Saturday, July 30, 2011

Going into politics for money, fame

Going into politics for money, fame
By The Post
Sat 30 July 2011, 14:00 CAT

It is always better to do things for the right reasons. And it is always better to be clear about things. And public office is not something one should take up to fulfil an ambition or pleasure.

Doing things for the wrong reasons has got consequences. There is a sort of chain of events. For if good intentions foster good deeds, bad intentions can foster, on the other hand, bad deeds. It is said that whereas virtue must be nourished, vice springs
up spontaneously like weeds and grows by itself.

Mutale Nalumango’s advice needs to be heeded. Looking at the type of people offering themselves for public office, one wonders what their real motivations are. We are seeing all sorts of characters vying to be councillors, members of parliament or even presidents of our Republic. Looking at their records of public service, their attitudes towards the common good, one wonders what some of these people want in public office. Some of them are clearly selfish, greedy and corrupt elements that care for nobody else other than themselves. But they want to occupy public office, they want to be leaders.

These are people who know nothing about public service. The only thing they know is how to serve themselves.

Nalumango, the deputy speaker of our National Assembly, says “if you go into politics for money, most likely you become corrupt because you won’t find the money you were imagining. If it’s fame and status, then you want everybody to notice where you are. I thought really politics and governance, this power must be power to serve.

Governance must be service, therefore for me I believe you should go into politics, and I did go into politics, based on my conviction that I can do something in my community Kaputa”. For some, political office gives them an opportunity to “eat”, amass wealth. How can this be so when the salaries of those who hold political offices are not that high? This is only because there is abuse of public office to enrich oneself. All sorts of favours are extended to those who hold public office by those seeking government business, contracts.

These give the holders of public offices money and all sorts of things they never give to anybody else not holding public office. People who never used to receive gifts from anybody start receiving all sorts of things from all sorts of businessmen. People they never knew start calling them their friends and their children start referring to them as uncle so and so. How is this possible? This is possible because of money. This is possible because of corruption, because of abuse of office.

Look at Rupiah Banda and his family! Look at the financial state they were in before Rupiah became President! Look at what they are today, what they own today! Look at who are their friends today! What has changed? It’s power! This power has opened so many doors for them to get all sorts of contracts from institutions and individuals doing business with government or quasi-governmental organisations. That’s how they are getting money.

They are selling or peddling influence. Rupiah’s position in government is what is doing the tricks, is what is bringing cash. They are selling government business. There is no secret about the source of the wealth Rupiah and his family have amassed. It’s simply a product of corruption, of abuse of office. It is not surprising that the first thing Rupiah and his friends went for is the removal of the offence of abuse of office from our Anti Corruption Commission Act.

These people don’t see themselves as servants of the people; they see themselves as masters of the people. A person offering himself to take up public office should see himself or herself as a servant or steward seeking to be entrusted to offer humble service to others as opposed to owning power or the people he or she is serving. Those seeking public office should therefore accept to be accountable to the people and work for the common good. This is why it is said that we need saintly politicians who profoundly love their own people and wish to serve rather than to be served; leaders who are willing to exercise stewardship and uphold the common good.

Clearly, whether we will have good laws or bad laws, an upright or inefficient administration will depend on the type of people we vote for in the forthcoming elections. If we vote for reckless people, corrupt elements, people who have no national interest at heart, we are going to jeopardise the future of our country and our children. We must vote for people of integrity, people who place national interest before personal ambitions. Let us use our votes for the good of Zambia, as opposed to the good of a particular party, group or individual. Let’s vote for people who have proved themselves accountable to God and to the electorate. Let us vote for people who are courageous in defending truth and justice for all, people who are completely honest in fulfilling public and private responsibilities.

Our right to vote will only bear positive fruits for the country if we choose good leaders for presidency, members of parliament and councillors who will serve the country with justice towards all. Let us use our vote to help eliminate the unworthy and improve the quality of political leadership in our country.

People who want to use public office to rescue themselves from financial doldrums are not worth voting for. People who see public office as an opportunity for self-enrichment are dangerous to put in public offices. We need leaders who have largeness of mind and who are staunch and active in looking after the interests of the people. We need leaders who are able to subordinate their personal interests to those of the people they were elected to serve. We need leaders who are more concerned about the masses than about any individual and more concerned about others than about themselves. Only thus can they serve our people selflessly.

At no time and in no circumstances should anyone elected to public office in this country put his personal interests first; he should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, corruption, seeking the limelight and so on are most contemptible, while selflessness, working with all one’s energy, wholehearted devotion to public duty and quite hard work will command respect.

We need leaders who are at all times ready to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interest of the people; we need leaders who are ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people.

So if there are any of our leaders – and we believe they are many – who are seeking public office so that they can become wealthy and own all sorts of things, they are not worth voting for. And if this is their only motivation, we advise them to withdraw their candidature because, as Nalumango has correctly advised, they are likely to become corrupt, get in trouble and fail to find the money they are seeking through public office.

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Vote for leaders with integrity, Church urges Zambians

Vote for leaders with integrity, Church urges Zambians
By Bright Mukwasa
Sat 30 July 2011, 14:00 CAT

THE Church has urged Zambians to vote for leaders with demonstrated integrity, concern for social justice and courage to speak the truth.

And the Church says the stand the Electoral Commission of Zambia has taken on the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) has not helped to improve the image of the institution as being an independent body that is free from manipulation.

In a joint pastoral letter on this year’s general election released yesterday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, the three church mother bodies said Christians should realise that they had a moral responsibility to vote for candidates who followed the example of Jesus Christ.

The letter signed by Reverend Moses Mwale, president of the Council of Churches in Zambia, Bishop Joseph Imakando, board chairman for the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and Reverend Ignatius Chama, president of the Zambia Episcopal Conference, is entitled; ‘A call to vote in peace, truth and justice’.

“We must vote for those who present clear and convincing political, economic and social programmes that have a greater chance of reducing poverty and human degradation in our society,” the letter stated.

“Those who have shown good performance and integrity when they served in public office; those with demonstrated integrity, concern for social justice and courage to speak the truth and those who show genuine desire to work for common good and use power for service, especially of the poor and under privileged,” it stated.

The letter stated that Christians should consider voting for leaders that were open to dialogue and were of good moral standing, transparent and accountable to the electorate.

It stated that people should avoid voting for politicians that had tendencies of self-serving and had potential to use power for self-enrichment.

The Church stated that those who were arrogant and had no time to listen to the electorate and were of questionable moral standing, including those with proven records of corruption and abuse of power and public resources, those with propensity to use violence and those who put narrow sectarian or ethnic interest before national interest and the common good, must not be voted for.

The Church urged all Zambians to realise that voting was one of their fundamental rights, duties and also a Christian duty as it provided the means for which citizens peacefully and freely chose their leaders.

“We thus pray that all citizens enter the 2011 elections with a spirit of honesty, avoiding bribes and cheating. We also pray that all voters, political party leaders and their cadres may have at heart, to build for peace and avoid all forms of violence. As St Paul exhorts us,’ Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody (Romans 12:18’,” it stated.

And the Church also stated that there was enough time for all parties to reach an amicable solution regarding the parallel vote tabulation.

“The recent debate on the parallel vote tabulation and the stand the Electoral Commission of Zambia took has not helped to improve the image of the ECZ in the eyes of the public with respect to being an independent body that is free from manipulation,” it stated.

“We call upon all stakeholders to engage in a genuine process of dialogue in order to reach a consensus over this important issue. The ECZ also needs to work closely with other relevant actors to ensure adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct by all during the 2011 elections. In most of our elections, the code of conduct has been observed more in breach than compliance,” stated the church.

“Monitors and observers should be fully trained to understand our electoral system and procedures and also to acquire skill on how they can track, analyse and report on election events. They owe it to the public to do a good job.”

The Church further urged the media to be fair, resilient and courageous in its reporting.

“The divide that has been created in Zambia where the public media is exclusively dedicated to the propaganda of government and the ruling party and the private media on the other hand giving more attention to the opposition is not healthy. It is our view that the media should be governed by common standards of projecting the truth,” read the letter.

The Church also urged the police to be impartial in policing the elections and called for issue-based campaigns.

It stated that having a popular, legitimate and non-parochial electoral legal framework had eluded Zambians since the return to multi-party politics in 1991.

“The continued undermining of the constitution making processes has robbed the country of great opportunities to strengthen our electoral laws. As Church umbrella organisations, we are saddened by all these lost opportunities and decry the fact that the 2011 elections will be held under the same archaic and discredited laws,” read the letter.

The Church hoped that the regime that would win the 2011 elections would commit itself to redirect and conclude the constitution making process.



PF delegation discovers body at accident spot

PF delegation discovers body at accident spot
By George Chellah in Nyimba and Agness Changala in Lusaka
Sat 30 July 2011, 14:00 CAT

PF leader Michael Sata yesterday visited the Nyimba road accident and discovered a body that remained uncollected after the crash. And the government has summoned operators of the bus and truck involved in the Nyimba accident, which left 35 people dead, to report to the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA).

Sata, who is on a campaign trail in Eastern Province, arrived at the accident scene around 14:00 hours to acquaint himself with what happened. Accompanied by former Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda and former Kanyama member of parliament Gerry Chanda, Sata went around the area and discovered a body which was partially buried under bags of lime.

Upon discovering the body, Sata and his team immediately rushed to Nyimba Police Station to alert the police of what they had found at the accident scene.

At the police station, Sata was informed that the police had no fuel to get to the scene, forcing him to offer to buy the fuel and blankets to cover the body.

At that point, Sata was joined by former Chipata Central MP Lameck Mangani and PF Eastern Province chairperson Lucas Phiri.

After the police vehicle was refueled, Sata and his team, which included the police, drove back to collect the body.

The team arrived back at the scene at exactly 15:00 hours and started removing the bags of lime covering the body, an exercise that lasted six minutes.

The body was then placed on a Nyimba police van registration number ZP 1793B.

Sata and his team accompanied the body to Nyimba District Hospital Mortuary.

At the hospital Sata also visited an accident victim still admitted there.

Later in an interview, Sata complained about the manner the government had handled the crisis in Nyimba.

“If you had a responsible government, they should have combed the area and removed those bags of lime at the scene so that they do a thorough search,” Sata said.

“Can you imagine we were just driving along the road and decided to check the scene and discovered the body. If we had not been on the scene, that body would not have been discovered. That body could have even been eaten by hyenas because it is in the bush.”

Sata appealed to President Rupiah Banda to be human and show respect to people that lost their lives in the Nyimba accident.

“I think it’s high time Rupiah started treating Zambians like human beings. This President has more respect for the so-called fake investors than our people,” Sata said. “ Rupiah's love for money is depressing. How can the President rush to go and commission a cement plant in Ndola and ignore such a serious calamity? Commissioning means a lot to him than the people he claims to be serving.

Let Zambians open their eyes because Rupiah is a selfish and insensitive leader.”

“When there was a similar accident during the Kaunda days on the same road where 47 people died, Kaunda had to cut short his visit to Egypt and returned home to attend to the disaster. Rupiah is not a child, we expect him to treat such matters of national importance with seriousness. Honestly, I am saddened by this neglect and lack of respect for our people.”

Sata urged the government to take a leaf from how the Chinese handled the train disaster.
“When about 43 people died in China, the Chinese President went to visit the crash site and now they are even doing a national inquiry on what went wrong,” Sata said.

But here, a disaster happens and the first thing the President does is to rush to commission some cement plant instead of rushing to comfort the survivors and console those who had lost their loved one.”
He said it was regrettable that lives were being lost on Zambian roads every day.

“This week we have lost about 35 people and according to Mr Banda, that is not a crisis. Even the government's reaction is one that is business as usual. We need to restrict the speed of public service vehicles and put in place effective monitoring systems,” Sata said.

“We can't continue losing people this, like we are not all thinking.

If you find 35 animals dead in a kraal, it's a crisis. What about people? Why is this government so insensitive to the plight of Zambian people,”

“The laissez-faire attitude where people treat disasters of this magnitude as a business as usual has to come to an end. There is no way 35 people can die and there is no national sadness. How many people should die before we mourn as a country? We also have to make travelling on our roads safe so that our people don't continue losing mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles children and other relatives.

Sata said true leadership was measured by how a person responded to calamities.

And communications and transport permanent secretary Dominic Sichinga yesterday announced that he had summoned the two operators to help the agency deal what happened in Nyimba.

Sichinga directed that both operators take their fleet of motor vehicles and trailers registered on their Road Service Licences (RSLs) to RTSA offices on Tuesday at 10:00 hrs.

He further directed the operators to take their licensed drivers along with them.

“These directives should be taken seriously. Failure to adhere to the directives will result in the instant cancellation of the Road Service Licences for both operators,” Sichinga said.

He said the government was concerned that operators and drivers were exhibiting high levels of poor road user behaviour which was causing loss of life.

Sichinga urged operators and drivers to join in the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety as it would benefit them.

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Masebo receives death threats

Masebo receives death threats
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sat 30 July 2011, 14:00 CAT

SYLVIA Masebo says she has received death threats and that suspected MMD members broke into her home in what she called President Rupiah Banda’s desperate attempts to intimidate her. In an interview yesterday, Masebo said the damage to her property was politically motivated.

“My home was attacked last Thursday night. I had gone out with my son around 19:30 hours for dinner and when I came back around 22:00 hours, I found my electric gate was broken,” said Masebo, the immediate past member of parliament for Chongwe Constituency.

“The gate was pushed off the rail, was damaged and left half open but nothing had been taken away from the house. And shortly after I arrived home, I received a call and a man came on the phone and he said ‘hold on’. Then there was a lady’s voice and I was being threatened that I should not go into Chongwe, otherwise I would be beaten and killed. When I tried to inquire who was calling, the lady cut the line. I tried to phone back but they had switched off the phone. I know it’s political.”

Masebo said she immediately phoned the police but they said they didn’t have transport and that after about 40 minutes, the police arrived at her residence in a taxi. She gave a statement to them and was given protection throughout the night.

“This morning, I was tipped that my life is in danger and I must be very careful on how I move and what I do,” Masebo said.

“Clearly, we are back to the UNIP days when people were disappearing. You can tell that Rupiah Banda knows that his time is up, so what they are doing is to use political violence. These are the same people who claim that I am not a factor in Chongwe but now they are threatening to kill me should I go to Chongwe. The public should not forget that the MMD have openly vowed to do anything, including using juju against me to win back the Chongwe parliamentary seat,” Masebo said.

Masebo said President Banda and the MMD knew their time in power had ended and were now becoming desperate, hence using violence to intimidate political opponents.

“MMD has declared violence in this election. Unless the police are properly equipped, the elections will not be peaceful. The other day it was Mulongoti, now it’s me. Why should people be threatening?” Masebo asked.

She said the MMD had been lying to the Chongwe electorate that she would stand in Munali constituency when in fact she was re-contesting her seat in Chongwe.

“They are also telling people that I have gone back to MMD when they know that I am not MMD. I am PF. They are pumping in a lot of money in their bid to defeat me. But we will see how far they will go,” said Masebo.

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Lubinda questions troubled Malawi’s President’s visit

Lubinda questions troubled Malawi’s President’s visit
By Agness Changala
Sat 30 July 2011, 14:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Bingu wa Mutharika should have turned down the invitation to officiate at this year’s Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show following the crisis in his country, says immediate past Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda. Last week, 19 people were killed during demonstrations against economic hardships and bad governance by President Mutharika’s government.

In an interview yesterday, Lubinda, who is also PF chairperson for local government said it was unfortunate and irresponsible for President Mutharika to come and have fun in Zambia when his people were suffering.

Lubinda said even if President Banda invited President Mutharika long before the occurrence of killings, after the crisis, he should have been replaced to allow him sort out problems in his own country.

“Unfortunately these are traits of the club that both Rupiah and Mutharika belong to,” he said. “I recall that when people died in Mongu, Rupiah equally undertook international trips.”

Lubinda said President Banda and his counterpart President Mutharika were best friends and their thinking is the same.

He said the decision by President Banda to invite President Mutharika to officiate at this year’s show would annoy Malawians living in Zambia who were opposed to what was happening in that country.

“They will feel bad that their President will come to attend a funfare, eat and celebrate when his people are suffering,” Lubinda said. “They will also be upset with Rupiah and the Zambians.”

Lubinda said responsible leaders prioritised internal security and harmony of their country as opposed to President Banda and others who placed priority on international trips.

He said apart from civil servants, those who would go to the show, will go to see the man who has left his house on fire to come and attend a fanfare if he shows up.

And the Southern Africa Development Community Council of Non- Governmental Organisations (SADC-CNGO) has condemned the killing of people in Malawi during the demonstration.

The organisation said the beatings, torture and inhuman treatment that civil society leaders, journalists and innocent civilians had suffered at the hands of the Malawian police should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

It also expressed concern that the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has issued a ban, stopping all private radio stations from broadcasting live the demonstrations that were taking place.

It said the governance and human rights trends in Malawi should be reviewed to prevent the further deterioration of the situation, killings of innocent civilians and reversal of the modest gains that SADC region had made in trying to promote good governance, peace and stability.

The organisation also called on Malawi’s law enforcement agents to refrain from use of force and fire arms against peaceful demonstrator.

Malawians were demonstrating against increasing human rights violation, repression and failure by the government to solve the deepening social economic crisis characterised by fuel and foreign currency shortages, higher cost of living, massive unemployment and high constrained fiscal space.

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Agriculture PS calls for improved crop markets

Agriculture PS calls for improved crop markets
By Ndinawe Simpelwe
Sat 30 July 2011, 13:59 CAT

AGRICULTURE permanent secretary Abednego Banda says there is need to improve access to markets for the country’s agriculture products. Speaking at this year's Agriculture and commercial show judges’ luncheon at the Showgrounds in Lusaka, Banda said the increased food and cash crop production meant that the country needed to improve its marketing strategy. He said what was important was to improve access to all parts of the country.

“One of the ways in which we can improve market access is by developing agricultural infrastructure such as roads and storage facilities in all our production areas across the country,” Banda said.

He said a stable agricultural production was important for the country’s food security system.

Banda said there was need to build on the achievements that the country had scored in terms of food production through the two consecutive bumper harvests.

He also urged farmers in the country to adopt new improved agricultural practices and technologies that were cost-effective.

“Let me emphasize the need for bringing down the cost of production in our agricultural systems along the value chain. This will bring about increased competitiveness at local, regional and international markets,” he said.

Banda further said there was need to improve infrastructure at the Showgrounds considering the increase in the number of exhibitors and showgoers.

Meanwhile, Cavmont Bank managing director Johan Minnaar said the bank was pleased with the development recorded in various sectors of Zambia’s economy.

Minnaar said the bank was relocating itself in order to remain relevant to the emerging financial needs of the fast growing economy.

He said Cavmont Bank would continue partnering with key stakeholders such as the Agriculture and Commercial Show Society of Zambia in order to encourage sustained growth in agriculture.

This year's agriculture and commercial show is being held under the theme "Shaping tomorrow's world".



Teacher gets suspended for supporting Sata

Teacher gets suspended for supporting Sata
By Misheck Wangwe in Solwezi West
Sat 30 July 2011, 13:59 CAT

A teacher in Solwezi has been suspended for allegedly campaigning for the Patriotic Front. According to a letter which was signed by Solwezi District Education Board secretary Steward Frederick Munkinyi, Steward Kanyanda, a teacher at Manyama Basic School had been suspended for, among other offences, secretly campaigning for the PF with the view of standing as a member of parliament for the opposition party.

In the letter, Munkinyi stated that the conduct of Kanyanda was contrary to the Cabinet circular of 1995 on the political conduct and discipline of the public servants.

“On unnamed dates you confessed to both the headteacher and deputy head for Manyama Basic School that you were campaigning for the opposition PF. This is contrary to the expected conduct. Public servants must remain non-partisan and should not actively engage in politics,” the letter read in part.

But Kanyanda has vowed to continue sensitising people on the need for change of government.

He said the move by the Ministry of Education to suspend him was total intimidation because teachers that had openly declared their support for President Rupiah Banda and the MMD were never punished over their political affiliation.

“It is sad that things have turned out to be like this. Everyone has a right to support a political party of their choice. Why haven’t they suspended teachers that have openly supported the MMD and President Banda? Anyway, that will never take away anything from me. I will support the PF and its leader Michael Sata,” said Kanyanda.

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Those seeking political office must learn to sacrifice - Fr Mwewa

COMMENT - It is not in the nature of politicians, to sacrifice for the greater good. There are those who do, but you cannot depend on them being the majority. It is the bread and butter of politicians to accrue power and connections. That is how they define success, for good or bad. What is needed is a constitution that effectively separates hiring and budgets of the powers of state, party from government, and government from state. What is needed, is a form of government that ensures that decisions are made by the people, not central government politicians. A system based on decentralisation and the principle of subsidiarity (local government decisions supersede provincial government decisions, which supersede national government decisions). A system that protects basic human and civil rights and individual or collective exploitation, through a national Constitution.

Those seeking political office must learn to sacrifice - Fr Mwewa
By Bright Mukwasa
Sat 30 July 2011, 13:59 CAT

THOSE seeking political office must learn to sacrifice, says Fr Augustine Mwewa.

Commenting on Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mutale Nalumango’s advice that people should avoid joining politics for money because they would end up being corrupt, Fr Mwewa said politicians should always struggle to be of service and be mindful that they were joining politics not to amass wealth.

“It takes one who understands that politics is about service especially in our country today to really take that stance,” Fr Mwewa said.

“Even those people who want to join politics ought to understand about service, service to the community, to promote the common good. It is about contributing positively to the wellbeing of humanity.”

Fr Mwewa said all politicians, especially Christians, have a responsibility to show strength of character by fighting for social justice and avoid corruption.

“In Zambia there should be a way of preparing those who want to join politics. They need to do a bit of political philosophy. They will understand there will be no insults. No hatred,” he said.

Fr Mwewa implored people contesting this year’s elections to be issue-based and preach values, such as love, upon which the Zambian society was anchored.

“We need change not for the sake of change, of course with continuity, if we say we have made economic progress we need to continue. Where we have failed they need to contribute, they need to sacrifice. They need to be bold enough not to be bought by investors,” said Fr Mwewa.

During the leadership and candidate training skills in Lusaka on Tuesday, Nalumango, who was until Parliament’s dissolution on Thursday MMD Kaputa member of parliament, said people that went into politics for money ended up being corrupt.

“But I will tell you that your performance when you get in will depends on the reason that drove you into there. If you go in for money most likely you will be corrupt because you won't find the money you were imagining,” Nalumango said.

“If it's fame and status then you want everybody to notice where you are. I thought really politics and governance; this power must be power to serve. Governance must be service. Therefore, for me I believe you should go into politics, and I did go into politics, based on my conviction that I can do something in my community in Kaputa.”

Nalumango said she believed most women could do more to change their communities for the better.

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Govt lying over ballot papers printing - Mulongoti

Govt lying over ballot papers printing - Mulongoti
By Kombe Chimpinde
Sat 30 July 2011, 14:00 CAT

MIKE Mulongoti yesterday challenged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson justice Ireen Mambilima and director Priscilla Isaacs to publicise the correspondence between ECZ the and government in which he stated that Government Printers has the capacity to print ballot papers locally.

In an interview yesterday, Mulongoti, who was recently fired from government as works and supply minister, said it was not correct for justice Mambilima and Isaacs to say that the Government Printers had no capacity to print the ballot papers locally.

He was commenting on justice Mambilima’s statement that while ECZ would prefer to print ballot papers locally to avoid the logistical problems that may arise from printing abroad, they were informed by the government that Government Printers has no capacity to do that.

But Mulongoti said he was surprised to hear that because what he knew as a former minister in charge was that the Government Printers had the capacity to print ballot papers locally, except that stakeholders had recommended the installation of CCTV cameras and the erection of a fence around the printing facility to improve security.

Mulongoti supported Mambilima’s statement that printing of ballot papers in South Africa was a logistical nightmare. He, however, challenged her to produce correspondence between ECZ and his former office indicating that Government Printers had no capacity to print ballot papers.

“Ideally, I understand her difficulties. I was the Minister of Works and Supply until about four, five months ago,” Mulongoti said.

“At no time did I send any correspondence to the Electoral Commission of Zambia to say that Government Printers had no capacity. Not to even to the President. So if she says they got authority from government, who sent a letter because that department fell under my office. I was minister not so long ago and I kept following that project because I had paid so much attention to it for reasons that the future of Zambia would expect us to start printing ballot papers here so that all stakeholders are satisfied.”

Mulongoti said he was surprised to learn from justice Mambilima that Government Printers had no capacity to print ballot papers locally.

“It is so shocking to me because it was not suppose to be like that.

When I was minister, I knew that was not the correct position and at the time I was in office a tender for CCTV cameras which was one of the remaining requirements had been floated,” Mulongoti said.

“The MMD government has borrowed enormous resources which they are ploughing into roads by paying people contractors upfront. That money must be used for that purpose. The agenda of elections is busier than that of the roads they are building.”

Mulongoti said nobody could guarantee the safety of ballot papers printed abroad. He said observers that were present during the printing of ballot papers did not even have full access to all the areas where the exercise is done.

“Tell Ms Isaacs that she is not being fair to the people of Zambia. The people who are contracted to print in South Africa also subcontract to some small companies in South Africa,” Mulongoti said.

“That is the truth. The people that go to observe have no access to the printers other than where they take them to go and pretend that this is where they are printing. So I want her (Isaacs) to challenge what I am saying, that printing is not done by one company.”

Mulongoti wondered why the government would still opt to have ballot papers printed in South Africa when the only missing infrastructure at the Government Printers was CCTV cameras and fencing.

“They (ECZ) are being dishonest about the whole thing. For instance, they are saying the printing of ballots papers has commenced.

When then did they capture photographs of people who are going to stand as MP or as presidential candidates?” Mulongoti said.

“So you can see the dishonest nature of the whole thing. They could have made templates now but those templates my dear are a prototype to show what the ballot papers will look like awaiting the fixation of photographs or whatever other details. And that can be done here in Zambia. The technology is there. Why is it that we have got all these posters around. What is special about a ballot paper? So nobody can guarantee security if it is done outside. No, no, no, no.”

Mulongoti said it was this uncaring behaviour by ECZ that forced Zambians to be skeptical about their ability to handle free and transparent elections.

“I am extremely uncomfortable because even the observers that go to observe get patronised by the courteous of the contracting companies. You cannot go and observe the printing of ballots and you go and get entertained by the same company that is printing the papers,” Mulongoti said referring to a case that happened in 2008.

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(HERALD) Blow for Libyan rebels as general’s killed

Blow for Libyan rebels as general’s killed
Saturday, 30 July 2011 02:00

General Abdel Fatah Younes, commander of forces fighting to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has been killed in mysterious circumstances, dealing military and political blows to the rebels.

Younes was shot dead by an armed gang after he was summoned from the front by the rebel National Transitional Council "for questioning over military issues," NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil said late Thursday.

His killing, and that of two military officers, is seen as a sign of divisions within the ranks of the rebels in eastern Libya even as they make fresh advances in the west in a pre-Ramadan push to drive Kadhafi out.
"With all sadness, I inform you of the passing of Abdel Fatah Younes, the commander-in-chief of our rebel forces," Abdel Jalil said in a carefully worded statement at a press conference in Benghazi, the rebels' eastern capital.

"The person who carried out the assassination was captured," a somber looking Abdel Jalil said without elaborating.
He added there would be three days of mourning in Younes' honour although his body has yet to be recovered.

Rumours circulated in Benghazi that Younes, Libya's former interior minister and number two in Gaddafi's regime prior to his defection in February, was arrested and killed by the rebels themselves after it was alleged his family still had ties with Gaddafi but these could not be confirmed by AFP.

The scenario that the rebels have started fighting among themselves could pose awkward problems for the many Western powers who have recognised the NTC as the sole legitimate authority in Libya.
Meanwhile, a Reuters report said the Czech Republic will not recognise rebels opposing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as Libya's official government until they control the entire country, Foreign Minister Karel

Schwarzenberg was quoted as saying yesterday.
"I may like them, but unless they control the whole country, I will not recognise them officially," he told newspaper Pravo in an interview. - AFP/Reuters.

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(HERALD) Deportations against SA interests

Deportations against SA interests
Saturday, 30 July 2011 02:00
By Mandisi Majavu

At the end of July 2011, the South African government plans to lift the moratorium on deportations to Zimbabwe and will probably start the deportation of all undocumented Zimbabweans living in South Africa.

Given the Minister of Home Affair's stated intent to begin ridding the country of undocumented people from other African countries after she is finished with Zimbabweans, it is more than likely that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is going to intensify its crackdown on all undocumented people after July 2011.
The irony is that in certain cases, the DHA is to blame for undocumented people in the country.

A recent research study undertaken by the People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (Passop) shows that scores of people are turned away on a daily basis from the Refugee Reception Office (RRO) in Cape Town, "rendering them undocumented through no fault of their own."

Passop monitored the RRO for two weeks between March 28, and April 8, 2011.
During this period, 1 659 people were tuned away for various reasons.

About 365 people were turned away because there were no forms for them and 363 people were turned away due to border pass issues.

Some people were turned away because

1. There were too many people to serve that day
2. They had no money to bribe officials,
3. They were at the wrong office,
4. For visiting the RRO on a wrong ‘nationality day'.

It is partly due to the factors highlighted above that the Passop report argues that the RRO in Cape Town is operating "under capacity" in comparison to the numbers of people applying for papers.

Instead of penalising immigrants for something that is beyond their control, the South African government ought to consider extending the concept of the Zimbabwe Dispensation Project (ZDP) to other foreign nationals from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

The Sadc region is moving towards a free trade area. Research shows that the opening up of national economies has largely been accompanied by the increased mobility of labour across borders.

Interestingly, the proposed Protocol on the Free Movement of People in the Sadc of 1995 had initially also put forward an "open borders" concept, ie Sadc citizens having free movement within Sadc.

Apart from the fact that the Sadc region is moving towards a free trade area, it is worth keeping in mind that immigrants from the Sadc countries helped build the South African economy.

Research also shows that South African mines (and the South African agricultural industry) depended on cheap foreign labour in order to make profits.

In fact, "mining has consistently been one of South Africa's most important industries, one of its biggest employers and the driving force of its industrial economy," contends Jonathan Crush, the director of the Southern African Migration Programme (SAMP).

SAMP research further shows that throughout the 20th century, at least 40 percent of the mine workforce was non-South African.

A research paper published by the Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM) in 2005 points out that by 1970, there were over 260 000 male labour migrants on South African mines.

Put differently, this means that hundreds of thousands of male migrants from the Sadc countries have spent the greater parts of their working lives in South Africa, argues Crush. These workers came from Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and Tanzania.

It was in recognition of this fact in 1995 that the post-apartheid South African government offered permanent residence to mineworkers from outside of the country who had been working on the mines since 1986.

Crush reports that 26,440 miners applied for permanent residence, but points out that the reason a small number of miners applied was twofold.

Firstly, miners were poorly informed about the first amnesty and had insufficient time to make their applications.

Secondly, the fact that the miners had to have served 10 years to apply is unjust given the 5-year limitation on SADC country citizens applying for permanent residence.

If all miners were to apply for a reopened amnesty, the results would be startling. Some 150 000 non-South African miners would be eligible.

Additionally, the GCIM's research paper reveals that many adults in SADC countries have either parents or grandparents who have worked in South Africa in the past.
"In every case, nearly a quarter or more people have grandparents who had worked in South Africa . . . About a quarter of the people in Namibia and Zimbabwe have parents who had worked in South Africa.

"So did 41 percent of Batswana, 54 percent of Mozambicans and 83 percent of Basotho."
It is this history that compels me to argue that the South African government ought to consider extending the concept of the ZDP to other foreign nationals from the Sadc region.
Based on the foregoing, people from the Sadc countries have political grounds to apply for South African papers that allow them to work and live in this country.
Their fathers and grandfathers, after all, were exploited, like all blacks in this country, by a white supremacist regime in order to build the South African economy.
In some cases, their fathers and grandfathers paid the ultimate price, dying from pneumonia and other lung diseases on the South African mines.

Perhaps it is worth noting that many people in the Sadc region live in poverty and view South Africa as a place with many economic opportunities.

Although South Africa has its own problems and challenges, the truth of the matter is that South Africa is the economic powerhouse in the region (some might argue on the whole continent).

In a policy written for the Economic Justice Network, Dale McKinley argues that Sadc member states have a population of about 250 million people and a combined GDP of some US$432 billion - 65 percent of which comes from South Africa alone.

Needless to point out, South Africa became the regional economic powerhouse that it is today partly on the backs of immigrant labourers from the Sadc who helped build the country's economy.

Is it unreasonable for people to want to share in the fruits of what they helped create? -

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(HERALD) MANHERU:- GBS: When donor dollar spews great dolour

MANHERU:- GBS: When donor dollar spews great dolour
Saturday, 30 July 2011 02:00

I empathised with Constantine Chimakure, editor of Trevor Ncube's Zimbabwe Independent, when Professor Jonathan Moyo ripped open his head to reveal to the world its penny-worth innards.

I thought the man of big book had hit below the belt and my empathy for the flayed editor subsisted, undiluted. After all human sympathies are always reserved for the underdog, and measured against the professor, Chimakure was one such.

One such until yesterday when I read the editor's memo, the little column he runs. Clearly the man is empty, empty, empty, empty! The cylinder is empty and rings loud and hollow. His big head is remarkably blunt, blunter than a mallet! I am sorry

The story of a brain-dead president

By itself, ignorance is not exactly a crime. There is so much of it in the world, which is surprisingly tolerant.

I vividly remember a dramatic encounter between the brainy Robert Mugabe and one American President who shall remain nameless. The only helpful hint I could give is that he is now formally and fully dead. He is the only human being I know to have been late for his eventual death. I will explain later.

Expectedly the Zimbabwean President had prepared for the encounter, budgeting for a decent engagement with the President of a superpower, then still balanced off rather tenuously by the Soviet Union.

Once the Zimbabwean leader had been presented before this mighty man, the American official managing the encounter cued his President to speak, and did so with the grace, efficiency and firmness of a conductor of an orchestra on trial.

What followed was an exquisite act that left me spellbound. Relying on neat notes, the American President addressed his Zimbabwean counterpart with the grace and lucidity of a master actor-king, an oracle-king.
The rendition was flawless. The rendition was remarkable, all put together so neatly, all delivered with contrived naturalness reminiscent of an actor in film verite. There was finality to this remarkable political speech act, a finality which I mistakenly attributed to the awesome power the American President wielded and knew he wielded.

The only day the President was slow
I must make an irreverent confession. For the first and only time, I saw my own President acting a bit slow. Mind trimmed, body taut, President Mugabe sought to respond to this powerful soliloquy from a man of great global power.

He sought to engage, daftly forgetting America had inserted him into a fictional world where he was the only reality, a passive one at that. America expected him to sit in the terrace, demure as a specimen audience. Insensibly, President Mugabe sought to break out of this preordained mould.
"Mr President, I thought I could respond to your thoughts by raising one or two issues relating to our region, Southern Afr . . . "
"Thank you very much President Mughabi. Unfortunately the President of the United States of America is pressed for time. I am afraid I have to call this off. I am sorry. Mr President, please!"

Willing suspension of disbelief
Both Presidents went up - one haplessly unfulfilled, another feeling thoroughly acquitted - and were firmly led to the door by this no-nonsense official who knew when to stop a "conversation", when to lead a visitor and his actor-President out of both "conversation" and White House.

So abruptly ended the encounter towards which we had invested 15 hard hours in the air, not to mention all else we had set aside back home, in Southern Africa, at the time burning.
On reflection, I reasoned that the President had forgotten one important rule for engaging the fictional world: you willingly suspend disbelief! Sadly he hadn't done that. Much worse, he had sought to engage an actor from his audience seat, to interrogate the chief protagonist bustling in the life-size, 3D screen!
Since that remarkable encounter, the Zimbabwean President keeps teasing himself about it, to much amusement.

The great American secret
America had installed a brain-dead man at White House as its President. But she knew how to make its dead-man-come-to-life President useful in executing the affairs of the Union.
Until such indiscreet revelations from cheeky interlocutors like President Mugabe, how many in this world knew that for two eventful terms, America had put the finger of a brain-dead man on the nuclear button? How many? And when his bodily death finally came, finally caught up with his earlier brain death, encomiums were said and written in his honour. Today he ranks among America's greatest statesmen.

Keeping one's fool
Light-hearted as this encounter may have been then, may be today, it taught me one thing: hold your own fool, hold him firmly so he fulfils a designated role, indeed so he has no time to become the fool he is, but the fool he should never be where there are people!

I suppose this is what Dell meant by "massive hand-holding". Of course he was referring to one of our own, to our own contribution to the commonwealth of dunces.
I have a feeling Trevor Ncube does not seem to know that once you hire a fool, you may not go to the beer garden sevamwe! More so when you perch the fool on the topmost plinth of a cerebral enterprise, which is what the media is. You have an obligation to mind him, studiously too!

Has Chimakure read successive amendments to AIPPA, all done by the three political parties in the spirit of the GPA and its quest for media reforms? And the constitutional amendment which capped this whole effort?

Does he know what that amended law says about the Media Council? Does he know who is in ZMC and how that Commission was constituted?
Does he know that the draft constitution is itself an assignment under the GPA, alongside many others including media reforms? That acts of Parliament do derive from, are subordinate to the supreme law called the constitution? That good public policy-making is well sequenced, that it always takes a firm cue from the supreme law of the land? That it should be cost-effective?

As I said ignorance is in itself not a crime, provided it goes cattle-herding, provided it knows its station and limits.
As I said ignorance is in itself not an admonishable crime provided it remains profoundly humble, mute even. In fact with that kind of demeanor, it could very easily pass for wisdom.
It is when it yells, rending apart the solemn silence of a sleeping village, that it becomes insufferable.

Here is a man who has sought and got employment in a cerebral industry, the media. We assume he has it upstairs. We assume he reads, reads, reads, especially well before he writes. For we are sure to judge him by his vocation, which is why Professor Moyo is dead right to place the boy kumakoto, pamwe nezvidhiidhii, the little birds.

When you become an editor, you must be literate, or at the very least knowledgeable. It is not a choice; it is a requirement. As readers we expect no less, won't complain any less against any show of ignorance, let alone one coming through in such repeated, gratuitous spurts.

When you swallow a pestle
No one is invoking standards of the nunnery to judge Chimakure. We are simply asking him to be properly qualified for what he has voluntarily chosen to do in his little life, namely to deal in knowledge, facts, ideas and viewpoints. He must do it well to deserve respect, to earn ululation from the village which expects and deserves so much from such a role.
For such a role, ignorance is execrable, more so when it puts on the shameless garb of impudence.

Why can't the man read? Why? A whole editor, getting it so wrong on a law that shapes his industry?
And where is his master, Trevor Ncube?

The Shona people have a very apt saying: when you choose to swallow a pestle, make sure the gullet knows. What is more, make sure you are sworn to sleeping straight and standing!
Trevor, you appointed the boy; please hand-hold him. Massively! Ndapota.

Our Malawi
Things have been happening in Malawi. Bad things, but things hugely instructive to our region.

Let me make it plain that Malawi is a sister republic and Zimbabwe is very close to that sister to the north of us, has been throughout our long history which saw us connected by the navel, thanks to the white federation.

After the demise of colonialism, Sadc came in to deepen that relationship. I don't need to refer to deep cultural ties that bind us, including the sporting dimension dominated by football.

In lighter moments, the President of Zimbabwe threatens his Malawi counterpart with total defeat on the pitch, threatening to unleash a formidable Zimbabwe national football team led by players of Malawi extraction, all to tight riffs from Zimbabwean bands, again led by the Zakarias, the Machesos, etc,etc.

This is how interconnected we have become, all to great mutual profit. Unhappy events in Malawi are bound to register as a sharp pull, a sharp tag on the navel.
Staggering to the brink

A week or so back, Malawi was in the throes of civil disturbances. All told, 18 people were reported dead.
The Government there showed a firm hand, with the President making it plain clear his constitutional mandate included ensuring order in the Republic. He would fulfil that requirement without hesitation, he threatened.

That appeared to jolt the national psyche, dousing what could have been raging fires of unrest, partly stoked by fuel shortages, electricity blackouts, against a general rise in the cost of living.

As Malawi staggered on the brink, elsewhere in the world pundits were gauging whether or not the Arab Spring had finally reached Southern Africa, sure to begin as a small smoulder in Malawi, sure to spread as a raging conflagration towards incendiary Zimbabwe, itself the priced trophy.

Yes the spring has broken out, said one group of such pundits; no it hadn't given that the causal factors are too localised to be exportable, said the other group.
And as this great learned altercation took place, neither side spared a thought for country, people and property, all burning! Who cared? After all this is a small, southern African black state!
Unrest in Eden

Of course for us brethren of the suffering, the dying even, we grappled for explanation. We still do.
The real danger is to be fascinated by gore, forgetting what lies beneath. Or pitying the plummage, while forgetting the dying bird.
Far more important than maudlin sentimentality, far more important than easy condemnations, whether of Government or the raging demos, is the need to surgically know when the rains started beating the Malawians.

The unrest which hit Malawi from 20 July never caused itself, much as the Arab spring pundits want to suggest local factors. Hardly two years ago, Malawi went to the polls and gave President waMutharika a massive landslide mandate. The President has presided over six years of high-paced growth, one underpinned by a spectacular agricultural rebound for which he has bagged awards.
We imported maize from Malawi, to meet our own needs here. Part of that imported maize is still to be paid, thanks to the bickering in our Inclusive Government.

I have been in Malawi repeatedly, all the time marvelling at how Bingu got our agricultural input package model, all to beat us hands down, using very small-scale farmers, mostly women, all using hand and hoe, against our own massive farms on which roars powerful machines that devours the earth.



(HERALD) Government to address cross-rate problems through policy

Government to address cross-rate problems through policy
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 20:44 Top Stories

THE Government would soon come up with a policy to control the issue of cross rate between the United States dollar and the South African rand, which has been blamed for price distortions and erosion of salaries especially for people in Bulawayo and its surroundings.

Presenting the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement yesterday in Parliament, Finance Minister Mr Tendai Biti said the cross rate issue was problematic and announced that Government would take sterner measures to control it.

“It is sad to note that there are unscrupulous traders who are exploiting the public over the exchange rate involving the US$ and the South African rand,” said Minister Biti.

“Cross-rate rate has become problematic. However, the Government is putting measures to control the issue and with effect from 1 September 2011, all the traders would be required to display their exchange rate figures clearly. We will also expect everyone to stick to the official rate.”

Minister Biti said the multiple currency system would remain in use as indicated in the recent Mid-Term Policy document. He said his ministry would soon present a document to the Cabinet for discussion regarding the issue of whether or not the country should join the Rand Monetary Union. Minister Biti said the Government was still engaging the United States government to have smaller denominations.

At the moment the smallest denomination used in the country is the US$1. Bulawayo residents who are among the worst affected by cross-rating, have on several occasions called on the Government to introduce a single currency system to avoid cross-rating. The problem comes against the background of the rand firming against the greenback. At the moment the exchange rate for the US dollar to the rand stands at around 1:7.

The residents have complained that cross-rating was eroding their salaries, which weakened their buying power. While most workers in the country are paid in US dollars, a majority of shops peg prices of their goods and services in rand. Commuter omnibuses also charge their services in rand while some landlords demand rentals in rand. At the introduction of the multiple currency system in March 2009, the rate was US$1:R10. It later on changed to 1:9, 1:8 and is now 1:7.

Illegal foreign currency dealing became a lucrative business during the 2007-8 hyperinflationary periods with foreign currency dealers popularly known as osiphatheleni occupying every street corner to cash in on desperate residents. The group was once known for driving flashy cars, eating from expensive restaurants and spending lavishly as they were literally running the economy and dictated the exchange rate.

The business, however, suffered a knock following the dollarisation of the economy, which stopped the transactions in Zimbabwean dollars. Most of the dealers were relegated to selling cell phone recharge cards, chicken feet and gizzards while some were forced to dispose of their fancy cars. However, the group is back on the streets of Bulawayo after diversifying their trade and some have resumed their flamboyant lifestyles. A number of them have become go-betweens in deals involving diamonds, gold and the procurement of passports and other important documents.-Chronicle.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) No empowerment feed-back from govt: Zimplats

No empowerment feed-back from govt: Zimplats
28/07/2011 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

THE government has not officially responded to empowerment proposals made by the country’s leading platinum mining firm Zimbabwe Platinum (Zimplats), the company's chief executive said on Thursday.

"We submitted our plan in terms of the law. The plan takes into account our agreement with government as well as community involvement," Alex Mhembere told Reuters, adding the company has yet to hear back from empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere.

Zimplats is 87 percent contrlled by South Africa-based Impala Platinum (Implats), the world’s second largest platinum producer. Implats also has a 50 percent interest in Mimosa Platinum Mine located in the Midlands town of Zvishavane.
"He (Kasukuwere) has not officially communicated to us," Mhembere said.

Mhembere’s comments come after Kasukuwere announced that all the 175 proposals submitted by companies had been thrown out after failing to meet the minimum requirements.

Foreign companies are required by low to localise control of at least 51 percent of their shareholding as part of measures aimed at economically empowering the country’s historically disadvantaged black majority.

But Kasukuwere said most of the proposals submitted to his office fell far short of the minimum threshold with companies offering around 26 percent equity and the balance in a combination of so-called social credits that include investing in local communities’ development.

Zimplats has particularly come under attack from the government with President Robert Mugabe accusing the company of looting from the country.
“Zimplats has never given us any substantial money,” Mugabe said early this year.

“They are taking all the money to South Africa that’s why I have told (Empowerment Minister Saviour) Kasukuwere to deal with those mines.

The company had a prior deal with the government under which it gave up part of its mineral resource base in return for empowerment credits and wants the arrangement to be considered as part of its overall compliance plan.
The government is resisting the proposal.

A proposed US$450 million expansion programme which will see platinum production boosted by 90 000 ounces to reach annualized output of 270 000 ounces will, however, not be affected by the indigenization dispute, company officials insist.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) The future of U.S. - Zimbabwe relations

COMMENT - Ambassador Charles Ray is among the most sinister of liars. I cannot believe anything he says, since he denied the existence of his country's economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. He has lost all credibility. I do not forgive lying by public servants.

The future of U.S. - Zimbabwe relations
29/07/2011 00:00:00
by Ambassador Charles Ray

The following is a speech by the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles A. Ray at a SAPES Trust Dialogue discussion on 'The Future of U.S.-Zimbabwe Relations' in Harare on July 28, 2011:

Thank you, Ibbo [Mandaza], for your kind introduction.

Officials of the Government of Zimbabwe,
Political party leaders,
Members of Parliament,
Captains of industry,
Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

IT IS an honor and a pleasure for me to be the featured speaker of today’s Dialogue on the Future of U.S.-Zimbabwe Relations. The question of U.S.-Zimbabwe relations is timely yet complex; it is the subject of extensive public debate and speculation. If pursued in the right way, it can provide a foundation for a renewed partnership based on mutual respect and common interests that can render both of our countries more stable and prosperous.

Still, standing before you today, I recognise fully that the future of U.S.-Zimbabwe relations is not just a matter in the hands of the United States. Standing before you as the sole speaker tonight, I am at a bit of a disadvantage and am able to provide just one side of the story. It is like hearing about the future of a marriage, with just the husband providing his thoughts; like the path forward in a friendship, from one single perspective; or the prospects of a joint venture by just one business partner.

Fundamentally, though, I stand here before you today recognising fully that the future of U.S.-Zimbabwe relations depends just as much on the intentions, actions, and communication of Zimbabweans – within the government and the public alike – as it does on the intentions, actions, and communication from American counterparts. And so, it is with that disclaimer that I will share with you all tonight, my thoughts, and the sincere intentions of my government, on where we would like to see this relationship go in the months and years to come.

I will be among the first to recognise that the bilateral relationship today is like a dysfunctional friendship or a faltering joint venture. Despite a strong initial foundation, both sides have made mistakes along the way. Both sides have hurt, and have been hurt. From both sides, our actions and words have, at times, sought to cause pain.

And, for a while, we were so steeped in our respective roles of sniping and accusing that we lost sight of the bigger, broader areas of collaboration and our mutual interests. Some of us – on both sides – cut off communications at exactly the time when we needed to be communicating more. As we reduced our interactions, nuance became the first casualty. We adopted more absolutist vocabulary. Increasingly we spoke about “They always do this…,” “they are all this way…,” or “we never do that.”

Over time, parts of the bilateral relationship showed signs of distress. Through our actions and public statements, we seemed to actively cultivate a loss of confidence between each other. While the people-to-people relationships between our two great countries has continued to thrive, at the government-to-government level both sides made mis-steps and both sides are deserving of a share of the blame for the degraded state of the formal bilateral relationship.
Today’s talk, however, is not about the history of U.S.-Zimbabwean relations, but rather the future of our relationship.

While we should maintain an honest and sincere perspective of where we have come from and learn from our mistakes, we must also recognise that we cannot change the past. Instead, we should focus on how to rebuild each other’s confidence to foster renewed relationships and refocus on a positive way forward.

We hear a lot these days about Zimbabwe’s “re-engagement” with so-called “western” countries. I tend to dismiss that phrasing, because we have never stopped engaging: we have always maintained full diplomatic relations, Zimbabwe has always had a full Ambassador in Washington and I represent an unbroken continuum of Ambassadors here dating back to independence.

But, given the clear degradation of the quality of our government-to-government relationship, instead of focusing on “re-engagement,” instead I think what is most important now is “recultivating our partnership.” That, I believe, should be the first step in “The Future of U.S.-Zimbabwe Relations.” As a first step in that effort, it may be worth debunking some misperceptions and clarifying with complete candour some key perspectives from the U.S. side:

* The U.S. does not favor any one party over another in Zimbabwe. We want to see an environment where all parties have the same ability to present themselves to the public and to compete to represent the people in government.
* The U.S. wants to see a non-violent and credible electoral contest and for the people’s will to be honored.
* It is not for the U.S. or any other outsider to dictate or influence who should make up the government; that is for the Zimbabwean people alone to decide. As long as the process is credible and respected, we do not care which party wins. Let me repeat that: “We do not care which party wins, as long as the process is legitimate.”
* The U.S. fully believes that Zanu PF will, and should, continue to play an important role in Zimbabwe’s future; we are not anti-ZNU PF and we do recogniSe the many achievements that Zanu PF has had over the decades for the good of the Zimbabwean people.
* At the same time, we believe that MDC-T, MDC-N, and other political parties also have critically important roles to play – possibly in leading, but certainly in contributing to the country’s future. We value the role of these parties to ask tough questions, to propose alternative views, and to challenge the way things have always been done.

* We recognise the value of the coalition government arrangement in bringing diverse views together and we respect the government officials who have engaged across party lines to foster Zimbabwe’s current recovery.

* Just as we recognise that there are destabilising extremist elements in each of Zimbabwe’s political parties, we also recognise that there are progress-minded patriots in all parties across the political divide. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate closely with those committed to building strong national institutions and moving the country forward, and we will continue to work to minimise the negative effects of those intent on circumventing the rule of law.

* We will continue to press for the protection of human rights and accountability for those who abuse them while acknowledge progress where it is made.

* We fully recognise the opportunities presented by Zimbabwe’s current economic recovery and the U.S. is actively working to draw the attention of U.S. business to trade and investment opportunities here.

* Finally, as Zimbabwe’s political parties implement fully the commitments that they themselves have made in the Global Political Agreement, as state institutions are delinked from partisan allegiances, and as credible elections are held and honoured, there will be no reason for the United States to retain our current sanctions policy in place.

I do not think that any of these objectives is terribly contentious. I would argue that those most likely to feel concerned when they hear some of these statements are those who recognise the illegitimacy of their positions of privilege or who recognise the abuses of authority in their own records. Still, each of these positions is fully consistent with the constitution and laws of Zimbabwe and I believe fundamentally that the overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans – in politics and otherwise – can agree to these principles.

Putting all of this together, I can easily envision U.S.-Zimbabwe relations in the not-too-distant future that are comparable to U.S. relations with any other partner in the community of nations:

* Open flows of communications where we can share ideas, express concerns, applaud progress, and disagree without being disagreeable;
* A strong development assistance program in which U.S. assistance supports intrinsically the government’s development agenda and is devised in close consultation with the Zimbabwean government;
* A gradual transition from foreign-assistance-to-a-developing-partner to robust economic-relations-with-a-prosperous-partner;
* Vibrant trade and investment linkages with goods, services, experts, and tourists flowing freely between our countries; and
* No sanctions or restrictive measures in place because the rule of law is protected by strong state institutions and respected across the political spectrum.

The next question, of course, is how do we get from where we are today, to this next stage in U.S.-Zimbabwean relations? Again, I will address this from the side of the intent and efforts of the United States.

The U.S. operates from the fundamental assumption that the people and governments of both the United States and Zimbabwe want to see a stable and prosperous Zimbabwe. To achieve that goal, the U.S. focuses on several major areas: developing and bolstering democratic institutions, fostering economic growth and trade, supporting the provision of social services, and providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations. In pursuing these efforts, we will continue to operate exclusively in line with the law and constitution of Zimbabwe as established through the will of the Zimbabwean people.

Since these notions are still a bit vague, let me lay out some examples. I mentioned that we are working to develop and capacitate democratic institutions. As with many countries, the United States’ approach to development is informed significantly by our own experience of best practices that have worked in our country. Over our 235 years of experience we have seen that stability and good governance comes through a transparent and accountable political system with checks and balances on power and robust outside oversight through civil society and the media.

We have learned that when the strict differentiation between the political party, the government, and the institutions of the state are breached the public’s interest begins taking a back seat to vested interests of those in positions of power. We have learned this through trial and error in devising remedies to the abuses of the system that have been attempted over the years. These same protections: checks and balances; a watchdog role by the non-governmental sector; and the differentiation between party, government, and state, are all also provided for under Zimbabwe’s laws and constitution.

With fewer years of experience as an independent state, more limited resources, and two decades of Zimbabwe’s post-independence history as a de facto one-party state, some democratic institutions in Zimbabwe have not thoroughly matured or even been established yet.

A major thrust of U.S. efforts in and with Zimbabwe is to support these foundation institutions: an activist parliament, independent courts, a responsible media, a professional electoral commission, an apolitical military, transparent civil society organizations, a non-partisan police force, skilled regulatory bodies, and the like. These are institutions that Zimbabweans – and the Zimbabwean government – have established. They were established for a reason. We are not interested in imposing our way on any of these groups and we fully understand that Zimbabwe’s democracy will have its own character and will not be a duplicate of any other specific model from the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere.

But still, these Zimbabwean institutions are only as good as they can fulfill their mandates. So the role of the U.S. partnership is to provide resources, expertise, recommendations, and public goodwill to embolden and to enable these institutions to play their role.

Let’s be clear, strong institutions make taking actions more difficult and lengthier. While often frustrating, our experience has been that that frustration is more than a reasonable cost to incur in order to experience the benefit that these institutions bring in preventing any one group from taking advantage of the broader society.

President Obama would almost certainly find it easier today to just lift the U.S. debt ceiling, rather than have to negotiate a compromise with Congress. President Nixon certainly was not a fan of a free press when the Washington Post broke the story of Watergate. Whites in the southern United States certainly were not impressed with the Supreme Court when it ruled that segregation of the races was unconstitutional. Don Rumsfeld certainly did not appreciate civil society’s insistence on establishing an investigation into events at Abu Graib.

Strong democratic institutions made life difficult for these individuals, but the views of Obama, Nixon, Rumsfeld, or southern whites were not the only views that mattered and history has shown time and again that by having these institutions in place has made the country better off. Similarly, there are, and will continue to be, those in Zimbabwe who are less than thrilled with the extra scrutiny that their actions face as the country’s institutions become more robust. It will be inconvenient. And our support to those institutions is not meant or designed to inconvenience or penalise those individuals. Instead, it is designed to serve the country and its citizens more broadly through the laws and institutions that Zimbabweans have put in place.

Another issue that I believe would contribute to a stronger future relationship is if both sides fostered a more open and issue-oriented communications environment. Too often in the past, we have talked “at” each other rather than with each other. In an environment where all points of view can be freely expressed and candidly discussed we can make real progress. Stifling opposing points of view, or views with which we disagree; stifling free speech, only makes us all less well informed.

I can think of no better way of putting this than was expressed by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in his inauguration speech before the Iranian Parliament in 1997, when he said, “The most stable and lasting system is the one which creates the least limitations to freedom of expression. In my view, freedom means freedom of thought and security to express those thoughts without fear of prosecution.”

He went on to say, “A government’s authority is not realised by coercion or arbitrariness, but by legal acts, by respect for rights and by encouraging people’s participation in decision making. People must believe that they have the right to determine their own destiny and that there are limits to government. We must try not to impose our personal preferences on our society at all costs. The government should even protect the rights of its opponents."

If we can square this circle, we will go a long way to establishing a relationship that addresses our mutual interests and needs in a credible way.

I mentioned the U.S. focus on fostering economic growth in Zimbabwe and the expansion of trade and investment ties between our two countries.
Now I know, I know, many of you are out there saying “oh come on, we all know about your sanctions.”

Yes, it is true, Americans cannot do business with about 120 Zimbabweans, about 60 of the farms or companies they own, or a dozen public enterprises. But let me say that if this economy is that dependent on 120 people and a few dozen companies then we should be concerned about a lot more than just sanctions. And as soon as the parties honor their commitments under the GPA to allow for a return of the rule of law, once state institutions are separated from partisan allegiances, and once credible elections are held and honoured, there will be no reason to retain the few restrictions that are in place.

Still, the fact is that the economy is much more vibrant than just the contributions of these few people and companies. And, the U.S. is actively promoting Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. We have a highly successful loan guarantee programme to pump much needed capital back into the agricultural sector to promote food security and help return Zimbabwe to its rightful status as the breadbasket of the region. We are working in the dairy, poultry, coffee, tea, and niche horticulture sectors to add value to produce at the local level and establish market linkages within Zimbabwe and outside.

We are working within the Kimberley Process to reach a consensus agreement to allow for Zimbabwe to export certified diamonds from Marange while ensuring that the workers and local communities’ rights are respected.

One of the efforts that I am most excited about is my Embassy’s work in promoting more and better awareness among the American private sector of the huge opportunities that exist for both of our countries through expanded trade and investment relations. Earlier this year, my colleague and I attended a major international conference on doing business with Africa. Over the course of four days we spoke to hundreds of representatives from U.S., European, and African businesses and handed out information sheets that started with “Zimbabwe is Open for Business.”

Given the interest that we sparked from that event, we put on a trilateral business dialogue in conjunction with the Corporate Council on Africa and Business Unity South Africa where we brought together a dozen firms each from the U.S., South Africa, and Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls in June to talk about the opportunities for business here. We had Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Cargill, General Electric, and many other firms here to see for themselves the prospects for business in Zimbabwe.

Building on the success of that event, we are now working with the American Business Association in Zimbabwe – or ABAZ – to assemble a delegation of Zimbabwean business leaders to attend a U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Washington, DC. There, they will lead a day-long seminar on “Doing Business in Zimbabwe” that is expected to reach over 250 American firms and government officials.

These kinds of activities are only going to continue as we move forward. And, again, we are eager to work closely with the business community and Zimbabwean government across the political spectrum to find new and collaborative ways to build on these efforts for the mutual benefit of our two countries.

There is so much more that we are doing, but I am conscious of the time and want to allow plenty of time for discussion. And, let me just affirm that, beyond the political and economic engagement that I have detailed already, the U.S. will continue with our “bread and butter” activities and partnerships with the Zimbabwean people.

We will continue providing support for social service delivery and our commitment to work with this government and civil society to support the health sector, combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS, prevent the spread and effects of malaria, provide textbooks to schools, bolster the health sector institutions, and provide emergency assistance if and where it may be needed.

We will continue to advocate for the respect and protection of human rights, workers’ rights, and equal protection for women and children. We will continue to speak out when state prosecutors pursue politically-biased agendas and when the police are directed to serve as extensions of a party rather than institutions of the state. We will continue to monitor and bring to light all such abuses of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. And, let me be clear. We do not monitor and produce reports on these dynamics because we want to play “gotcha.”

We don’t do it because we want to support any particular party or perspective or because we want to score political points by casting blame. And, we certainly don’t do it because we think that we are devoid of these very challenges in the U.S.; we are not. Instead, we advocate for these issues because it is the right thing to do to make the country stronger. We advocate for the protection of rights because Zimbabweans themselves have decided to enshrine these rights and ensure for their protection in your own laws, constitution, and international obligations. We highlight abuses not to accuse, but to shed light on events so that they can be stopped. Our intentions are not malicious, but rather are to provide incentives – and often assistance – to help protect the human integrity of all Zimbabweans.

Of course, the United States is much more than just the United States Government or U.S. Embassy. People-to-people relations between our countries remain strong and I fully expect them to continue to flourish. Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 occurred in the age of television and when the American “baby boomers” were in their 30’s. As such, Zimbabwe’s independence still retains a prominent position in the memory of the American public who continue to feel goodwill toward the country and its people.

Americans remain in one of the top positions in terms of numbers of tourists to Zimbabwe. In the years to come, there are bountiful opportunities for further partnerships between religious communities, youth organizations, tourist travel, trade delegations, and the like. We can all play active roles in promoting such interactions.

And so, in summary, I fundamentally believe that the future of U.S.-Zimbabwe relations is bright. While the path will not always be smooth, there is no reason why it cannot always be on a positive trajectory. I see our relationship being punctuated not by restrictions or impediments, but by opportunities. The task is for each of us to seize them.

Whether you prefer thinking about “re-engagement” or “recultivating our partnerships,” the first step is dialogue. As the personal representative of President Obama in Zimbabwe, I take very seriously his position of extending an open hand despite past disagreements. The benefits of a better relationship are well worth the at-times-uncomfortable conversations that may ensure. Still, the people of both of our countries deserve better. And so, my message is the same to our closest of friends and to those with whom we have had the most conflicted of relationships:

If you are coming from a position of sincerity and respect, my hand is open, my door is open, and my mind is open. Let’s have those tough conversations. When we must, let’s disagree, but do so without being disagreeable. When we can, let’s collaborate to advance our common interests. But let us re-open those lines of communication that have closed and rebuild the bridges of mutual confidence that we have allowed to fall into disrepair for the people of both of our great nations.
Thank you.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) No empowerment feed-back from govt: Zimplats

No empowerment feed-back from govt: Zimplats
28/07/2011 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

THE government has not officially responded to empowerment proposals made by the country’s leading platinum mining firm Zimbabwe Platinum (Zimplats), the company's chief executive said on Thursday.

"We submitted our plan in terms of the law. The plan takes into account our agreement with government as well as community involvement," Alex Mhembere told Reuters, adding the company has yet to hear back from empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere.

Zimplats is 87 percent controlled by South Africa-based Impala Platinum (Implats), the world’s second largest platinum producer. Implats also has a 50 percent interest in Mimosa Platinum Mine located in the Midlands town of Zvishavane.

"He (Kasukuwere) has not officially communicated to us," Mhembere said.

Mhembere’s comments come after Kasukuwere announced that all the 175 proposals submitted by companies had been thrown out after failing to meet the minimum requirements.

Foreign companies are required by low to localise control of at least 51 percent of their shareholding as part of measures aimed at economically empowering the country’s historically disadvantaged black majority.

But Kasukuwere said most of the proposals submitted to his office fell far short of the minimum threshold with companies offering around 26 percent equity and the balance in a combination of so-called social credits that include investing in local communities’ development.

Zimplats has particularly come under attack from the government with President Robert Mugabe accusing the company of looting from the country.

“Zimplats has never given us any substantial money,” Mugabe said early this year.

“They are taking all the money to South Africa that’s why I have told (Empowerment Minister Saviour) Kasukuwere to deal with those mines.

The company had a prior deal with the government under which it gave up part of its mineral resource base in return for empowerment credits and wants the arrangement to be considered as part of its overall compliance plan.

The government is resisting the proposal.

A proposed US$450 million expansion programme which will see platinum production boosted by 90 000 ounces to reach annualized output of 270 000 ounces will, however, not be affected by the indigenization dispute, company officials insist.

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(HERALD) Conservation farming takes root in Zaka

Conservation farming takes root in Zaka
Friday, 29 July 2011 02:00
By Obert Chifamba recently in ZAKA

MANY communal farmers in Zaka district in Masvingo have switched from conventional land tillage practices to zero tillage. They say this is more reliable than the former in the face of adverse weather conditions.

In a recent tour of the district, The Herald discovered that the majority of the farmers had already started digging planting basins in their fields ahead of the 2011/12 agricultural season.

However, a few were still sticking to draught power and using oxen to winter plough their fields. Mr George Zvemhara of Chimedza Village under Chief Ndanga, whose family was busy digging basins, said the non-governmental organisation, CARE had introduced the method to them.

He said many families had improved their yields after adopting the new farming method.

"Our yields have vastly improved and we are now reaping adequate grain for our domestic purposes. We have been doing this for the past three years.

"Last season I even held a maize field day. I had an acre and a quarter that yielded one and half tonnes, which is enough to feed my family until the next harvest," said Mr Zvemhara.

He said conservation agriculture had come as a blessing to his community as most of them had no resources to buy fertilisers and enable them to salvage some grain even in very difficult seasons.

"The method also allows those who do not have draught power to plant with the first rains as they only need to dig their planting basins during the dry season and wait for the rains," he explained.

A Zaka district Agritex officer concurred.

"This area falls under natural farming region 3 that has an average annual rainfall of 650 mm and above but very erratic in most cases so the method allows farmers to beat planting deadlines.

"It also helps control soil erosion and promotes the use of minimal moisture, which is good in the face of the current global warming challenges.

"With this method the farmer only disturbs the soil where he intends to plant and leaves the rest of the land untouched, which allows it to re-gain its old structure," said the Agritex official who preferred to be anonymous.

Additionally, the method promotes the efficient use of manure as only the planting station receives either the manure or fertiliser, he said.
He, however, said the method was labour intensive and needed farmers to have reliable sources of manpower.

"But farmers seem to have found an answer to this challenge and are working in groups. They use their numbers to make the task less cumbersome," said the official.



Preparing for Sept 20

Preparing for Sept 20
By The Post
Fri 29 July 2011, 14:00 CAT

Now that the election day has been announced, September 20, 2011, we are conscious of the crucial role which each individual citizen should play in choosing the leaders who will create the Zambia we want to live in. The voters should use their votes for the good of Zambia, as opposed to the good of a particular political party, group or individual.

Voters should vote for the candidates who have proved themselves accountable to the electorate, for the common good. They should choose a representative who is courageous in defending truth and justice for all, who is completely honest in fulfilling public and private responsibilities.

All our voters should use their votes to make sure that the right person is elected. Not to vote may mean the wrong person being elected. If one cannot in good conscience vote for a candidate that meets the required standards, one should not vote for that candidate, whatever the consequences.

Parliament should not have members who let us down morally and intellectually.

We urge all our voters to vote according to their conscience, in accordance with the highest human values without allowing themselves to be pressured or dictated to by some godfathers, by bribes, threats, self-interest and so on and so forth. We should vote freely, we cannot accept zones, sole candidates, family succession and so on and so forth.

There is need for us to keep and respect the secrecy of the vote. Both before and after the vote, the voters should not state or expect others to state the way they voted. This is the only way that complete personal freedom may be safeguarded.

We welcome Rupiah Banda’s call on all political parties and all candidates, be they at councillor, parliamentary or presidential level, to conduct themselves with integrity, honour and fairness during the campaigns. We agree with Rupiah that “Zambia has no need for lies, smears, political thuggery and negative campaigning”. If the spirit of what Rupiah is saying were to animate all our political parties and all our candidates, we would not witness the wrangling, bickering, lies, slander, malice and power struggling which leaves the public dismayed and disheartened.

It is easier to say good things than to do good. Rupiah as a key facilitator of these elections, should realise that he has a serious responsibility to match his actions and deeds with his words, the beautiful words he has expressed. As a facilitator of the elections, Rupiah should ensure that the concerns of all key players are adequately addressed. There are concerns being raised about the printing of ballot papers. There are key political players who strongly feel that the way the ballot papers are going to be printed opens great possibilities for rigging. These fears should not be simply dismissed. There is need for Rupiah to sit down with these key political players and ensure that their concerns are adequately addressed.

As we have stated before, it does not help to call for peaceful, free and fair elections when one is conducting oneself in a manner that creates conditions for suspicion, conflict and unfair competition. To have peaceful, free and fair elections, certain conditions have to prevail in our country and in our hearts. There ought to be a conducive atmosphere. Rupiah has to agree with the key opposition on the conditions under which these elections will be held.

Rupiah says Zambia has no need for lies, smears, political thuggery and negative campaigning. This is true, Zambia indeed has no need for that type of election campaigning. But unfortunately, Rupiah and the political party he leads, are the worst culprits when it comes to lies, smears, political thuggery and negative campaigning. Just the other day Rupiah was praising the lies, smears and negative campaigning that his agent, Chanda Chimba, has been carrying out.

Even Rupiah himself knows very well that the campaign programmes they have been running with Chanda are anchored on lies, smears and negative campaigning. There is no truth, there is no fairness, there is no decency in these campaigns of theirs. But these are things Rupiah and his friends have been supporting and financing. One wonders if Rupiah really means what he said. Of course we know what Rupiah read yesterday was a product of speechwriters, spin-doctors trying to make him look and sound statesman-like, trying to make him look and sound good.

Rupiah doesn’t seem to believe in any of those things. Rupiah has never conducted his campaigns on those lines. Where is the fairness in Rupiah’s abuse of the state-owned and government-controlled media? One who is fair cannot use institutions and services that should be available to all others to their total exclusion. Where is the honour in Rupiah’s deriding and insulting of others, calling them mambalas and all sorts of names? Where is the integrity in Rupiah’s abuse of government resources and facilities to keep himself in power?

If this statement demonstrates a change of heart on Rupiah’s part to do that which is right, then we stand a very good chance of having elections that are peaceful, free and fair.

However, we shouldn’t deceive ourselves. Rupiah is not going to change so easily and so quickly. What may help change Rupiah is only the position the great majority of our people take on these issues; their rejection of lies, smears, political thuggery and negative campaigning. If Rupiah realises that there will be no political profit in engaging in these practices, then he will have no choice but to do that which he thinks will gain him votes.

Rupiah should not be allowed to conduct these elections in a manner that puts others at an unfair disadvantage. There ought to be transparency in everything, including the printing of ballot papers. The only thing that should be secret should only be the act of voting itself.

Rupiah says “we do not want these elections to be marred with irregularities,” and reminds “all Zambians that election observers will be invited and that the eyes of the world will be upon us”.

A fundamental element of democracy in any society is the space given to freely choose leaders in a free and fair election. Free and fair elections in choosing leaders are absolutely necessary in a democratic process. It is sad when elections are marred with unfairness and irregularities. It is essential for Rupiah to ensure that the forthcoming elections are not marred with unfairness and irregularities. Respect for human dignity requires that elections are conducted well.

Elections should never be a matter of fraud or coercion since that would break the sacred character of democracy. It is also not enough to invite observers but refuse to allow them to do that which they need to do to ensure effective, efficient and orderly monitoring. In this regard, election observers require parallel vote tabulation for them and others to ensure that tallying of vote totals is conducted as openly as possible and there is an effective and efficient verification mechanism in place. This is needed so that citizens are confident that the results are accurate and that the government that results from these elections does, indeed, rest upon their consent and the election result is a true reflection of the will of the people.

The forthcoming elections will provide all Zambians with a unique opportunity to show their political maturity and their sincere aspirations for peace and harmony anchored in justice.