Saturday, December 25, 2010

(NEWZIMBABWE, AFP) Zimbabwe to set up WikiLeaks Commission

COMMENT - Write anyone you can think of, and free Private Manning. He has been in solitary confinement for months, in order to break him and get him to implicate Julian Assange. Also, what this article skips around is that the allegations of treason do not come because AG Tomanna was put on a sanctions list, but because of the MDC's insistence on maintaining ECONOMIC sanctions against the people and economy of Zimbabwe, *while participating in government*. Using a foreign government to make your people's lives miserable for political advancement is TREASON.

Zimbabwe to set up WikiLeaks Commission
by Staff Reporter, AFP
25/12/2010 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE will appoint a commission to investigate the "treasonous collusion" that led to several embarrassing reports being released by WikiLeaks, attorney-general Johannes Tomana has said.

"With immediate effect, I am going to instruct a team of practising lawyers to look into the issues that arise from the WikiLeaks," Attorney-General Johannes Tomana told the state-owned Herald newspaper.

"The WikiLeaks appear to show a treasonous collusion between local Zimbabweans and the aggressive international world, particularly the United States."

Tomana was this week slapped with sanctions and an asset freeze by the United States, making him the latest ally of long-ruling President Robert Mugabe to be black-listed by the US government.

His statements came after WikiLeaks a series of cables from US diplomats that have been embarrassing to Mugabe and his inner circle as well as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and members of his MDC-T party.

One discussed the United Nations' efforts to get Mugabe to stand down by offering him a retirement package and an exile deal. Another contained accusations that Mugabe's wife, Grace, and Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono were earning huge profits from illegal diamonds.

Mugabe's wife and Gono deny the allegations. The pair has filed a lawsuit claiming 15 million dollars in damages from a local independent weekly that reproduced a WikiLeaks report which said she had been involved in underhand sales of diamonds from the controversial Marange mines.

But Zanu PF officials have demanded that Tsvangirai be charged with treason following revelations that he privately urged Western countries to maintain sanctions against the country while publicly appearing to back calls for their removal.

A senior MDC-T official and cabinet minister, Elton Mangoma was also alleged to have sought the support of the US and other Western governments in establishing a fund aimed at buy-off the country’s security service chief’s who are seen as fiercely local to Mugabe and Zanu PF.

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(HERALD) Credit facility for poor farmers

Credit facility for poor farmers
Friday, 24 December 2010 11:41
Agriculture Reporter

GOVERNMENT has allowed poor farmers qualifying for the US$30 million agriculture input scheme to access the inputs under a credit facility.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made yesterday said with immediate effect, farmers with input vouchers could now access seed and fertiliser from Grain Marketing Board depots on credit.

The scheme is set to benefit 400 000 underprivileged families while dono-rs are supporting 560 000 families.

President Mugabe has also laun-ched a US$33 million Presidential-Well Wishers Agricultural Scheme set to benefit over 597 000 households.

Minister Made said the decision to supply inputs to farmers on credit was taken to cushion growers who were failing to access the inputs that were being sold on cash basis.

"With immediate effect, farmers can now get inputs on credit and pay with grain at the end of the season," he said.

Previously, farmers had to pay ca-sh for subsidised inputs, but most of them were failing to buy seed and fertiliser due to cash problems.

Minister Made said farmers with vouchers should approach their nea-rest GMB depots to register for the inputs.

The minister said it was disturbing to note that many farmers were fail-ing to access the subsidised inputs despite the fact that they had been brought nearer to them.

"Farmers do not have cash to buy seeds and fertilisers and some are failing to raise US$30 per household for input procurement.

"The Ministry of Finance should have allowed the facility to be taken on a credit basis," he said.

Minister Made said there was no point in keeping stocks of seeds and fertilisers when planting time is advancing "so that is why we are allo-wing farmers with vouchers to get inputs on credit and plant."

Farmers have always been complaining of high input costs and calli-ng for the Government to subsidise all inputs.

"There is nowhere in the world where farmers are self-finan- cing.

"Some farmers are being supported by their children while others are failing to get support from banks," Minister Made complained.

He said the situation could have been better for farmers had the Minister of Finance been supporting the agricultural sector.

"As the Minister of Agriculture, I am not satisfied with the way the industry is being treated.

"There is no support for the land reform programme and Minister of Finance is neglecting agriculture because his masters do not support the land reform programme," he said.

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Credit facility for poor farmers
Friday, 24 December 2010 11:41
Agriculture Reporter

GOVERNMENT has allowed poor farmers qualifying for the US$30 million agriculture input scheme to access the inputs under a credit facility.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made yesterday said with immediate effect, farmers with input vouchers could now access seed and fertiliser from Grain Marketing Board depots on credit.

The scheme is set to benefit 400 000 underprivileged families while dono-rs are supporting 560 000 families.

President Mugabe has also laun-ched a US$33 million Presidential-Well Wishers Agricultural Scheme set to benefit over 597 000 households.

Minister Made said the decision to supply inputs to farmers on credit was taken to cushion growers who were failing to access the inputs that were being sold on cash basis.

"With immediate effect, farmers can now get inputs on credit and pay with grain at the end of the season," he said.

Previously, farmers had to pay ca-sh for subsidised inputs, but most of them were failing to buy seed and fertiliser due to cash problems.

Minister Made said farmers with vouchers should approach their nea-rest GMB depots to register for the inputs.

The minister said it was disturbing to note that many farmers were fail-ing to access the subsidised inputs despite the fact that they had been brought nearer to them.

"Farmers do not have cash to buy seeds and fertilisers and some are failing to raise US$30 per household for input procurement.

"The Ministry of Finance should have allowed the facility to be taken on a credit basis," he said.

Minister Made said there was no point in keeping stocks of seeds and fertilisers when planting time is advancing "so that is why we are allo-wing farmers with vouchers to get inputs on credit and plant."

Farmers have always been complaining of high input costs and calli-ng for the Government to subsidise all inputs.

"There is nowhere in the world where farmers are self-finan- cing.

"Some farmers are being supported by their children while others are failing to get support from banks," Minister Made complained.

He said the situation could have been better for farmers had the Minister of Finance been supporting the agricultural sector.

"As the Minister of Agriculture, I am not satisfied with the way the industry is being treated.

"There is no support for the land reform programme and Minister of Finance is neglecting agriculture because his masters do not support the land reform programme," he said.

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Hope in the midst of darkness

Hope in the midst of darkness
By The Post
Sat 25 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THIS is Christmas – the historical event and the mystery of love, which for more than 2000 years has spoken to men and women of every era and every place.

It is the holy day in which the great light of Christ shines forth, bearing peace. Certainly, if we are to recognise it, if we are to receive it, faith is needed and humility is needed.

The humility of men, who believed in the word of the Lord and, bending low over the manger, was the first to adore the fruit of Mary’s womb; the humility of Joseph, the just man, who had the courage of faith and preferred to obey God rather than protect his own reputation; the humility of the shepherds, the poor and anonymous shepherds, who received the proclamation of the heavenly messenger and hastened towards the stable, where they found the newborn child and worshiped him, full of astonishment, praising God (Luke 2:15-20).

The little ones, the poor in spirit: they are the key figures of Christmas, in the past and in the present; they have always been the key figures of God’s history, the indefatigable builders of his kingdom, justice, love and peace.

In the silence of that night in Bethlehem, Jesus was born and lovingly welcomed.

And now, on Christmas Day, when the joyful news of his saving birth continues to resound, who is ready to open the doors of his heart to the holy child?

Men and women of this modern age, Christ comes also to us, bringing his light; he comes also to us, granting peace.

But who is watching, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a vigilant, praying heart?

Who is waiting for the dawn of the new day, keeping alight the flame of faith? Who has the time to listen to his word and to become enfolded and entranced by his love? Yes, his message of peace is for everyone; he comes to offer himself to all people as a sure hope for salvation.

Finally, may the light of Christ, which comes to enlighten every human being, shine forth and bring consolation to those who live in the darkness of poverty and injustice; to those who are still denied their legitimate aspirations for a more secure existence, for health, education, stable employment, for fuller participation in civil and political responsibilities, free from repression and protected from conditions that offend against human dignity.

It is the most vulnerable members of society – women, children, the elderly – who are so often the victims of violence of every kind which inflicts such terrible sufferings on our entire population.

On this day of peace, our thoughts turn to those who are marginalised; who are afflicted in all sorts of ways.

May the child Jesus bring relief to those who are suffering and may he bestow upon our political leaders the wisdom and courage to seek and find humane, just, fair and lasting solutions to our many problems and challenges; to the thirst for meaning and value so characteristic of today’s world; may he bestow upon them the wisdom and courage to search for prosperity and peace that marks the lives of all mankind.

To the hopelessness of the poor, Christ – true God and true Man – responds with his Nativity. Neither individuals nor nations should be afraid to recognise and welcome him: with him ‘a shining light’ brightens the horizon of humanity; in him; ‘a holy day’ dawns that knows no sunset. May this Christmas truly be for all our people a day of joy, hope and peace. “Come you nations and adore the Lord.”

With Mary, Joseph and the shepherds, with the Magi and the countless host of humble worshipers of the newborn child, who down the centuries have welcomed the mystery of Christmas, let us too allow the light of this day to spread everywhere in our country.

May it enter our hearts, may it brighten and warm our homes, may it bring serenity and hope to our cities, towns, compounds and villages. This is our earnest wish for you our readers.

A wish that grows into a humble and trustful prayer to the child Jesus, that his light would dispel all darkness from your lives and fill you with love and peace.

May the Lord, who has made his merciful face shine in Christ, fill you with his happiness and make you messengers of his goodness. A holy day has dawned upon us.

A day of great hope: today the saviour of mankind is born. Today a great light has come upon the earth. The birth of a child normally brings a light of hope to those who are waiting anxiously.

When Jesus was born in the stable at Bethlehem, a great light appeared on earth; a great hope entered the hearts of those who awaited him.

Admittedly, it was not ‘great’ in the manner of this world, because the first to see it were only Mary, Joseph and some shepherds, then the Magi, the old man Simeon, the prophetess Anna: those whom God had chosen.

Yet, in the shadows and silence of that holy night, a great and inextinguishable light shone forth for every man; the great hope that brings happiness entered into the world: “the word was made flesh and we saw his glory” (John 1:14).

“God is light”, says St John, “and in him is no darkness at all” (1John 1:5). In the book of Genesis, we read that when the universe was created, “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

“God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:2-3). The creative word of God is light, the source of life. All things were made through the light, not one thing had its being but through him (John 1:3). That is why all creatures are fundamentally good and bear within themselves the stamp of God, a spark of his light.

Nevertheless, when Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, the Light himself came into the world: in the words of the Creed, “God from God, Light from Light”.

In Jesus, God assumed what he was not, while remaining what he was: “omnipotence entered an infant’s body and did not cease to govern the universe”.

The creator of man became man in order to bring peace to the world. For this reason, during Christmas night, the hosts of angels sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those whom he loves” (Luke 2:14).

Christ comes to bring his light and hope to those surrounded by darkness (2 Corrithians 4:6). So it is in our world of darkness, Christ was born in Bethlehem, the light of the world and the hope of the nations.

Whoever you are, wherever you are in the world, when darkness surrounds you – the darkness of violence, the darkness of hunger and poverty, the darkness of disease, the darkness of injustice and repression, the darkness of loneliness and alienation – the message of Christmas is that the light shines out in darkness and into our hearts and brings us the real peace. May this light shine on you this Christmas.



Tribalism divides MMD in E/Province

Tribalism divides MMD in E/Province
By George Chellah
Sat 25 Dec. 2010, 04:02 CAT

STATE House has been linked to tribal campaigns ahead of the MMD Eastern province conference early next year.

Well-placed sources within the MMD provincial executive committee disclosed that the campaigns for the provincial chairmanship between incumbent Kennedy Zulu and Chilufya Chishala were seriously dividing the party.

“There is a big problem here and this problem can be largely blamed on State House and the President in particular. When we told our leaders in Lusaka last time that Kennedy is not wanted here they thought we were joking but as we draw near the provincial conference the picture of what will happen is getting clearer,” the sources said.

“It has turned out that despite attempts by State House to force Kennedy on the membership in the province, people don’t want him. Chishala is the preferred person for the chairmanship. We told the President last time that if he insists on Kennedy he will split the party and this is what is happening right now.”

The sources said it was regrettable that some senior MMD officials want Chishala not to be elected as provincial chairperson on account of his ethnicity.

“So far we know two ministers who are also senior officials that have been campaigning on tribal line. They are telling people that Chishala should not be allowed to scoop the provincial chairmanship because he is not from Eastern Province. This is embarrassing for the party and the country. Why are people making Chishala’s candidature an issue when it has happened in Eastern Province before when we had Potipher Chungu as MMD chairperson?” asked the source.

“The sad part is even State House seems to have endorsed or embraced that ancient line of thought. We know that State House issued instructions through the provincial administration to order the district commissioners in all districts and the message was ‘sitifuna muntu wamutundu’. How can we allow such politics for Christ’s sake? Where is leadership here?”

The sources said about seven districts with an exception of Chipata were backing Chishala’s candidature.

“Everybody knows that Kennedy is the President’s blue eyed boy. The party members are saying we would rather have our mbuya tribal cousin as chairman than Kennedy,” the source said.

The source disclosed that defence minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa traveled to Eastern Province on Thursday to access the situation.

“Dr Mwansa has been sent on a fact finding mission. He is here to find out on who is the suitable candidate for the chairmanship in Eastern Province,” the source said.

“We are told Dr Mwansa intends to meet all district and provincial executive committee officials in Chipata. We are told the President sent him. We will meet him and tell him the truth.”

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Girasoli calls for more effort in poverty reduction

Girasoli calls for more effort in poverty reduction
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 25 Dec. 2010, 04:01 CAT

IT is unfortunate that the gap between the rich and the poor is noticed more during great feasts like Christmas, says the Vatican envoy. In his Christmas message, Vatican Ambassador to Zambia Nicola Girasoli said more concrete steps and actions needed to be taken in order to reduce the gap between the poor and rich people.

Archbishop Girasoli said this was so considering the favourable economic trends that had benefited Zambia this year and the consistent GDP growth the country had achieved.

“Especially during the great feasts like Christmas we notice more how this gap is becoming even larger. A serious commitment is required to create new and long-term jobs. In fact the happiness of the successful economic growth of Zambia, it seems that does not really benefit and touch all levels of Zambian society,” he said.

He said development should benefit all citizens.

Archbishop Girasoli (left) said there was need to increase the labour force and have more people access an affordable credit system.

He said the public economic sector should always consider the benefit of all Zambians as the main priority for developing the country.

Archbishop Girasoli said the natural resources belonged to all Zambians and a stronger commitment should be put in place by public institutions so that the resources are used for the benefit of all.

“Most of the natural resources are not renewable so when they are taken they disappear forever. That is why natural resources should benefit all Zambian citizens and should be aimed at producing a durable impact for improving the socio-economic conditions of poor urban and rural areas,” he said.
Archbishop Girasoli urged people never to despair as Christmas should strengthen people’s hopes and expectations.

He said for those who were suffering, those without a stable income, the unemployed, the sick and those who had lost their jobs, it would be a Christmas full of worries for their future.

“But all Christians know that life is a passage under a tunnel; at the end there is always the light, the light of Christmas. During these holidays when families gather together to celebrate Christmas, we all shall encourage each other: The Child Jesus lets us know that the future for those who are now suffering will be radiant,” he said.

Archbishop Girasoli said Christmas should also be an occasion to balance what happened during this year in people’s lives and in society.

He said Christmas was the feast of the poor, because God had chosen to be born as a poor.
He said only unity and peace could assure a sustainable development which could benefit the poor and the marginalised classes of society.

“Let us work together in proclaiming One Zambia, One Nation. While the country is preparing for the general election next year let us pray that different political views and the legitimate aspirations of all those involved in the political arena will be presented and defended in a peaceful way,” said Archbishop Girasoli.

Archbishop Girasoli said religion should keep the role of a unifying pillar of society particularly during the coming elections.

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Fixing Mahtani amounts to witchcraft - Shakas

COMMENT - Hmmm... Something tells me there is a defection in the works. Not that I disagree with anything that is said, of course.

Fixing Mahtani amounts to witchcraft - Shakas
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sat 25 Dec. 2010, 04:01 CAT

MANOEUVRES to fix Dr Rajan Mahtani through the BoZ takeover of Finance Bank amounts to witchcraft, says Jonas Shakafuswa. And Shakafuswa has charged that it was wrong for the government to take over Finance Bank simply because of suspicions that its former board chairman Dr Mahtani is suspected to be a financier of the Patriotic Front.

Shakafuswa, who is also Katuba MMD member of parliament and former deputy Minister of Finance, condemned what he termed as manoeuvres by the government to fix Dr Mahtani through the BoZ.

“This is very unfortunate and very wrong for this country and if somebody is dancing, then I think ni muloshi ‘a witch’ and we don’t need such kind of a person in this country and the time will come when we will speak loud through the vote,” Shakafuswa said.

He said Finance Bank should not be killed simply because of suspicions that its former board chairman Dr Rajan Mahtani was suspected to have been one of the key financiers to the Patriotic Front.

“This is not a one party state. If Mahtani was funding Michael Sata…anyone even if they want to fund anyone, they have the right to do so,” he said.

He said the Zambian would have the last laugh next year.

“I want to tell the Zambians that if that thing government’s takeover of Finance Bank is out of malice, they shouldn’t be scared because people doing that, their days are numbered,” he warned.

“Because you can’t kill a bank like Finance Bank…where are you going to take all those employees? Where are you going to take their children? Is BoZ going to employ them? The Bank of Zambia should have come up with the solution than rush into running down a very solid bank like Finance Bank.”

And Shakafuswa has said money laundering offence has become laughable due to the selective nature with which Drug Enforcement Commission was applying the law.

“We are told of ministers with over US $600,000 in their accounts, then you go for someone who is got US $100,000 in an account,” said Shakafuswa.

“This is our country and DEC doesn’t belong to a few individuals. It is an institution which belongs to the people of Zambia. The Zambia Police doesn’t belong to a few guys, it belongs to the people of Zambia.”

He was commenting on the recent interrogation of PF chairman of elections Geoffrey Mwamba and party president Michael Sata over US$100,000.

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Milupi calls on govt to invest in youths

Milupi calls on govt to invest in youths
By Sututu Katundu
Sat 25 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

INVESTING in the youth is critical to the development of the country, says opposition ADD president Charles Milupi.

Featuring on ZNBC’s Frank Talk programme, Milupi said every government had the responsibility to ensure that the youth were adequately prepared for future endeavours.

“When we talk about youths being the ones who are going to ensure the perpetration of the state, we are not just talking about presidents, ministers, teachers. It is all levels of society, that is the bricklayers, plumbers, doctors and others, and leaders need to ensure that all levels in society are adequately prepared to live for tomorrow,” he said.

He said nations like China had advanced rapidly because they invested in quality education with the same approach having been taken in the Koreans who were creating their own products.

He said in Zambia disparities had been created at every level between the poor and the rich, high density to low density, rural and urban areas.

He described as scandalous how issues of poverty were being addressed.

Milupi said lack of education and knowledge had led to the abuse of public resources; hence the need to retain the civil service to professionals.

He said appointing party cadres into the civil service frustrated professionals and disturbed their working culture.

And commenting on the mining sector, Milupi said it was not contributing sufficiently to the national treasury.

He said the figures and percentages being talked about did not reflect the true picture.

Milupi said late president Levy Mwanawasa recognised the huge resource at the country’s disposal and brought in laws basically to increase mineral royalty and windfall tax in addition to corporate tax to ensure the nation benefited from the mining sector.

He said Zambia would have gained US$600 million, about K3 trillion, if the law had still been in place.

Milupi said despite the strides that were being talked about, the majority of Zambians could only afford one meal a day and were unable to send their children to school.

He bemoaned the state of infrastructure in the country and noted with concern the high interest rates at the banks that discouraged people from borrowing to expand their businesses and contribute to the economy.

Milupi said the government had a responsibility to address issues that would reduce the suffering of the people.

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Harrington calls for indaba on Barotseland Agreement

Harrington calls for indaba on Barotseland Agreement
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 25 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

WILLIAM Harrington has called for an indaba to immediately resolve issues surrounding the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. Harrington, a former Senanga MMD parliamentarian, proposed that key stakeholders such as Dr Kenneth Kaunda should attend the meeting.

“As a son of the soil of Barotseland, I warmly welcome in principle the gesture made by the Patriotic Front through its spokesperson Mr Given Lubinda that the party will host an indaba on the Barotseland Agreement 1964 as a matter of priority after it wins the 2011 presidential and general elections. I, however, strongly feel that such an indaba should be organised now and not later in the year 2011 as is being suggested by the Patriotic Front,” Harrington said.

“In this regard, the current government should, in fact, take the progressive initiative to organise an indaba confined to the stakeholders namely government, the Litunga of Barotseland, his council and concerned organisations from the area, as well as the British government. Dr Kenneth D. Kaunda, who appended his signature to the document as Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia at the time, would be a useful resource person at the indaba.”

Harrington contended that the timing of the indaba was vital and in line with the provisions of section 2 of the Agreement.

He said now was the right time because the proposed Republican constitution had not yet been adopted by Parliament.

“The simple reason for this is because section 2 of the Barotseland Agreement under the title ‘Constitution of Zambia’ clearly states and I quote, ‘The Constitution of the Republic of Zambia shall include the provisions agreed upon for inclusion therein at the Constitutional Conference held in London in May 1964 relating to, a) the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals b) the judiciary, and c) the public service,” said Harrington.

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US Embassy refutes Times story on Sata

US Embassy refutes Times story on Sata
By Maluba Jere
Sat 25 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE US Embassy in Zambia has distanced itself from a Times of Zambia story where the American Intelligence is quoted as having said Michael Sata is too weak for President Rupiah Banda.

The US Embassy’s comments come in the wake of a story where the American Intelligence sources allegedly disputed the Economist Intelligence Unit latest report on a tight race between President Banda and Sata in next year’s elections.

In a press statement released on Thursday, US embassy public affairs officer Priscilla Hernandez said her government had no preference for any candidate for any elected position.

Hernandez said the embassy was aware of the story published in the Times of Zambia based on opinions expressed by unidentified sources that were not verified by the embassy.

She said the US government respected the sovereign right of the Zambian people to conduct free and fair elections.

“We work with the Electoral Commission of Zambia and all political parties to promote a credible election process that is free of violence and reflects the will of the Zambian people,” she said. “Further, we expect the candidates to respect the outcomes of that process.”

Hernandez urged the media to maintain high professional standards of news reporting by diligently confirming the veracity of their sources in a responsible manner consistent with international standards.

She said for journalists to do otherwise would be contrary to democratic principles, saying that undermined efforts aimed at solving shared problems on the basis of mutual respect and responsibility.

“The United States stands steadfast with the Zambian people who deserve credible news sources for information on national and international matters,” said Hernandez.

According to the story in the Times of Zambia, the American Intelligence sources said the Economic Intelligence Unit concentrated on European interests and their view of developments in Zambia.
The sources said the UPND and the PF pact had become too fragile to mount a serious challenge to the MMD. The sources said there were more donors not represented by the Economic Intelligence Unit who were more interested in maintaining the status quo because President Banda’s character gave more assurance for world security.

It alleged that the American Intelligence sources made the remarks following a story published in The Post where the Economic Intelligence Unit report stated that Zambia’s 2011 elections were likely to be closely contested between President Banda and Sata.

The report’s outlook for 2011-2012 indicated that President Banda and the ruling party would remain in power until the next presidential and parliamentary elections in 2011.

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Violence is William’s trademark - Kazabu

Violence is William’s trademark - Kazabu
By Florence Bupe
Sat 25 Dec. 2010, 03:58 CAT

LUXON Kazabu says political violence will continue for as long as the government insists on working with people like Lusaka Province chairperson William Banda. In an interview, Kazabu, a former Kitwe mayor, said the country’s democracy had regressed because of leaders who had dictatorial tendencies.

“This year, we have seen an ugly development in the form of political violence and this is unfortunate because we are supposed to be a civilised society. But what do you expect when you have people like William Banda whose trademark is violence?” Kazabu said.

He said the country had been drawn back to the governing systems of the one-party state, in which opposing views were not tolerated.

“That kind of behaviour is unacceptable in this day and age. Democracy will only thrive with divergent input, but how can we achieve this when others are being slaughtered?” he asked.
Kazabu said there was need for the political leadership to change its approach if the country’s democracy was to thrive.

And Kazabu said the year 2010 had been disappointing for most Zambians because of various negative developments in the country’s governance.

He said the constitution-making process failed to meet the aspirations of the majority of Zambians.
“The expectations and aspirations of the people have once again been frustrated and betrayed. For instance, critical provisions such as the 50 per cent plus one clause have been left out,” Kazabu said.

“This implies that after next year’s elections, we will still go back to questioning the legitimacy of a president elected by minority votes.”

Kazabu also said the judiciary had proved that it practised double standards in the dispensation of its duties.

“We are still grappling with the shock of the Mufumbwe judgment. There are other similar cases that have been dragging on,” Kazabu said. “Government is managing this country like Animal Farm, where some animals are more equal than others.”

Kazabu also urged Zambians to continue mounting pressure on the government to reintroduce the windfall tax as a way of increasing revenue which could be used to develop infrastructure across the country.

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(ZIMPAPERS) Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana

Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana
Friday, 24 December 2010 19:51
Herald Reporter

Government will soon set up a commission of inquiry to investigate any constitutional violation arising from Wikileaks reports, Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana has said.

The United States recently added Mr Tomana’s name on the list of people on sanctions but the AG described the listing as an attack on the AG’s Office and nothing against his persona.

The whistle-blower website has over the past weeks released cables with US classified information on Zimbabwe quoting several Zimbabweans who could have undermined the country’s security.

The documents have also revealed the United States and Britain’s concerted efforts to undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty, subvert the gains of the liberation struggle while trying, though in vain, to effect their regime change agenda.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Mr Tomana said a team of five law experts would soon establish whether there was any constitutional infringement in the WikiLeaks reports.

Government, Mr Tomana said, would take action guided by the findings of that team.

“The issue to do with WikiLeaks attracts a conclusion that we have a serious subversion of the law and constitutional protection of the people of Zimbabwe they are entitled to.

“The WikiLeaks appear to show a treasonous collusion between local Zimbabweans and the aggressive international world, particularly the United States.

“It has become incumbent upon me that I should take a formal position after the events of Tuesday that the Constitution of Zimbabwe is under attack after America imposed sanctions on the Office of the Attorney-General.

“Those sanctions are not affecting the person of Johannes Tomana but the office of the AG.

“With immediate effect, I am going to instruct a team of practising lawyers to look into the issues that arise from the Wikileaks.

“They are going to make recommendations and I will give them a time frame. I want to assure the nation that action will be taken,” he said.

Mr Tomana said prosecution of culprits — if any — would follow real damage that could be established.

He said the illegal Western sanctions were not targeted on individuals as purported by the Western Press.

“The people on sanctions do not go out there to do their personal business, so I don’t take it personally but it is the office of the people that is under attack.

“Furthermore, our constitutional capacity to defend ourselves has been weakened and this shows that the Constitution is under serious attack,” he said.

In one of the cables former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell appeared to confirm that his government was working with the MDC-T to effect illegal regime change.

He, however, lamented the failed efforts, saying the West was working with a “weak” and “inept” leadership in the MDC-T.

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai calls for more sanctions on Zimbabwe, according to the WikiLeaks, as a way to effect regime change.

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(LA TIMES) White couple, black man battle for claim to South Africa farm

White couple, black man battle for claim to South Africa farm

Their colliding dreams reflect the challenge the government faces in restoring land to blacks without driving whites off productive farms and destroying the country's economy.

Ed Meyer and four other white farmers in Middelburg, South Africa, are fighting to keep land that a black gardener says his ancestors occupied first. The government is trying to right past injustices without wrecking the economy. (Scott Kraft / Los Angeles Times)
By Scott Kraft
December 19, 2008

Reporting from Middelburg, South Africa — Like so many corporate executives, Ed Meyer dreamed of retiring to the countryside. And so, seven years ago, he and his wife, Sally, left Cape Town to settle on the 3,500-acre ranch that had been in Ed's family since 1916.

It's not hard to see what fueled the dream. Their Cape Dutch-style farmhouse, all curved gables and whitewashed walls, is perched on rust-colored savanna, dusted with the scent of 50 species of blooming aloe. The view from their lawn is an oil painting of gentle hills, puffy clouds and long shadows.

"This is such a beautiful, tranquil valley," Ed says, digging into a lunch of kudu pie, hot from Sally's oven. The kudu was a gift; the antelope "was encroaching on our neighbor's fruit trees."

But their peaceful retirement was interrupted a little over a year ago when Andries Mahlungu, a gardener in nearby Marble Hall, said the farm belonged to him. In a formal claim with the government, he contended that his ancestors were there first.

Now the white couple and the black man are locked in a battle over the farm -- and, in a sense, over the past and future of South Africa.

The legal pillars of white minority rule came tumbling down with South Africa's first democratic elections almost 15 years ago, and the oldest of those laws was the Natives Land Act, which had severely restricted black land ownership since 1913.

The challenge that the new black-majority government faced was how to restore land to blacks, in a legal and orderly way, without creating a panic that would drive whites off productive farms and destroy the country's economy -- a scenario that was soon to strangle neighboring Zimbabwe.

The solution the government came up with was to create a Commission on Restitution of Land Rights to adjudicate land claims and, when valid, compensate the current owners. So far, the commission has settled about 75,000 of 80,000 claims, returning hundreds of thousands of acres to blacks and paying white farmers market rates that have totaled more than $2 billion.

With the deadline for filing claims now past, the government has pledged to settle the 5,000 outstanding claims in the next two years. But the commission is running short of money, and many of the remaining claims, like Mahlungu's against the Meyers' property, are being hotly contested.

All across post-colonial Africa, governments have struggled to correct past injustices, with mixed results. In Zimbabwe, violent land seizures have driven away white farmers and sent the economy into a tailspin of mind-boggling inflation and catastrophic food shortages.

[Which resulted from economic sanctions, not land reform. Zimbabwe was massively retaliated against because of it's effective land reform program. - MrK]

The South African government vowed to carefully investigate land claims and provide fair compensation to white farmers. Many of the country's 40,000 white farmers willingly sold their property.

Even so, the effect on the country's agricultural economy has not been overwhelmingly positive. Whereas the global trend is toward larger, more commercially successful farms,

[Actually it is toward smaller more efficient farms. For instance, in the EU, the average size of a farm is 90 hectares, while South Africa's feudal system it is 1350 hectares. - MrK]

South Africa is breaking many of its large farms into smaller, less economically efficient pieces to meet the claims of new black farmers.

Partly as a result, South Africa in the last year has gone from a net exporter of food to a net importer. And, in another worrying trend, some of the whites who sold their farms have been recruited by other African countries, where their skills are much in demand. Now once-impoverished countries such as Mozambique are becoming more self-sufficient -- and taking a share of South Africa's export market.

[Not because of the presence of white farmers, however much they would like to boast of that. - MrK]

Piet Kemp is the regional manager for the Transvaal Agricultural Union, which represents mostly white farmers in the province that includes the Meyer farm. He is skeptical of many of the land claims.

"You have a family that has farmed for 150 years and then you have a guy who worked on the farm for 12 or 15 years suddenly making a claim," he says. "It's not right. But in the end, many farmers don't want to fight, so they sell."

[How puzzling that in Africa, most of the land once belonged to Africans. Which says everything you need to know about the historic revisionism that is the bread and butter of former these folk. - MrK]

In some cases, whites have sold their farms without a fight because a neighboring property was divided into small pieces for multiple black owners; Kemp says the whites felt it would be too difficult to run their farm "next to a squatter camp." In other cases, farmers have agreed to sell but the government has been slow to finalize the purchase.

"Much of the farming has come to a complete stop," Kemp says. "In the end, we'll be the same as Zimbabwe."

[Oh I hope so. - MrK]

Molefe Pulane, a spokeswoman for the national land claims office, acknowledges that the process is slow, hobbled in part by a corruption scandal at the Land Bank, which provides money for the purchases. "It's not going well," she says. "There are some problems, and we're addressing them."

But the land rights commission maintains that the country's redistribution of land is playing an important role in alleviating poverty and allowing the black majority, who outnumber whites 8 to 1, to fully participate in the country's economy.

"Everyone has got an obligation to ensure that there is restorative justice for those who suffered the loss of their rights to land in the country of their birth," the commission said in a recent statement. "It cannot be business as usual until all the victims are compensated for their loss."

But as the Meyer case illustrates, it hasn't always gone smoothly.

The Meyers' land makes up just over half of a 6,000-acre ranch known as Welverdiend, a name that means "well earned" in Afrikaans. The other half is divided among four other white owners, who are also fighting to keep the land. Mahlungu contends that his ancestors grazed their cattle on the entire farm.

Ed Meyer's grandfather, the son of a Lutheran missionary from Germany, bought his parcel from a white Afrikaner family nearly a century ago. At the time, World War I was just beginning and, as a German immigrant in a British-controlled country, Meyer's grandfather figured the remote ranch -- in those days a three-day journey from Johannesburg -- would keep him and his family safely out of the government's sight.

Meyer's father built a cottage on the land in 1944 and later retired here. When his father died in 1998, Ed was running a company headquartered in Cape Town. In 2001, with their children grown, Ed and Sally retired to the farm, where Ed, now 67, runs 700 head of cattle.

"We wanted to spend our so-called golden years here," says Ed, a genial man with a shock of thick gray hair and a face burned brown by the sun. "I must say it's been a lot of fun."

But the Meyers' life suddenly was turned upside down when they learned that Mahlungu, a 59-year-old father of five who earns about $550 a month working as a gardener, had filed a claim on the land.

Mahlungu's grandfather and father had been employed as workers on Welverdiend, from 1938 to 1955, and Mahlungu had lived there as a youngster. Mahlungu contends that his ancestors were grazing cattle on Welverdiend long before white Afrikaners made their trek here from the cape in the 1700s.

Mahlungu recalls his father saying that, generations before, the land had belonged to them. "My ancestors are buried there at Welverdiend," he says.

His claim illustrates the challenge the government faces in these cases. No records exist from that long ago, and the land claims office often has to make its determination based on such things as old gravestones and the oral history passed from generation to generation.

Darius Masanabo, a project officer for the regional land claims office, investigated Mahlungu's claim a few months ago, and based his conclusion primarily on headstones he found on the ranch.

"We inspected every part of that area," Masanabo says. "And the graves were there. The man who made the claim is a direct descendant of the original farmers of the land. It's a valid claim. The Mahlungu family was there before the Afrikaners came."

Masanabo says he's sympathetic to the Meyers' situation. "They don't remember Mr. Mahlungu, and they were not the people who first evicted Mr. Mahlungu's ancestors," Masanabo says. But, he adds flatly, "if they keep on saying the claim is not valid, [their land] will be expropriated."

The Meyers acknowledge that the old grave sites on the ranch include Africans as well as the original Afrikaner owners. But they contend that the dates on the graves, rubbed bare by the passage of time, are far from solid proof that whites drove blacks from this land.

In addition, they believe the land claims inspectors are predisposed to side with the claimants in such cases, flouting the protections for whites and other minorities that Nelson Mandela enshrined in the South African Constitution.

"This goes against everything Madiba has stood for," Sally Meyer says, using the honorary title of elders in Mandela's clan. "The constitution just becomes another wishful dream."

A few months ago, Mahlungu, joined by some of the 27 relatives who now are part of his claim, met with the Meyers and Masanabo, the land claims official, to discuss the dispute.

"These are difficult farm owners," Masanabo says of the Meyers. "They claim to understand but they don't. The Mahlungu family was there before the Afrikaners came. Some of the Afrikaners came to these farms with only a single cow. They milked the cows belonging to the blacks and drove them away."

An expensive court fight is now likely.

The Meyers say they're worried about the fate of the black ranch hands who live on the property if they're forced to sell.

"We're fortunate enough to have a home elsewhere that we could move into," Ed says. "But these farmworkers don't. We're fighting for ourselves, but also for the people who have shown us loyalty."

But Mahlungu says he would allow the Meyers as well as the ranch hands to remain.

"If these white farmers want to stay with us, and if they are prepared to be directed and live by the constitution of South Africa, they are free to stay," Mahlungu says.

But, he adds, "that is my family's farm. All we're doing now is waiting for the government to buy it back for us."

Coming Saturday: In struggling Kenya, one issue rests at the heart of the country's myriad woes: land.

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times

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(FAO) Land reform in post-apartheid South Africa: In transition?

Land reform in post-apartheid South Africa: In transition?

THE PROCESS OF AFRICAN land dispossession in South Africa had already been completed by the time the political dogma of apartheid was adopted in 1948. This included the appropriation of African land by the colonial settlers, the creation of the Bantu reserves and later bantustans on less than 13 percent of the land, and the forced removals into the already over-crowded bantustans especially between 1960 and 1980.

By the end of the 1980s, the apartheid government, realizing that its days were numbered, embarked on a programme of reform and co-optation of the African middle class into the market economy.

Even before apartheid was officially declared dead in February, 1990, post-apartheid policies had been made to ensure that political victory or loss would not be accompanied by economic loss. Land reform proposals were premised on myths to discredit communal land tenure and to promote freehold tenure.

The abolition of the 1913, 1936 and 1945 Land Acts was accompanied by the enactment of The Abolition of the Racially-Based Land Measures Act and The Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act, both of 1991. The former Act not only preserved freehold tenure but prescribed a market-based land reform process - Africans could buy land in former 'white' race-space. The latter Act extended freehold tenure to Africans on tribal communal land.

Constitution Act 200 of 1993 provided for restitution of land rights to the dispossessed. This was meant to enhance reconciliation. Property rights were guaranteed and a market-based land reform endorsed. Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act 3 of 1996 makes provision for labour tenants to purchase land. Thus, the apartheid government's mission was brought to conclusion.

The existence of Chieftaincy is provided for in the interim Constitution. However, the link between Chieftaincy and communal land tenure has been omitted. While all forms of tenure are recognized, the policy document on land reform emphasizes the upgrading of communal tenure.

The Green Paper on Land Reform was released in February, 1996 for public comment. The policies entailed herein have been implemented since 1991. An analysis of the policies and their implementation indicate that they do not address the demands of the potential beneficiaries, while they are vehemently opposed by the landowners.

The paper concludes that it is possible to have market-based land reform and achieve reconciliation by making the government the willing buyer of land for redistribution to the landless majority under tribal communal tenure.

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(IFP SA) Ndumo Communities Want Land, Not Music

Ndumo Communities Want Land, Not Music
18th December 2008

The IFP has dismissed today's high-profile visit of three MECs, complete with entertainers and music, to the troubled communities around Ndumo Game Reserve as an attempt to deflect attention from the provincial government's equal failure in redistributing land and conserving the environment.

MECs Mike Mabuyakhulu (Local Governerment), Bheki Cele (Transport) and Mtholephi Mthimkhulu (Agriculture) are visiting Maputaland amid the boiling discontent of the local Mbangweni and Bhekabantu communities with the pace of land reform as well as the deteriorating state of the Ndumo Game Reserve.

"The troubled communities around Ndumo Game Reserve want land. Instead, they are getting music and vague promises of future development from the politicians who failed them in the first place," said IFP Umkhanyakude District Chairperson Alfred Mpontshane.

In particular, the IFP is questioning the rationale behind MEC Mabuyakhulu's participation in the government task team which deliberately excludes representatives of IFP-run local government.

"MEC Mabuyakhulu has a proven record of promoting local development without involving stakeholders from the local government if these happen to be affiliated to political parties other than the ANC," said Mpontshane.

The IFP maintains that since it took power in 2004 the ANC-led provincial government has failed to find a balance between land reform and environmental conservation.

"Through endless procrastination and a lack of direction, the government has simultaneously managed to further impoverish aspiring farmers as well as degrade the environment," said Mpontshane.

The only way out of the mess the ANC knows, the IFP contends, is to try and deflect the public attention from the crisis.

"As usual, the MECs are rushing to a disgruntled community with a band of musicians to wage an election campaign at the taxpayers' expense," said Mpontshane.

Alfred Mpontshane
083 441 6201

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Friday, December 24, 2010

(GETAWAY SA) Ndumo signals red alert for conservation

Ndumo signals red alert for conservation
Author: Alison Westwood
Date: 01 October 08

Ndumo's fence is still down, presenting a nightmare for anti-poaching teams trying to protect its hippos, rhinos and antelope. Many South Africans have never even heard of Ndumo Game Reserve. Yet it is now the focus of a dispute that could make or break the future of conservation in South Africa.

Ndumo is a small game reserve of around 10 000 hectares on the Mozambican border in Maputaland. Proclaimed in 1924 for the protection of hippos, it is now recognised as a site of international importance by the Ramsar treaty for conservation of wetlands. It's famous for having the highest bird count of any park in South Africa and protects the last intact strip of the Pongola River. The park is pivotal to the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area straddling South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.

But Ndumo also has some of the only fertile agricultural land in the area - the Pongola floodplains. A land claim lodged for 1 200 hectares of the reserve was settled in 2000. Like most land claims in protected areas, it restored ownership without occupation. In June 2008, members of the Mbangweni and Bhekabantu clans, who live in the corridor between Ndumo and Thembe Elephant Park, tore down the entire eastern fence and entered Ndumo. They wanted the land for farming.

Although KwaZulu-Natal MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs Mtholephi Mthimkhulu condemned the land invasion, he said something had to be done for the people. 'They can't use the land which they are living on now for agricultural purposes - and the arable land is in the reserve.'

Mthimkhulu also said the communities' situation was 'a manifestation of many years of colonialism'. His decision: to rezone 20 hectares of the park for 'controlled agricultural activity'. Environmentalists believe this is a short-term solution that may spell doom for Ndumo and perhaps for other parks in South Africa. 'If you start giving away protected areas, it could start a landslide,' says Di Dold, environmental coordinator for the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa in KZN.

Paul Dutton, an environmental consultant who was officer in charge of Ndumo from 1965 to 1972, agrees. 'Those 20 hectares could be the thin end of the wedge. They can't support that many people in the long term and the government will be held to ransom. You can compare it to Dukuduku,' he said. The rare indigenous forest near St Lucia was damaged beyond recovery over the course of 20 years when it was occupied by subsistence farmers. 'Giving this small area of flood plain to this community will not solve their food supply problem,' says Garnet Jackson, who was officer in charge at Ndumo from 1980 to 1988. 'It will lead to people killing and being killed by hippos and crocodiles. It will make Ndumo impossible to manage as a reserve and encourage other communities around Ndumo and other reserves to act in the same way.' It'll also threaten the new Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area, and the benefits it could bring the communities. The claimants have rejected the offer of 20 hectares, hoping for a better solution to their poverty; some still want the whole reserve for their crops.

Tim Condon, who launched an international Zululand Wildlife e-Forum, wants to raise awareness of the threat being posed by land claims to Ndumo and other Zululand parks. 'The huge problem is getting people to understand conservation and why there should be game reserves.'

According to Dr Japhet Ngubane, who worked in Maputaland and studied co-management of parks, this is because of the way land reform has been applied in conservation areas. 'The model we are currently using does not get the full benefit and full ownership of the land to the people,' he says. 'Ndumo will be a hotspot until we hand it over to the people and make sure they have the capacity to manage it.'

Ken Tinley, who worked as a ranger at Ndumo with conservation veteran Dr Ian Player, believes a working model already exists at Phinda Private Game Reserve 150 kilometres south of Ndumo, where community equity, income generation, education and health care are primary concerns.

However, it seems doubtful an appropriate model will be adopted at Ndumo. 'I don't think there's the political will,' says Ngubane.

Whether the communities living in the Mbangweni corridor can claim ownership of Ndumo is another question. Paul Dutton says he has photographic evidence that the Mbangweni corridor was unoccupied until it became an elephant-free zone in the late 1970s and Mozambican refugees were allowed to occupy it. 'They certainly do not represent the communities that were moved out of Ndumo Game Reserve,' says Dutton. In fact, if the mega-reserve planned for the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area goes ahead, the communities may have to move out of the corridor so the parks can amalgamate.

For a small park, Ndumo is highlighting a lot of big issues in conservation. 'We don't have enough conservation areas in South Africa and the pressure on wildlife is only going to increase with the population,' says Janet Cuthbertson, a coordinator of the Zululand Wildlife e-Forum. Ndumo shows that unless we help people achieve food security and change the way we involve them in conservation, they will forever see game reserves as empty land they could use.

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(THE STAR SA) Israel bombed Syria nuclear reactor: cable

Israel bombed Syria nuclear reactor: cable
December 24 2010 at 08:21pm

The homepage of with a picture of its founder Julian Assange is seen on a computer screen. Israel destroyed a secret Syrian nuclear reactor in September 2007, according to a US diplomatic cable cited Friday in the Israeli Yediot Ahronoth daily.

The cable, which the Israeli paper said it had obtained ahead of its publication by WikiLeaks, was written on April 25, 2008, by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and stated that “on September 6 2007, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor built by Syria secretly, apparently with North Korea's help.”

Yediot said the cable provided the first official confirmation of the attack.

Syria has always denied that the structure allegedly targeted by Israel was a nuclear reactor and Israel has never officially admitted that it carried out the raid.

“The Israeli mission was successful - the reactor was destroyed without an option of rehabilitation. Syria completed the site's evacuation, got rid of the evidence of what existed in the area and set up a new building on the site,” Rice wrote to US diplomats.

“We believe, based on solid evidence, that North Korea helped Syria build the reactor - and we have decided that it's time to share more information on this matter with you,” the cable went on to say.

According to Rice, intelligence information handed over by Israel, and also collected “through our sources and methods,” led to the conclusion that “the reactor was not built for peaceful purposes.” -


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PS links youth vulnerability to economic factors

COMMENT - Of course there was a time without elimination exams and universal education, when there were no children hanging around on the street - because they were in school. Another neoliberal economic decision.

PS links youth vulnerability to economic factors
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:01 CAT

THE prevailing economic situation, coupled with the high incidence of HIV/AIDS is pushing the majority of young people into the state of vulnerability. This is according to sport youth and child development permanent secretary Teddy Mulonga.

Mulonga made the remarks when he officiated at the graduation ceremony of the third intake of trainees who undertook the life skills training programme at Chiwoko Zambia National Service (ZNS) camp on Wednesday.

He said the government was committed to ensuring that young people were given the necessary support for them to grow into responsible adults capable of contributing to national development.

“…68 per cent of Zambia’s population are young persons below the age of 24. This is a category of our population that is expected to play a major role in the development of this country,” Mulonga said.

“We therefore need to invest in this category of our population who are the majority for future prosperity of our nation.”

He said the government had continued to support the skills training programmes so that more youths could be accorded the opportunity to acquire the necessary survival skills.

Mulonga said the problem of children and youths living on the streets did not affect the government alone, but all the people.

He said a workable solution should be found to address the problem.

“The problem of streetism is a time bomb, which if allowed to grow, can explode and have a telling effect on the security and economy of our country,” Mulonga said.

Mulonga said the ministry had worked out an exit strategy which would, among other things, ensure that the youths were united with their families.

And ZNS commandant representative Brig General Nathan Mulenga said the centre initially received 315 youths out of which number five deserted and two were discharged on disciplinary grounds.

Gen Mulenga urged the youths to work hard in order to survive in the world of competition.

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UNCTAD recommends increased mine taxes

COMMENT - " Over US$4 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) poured into mining since 2000 " and well over $10 billion flowed out as untaxed and unshared profits.

UNCTAD recommends increased mine taxes
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE huge amounts of foreign capital going into the mining sector will not help the Zambian economy but only accelerate exploitation of copper, says UNCTAD.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) head of macroeconomic and development branch Detlef Kotte said there was need for the government to find a way of tapping into the benefits from the current record-high copper prices.

“In Zambia, most of the FDI goes into copper mining and that’s fine,” Kotte said in an interview. “But that doesn’t help your economy in the long term; it just helps to exploit the copper resources faster. So you need some mechanism that transfers the benefits…the rents generated in the mining sector to other industries, to manufacturing, service sectors.”

Kotte said there was need to increase taxes from the mining sector in view of the current high metal prices of over US$9,200 per tonne.

He said Zambia’s tax revenues from the mining sector currently were expected to rise in tandem with current record-high copper prices which had surged as the London Metal Exchange Copper inventories continued to shrink.

Over US$4 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) poured into mining since 2000 and the vast copper mining sector contributes about 80 per cent of the foreign direct investments and about 9.7 per cent to the total national economic output.

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Musokotwane predicts 9% excess revenue

Musokotwane predicts 9% excess revenue
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:01 CAT

FINANCE minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane (right) says Zambia’s 2010 revenue collection will exceed the target by nine per cent due to increased tax collections from mining companies and domestic tax arrears. And Dr Musokotwane says the government plans to export the bulk of maize from the current bumper harvest to recover the money spent by the Treasury.

In a Letter of Intent to International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dr Musokotwane said domestic revenue had this year performed better than expected.

“This performance is attributed to higher collections under income and value added taxes arising from tax arrears and an increase in tax collections from mining companies,” Dr Musokotwane said.

He said following the maize output of over 2.8 million metric tonnes this year, the highest in more than 22 years, the government gave Food Reserve Agency (FRA) K1.3 trillion to buy the grain.

The expenditure which was not budgeted for, and accounted for about 1.7 per cent of the country’s economic growth is said to have put pressure on the national budget for 2010.

FRA intends to sell the bulk of the maize to deficit countries in the region in 2011 and thereafter, repay the government,” Dr Musokotwane said.

He said the government decided to increase its expenditure outside the plans for the fiscal year 2010 so as to prevent the grain from going to waste by “remaining unsheltered in the fields with the onset of the rainy season.”

Dr Musokotwane said the government would get K495 billion from the mine tax arrears to finance the purchases of the maize and borrow a further K402 billion from commercial banks via government securities.

Foreign mining companies in the country have agreed to pay K1.426 trillion in tax arrears arising from the 2008 mining tax regime as the signed 10-year mine stabilisation tax agreements.

Dr Musokotwane said Bank of Zambia was currently working out a way of mopping excess liquidity from the market so that the high fiscal expenditure on maize purchases does not fuel inflation.

The Bank of Zambia controls the country’s annual inflation, which currently is in single digit, by monitoring and controlling broad money supply in the market.

“The Bank of Zambia is committed to undertake sterilisation operations to ensure that its liquidity injection does not fuel inflation,” said Dr Musokotwane.

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Promote just deeds and structures

Promote just deeds and structures
By The Post
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

POLITICAL competitors don’t necessarily have to like each other, but they must tolerate one another and acknowledge that each side has a legitimate and important role to play. Moreover, our ground rules must encourage tolerance and civility in our political campaigns and public debate. We think this is the point Bishop William Mchombo of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia is reminding us when he says that “…belonging to different political parties or being of divergent views does not make us enemies of each other in any way”; and that there’s need for people to be more hospitable to one another than to show hostility.

And, of course, as Bishop Mchombo correctly observes, this does not mean that we should be passive when faced with situations that need decisive action. When a system ceases to promote the common good and favours special interests, we must not only denounce injustice but also break with the evil system. We must be prepared to work with another system that is more just, fair, humane and more suited to the needs of the day. The truth of the matter is that we have to earn our heaven here and now, we ourselves. We have to build our heaven, to fashion it during our lifetime, right now. Salvation is something to achieve, not just to hope for. Wrong things should not be accepted; they should be fought and changed. Absolute love cannot abandon man to constant suffering and total destitution. We must change whatever it is that prevents the humanisation of our fellow humans.

As we examine the structures and the reasons why they are so intolerable, as we expose the oppressive situation, we are forced to a decision: we either commit ourselves or we don’t – but we will have to answer to our consciences for our choice. The process of conscientisation leaves no one with arms folded. It makes some unfold their arms. It leaves others with a guilty feeling, because conscientisation shows that God wants us to act.

As we conscientise ourselves, we realise that our brothers and sisters who don’t eat, who don’t laugh, who don’t sing, who don’t love, who live oppressed, crushed and despised each day, are suffering all this because of some reality that is causing it. And at that point we join in the action historically by genuinely loving, by having the courage to commit ourselves. But these rationalisations appear to be fake generosities. We say this because to escape our feelings of guilt, we go into philanthropy, we seek compensation by alms-giving, we send a cheque to build a church, we make contributions: land for a chapel or a convent for nuns, hoping in that way to buy our peace. But peace cannot be purchased, it is not for sale; peace has to be lived. And we can’t live our peace without commitment to humans, and our commitment to them can’t exist without their liberation, and their liberation can’t exist without the final transformation of the structures that are dehumanising. There’s only one way for us to find peace: to work for it, shoulder to shoulder with our fellow human beings.

But let’s not forget that oppression is so potent a thing that it produces fear of freedom. But freedom is something that is given. It is something very arduous, because nobody gives freedom to anyone else, no one frees another, nobody can even free himself all alone; humans free themselves only in concert, in communion, collaborating on something wrong that they want to correct. There is an interesting theological parallel to this: no one saves another, no one saves himself all alone, because only in communion can we save ourselves – or not save ourselves. We work out our salvation in communion. Each one of us must set out in quest of his salvation, we must do it ourselves. By saying this, we don’t mean that God hasn’t saved us by the divine presence in history: we are talking on the human level.

Every human being of goodwill is committed to changing a social order that is cruelly unjust. To refuse such a commitment would be to make oneself an accomplice of injustice. The poverty situation, we feel, is the product of unjust socio-economic structures. We should unite ourselves with the life of all our people in the painful search for adequate solutions to their multiple problems.

We believe that we are in a new historical era. This era requires clarity in order to see, lucidity in order to diagnose, and solidarity in order to act. For this reason, no sector should reserve to itself exclusively the carrying out of political, cultural and economic matters. Those who possess the power of decision-making must exercise it in communion with the desires and options of the community.

Peace can only be obtained by creating a new order which carries with it a more perfect justice among our people. And as Bishop Mchombo has correctly observed, we do not need to be passive in the name of loving peace when we are faced with situations that need decisive action. And the tranquility of order is neither passivity nor conformity. It is the result of continuous effort and adaptation to new circumstances, to new demands and challenges of a changing history. Peace is the fruit of love. It is the expression of true fellowship among human beings. And those who work for social justice should always cultivate peace and love in their hearts. We must love everybody, but not everyone in the same way; we love the oppressed by liberating them; we love the oppressors by fighting them. Love has to be like a classifying device to become universal.
We ought to sharpen the awareness of our duty of solidarity with the poor. This solidarity means that we make their problems and their struggles ours, that we know how to speak with them. This has to be concretised in criticism of injustice and oppression, in the struggle against the intolerable situation that a poor person often has to tolerate, in the willingness to dialogue with the groups responsible for that situation in order to make them understand their obligations.

As it has been observed by others, a relatively small sector of our society is making greater progress and growing richer every day; but the price for their progress is the growing poverty of the great majority of our people. Those who have plundered resources of our people, and who wish to keep doing this, use de facto violence against them to continue their plunder. This violence is often veiled under guise of a fallacious order and a fallacious legality, but it is violence and injustice nonetheless. We appreciate the importance of the rule of law and of the need of every state to have the power to maintain order and punish criminal acts. But the rules and procedures by which the state enforces its laws must not be arbitrary or subject to political manipulation by those in power. The right to equality before the law, or equal protection of the law as it is often phrased, is fundamental to any just and democratic society. Whether political ally of those in power or opponents – all are entitled to equal protection before the law. And under no circumstances should the state impose inequalities; it should be required to deal evenly and equally with all its people.

And as we have witnessed over the last few months, no anti-corruption strategy, no matter how well-designed and well-intended, can succeed without a broader commitment to two overarching requirements: the first is an independent judicial system based on a rule of law regime. And that includes the concept of due process and the principle that the rule of law applies equally to everyone – from the poorest and least-privileged among us to the highest echelons of government and society. The second requirement is a government that is open, accountable and transparent. We should strengthen the rule of law’s position as the foundation of our governance system. This means, among other things, that our court system must be able to function independently so that all people can be confident of fair and equitable treatment. They won’t get off, maybe, but they will get fair hearing. And as we have also seen with the corruption cases that have been before our courts and other tribunals, erecting laws and institutions as barriers against corruption is not in itself enough. Laws and institutions can’t work very well in a society where all institutions of the state and government have been contaminated by corruption; can’t work well in a society that doesn’t also have a culture of trust and an atmosphere of openness and accountability.

And as Bishop Mchombo has observed in his Christmas message, as disciples of Christ, people are called upon to promote just deeds and just structures at every level of the nation and to be peacemakers. But to do this, one has to be moved with indignation whenever an injustice, a wrong is committed against anyone in our country. This is the only way one can truly be a follower of Christ, whose birth tomorrow we celebrate. We say this because Christ’s entire doctrine was devoted to the humble, the poor; his doctrine was devoted to fighting against abuse, injustice and the degradation of human beings.



Prioritise formal job creation, JCTR advises govt

Prioritise formal job creation, JCTR advises govt
By Misheck Wangwe
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE government should prioritise formal job creation, says the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR). JCTR social conditions programmes coordinator, Miniva Chibuye, said the creation of decent employment was a precondition for sustained economic growth.

Chibuye said there was need for the government to show commitment towards employment creation if the country was to graduate from a low-income to a middle-income state.

She said it was distressing that while other countries around the world were recovering form the 2008 economic crisis, unemployment remained a challenge in Zambia.

“While there has been a creation of jobs for recent investments, much more needs to be done. The labour scenario is imprecise to lack of recent data showing how many Zambian workers who were laid off have been re-employed and how many were the new entrants,” Chibuye said.

She noted that the draft 2008 Labour Force Survey indicated that though formal employment grew to 522,761 in 2008 from 416,324 employees in 2005, its proportion of total employment remained low at only 10 per cent of total employment in the country.

Chibuye noted that the report had missed data from the post-economic crisis period.

She said during the economic crisis, Zambia was one of the countries heavily affected by job losses and a slowdown in employment creation due to heavy reliance on the copper industry.

Chibuye said most Zambians considered to be in employment had insecure incomes and had not been paid their arrears for a long time.

She said the high levels of unemployment had continued to perpetuate poverty and negatively affect human development due to people’s inability to earn a decent wage leading to a reduction in life expectancy and access to quality education.

Chibuye said the poverty situation in the country had been worsened by the high cost of living in many urban areas as evidenced by the JCTR’s Basic Needs Basket (BNB).

She said for the month of November 2010, the BNB showed a mixed picture.

Chibuye said the increases were a result of upward adjustments in the price of kapenta, dry fish, meat and eggs and many other essential food items.

According to the social conditions research programme of the JCTR, food items increased by K5,550 from K895,000 in October to K900,550 in November.

The total needs basket for a family of six in urban areas stood at K2,861,480 in the month of November.

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Zambia lacks basic scientists - Mulla

Zambia lacks basic scientists - Mulla
By Kombe Chimpinde and Karen Chibonga
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:01 CAT

IT is difficult for the country to set up more medical institutions because it has no basic scientists, says Professor Yakub Mulla. Prof Mulla, the dean of the school of medicine at the University of Zambia (UNZA), said Zambia did not have indigenous people with masters degrees in basic science training since independence.

Prof Mulla, who is also the chairman of the Health Professions Council of Zambia, said the inadequacy of qualified people made it difficult for the country to train more doctors and physicians.

He said the country lacked lecturers who specialised in basic sciences such as physiologists and anatomists.

“Government is hoping to set up another medical school in Ndola and we also have two private schools coming up next year hopefully. Although our capacity is small, we are trying to support them in training,” said Professor Mulla when he addressed trainee journalists at Post Newspapers offices in Lusaka on Wednesday.

Professor Mulla wondered who would be lecturing at the schools scheduled to open next year if the country did not have lecturers in that area.

“When you put up an advert in the newspapers and say ‘we want anatomist and pathologist lecturers; we will pay you so much dollars’ no one turns up because there’s nobody,” Prof Mulla said.

Prof Mulla, an orthopaedist, said the country’s only school of medicine had focused more on training lecturers in clinical disciplines.

“Since 1982 when we started training lecturers locally, we have had a lot of clinical disciplines. We have had masters in surgery, orthopaedics, pediatrics, gynaecologists… but no training in basic sciences,” he said.

“As a school of medicine, we have postgraduates training in nine specialist areas but next year, we intend to introduce the basic sciences because that is the foundation of our training.

For instance, how the body works, what anatomy is, what diseases can affect the body before the students get into clinical training.”

However, Prof Mulla was hopeful that Zambia would produce enough basic scientists to meet the demand with the two grants that the school received from the US and the University of Colombia.

“The American government introduced an initiative called the Medical Education Partnership Initiative for Southern Africa worth US$130 million. Our school is among the 11 countries that have been selected. Zambia will receive US$2 million per year for 5 years,” Prof Mulla said.

“At the same time, the UNZA School of Medicine is among schools in three countries in Africa that have been selected under the Nursing Education Partnership Initiative of the University of Colombia to help improve the standards of nurses in the country. So we are lucky that we are recipients of two grants,” Prof Mulla said.

He said the school had embarked on training doctors locally so as to reduce the incidence of brain drain.

“Since we started training doctors, 90 per cent stayed within the country because they were trained locally. They got used to the system and most of them got deployed to senior positions, so we are using that as a lesson,” Prof Mulla said.

He said it was difficult to retain health specialists when trained abroad because they adapted to foreign systems and incentives.

Prof Mulla said Zambian doctors and physicians were not reasonably paid like their Western counterparts although they were better remunerated compared to those in other African countries.

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It’s irresponsible for govt to give title of any market to an association - mayor

It’s irresponsible for govt to give title of any market to an association - mayor
By Speedwell Mupuchi in Kitwe
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:40 CAT

IT will be a serious mark of irresponsibility for the government to give a title deed for any market in Zambia to an association, says Kitwe Mayor Elias Kamanga.

Kamanga’s remarks come in the wake of Zambia National Marketeers Association (ZANAMA) chairman general Elvis Nkandu’s plea to Vice-President George Kunda who on Monday officiated at their convention that the government should deliver its promise of a title deed for Chisokone Market.

In an interview, Kamanga said according to the current law, markets and bus stations were public amenities owned by the people through elected representatives.

He said people expected political will from the government and Vice-President Kunda to implement the markets and bus stations Act.

“We believe Honorable George Kunda as Vice-President and Minister of Justice was an architect of this particular law. We are lost when we start witnessing the same government that came up with the law choosing to totally disregard it,” said Kamanga.

President Rupiah Banda last year promised ZANAMA that his government would consider giving it a title deed for Chisokone Market.

Kamanga also dismissed as misplaced complaints by Nkandu that his association was being frustrated by PF-run councils.

“Actually it’s associations like ZANAMA that have been frustrating and interfering with legally mandated institutions like authorities from implementing the law as established,” said Kamanga.

“According to the local government Act Cap 281 of the laws of Zambia and the markets and bus stations Act number 7 of 2007, the management of markets and bus stations in the entire country is placed in the hands of local authorities. I wonder what interference Nkandu is accusing the council of.”

Kamanga said councils were legally mandated to collect levies from traders in a market.

He said it was amazing for Vice-President Kunda to refer to local authorities on the Copperbelt as Patriotic Front councils when all their budgets were approved and sanctioned by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

He said the amount of energy used to attack the PF over councils it dominates should be spared to repair badly damaged roads on the Copperbelt, particularly Chibuluma, Mindolo and Central streets which were ring roads for Kitwe.

“It won’t help this country trying to apportion blame on the poor state of affairs in the country on political parties holding majorities in these regions. The local government system has collapsed and we should be doing together to revamp the local government system rather than blame Sata who is not in control of government coffers,” he said.

Kamanga said Zambia was lowest in the Commonwealth in terms of budgetary support to local government.

Kamanga said the government should re-look its budgetary support to councils before accusing them of failing to perform their functions.

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‘Abuse of office was never technical’

‘Abuse of office was never technical’
By Ernest Chanda in Copenhagen, Denmark
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE abuse of office offence was never a technical issue as has been argued by the government, says National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo Jnr. Chipimo described the government’s decision to remove the abuse of office clause from the Anti Corruption Commission Act as a tragedy.

"Who told government that it's their responsibility to remove unconstitutional laws? They should have left that to the courts because it's only the courts which can determine whether the law is constitutional or unconstitutional. That was never a technical issue; it was simply meant to deter public officials from abusing public resources," Chipimo said in an interview.

"For example, if you have a place where you have a dog which you think can bite, you people will fear to go there. But if you decide to remove that dog and tell people not to go there because a dog once existed, they will not fear. Everyone will rush there because they know that no dog will bite them. It's the same with the removal of that law, there will be further excessive behaviour with all kinds of abuses."

Chipimo said the government had put another nail into the fight against corruption.
He said once in office, his administration, through Parliament, would set up a truth and reconciliation commission to deal with people who abused public office.

“We will tell people that ‘we have information that you abused your office, and if you tell us what happened, then we will give you amnesty’. People do not want to forgive somebody who has not admitted a wrong. So, let them say, ‘yes I participated in this corruption and this is what I did’; then we will grant them amnesty," said Chipimo.

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Western Province wants FDI, says Wamui

Western Province wants FDI, says Wamui
By Chibaula Silwamba in Mongu
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT

PEOPLE of Western Province are paranoid because the government does not give them foreign direct investment (FDIs), according to a senior MMD official. Giving a vote of thanks to President Rupiah Banda’s address to the party delegates at the provincial conference, Samuel Wamui said the province wanted FDIs.

In reference to the riotous activities pertaining to the Barotseland Agreement 1964, Wamui said “Western Province suffered from paranoia, a mental disease in which somebody wrongly believed that he or she was hated by others.”

“If I may cite the recent developments in Senanga, Mongu and Limulunga... The province is being denied foreign direct investments especially in major activities such as mines, agriculture and so on and so forth,” Wamui said on Tuesday.

“More often you hear people say, ‘what is happening?’ From time to time we hear a mine is being opened in various parts of the country, cement factory is being opened in this or that area, sugar plantation being opened in area so and so, but nothing for Western Province. It means that we don’t have potential.”

Wamui said those were the problems which people in Western Province were complaining about.

Some people of Western Province have frequently been protesting over underdevelopment and the government’s disregard of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

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Letters - Land Rights, VP

Land distribution
By Sam
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT


Soon, many Zambians, including our children and, worst of all, our grandchildren, will become tenants in their own country and we will have no say over our land as most, if not all of it, would have been sold to the so-called investors because of the carelessness and greed of our government and chiefs.

It is not a secret that in Zambia today, it is very difficult for a citizen, especially if one is poor, to get even a small piece of land, including traditional land, and yet it is very easy for investors to do so.

This is a time bomb. The MMD and traditional leaders should take deliberate steps to empower every Zambian with a piece of land which should not be resold. This will ensure land security for our future generations.

Unfair distribution of land is one of the causes of xenophobia. We should not be surprised if a few years from now, Zambians become hostile towards these so-called investors.

The current leadership will have abetted this problem despite having had enough time to stop it.


Kunda’s lack of substance
Fri 24 Dec. 2010, 04:00 CAT


Every time Vice-President Kunda speaks, he reeks of desperation to hold on to power, no different from William Banda.

I wish to put it to Kunda that it’s not his responsibility to lecture us on opposition leaders and why we shouldn't vote for them. Much as we may not all have law degrees, we are fully aware of who to vote for. What we wish to hear from Kunda is how close we are to a developed nation status, a clear plan towards poverty alleviation, first-world-class education and health care, manufacturing sector development, tax relief plan for employees in view of the government’s refusal to tax the mines and so forth, the list is endless.

Kunda should tell the nation in clear detail why we should vote the MMD back into office, not the cheap politics of attacking opposition leaders every time he speaks. Iam sick and tired of Kunda’s statements. For a vice-president, he needs to exude substance.

As Zambians, we need better leadership than these power-hungry, cheap politicians and hoodlums.


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Thursday, December 23, 2010


(SUDAN TRIBUNE) US behind Ethiopia invasion in Somalia - Wiki leaks dispatch

US behind Ethiopia invasion in Somalia - Wiki leaks dispatch
December 6, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) — A WikiLeaks’ leaked diplomatic cables exposed Ethiopia and the US government secret agreement to invade Somalia.

However, the report indicated that Ethiopia had no intention to the invasion and said the US was behind the plot and was sponsored by the United States government. Already tied up wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. had no position to openly launch large-scale attack against Somalia and had to sponsor a country like Ethiopia.

Ethiopian troops invaded Somalian territory on July 20, 2006 aimed to squash an Islamist group, Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). Ethiopia maintained it was providing military assistance to the weak transitional government. Ethiopia then argued that the islamists extremists were threat to regional peace and stability.

U.S. head for African affairs Jendayi Frazer was said the spearhead of the proxy war along allies in the State Department and the Pentagon.

There was growing concern in the White House and the Pentagon that Somalia’s Islamists might ally themselves with Al Qaeda and turn to international terrorism.

Reports say an estimated 20,000 Somalis were killed and over 2 million were made homeless as a result of the US backed war in Somalia.

The leaked diplomatic dispatch has also reported on talks between Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and US under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero on issues of Democracy, civil rights, election, climate change among others.

Meles said his country’s inability to develop a strong democracy was not due to insufficient understanding of democratic principles, but rather because Ethiopians had not internalized those principles.

Referencing his own struggle against the Derg regime, Meles said he and his compatriots received no foreign funding, but were willing to sacrifice and die for their cause, and Ethiopians today must take ownership of their democratic development, be willing to sacrifice for it, and defend their own rights.

Despite pushes from under Secretary Maria Otero and Assistant Secretary Carson to hasten steps to liberalize the telecommunications and banking industries of the country, the Ethiopian premier however made no Promises on this regard instead said he would be happy to discuss the issue in the future joking that Americans’ concept of time was much faster than Ethiopians’.

As reported in WikiLeaks’ the Ethiopian leader was also urged to back Copenhagen climate accord.

"Otero urged Meles to sign the Copenhagen accord on climate change and explained that it is a point of departure for further discussion and movement forward on the topic.’’ She noted that while the agreement has its limitations, it has the international community moving in the right direction.

However, he expressed his disappointment that despite President Obama’s personal assurance to him that finances committed in Copenhagen would be made available, he had received word from contacts at the UN that the U.S. was not supportive of Ethiopia’s proposal for a panel to monitor financial pledges regarding climate change. Ms. Gavin assured the Prime Minister that she would look into his concerns.

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(HERALD) ‘Lower taxes key to economic growth’

COMMENT - More neoliberal loonacy. Higher incomes are they key to economic growth. Business may like tax breaks, but they need customers. " A lower income tax structure can act as an effective economic growth stimulant for Zimbabwe as it drives up consumption demand in the economy according to analysts. " Well those analysts are wrong. Zimbabwe needs state spending, from taxes gained from it's raw materials. Giving tax breaks to the mining companies contributes nothing, in fact it takes money away from government, and is possibly put into foreign corporate bank accounts as well. The really short point of this article: big business wants to pay less money in taxes. The problem is - that comes at the cost of the development of the country, through reduced money for social services and infrastructure creation by government.

‘Lower taxes key to economic growth’
By Tawanda Musarurwa

A lower income tax structure can act as an effective economic growth stimulant for Zimbabwe as it drives up consumption demand in the economy according to analysts. Data compiled by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, capacity utilisation levels in the majority of the country’s manufacturers has improved to between 40 to 50 percent, a minimal improvement as a result of the prevailing market illiquidity and lack of credit.

According to Chamber of Mines economic policy and investments manager Mr Joseph Mverecha, the low aggregate demand, low capacity utilisation and low wage equilibrium prevailing in the economy require stimulation at least by way of lower income tax.

"The multi-currency system prevailing precludes any monetary policy stimuli; hence only fiscal stimulus is presently deterministic. That stimulus implies the need for lower taxes to kick-start consumption demand in the economy.

[Translation, having multiple currencies doesn't allow them to tinker through low interest rates, so all we can do is lower taxes. Typical monotarist economic garbage. Raise people's incomes through works programs, building infrastructure, etc. Stimulate the economy by raising the demand for locally produced goods and services, and you'll also put a dent into unemployment. And if lack of credit is the problem - 1) Get economic sanctions lifted and 2) Reduce bank lending rates down from the 20 plus percent to something closer to the rate of inflation, which is under 10 percent. - MrK]

"Lower taxes imply higher disposable incomes and higher domestic demand, output and employment; they enhance business re-investment through retained earnings, particularly key for an economy facing constrained access to international credit lines, as well as improve the country’s competitiveness as the taxation regime is a critical determinant of investment.

[Lower taxes do not 'imply' higher disposable demand. Too few people are being taxed, therefore even the short term effect is going to be minimal. But the starving of the state of capital is much more serious. If they want to raise incomes - introduce a living wage; have every Zimbabwean citizen be a member of a union. - MrK]

"In addition, lower taxes imply a lower alternative cost of capital as enhanced cash flow confers critical leverage in debt financing negotiations," he said.

In the 2011 National Budget statement, Finance Minister Tendai Biti increased the tax-free threshold for individual rates of tax to a minimum of US$225.

This was something of a midrate proposed by CZI of US$175 and US$300 by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce prior to the announcement of the Budget.

Any lowering of the income tax band, however, is essentially dependent on the enhancement of Zimbabwe’s broader tax system, which is said to consist of structural inefficiencies as well as a multiplicity of concessions and exemptions that are prejudicing the economy of critical sources of revenue.

The Government is currently seeking to improve revenue contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product by plugging gaps via reviewing mining taxation and introduction of the Fiscalised Electronic Registers among other measures.

However, there has not been much discussion at Governmental level on the implementation of the residence basis of taxation, an International Monetary Fund proposition as part of its 2009 technical assistance programme to the inclusive Government.

In terms of this proposed income tax system, any person who is considered to be a Zimbabwean resident will be taxed on their worldwide income regardless of its source. Simultaneously, non-residents will be taxed on their Zimbabwean source income.

The residence basis of taxation has the advantage of broadening the tax base through capturing revenue generated worldwide by resident individuals and corporations.

Fiscal space is currently squeezed, and there has been a general call for the authorities to strengthening economy-wide taxation systems.

Mr Mverecha, however, contends that any reform of the corporate tax system should take account of sector-unique business conditions.

"The mining industry, for instance, is inherently capital intensive and taxation should ideally incorporate recapitalisation requirements, in particular as the industry has not recapitalise to any significant degree over the past decade.

"Taxation should be forward looking and proactive implying that authorities should be ready to give up a dollar today if that will give rise to a five dollar revenue inflow over the medium term.

"This is the principle underpinning investment and the call for an improved investment environment and improved doing business conditions in Zimbabwe.

"A growing economy is the clearest guarantee for increased revenue flows, and economies grow only in response to investment," he said.

Among other broader taxation strengthening measures, the Government is currently in the process of reforming the country’s income tax law, and according to indications from the Ministry of Finance, a draft Income Tax Bill will be presented to Parliament in the second half of 2011.

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