And Kafue member of parliament Bradford Machila said the innovation that had been initiated would contribute greatly to alleviating the immediate hunger needs of the households negatively affected by high food prices and the global financial crisis.
Machila, who is also Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, observed that as a result of the MDT system, the logistical and operational costs of traditional food delivery mechanisms would be reduced while local markets would be empowered by making use of the resources available in the community.
“Above all, this new system will create a sustainable and efficient food delivery mechanism to vulnerable households, contribute to reducing household food insecurity and help in shifting people towards sustainable demand,” he said.
Machila said the programme which was first launched in his constituency would benefit 1,000 vulnerable households in Kafue and 139,000 people in Lusaka, Ndola, Livingstone and Mongu districts.
By George Chellah
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:01 CAT
FORMER Republican vice-president Enoch Kavindele has challenged President Rupiah Banda to set the dates for the MMD national convention. Reacting to President Banda’s statement that no one in the MMD has ruled out the holding of the national convention, Kavindele urged President Banda to come out in the open.
“Well, the President is vague on this matter. We want him to come out in the open and say convention is on. If possible even give a date,” he said.
Asked whether the MMD still had enough time to hold the convention, Kavindele responded: “ Yes we do, this is the trick that was used the last time when he was nominated as presidential candidate. They said we didn’t have time to hold the convention to elect anyone to be the MMD presidential candidate.
So it was then decided by the NEC to settle on him because he was already Republican vice-president.
Now you know they want a repetition of that where they will come and say we don’t have time to hold the convention. We are saying we now have time, we now want him to set the date.”
Last week on Friday, former defence minister George Mpombo said President Banda’s incoherence over the MMD national convention confirmed his ignorance about the party’s operations.
Mpombo said the President must understand that the question of the convention was not for him to decide.
“This whole thing is unnecessary. What has happened to our party? I want to call on the national secretary Katele Kalumba who is the only elected official. Now Mr Banda is not elected he is only acting.
Mr. Banda is not familiar with the operations of the MMD. How can an acting president set standards for the party he has found?” Mpombo asked. “It amounts to hoodwinking the membership.
If he is evasive…it is not the opposition that is calling for a convention, it’s MMD members, it’s not coming from Michael Sata or HH. If MMD continue to provide lackadaisical leadership the party is bound for a major collapse.”
Mpombo said President Banda would be held responsible if the MMD collapsed.
Last week in Solwezi, President Banda said the MMD was not in a hurry to announce the date for the party convention.
“No one in the party has said that there will be no convention. What we have said is that now we are elected to deliver fertiliser to the people, elected to build schools, roads and bridges…when the time comes, our leaders will meet and decide when to have the convention,” said President Banda.
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:01 CAT
MAZABUKA UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo yesterday said Post news editor Chansa Kabwela's acquittal has totally embarrassed President Rupiah Banda. Commenting on Kabwela's acquittal on a 'pornography' charge, Nkombo said it would have made sense for President Banda to have consulted before taking such a flimsy case to the courts. He said the people surrounding President Banda were misadvising him.
“I think that we have seen it in the past, Presidents tend to operate on the belief of the clique of people around them.
So I imagine that, yes, it has caused sufficient embarrassment to himself as a person, but I think there is need for people to look a little bit under to see who actually brought this matter to the attention of the President,” Nkombo said.
"So the people who advise the President have been totally embarrassed. As a head of state, I think also he has been embarrassed. And just a little advice to him that this country belongs to many people. It is jointly owned by all Zambians and even before commencing such a flimsy legal action against Ms Kabwela, he should have done consultations. Even the Director of Public Prosecutions, it is also an indictment on him to have taken the matter to litigation.”
Nkombo said the acquittal was a big statement to Zambians who believed in what he termed as disclosure of what was happening. He said the trumped up charge was an attempt to ground the flow of information in the nation.
Nkombo said there was nothing irresponsible in what Kabwela did because she just highlighted to the authorities the grave crisis that existed at the time.
He said the violence which resulted in the injury of many people as a result of the Kabwela case should be blamed squarely on those who, in the first place, took the matter to the police.
And National Revolution Party (NRP) president Cozmo Mumba asked the investigative agencies to operate professionally and not work on instructions from anyone.
Mumba said NRP regretted having supported President Banda during last year's presidential elections because he had not fulfilled what he promised to the youths.
He said President Banda had failed to honour the agreement to appoint more youths to deputy ministerial positions and to take back the K40 billion youth empowerment to the Ministry of Sport.
Mumba also asked Parliament to repeal the K3000 ZNBC TV licence fees because only those from the MMD were being given coverage.
By Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:01 CAT
VENEZUELAN President Hugo Chavez has said Venezuelans would defend their sovereignty and dignity with their lives. He said not even the Colombian people were secure. “Now faced with a new imperialist attack our sovereignty also has to face a challenging time,” he said. “A challenging time we will face with the same peaceful vocation we have been known for.
But we must explain that peace is not and will never be similar to submission. And because we love and value peace, we will not move away from that old principle especially when the imperialist criminal brutality is threatening us. If we want peace, prepare for war.”
President Chavez said Venezuelans must set out on a long journey towards themselves. He said that was the most necessary journey of all that included building a socialist sovereignty from the bottom up.
President Chavez said that was the first aim of the electoral process held by the PSUV United Socialist Party of Venezuela last Sunday in order to elect from the grassroots delegates to the Extraordinary Congress, slated for end of the year.
He said a total of 2,450,377 militants would have the historical honour to strengthen the party as a powerful mass structure in conscious motion by speeding up the birth of a new history.
“I am obliged to call on everybody to defend the homeland of Bolivar and our children,” President Chavez said.
“If I did not do it, I would be committing the act of high treason against our beloved Venezuela and much more with the information I have. Our homeland is free and we will defend it with our lives. Venezuela will never be a colony. It will never be on its knee in front of invaders and empires.
And our Bolivarian Armed Force, the people in arms as a whole, is and has to be a guarantor for the Bolivarian peace, the real peace.”
He said the seven military bases the US was installing inside Colombia constituted a lethal danger to Venezuela and the rest of the region.
President Chavez dismissed Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s statement that the US-Colombia military agreement was a matter of Colombian sovereignty.
“A matter of sovereignty when all the gringo US war arsenal it includes responds to the concept of extraterritorial operations?”
President Chavez posed. “How can you talk to a government that is completely subordinated to the dominating global strategy of the empire? What can you say of a government that turns the Colombian territory into a huge yankee military enclave; that is to say, into the greatest threat against the peace and security of the South American region and all Our America?
Uribe can go everywhere and offer all kind of security but the agreement actually prevents Colombia from offering guarantees and security to anybody not even to the Colombian people. Such guarantees cannot be offered by a country that is no longer sovereign and that has been turned into a tool of the new colonial period foreseen by our liberator Simon Bolivar.”
President Chavez said the sovereignty of the people was the only legitimate authority of nations.
He said nobody but the majority was sovereign.
By Mwala Kalaluka
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:01 CAT
LUENA Independent member of parliament Charles Milupi yesterday said Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika’s assertions that the Litunga was behind the MMD’s fallout in Western Province were factually reported and attempts to discredit The Post over the matter are baseless.
Commenting on the issue where the MMD has accused Litunga Imwiko of using chairman for the dissolved MMD provincial executive committee Simasiku Namakando to cause problems for the ruling party in Western Province, Milupi advised the MMD not to attempt to bring the institution of the Litungaship into disrepute.
“We will not take that (MMD denial). We know that you (The Post) are factual on that matter,” Milupi said in an interview.
“Attempts to discredit The Post over this issue are baseless. If they feel injured, why haven’t they gone to court to say we have been misquoted… The BRE (Barotse Royal Establishment) through other sources are aware that those were matters that were really discussed, so attempts to discredit The Post is a futile exercise.”
And sources within the BRE yesterday revealed that Litunga Lubosi Imwiko was well-aware of Akashambatwa’s assertions during an MMD Caucus held in Lusaka last weekend before The Post carried a story from the meeting quoting inside sources.
“I know that the Litunga has said they are aware of the issues that were discussed,” the source said.
And Milupi asked the MMD to immediately apologise to Litunga Imwiko and the BRE Kuta (court) for the shabby manner they were attempting to treat him.
“We are concerned about the issue arising from the two-day seminar the MMD had, especially their reference or their attempt to attribute their problems as a party and government to the Litunga particularly and the BRE in general,” Milupi said.
“Since the Litunga and the Kuta reside in Limulunga, which is in Luena Constituency, as member of parliament for that area I am concerned that the institution of the Litungaship, which is revered in Barotseland is being brought into disrepute.”
Milupi said the Litungaship and the BRE had been in existence centuries before Zambia got independence and before the MMD came into existence.
Milupi said the dissatisfaction over the performance of the MMD was being expressed by many in the country, including chiefs, some of whom have made public statements to that effect.
Milupi said this dissatisfaction stemmed out of the high poverty and unemployment levels and the hopelessness with which the average Zambian was engulfed in.
“The very fact that the MMD was meeting over a period of two days is indicative of the fact that they themselves recognise that they have problems, which they need to address,” Milupi said.
“We do not want to involve ourselves with internal party politics but my understanding of the issue of the dissolution of the MMD provincial leadership in the Western Province arose out of two issues; that of the need for an MMD vice-president to come from the Western Province in view of the support that the then chairman was providing to the candidature of Mr Rupiah Banda for presidency.”
Milupi said the second issue was that of the need to stick to the MMD constitution by holding a convention.
“These were issues that were well-articulated. How then can they link these issues and the general dissatisfaction of the populace to the Litunga and the BRE?” Milupi said.
“The Litunga does not speak openly on subjects such as these. This goes back hundred of years and this is how we have been. We demand that the MMD apologises to His Majesty the Litunga, the BRE and Kuta for the shabby manner in which they are attempting to treat him.”
Milupi said the people of Western Province were aware that previous governments had attempted to diminish the authority of the Litungaship. He said when such a thing happens, the people would rally behind the Litunga.
Milupi said the MMD’s fall out in the province was emanating from President Banda’s statement that he never solicited for a vote from Western Province.
On assertions that Namakando and his clique were campaigning for his newly-formed political party, Milupi wondered why the MMD was being jittery over a party that had not even been launched.
By Willie Sitali in Kasama
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT
NORTHERN Province minister John Chinyanta has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in the province to make sure that only the intended beneficiaries' access government subsidised agricultural inputs.
In an interview on Thursday, Chinyanta warned agriculture staff that he would not tolerate reports of corruption in the on-going distribution of fertiliser and seed to vulnerable but viable farmers in the area.
He said government had revised modalities for the distribution of the subsidised inputs under the farmer input support programme in order to curtail abuse of the facility by unscrupulous individuals.
"In the past, the distribution of farming inputs was marred with a lot of malpractices where some people diverted fertiliser meant for vulnerable farmers to their own fields. But things have changed. I am closely monitoring the current input distribution and anyone who will be found wanting will be prosecuted," he said.
Chinyanta said so far, he was impressed with the on-going distribution of agricultural inputs in the 12 districts of the province.
He said the fact that President Rupiah Banda launched the distribution of agriculture inputs earlier this year in Kasama, there was need for farmers to reciprocate by growing more agricultural crops and contribute positively to the national food security.
"So far, the reports I'm getting regarding the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers are satisfactory. I hope this trend continues so that many small-scale farmers can benefit and in turn produce more food," he said.
Chinyanta urged provincial agricultural and cooperatives coordinator Luhamba Liyembani to be on high alert and halt any form of malpractice in the distribution of farming inputs to the targeted farmers.
Chinyanta also advised agriculture officers not to hesitate to confiscate agricultural inputs found being sold on the streets by unscrupulous traders.
He observed that the government was subsidising the farming inputs at a great cost and as such, it would not allow selfish individuals to frustrate its well-intended programme.
Chinyanta has since urged farmers to be productive and grow more agricultural crops in order to sustain their household food security.
This year, the government has allocated 15, 500 metric tonnes of both basal and top fertilisers to Northern Province for the 2009/2010 farming season.
Over 77,000 small-scale farmers are expected to benefit from the subsidised inputs in the province.
By Justine Katilungu in Kabwe
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT
THE National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) has sued the Kabwe Municipal Council (KMC) for refusing to avail information on the number of workers that are supposed to pay contributions.
The authority has again sued the council alongside other Kabwe companies for failing to remit workers’ contributions amounting to K60 million.
NAPSA head of prosecution James Sinyangwe told journalists in Kabwe yesterday that the authority would not hesitate to clamp down on other erring companies.
Sinyangwe named the companies as KMC, Grants Milling Corporation, Central Growers Association and Mulubila Lodge.
"Following our operation in Kabwe yesterday, we have sued these companies for failing to remit workers' contributions to the authority as per law.
"For KMC, it is sad that the local authority refused to avail us the number of workers that are supposed to make contributions and as such we have sued them," he said.
Sinyangwe said that the matters for the four companies were supposed to come up in the Kabwe magistrates’ court between December 8 and 10, 2009.
Sat 21 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT
COPPERBELT provincial local government officer Solomon Sakala has expressed displeasure that council health inspectors are not reporting the truth to him regarding hygiene of drinking places.
Speaking after he inspected some bars, taverns and other drinking places in Chimwemwe, Kwacha and Bulangililo townships on Wednesday, Sakala expressed disgust at the sight of human excreta in toilets at operating taverns.
Sakala, who was leading some officers from Cabinet Office in Ndola and the Kitwe City Council was shocked at the filthy state of Islamabad City Pub in Kwacha township where some heaps of human excreta were found in the toilets.
"After that tour we carried in the townships, it shows that council health inspectors are not telling the truth in the reports they were sending to the provincial office regarding the hygiene of the drinking places. You saw how dirty that place called Islamabad City Pub in Kwacha which was very dirty.
The place is so dirty with heaps of human excreta in the toilet, but when these healthy inspectors send reports to us, they paint a picture that everything is alright," he complained.
"This war of filthy drinking places can only be fought effectively when council health inspectors are truthful in the reports of their operations. We are receiving good reports which are painting a picture that everything is alright. We are receiving reports that drinking places are clean, but when we go on the ground, we find something else. We are finding dirty drinking places with heaps of human excreta in toilets."
Sakala said the Provincial Liquor Licensing Board would carry out periodical inspections to improve the situation in most drinking places.
At Sanjika bottle store, the team was shocked to find that both men and women were using the same toilet and that whoever goes in first, just needed to close the door to avoid the opposite sex getting in.
Many bar owners at Bulangililo market closed their premises after realising the presence of the health inspectors in the area.
Kitwe City Council health inspector Paka Nkonde expressed shock that some of the closed down drinking places in Kwacha and Bulangililo townships had been illegally opened.
He said most of the bars in the two townships were closed because they were dirty and filthy.
"We shall close them again," he said.
By Agness Changala
Fri 20 Nov. 2009, 04:00 CAT
WORLD Food Programme (WFP) country director Ricaldo Pablo has advised farmers to adopt conservation farming to improve production in view of the reduced inputs in the 2009/2010 farming season.
In an interview, Pablo observed that despite the reduced amount of farming inputs to farmers, fertiliser could not change the way the country produced crops or increase the average productivity per hectare if conservative ways of farming were not implemented.
“Fertiliser per se cannot change the way we produce or increase average productivity. The Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) at the moment is probably taking a very large amount of the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and as a result, not allowing for other critical areas of support to the farmers,” he said.
Pablo said the distribution of fertiliser should be targeted at small-scale farmers who he said did not have access to it.
“The target needs to actually be given particularly to the small-scale farmers where the fertiliser never reaches,” he said.
And Pablo said there was need for the government to look at the import and export capacities of agriculture as a way of improving the sector other than providing critical services to farmers.
He said although the government policies in terms of supporting the farmers were broad, fertiliser could not be taken out of context.
Pablo also called for improved agriculture market, access to farming inputs to small scale farmers and support in terms of policy.
He further said commodity exchange allowed for the prices to be set in a transparent manner where all players were working together to set a right price for the commodities.
Pablo said there was also need to re-look at the role of Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
“I think it’s important that the FRA maintains its support and response capacity by continuing with its role in pricing of all agriculture produce,” said Pablo.
Friday, November 20, 2009
President Mugabe - Full speech at the United Nations World Food Summit in Rome, Italy
Fri, 20 Nov 2009 09:39:00 +0000
THE following transcript is a full speech given by President Robert Mugabe at the United Nations World Food Summit in Rome, Italy on the 16-18 November, 2009.
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency, Mr Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the .. United Nations,
Your Excellency, Dr Jacques Diouf, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Heads of Specialised Agencies of the United Nations, £S Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends.
At the first World Food Summit in 1996, we set ourselves the goal of reducing, by the year 2015, the number of food insecure people in the world by half. Regrettably, nearly 13 years later, that number has actually increased to an estimated 1 billion, the majority of whom are in developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
Our summit should thus honestly and critically examine the root causes of this food insecurity in many parts of the world and lead us to adopt concrete proposals for resolving them. The factors militating against food security in developing countries include the negative impact of climate change; scarcity of or inaccessibility to land; the rising costs of agricultural inputs; lack of resources to finance farming activities; the trade-distorting agricultural subsidies paid by the industrialised countries to their farmers, and poor agricultural support infrastructure. Add to this, denial of market access to agricultural products from developing countries and that completes the host of factors which undermine crop production, in our countries.
Of these challenges, climate change has had the most devastating impact especially in Africa. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, for the frequency and severity of droughts and floods intensified over the last ten years, undermining the region's ability to attain the Millennium Development Goals and the targets of the 1996 World Food Summit. Population growth, urbanisation, pre- and post- harvest losses and problems of food hygiene also affect the quality and safety of food supplies in developing countries.
We in Zimbabwe have come to realize that besides adverse nature and ruinous agricultural policies of powerful nations, there is also the challenge of punitive policies of certain countries whose interests stand opposed to our quest for the equity and justice of our land reforms. We face very hostile interventions by these states which have imposed unilateral sanctions on us. This has had a negative impact on our farmers who, according to our neo-colonialist enemies, must fail so as to damn the land reforms we have undertaken. We have also seen a wish to make us dependent on food imports as opposed to enhancing our own capacity for production
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My country's agricultural policy objective is primarily to ensure national and household food security mainly though our own efforts of production. Zimbabwe, like most Southern African countries, depends on rain-fed agriculture, which has hampered economic development due to the unreliability of rainfall for sustained crop production. To mitigate the country's vulnerability to the vagaries of the weather, Zimbabwe has an ongoing programme of dam construction across the country to harness water and develop reliable water sources. This increase in the number and capacity of dams has appreciably enhanced the availability of water resources for irrigation development. With adequate levels of support, Zimbabwe has the potential to increase the land under irrigation from the present 153 000 to 453 000 hectares.
Besides the water shortages induced by climate change, Zimbabwe has also been affected by shortages of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals. We have come to realize that our quest for food security is tied to investment in industrial projects that focus on inputs production.
Further, Government continues to support the agriculture sector through a number of credit schemes, including concessionary loans for working capital, and the procurement of equipment and machinery. To buttress these schemes, the government has also introduced a farm mechanisation programme targeting both smallholder and commercial farming sectors. But we remain keenly aware that the mechanisation programme cannot be complete if it does not yield the capacity to enable us to export value-added products.
We are grateful for the support we have received from the SADC region, which provided seeds and fertilisers through the SADC Agricultural Inputs Support Initiative. With this support from SADC, the country experienced a dramatic 75 per cent increase in maize production this year. For the 2009/2010 season, we have received support from various international cooperating partners who provided input packs through the Small Holder Emergency Support Programme which is coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and is expected to reach over 600 000 households. Zimbabwe is grateful for this support.
The recent energy crisis has once again brought the importance of developing alternative sources of energy to the fore. Combined with the power outages we experienced last year as a result of the energy deficit in the SADC region, the rise in oil prices has had a negative impact on our farming activities. As a result, we have since 2004, given priority to the development of bio-energy, with particular emphasis on diesel and ethanol To avoid the negative effects of using maize as a bio-fuel feedstock, our project uses jatropha seed and cane. The use of jatropha seed as feedstock in the bio diesel programme has expanded the market for the jatropha seed, thus generating incomes for communities, mainly those in rural areas. Being a crop that thrives on marginally productive soils, jatropha does not pose any threat to the country's staple maize crop or other cereals in terms of competition for land.
Despite the decline in the HIV prevalence rate in the 15-49 year age-group to 13,7 per cent, Zimbabwe remains concerned is still high because the people most affected by the pandemic comprise in the main the most economically productive group m society. In response to the effects of the epidemic on the agricultural sector, my government has adopted the Zimbabwe Agricultural Sector Strategy on HIV and AIDS whose main objective is to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, although hampered at the moment by resource constraints.
Zimbabwe has made good progress under the Comprehensive African Agricultural Programme Frame (AADP), the Dar es Salaam Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security, and the 2003 Maputo Declaration on allocating at least 10 per cent of budget to agriculture. Zimbabwe will not allow land alienation from the indigenous farmers by a new class of imported would-be land owners as this would negate our people-centred land policy and create new bitter land conflicts.
We welcome the decision taken at the food security session held on the sidelines of the G8 Summit m L'Aquila, Italy, on 10 July this year, to mobilize US$20 billion support for sustainable agricultural development over the next three years. We hope the fund will not be politicised, and will be directed solely towards assisting developing countries in developing countries in developing effective agricultural adaptation strategies.. Besides the need for increased investment in agriculture, we wish to appeal for unwavering political commitment to the Doha Round of trade negotiations so that it can lead to sustainable and equitable reform of policies governing global trade in agricultural commodities.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to reiterate the call for urgent and substantial increases in investment in agriculture in developing countries. It is also critical that agricultural inputs such as seed, fertilisers and chemicals be made easily available to small scale farmers, especially women and young people. Finally, may western countries please remove their illegal and inhuman sanctions on my country and its people!
I thank you.
Source: www.fao.org November 17 2009 (transcribed from the PDF)
Opinion piece by Reason Wafawarova in MELBOURNE, Australia
Fri, 20 Nov 2009 10:35:00 +0000
IN the West, the media coverage of the political events in Zimbabwe will give one the impression that Prime Minister Tsvangirai is this herculean democratic leader of a ubiquitous political party supported even by yet to be born Zimbabweans, but surviving in a brutally skewed relationship with Zanu PF – a party that in the eyes of Westerners is nothing more than a tyrannous gang of support-less thugs who survive on stealing votes from the MDC-T.
The Global Political Agreement: that misnamed document that forms the basis for an inclusive Government between Zimbabwe’s three major political parties is so misnamed to the advantage of the MDC-T; whose leadership seems to be more than convinced that the agreement is a global affair where the governance of Zimbabwe must become an all man affair through the facilitation of the MDC-T.
The West’s vested interest in the GPA is unambiguous and well spelt out. They want a transition from Zanu PF rule to MDC-T rule, and clearly any other outcome from this transition has to be fraudulent by definition. The issues that the MDC-T say are outstanding in the GPA are issues to do with perceived political leverage in elbowing Zanu PF out of power and these are the same issues that are highlighted as matters of staid concern in the West.
Finance Minister Biti has been fronting the anti-Gono spume with the dedication of a zealot from the first day he took office and the backing he has received from external forces has arguably made Dr Gono the most publicised central bank governor in the history of mankind.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai and others from the MDC-T have been directing their arsenal at the Attorney General, Mr Johannes Tomana. They too have tremendous support from Western auxiliary forces such as the political activists that have over the last ten years been planted in the NGO community resident in Zimbabwe.
There is also this unequivocal support from Western sponsored media that churn out anti-Zanu PF propaganda and hate speech unabated on a daily basis. The articles written by columnists in Western media characteristically follow a pattern reminiscent of what was happening in Central America in the 1980s.
They carry one opinion – that of the MDC-T and there is no other opinion that one can pick from mainstream Western media.
Noam Chomsky went through fifty articles written by Stephen Kinzer of the New York Times on Nicaragua beginning October 1987.
It turned out that in fifty articles Kinzer did not talk to one person in Nicaragua who was pro-Sandinista. Surely there had to be somebody – maybe Daniel Ortega’s mother or wife, at least somebody had to be pro-Sandinista. Well, Kinzer’s quotes were all from anti-Sandinista sources.
This is exactly what is happening in Zimbabwe today. This writer has had a few journalists from the mainstream Western media reprimanded by their superiors for either booking interviews with him or actually carrying them out. The tolerated opinion here is the anti-Zanu PF one. That is the unwritten media rule.
Independent polls that were carried out in 1987 showed that the opposition in Nicaragua had 9 percent support of the population. These are the people who had 100 percent of Stephen Kinzer’s coverage. Everyone he bumped into apparently supported the opposition and that was amazingly for a good fifty articles.
This writer is reminded often that the indictments of subtlety that he makes about the media are too simplistic and puerile. The argument forwarded is that readers, listeners and viewers should not be viewed with a low opinion, since they are intelligent and knowledgeable enough to pick up on any biases. That would be true if the same readers, viewers and listeners had access to other sources of information.
Here in the West the suspicion that news about places like Zimbabwe may be biased is quite rife, but that alone cannot bring out the true extend of the bias, for as long as there are no alternative sources of news to tell the other story.
The West has developed a very sophisticated version of freedoms where what one does is not so much important as to what one thinks. So we have a situation where one can protest, criticise, or complain about certain things and nothing will happen to them. What is controlled is what they protest about, what they criticise and what they complain about.
That control comes through what they are exposed to as news by the media. Topics are selected carefully to suit the agenda of the state, sources are selected carefully as we have seen with the Kinzer example, the tone is adjusted to send particular messages, and the analyses is engineered to create a desired emphasis and so on.
It may as well be true that practising journalists want to tell themselves that they are doing an honest job but unfortunately that is not how it works in the media fraternity. A reporter who goes out of the vested interests will firstly be hotly pressed for the highest levels of evidence.
There is no need for verification when a journalist goes for vested interests. These are self verifying as it is. Like, if you are reporting on atrocities “carried out” by Zanu PF; all that is needed is one hearsay witness and that will suffice.
The same goes for a story on corruption by any of the leaders from Zanu PF. All that is needed is someone saying there is such corruption and that the whole country’s wealth is now in the hands of “Mugabe’s cronies” and that will suffice. There is no need for verification.
You talk about the MDC-T campaigning for sanctions against their own country, and you are going to need videotapes. You talk about Western sanctions killing thousands and thousands of innocent people in Zimbabwe and you are going to need mountains of evidence to prove that.
It is like talking about torture carried out by American soldiers. You need videotapes and you need to prove that such tapes are authentic, or that the people being tortured were real and so on.
To prove that Zanu PF is a “dying party” is as simple as quoting an unnamed “senior Zanu PF official” admitting that the party is dying.
If a journalist were to quote an unnamed MDC-T official or even a named dissident from the MDC saying something like the MDC drafted ZDERA or that they compiled all the sanctions lists used by the West to cripple the Zimbabwe economy then they would have to start digging and backing that up with mountains of evidence.
They can most certainly expect to pick up tonnes of flack, to be humiliated, to be ridiculed, demoted or even lose their jobs. In Zimbabwe Joram Nyathi will give a good testimony of how this works.
With the GPA it is very easy. There is no need for verification on the MDC-T claims that Gono and Tomana are part of the GPA. That is not necessary. What is necessary is to say the SADC communiqué that covered the issue of the offices of these two senior officials is part of the GPA, even if that is a baseless thing to say.
There is no need to verify that the communiqué in question suggested discussion on this matter but did not prescribe a solution. What is important is to create the impression that the communiqué directed the removal of these two officials from office.
It is when one asserts that the MDC-T has an obligation under the GPA to call for the lifting of Western illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe that the burden of proof is required and it is demanded in a very hostile and irrational manner.
This is when Prime Minister Tsvangirai will come out wielding a veil that says there is no such thing as sanctions on Zimbabwe; all there is, are “restrictive measures”. With the president of the MDC-T going this way it is very predictable which way the pro-West media will go.
It becomes absolutely understandable that James Maridadi has to pick the easy way; the phenomenally lazy way that will keep him in employment as Tsvangirai’s spokesman, or whatever it is that he does in the Prime Minister’s office.
Maridadi is that sweet Junior Three talk show host who used to remind Zimbabwean kids not to lie and he would repeatedly tell them to be honest. That has all changed now and that Samantha kid of yesteryear must be a young adult now, and she really must be wondering what has happened to her childhood hero.
Maridadi has the boldness to tell the West and the rest of us that there are no sanctions on Zimbabwe regardless of the standing condition from the West that “sanctions will remain” until “we see meaningful reforms on the part of President Mugabe and Zanu PF”.
We need mountains of evidence to prove that pirate radio stations beaming from the UK and the US are spreading nothing more than blatant hate speech against Zanu PF and the people of Zimbabwe but there is no need for such evidence when it is alleged The Herald spreads hate speech against the MDC-T.
That is how it works with vested interests. Many people have been misled by the MDC-T that they are in the inclusive Government because it “is the only option” out of the economic crisis. This is the same party that says there is no such thing as sanctions. It is the same party whose secretary general cries fowl when Zimbabwe secures a bit of funding from the IMF, regardless of the fact that he holds the post of Finance Minister.
In fact the GPA to the MDC-T is the only option to try and oust Zanu PF from power. This is the kind of assertion that will invite hostile challenges for tonnes of evidence. But we know that Nelson Chamisa has already excitedly told the public that removing Zanu PF from government was the sole reason the MDC-T joined this inclusive government.
Again Chamisa will never be asked to comment or verify this kind of assertion but this writer will be challenged to provide videotapes of Nelson playing the excited boy.
One way of inviting fury from MDC-T sympathisers in the West is to say such things like Zanu PF carried the popular vote in the March 2008 parliamentary election despite trailing the MDC-T by a single seat in the Lower House. You attract more fury when you say with Professor Jonathan Moyo rejoining Zanu PF the MDC now has the same number of seats as Zanu PF in the Lower House.
This is the kind of talk that is viewed as undemocratic, fascist, tyrannic and against the “democratic forces” in Zimbabwe.
The democratic slant is that the MDC-T is the majority party in Zimbabwe even if they did not manage the highest most popular vote in the general election.
One seat ahead of Zanu PF in the Lower House against six seats behind Zanu PF in the Upper House is still good enough to make the MDC-T the majority party in Zimbabwe.
In this vein the GPA has to be implemented according to the wishes of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party and surely SADC and the AU must ensure that this wish of Western elites is observed and achieved.
Zanu PF is not a party without blame. Far from it; they will need to answer for their part in allowing corrupt people to hide under the cover of the party while enriching themselves at the expense of the nation. They need to tell the nation why some cabinet ministers and senior officials sat on approved policies for years without implementing them.
They need to answer for failure to decisively deal with abuse of farming inputs over the years. The list could be longer but the point is that we still have an underlying reality where Zanu PF has to make way for the MDC-T purely on the basis of creating a Western client state out of Zimbabwe, and some in the West still hazard to guess that there is a possibility to reverse the land reform programme – dangerous as such a wish may be.
Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!
Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit www.rwafawarova.com
Fri, 20 Nov 2009 09:19:00 +0000
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai left Thursday for North Africa, where analysts said he would meet Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to discuss the progress of the inclusive Government he formed in February this year with President Robert Mugabe.
The PM is scheduled to go to Morocco for diplomatic engagements and would also meet Col. Gaddafi, chairman of the African Union (AU), during his five-day trip to North Africa.
"The AU is one of the guarantors of the GPA (Global Political Agreement) so I am taking advantage of being in that region to brief the chairman of the AU on the developments in the country, what progress we are making and Sadc's progress in dealing with the outstanding issues," he told journalists.
PM Tsvangirai said Thursday talks between the MDC-T and Zanu PF would continue to try to solve differences and to meet a December 5 deadline set by the 15-nation SADC.
He said he had been invited by Col Gaddafi and was expecting "significant progress" from the MDC-T - Zanu PF talks.
Asked whether the inter-party negotiators would be able to reach an agreement by the deadline set by Sadc, the prime minister said: "The deadlines are not set in stone ... the whole urgency of the matter is to rescue the credibility of the inclusive government."
He added: "I am hoping that by the time I come back there is significant progress."
THE 99-year leases for farms allocated under the Land Reform Programme have been attacked for being non-transferable by sale, voluntary or forced, and thus rendered useless as collateral for loans.
On the other hand, those who dislike having such leases made saleable say experience in other countries suggests that rich people and banks end up owning vast swathes of land, and we will be right back where we started, with a small minority holding the bulk of the best land.
The only difference is that this minority will not be an ethnic one, but that will not be much use to the person seeking land of their own to farm.
We believe that transferability, within a system of rules, can create two totally desirable outcomes and one outcome that some would consider useful, depending on what side of the political divide they want to sit.
We need to remember that there are more potential farmers and modest-sized farms than there is land to satisfy them.
This potential "buyers market" can make limited transferability work.
Most farmers need to borrow money and need some collateral besides the crop in the ground. Only farmers with a superb track record, and that very record implies they have earned quite a bit of their own money and so need less in loans, can have much hope of loans for land preparation and planting.
More farmers can probably borrow for harvesting a crop already in the ground, since a lender can actually see the offered collateral.
But most farmers, besides short-term seasonal loans, also need long-term capital loans to put in irrigation, build dams, erect the incredible amount of fencing modern stock management demands, build tobacco barns, greenhouses and coldrooms, or install modern dairy equipment.
And traditionally farmers getting such loans have had to leave their title deeds or long leases in the safes of the bankers.
So a major upgrade of our agriculture is unlikely until these leases are made transferable on sale.
We can, however, avoid the danger of rich men buying up all the land by insisting on a policy of "one man, one farm". The only people permitted to buy leases would be those without any land, or those wishing to move from communal lands to a larger farm, or from an A1 farm to an A2 farm, and who were willing to surrender or sell the old farm.
The double policy of transferability but within a limit, would create the two outcomes almost everyone would consider desirable: availability of collateral and the creation of a large rural middle class. Collateral would allow capital development and land reform would be meaningless if it led to a tiny rich land-holding minority and a huge population of landless labourers.
We believe that there would be another useful outcome, the replacement of inefficient farmers and people with leases but no real desire for full- time farming with efficient and dedicated farmers. We do not believe that it is essential to retain the initial grantees of land on the farms, so long as they are replaced by other landless people willing to use the land better.
The limited transferability would also allow good farmers to sell out when they wished to retire, if no one in their immediate family was willing or capable of taking over the farm. In other words, a family could realise its profits.
There will always be a new generation ready and willing to buy into these farms, admittedly on borrowed money using the leases as collateral.
Every year we graduate a new batch of highly-trained higher diploma students from three colleges associated with the University of Zimbabwe; many will want to farm in their own right and know how to do it.
The communal lands have a continual flow of young men and women who have qualified as master farmers, and can cope and need to cope with a far larger farm than the standard communal plot.
Failing as a farmer is always sad; but land reform was not instituted as a social security scheme or as a source of weekend cottages.
There are far cheaper ways of fulfilling those goals.
It was designed to promote a far fairer system of land holding, and to improve productivity by giving efficient farmers the access to land they needed.
A dual policy of full transferability of leases, along with "one person one farm" will retain both elements.
Seed Co managing director Mr Dennis Zaranyika has underscored the need to invest heavily in research and development for continuous improvement of seed varieties suitable for all regions of the country.
Mr Zaranyika said it was imperative to develop varieties that could perform even under harsh conditions typical of the current global climatic changes. Seed provision and availability are critical in food security.
"We want to increase seed production as it is vital for food security. And we promise the country more seed next year.
"This year our company is focusing on high yields per hectare rather than spreading resources over a large area," Mr Zaranyika said.
Seed Co has 350 seed growers, but is scaling down to 150 to concentrate on high yields.
Seed growers were urged to improve yields for farming to be sustainable. Production levels of below four tonnes per hectare are generally unviable at the commercial scale.
Mr Zaranyika cautioned farmers against buying uncertified seed.
"Fake seed will not germinate properly and may be susceptible to pests and diseases, thereby greatly reducing yields.
"Farmers lose their money by buying fake seed. After applying fertilizers, herbicides and labour costs, the farmer will still get low yields if fake seed is planted. All other inputs are put to waste if seed is not genuine."
Mr Zaranyika said the deterrent sentence recently passed on a Harare man who was caught selling uncertified seed sent the correct message to all would-be offenders.
John Chirenje of Harare pleaded guilty to selling uncertified seed and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Meanwhile, Seed Co has released a new variety of maize that can produce up to 17 tonnes per hectare.
SC719 is a long season variety that is tolerant to maize streak virus, mottle virus and grey leaf spot.
Seed Co sales and marketing manager Mr Ivan Craig said the variety, which is already on the market, was for high rainfall areas such as natural regions 1, 2A and 2B.
The variety, he said, should be planted early for high yields.
Seed Co is in the process of capacitating research and development in agriculture to move in line with international technology changes.
This will see the release of new improved seed varieties that are suitable for the changes in weather patterns.
Seed co yesterday donated various foodstuffs to Ms Chipo Tembo, who was abandoned by her husband after delivering triplets earlier this year. The company adopted the family which it gives groceries every month.
By Nyasa Times
Published: November 20, 2009
Malawians should stop importing luxuries such as cars and televisions to conserve foreign exchange in the southern African nation, the central bank said.
The country has a shortage of foreign currency caused by falling prices for tobacco, its biggest export, a decline in foreign portfolio investment and the global recession.
“We are in a crisis,” Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Perks Ligoya said in remarks broadcast on Capital Radio, a closely held broadcaster, today. “In hard times like these, we cannot afford luxuries, we have little resources.”
The Malawian kwacha has weakened 1.6 percent to 142.9 against the dollar from the 140.6 it was set at for more than two years until Oct. 28. On the black market, the currency is trading at 190.
Malawi’s government has announced plans to conserve financial resources, including restricting travel abroad by all public officials to no more than six times a year.
By Nyasa Times
Published: November 20, 2009
The African Network on Education For all, ANCEF, has called upon African Union (AU) designated chair, Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika to change the way AU is addressing issues of education in Africa.
ANCEF Policy research and documentation officer, Limbani Nsapato, made the call during a news conference the organization organized in collaboration with Civil Society Coalition for Quality basic Education (CSCQE) to present state of education for all EFA Implementation in Malawi.
The call comes amid fears that Malawi will not achieve the six EFA goals by 2015.
“There would be little chance for Malawi to achieve all the six EFA goals by 2015 if the current education challenges are not timely mitigated,” said a statement issued by CSCQE.
“Progress indicators in early childhood education, primary education, secondary education, teacher education and higher education all indicate that there is serious need for comprehensive efforts.”
Nsapato noted that the change would help many African countries to accelerate progress in the achievements of Millennium Developmental Goals as well as EFA goals.
He raised concern over the recent UNESCO global monitoring report of 2009 which shows that out of the 33 million children are out of school in the sub Saharan Africa.
The report also shows that out of the 776 million illiterate adults 163 million are in Africa.
The CSCQE statement said adult illiteracy population in Malawi is at 4.6 million, over 600,000 children are out of school.
“Access to education at any level is below 40%, quality of education leaves a lot to be desired, and the human resource capacity to implement programs is far inadequate as the Ministry of Education is still having a personnel vacancy rate of 40% since 2000.
“Access to public university is very low as our universities can only accommodate a 1000 plus students against over 4000 eligible student annually,” said the statement.
The organisation pointed out that access to education at primary level is limited due to the high proportion of drop-outs and repetition, inadequate number of qualified teachers and classrooms.
At the secondary level, access to secondary is estimated at only 30 per cent (matriculation from primary to secondary) of the eligible students.
“There are still huge disparities in terms of infrastructure, TLMs, and number of teachers between rural and urban areas. Furthermore, teacher motivation at all levels of education is low.”
The education rights campaigners called on the government of Malawi to increase the level of education financing which is currently at 12.2% against the recommended international target of 20% or 6% of the national GDP
“There is need for deepened and continuous political will – government in particular should go beyond rhetoric. The placing of education as a priority within priorities in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy should translate into adequate financing of the sector. What is holding the government to fast-track the passing of the reviewed Education Act? “
The organisation also recommended that there is need for strengthened efforts towards teacher recruitment, training and deployment. They said government with support from donors should develop concrete plan to fill the existing vacancies which are currently at 46 per cent
Government was also urged to “urgently” pass the reviewed Education Act. The said Bill is still at cabinet and it is not yet known as to when the Ministry of Justice is going to push the Bill to Parliament.
The organisation also appealed to government to deliberately promote the private sector participation in education policy formulation and education financing.
Fri 20 Nov. 2009, 04:01 CAT
It is difficult to understand how or why a parliamentary by-election should bring so much violence to Solwezi. Why should people try to kill or maim each other over a parliamentary seat?
Probably we are naïve to think that democratic elections are not a fight for survival where people should kill or maim to triumph, but a competition to serve.
Probably we live in another world to think that political competitors in an election don’t necessarily have to like each other, but must tolerate one another and acknowledge that each has a legitimate and important role to play. Moreover, the ground rules of society must encourage tolerance and civility in the way people seek public office.
How can we expect citizens to have confidence in the results of an election that is so much characterised by violence and intimidation that the winner indeed reflects their wish?
We believe that elections are the central institution of democratic representative government because in a democracy, the authority of the representatives derives solely from the consent of those who vote.
And the principle mechanism of realising this is the holding of free and fair elections. Elections marred by violence and intimidation can never be said to be free and fair. Why? The simple answer is it is not possible under such elections for people to freely express their will or wish because fear of violence and intimidation may force them to vote against their will for one who is able to bully them the most.
Simply permitting people to access the ballot box is not enough. Elections in which people are harassed or are intimidated are not democratic.
Moreover, we don’t see how people who are fighting each other in this way will co-operate in solving the common problems of Solwezi after today. In a democracy, when the election is over, the losers are expected to accept the judgment of the voters.
And no matter who wins, both sides agree to co-operate in solving the common problems of society. But this is not possible in elections where people have been trying to kill each other, maim each other.
The violence that has been witnessed in Solwezi and other parliamentary by-elections held over the last 12 months, if they are anything to go by, we should brace ourselves for more violence as we approach the 2011 elections where the stakes will be much higher.
Violence must surely rank as one of the worst forms of immorality in human affairs. We can see the horror of this in people who go out of their way to organise violence or injure, maim someone who belongs to another political party. The results of the violence in Solwezi that is depicted in the pictures on our front page today ought to make those who boast of their right to stay in power ponder over the things we have heard about in other barbaric societies. A sub-culture of blood is nursed with speeches at rallies endlessly. How is this possible in a country that has declared itself Christian?
We have always held the view that elections are an opportunity for our people to vote or choose their representatives wisely and vote only for people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all. But today, what we see is something else: elections have become an opportunity for people to maim or attempt to kill each other.
Violence, as we have seen, can do only one thing, and that is to breed counter-violence. People who go out to maim, injure or attempt to kill others simply because they belong to a different political party are no better than animals.
We hope our politicians and their followers will reach a stage where they realise that the use of violence against anyone is something that puts them next to animals.
An electoral process is supposed to be an alternative to violence as it is a means of achieving governance and not a clarion call to violence, barbarism. But most often, it is when an electoral process is perceived as unfair, unresponsive, or corrupt, that its political legitimacy is compromised and stakeholders are motivated to go outside established norms, resort to violence to achieve their objectives. In this way, electoral violence and intimidation become tactics in political competition. Elections that are characterised by violence and intimidation do not produce results that produce peace and good governance; they instead produce results that perpetrate violence, mistrust and are not a recipe for governing well.
We know that violence and intimidation are being employed to determine or otherwise influence the results of the elections. When violence and intimidation are employed in an election, it is not a result of an electoral process; it is the breakdown of an electoral process. Elections are supposed to be the mechanisms by which public questions are resolved and public contests are determined.
Among the factors that make election violence possible and indeed likely in Zambia are deepening poverty, unemployment and hunger, manipulation of ethnic loyalties, and an attempt to rig future elections. But the great danger that lurks in this violence is that when an electoral process becomes violent, its function as an umpire for social decision-making is damaged. The failure to conduct an election that is judged fair by all sides can seriously damage our whole democratic process. This can lead to violence and chronic instability.
It is therefore important that every effort is made to contain the current violence that is increasingly starting to characterise our elections by determining its causes and directing resources toward its management or resolution.
What appears to be seriously weak in our system, and something that is encouraging violence, is our poor election dispute mechanism. The Electoral Commission of Zambia, together with the police, does not seem capable of resolving grievances and serve as a conflict prevention or resolution mechanism. Election disputes are inherent in elections. Challenging an election, its conduct or results, should however not be perceived as a reflection of weakness in the system, but as proof of the strength, vitality and openness of the electoral system.
And moreover, those participating in elections should realise that politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice and peace in the nation. And as such, they should regard it as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good. And when people think only of themselves, of their political party, then there is division and frustration and violence sets in.
Peace in the nation is the fruit of honesty and solidarity in the conduct of public affairs, including elections; it is the tranquility of order. And to guarantee peace, all are called to maturity, tolerance and responsibility. Voting should be considered a citizen responsibility and not something we should kill each other over.
We urge our politicians and all our leaders to pay a lot of attention to this election violence that seems to be growing instead of reducing before it gets out of control and our country is rendered a failed state.
By Mutuna Chanda and Brighton Phiri in Solwezi
Fri 20 Nov. 2009, 04:01 CAT
PF's Charity Banda recovering from body pains at Solwezi General Hospital after being attacked by suspected MMD cadres. VOTING in the Solwezi Central parliamentary by-election got off to a slow and violent start yesterday.
Suspected PF-UPND pact cadres hit MMD Kyawama branch chairman Jaah Nsakanya with a bottle on the left brow at Kandemba polling station based at Kyawama High School, just after he cast his vote around 07:00 hours.
Nsakanya narrated that four suspected PF-UPND cadres alighted from a vehicle while he was chatting with the MMD Kyawama branch youth chairman.
He said the suspected PF-UPND cadres punched him before one of them hit him with a bottle on the left eyebrow.
Nsakanya said three of the four cadres ran away but that the one who was initially driving the vehicle which they came in was caught and handed to the police.
By press time Nsakanya, whose shirt was drenched in blood, was being attended to at Solwezi General Hospital.
Various incidents of violence marred the campaigns in the Solwezi Central parliamentary by-election into the eve of election-day.
PF-UPND pact campaign manager for the Solwezi Central seat Stephen Katuka said UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema had to abandon his tour of Solwezi main market late on Wednesday afternoon after MMD cadres threw stones at him though none of them landed on him.
Late on Wednesday night, two PF cadres among them Charity Banda, were attacked by suspected MMD cadres.
Speaking from her hospital bed, Banda said the MMD cadres ambushed her group near Mushitala Basic School as they were awaiting the arrival of the police whom they had called for protection after being tipped that the MMD cadres were about to attack their camp in the area.
“We saw a group of people walking towards our camp and we thought they were the police officers whom we had called for protection. We started walking towards the group with the view of briefing them,” Banda said.
“We did not realise that we were throwing ourselves in the hands of the MMD thugs. Before we finished telling them that MMD were about to attack us, the group descended on us, beating us using bamboo sticks.”
Banda said the PF-UPND pact supporters scampered for safety but two of them were caught and clobbered. She complained of body pains.
By press time yesterday, MMD and PF-UPND pact teams were in the field trying to counter each other’s attacks on supporters who were heading to various polling stations.
Early morning rains slowed the voting process and by 10:30 hours 1,063 voters had cast their ballots in four polling stations, which have a total of 10,942 registered voters.
At Kamakonde polling station, 94 voters had cast their ballots by 08:50 hours a centre which has 1,202 registered voters, while 158 had made their choices at Kyankwankwa which has 1,310 electorates on the roll.
By 10:00 hours, 370 voters at Kamijiji had cast their ballots out of 4,199 registered voters while 441 had voted at Kandemba polling station out of the 4,231 on the register.
MMDs Albert Chifita, PF-UPND pact’s Watson Lumba, Forum for Democratic Alternatives’ (FDA) Muhammed Kalela and independent candidate Thomas Kafula were in the race for the Solwezi Central seat which fell vacant following the death of area member of parliament Benny Tetamashimba.
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 20 Nov. 2009, 04:02 CAT
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata yesterday assured that the PF-is to stay and that the MMD’s fear that it is a threat is correct. And Sata charged that President Rupiah Banda has started sneaking in and out of the country because he has come to terms with his failures.
Meanwhile, Sata said it was not possible for the MMD to sponsor the state-owned and government controlled media to counter The Post because it was founded on ideals which could not be challenged.
In an interview, Sata said President Banda sneaked into the country from Rome on Wednesday night and journalists were denied asking him questions.
He said President Banda also sneaked out of the country on his way to Libya because he was scared on being taken to task to answer important national questions by the journalists.
“He sneaked in because he said people are going to see that he is wasting money chattering a plane when people are suffering. He has started sneaking in and out. He has got something troubling him. He doesn’t want to answer questions. If you saw him in the past he was very joyful when he was travelling in and out of the country. Now he has been caught in failure, and he is sneaking in and out so that you don’t ask him questions,” Sata said.
And commenting on the MMD caucus meeting observation that the PF-UPND pact is a threat, saying at first those in the party thought the pact would crumble within months but it had kept on consolidating itself, Sata said the pact was unstoppable.
He said he was aware of the MMD’s desperation to counter the pact by sponsoring some named individuals to form political parties.
"We pact are getting organised every day, and this is the correct feeling by MMD because in the past, they have always been putting superficial popularity which they don’t have. The point is the pact is here to stay. The pact is an alternative government," Sata said.
He said some disgruntled members from MMD and UPND in Western and North Western provinces had come together with the aim of forming a political party.
"There will be Charles Milupi, Elias Chipimo. There will be a number of spoilers. There will be a lot of spoilers who will come. For instance last year, there were too many spoilers but if you see the record of the vote, if you look at the amount of the votes where we recovered 338,000 votes. This man President Rupiah Banda only got away with 35,000,” Sata said.
“So even if the Milupis come, the Milupis are working on the MMD. Disgruntled MMD in Western and North Western province are trying to form a political party. But that is not a factor. People are beyond those little considerations."
On the statements emanating from the MMD that they would need to pump money into the state-owned and government-media to counter The Post, Sata said the MMD were wasting their time.
He said The Post could not be countered because its ideals were founded on firm grounds and could not be challenged.
Sata said unlike the Times of Zambia and Daily Mail, The Post did not operate as a public relations firm of anyone.
“The public media, whether they put in money or no money, The Post has inbuilt ideals and intellect. You can’t counter The Post,” Sata said. “Because you see, today they state owned and government controlled media can write anything about me, but it won’t be news.”
On Vice-President George Kunda’s continued claims that the MMD was gaining ground in Luapula, Southern and Northern provinces, Sata said the Vice-President said the same in Kasama but his party was badly whipped.
He challenged Vice-President Kunda to ask PF rebel members of parliament to resign so that people could see who was truly popular.
“They said they were gaining ground in Northern Province and managed to convince Saviour Chishimba to resign. Chishimba , but did they get the Kasama seat? Why don’t they ask Besa Chimbaka to resign like Chishimba? That is the only way we are going to see the ground,” said Sata.