Saturday, March 06, 2010

Does Rupiah want to stop corruption?

Does Rupiah want to stop corruption?
By The Post
Sat 06 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

Bob Sichinga, with his usual intelligence and highly penetrating mind, has made very interesting observations and has asked a very pertinent question about Rupiah Banda and corruption. Bob says Rupiah can put an end to corruption within the government if he wanted to, but the question is: “Does he want to?”

Bob has not given a direct answer to this question, although its not difficult to discern his view on this. However, we will not try to speak for Bob or put words in his mouth.

We will attempt to answer Bob’s question. In our view, Rupiah doesn’t want to stop corruption and he is incapable of stopping it.

We say this because Rupiah can’t survive politically and otherwise in an environment free of corruption. In an environment free of corruption, merit prospers; greed, deceit, lies, manipulation and corruption fail. And without lies, deceit, manipulation and corruption, Rupiah will not be able to survive for long in that office and in our politics in general. Rupiah is where he is today because of lies, deceit, manipulation and corruption.

To become president, Rupiah had to resort in various degrees to these evils. Who can deny that in the 2008 elections Rupiah was involved in electoral bribery? Money and other goods were flying around in all directions to buy or manipulate weak souls so that they give him their support and votes. Sugar and mealie-meal were being distributed to voters in the view of everyone.

And these corrupt practices are not new in Rupiah’s politics, in his life. He did the same in 1991. There are undeniable records of Rupiah’s corruption in this regard.

Rupiah cannot stop corruption because without it he will not be able to achieve the purpose and meaning of his presidency. Rupiah is not in State House to serve the people of Zambia heart and soul; he is there to serve himself, his family and friends and to be served.

Within just a very short time, the financial fortunes of Rupiah and his family have changed beyond recognition. His children who were in serious financial problems are today awash with money and are proud owners of this and that; they are the suppliers of this and that; they are the brokers of this and that deal – they are literally behind every meaningful deal. What has made this possible?

What has made it so easy for them to recover from their financial doldrums and overnight become so rich? The only reasonable explanation for this is that Rupiah’s presidency has been used as a ladder for their prosperity. And whichever way one wants to look at this, it cannot be explained in any other way other than it being a product of corruption.

To retain power next year and to keep enjoying these business deals and the huge amounts of money that they generate, Rupiah has to continue doing what they have been doing – travelling on the path of corruption, of abuse of power in the most arrogant and insensitive manner.

This is why Rupiah has no quams engaging in the most naked forms of corruption like that of shielding Chiluba from meaningful prosecution. Rupiah has made it very clear that he will not allow the state to appeal against the acquittal of his friend Frederick Chiluba who was acquitted of corruption charges in the most questionable manner – a manner that leaves no one guessing what must have happened.

Rupiah needs Chiluba. But for what? For corrupt politics – politics based on tribalism, regionalism, manipulation, lies, deceit and corruption. Rupiah needs the support and assistance of corrupt elements to stay in power. Honest people cannot help to sustain Rupiah in power because with his serious lack of merit, they will not be able to sell him to the electorate.

An honest account of Rupiah will simply make him unelectable. Therefore, lies, deceit, manipulation and corruption have to be resorted to sustain him in power. How else can Rupiah remain in power if not with lies, calumny, manipulation and corruption?

For these reasons Rupiah cannot fully commit himself to fighting corruption. The most he can do is to pay lip service to the fight against corruption. Not even the most corrupt politician can go to his people and tell them I am for corruption; not even Zaire’s Mobutu could do that.

Even Mobutu used to fire some people for stealing public funds when he himself stole more than US$ 5 billion from the humble people of that rich but poor country. So no one should expect Rupiah to openly say that he supports corruption.

He lives by it and survives on it, but he will not be able to openly say he is for it. We can only judge Rupiah’s commitment to the fight against corruption on the basis of his deeds. It is said that “doing is the best way of saying”. Thus, Rupiah’s position on corruption can only be seen through the way he lives, his daily actions. Living is the best way of believing.

There is no way a person who is opposed to corruption can defend corrupt elements and their corrupt deeds the way Rupiah is doing it. Rupiah has come out openly to defend and protect Chiluba and his tandem of thieves. And Rupiah is today handing back to these thieves their loot that the state had rightly confiscated.

And this same Rupiah is today dilly-dallying in getting the London High Court judgment that was obtained by the Zambian government through George Kunda as Attorney General. This judgment would enable the Zambian people to get back something from what was stolen from them. It is impossible to imagine how Rupiah will do this when today he is busy handing back stolen property to these same people just to come and retrieve it later.

Clearly, Rupiah has no intention of enforcing the London High Court judgment against Chiluba and his crooked friends. After all, he has been going round saying Chiluba is innocent despite his government holding the London High Court judgment against Chiluba in its hands.

A person who behaves in this way cannot in another breath be expected to stop corruption in this country. It is clear that Rupiah is not for a Zambia that is free of corruption. Rupiah is a defender of corruption.

If one is truly honest, if one is truly opposed to corruption, one cannot defend corruption, he cannot be corrupted. If one is unassuming and has a clear understanding of the worth of his fellow citizens and of himself, one cannot defend corruption and resort to corrupt means to stay in power the way Rupiah is doing.

Rupiah does not inspire confidence in the fight against corruption. He has done everything possible to undermine the fight against corruption. Government officials and their friends in the private sector are no longer scared of abusing their offices and stealing public funds as long as they are close and in good terms with Rupiah. Being in good terms with Rupiah is all that matters.

We cannot develop our country and overcome the many problems our people are today facing with a political leadership that looks at things in that way. To make Zambia rich and strong needs several decades of intense effort, which will include, among other things, the effort to practice strict economy, combat waste and eradicate corruption from government dealings, that is, the policy of building our country through honesty, diligence and frugality.

The principle of honest public service, diligence and frugality should be observed in everything. We must particularly advocate diligence and frugality, we must pay special attention to economy. Wherever we happen to be, we must treasure our limited material resources, and must not take a short view and indulge in wastefulness and extravagance.

In order to speed up economic development in our country and move the great masses of our people from poverty, we must do our utmost to ensure that public resources are utilised in the most efficient, effective and orderly manner and take resolute measures against anyone destroying, abusing or stealing them and pay attention to thrift and economy.

Thrift should be the guiding principle in our government expenditure. It should be made clear to all government workers and public officials that corruption and waste are very great crimes. Our national campaign against corruption under Levy Mwanawasa, weak and limited as they might have been, were starting to show some positive results. We have lost our bearings on this score and there is need for us to get back in the right direction.

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Banda can stop corruption if he wanted to – Sichinga

Banda can stop corruption if he wanted to – Sichinga
By Mutale Kapekele
Sat 06 Mar. 2010, 03:40 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda can put an end to corruption within the government if he wanted to, economic consultant Bob Sichinga has said. Speaking when he appeared on Muvi TV’s Matter at Hand program, Sichinga said President Banda had the power to end corruption in the country.

“If the President wants to, he can stop this corruption,” Sichinga said on Monday.

“But the question is, does he want to? By the stroke of the pen he can do so. He can call a Cabinet meeting and ask his ministers, the permanent secretaries and responsible officials and say this should stop! All it takes is political will and commitment.”

He said corruption was endemic because there was no political will to control it.

“How do you fight corruption when politicians drive government vehicles with government fuel to political campaigns?” Sichinga asked.

“In fact, corruption is mainly perpetuated by politicians and civil servants below the permanent secretaries. That is why I am saying the President can easily put an end to this.”

Sichinga, who is former public accounts committee chairperson and Kafue member of parliament, charged that civil servants had seen a weakness in the public accounting systems and took advantage of it.

“Every fund that the government has introduced has been abused. That is why the country is losing billions and in some cases trillions to corruption,” Sichinga said.

“Houses in Chalala have been built on this kind of money. There is clearly a failure in accounting systems. People in the civil service have seen the weakness in the system and are stealing.”

He said those who witnessed abuse of public funds in the civil service did not report for fear of exposing other officers.

“If one person is revealed, there is fear that they will tell on the others who are doing the same. They are scared that that person can say how about directors, permanent secretary or that officer?” he said.

“Clearly there is a failure in the financial system. Permanent secretaries should take their time to study cheques before they sign. If they are in a hurry, they will make mistakes of signing for things that are not verified and certified.”

He also urged Zambians to get interested in how public funds were being managed.

“As Zambians we should be interested in our money. The government raises taxes because they need money to develop the country, Zambians should be angry enough to demand action when the money is stolen,” Sichinga said. “Some of the money is used by the MMD for campaigns.

The vehicles that are sometimes used have public fuel when campaigns are not government business. I am not saying this for political capital. I am pained by poverty because resources are available. We should be asking for accountability. We are not a poor nation, our resources are just poorly managed because Zambians choose wrong people to lead them.”

He said “crazy” things had taken place in the country and wondered how the police would enforce the law when some of their senior officers were culprits of alleged abuse of public resources.

“The police are also culprits of abuse of our resources, how do you expect them to go and arrest others?” he asked.

“Is the fight against corruption lost? Why should officers involved be demoted instead of prosecuting them? There is deliberate stealing.

The government has not put guidelines on how funds should be used but people should know that public funds are not pocket money. We don’t need the Executive that does not act to protect their friends.”

He said the government should account for the money that was spent during the illness and subsequent death of late president Levy Mwanawasa.

He said names of ‘thieves’ should be published because they were given every chance to explain themselves by the auditors at the times of auditing.

“If names are published, we may reduce the AG’s report by half,” said Sichinga. “We need accounting systems that are compliant with the law.”

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Rupiah’s govt has appetite for corruption – HH

Rupiah’s govt has appetite for corruption – HH
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sat 06 Mar. 2010, 03:50 CAT

UPND president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said the government's single-sourcing of China Jiangsu International to sink 6,000 boreholes countrywide at the cost of US $50 million is part of corrupt activities being perpetuated by those in the President Rupiah Banda administration.

Commenting on the Ministry of Energy and Water Development's awarding of a contract to China Jiangsu International Economic-Technical Cooperation Corporation Limited, Hichilema accused the President Banda government of having appetite for corruption.

He wondered why the government continued to abrogate the public procurement Act by single sourcing of contracts like in the case of the evaluation of Zamtel, fuel procurement and other tenders.

He challenged the government to abide by the public procurement Act.

“They must follow the law. The MMD has proven that they have no capacity to follow the law,” said Hichilema. “Zambian people must reject this.”

He said the Zambian people must stand up and reject the contract awarded to China Jiangsu International.

Insiders at the Ministry of Energy and Water Development revealed that the government awarded the contract within one week.

“The contract involves the construction of 6,000 boreholes countrywide and the amount for the project is US $50 million, the bidder is China Jiangsu International Economic-Technical Cooperation Corporation Ltd,” the insider said.

“Tender invitation: 18th February, 2010, receipt of bid 18th February, 2010, letter for negotiation 22nd February, 2010, authority to negotiate given on 22nd February, 2010 and date of negotiations on 23rd February, 2010 and award of authority by CTC (Central Tender Committee) on 23rd February, 2010. Therefore, direct bidding (bid rigging) contrary to ZPPA Act of 2008.”

But Ministry of Energy and Water Development permanent secretary Teddy Kasonso on Thursday said the contract had not been concluded.

“We have not yet concluded that contract. No! Not yet,” said Kasonso. “Where do you get all that kind of money? All processes have to be followed and so on.”

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Nkombo reveals Kunda’s covert scheme

Nkombo reveals Kunda’s covert scheme
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sat 06 Mar. 2010, 04:20 CAT

MAZABUKA Central parliamentarian Gary Nkombo yesterday claimed that Vice-President George Kunda asked him with his Siavonga counterpart Douglas Syakalima to covertly work with the UPND in 2008 as he had no confidence in then acting President Rupiah Banda.

Reacting to Vice-President Kunda’s continued allegation that UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was earmarked to be replaced by Nkombo and Syakalima would be appointed vice-president of the party, Nkombo said he had resorted to reveal whatever Vice-President Kunda, then justice minister, told him in confidence.

Nkombo said in September 2008 at the Parliament balcony, Vice-President Kunda asked to covertly work with the UPND because he had no confidence in President Banda, whom he described as a dictator.

“Mr Banda must know, and I have proof to this effect that Mr George Kunda did not even have confidence in him at the time that he ascended to the office of the Presidency.

During the campaign, George Kunda came to Douglas Syakalima and I to usher his officials from the MMD in Muchinga to start working with us covertly because he did not have any confidence that he will be retained in the new Rupiah Banda government. That is the fact and I challenge George Kunda to refute,” Nkombo said.

“At the balcony of Parliament, George Kunda, myself and Douglas Syakalima spoke about this matter. But you know luck favours fools, he already forgets that we also have a lot of information that can be backed by evidence that George Kunda was going to usher his entire Muchinga Constituency committee to start working covertly with the UPND.

Mr Mwanawasa died on the 19th August 2008, right? Kunda approached us in the first week of September 2008. He was dead scared. He called Mr Rupiah Banda a dictator. Mr George Kunda did not support Mr Rupiah Banda’s candidacy and everybody knows that, it should not even be a secret. Mr Banda called him maybe to start galvanising the MMD.”

He said there was a lot he knew about Vice-President Kunda.

“He Vice-President Kunda said he wanted to be with the UPND if Rupiah Banda threw him out. So he is a double- tongued fellow and not to be trusted. If George Kunda has got what it takes, let him stand up and challenge that statement.

There is a lot that we can say about our interaction with George Kunda when he was justice minister, how scared he was with Rupiah Banda, how he called Rupiah Banda a dictator. We have got that information. We have had several meetings with George Kunda, Douglas Syakalima and myself.

But he forgets that politics must remain politics. But since he has started now making these stupid innuendoes, we have no choice but to expose him.”

He said Vice-President Kunda had no confidence in the systems he works with.
Nkombo said he had a lot of respect for the office of the Vice-President but not Kunda.

Nkombo said Vice-President Kunda was concocting lies about the UPND that never existed.

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C/belt, Luapula give Sata a rousing welcome

C/belt, Luapula give Sata a rousing welcome
By By Patson Chilemba
Sat 06 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata on Thursday received rousing welcome in Copperbelt and Luapula provinces as he went to feature on Radio Icengelo and Radio Yangeni respectively.

Sata received rousing welcomes in Kitwe and Mansa when he arrived unannounced to feature on the radio programmes in the two towns.

In Kitwe, many people only became aware that Sata was in town when they heard him speak on Radio Icengelo. When the radio programme finished, several people found their way to the road sides to catch a glimpse of Sata, while at the same time showing solidarity by raising a clenched fist, the PF symbol.

At Chisokone market, on his way to South Downs Airport, a horde of marketeers and other residents were found waiting for Sata. They ululated and raised the PF symbol, while others shouted, “Pabwato, pabwato”.

From amidst the ululations and shoutings, one was heard saying: “Mwilasakama kuno, muyeko kumbi. Kuno twaliisala kale. Don't worry, all is well here. Just concentrate on the other areas. We have already chosen you here.”

In Mansa, Sata mockingly said on radio that he had arrived unannounced in the area because someone recently said that Luapula was a no-go area for him, but that he wanted people to speak for themselves.

A check in the town centre found that many people attentively listened to the radio as Sata spoke.

And when the Zesco power got interrupted briefly during the programme, some were heard saying that the power utility company had been instructed to switch off power just because Sata was on radio.

However, power was restored five minutes later and the programme continued.
After the programme, several people lined up the streets to catch a glimpse of the PF leader.

And featuring on Radio Icengelo earlier on Thursday, Sata said Vice-President Kunda's attacks on him and the PF-UPND Pact were a sign that the MMD and the government were shaken by the strength of the Pact.

“How can a person who is not a member of the Pact tell you something about the pact?” Sata asked.

“They talk about the Pact because it is worrying them, it is troubling them. George Kunda ngachita notumilomo filya, he feels the impact of the Pact. They are saying the Pact is evil. What has it done? I am mad because I shall continue speaking the truth. If I die, I will die with the truth. The Pact is very strong.”

Asked by the interviewer to comment on the recent assertions by former president Frederick Chiluba who wondered what kind of a party PF was which did not have membership cards, Sata said there were several political parties even in the United States and United Kingdom which did not have party cards.

“Chiluba's thinking is as tall as he is,” Sata said. “Chiluba's logic is as tall as he is. Leaders have identity…I know the reason why Chiluba was talking about having cards. When his so-called uncle B.Y Ben Mwila formed ZRP when he was expelled from MMD, he Chiluba used Office of the President to print ZRP cards…and people said, 'I have resigned from ZRP.' And one of the ZRP people is here in the studio, Chibwe Mulenga. But I knew all those tricks, that is why I said PF, no cards.”

Sata said he sympathised with Chiluba because he was under extreme pressure at the moment. He said that was why he was reluctant to respond to some of Chiluba's allegations because people would fail to tell who was petty.

“He has remained with very few friends, and therefore when he finds that there is somebody who is trying to help him, he will quickly turn against his own friends, people like Chibwe. You will be shocked that he has made up with B.Y Mwila, but not the people that were with B.Y Mwila,” Sata said.

Sata wondered what type of country Zambia would have been without Dr Kenneth Kaunda, saying most of the infrastructure that could be seen today was left by the former president.

“You see, people are saying that Luapula is a no-go area,” Sata said. “Kaunda built Tuta Road up to Kashikishi, and then he went up 20 miles to Chipili. Kaunda does not come from Luapula Province. Levy Mwanawasa does not come from Luapula Province, he put a bridge which people have been crying for all the time. What about Chiluba, what did he do?”

Sata said there was money in Zambia only that there was too much thieving by those in leadership because they did not care to develop the nation.

He said the government was too large and wondered where revenue from the sale of vast mineral resources the country possessed went to.

Sata said Zambians did not obtain Independence in order to suffer.

“We are not going to steal money, we are not going to plunder, we are not going to buy suits, we are not going to buy shoes. We are not going to give girls houses, no. Because if the Europeans who came here, if they wanted more shoes, do you think there would have been Riverside?”

Sata asked, adding that he was not as petty as Chiluba. “If I was like him, I would have given incidence by incidence, including who burnt the local court in Ndola, Chifubu, that very important day. Knowing that they Chiluba and government have not delivered, they would like to call Mr. Sata names.”

Sata said when PF comes to power, he would not chase away investors, but they would have to respect Zambians.

“Because around Miseshi, Mopani Copper Mines have opened the mines, two yards from people's houses without even arranging compensation or relocating these people…and when I speak they say 'Sata is mad.'” Sata said. “And again this Maxwell Mwale young man, so-called Minister of Mines came here with George Kunda, called the mining companies and told them 'don't give Zambian suppliers any more contracts because they are the people who are supporting PF.'

And then they said 'you have to register to be a contractor and there will be a tender procedure where the tender will be considered in Johannesburg and India.' Who knows us in India because the copper here is our copper.”

Sata said Zambia today was like a borrowed country where people did not know what they would eat the following day while unemployment level was at 85 percent.

And featuring on Radio Yangeni Mansa later in the afternoon, Sata asked for a minute of silence in honour of home affairs deputy minister Misheck Bonshe who died in Nigeria.

He said Bonshe was neglected by President Banda just like he Sata was removed as health minister when he was undergoing a serious goitre operation.

Sata said the people of Luapula had elected Judas Iscariots who had gone to Parliament to enrich their pockets, and they also elected another Iscariot in Chiluba.

He maintained that there was no need for President Banda to interfere in Chiluba's theft case before court.

Asked by the interviewer why his relationship with Chiluba had degenerated, Sata said Chiluba was on fire and knew that the only person with a bucket of water to put the fire out was President Banda.

Asked if he was ready to meet Mwata Kazembe over the Mwata's statement that he would meet him and Chiluba over their differences, Sata said Mwata Kazembe had always been consoling to him.

“He's been my brother, and at the same time my chief. I am ready to meet Mwata Kazembe anytime, and he does not need to restrict himself to Frederick Chiluba because Chiluba is not an issue Zambia is an issue,” Sata said.

Sata also revealed that when President Banda visited Luapula Province recently, some senior government officials bought him goats to purport that they were gifts from the people to show that he was well received in the Province.

He said goats were bought and MMD cadres were ferried to Mansa, and filled up most lodges.

Sata said Bahati PF 'rebel' member of parliament Besa Chimbaka had been telling people that he would contest Mansa-Central in 2011 because area member of parliament Chrispine Musosha was said not to be in good books with President Banda as he was viewed to be MMD presidential aspirant Ng'andu Magande's sympathiser.

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Strong liquidity enables us to continue building market share – StanChart

Strong liquidity enables us to continue building market share – StanChart
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

STANDARD Chartered Plc has announced a seventh successive year of record income of US $15.18 billion and operating profit before tax of US $5.15 billion last year despite adverse effects of the global economic crisis.

Standard Chartered Plc, which trades in the country as Standard Chartered Zambia Plc stated that the results demonstrated the underlying strength and momentum across its markets and businesses, despite the ongoing adverse global economic conditions.

“Our strong liquidity and capital position enabled us to continue building our market share across our footprint, generating positive business momentum as we enter 2010,” Standard Chartered Plc stated.

“2009 delivered strong and diversified profit and income growth across our markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Five markets delivered income of over $1 billion, with India and Hong Kong also delivering over $1 billion in operating profit before tax (OPBT).”

Standard Chartered Plc stated that wholesale banking continued to demonstrate strong business momentum with significant increases in both client and own account income growth, while consumer banking saw a strong upturn in performance during the second half of the year.

“Throughout the tough environment, Standard Chartered has continued to provide support for its customers and corporate clients, significantly increasing lending and other forms of support across our markets,” stated Standard Chartered Plc. “2009 total lending climbed by 13 per cent US billion to US $250 billion. We helped many more of our customers buy their own homes, increasing our mortgage lending by nearly 21 per cent to US $58 billion. We helped small and medium enterprises start up and grow with an extra 14 per cent increase in lending to more than US $13 billion.”

Standard Chartered Plc stated that it continued to focus on the basics of good banking, keeping a tight grip on costs and risk control and maintaining a liquid and conservative balance sheet.

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Zambia has enough maize to reach next season – Daka

Zambia has enough maize to reach next season – Daka
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 06 Mar. 2010, 03:10 CAT

PARLIAMENT yesterday heard that the nation has in stock about 402,000 metric tonnes of maize that will last up to the next marketing season.

Delivering a ministerial statement on the current food security and input distribution for 2009-2010 agriculture season, agriculture minister Peter Daka said the maize was in the hands of different players in the sector.

“In terms of food security, as at 17th February 2010, the country still had a total of about 303, 975 metric tonnes of good quality maize grain.

The maize was held by players in the sector as follows: The Food Reserve Agency, 194,933 metric tonnes; Millers who belong to the Millers Association of Zambia, 100,000 metric tonnes; and the Grain Traders Association of Zambia, 9,042 metric tonnes uncommitted stocks,” Daka explained.

“In addition to the above figures, the Zambia National Farmers Union expects its members to harvest about 100,000 metric tonnes of early maize. The total maize available is therefore about 402,975 metric tonnes. This maize is enough to see us up to the next marketing season.”

Daka said the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Statistical Office were currently conducting training for officers to be involved in the crop forecasting exercise aimed at assessing crop production for this season.

And science and technology minister Dr Brian Chituwo told Parliament that the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) in Lusaka had a workforce of 181 as at December 2009.

Responding to a question from Pambashe parliamentarian Dr Bernard Chisha who wanted to know what the total workforce was, the qualifications of respective officers and what research and development programmes the personnel at the institution were involved in, Dr Chituwo said although NISIR had numerous challenges, some important national research programmes were still being carried out.

“As at December 2009 the total workforce at the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research stood at 181. Of the total workforce, the number of scientific personnel holding Bachelors degrees, Master’s degrees and Doctor of Philosophy degrees is currently 34 and distributed as follows: Bachelors degrees 7, Master’s degrees 13, Doctor of Philosophy degrees 4,” Dr Chituwo said.

Dr Chituwo said the institution still conducted several research programmes in biotechnology, livestock productivity and disease control; and information services, among others.

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Formation of new political party doesn’t make sense, UNZA lecturer

Formation of new political party doesn’t make sense, UNZA lecturer
By Namatama Mundia
Sat 06 Mar. 2010, 03:10 CAT

IT does not make any political sense to form another political party at this point in time, University of Zambia political and administrative studies lecturer Phineas Bbaala has said.

Commenting on the newly-founded National Restoration Party (NAREP) yesterday, Bbaala said forming a political party at this time did not make sense but that the new party should have studied the ideologies of already-existing parties to see where they fit in.

“The problem is we don’t have serious ideological divide between and among political players because if we had a clear ideological divide, it could have been clear for a person who wants to start a new political party,” he said.

Bbaala said the founders of NAREP should have studied the positives of existing ideologies before forming a new party.

“If those parties don’t represent your ideologies, that’s the only time you can form a political party,” he said.

Bbaala however, said Zambians should not expect any surprises from NAREP.

He added that if NAREP’s aim was to form government next year, then they have not done a right thing.

“And they NAREP will not go anywhere if they have been sponsored by another political party because the sponsor will not want a new party to become popular than them,” Bbaala said.

He added that NAREP was not going anywhere when the pendulum was between the PF-UPND pact and the MMD.

“I don’t think there is another political party or group that can perform better than the MMD and the PF-UPND pact, those colleagues should have studied the manifestos of MMD, PF or UPND and they could have found where they fit in,” he said.

Bbaala advised the NAREP founders to dissolve the party and join any of the existing parties.

Bbaala said he does not see NAREP winning any election and that they are just wasting their resources, time and energy.

“I don’t think they have resources, time and energy to go for campaigns and trail their political manifestos. The mood in the country is on MMD, PF and UPND and no other party can get that support,” said Bbaala.

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(HERALD) Zimbabwe can’t be ignored — Mzembi

Zimbabwe can’t be ignored — Mzembi

ZIMBABWE was recently readmitted into the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the equivalent of the World Health Organisation, after years of excommunication due to non-payment of subscription fees. The Government, through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, immediately went into overdrive to promote, rebrand, repackage, rebuild and market Zimbabwe as a safe tourist destination and investment hub, ahead of the 2010 World Cup soccer finals, slated for South Africa. Our Features Editor, ISDORE GUVAMOMBE (IG), interviewed Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi (WM) on these and other issues.

IG: You have been Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry for a year now. How has it been?

WM: Hectic. It has been very eventful. In fact, we are very grateful to his Excellency the President, Cde Mugabe, for his vision in creating a stand-alone Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, whose portfolio was given to me. His example was immediately followed by South Africa, which has also established a full Ministry of Tourism.

We have manoeuvred through this Ministry and ZTA, enabling us to pay our subscriptions to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. We won a seat in the executive committee of the UNWTO after campaigning quietly and are now using our position to influence events from there.

Actually, I am yet to see any ministry, since the inception of the inclusive Government that has achieved what we have achieved.

IG: Which other achievements have you made?

WM: Numerous. ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke was elected first vice president of the African Tourism Marketing Initiative.

We feel flattered and honoured for Kaseke. I think it was long overdue for a man who has worked so hard for tourism.

On three occasions we have brought to Zimbabwe, the UNWTO assistant secretary-general and advisor to the secretary- general, Professor Jeofry Lipman, to the country and struck a training deal for our industry. The three visits affirm our presence. They are feeling us.

No one can ignore Zimbabwe now.

IG: What else have you achieved within the year?

WM: We have successfully hosted the Africa investor, Pan African Investment Conference, where we scooped three awards.

Zimbabwe won The Best Upcoming African Tourist Destination, African Sun won the Best Hotel Investment Award and Phillip Chiyangwa the Best Tourism Investment Award.

IG: Besides the awards what did Zimbabwe benefit from hosting this conference?

WM: Yes, we clinched US$2 billion worth of investment deals that are now being pursued by the industry.

We also used the conference to dispel misconceptions about the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act and the process. We told them our sector is not affected; it is already compliant, so there are no problems there.

IG: Can you explain your main thrust for the year?

WM: Those who have been following events in the ministry and ZTA might have noticed that last year was the year for re-engagement. We attended 30 international expositions and exhibitions to make a statement for ourselves and what we stand for. We got our voting rights back from UNWTO.

IG: What is this year for?

WM: This year is the year of investment. This is why we started the year with an investment conference that clinched US$2 billion worth of investment deals.

We have come up with a tourism masterplan that must culminate in every province having a structure like the Harare International Conference Centre. We are decentralising, devolving to give the provinces ownership and input. We are going to establish provincial tourism boards, provincial offices and provincial leaders that complement each other.

IG: You have said much about the local scene. What are you going to do on the international scene this year?

WM: Budget permitting, we want to increase our presence on the international source markets. At the inception of the inclusive Government, we were facing travel warnings, the embargoes, but we have managed to negotiate our way out of it. Today, sanctions remain our major problem. Other tourism industries get funding from the ACPU, Continuo Agreement, Section 23, but we are not.

IG: What about the latest extensions of sanctions?

WM: Well, the two pronouncements, one by the EU and another by America, are tantamount to travel warnings or travel bans. They discourage the visitor. But like what President Mugabe said, we should ignore them and move on as if nothing happened. We are very clear that all major pillars of economic development are under siege. The diamonds are under siege, farming is under siege, tourism is under siege because the sanctions are sending negative signals. Even in the region, we tend to get indifference from our neighbours because they fear collateral damage.

IG: Tell us about the 2010 World Cup finals. Many people think there is nothing for Zimbabwe to gain except the media hype.

WM: The World Cup is an African event hosted by South Africa on our behalf. Around 450 000 tourists are expected in South Africa and as Zimbabwe we want to bring 30 percent to Zimbabwe in a spillover effect. If we do that, we are home and dry.

IG: What is there for the ordinary people of Zimbabwe?

WM: Zimbabwe is not among the 32 teams participating in the finals. What we have to deal with is connectivity. . . issues about how to connect our people to this mega event, physically or otherwise.

Physically, we have to ensure that the luxury buses are there to ferry fans, we have to equip Air Zimbabwe and we also have to open the skies for other players to make transportation easy to match venues. Air Zimbabwe, for instance, must repackage its routes and say we now have Harare-Masvingo/Buffalo Range-Polokwane, because there will be matches there.

For most of our people who will not be able to go and watch the matches physically, we have fan parks or fan clubs that will be put in every suburb and other strategic areas for our fans to meet and watch matches.

I have two companies that have pledged to put 10 viewing points each and more are still coming.

What we are working on right now is standardisation and formalisation because we need to look at the law in terms of how many people can gather at one place. We also have to look on health issues, ventilation, sanitation and so forth. In short, we need to do the right things for our people.

IG: Where is the money for all these things coming from?

WM: We have applied for US$25 million from the Ministry of Finance, but there has been bureaucratic bungling when my Permanent Secretary got in touch with his counterpart in Finance. I am now personally engaging the minister so that at least something comes out of it. We need our own financial base before we ask from others. South Africa has spent 34 billion rand, but they started with their own 17 billion rand before getting money from others.

We are also imploring the private sector to move and do things. We want to lure teams to camp in Zimbabwe for training.

IG: But we are told no team is going to camp in Zimbabwe for the World Cup finals since South Africa has taken in all teams.

WM: No. The Fifa rules are that no team is allowed to camp outside the host 10 days before the tournament kicks off. That means in the last 10 days before the tournament, all teams must be resident in the host country. For Zimbabwe, we want teams to camp here for training before they eventually zero in on South Africa.

IG: But we don’t have any team coming . . .

WM: We have one already in the pocket, but I am not at liberty to disclose for reasons of keeping our detractors out of play.

We have two or three others we are closely negotiating with. To us it does not make sense for an African team like Ghana to go and acclimatise in Europe and not in the Sadc region that is close to South Africa. It defies logic.

IG: There seems to be a departure from the previous African vision of sharing the proceeds of the soccer finals as envisaged by former president Thabo Mbeki in his bid to host. What exactly is happening?

WM: For one reason or the other, we get such signals from our neighbour, but we have talked over it. We need to re-market the concept the South African Minister of Tourism to come to Zimbabwe, to Victoria Falls, precisely to market this destination together with the World Cup.

Outside the soccer matches, the Victoria Falls is one of the major attractions, together with the Table Mountains of South Africa, the Kalahari sands of Namibia. So we want to package regionally. Zimbabwe has 14 million people, but when marketed with the Sadc, it becomes a big game of numbers. Regional packaging should be our strength.

Victoria Falls is a must visit. Victoria Falls must be to each tourist, what Mecca is to the Moslems, a must visit.

IG: As Minister of Tourism, where do you want to take this industry to and how?

WM: We have played our part and we cannot be ignored as a tourist destination.

That I sit on the UNWTO executive board, within a year of our re-admission, means we are doing very well. The world now recognises our presence. I want Zimbabwe to think big, to have a vision beyond our current lifespan and generation.

We must reposition ourselves to host World Cup 2034, when it again comes to Africa. We must start working on it now. We must see beyond our lifetime.

Let us look at building false beaches, buying aircraft, building stadiums and so on. We will be there. We are on our way to the Promised Land.

l Feedback: isadore.guvamombe ***

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(HERALD) Time to end dependency syndrome

COMMENT - Farmers need a continuous support system - marketing, storage, transportation, information about new crops and prices, insurance, irrigation, credit. Agriculture is an industry, and must be treated as such, especially by those in government who have had little experience with commercial farming. Empty phrases and spychologizing like 'dependency syndrome' are best left far behind. The term 'dependency syndrome' was used by Tendai Biti to excuse de-funding the new farmers and the agricultural sector.

Time to end dependency syndrome

WHILE the injection of US$10 million by the Government towards winter wheat cropping is a fulfilment of some of its obligations to ensure food security, we, however, strongly believe that time is now ripe for farmers to stand on their own feet.

There is nothing wrong, though, in Government introducing subsidies to help farmers but the good gesture only becomes bad when it creates a dependency syndrome that makes farmers even lazy to work.

If the subsidised inputs — seed and fertilizer — are used in production, then surely, barring erratic rainfall, attaining food security would not be a difficult task.

But more often than not, the subsidised inputs have landed on the illegal parallel market where they are sold at exorbitant prices. It is unfortunate that we have turned some market intermediaries into farmers, resulting in the flooding of inputs on the parallel market.

Most farmers are beneficiaries of the Farm Mechanisation Programme that saw many getting an assortment of equipment, such as tractors, combine harvesters, boom sprayers, among others. This means Government has taken care of other critical factors of production.

Farmers had been spending a lot of money hiring farm equipment for tillage, herbiciding and harvesting. Now their major cost factor has shifted from hiring equipment to only buying inputs.

So the huge amount of money they have been using to hire equipment can now go towards buying seed and fertilizer. A lot of saving has been witnessed as farm equipment beneficiaries now only worry about maintenance costs.

In essence farmers are in the business of farming and should thus be responsible for their operations. It is time farmers stopped leaning heavily on the Government for support but started standing on their own feet.

The Government has played a huge part not only in ensuring farmers make money but feed the nation through various support schemes. Farmers have been supported for several seasons now and surely no child can breastfeed forever.

Farmers should start playing ball and show leadership by being able to mobilise their own resources to move winter wheat production in particular and agriculture in general forward.

The support that comes from the Government should be viewed as a bonus for the farmers as they seek other means to sustain their operations. Farming is not different from any other business where businesspeople negotiate lines of financial support from the banks.

Having said this, we however want to commend the Government for remaining sensitive to the plight of wheat farmers by releasing funds at a time we feel farmers should be self-financing.

We remain optimistic that genuine farmers will access the low-cost inputs for the sole purpose of production and not for resale.

It is encouraging that the Government has put in place measures to guard against chancers and other market intermediaries from accessing the inputs by demanding proof of availability of electricity and irrigation water and delivery invoices for the past three seasons.

We hope problems encountered in the past seasons of shortage or lack of inputs on the market, have been tackled. We want to see the seed and fertilizer on the market for farmers with resources to buy.

Preparations for winter cropping in terms of putting together the inputs should start now and the package that the Government has put up for sale at low cost should be available on the market without delay.

Farmers with resources should use them to finance their cropping and leave subsidised inputs to those still struggling.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

‘Appointments to public or private positions should be on merit’

‘Appointments to public or private positions should be on merit’
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

ZAMBIA Civic Education Association (ZCEA) executive director Judith Mulenga has said appointments to public or private positions should be based on merit not on ethnicity, family connections or friendship.

Commenting on the International Women’s Day which falls on March 8 under the theme ‘Equal rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for all,’ Mulenga said society should strive to remove inequalities that stopped every Zambian from accessing services such as education, health, shelter, safe clean water and sanitation regardless of their social class, ethnicity, ancestry or physical disabilities.

Mulenga hoped the theme for International Women’s Day would not end up in slogans and marching in smart outfits but should be reflected in all laws, policies and procedures.

“Equal rights and equal opportunities do not manifest themselves through the production of banners, placards and T-shirts and marching in various chitenge outfits but that this important calendar day’s themes will start a process of serious reflection at all levels of society to incorporate elements of this year’s theme not only in policies but also in attitudes and relationships among all,” she said.

Mulenga said discriminations, stereotyping and prejudices that perpetuated inequality in every facet of life needed to be confronted at a personal and institutional level.

Mulenga said institutional cultures should abhor any form of discrimination that hindered progress for all such as sexism, which was the belief that one’s gender was inherently superior or inferior to another, sexual harassment, ageism, which discriminated people because of their age, disability, religion or ethnicity.

“For example, many people will make discriminatory remarks or jokes about individuals based on gender, age, disability, religion or ethnicity because of ignorance, or prejudice and often such remarks and jokes seem harmless but unfortunately even something which seems to be harmless fun can be painful to others and have wide reaching consequences on the self esteem of the victim,” said Mulenga.

And Lucy Muyoyeta urged political parties to adopt more women during elections.

Muyoyeta, who is former Non Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board chairperson, said it was well-known that women had done a lot in terms of organising themselves both from political parties and other sectors.

She said Zambia had made some progress in some areas as far as women’s rights were concerned.

Muyoyeta said there was some progress in the education sector particularly primary education, which had seen an increase in the enrolment of girls but there was still a struggle at higher levels of education.

She said there was an improvement in the maternal mortality rate.

“We are still struggling with women in decision making. We are nowhere near the 50 per cent AU declaration of women in decision making and the 30 per cent SADC declaration of women in decision making. We are still struggling with old issues, gender-based violence still remains a big problem,” said Muyoyeta.

“We are still struggling with new issues like human trafficking which is little talked about yet we know it is a growing issues, it affects girls and women. Issues related to climate change yet they have an impact on the women.”

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Govt single-sources Chinese firm to sink 6,000 boreholes for $50m

COMMENT - The cost of borehole in Zambia is $4,000 not $8,300 per borehole. ($50 million / 6,000 boreholes = $8,333 per borehole. Also, at scale costs should go down, not up.)

Govt single-sources Chinese firm to sink 6,000 boreholes for $50m
By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 05:00 CAT

THE Ministry of Energy and Water Development has single-sourced China Jiangsu International to sink 6,000 boreholes countrywide at the cost of US $50 million (about K234 billion).

But Ministry of Energy and Water Development permanent secretary Teddy Kasonso yesterday said the contract had not been concluded.

Insiders at the ministry revealed that the tender bid was rigged in favour of China Jiangsu International notwithstanding the huge cost, which required a loan, possibly from a Chinese bank.

“The contract involves the construction of 6,000 boreholes countrywide and the amount for the project is US $50 million, the bidder is China Jiangsu International Economic-Technical Cooperation Corporation Ltd,” the insider said. “Tender invitation: 18th February, 2010, receipt of bid 18th February, 2010, letter for negotiation 22nd February, 2010, authority to negotiate given on 22nd February, 2010 and date of negotiations on 23rd February, 2010 and award of authority by CTC (Central Tender Committee) on 23rd February, 2010. Therefore, direct bidding (bid rigging) contrary to ZPPA Act of 2008.”

The insider said the bid processes were done at the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) offices in Lusaka.

The insider wondered why the Ministry of Energy and Water Development went for a direct bid.

“The amount is too high,” the insider said. “But probably we will get a loan from China. So watch out when RB returns from China.”

When contacted for comment, Kasonso acknowledged that the amount required was huge but said the contract had not been awarded.

“We have not yet concluded that contract. No! Not yet,” said Kasonso. “Where do you get all that kind of money? All processes have to be followed and so on.”

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Rupiah’s defence of Chiluba’s corruption

Rupiah’s defence of Chiluba’s corruption
By Editor
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

OBLIGATIONS to the people should take precedence over commitment to an individual.

It is clear that for Rupiah Banda obligations to his friend Frederick Chiluba have taken precedence over his obligations and duties to the people. Instead of serving the people of Zambia heart and soul, Rupiah is more interested in his own political fortunes. Rupiah is not there to serve the people wholeheartedly. He appears ready to abandon his obligations to the people in pursuit of self-interests.

And as Anglican priest Fr Richard Luonde has observed, under Rupiah Zambia is in the hands of people who are not sincere; people who are ready to gamble justice due to the people in the political casino if they think their political fortunes will increase. In the belief that Chiluba will increase his appeal to the voters, Rupiah is ready to sacrifice a lot and ensure that Chiluba remains far away from prison to campaign for him. Rupiah has clearly betrayed the people, the poor. He has failed to promote the interest of the people. What Rupiah is interested in, is not the welfare of the people but his own political survival and the other things that go with one holding political power.

Instead of promoting the interests of the people and secure justice for them, Rupiah has chosen to protect Chiluba and unjustly deny the people justice. Rupiah sees nothing wrong with habouring criminals, thieves, plunderers. Rupiah is very comfortable in the company of Chiluba, a man this government believed to have stolen from the Zambian people and took to court in London to try and recover what he had stolen. And the person who took Chiluba to court in London in the firm belief that he had stolen was no other than the then Attorney General of the Republic, George Kunda. The London High Court gave this government the judgment it was seeking. But now because the political circumstances have changed, this government, including the then Attorney General, want to repudiate that judgment and turn it into an orphan.

This is how crooks operate; this is how insincere people conduct themselves; this is what dishonesty does to human beings. Rupiah and his minions have no shame in trying to shield Chiluba and his league from justice. Rupiah does not even feel ashamed to be in the company of Chiluba’s convicted wife Regina. And while Rupiah was calling on Zambians to accept the judgment acquitting Chiluba, he was not doing the same with that convicting his wife for the stolen money she was receiving from him. This was not a judgment by a British court but by our own magistrate. They have accepted our magistrates’ court’s acquittal of Chiluba but not its conviction of his wife. And Rupiah is not calling on the Zambian people to accept the conviction of Regina. Regina may not be in prison but she is a convicted criminal who is not in prison on account of bail pending appeal. And if Chiluba’s wife is convicted for receiving stolen money from him, where does this leave Chiluba himself? And this is not the only issue, the only court that has looked at things in this way.

The London High Court has found Chiluba to be a thief who has stolen public funds. Our own magistrates’ court has also found, as a matter of fact, that Regina received stolen money from Chiluba who at that time was her ‘boyfriend’. All this to Rupiah and George means nothing; means that Chiluba is innocent! What innocence?

There is a lot of money to be lost because of Rupiah’s selfishness. The Zambian people stand to lose millions of dollars that could be recovered from Chiluba and his friends. This will be the price the Zambian people will be forced to pay for Chiluba’s friendship with Rupiah and his desire to ensure that he doesn’t go to prison.

This is the type of servant the Zambian people have in Rupiah. What type of servant is this who does not advance the interests of his masters but is more concerned with those of their enemies? Whatever true leaders of the people do is to serve the people. Their duty is to hold themselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy of theirs must conform to the interests of the people; they have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart.

Zambia needs leaders who can look after the interests of her people as they do with their own lives, subordinating their personal interests to those of the people. We need leaders who are more concerned about the masses than about any individual, and more concerned about others than about themselves. We need to bring our political leaders to understand that the supreme test of their words and deeds is whether they conform with the highest interest and enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people. At no time and in no circumstances should they place their personal interests first; they should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, Rupiah’s handling of Chiluba’s corruption cases – his acquittal and the withdrawal of the appeal against this – can be said to be corrupt; it is selfishness at its worst. Wholehearted devotion to public duty is therefore required. The people of Zambia need leaders who are ready at all times to stand up for the truth, for that which is fair and just, because truth, fairness and justice are in the interest of the people.

And as Fr Luonde has concluded, Rupiah has failed to promote the interest of the people but is instead busy protecting crooks that have swindled the country. Given this behaviour, what should be the Zambian people’s attitude towards Rupiah? Should they support him or vote for him?

The masses of our people are looking for leaders who are willing to protect their interests. Moreover, a government of the people, by the people, for the people protects and promotes the people’s rights and interests and not of those who rob them, who steal from them. But Rupiah’s government seems to be a government of crooks, by crooks, for crooks and as such they are busy protecting crooks and their interests, their loot. Is this the type of government the masses of our people should seek to promote, defend or preserve? Is this the type of leaders the masses of our people should be expected to vote for – leaders who allow the poor to be robbed?

What Rupiah has done is indefensible and he will live to regret it. Rupiah is doing all this for Chiluba for selfish reasons. And that which is done for selfish reasons can never be noble. Shielding corrupt elements from justice is not a noble thing; it is an evil deed that can only be done by people who are evil and full of vanity and greed.

With all this, there is no way Rupiah can claim to be fighting corruption in this country. It is not possible for one to fight corruption while at the same time defending corrupt elements. Rupiah can only be one thing: a fighter against corruption or a supporter of corrupt elements. These two positions are mutually exclusive. It’s clear that Rupiah has chosen to defend corruption and corrupt elements and to fight those who are fighting corruption. This is how things stand today. But is this the type of president the Zambian people want? This will be very easy for Rupiah if the majority of our people were corrupt like his friend Chiluba. Things are going to be very difficult for him because his corrupt friends and their supporters are in the minority. So Rupiah has chosen to fight the majority.

They have gotten their acquittal; they have withdrawn the appeal. And they think they have won but soon this will be like a mouthful of sand – they wont enjoy it at all; it will be too much for them to chew.

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Chiluba is showing false loyalty to Rupiah – Sata

Chiluba is showing false loyalty to Rupiah – Sata
By George Chellah and Ernest Chanda
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:02 CAT

FREDERICK Chiluba is showing Rupiah false loyalty, Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata said yesterday. And Sata said Lusaka Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu's response to Chiluba's attacks on him and the Catholic Church was timely.

In an interview, Sata appreciated United States' Cornell University law Professor Muna Ndulo's opinion on Chiluba's acquittal.

“We have heard those thoughts before that, that's what is supposed to happen. I am not a lawyer myself but I have appeared in court on several occasions so I have my own opinion as a layman on how my brother Chiluba got away with it,” Sata said.

“My brother will get away with several other things as long as he continues behaving the way he is behaving. He is trying to pay back by showing Rupiah Banda false loyalty so that Rupiah should think he is providing company for him when Chiluba doesn't mean anything. People should ask Vera Chiluba's ex-wife what she knows about him.”

And Sata said Archbishop Mpundu's remark that Chiluba harboured hatred for the Catholic Church had vindicated him. He said he would not like to comment much because Chiluba was under so much pressure to please the government.

“Like I have always said, Chiluba is under siege so I don't want to give him more pressure. Already we have lost one minister home affairs deputy minister Misheck Bonshe. So we don't want to lose him also. At the same time I must say that I always get vindicated, so for now I will not comment much,” said Sata.

And Transparency International Zambia president Reuben Lifuka said Prof Ndulo's analysis of the judgment in Chiluba's acquittal, reinforced the view held by many that the government, through the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should have appealed against the acquittal.

“The analysis eloquently points to the glaring omissions and errors in the manner which the Ndola High Court Registrar - Mr Jones Chinyama handled the whole case. We said it then and we reaffirm it now that the whole case involving the acquittal of Chiluba, which started off very well, soon transformed into nothing but a charade that was allergic to the merits of the case,” Lifuka said.

“Prof Muna Ndulo's opinion raises a number of critical points, which should not be glossed over. Chiluba is on record claiming his money and the questions raised by Prof Ndulo are important for the former President to answer i.e. where did he get the money from? What did he do for him to warrant receipt of US $8.5 million? The point that equally resonates with our analysis is why did Chiluba elect to give an unsworn statement if he was convinced about the source of funds and the use of a government account as opposed to his own personal account?”

Lifuka said Prof Ndulo's legal opinion helps to put the whole issue of Chiluba's acquittal back into the spotlight and it is TIZ's unqualified position that government, even at this late hour, should appeal against Chinyama's verdict.

“The MMD government has more to lose by defending this questionable acquittal than they would if the appeal went head. Chiluba's acquittal will remain an unnecessary blemish on the record of the judiciary in Zambia and a subject of folklore for many generations to come on how the justice system can be defeated for political ends,” Lifuka said.

“Unfortunately, President Rupiah Banda and his government will deservedly equally share in this record of ignominy. What is evident in what has been said by Prof Ndulo is that the ruling party in power can, through sheer arrogance, ignore the valiant attempts by citizens of goodwill to draw their attention to the numerable merits that lie with an appeal but this will not change the widely held position that this is one acquittal that is at variance with the evidence adduced.

“We can only advise that such actions have high political costs and the MMD government will only have themselves to blame when they drown in the sea of political oblivion because of the 'albatross around their waists'.”

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‘MMD govt deserves a red card’

‘MMD govt deserves a red card’
By Abigail Chaponda in Ndola
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 05:40 CAT

CHANGE Life Zambia (CLZ) executive director Fr Frank Bwalya yesterday said the foul behaviour of the MMD government deserves nothing less than a red card.

Announcing the commencement of the red card campaign, which also includes whistle blowing and honking, Fr Bwalya declared to do everything legally possible to ensure justice in the country.

He stated that the idea was aimed at saving the country from the insensitive, corrupt, dictatorial and selfish MMD regime.

“On Saturday 27th February 2010, the first Save Zambia conference took place at Buchi Hall in Kitwe. It was organised by Change Life Zambia (CLZ) with the initial partners namely Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), Citizens Forum and Southern Africa Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD). Patriotic Zambians that attended the conference came up with a declaration called the 2010 Buchi Declaration.

The conference further declared that the foul behaviour of the MMD government deserved nothing less than a red card,” he stated.

Fr Bwalya stated that people who attended the meeting decided to launch the red card campaign that kicks off today.

“As part of the red card campaign, all Zambians will whistle or make sounds using any available instrument, wear red arm bands or head bands and flash red cards every Friday from 16:00 until the next day,” he stated. “During the meeting, participants called upon all motorists to move with headlamps on every Friday. We wish to remind the general public that the RCC kicks off as scheduled today, Friday 5th March 2010 and we are confident that the campaign will gather pace and popular support as more people become aware of it and inevitably decide to participate.”

However, Fr Bwalya stated that whistling would start after the end of the national mourning at 18:00 hours.

“We encourage people to make a red card for themselves out of paper, red plastic or any red material and buy a whistle. Arm bands or head bands can also be made from any red cloth material,” he stated.

Fr Bwalya stated that the red card campaign would first start on the Copperbelt and move to other provinces at a later stage and urged all Zambians to join the campaign.

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Daka urges prudent management of public funds

Daka urges prudent management of public funds
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:01 CAT

THE benefits of debt relief will not be realised by the Zambian people for as long as there is no commitment to prudent management of public resources, acting finance minister Peter Daka said yesterday.

And Belgium has cancelled the 5,100,000 euros about K34 billion loan that was lent to Zambia towards the rehabilitation of Lusaka International Airport. During the signing of the debt cancellation agreement, Daka said efforts by donors to relieve indebted countries of the debt burden should not be taken for granted.

“As government, we believe that as long as there is no commitment to prudent management of public resources, the benefits of debt relief will not be realised by the masses,” Daka said.

“It is for this reason that government has in recent years put emphasis on effective public resource management to ensure that the desired benefits of economic development are realised. Government also realises that efforts to relieve countries of the debt burden should not be taken for granted.”

He said the government was implementing the public debt reform with a view to ensuring that the debt was contracted at low cost and minimum risk.

“The government has thus been embarking on the implementation of the public debt reform programme, which, among other things, includes implementation of a debt strategy that will ensure that debt is contracted at low cost and minimum risk in order to maintain sustainable levels of sovereign debt that will prevent the country from falling back into the debt trap,” Daka said.

Daka, who thanked the government of the Kingdom of Belgium for the gesture, urged other donors who had pledged to cancel Zambia’s debt to do so.

The interest free loan that was acquired in 2000 had a grace period of 10 years, implying that Zambia would have started paying back the principal amount in installments beginning in 2011 over a period of 20 years.

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ACC arrests Chipata Trades principal for corruption

ACC arrests Chipata Trades principal for corruption
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:01 CAT

THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Eastern Province has arrested Chipata Trades Training Institute principal Osman Maliki for alleged corrupt practices by public officer.

ACC regional manager Raymond Banda confirmed that Maliki was arrest on Wednesday for corrupt practices by public officer contrary to section 29 (1) as read with section 41 of the ACC Act number 42 of 1996.

Banda said Maliki was arrested for allegedly receiving K1.4 million, an inducement from a Lusaka based company Bruno Enterprises which supplied 100 tables, 100 chairs and computer accessories to Chipata Trades Training Institute.

Banda said the consignment supplied by Bruno Enterprises amounted to about K50 million.

He said the ACC was tipped about the matter by an informer and Maliki was arrested on February 27, 2010.

Maliki has since appeared in the Chipata magistrates court.

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Sikongo border post awaits connection to national grid

Sikongo border post awaits connection to national grid
By Namatama Mundia
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

KALABO district commissioner Matindo Nalishuwa has said Sikongo border post between Zambia and Angola will be connected to the national grid by next month.

In an interview yesterday, Nalishuwa said the project of connecting Sikongo to the national grid had reached an advanced stage and would be completed by the end of April.

“They are now erecting the poles, they are almost half way through because they have covered 56 kilometers from Kalabo and when I spoke to the engineer, I was told that there will be power in Sikongo by next month,” he said.

Nalishuwa said the electrification of Sikongo sub Boma would help bring development to the area.

He said all the schools, hospitals, immigration offices and individual households would benefit from the rural electrification project.

And Nalishuwa said 100 metric tonnes of relief food had been distributed to villagers whose crops were destroyed by floods and animals.

“But due to the nature of the floods, the 100 metric tonnes which was pre-positioned last year was not enough and we are still waiting for more relief food from the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU),” said Nalishuwa.

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Court grants SACCORD leave to appeal

Court grants SACCORD leave to appeal
By Mwala Kalaluka
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) has been granted leave to appeal against High Court judge Florence Lengalenga’s decision to uphold its de-registration by the government.

And Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) spokesperson Fr Paul Samasumo said the SACCORD case reinforces the need for a Republican constitution that protects the liberties of civil society organisations.

SACCORD information officer Obby Chibuluma said yesterday that the Lusaka High Court granted the leave to appeal on Wednesday.

“But we have not been given a stay. What happened was that when the leave was granted there were some amendments that needed to be done,” Chibuluma said. “So far we are not operating until we get a stay. We are still waiting for the judge. The judge was not in the office today. She went for a funeral, we are told.”

And Fr Samasumo said as a principle, ZEC does not agree with the proscribing of civil society organisations by the government.

“Especially where the minister is not even obliged to explain…that is open to so much abuse of the authority,” said Fr Samasumo. “Just to say that they are inimical to state security without giving reasons. This even reinforces the need for a constitution that protects the liberties of the organisations.”

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MMD MPs reject motion on birth registration desks

MMD MPs reject motion on birth registration desks
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

MMD members of parliament on Wednesday rejected a motion that sought to request the government to establish birth registration desks at all health facilities in the country.

Moving the motion, Mandevu Patriotic Front (PF) member of parliament Jean Kapata observed that since the government had been demanding birth certificates from people seeking to obtain National Registration Cards (NRCs), it was necessary that all health centers countrywide have birth registration desks.

Kapata said the motion once adopted would help children adapt well to the modern day of birth certificates. When deputy chairperson of committees Mkhondo Lungu put the question as to who supported the motion, it passed.

Realising that the Executive side had been defeated, parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga quickly stood up and beckoned other MMD parliamentarians to stand up, calling for a division.

And as they managed to reach the required threshold, Lungu granted the MMD a division, which later resulted into physical voting.

However the motion fell off as only 40 members of parliament voted for it, against 54 who rejected it while two people abstained.

As the results were announced and shown on plasma screens in the House, several MMD parliamentarians broke into celebration and one opposition parliamentarian commented, “mulefwaya mulefyalafye abana elyo mwabakana?” simply translated, “Do you want to be fathering children and later abandon them?”

Earlier supporting the motion, Luena independent member of parliament Charles Milupi said birth certificates would help in planning for national resources properly.

“I must start by stating that I support this motion because there is need to know the exact population we have in the country for the purpose of planning for national resources. It is not good that day in day out we’re relying on people swearing oaths of affidavit instead of simply producing birth certificates. And this system has made even refugees become Zambians with the help of unscrupulous people; this motion is therefore long overdue,” debated Milupi.

Kalomo UPND member of parliament Request Muntanga attracted constant cautions and points of order as he kept referring to some people who he said had no right to father children and abandon them.

Muntanga contended that the motion be supported so that men who had a habit of denying their own children could be exposed through birth certificates.

“… Birth certificates will expose people who hide the fact that they father some children. Some people are fond of denying their own children but this document birth certificate will show who the father is. For example, the certificate will show that the father to this child is Honourable Michael Mabenga,” Muntanga said as lands deputy minister Mabenga stood up on a point of order, wondering if Muntanga was in order to mention his name during the debate.

In his ruling, Lungu cautioned Muntanga against mentioning people’s names.
“… I’ve got cousins and there is no way I can fail to talk about Honourable Lungwangwa,” Muntanga debated as the House burst into laughter.

This prompted Lungu to give Muntanga a final caution against referring to particular people in his debate.

But justice deputy minister Todd Chilembo described the motion as a non-starter.
Meanwhile, Parliament heard that Zambia would this year give about K3.4 billion to Zimbabwe as a way of contributing to that country’s economic recovery programme.

Responding to a question for oral answer from Chipili PF member of parliament Davies Mwila who wanted to know how much money the Zambian government intended to contribute to the economic recovery of Zimbabwe, home affairs minister Lameck Mangani who sat in for Vice-President George Kunda said the assistance was treated as humanitarian aid.

“In January 2009, government released K2 billion to assist fight the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. Of this amount K667 million was a one-off donation of medical supplies and equipment to the Zimbabwean government and the balance of K1.33 billion was directed to support the cholera prevention activities in the districts bordering with Zimbabwe,” Mangani explained. “Six hundred thousand US dollars or K2,773.0 billion using the current exchange rate of K4,662 per US dollar in humanitarian aid will be given to Zimbabwe by end of this year. By the end of the year government projects to contribute approximately K3.4 billion.”

Health deputy minister Dr Solomon Musonda disclosed that the country had 14 radiologists against a population of about 12 million people.

This was in response to Nchanga PF member of parliament Wylbur Simuusa who wanted to know what the approved establishment of radiologists in the country was and how many of them were working in government hospitals countrywide as of September 30, 2009.

Simuusa wanted to know the reason for the shortfall and how many radiologists on average graduated from Evelyn Hone College annually.

Dr Musonda said the course was not offered anywhere in the country because it was too costly to support.

Dr Musonda also said Evelyn Hone College did not offer radiology, but radiography.



Zambia is in the hands of insincere people - Fr Luonde

Zambia is in the hands of insincere people - Fr Luonde
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

ZAMBIA is on the verge of collapsing because it is in the hands of insincere people, Fr Richard Luonde of St Barnabas Anglican Church in Chingola has said.

Supporting the launch of the red card campaign against the MMD government, Fr Luonde said President Rupiah Banda's government deserved no less than a red card for defending crooks that had swindled the poor. He said the MMD government must not be given another chance to rule the country because it had failed to promote the interests of the people but was instead busy protecting crooks that had swindled the country.

Fr Luonde said after the death of president Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia had terribly lost the battle against corruption because the current government has continued to shield individuals that plundered national resources and brought misery in the lives of many people.

“This country is on the verge of collapse because it is in the hands of people who are not sincere. Look at the case of Chiluba; the man was acquitted when evidence is there that he stole millions from this country and Rupiah is busy protecting him and other crooks,” he said. “Some are still serving in his government. We need people of integrity to run this country. Zambians are not fools.”

Fr Luonde said posterity would judge harshly everybody who had a hand in Chiluba's controversial acquittal and the subsequent refusal to appeal the case by the Director of Pubic Prosecutions Chalwe Mchenga.

He said people had not acquitted Chiluba by their hearts hence the former head of state remained guilty. He said Chuluba's case of plunder of national resources took eight years in the magistrate's court and failure to appeal to the higher court was extremely unfair to the people who were the plaintiff. However, Fr Luonde said justice would one day be done because the MMD government would not be there forever to protect the culprits.

He regretted that Zambia was being run by insensitive people who failed to prioritise the interests of the majority poor who are wallowing in abject poverty due to bad governance and impractical policies.

“There is need for all well-meaning Zambians to support the Red Card Campaign (RCC) that has been initiated by four civil society organisations and denounce decisions by this government that are obstructing justice, frustrating the fight against corruption and the plunder of public resources,” said Fr Luonde.

Change Life Zambia (CLZ), Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), the Citizens Forum and the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolutions of Disputes (SACCORD) launched the red card campaign against the MMD last weekend.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) PM's stance on sanctions 'good thing': Mugabe

PM's stance on sanctions 'good thing': Mugabe
by Lebo Nkatazo
05/03/2010 00:00:00

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe says Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai did “a good thing” by calling on western countries to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe, but can do more.

Mugabe spoke on Thursday as former opposition rival Tsvangirai appeared to recant from his statement on Monday when he told a visiting Danish minister he wanted “all sanctions removed”.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman James Maridadi, in a statement, sought to clarify what the Prime Minister meant and appeared to take back Tsvangirai’s rare public reference to sanctions, instead calling them “restrictive measures”.

Maridadi said: “Prime Minister Tsvangirai's position on the issue of restrictive measures and Zimbabwe's isolation has not changed. He says it is the responsibility of every Zimbabwean to ensure that the country is re-admitted as a member of the family of nations, and that restrictive measures are removed.

“... full implementation of the Global Political Agreement signed by the three political parties in Zimbabwe is what the European Union uses as a benchmark to determine whether or not there has been progress in Zimbabwe to warrant the European Union to make a move.”

Western countries have refused to normalise trading relations with Zimbabwe, many of them taking the position that they want to see the back of Mugabe before rendering any help to revive the country’s economy wrecked by a decade-long economic and political crisis.

But Tsvangirai, who formed a unity government with Mugabe last year, said on Monday that the veteran leader was indispensable in the short term.

“If you want to support the people of Zimbabwe you have to support the coalition government,” Tsvangirai said in comments carried by state television after meeting Soren Pind, Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation.

“It can’t be done through political parties. President Mugabe is President of Zimbabwe and you cannot separate President Mugabe from the whole process.”

Mugabe told journalists on Thursday he had been warmed by Tsvangirai’s apparent change of stance on the sanctions issue, a major source of disagreement within the unity government formed in February last year.

"It is a good statement,” Mugabe said. “He has done a good thing. It must be pursued. We would want to see him setting up a team that he believes can be effective in dealing with the sanctions.


"It need not be a large team but an effective one to go to Europe and America. We, under the GPA, are expected to set up a joint team and we did so, but Europe said no to it. They would not receive it."

Meanwhile a Zanu PF MP last night rejected claims by Maridadi that Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge told a debt strategy seminar on February 4 that “the restrictive measures were imposed in 1999 well before the MDC was formed”.

In his statement, Maridadi said Mudenge, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and senior Zanu PF official, told the seminar that “these measures (sanctions) were imposed on Zimbabwe as a result of two things, namely the Land Reform Programme and President Mugabe's rule."

Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo, who attended the seminar, said Mudenge had only made reference to a 2001 encounter with former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in New York.

The encounter between Cook and Mudenge is captured in Gideon Gono’s book, Zimbabwe’s Casino Economy. In the book, Mudenge said Cook had demanded that Zimbabwe returns land to white farmers, and when told that was not possible, he retorted: “Stan, you have just condemned your people to suffering. They will suffer until they stone you in the streets.”

Moyo said: “Maridadi must not twist history in order to remind us that he’s a DJ. For his own information, the historic land reform did not start before 1999 but in 2000 when the MDC had even participated in an election.

“Mudenge is a professor, and if Maridadi was one of his students he would fail because he did not understand. The minister never said anything of the sort he refers to.

“This is a shocking case of revisionism which can only come from a DJ masquerading as spokesperson for the Prime Minister. The issue of sanctions is not a dancing matter, it’s very serious.”

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

(NYASATIMES) Chikapa moved out of Lands Ministry amid corruption probe

Chikapa moved out of Lands Ministry amid corruption probe
By Nyasa Times
Published: March 2, 2010

Deputy Commissioner for Lands-Legal Services and Ms Irene Chikapa has been moved to Ministry of Labour a development which comes hot on the heals that officials of the Ministry of Lands have been implicated in wrongful self-enrichment in plot distribution which has seen many foreigners owning land than Malawians. Nyasa Times understands that Chikapa will now be deputy labour commissioner –legal services.

But government insiders said her posting is made to pave way for investigations by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) as encouraged by the Minister of Lands, Prof Peter Mwanza (pictured) following rampant corruption.

“I understand the posting has come about following investigations being undertaken by ACB, probing land scam,” a source at Capital Hill told Nyasa Times.

“I understand there will be many changes in the Ministry of Lands due to corrupt practices,” he added.

Officials from the graft busting body visited the ministry headquarters in Lilongwe to train staff on the formation of the Institutional Integrity Committee (IIC) charged to develop strategies of fighting corruption within institutions.

The Lands Minister urged ACB to probe his ministry over corruption allegations.

“We want you to help us curb the corruption which the ministry is involved in,” Mwanza is on record to have told ACB officials.

“Corruption is a disease which has gone deep in our society. We should not pretend that there is no corruption, especially in positions of influence. This is the first time to see you at my ministry and it is possible that someone has told you about wrong things in this ministry,” the Minister said.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Parties near Gono, Tomana deal: Ncube

Parties near Gono, Tomana deal: Ncube
04/03/2010 00:00:00

THE three parties in Zimbabwe's power sharing government are on the verge of resolving outstanding issues in their power-sharing deal, according to Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube.

The three parties — Zanu PF, led by President Robert Mugabe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and a rival MDC led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara — signed the Global Political Agreement in September 2008 and formed a coalition government last year.

A number of sticking issues, however, emerged which the parties have been grappling with since last year but Ncube told business leaders on Wednesday that virtually all the issues — except two major ones — had been resolved.

“We are on the verge of resolving virtually all of them except the difficult ones, mainly the two appointments," he said, referring to the appointment of central bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana which the MDC views as irregular.

“One appointment has been resolved but one of those two appointments remains contentious. We have not been able to find each other yet and we are still talking,” said Ncube, who is also one of the negotiators for the Mutambara-led MDC.

Ncube, who said he was not at liberty to disclose which of the two appointments remained unresolved, did say that the swearing in of Tsvangirai's pick for Deputy Agriculture Minister, Roy Bennett, was on the verge of being finalised.

Bennett is currently in court on charges of possession of firearms, a charge which Zanu PF felt should be finalised before he is sworn in. Ncube said the issue would be resolved in the next meetings of the party negotiators.

He said the parties had also agreed on an implementation plan to be announced as soon as all the issues had been resolved.

Although reports indicated that the list of outstanding issues had grown to 27, some of the top ones also included the issue of sanctions, pirate radio stations and the alleged parallel government, which were raised by Zanu PF. — New Ziana

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(NEWZIMBABWE, REUTERS) Britain resists sanctions pressure

Britain resists sanctions pressure
by Adrian Croft
04/03/2010 00:00:00

BRITAIN said on Thursday it wanted to see further progress on human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe before the European Union lifts sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his allies.

"The sanctions that the European Union has in place do not target Zimbabwe or Zimbabweans, they target individuals who are responsible for violence and a number of businesses linked to them," Prime Minister GordonBrown said at a news conference with visiting South African President Jacob Zuma.

"We have reduced sanctions on some companies, we are ready to respond to other progress as it is made but I do emphasise the importance of the work of these (Zimbabwe) commissions in emphasising human rights, the freedom of the press and the reforms of governance," he added.

Mugabe and his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year and have agreed on commissions to drive media, electoral and human rights reforms.

But the commissions have been slow to get off the ground and the two sides remain at odds over other issues.

After their economy collapsed, about three million Zimbabweans fled to regional power South Africa, which has been trying to broker a solution to the crisis.

[That's bull, and I challenge Adrian Croft to supply a credible source for that number. He should also explain why 'the economy collapsed' or rather the trade surplus collapsed only in 2002, the year ZDERA was introduced - MrK]

"We are agreed that we should all put out heads together to find a solution in Zimbabwe so that Zimbabwe could move forward," said Zuma, in Britain on a three-day state visit.

He told the news conference there was the risk that some Zimbabweans could blame sanctions for stalling progress.

Zuma said: “If the Zimbabwean issue is not moving forward, certainly some people could use sanctions as an excuse, to say ‘because we are sanctioned how do we operate?’

“Zimbabweans have said, for an example, within the government some people are free to travel all over the world, others are not, they are restricted.

“These are matters we have talked about (with Brown) ... There is no equality in that kind of situation.” - Reuters

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai hypocritical on sanctions

Tsvangirai hypocritical on sanctions
Sixpence Manyengavana - Opinion
Thu, 04 Mar 2010 13:45:00 +0000

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in his capacity as leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, advocated the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe as one of the methods he thought would assist him to occupy the highest office in the land.

Unfortunately, instead of catapulting the ambitious Tsvangirai from being a mere opposition leader to being Head of State, the embargo brought untold suffering to his kith and kin in Zimbabwe.

Upon realization that he had used a wrong method as a catalyst to his ascendancy, Tsvangirai has finally acknowledged that what he has been calling “restrictive measures” all along, when they are actually sanctions.

The book of Luke in The Bible tells us of a father who forgave his prodigal son after he came back to ask for forgiveness for what he had done, but we as Zimbabweans are not prepared to forgive Tsvangirai because he is a hypocrite.

The British came out openly saying they are guided by Tsvangirai on the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe but Mr. Tsvangirai came out on national television saying that it is not what we say but what we do that is going to determine the removal of sanctions.

He went on to say that those who imposed sanctions have their own benchmarks they are going to use in order to remove the embargo. What does he mean by this?

If David Miliband said they are waiting for Tsvangirai to tell them to remove sanctions, why can’t he just go to Britain and tell them to remove them?

Sanctions are not going to be removed because Tsvangirai came out on ZTV calling for their removal.

If Tsvangirai is genuine in his call, he should go to the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union and tell them to let Zimbabwe off the sanctions hook then we can start respecting him as our Prime Minister.

In the meantime we regard him as a traitor.
Sixpence Manyengavana

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IMF joins calls to raise mine taxes

IMF joins calls to raise mine taxes
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thu 04 Mar. 2010, 04:30 CAT

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has joined calls on the government to raise mine taxes in view of the rising copper prices in the aftermath of the global economic crisis.

The IMF staff mission that visited Zambia from February 17 to March 2, 2010 said there was need to raise taxes from the country’s economic stay to fund infrastructural projects and social sectors.

The IMF observed that although the local economy maintains an appropriate supportive stance, the main risks in the period ahead include possible adverse development in world copper and oil prices, and aid flows.

“Looking forward, the key challenge will be to create fiscal space to allow for an increase in priority expenditures, while preserving macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability,” George Tsibouris, head of an IMF staff mission stated after completing its inspection of the country’s economic policies.

“Enhanced tax collections, including from the mining sector will be critical for providing space for increased capital and social spending.”

Last year at the height of the crisis, the government lifted the windfall tax after some foreign investors threatened to take legal action, accusing authorities of breaching agreements they signed with the mining companies that promised lower taxes.

Tsibouris urged the government not to give civil servants high wage increases and also spoke against the fuel subsidies.

“This will also require measures to enhance the efficiency of current spending, to ensure that the wage bill does not end up displacing other high priority needs, and to avoid subsidizing fuel products,” said Tsibouris.

“The continued implementation of the multi-year tariff adjustment framework should help ensure sustainable and reliable electricity supply in the years ahead.”

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