Friday, August 13, 2010

(BBC) Huge DR Congo gold mine to open, displacing 15,000

COMMENT - Question: how much of these 320 million grams of gold are going to the Congolese government. If the answer is nothing, then Joseph Kabila is nothing but a bribe artist, and RandGold and the London Stock Exchange are fences, criminal receivers of property stolen from the Congolese people. There is a reason the Congolese people are poor, while their country owns massive amounts of resources, and that reason is THEFT.

Huge DR Congo gold mine to open, displacing 15,000
22 July 2010 Last updated at 13:17 GMT

Senior Randgold executives inspect core samples at Kibali (undated handout picture) Randgold plans to begin mining in Kibali next year. Mining firm Randgold Resources says it is to begin mining Africa's largest undeveloped gold deposit - in eastern DR Congo.

The mine will require the re-location of 15,000 people, but Randgold says the project has the support of the government and the local community. The mine is thought to have a reserve of about 320 tonnes of gold, it says.

It is as big as any of the current mines in South Africa, one of the world's biggest gold producers.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has massive mineral resources but most of its people live in poverty.

The battle to control mines has been a major factor in the conflict which has raged in eastern DR Congo for at least 16 years.

Randgold, listed on the London Stock Exchange, says it will begin developing the mine from the middle of 2011.

The Kibali gold project is located in a remote corner of DR Congo, close to the Ugandan border.

To develop it, Randgold has had to build a 180km (112-mile) road eastwards to Uganda.

The region is near an area where Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has operated, but the company says the local police and security forces have ensured the project can go ahead
Church and cemetery

Randgold chief executive Mark Bristow said the site will be secure.

"We have been operating here for nine months now. This is not connected with the eastern part of the Congo.

"This area has not had a history of conflict. We don't arm people... The state provides security. There is the police and the army, which is working with the Ugandans against the LRA in an area north of here."

Randgold says it has won community support, despite the fact that 15,000 people will have to be moved, as well as a Catholic church and a cemetery.

Mr Bristow said the villagers lived in "very poor, poor conditions" and would be moved to a new village constructed by the company.

Foreign "gold washers" at the site had also been moved away from the company's permit area as they were illegal, he said.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

(MARKETWATCH) Reagan insider - 'GOP destroyed U.S. economy'

Just in case there is anyone here who believes in deregulation, free markets and the right of way for corporate capital, one of it's architects is jumping off the economic Titanic this ideology has created. Reagan adviser David Stockman:

Reagan insider: 'GOP destroyed U.S. economy'
Paul B. Farrell
Aug. 10, 2010, 12:45 a.m. EDT

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- "How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy." Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, "Four Deformations of the Apocalypse."

Get it? Not "destroying." The GOP has already "destroyed" the U.S. economy, setting up an "American Apocalypse."

Jobs recovery could take years

In the wake of Friday's disappointing jobs report, Neal Lipschutz and Phil Izzo discuss new predictions that it could be many years before the nation's unemployment rate reaches pre-recession levels.

Yes, Stockman is equally damning of the Democrats' Keynesian policies. But what this indictment by a party insider -- someone so close to the development of the Reaganomics ideology -- says about America, helps all of us better understand how America's toxic partisan-politics "holy war" is destroying not just the economy and capitalism, but the America dream. And unless this war stops soon, both parties will succeed in their collective death wish.

But why focus on Stockman's message? It's already lost in the 24/7 news cycle. Why? We need some introspection. Ask yourself: How did the great nation of America lose its moral compass and drift so far off course, to where our very survival is threatened?

We've arrived at a historic turning point as a nation that no longer needs outside enemies to destroy us, we are committing suicide. Democracy. Capitalism. The American dream. All dying. Why? Because of the economic decisions of the GOP the past 40 years, says this leading Reagan Republican.

Please listen with an open mind, no matter your party affiliation: This makes for a powerful history lesson, because it exposes how both parties are responsible for destroying the U.S. economy. Listen closely:

Reagan Republican: the GOP should file for bankruptcy

Stockman rushes into the ring swinging like a boxer: "If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation's public debt ... will soon reach $18 trillion." It screams "out for austerity and sacrifice." But instead, the GOP insists "that the nation's wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase."

In the past 40 years Republican ideology has gone from solid principles to hype and slogans. Stockman says: "Republicans used to believe that prosperity depended upon the regular balancing of accounts -- in government, in international trade, on the ledgers of central banks and in the financial affairs of private households and businesses too."

No more. Today there's a "new catechism" that's "little more than money printing and deficit finance, vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes" making a mockery of GOP ideals. Worse, it has resulted in "serial financial bubbles and Wall Street depredations that have crippled our economy." Yes, GOP ideals backfired, crippling our economy.

Stockman's indictment warns that the Republican party's "new policy doctrines have caused four great deformations of the national economy, and modern Republicans have turned a blind eye to each one:"

Stage 1. Nixon irresponsible, dumps gold, U.S starts spending binge

Richard Nixon's gold policies get Stockman's first assault, for defaulting "on American obligations under the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement to balance our accounts with the world." So for the past 40 years, America's been living "beyond our means as a nation" on "borrowed prosperity on an epic scale ... an outcome that Milton Friedman said could never happen when, in 1971, he persuaded President Nixon to unleash on the world paper dollars no longer redeemable in gold or other fixed monetary reserves."

Remember Friedman: "Just let the free market set currency exchange rates, he said, and trade deficits will self-correct." Friedman was wrong by trillions. And unfortunately "once relieved of the discipline of defending a fixed value for their currencies, politicians the world over were free to cheapen their money and disregard their neighbors."

And without discipline America was also encouraging "global monetary chaos as foreign central banks run their own printing presses at ever faster speeds to sop up the tidal wave of dollars coming from the Federal Reserve." Yes, the road to the coming apocalypse began with a Republican president listening to a misguided Nobel economist's advice.

Stage 2. Crushing debts from domestic excesses, war mongering

Stockman says "the second unhappy change in the American economy has been the extraordinary growth of our public debt. In 1970 it was just 40% of gross domestic product, or about $425 billion. When it reaches $18 trillion, it will be 40 times greater than in 1970." Who's to blame? Not big-spending Dems, says Stockman, but "from the Republican Party's embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don't matter if they result from tax cuts."

Back "in 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts," but Stockman makes clear, they had to be "matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration's hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces -- the welfare state and the warfare state -- that drive the federal spending machine."

OK, stop a minute. As you absorb Stockman's indictment of how his Republican party has "destroyed the U.S. economy," you're probably asking yourself why anyone should believe a traitor to the Reagan legacy. I believe party affiliation is irrelevant here. This is a crucial subject that must be explored because it further exposes a dangerous historical trend where politics is so partisan it's having huge negative consequences.

Yes, the GOP does have a welfare-warfare state: Stockman says "the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward. And the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were supposed to cut spending, exempted from the knife most of the domestic budget -- entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects. But in the end it was a new cadre of ideological tax-cutters who killed the Republicans' fiscal religion."

When Fed chief Paul Volcker "crushed inflation" in the '80s we got a "solid economic rebound." But then "the new tax-cutters not only claimed victory for their supply-side strategy but hooked Republicans for good on the delusion that the economy will outgrow the deficit if plied with enough tax cuts." By 2009, they "reduced federal revenues to 15% of gross domestic product," lowest since the 1940s. Still today they're irrationally demanding an extension of those "unaffordable Bush tax cuts [that] would amount to a bankruptcy filing."

Recently Bush made matters far worse by "rarely vetoing a budget bill and engaging in two unfinanced foreign military adventures." Bush also gave in "on domestic spending cuts, signing into law $420 billion in nondefense appropriations, a 65% percent gain from the $260 billion he had inherited eight years earlier. Republicans thus joined the Democrats in a shameless embrace of a free-lunch fiscal policy." Takes two to tango.

Stage 3. Wall Street's deadly 'vast, unproductive expansion'

Stockman continues pounding away: "The third ominous change in the American economy has been the vast, unproductive expansion of our financial sector." He warns that "Republicans have been oblivious to the grave danger of flooding financial markets with freely printed money and, at the same time, removing traditional restrictions on leverage and speculation." Wrong, not oblivious. Self-interested Republican loyalists like Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner knew exactly what they were doing.

They wanted the economy, markets and the government to be under the absolute control of Wall Street's too-greedy-to-fail banks. They conned Congress and the Fed into bailing out an estimated $23.7 trillion debt. Worse, they have since destroyed meaningful financial reforms. So Wall Street is now back to business as usual blowing another bigger bubble/bust cycle that will culminate in the coming "American Apocalypse."

Stockman refers to Wall Street's surviving banks as "wards of the state." Wrong, the opposite is true. Wall Street now controls Washington, and its "unproductive" trading is "extracting billions from the economy with a lot of pointless speculation in stocks, bonds, commodities and derivatives." Wall Street banks like Goldman were virtually bankrupt, would have never survived without government-guaranteed deposits and "virtually free money from the Fed's discount window to cover their bad bets."

Stage 4. New American Revolution class-warfare coming soon
Finally, thanks to Republican policies that let us "live beyond our means for decades by borrowing heavily from abroad, we have steadily sent jobs and production offshore," while at home "high-value jobs in goods production ... trade, transportation, information technology and the professions shrunk by 12% to 68 million from 77 million."

As the apocalypse draws near, Stockman sees a class-rebellion, a new revolution, a war against greed and the wealthy. Soon. The trigger will be the growing gap between economic classes: No wonder "that during the last bubble (from 2002 to 2006) the top 1% of Americans -- paid mainly from the Wall Street casino -- received two-thirds of the gain in national income, while the bottom 90% -- mainly dependent on Main Street's shrinking economy -- got only 12%. This growing wealth gap is not the market's fault. It's the decaying fruit of bad economic policy."

Get it? The decaying fruit of the GOP's bad economic policies is destroying our economy.

Warning: this black swan won't be pretty, will shock, soon
His bottom line: "The day of national reckoning has arrived. We will not have a conventional business recovery now, but rather a long hangover of debt liquidation and downsizing ... it's a pity that the modern Republican party offers the American people an irrelevant platform of recycled Keynesianism when the old approach -- balanced budgets, sound money and financial discipline -- is needed more than ever."

Wrong: There are far bigger things to "pity."

First, that most Americans, 300 million, are helpless, will do nothing, sit in the bleachers passively watching this deadly partisan game like it's just another TV reality show.

Second, that, unfortunately, politicians are so deep-in-the-pockets of the Wall Street conspiracy that controls Washington they are helpless and blind.

And third, there's a depressing sense that Stockman will be dismissed as a traitor, his message lost in the 24/7 news cycle ... until the final apocalyptic event, an unpredictable black swan triggers another, bigger global meltdown, followed by a long Great Depression II and a historic class war.

So be prepared, it will hit soon, when you least expect.

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(MRK, KEITH HARMON SNOW) The Lord's Resistance Army - Who Are They, What Purpose Do They Serve

Merchants of Death: Exposing Corporate-financed Holocaust in Africa
White Collar War Crimes, Black African Fall Guys
by Keith Harmon Snow,
December 8th, 2008


If you asked Western media consumers to name a bloodthirsty guerrilla movement in Africa it is likely they would point to 'warlord' Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), this thanks to the one-sided fictional media campaigns waged by National Public Radio, Time magazine, Washington Post, or by Christopher Hitchens who calls them 'a Christian Khmer Rouge' and Vanity Fair.3334

In the simplistic Western media narratives, the LRA is always described as a 'fanatical Christian cult' that abducts children and forces them to commit atrocities. In the dichotomy of 'good' versus 'evil' the LRA is 'wicked' and the forces they are fighting against, President Museveni and the UPDF, are benevolent. Indeed, evangelical Christian missionaries from the United States have been deeply involved with the SPLA war against the 'satanic' forces of the LRA and the Islamic Government of Sudan.35

Spilling over from the wars in Uganda and Sudan and operating a clandestine network of terror and extortion in the north of Congo today, the LRA has waged a low-intensity war against the Museveni regime since circa 1987. The LRA is a Ugandan guerrilla force backed by the government of Sudan (Khartoum) and its allies and clandestinely supported by unnamed factions in Congo, Europe and Washington.

'For 19 years, Joseph Kony has been enslaving, torturing, raping, and murdering Ugandan children,' wrote Christopher Hitchens, 'many of whom have become soldiers for his 'Lord's Resistance Army,' going on to torture, rape, and kill other children.' Parroting the establishment line, Hitchens has no complaints about the UPDF brutalizing children in the refugee camps of Acholiland, and he never mentions the SPLA's conscription of thousands of child soldiers.36

According to a high-level United Nations source working in the DRC, the LRA maintains very high-level political ties in New York and Washington D.C. through Jongomoi Okidi-Olal, a Ugandan-American representative living in the U.S. The Uganda government has purportedly asked the Bush Administration and the United Nations to arrest Okidi-Olal and hand him over to the ICC.37 Other sources claim that Okidi is a fraud.

Interestingly, we find that Mwana Africa?whose vast Kilo-Moto mining concessions sprawl across northern Orientale?is also operating in Angola and South Africa, and at five major mining concessions in the so-called 'failed state' of Zimbabwe.20 The government of Angola has always backed President Joseph Kabila, is very hostile to the Kagame gang, and currently controls Congolese territory (Kehemba) near the Angolan border. Given the spoils to be had, it is likely that factions from Angola or Zimbabwe also back the Lord?s Resistance Army in a bid to displace Mwana Africa and other competitors from mining and petroleum sites in northeastern Congo.38

Congolese sources claim that MONUC moved into the Watsa region in northern Orientale only after the LRA?coming in through Garamba National Park near the Sudan border began threatening the operations of AngloGold Ashanti, Mwana Africa and Moto Gold Mining.39 Additionally, Garamba National Park is rich in diamonds and gold.

While the LRA is also supported by Ugandan factions opposed to the Museveni dictatorship, it is widely believed the LRA is a tool of the Museveni government used to manipulate public opinion, create chaos across the region, gain international sympathy from foreign donors and thereby procure massive financial backing to facilitate some of the world?s most lucrative and unappreciated AID-for-ARMS scandals. It is the perfect ruse to facilitate permanent foreign military intervention.

The LRA also reportedly moved into the northern DRC to displace SPLA troops that had a long history of plundering the area, shooting wildlife and harassing villages.40 Thus while the evil LRA is always in the crosshairs of the international media, the same media protects the saintly SPLA, no matter the justice or criminality of either.41

The mass media and foreign policy discourses are saturated with the writings, op-eds and policy briefs of 'experts' that serve as apologetic propagandists for foreign interventions and hidden agendas. Such 'experts' exercise stark biases in naming or delineating the 'killers' versus 'victims' and for this reason they often gain exclusive access to mass media venues. The system of information control becomes self-perpetuating in favor of power and deception.

Experts working for the Pentagon, State Department, or national security apparatus deploy arguments cloaked in righteous assumptions of higher morality about human rights or humanitarian concern. For example, Sudan ?experts? like Dr. Eric Reeves and Alex De Waal provide a constant barrage of one-sided propaganda to manufacture consent at home and project American power in Sudan.41 This propaganda is unassailable by Western 'news' consumers, because consumers are not otherwise privy to, interested in, or compelled to discover the deeper truths.

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(HERALD) Chiadzwa diamonds sold

Chiadzwa diamonds sold
By Farirai Machivenyika and Martin Kadzere

Zimbabwe yesterday sold the first batch of 900 000 carats of diamonds from Chiadzwa, realising US$72 million after meeting minimum requirements under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Buyers at the auction on Tuesday came from India, Lebanon, the US, Israel and Russia.

However, Zimbabwe still requires KP certification for more than three million carats extracted by Canadile Miners and Mbada Diamonds. The companies are in joint ventures with the Zim-babwe Mining Development Corporation at the diamond fields.

Zimbabwe was granted the right to export the mineral from Chiadzwa at the World Diamond Council summit held last month in St Petersburg, Russia.

The auction, however, covered the gems produced between May 28, 2010 and September 1 this year. Speaking at the certification ceremony in Harare yesterday, Acting President John Nkomo said the Government, as a founding member, remained committed to the KP.

"Since the middle of last year, the country went through several stages in its quest to satisfy the KP minimum requirements. As Government, we remai-ned committed to the scheme as a founding participant to the KP.

"Government clearly understands the purpose of the institution and embraces its ideals. However, it is critical that a non-partisan approach is followed in the execution of these ideals to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and fairness in the KP," he said.

The Acting President said Zimbabwe supported transparency in diamond trade.

"The Government further demonstrated this thrust by constituting an inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Marange to spearhead development of the area and to champion compliance with KP minimum standards.

"Today’s ceremony is a symbol of our great resolve as a nation to succeed. Although it took us long to be where we are today, we will not tire to do the right things in the eyes of our people and the international community."

The mining sector, the Acting President said, was poised to play a pivotal role in Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround.

"The sector is forecast to enjoy rapid growth this year, which should see it surpass last year’s achievements.

"Anticipated increases in platinum and gold production and the other sub-sectors of chrome, nickel and coal are expected to spur growth in the mining sector.

"Such growth requires an injection of new investment, particularly foreign direct investment for working capital and long-term capital for exploration and mining development."

He said Government had taken measures to create an enabling environment for investors in the mining sector and urged Zimbabweans to enter into partnerships with foreign investors that were mutually beneficial.

"Diamonds are our heritage, a heritage, which we should bequeath to our children and future generations. These diamonds should benefit the people of Zimbabwe and it is our shared and collective responsibility as Zimbabweans to guard this resource jealously," said Acting President Nkomo.

Speaking at the same occasion, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Government was working on modalities to ensure that Zimbabweans benefited from diamond trade.

"I am pleased to note that the Minister of Finance, in consultation with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development and other stakeholders, is working on a framework of determining how the revenues from this supervised sale are applied for the benefit of the generality of the people of Zimbabwe through the fiscus," he said.

PM Tsvangirai called on mining companies to plough back into the development of local communities.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu castigated countries and organisations that opposed Zimbabwe’s right to export its diamonds from Marange.

"When there was chaos (in Marange) Zimbabwe was not an issue (at KP) . . . Some of the people making noise benefited from that chaos.

"We have heard noises from people calling themselves NGOs in the US and Canada and some of them are here not to witness certification, but faults. We welcome them because we have nothing to hide," he said.

Head of delegation of the visiting Association of Diamond Producer Countries and South African Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu welcomed the diamond certification.

KP Monitor Mr Abbey Chikane said he had strived to ensure that Zimbabwe qualified for certification.

"Throughout my visits, I have spent a lot of time on how Zimbabwe can qualify in the KPCS.

"I am pleased to announce that Zimbabwe as a country and Canadile and Mbada as companies have met full KPCS minimum requirements," he said.

According to sources, Government would get 10 percent from the sales as royalties, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe gets 0,875 percent while ZMDC gets 2,5 percent proceeds from the sales for future explorations.

ZMDC and the joint venture partners would get 2,5 and 5 percent each in management fees.

The remaining 79,125 percent would cover production costs based on an agreed formula while the balance would go to Government through the ZMDC and its investment partners.

Zimbabwe was granted the right to sale diamonds from Marange despite intense opposition from Western countries especially the US, Canada and Australia.

The countries that have been on a crusade against Zimbabwe and have imposed illegal sanctions on the country wanted diamonds from Marange classified under "conflict diamonds" despite lack of evidence to that effect.

However, diamond officials from leading countries in the industry like India and Russia opposed these moves.

Several cabinet ministers and senior officials from local diamond-producing companies and various captains of industry attended the ceremony.

l See comment on Page 6.

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(HERALD) Zim’s recovery, restoration, emergence

Zim’s recovery, restoration, emergence

AFTER visiting Nigeria in 2001, this writer remarked on ZBC Radio 1, "if you haven’t been to Nigeria, then you have not been to Africa". I qualified that statement within the context of the subject under discussion. Nine years later, I won’t hesitate to say the same.

To this writer, Nigerians represent Africa’s rainbow nation. They are full of life, have a rich cultural heritage. Even in matters of the heart — spiritual matters, they are full of zest.

I was therefore not surprised when recently Bishop Larry Ekanem of the Africa Total Liberation Commission based in Abuja, Nigeria, spoke to The Arena very passionately about Zimbabwe’s recovery, restoration and emergence. Bishop Larry is currently in Zimbabwe doing some teachings on the issue at the Kingdom Business Citadel.

The patriotic spirit and the message of hope and deliverance he espoused were typical of what this writer has witnessed among other African nationalities regarding Zimbabwe and Africa in general.

In his message, Bishop Larry calls on every African "to arise and posses his/her identity, dignity and destiny".

Claims Bishop Larry, "This is God’s time for Africa — a time for total liberation of Africa; a time of total restoration!

"It is vital for every African living on the earth today to know his/her identity, recover his dignity, discover your potential and purpose and then take responsibility and fulfill your destiny . . . The Jewish nation was born in Africa!

"We carry the apostolic mantle to initiate, preserve, continue and finish what others cannot do . . . "

"We re in a race against time. It’s time to take action . . . Our identity and dignity are in a chaotic trance, and our destiny seems to stand in a balance because of the twisted position of our mindsets.

"We seem to believe that we are inferior, and an afterthought of God’s creation. Colonial imperialism and oppression have done much harm to the mind of an average African man leaving his sense of purpose and vision crushed. (But) we can’t change the past, but we can use our past to deal with our today", said Bishop Larry.

Bishop Larry also said, "there is much that we can do today to change Africa".

Turning to the Zimbabwe commission Bishop Larry said that he has received several prophetic messages regarding Zimbabwe.

He said that on Thursday, March 25, 2009 about 3:00, the Lord said to Him: "Son, get up and go down to Zimbabwe . . . for the time, yea, the set time to heal her has come.

"The word I sent you in October 2007 to prophesy over Zimbabwe is coming to pass. I am sending you now for the recovery, restoration and emergence of the nation as my end-time strong and mighty witness among the nations. The time to favour her has come. My presence has gone before you . . . "

Bishop Larry revealed that in 2007 he was in Zimbabwe for a five-day "Prophetic Restoration Conference in Harare", and he delivered to the nation a message from prophet Joel 2: 21 - 27:

He said, "(Today) Zimbabwe stood on the threshold of the total fulfilment of the above prophecy. God is raising her from rags to rich . . . from shame to fame".

He, however cautioned, "Watch out! There is still one more battle to fight, the battle to change the mindset of the people in order to produce real unity, peace and prosperity in the land, in the church, in Government and leaders — giving hope to the people, after which Zimbabwe will emerge stronger, better and richer.

"The people of Zimbabwe will be used as God’s end-time great witnesses in the nations of the world in these final hours." (See also Joel 2: 28 - 29)

Bishop Larry also said God said to him: "Son, there is coming upon Zimbabwe an outpouring of My Spirit upon the nation, and everyone living there shall be affected . . . "

"God is visiting Zimbabwe, and He is doing it big. Zimbabwe will never be the same again. A new day has dawned on Zimbabwe. No power can stop her from rising to possess her possession, and He shall be honoured in her Zimbabwe because God has chosen Zimbabwe".

Bishop Larry also said that on September 20, 2009 he had the following prophetic message on Zimbabwe, which is why he was in the country to teach the nation about the special place it has in God’s heart:

"Arise Zimbabwe, arise. Arise and shine for your light has come. The glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Darkness may cover the earth, and gross darkness may cover the nations of the world, but the Lord has risen upon thee, and His glory shall be seen in thee. Nations shall come to the brightness of rising . . . many who have mocked thee shall serve thee.

"Arise O my church, arise! You are the key to the healing of Zimbabwe. Arise, O women of Zimbabwe . . . Arise O women of faith. Arise with the favour of Esther, and the boldness of Deborah, and with the songs of Miriam…for the power of the Most High is coming upon you … and your prayer of faith is about to give birth to a new Zimbabwe…"

"You are like a Biblical valley of dry bones … all that the world has been seeing in you is a valley of dry bones of sick, poor and dying people . . . Zimbabwe is programmed in God’s divine plan for prosperity . . . The various currencies — pounds US dollars, Euros, Rand, Pula, etc that are being used in the nation right now is a prophetic sign.

"The days are here. I will cause many nations to come to Zimbabwe to worship me as I pour out My Spirit on the land."

Bishop Larry added that the Lord said, "When your money’s value dropped leaving millions, billions and trillions of Zimbabwe dollars in people’s hands, from the poorest woman in the rural area to the greatest in the city . . . even children touched and spent millions. Everyone had millions, trillions and more.

"It looked really gloomy. But it was a sign of the coming financial wealth I will bring to the nation. You were millionaires, billionaires and trillionaires because I have planned to raise you as a nation of financial moguls.

"Unaccountable world-class millionaires and billionaires will come from Zimbabwe to impact the nation and the world.

"I will raise you from rags to riches . . . Look up to God, your Creator, your Maker, your Saviour, your Redeemer . . . God loves you Zimbabwe, saith the Spirit of the Lord."

Bishop Larry emphasised to The Arena the importance of Africans liberating themselves from the ‘digitalised slavery mentality’.

He also said that just like the nation of Israel during their days in Egypt, after Joseph’s time, there arose a leadership that did not know Joseph. The same with Zimbabwe where a generation is rising that does not know about the liberation struggle.

Turning to land, he said that it is as if Zimbabweans are fighting for a generation that does not understand its purpose. They do not get it that land had to be taken by force because there was no alternative.

"Even in Biblical times that was the case," he said.

He also said that Zimbabwe carried an apostolic anointing for leading Africa in this transformation, but people have to believe in themselves.

"Zimbabweans have to ask themselves why for example they have the highest literacy rate in Africa despite the economic challenges, and why diamonds have become such a big issue," he said.

He advised that Zimbabweans have to get out of the mentality of being employees, happy with the offices and packages they receive, but which they can lose when they lose their jobs.

"People should start training themselves to be job creators and business entrepreneurs. Get out of the servant mentality and raise a nation of leaders. Zimbabwe did not go through what it went through for itself, but for Africa to arise.

"Zimbabweans must not destroy themselves from within. Support the leadership and one another. As a nation Zimbabweans must also project themselves positively. And, Zimbabwe must be a praying nation, and watch over the nation as Nehemiah did (Chapter 4)", he said.

"People should have a heart and mind to work like Nehemiah did when restoring the walls and gates of Jerusalem.

"Zimbabwe is a great people like its name. I don’t know how they dropped the ‘Great’ from Great Zimbabwe (Great house of Rock). It’s built on the rock of ages — the Lord, and it should be Great, Great Zimbabwe."

He also said that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora should realise that "it is vital they get the kind of training and education that they will bring back to rebuild the nation."

Bishop Larry Ekanem has been coming to Zimbabwe to minister since 1999. Twice in 2001 Parade magazine featured him and the miracles and teachings he performed.

He also told Parade, "I feel God wants to do something in Zimbabwe. He wants the world to take notice of this small country.

"Prophetically, God has chosen Zimbabwe for a special place . . . The crisis in Zimbabwe was blown out in such a way that it’s actually projecting the country in a very negative fashion.

"Nigeria went through some hard times but God answered the people of Nigeria and the tide is now changing. I think it is Zimbabwe’s time to return to God."

tendai.manzvanzvike ***



(HERALD) Envisaged fundamentals of Zim’s new constitution

Envisaged fundamentals of Zim’s new constitution
By Albert Nhamoyebonde

AS the days go by and with teams soliciting for views from villages and other areas throughout the country, I find myself wondering whether the outcome will actually capture, what I would call, the fundamental issues facing our nation. How are we going to define our country in this constitution? What comes to mind is the liberation ethos of this country.

There can never be any basis for this new constitution except that this country was liberated by force of arms and so many died for all of us living today. Some may find this an unacceptable pretext to justify their claim to power.

How then can a constitution capture that ethos? May I digress and explain what I mean by relating the USA basis of their constitution? They wanted to safeguard their independence from Britain like we also want to do.

For two hundred years of their independence, no one was elected president unless he wore an army uniform to liberate the country or afterwards, unless he had fought in a war to safeguard their independence or to preserve their sovereignty in any subsequent wars, like world wars or war in Vietnam and elsewhere.

The only departure from that came when Bill Clinton was elected president and later Barak Obama. The two never wore an army uniform. But John McCain, who was defeated by Obama, wore the army badge of honour in his campaign as one who would defend the USA as president. This is to show that service to the country in any war still resonates in the USA politics.

Coming to Zimbabwe, should service in the liberation war still remain the criteria for one to assume the presidency of this country to preserve the liberation ethos of the country? Will that define this country?

How then can this be preserved in a democratic environment? Well, take the example of the USA. Whether the president comes from the Republican party or the Democratic party, he had to have a war record and credentials for the past two hundred years until recently.

If the liberation ethos becomes the basic nature of our constitution, then any party in Zimbabwe that wants to put up a candidate for the presidency should have a candidate with the war of liberation credentials.

This would exclude many from the body politic who may be pretenders to the throne of the presidency. This means parties shall be guided by the war of liberation credential ethos of the country.

There has been debate recently to allow politicians from various parties to play major roles at national events.

What comes to mind is that they are trying to identify with the liberation ethos of the nation. Is that enough or more credentials are required or expected from them?

How can the liberation ethos be written into a constitution? Some may argue that, except for those in the security services, the rank and file do not anymore subscribe to wearing an army uniform even the children of those involved in the liberation war.

How then can this legacy be carried from generation to generation if so many shun the army uniform. Or to put it another way, there is no call up or national service which is mandatory in other countries for young people to identify with defence of their country.

If we adopt the war of liberation as a guiding principle in our constitution, then, there should be a need for the creation of a Council of State made up of senior citizens with liberation war credentials that will vet any candidates for the highest office in the land.

They will disqualify anyone without the war of liberation credentials. The country should have one at the top who the army will respect. But is this possible when so many have moved away from identifying with the war of liberation? Most children of those with war credentials are scattered all over the world looking for greener pastures.

In China, they have a military commission that approves those who sit in the Politburo from which a president is chosen. In Iran, it is the Guadian Council. In many countries it is what they call the establishment that vets those for high office. All this is done behind the scenes in such countries like the UK, Russia etc.

When asked if an Obama could become prime minister in the UK, one top politician said that would never happen. Why, he was asked? Because the British establishment would not accept that situation.

What establishment? The politicians, army and aristocrats who make up the establishment that cuts across political divides. For example, despite winning elections with at least 100 seat majority, the establishment made Margaret Thatcher resign.

They call them the men in, "grey suits". They did the same to Tony Blair, maybe, because of the war in Iraq. They have even set up an inquiry into that war even when it was approved by their parliament.

Zimbabwe has to create its own establishment that vets anyone aspiring for high office be it in the judiciary, foreign service, armed forces or political office.

Only then can we become a nation with an independence to safeguard and preserve for future generations. Therefore the constitution making is not a child’s paradise. We can solicit for views from whatever group but at the end of the day, a few shall sit down to define what this country stands for.

Whether it will be the war of liberation ethos or a full-blown democracy of free for all movement, only history and time will determine.



(HERALD) Bank should stop patronising customers

Bank should stop patronising customers

EDITOR — Allow me space in your newspaper to speak out on the unprofessional conduct at one top commercial bank (name supplied), that is both patronising and a strong driver of incompetence. It is amazing to hear a bank manager state that for every withdrawal above US$100, the customer has to have the withdrawal slip signed by the bank manager.

Upon inquiring about this from the bank manager, one is told to see the manager or go to their main branch. This defies all logic of Internet banking and obviously smacks of patronage. Surely, if a customer’s identification details can be verified, that should be enough for one to get their money from any branch within the country, is it not so?

Unless there is a statutory instrument to that effect, which I doubt there is since some of us bank with other banks and this has not happened before.

This kind of bureaucracy obviously gives the bank manager a sense of authority, especially over the poor as I doubt if they ever do this to well-to-do customers.

This is not only patronising, but a process that creates incompetence brought about by us waiting in second queues to see the bank manager.

[That is not incompetence, that is inefficiency. - MrK]

May I remind service providers of this nature that what they deem as their authority is sheer display of ignorance on how to offer "efficient services at the minimum inconvenience".

Can someone do something about bank tellers who attend to their personal mobile phones during working hours?

Go out there and see how things are done better.

I hope my letter assists those who believe in patronage systems to move away from such archaic ways, the world moves forward on efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Disgruntled Customer.

Via e-mail.

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(HERALD) Funding stalls dualisation of roads

Funding stalls dualisation of roads
New Ziana

THE feasibility study for the dualisation of the country’s major highways has not yet started because the Development Bank of Southern Africa has not released promised funding for the project, a senior government official said at the weekend.

The country intends to dualise the Beitbridge to Chirundu and Harare to Bulawayo highways at an estimated cost of US$1,3 billion. DBSA recently pledged a grant of US$500 000 to the Zimbabwe government for the feasibility study.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport Communication and Infrastructure Development, Mr Patson Mbiriri told New Ziana that the study was yet to be started.

"Government is yet to receive the grant from DBSA," he said.

Mr Mbiriri said that government had targeted to complete the feasibility study by June next year. The two roads, Harare-Beitbridge and Harare-Bulawayo, measure up to 870 kilometres. The two highways to be dualised link Zimbabwe with South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.

"The studies would be followed by detailed designing of the roads," he said.

Most of the country’s roads are in a state of disrepair as result of years of neglect and increased volume of traffic beyond designed carrying capacity.

According to the Ministry of Transport, 30 percent of the country’s roads require rehabilitation, while the remainder needs periodic maintenance.

The dualisation of the highways is supposed to be undertaken by private investors who would then recoup their investment from toll fees.

Government introduced tollgates in August last year as a way of mobilising resources for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the country’s road network.

Meanwhile Mr Mbiriri said equipment for the fibre optic cable connecting Zimbabwe to Mozambique is now in the country.

Government recently released over US$6 million for the project, intended to link the country to the under sea cable.

The permanent secretary said that deliveries of the equipment started trickling in last week.

"We have started receiving cables for the project from Huawei technology," he said.

"The trenching process is now at an advanced stage."

Mr Mbiriri said government was still optimistic of meeting the November 5 deadline for the connection.

"Before the Christmas holiday Zimbabwe will be connected to the rest of the world," he said.

The project is expected to increase Internet, and other communication speeds.

For international connectivity, Zimbabwe has been using the Mazowe -based satellite link, which is expensive, and has limited capacity.

Current Internet speed is slow because of the use of satellite technology, making the costs prohibitive.

The fibre optic project will also result in the country using a much more reliable and affordable platform.

The fibre optic link would be connected to the undersea cable in Mozambique. — New Ziana



VJ admits helping President Wa Mutharika win polls

VJ admits helping President Wa Mutharika win polls
By Kombe Chimpinde
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 14:00 CAT

MMD’s Parliamentary chief whip, Vernon Mwaanga, has finally admitted to traveling to Malawi to help President Bingu wa Mutharika ‘secure’ a second term of office. And Mwaanga has described himself a master election tactician and not a vote rigger.

Speaking when he featured on Frank Mutubila’s 'Frank Talk' programme on ZNBC on Wednesday night, Mwaanga, who claimed to be Malawi President’s long time personal friend, said he provided ‘methodological and articulate planning’ advise on the elections.

“Frank, am glad you brought that issue up. I know it’s been an issue. I have heard people talk about it. The truth of the matter is am not an election rigger but am a master tactician,” Mwaanga said.

“I was the election advisor to President Bingu wa Mutharika during last year’s election. First of all Bingu has been my friend for 40 years now. We have developed in the political system together. I assure you there were no under hand methods used in the election. If there were underhand methods the people in charge of the electoral system in that country would have mentioned so. But there was nothing except for the time Bingu talked about it when he came to Zambia,” he said.

This is the first time that Mwaanga has admitted having traveled to Malawi in connection with ‘helping’ in Malawi’s election.

During President Wa Mutharika’s recent visit to Zambia, the Malawian leader hailed President Rupiah Banda for the help he rendered in securing him a second term of office.

But reacting to the revelation, Malawi’s main opposition Malawi Congress Party leader 77-year-old Tembo, a legislator for Dedza South and leader of the opposition in Parliament said there had been rampant reports of electoral fraud and rigging in last year’s presidential polls in that country.

“There was a lot of rumour prior to the election and after the election that he was being assisted by his colleague from Zambia. He President Banda sent some people to tie up with the agents in Malawi to try and help in the rigging of elections,” Tembo said.

Tembo petitioned President Wa Mutharika’s victory but the Malawi High Court dismissed it on a technicality because the challenge was lodged after the stipulated 48 hours after election results were announced.

During his visit President Wa Mutharika said: “Talking about political development, let me also disclose without embarrassing my brother Rupiah that he assisted me quite a lot in the campaign that just passed. As a result I had a landslide victory.”

Before the May 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections in Malawi, Tembo had told The Post that he was worried that “some Zambians” were in Malawi to help rig elections in favour of President Wa Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“We are also worried by some Zambians who have come allegedly to help the government to rig the elections. They were in Lilongwe, now they went to Blantyre. They are in Ilovo Building,” said Tembo at the time.

And sources in Malawi had said MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga was there to meet President Wa Mutharika at the time.

Efforts to contact Mwaanga for a comment had proved futile at the time as his Zain Zambia mobile line, which was roaming, was just ringing without response.

However, when the phone went unanswered the message at the other end sounded: “Pepani amenemukuwaibelao sakuyankha. Chonde yetsanintso nthawi ina. Malawi chewa translated into English as: The mobile subscriber you have dialed is not answering, please try again later.”

Mwaanga’s secretary at his parliamentary office said he was not there.

“He is not in the office at the moment; he has gone for a meeting in town,” the secretary responded but could not tell when Mwaanga would return.

But when contacted, the secretary at his company office in Lusaka town said Mwaanga was at the parliamentary office.

But when reminded that the secretary at Parliament said he was at his office in town, the secretary responded: “He just passes through in the afternoon.”

Asked when Mwaanga was last there, the secretary responded: “He was here about two days ago.”

Meanwhile during the programme, Mwaanga said whenever there was an election, there was need to have plan.

“You have to take things like statistics in previous elections and voting patterns on all levels into consideration. Put all that together and come up with a strategy to extract votes. If I had rigged, I would have been cited to appear before the High Court in election petitions but my name has never been mentioned,” Mwanga said after the programme’s host, Frank Mutubili, referred to him as indispensable VJ.

This was after Mwaanga boasted that four successive Republican presidents had solicited for his services because of his outstanding qualities when it comes to planning for successive elections.

He maintained that the victories of all the Presidents that he had helped campaign had no underhand methods attached to it.

He also noted that those in the opposition parties accusing him of having facilitated rigging of various elections were just obsessed with coming into power by making unfounded accusations.

Asked if he had any dreams of becoming President, Mwanga he understood the agony of being a Republican President because he had spent a lot of time around the four presidents and for this reason he has always preferred to take an advisory role.

Mwaanga who also acknowledged having disagreed on important issues with all the four Presidents could not state which of the four Presidents had benefited massively from his tactics the most.

“Every President must be allowed to make their own mistakes. We don't share their mandate. And our governance system will only thrive if Zambians understand that. Each President cannot be the same as others but the objective of ‘whichever President comes in power is to serve everyone’ remains the same,” he said.

“My personal policy is not to criticize government publicly as that is considered political taboo for those of us that have been in the political field for a long time as it negates principles of collect responsibility. You don't do that! If you do that, you are writing a prescription of anarchy.

Commenting on his four failed past marriages Mwaanga said that he has no regrets but about that people have to leave some things to fate as fate always wins.

Mwaanga who become a diplomat at the age of 21 also served as Director General of the Zambia Intelligence Security Services,Times of Zambia editor-in-chief, Cabinet minster in all four governments and now parliamentary chief whip.

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Rupiah will meet Chibombamilimo in the Mpulungu by-election

Rupiah will meet Chibombamilimo in the Mpulungu by-election
By The Post
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT

LAMECK Chibombamilimo was a politician and he died a politician.
And there’s no way politics will be removed from his death. The death of a politician is a political event. All that Lameck did in his political life will be brought up and remembered by our people.

All that was done to him as a politician by anyone will be brought up and remembered by our people. Those who did good things, those who shared good moments political or otherwise will talk about them. In this regard Jonas Shakafuswa shares something very profound, very interesting with Lameck – they were fired the same day at a rally by Rupiah Banda. Both of them were deputy ministers.

And both Jonas and Lameck were also expelled from the party at Rupiah’s instigation. Up to the time of his death, Lameck was keeping his parliamentary seat on a High Court injunction he had obtained to stop Rupiah and his friends from expelling him from the ruling MMD until the legitimacy or lack of it was determined by the court. And this is also the case for Jonas.

To date, there was never any effort by Rupiah and his friends to withdraw the expulsion of Lameck and Jonas from the MMD. Up to the time of his death, Rupiah and his friends still wanted Lameck and Jonas to remain expelled from their party.

They didn’t want them; they were undesirable elements in their eyes who were not fit to be part of the so-called MMD family that Michael Mabenga is talking about. Today, now that Lameck is no more, Mabenga is saying “his death is untimely and tragic. Naturally when such a death occurs, it is a loss to the party because MMD is like a family. We have been robbed of a valuable member”.

How can the death of Lameck be said to have robbed the MMD of a valuable member when they had expelled him and were not in any way prepared to withdraw this expulsion even after many months of it being challenged in court? How can someone they have expelled be said to be a valuable member? This is a lie.

This is hypocrisy. They are simply trapped by their own words and actions against Lameck. It is said that “you will have to live with the consequences of everything you say” (Proverbs 18:20).

Lying and hypocrisy are ugly blots on a person’s character, but unwise people do it all the time. And probably this is why it is said that “a thief is better than a habitual liar, but both are headed for ruin”. A liar has no honour and lives in constant disgrace.

The man they cursed is today said to be a valuable member of MMD! How? And since when did Lameck become their valuable member? Anyway, “when a wicked man curses his enemy, he is cursing himself” (Sirach 21:27).

And “foolish people are always contradicting themselves” ( Sirach 27:11). Truly, liars and hypocrites deserve to be cursed, because they have been the ruin of many people.
Today in death, Lameck is being praised by those who had expelled him from their party.

Those who didn’t want his company and friendship are today claiming to be his friends. Anyway, anyone can claim to be your friend, but some people are friends in name only. Some people will be your friends as long as things are going well, but they will turn against you when trouble comes.
And in eulogies of the departed, the works of the living sometimes bear little relation to reality.

The man they condemned to isolation, loneliness and the depression and death that accompanies it is today being eulogised as a valuable member of their family, of their party. But when he was alive, nothing of this nature could be said about Lameck by them.

In fact, no regard was ever had for his commitment and loyalty to their party. They simply left him to die without putting in much effort to save his life as they do to those they hold dear in their ranks, in the family, in their party. On his death, all sorts of good things are being said about Lameck by them.

Anyway, all men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien once said, “Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.” To die while telling the truth is weightier than to die with lies and hypocrisy. And to die working for dishonesty, telling lies, crooking people is lighter than a feather.

Soon Lameck’s friends, or rather false friends, in the MMD will soon have to meet his people in Mpulungu campaigning in a parliamentary by-election to replace him. What are they going to tell Lameck’s people? Are they going to continue the lie, the hypocrisy that he was a valuable member of their party when they had expelled him?

Politically, Lameck’s death may appear to be a good riddance of a bad member, one they had expelled but refused to go. This truth they will not be able to say. And knowing them, they will continue the lie Mabenga has started and claim that they were very good friends with Lameck and they should vote for their candidate.

There’s no doubt Lameck, like Jonas, was a victim of intolerance to criticism, to divergent views. Lameck, like Jonas, were very close to Levy Mwanawasa and had to go in the purge. Today, no one who was reasonably close to Levy and who remained loyal to him even in death is still occupying a reasonable position in Rupiah’s government and in the MMD.

They have all been flushed out. The intolerant and the corrupt today reign in the MMD and in Rupiah’s government. Their cruelty, their intolerance can in one way or another be said to have killed Lameck. And this they will have to account for when they meet Lameck’s people in Mpulungu within the next 90 days.

We hope they will learn something from this: that it is always better to treat others in a fair, just and humane way because although we know where we are coming from, we cannot know with certainty where we are going. The bells of Rupiah’s cruelty and insensitivity will one day toll on him and all his friends.

Lameck is gone, but the injustice, the cruelty, the inhumaneness with which they dealt with him still remains to haunt them. And in the Mpulungu by-elections, they will meet Lameck alive wherever they go. And moreover, Rupiah had pledged to follow Lameck “wherever he goes” and defeat him. We don’t know how Rupiah will follow Lameck wherever he is now.

But we are sure that they will meet somewhere somehow – and one of those places they will meet is Mpulungu parliamentary constituency. We hope Rupiah will still speak the same language about Lameck when they meet in Mpulungu!

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By-election losses have raised concern in the MMD – Nyangu

By-election losses have raised concern in the MMD – Nyangu
By Patson Chilemba
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT

FILE PICTURE: President Rupiah Banda during a campaign in Luena MMD acting national secretary Chembe Nyangu has admitted that the ruling party’s parliamentary by-election losses have raised a bit of concern.

Commenting on the MMD losses of five out of the seven parliamentary by-elections which had been held since President Rupiah Banda assumed office, Nyangu, who is the substantive MMD deputy national secretary, said the ruling party was working on addressing the issues which led to the losses in the by-elections.

“It the MMD parliamentary losses does raise a bit of concern. That is why we are working on it vigorously. But I must say that we’ve done very well in the local government. That is the base of the election. We actually wrestled three from the opposition. As for the parliamentary, of course we are not happy that we lost,” Nyangu said.

“I think in my opinion we are getting there. We are still hopeful that we will get most of these constituencies because for ADD president and Luena member of parliament Charles Milupi, he will be concentrating on the presidency, so us now we are going to get in and get that Luena seat.”

On former president Frederick Chiluba’s involvement in the MMD campaigns, Nyangu said the MMD would use Chiluba effectively in the 2011 campaigns. He said despite the party losing in areas where Chiluba campaigned, the former president was a plus to the MMD.

“If he supports us he is a bonus. So we would like to urge him to continue. And next year he will be there to do it for the MMD,” he said. “I am not ashamed to say that because Dr Chiluba is a founding father. Even you when you grow up, do you think you can forget your grandchildren?”

Nyangu also said he considered Kafulafuta MMD member of parliament George Mpombo and his Chilanga counterpart Ng’andu Magande not to be members of the ruling party.
He said formally getting rid of the two from the party called for a rigorous process.

“It’s a process. I don’t want people to win these cases on technicalities,” said Nyangu.

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Rupiah’s govt on path of self destruction - Lifuka

Rupiah’s govt on path of self destruction - Lifuka
By Kombe Chimpinde
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 14:00 CAT

FILE PICTURE:Transparency International Zambia [TIZ ] president
TRANSPARENCY International Zambia TIZ has charged that President Rupiah Banda’s government is seemingly on a path of self-destruction.

And TIZ has cautioned works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti to be a little more measured in the manner he makes public pronouncements especially those that hinge on donors.

Reacting to Mulongoti's recent statement uttered when he featured on Mazabuka FM over the weekend where he accused donors of seeking regime change in developing countries by withholding aid prior elections, TIZ president Reuben Lifuka said that Mulongoti's disparaging remarks is a clear indication that Rupiah Banda's government is trading on the path to destruction.

“TIZ, finds the statement attributed to Hon Mike Mulongoti vis-à-vis donors and regime change and on the calls for greater accountability, to be unfortunate and a sign that the Zambian government is seemingly on a path of self destruction. Hon Mulongoti’s statement explains why corruption is difficult to deal with in Zambia. Government simply fails to take appropriate and timely action against those found wanting,” Lifuka said.

He implored Zambians to ask themselves what would stop President Banda’s government from treating Zambians with what he termed “impunity” if it did the same to its most reliable donors.

“Is it any wonder that government is arrogantly insisting on the mobile hospital project notwithstanding the people’s opposition to it?” Lifuka questioned.

“It has become more convenient for government to blame donors, civil society and opposition political parties for their failings.”

He reminded government to keep it at the back of their minds that they were elected into office to exercise leadership even in difficult times like when donors withheld funding and that people did not expect them to indulge in the luxury of doing nothing.

Lifuka warned Mulongoti against issuing insensitive and careless statements stressing that this may hurt meaningful donor investment into the country and negatively affect international relations that government had so far established.

“Hon Mulongoti, has been in government long enough to appreciate the fact that donors or cooperating partners do not come into the country uninvited and our leadership including Hon Mulongoti make a conscious decision to enter into agreements with them. Such relationships for support trigger an obvious obligation for mutual accountability and the Zambian government is obliged to account for every ngwee that they receive,” said Likfuka.

TIZ has since called on the government to refocus its energies on devising practical ways towards fighting corruption and continued looting of public coffers as opposed to politicking.

Lifuka further stressed that the fight against corruption would not be won by sheer eloquence of words but through pragmatic actions.

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Delays to arrest Changwe suspicious – Musonda

Delays to arrest Changwe suspicious – Musonda
By George Chellah
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 10:00 CAT

Gender deputy minister Lucy Changwe. Picture courtesy of Guairdian Weekly
ROGER Musonda yesterday said he is very suspicious about the delay by police to arrest and prosecute gender deputy minister Lucy Changwe for bouncing a cheque.

Changwe, who is also Mkushi North MMD member of parliament, bounced a K10 million cheque in a house purchase transaction. Musonda,who was the owner of the property in question and who has reported the matter to police, said he was convinced that there is a strong case against Changwe.

“I am asking the Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to immediately grant the consent for the arrest and prosecution of Changwe,” Musonda said.

“Looking at the recent events in the George Mpombo case, which I must say that I have keenly followed, I can confidently say that there is overwhelming evidence in the Changwe matter for her to be arrested and prosecuted. They must apply justice fairly.”

Musonda said as the complainant in the matter, he insisted that Changwe be arrested and prosecuted. “The delay in arresting and prosecuting Changwe is making me to be very suspicious. I have given the police everything including the bounced cheque and I am more than ready to appear in any court in Zambia to testify,” he said.

Musonda complained that the police were not even updating him as the complainant.

“I spoke to the police in Kabwe…to Mr Bwalya the divisional criminal investigations officer and they are telling me that the docket has moved to Lusaka on its way to the DPP’s office in order for the DPP to issue instructions because it's now involving a minister,” Musonda said.

“But I am aware that a fraud case once handled by police does not need the DPP’s consent. The whole world will now judge Zambia whether we are implementing the law fairly and equally, especially if Changwe is not arrested and prosecuted. But I still have confidence that justice will prevail.”

Musonda said Changwe’s matter deserved to be handled just like Mpombo’s case.

“Mpombo is in prison today because he has been prosecuted on the same offence Changwe committed. As a complainant, I want Changwe to be prosecuted, the same way Terence Findlay has made Mpombo to be prosecuted. In fact, on Monday, the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Dr Caleb Fundanga said any complainant has a legal right to take a person who has bounced a cheque to court,” Musonda said.

“So I would like Changwe to go through the same process like Mpombo and many others who have been convicted. I must state that this is purely a private matter between myself and Changwe. It has nothing to do with the President, Vice-President, the government or MMD as a party. I just want justice to be done.”

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NCC chairman bemoans erratic funding

NCC chairman bemoans erratic funding
By Ernest Chanda
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT

NATIONAL Constitutional Conference (NCC) chairperson Chifumu Banda has lamented erratic funding to the constitution-making process.

Officially opening the NCC’s final plenary sitting at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka on Tuesday, Banda said inadequate and untimely funding had led to the NCC excluding certain activities.

He said the NCC could not go round the country to collect people’s views on the draft constitution because of poor funding.

“Members may wish to know that the funding situation is still critical. It is for this reason that the final stages in the constitution-making process have had to be revised to exclude certain activities such as the collection of views from members of the public in all the seventy three (73) districts of Zambia,” Banda said.

“In the same vein, this session of the Conference will be held for four (4) days only from today Tuesday, 10th to Friday 13th August 2010…. This time around we do not have the luxury of time or financial resources in the face of the 31st August, 2010 deadline when the National Constitutional Conference will stand dissolved.”

Banda urged delegates to be focused and work diligently in view of the limited time and funds. He further pledged the NCC commitment to help the government deliver a new constitution before neat year's general election.

“The NCC is determined to make its contribution towards ensuring that the government delivers the new constitution to the people of Zambia before the 2011 general elections.

So far, our determination to deliver on our mandate has been demonstrated by the speedy pace at which we as members of the NCC have worked to meet all our deadlines despite the numerous challenges,” said Banda.

“It is important to note that the input of the public at large is crucial for the final conclusion of the constitution-making process and the consequent realisation of a truly people’s constitution.”

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Chibombo teachers threaten to strike over unpaid rural hardship allowance

Chibombo teachers threaten to strike over unpaid rural hardship allowance
By Justin Katilungu in Kabwe
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 15:10 CAT

ZAMBIA National Union of Teachers (ZNUT) members in Chibombo district have threatened to withdraw their labour if the government does not pay off rural hardship allowances by August 31, 2010.

ZNUT Chibombo district chairperson Edward Phiri stated in a press release jointly signed with his secretary Renartus Mushibwe that despite the new collective agreement of April 2010-March 31, 2011 being signed, the affected teachers had not received their hardship allowances.

The affected teachers are from Shimfwankula, Mwanjuni, Moomba, Kapopo, Mutakwa, Chombela, Katuba, Kapila, Kamaila, Kizito, Bruneli, Namununga, Musopelo, Katete, Kayosha, Kabanga and Chowa schools.

Phiri also noted that schools that were supposed to get hardship allowances were getting a rural hardship allowance which was an anomaly.

“Teachers in Chibombo further believe that it is the duty and obligation of the employer to accommodate its employees, hence we are calling for the immediate stoppage of rentals so that housing allowance is done away with,” stated Phiri.

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Give access to university the highest priority – Chancellor

Give access to university the highest priority – Chancellor
By Moses Kuwema
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 15:10 CAT

UNIVERSITY of Zambia (UNZA) Chancellor Dr Jacob Mwanza has observed that there is a clear connection between access to higher education and economic development.

During the University’s 40th graduation ceremony held under the theme
'Increasing access and equity to university education: achievements and challenges over the years', Dr Mwanza said university education was key to the production of highly skilled human resources necessary for the development of the country.

He said it was obvious that access to university education should be given the highest priority.

“The University of Zambia is and shall remain committed to increasing access to university education. We look forward to a future where every deserving citizen shall be accorded an opportunity to access university education,” Dr Mwanza said.

He said equity was a key value that should be embraced by every society because it promoted a sense of belonging and was a fulcrum for stability and development.

He said UNZA had taken up the challenge of increasing access and equity to university education, in line with the world trend and the government policy.

“In pursuant of this, the university has undertaken various interventions which have culminated in an increase in enrolment and the number of graduates produced at the university. With regards to equity, the interventions have culminated in a progressive increase in the percentage of female students and rural-based students at the university,” said Dr Mwanza.

And UNZA Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga said one of the major challenges facing the university was limited infrastructure.

Prof Simukanga said while student enrolment had increased over a period of time, the increase had not been matched with a corresponding increase in infrastructure.

“For example, the capacity of our lecture theatres can no longer accommodate the increased number of students and sitting capacity in the library is no longer adequate. Moreover, student accommodation is inadequate. Currently the university has a total of 3,432 bed spaces for approximately 10,000 students enrolled on full-time basis,” he said.

Prof Simukanga also revealed that the university was in the process of developing a programme that would enable teachers holding diploma certificates access university education and that approximately 6,500 teachers would be enrolled under the programme.

And in a vote of thanks, former UNZASU president Duncan Nyirongo said the problem of unemployment among graduates had reached alarming levels, with most graduates trotting from one place to another in search of jobs.

Nyirongo said the graduates found it selfish for the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) to have increased the age of retirement from the public service from the current 55 years to 60 years.

“How do you increase the retirement age when the nation’s life expectancy has reduced and the youth unemployment levels are skyrocketing? We call upon members of the NCC to take advantage of the process that is still under way to correct such misplacements,” said Nyirongo.

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Rupiah is presideing over the destruction of justice – Sejani

Rupiah is presideing over the destruction of justice – Sejani
By Patson Chilemba
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT

RUPIAH Banda is presiding over the destruction of justice in the country, Mapatizya UPND member of parliament Ackson Sejani charged yesterday.

Commenting on the conviction and sentencing of Kafulafuta MMD member of parliament George Mpombo for an offence of issuing a cheque on an insufficiently funded account, Sejani said Mpombo’s prosecution was a mere formality because President Banda had already predetermined that there should be a conviction.

“This invisible hand had already pre-determined what was supposed to happen. That is the work of the invisible hand. It means that people are no longer operating freely. The hand directs what is supposed to be done,” Sejani said.

“It is no longer the invisible. This hand can be seen by the ordinary eye. You don’t need a binoculars, you can see it. That is Rupiah’s hand.”

Sejani said President Banda’s hand had ruined the delivery of justice in the country. He said a country where there was no justice and where courts of law were ruined, was finished.

“Rupiah Banda is presiding over the destruction of justice in this country,” Sejani said.

He said there was no justice and fair play in the manner Mpombo’s case was handled.

Sejani said it was clear that people were no longer equal before the law under the leadership of President Banda, adding that there were events which suggested that there were people who were more equal than others.

He said the politically correct, who were close to President Banda were more equal than others.

“I am saying the conviction of George Mpombo and the activities surrounding his prosecution are immoral because surely there must be more than meets the ordinary eye,” Sejani said.

“When people who are supposed to be friends, and I gather that George Mpombo and Terence Findlay were good friends, suddenly begin to drag each other to the court of law, it suggests there is the usual political invisible hand that is at work. This is the hand that interferes in the judicial process.”

Sejani said President Banda’s hand directs the acquittals of those close to him and orders police to arrest political opponents on flimsy grounds.

“So it is this hand which is at work in George’s case. So from that point of view, it is immoral,” said Sejani.

He said the only way to change the operations of the judiciary was to vote President Banda out of office. Sejani urged Zambians to register en masse to vote out the MMD.

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OECD slams agro subsidies by industrialized nations

OECD slams agro subsidies by industrialized nations
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Wed 11 Aug. 2010, 14:20 CAT

THE latest report of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has continued to slam rising subsidies for agriculture in industrialised countries thus distorting trade and destroying livelihoods of poor farmers in developing countries.

The continued increase in agriculture subsidies comes at a time when the European Union (EU) is simultaneously forcing developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific to further open their markets through the ‘unfair’ trade deals called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

In a report titled ‘Agricultural Policies in OECD countries at a glance in 2010’ OECD stated that subsidies for agriculture in industrialised countries have increased from 21 per cent in 2008 to 22 percent in 2009 to record US $252.5 billion.

“The subsidies for farmers in OECD countries have been at the centre of a heated dispute for years, both at the level of the European Union and the United States and within the larger framework of the World Trade Organisation and its deadlocked Doha Development Round.

The EU spends about US $75 billion on subsidies for agriculture, even though the sector represents only about two per cent of the total gross domestic product of the union,” it stated.

“Subsidies for agriculture in industrialised countries grew in 2009, benefiting the largest companies and land owners, despite repeated and consistent evidence that such subsidies contribute to the destruction of the livelihoods of poor farmers in developing countries, especially in Africa, and that they distort international trade.”

It stated that the European Union's subsidies for farmer increased to 24 per cent from 22 percent and between 2007 and 2009, EU farmers received an average of 23 per cent of their gross receipts in form of direct financial support from the state.

The OECD represents the 30 most industrialised countries of the world, including the US and most members of the EU.

The report stated that EU subsidies for agriculture were a shame and cited the example of subsidies for milk, which form part of the EU agricultural policy.

“Due mostly to over-production, the European milk prices for farmers were in early 2009 extremely low, at less than 0.20 euro (US $0.26) per litre.

Instead of reducing production to stabilise prices, the EU reintroduced subsidies for milk in 2009 to support producers,” it stated.

“As a consequence, the EU is again exporting milk to the whole developing world, especially towards Africa, at ‘dumping' prices’ and by so doing, the EU is destroying the livelihoods of farmers in the poorest countries of the world while artificially maintaining a too high level of production.”

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Zimbabwe holds first diamond auction to boost treasury

Zimbabwe holds first diamond auction to boost treasury
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 14:30 CAT

ZIMBABWE is expected to boost its treasury after holding its first auction of diamonds since international regulators lifted a ban on the sale of the country’s precious stones.

About 900,000 carats of rough diamonds from the Chiadzwa diamond fields valued at US$72 million went on sale on Wednesday at an auction overseen by diamond regulator, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

Buyers from the US, Israel, Russia, Lebanon and India attended the auction, which took place behind closed doors at Harare airport.

The KPCS had blocked the sale of Zimbabwe’s diamonds in November 2009, following allegations of human rights abuses after the government sent police and the army to drive out illegal miners who had caused chaos after they flocked to the diamond fields, east of the country near the Mozambican border.

The regulator partially lifted its ban on Zimbabwean stones at the World Diamond Council summit held in St Petersburg, Russia last month after its monitor in Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane, made several visits to the diamond fields over the past few months to check on how Zimbabwe was observing the regulatory rules.

This followed months of intense lobbying by non-governmental organisations based in the US, Canada and Australia who lobbied for the KPCS to ban the sale of Zimbabwe’s precious stones because of the alleged abuses.

Chikane continues to oversee the audit of the country's diamond stocks.

Zimbabwe is currently sitting on 4.5 million carats of diamonds that could bring the government around US$2 billion, more than half of the country’s budget at a time when the country is struggling to win budgetary support from donors to turn round its economy.

Donors are still unwilling to extend their financial support until they see tangible political and economic reforms being carried out in the country.

Zimbabwe currently needs US$10 billion to completely resuscitate the economy that has been in its doldrums over the past 10 years after donors imposed sanctions on it as it pursued land reforms that saw over 3,500 farms owned by commercial white farmers being seized for redistribution to landless natives.

The sale of diamonds is now expected to boost liquidity levels, according to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who officiated at the launch of the certification programme.

“I am pleased to note that the Minister of Finance, in consultation with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development and other stakeholders, is working on a framework of determining how the revenues from this supervised sale are applied for the benefit of the generality of the people of Zimbabwe through the fiscus,” Tsvangirai said.?

Only stones mined between May 28, 2010 and now were auctioned. A second auction is expected in September.?

Vice-President John Nkomo said Zimbabwe had always been committed to the KPCS, as a founding participant.

However, he called for transparency in the certification programme.?

“Government clearly understands the purpose of the institution and embraces its ideals. However, it is critical that a non-partisan approach is followed in the execution of these ideals to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and fairness in the KPCS,” he said.? “Today’s ceremony is a symbol of our great resolve as a nation to succeed. Although it took us long to be where we are today, we will not tire to do the right things in the eyes of our people and the international community.”?

He said the wealth accruing from diamond sales should benefit the people.?

“Diamonds are our heritage, a heritage, which we should bequeath to our children and future generations. These diamonds should benefit the people of Zimbabwe and it is our shared and collective responsibility as Zimbabweans to guard this resource jealously,” said Tsvangirai.

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Govt courts Indian investors in sugar sector

Govt courts Indian investors in sugar sector
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thu 12 Aug. 2010, 15:20 CAT

ZAMBIA Sugar Plc has played down the possible competition likely to come from an Indian firm planning to invest in sugar production in Nansanga farm bloc.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that Indian commercial farmers, mostly specialising in sugar production, are expected in the country in December to explore prospects of investing in the Nansanga farm bloc.

But in an interview after the company conducted an open day for its shareholders in Mazabuka on Wednesday, Zambia Sugar Plc head of corporate affairs Lovemore Sievu said the country’s biggest sugar producer was too firmly entrenched to fear any possible competition from new entrants into the sector. Sievu said the domestic sugar market was very small and that extra players in the sector were likely to grow the product for export market rather than domestic consumption.

Zambia Sugar Plc currently produces in excess of 400, 000 tonnes of sugar and only 150, 000 is consumed locally, the remainder being exported mainly to the Great Lakes region and European Union market.

“For a long time, we are the only company that has been producing sugar and then we had two companies that came in,” Sievu said. “Zambia Sugar has continued to hold its own. Our brand is strong and Zambia is self-sufficient in sugar production. In fact, we can only sell a third of the sugar that we produce, and if people want to come and produce sugar here, I am sure they have done their market research and due diligence.” Sievu said Zambia Sugar was determined to defend its dominance of the local sugar market. “I guess if someone is coming, probably, they have some other places where they want to market their sugar,” Sievu said. “We are entrenched in Zambia and we have a strong brand. Like in anything, we will defend our market.”

Zambia Sugar Plc is the largest producer of sugar, with Nakambala estate and a mill in Mazabuka giving approximately 89.6 per cent of total production while Consolidated Farming Limited (CF) is second, contributing about 9.8 per cent towards national production at its estate and mill in the Kafue flats in Kafue. Little-known Kalungwishi Estates Limited of Kasama accounts for the remaining 0.60 per cent of the sugar production. And Sievu said Zambia Sugar was on course to raise sugar output to 440, 000 tonnes from the current 315, 000 tonnes after completing its major expansion programme. “The plant has stabilised and is running very well and operating at rated capacity,” said Sievu. “We are confident that this year will be another record year for Zambia Sugar. And we do not expect to have another sugar shortage in the country.”

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(ANSA AFRICA, FT) World Bank warns on "farmland grab" trend

COMMENT - Thanks to Cho's Zambian Economist website for the link. See more here at the World Bank's "Annual Bank Conference On Land Policy And Administration".

World Bank warns on "farmland grab" trend
28 July 2010
Financial Times

London: Investors in farmland are targeting countries with weak laws, buying arable land on the cheap and failing to deliver on promises of jobs and investments, according to the draft of a report by the World Bank. "Investor interest is focused on countries with weak land governance," the draft said. Although deals promised jobs and infrastructure, "investors failed to follow through on their investments plans, in some cases after inflicting serious damage on the local resource base".

In addition, "the level of formal payments required was low", making speculation a key motive for purchases. "Payments for land are often waived ... and large investors often pay lower taxes than smallholders ... or none at all."

The report, The Global Land Rush: Can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits?' is the broadest study yet of the so-called "farmland grab", in which countries invest in overseas land to boost their food security, or investors - who are mostly locals - buy arable land. The "farmland grab" trend gained notoriety after an attempt in 2008 by South Korea's Daewoo Logistics to secure a large chunk of land in Madagascar for a very low price and vague promises of investment. The deal contributed to a coup d'état in the African country.

Large land transfers

The draft was leaked to the Financial Times by a person who said they wanted to prevent the World Bank releasing the report in the middle of the summer holiday period. The Washington-based body said the report was a work in progress and revisions were being made. "When it is released in August, we believe it will contribute much-needed data and other information to this complex subject."

The World Bank advocated in its draft the launch of a Land Transparency Initiative modelled on the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, which commits governments, mainly in developing countries, to disclose revenues from oil and mining groups to improve transparency on the deals. Critics noted that eight years after its launch, only Liberia, Timor-Leste and Azerbaijan, were full members of the EITI. But the draft said: "By establishing a consistent format for reporting on land acquisition and monitoring [the] process over time, it could provide access to information sorely missing."

The draft highlighted a few successes in land acquisition - mostly in Latin America and also in Tanzania - but the overall picture it gave was one of exploitation, warning that investors either lacked the necessary expertise to cultivate land or were more interested in speculative gains than in using land productively.

It stated that "rarely if ever" were efforts made to link land investments to "countries' broader development strategy".

"Consultations with local communities were often weak," it added. "Conflicts were common, usually over land rights."

The report said some countries allocated land to investors that was within the boundaries of local communities' farmland. Data on farmland deals is sketchy, mostly relying on local media reports. But the World Bank's draft report said official data for a few countries showed large transfers, including 3.9m hectares in Sudan and 1.2m in Ethiopia between 2004 and 2009. The demand for farmland is unlikely to slow down due to higher commodity demand and prices.

* By Javier Blas in London

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe hails 'all weather friend' China

Mugabe hails 'all weather friend' China
by Staff Reporter
11/08/2010 00:00:00

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Wednesday thanked China for its steadfast support as he visited the World Expo in Shanghai and called for help in reviving his country's shattered economy.

Mugabe expressed his deep gratitude to Beijing and called for deeper co-operation, at a time when his country is struggling with a decade of acute food shortages. "China has always stood by Zimbabwe," Mugabe said as he presided over Zimbabwe Day at the Expo.

"It is thus natural and logical for us to forge a strategic relationship with an all-weather friend as the People's Republic of China."

China is not a party to international sanctions on Mugabe, who is the subject of a Western travel ban and asset freeze.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe had "immensely benefited" from China's "generosity in several areas, including the supply of agricultural materials, and food assistance where inclement weather has affected our harvests".

He called for Beijing to expand co-operation with Zimbabwe under the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, or FOCAC, through which China invests in African countries in exchange for oil, copper and other materials it needs to fuel its breakneck economic expansion.

China has invested billions of dollars in Africa, raising eyebrows in the West, but many African leaders have praised China for not preaching about human rights and corruption.

With Zimbabwe's economy crippled by widespread problems, mining is the country's main foreign currency earner. Zimbabwe has huge coal, gold, platinum and diamond deposits.

Zimbabwe was due to resume selling diamond stocks on Wednesday - which Mugabe says have the potential to revive the country - after international investigators confirmed the military had left the blood diamond trade.- AFP

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(LUSAKATIMES) Law to empower Zambians with key positions in firms on cards

Law to empower Zambians with key positions in firms on cards
Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 15:34

Government has disclosed that it will soon enact a law that will give Zambian nationals a chance to hold high positions in companies owned by foreign investors.

Labour Deputy Minister Simon Kachimba says Zambia has highly qualified nationals who have the capability to effectively run most of the big companies in the country hence the need to for them to be given a chance to hold key positions in these companies.

Mr Kachimba said though investors can bring in a few expatiates in key positions like finance, the majority of top portfolios should be held by local people, adding thatGovernment will ensure that this happens in its bid to empower local people.

The Deputy Minister was speaking in Lusaka today when he addressed the Zambianisation committee that has been tasked to implement measures aimed at curtailing the recruitment of cheap expatriate labour.

Mr Kachimba said Government is committed to providing decent employment for its people and will do everything possible to ensure that it safeguards employment for its nationals.

He stressed that Government is also committed to preparing Zambian nationals so that they take over jobs from expatriates as a way of empowering them.

Mr Kachimba however said for this to happen it is vital to come up with a succession plan aimed at identifying and developing internal personnel with the potential to fill key or critical organisational positions.

He urged the Zambianisation committee to follow up each company’s succession plan so that the country has fully backed nationals who will runcompanies effectively once they take over.


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Learn to listen to the views of the people

Learn to listen to the views of the people
By Editor
Wed 11 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT

To govern is to communicate. Any society comprises a great diversity of interests and individuals who deserve to have their voices heard and their views respected.

The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people. And the voices of the people include those of the government, its political supporters and opposition, of course. But they are joined by the voices of the labour unions, organised interest groups, community associations, the news media, scholars and critics, religious leaders and writers, small businesses and large corporations.

All of these groups are free to raise their voices and participate in the political process, whether locally or nationally. In this way, democratic politics acts as a filter through which the vocal demands of a diverse populace pass on the way to becoming public policy. And this means that all these voices must be listened to, must be heard.

To lead people one must understand them. It is very difficult, if not impossible for one to effectively lead people he doesn’t understand. And to understand people, one must talk to them, listen to their views and share their joys and hopes, sorrows and anxieties. To lead people, one has to have a clear understanding of who they are and where they are. And this can only be done by listening to them and talking to them. You can’t lead people you don’t know.

And to know people, you have to listen to them. The leaders of this government will not listen to their people, neither do they listen to anyone but their own inner demons. And the observations made by Oswell Munyenyembe, the secretary general of the Mineworkers Union of Zambia, on the inability of the leaders of our government to listen to their people are very valid.

The labour unions are very important institutions, and any political leadership that does not want to listen to the representatives of workers is digging its own grave. It’s clear that this government listens more to the owners of the mines, who are not supposed to be their masters but have become their paymasters, than they do to the mine workers and their representatives. Probably, it is because of the direct financial support they get from the owners of the mines for their election campaigns and other things. But whatever they get from these owners of mines is nothing compared to what they get through the taxes paid by these humble workers.

It is these humble workers who pay their salaries and allowances; it is these humble workers who pay for the planes they fly in and the helicopters they use in their campaigns, the automobiles they drive and almost everything else they use. But look at the way they treat them and their representatives as compared to the way they treat the owners of the mines and their managers!

Our politicians in government have to learn to reason with the people who elected them; they have to learn to persuade people. That is their due. They have voluntarily, everyone of them, joined politics. What they should be looking for is more and more people calling on them to give them their counsel, their advice and broaden their participation. By making the choice to join politics, they took a decision, and it was that, by persuasion, they could bring more people with them.

So, that is the basis on which they have to act and should act. They need to listen more and more to people because no section of the community has all the wisdom, all the virtues, neither does any have all the ignorance, all the vices. They should never pretend to know everything, to know what they don’t know. And they should not feel ashamed to ask, listen and learn from the people. They should listen carefully to the views of the people.

They should be pupils of the people before they become teachers of the people.

What the people say may or may not be correct but they are the masters, and should be listened to. After hearing what the people are saying, they must analyse it. They must heed the correct views and act upon them. Listen also to the mistaken views of the people; it is wrong not to listen to them at all. There’s need for our politicians in government to guard against arrogance. For anyone in a leading political position, this should be a matter of principle.

The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in developing our country. The masses of our people are the real heroes, while they themselves are often childish and ignorant. The governance and development of our country must rely on the masses of the people, on everybody’s taking a hand and not only on a few individuals issuing orders. Those in power should always act in accordance with the needs and wishes of the masses they were elected to represent.

They are not in government to represent themselves. They were elected to represent the interests of the people. And all their work must start from the needs and wishes of the people, and not from the desire of any individual however well-intentioned. There’s need for every politician and government to listen attentively to the voice of the masses and identify themselves with the interests and needs of the masses wherever they go instead of standing above them. If they insist on leading the masses to do anything against their will, they will fail in all they are doing.

Our politicians must not assume that everything they themselves understand is understood by the masses. Whether the masses understand it and are ready to take action can only be discovered by listening to them. They should not also assume that the masses have no understanding of what they themselves do not yet understand. It often happens that the masses outstrip them and are eager to advance a step and that, nevertheless, our politicians fail to act as leaders of the masses, and tail behind certain backward elements, reflecting their views and, moreover, mistaking them for those of the broad masses.

This government has not listened much to the workers and their representatives.

Workers need a living wage and a right to participate in determining policies that affect their lives, they need their jobs protected. But instead this government is listening to the owners of mines and their managers and they are giving them all the concessions they ask for at the expense of workers. But the great lesson of our time is that no regime can survive if it acts above the heads of the ordinary citizens of the country. They were not voted into power by the owners and managers of mines but by these same humble workers they are today not willing to listen to. But as Munyenyembe has warned them, the time of reckoning is coming. These same workers who are also an important component of the voters of this country will know what to do with them when the time to vote comes. They will vote wisely and only for people who are known for their concern for the welfare of workers and the people.

People are loyal to those who are loyal to them; the workers and the poor of this country will in the final analysis only vote for those who they think will fight for their needs and defend their interests. Those who are on the payroll of the owners of mines and their managers will be rewarded by them and not by the workers and the poor whom they are not listening to, whom they have abandoned and betrayed. People are kind to those who are kind to them, those who care for them and everything equal, they will not vote for those who don’t listen to them, those who don’t care about them. If the MMD and its leaders want to remain in power next year, they have no alternative but to heed the advice Munyenyembe is giving them and stop being arrogant and insensitive.

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