Monday, June 03, 2013

(MnG SA, SAPA, AFP) NUM leader shot dead in front of Lonmin mine
03 Jun 2013 14:47 Sapa-AFP

A National Union of Mineworkers leader has been shot dead and another wounded at a Lonmin platinum mine in South Africa, says the union.

Deadly violence, illegal strikes and union infighting have plagued South Africa's restive platinum belt since last year. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The violence comes amid heightened tensions after deadly strikes at the platinum mine last year.

The local shaft leader "was killed in front of the union offices," said National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) regional spokesperson Mxhasi Sithethi.

The shootings at the Marikana mine near Rustenburg, north-west of Johannesburg, follow the assassination of a leader from NUM's rival union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), last month.

Last August, police shot dead at least 34 people in a single day at the Marikana mine.

On Monday, two unknown men approached the NUM leader at around 10am and fired at him, said Sithethi.

"There was no confrontation. Nothing," he said. "He ran back to the office. They followed him and killed him."

The victim, whose identity has not been released, suffered at least two gunshot wounds to the head. The attackers then shot the union treasurer at least six times when he confronted them, said Sithethi.

The treasurer is in a "critical condition" in hospital, according to NUM's secretary general Frans Baleni. The police weren't immediately available for comment.

Threshold rights

On Monday, Business Day reported Lonmin had agreed to grant union threshold rights to the Amcu, shutting rival NUM out of collective bargaining.

Lonmin human resources head Abey Kgotle told Business Day that the company agreed during negotiations at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration that it would set threshold rights of 35% for basic rights and 45% for collective bargaining and rights to full-time shop stewards. Rights for a majority union would stand at 50%.

A trade union would need to achieve these levels of representation in the workforce for it to enjoy the specified rights.

Amcu currently represented 70% of unskilled workers and machine operators in bargaining unit one, Business Day reported.

This meant that the NUM would not have organisational rights among the low-skilled workers.

Lonmin operations has been a battleground between Amcu and the NUM, whose members now made up only 20% of the workforce. – AFP, Sapa

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Russian fixer handed rich platinum concession
02/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

A RUSSIAN fixer handed an “exclusive licence” to develop the Darwendale platinum deposits in 2006 has said he is ready to bail-out and sell his shares on the open market if the multi-million dollar project fails to get off the ground.

Alexander Chepik’s Center for Business Cooperation with Foreign Countries partners the Zimbabwean military a joint venture which was established to develop the country’s second biggest platinum mine at Darwendale.

But several years after Ruschroome Mining – headed by defence ministry permanent secretary, Martin Rushwaya - was formed, Chepik says he is still looking for investors to pump-in the US$350 million needed to get the project off the ground.

Darwendale is said to have proven platinum reserves of 19 tons and total resources of 755 tons taking into account other metals, such as palladium, gold, nickel, copper and others.

The state-owned Russian Technologies was, last year, also reported to have secured another concession in the area in exchange for military helicopters.

Ruschrome says it has so far invested US$10 million in preparing the ground at what is expected to be the country’s second biggest platinum mine after the Zimplats operation which is owned by South Africa-based Impala Platinum.

Chepik however told Russian media at the weekend that if efforts to find investors to help develop the project fail, he would initiate Plan B, which was to sell his shares on the open market.

The deal appears to have stalled after Chepik fell out with another Russian investor, the billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who pulled out, accusing Ruschrome of reneging on an agreement to sell a 50 percent stake in the project to his Renova Group.

Renova subsequently launched a legal challenge claiming that a German lawyer who received a $5 million fee after being recommended by Chepik’s firm failed to prepare the share sale contract between Renova's AfroAsia Consulting and Ruschrome.
Russia’s Trade and Industry Chamber mediation court however, dismissed Renova's claims.

Chepik told the Moscow Times newspaper at the weekend that Renova wanted to prepare the field at Darwendale for development and then sell it to other investors, a plan opposed by the Zimbabwean authorities.

And with the Renova deal now off the table, Chepik said he was targeting a possible partnership with Norilsk Nickel, Russia's leading platinum producer.

"They are a priority for us," Chepik he said.

A Norilsk Nickel spokeswomen said while the company was looking to invest in the country, including the Darwendale project, "no positive decisions have been made at this point in time."

Chepik also boasted about his ties with the local leadership and touted his role as a go-between for potential Russian investors. He warned Russian companies against by-passing his firm in their dealings with the country.

"Some Russian investors were trying to get around us, but it was not well-received within the government. Laws in Zimbabwe work better than in Russia," Chepik said.

The Russian businessman also spoke of his admiration for President Robert Mugabe saying: "I am fascinated by him. He is an articulate man with a great sense of style and a sharp memory. He never forgets anything."

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(NEWZIMBABE) Ill-informed statement exposes Tsvangirai
02/06/2013 00:00:00
by Jonathan Moyo

LAST Friday’s landmark decision by the new-look, nine-member Constitutional Court ordering President Mugabe to issue a proclamation as soon as possible fixing the date of the next harmonised elections to be held by July 31 has exposed political charlatans, media, NGO and diplomatic ignoramuses whose misguided but determined efforts to plunge Zimbabwe into a constitutional crisis have come to grief under the weight of the rule of law.

The vain hope of these charlatans and ignoramuses led by Morgan Tsvangirai was to stampede Sadc on June 9 into enabling the barons of regime-change to derail the impending electoral defeat of the MDC formations by precipitating fresh negotiations for a non-elected and thus undemocratic GPA government without a Parliament under the cover of what would have been an unprecedented period of unconstitutionality, disorder and chaos following the expiry on June 29 of the terms of office for President Mugabe, Parliament and local authorities.

Against this backdrop, and in view of the fact that critical sections of the new Constitution - including one setting up a new Constitutional Court with wide ranging jurisdiction - came into effect on its publication day on May 22, it is a matter of national pride that the rule of law is alive and well in Zimbabwe. In particular, it is most welcome that the new Constitutional Court has started on a historic note by stamping its undisputed authority as the only competent arm of the State with the constitutional power to interpret the law and to make any necessary orders to ensure the observance thereof.

Sadly, the fact that it is the duty and responsibility of the Constitutional Court to interpret the law has been lost to Morgan Tsvangirai whose days as Prime Minister are now seriously numbered as he begins to understand the meaning of the prophetic words of his autobiography that he is indeed “At the Deep End” facing drowning at the polls to be held by July 31. In yet more proof of his trademark that when he is not indulging in his open zip shenanigans, he is wont to be opening his mouth with a shut mind, Tsvangirai rushed into issuing a pathetic Press statement after the decision of the Constitutional Court last Friday with preposterous claims that “. . .today’s ruling by the Supreme Court (sic.) setting an election date is evidence that the court has overstepped its mandate”.

As if this was not bad enough, Tsvangirai also claimed that “. . .but section 63(4) [of the Constitution] is clear that the executive can continue for a maximum of 4 months, which means an election has to be held by 30 October 2013”. Besides the fact that section 63(4) does not saying anything of the sort, it is ridiculous for Tsvangirai to say or believe that the Constitution interprets itself or that his interpretation of the law is superior to that of the Constitutional Court. Tsvangirai’s statement was as thoughtless as it was unfortunate and it has given powerful evidence that he is not leadership material in a constitutional democracy based on the rule of law.

As such, Tsvangirai’s ill-informed Press statement has three pervasive fallacies which must be unpacked to expose them for the lies that they are. It is a lie that the judgment which is the subject of Tsvangirai’s Press statement came from the Supreme Court. It is also a lie that the judgement set an election date as claimed by Tsvangirai.

Still further it is yet another lie that the Constitutional Court does not have a mandate to order and direct President Mugabe to proclaim as soon as possible a date(s) for the holding of Presidential election, general election and elections for members of governing bodies of local authorities by July 31 in terms of s 58(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It is now clear beyond rational disputation that Tsvangirai and lies have become inseparable such that whatever Tsvangirai says cannot be trusted without verification.

Tsvangirai’s Friday claim that “. . .the ruling by the Supreme Court (sic.) setting an election date is evidence that the court has overstepped its mandate” is flawed on three grounds which expose his lies.

In the first place, by ignorantly referring to the Constitutional Court as the “Supreme Court”, Tsvangirai displayed the fact that he clearly did not know what he was talking about with regard to the new constitutional dispensation which took root on May 22 under the new Constitution.

If Tsvangirai had shut his mouth and opened his mind and checked the provisions of sections 166, 167, 168 and 169 of the new Constitution before issuing his rushed and thoughtless Press statement last Friday, he would have realised that Friday’s decision on the election date was made by the Constitutional Court and not by the Supreme Court. Since May 22 Zimbabwe has a new court system and it is a pity that Alex Magaisa continues to sleep on his job and is yet to “gaisa” this development around the courts for Tsvangirai’s consumption.

In the second place, Tsvangirai’s claim that the Constitutional Court (which he mislabelled as the Supreme Court) set an election date in judgement issued last Friday is total fiction unbefitting of the position and office he holds as Prime Minister. It is shameful and totally unacceptable for a whole Prime Minister to peddle lies about a very transparent and public fact that can be easily verified. The simple fact is that the Constitutional Court did not set an election date as falsely alleged by Tsvangirai. For the avoidance of doubt about what the Constitutional Court actually ordered in its historic decision, there are four key paragraphs in its thirty-something page judgment which

Tsvangirai must know and they are these: (1) It is declared that the harmonised general elections in terms of s 58(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe are due upon the dissolution of Parliament on June 29. However, due to the first respondent’s failure to issue a proclamation fixing the date for the forthcoming elections timeously, it is no longer legally possible to gold the harmonised elections on that date.

(2) It is declared that the failure by the first respondent to fix and proclaim date(s) for the harmonised general elections to take place by June 29 2013 is a violation of the first respondent’s constitutional duty towards the applicant to exercise his functions as a public officer in accordance with the law and to observe and uphold the rule of law in terms of s 18(1a) of the Constitution.

(3) It is further declared that by failing to act as stated above, the first respondent has violated the applicant’s rights as a voter and his legitimate expectation of protection of the law entrenched in s 18(1) of the Constitution.

(4) Accordingly, the first respondent be and is hereby ordered and directed to proclaim as soon as possible a date(s) for the holding of Presidential election, general election and elections for members of governing bodies of local authorities in terms of s 58(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which elections should take place by July 31 2013.

It is therefore plain from the fourth order of the Constitutional Court as reproduced above that nowhere in its judgement did the Court set an election date as outrageously claimed by Tsvangirai in his rushed Press statement issued immediately after the decision of the Court last Friday.

What is very clear is that the Constitutional Court “ordered and directed President Mugabe to proclaim as soon as possible a date(s) for the holding of Presidential election, general election and elections for members of governing bodies of local authorities in terms of s 58(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe” and that for legality and constitutionalism to be restored, these elections which in terms of the law should have been held on June 29 “should take place by July 31 2013”.

This means that the election date has not been fixed as it can only be fixed by President Mugabe in terms of section 58(1) of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court recognised this legal position, namely that it is not its business or responsibility to set an election date, and ordered President Mugabe to fix the election date(s) through a proclamation which he must issue as soon as possible and to ensure that the election date(s) he fixes are by July 31 2013. While Zimbabweans now know that the harmonised general elections should be held by July 31, they still do not know when the elections are within the timeline ordered by the Constitutional Court as that will be determined by President Mugabe through a proclamation which he is yet to issue.

In the third place, by claiming that the election judgement issued by the Constitutional Court last Friday overstepped the mandate of the Court puts paid to his fake grandstanding as a so-called champion of the rule of law. Whether the Constitutional Court overstepped its mandate is not something to be determined by someone who approaches national issues with an open mouth and a shut mind. It can only be found in the new Constitution upon which the jurisdiction of the new Constitutional Court is founded.

The jurisdiction of the nine-member Constitutional Court which determined the historic election matter last Friday is provided in section 167 of the new Constitution as follows: (1) The Constitutional Court – (a) is the highest court in all constitutional matters, and its decisions on those matters bind all other courts;

(b) decides only constitutional matters, and issues connected with decisions on constitutional matters, in particular references and applications under section 131(8)(b) and paragraph 9(2) of the Fifth Schedule; and

(c) makes the final decision whether a matter is a constitutional matter or whether an issue is connected with a decision on a constitutional matter.

(2) Subject to this Constitution, only the Constitutional Court may - (a) advise on the constitutionality of any proposed legislation, but may do so only where the legislation concerned has been referred to it in terms of this Constitution;
(b) hear and determine disputes relating to election to the office of President;
(c) hear and determine disputes relating to whether or not any person is qualified to hold the office of Vice President; or
(d) determine whether Parliament or the President has failed to fulfil a constitutional obligation.

(3) The Constitutional Court makes the final decision whether an Act of Parliament or conduct of the President or Parliament is constitutional, and must confirm any order of invalidity made by another court before that order has any force.

(4) An Act of Parliament may provide for the exercise of jurisdiction by the Constitutional Court and for that purpose may confer the power to make rules of court.

(5) Rules of the Constitutional Court must allow a person, when it is in the interests of justice and with or without leave of the Constitutional Court - (a) to bring a constitutional matter directly to the Constitutional Court; (b) to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court from any other court; (c) to appear as a friend of the court.

The jurisdiction of Zimbabwe’s new Constitutional Court has been reproduced here in full to enlighten Tsvangirai about the full powers and authority of the Court. It is clear from these powers and authority that the Court did not overstep its mandate as falsely alleged by Tsvangirai.

Subsection 1(c) of 167 provides that the Constitutional Court “makes the final decision whether a matter is a constitutional matter or whether an issue is connected with a decision on a constitutional matter”; while subsection 2(d) gives the Court the power to “determine whether Parliament or the President has failed to fulfil a constitutional obligation”.

In the circumstances, only a political charlatan or hopeless ignoramus can claim that the Constitutional Court overstepped its mandate. The bottom line is that, in terms of the doctrine of the separation of powers which Tsvangirai referred to in his Friday Press statement without showing that he understands it, only the courts can interpret the law.

The challenge or case before the Constitutional court was to interpret section 85(1) of the Constitution which provides that: A general election and elections for members of the governing bodies of local authorities shall be held on such day or days within a period not exceeding four months after the issue of a proclamation dissolving Parliament under section 63(7) or, as the case may be, the dissolution of Parliament under section 63(4) as the President may, by proclamation in the Gazette, fix.

The Constitutional Court interpreted section 58(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe to mean that the harmonised general elections are due upon the dissolution of Parliament on 29 June and that, because President Mugabe has not issued a proclamation fixing the date for the forthcoming elections timeously, it is no longer legally possible to hold the harmonised elections on that date. Accordingly, the Court ruled that President Mugabe should issue the required proclamation as soon as possible fixing a date for the harmonised elections which must be held by July 31 2013 in order to restore the constitutional position which currently stands violated.

In view of these facts, Tsvangirai’s conduct in response to the decision of the Constitutional Court has shown beyond doubt that he is a danger to the rule of law and is thus not fit to govern. Over the last four years, Tsvangirai has always put politics above the law and behaved as if, as an outcome of the 2008 harmonised elections, the GPA must now become a permanent foundation government to rule Zimbabwe by negotiations until chickens grow horns under President Zuma’s Sadc facilitation team some of whose loquacious yet clueless members like Lindiwe Zulu have shown a dangerous contempt of Zimbabwe’s Constitution.

It is heartening to note that Sadc is on record that the regional body will respect the decision of the Constitutional Court. What now remains to be seen is the promised respect because the Constitutional Court has spoken. Elections must be held by July 31. Full stop.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai not above the law: Madhuku
02/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chief, Lovemore Madhuku, has said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was liable to contempt charges after accusing the country’s top court of overstepping its mandate when laying down a timeframe for new elections.

Tsvangirai – who has been pushing for new elections to be delayed to September – slammed the Constitutional Court when it ruled Friday that the new polls must be held by July 31.

“(The) ruling by the Supreme Court setting an election date is evidence that the court has overstepped its mandate,” Tsvangirai said immediately after the ruling was handed down.

“The Supreme Court has no power whatsoever to set an election date. In the true spirit of separation of powers, an election date remains a political process in which the executive has a role to play.”
But Madhuku said Tsvangirai’s remarks showed the MDC-T leader and his party were “ignorant of the law.”

“It is clear that what the Prime Minister has done is contempt of court. There is no doubt about that. He now wants to be seen as being above the law,” Madhuku said in an interview with the Herald Newspaper

“These people (Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party) are just ignorant of the law. They can destroy anything that stands in their way of political ambition. If it is the Supreme Court they will throw it away. If it’s ruling without Parliament they can do that.

“This is a very dangerous attitude for the country. They must know that constitutionalism is to have a good constitution in place which you must follow. Decisions relating to legal disputes are resolved by the Courts and Courts alone.”

Harare lawyer Terrence Hussein, who represented Mugabe in the case added: “The suggestion that the court overstepped its mandate is absolute nonsense.

“If there is anyone overstepping their mandate, it is the Prime Minister who should know better than to challenge the legal authority of a constitutional body. The court has the authority to act in the manner it did.

“The highest court has made a determination. The only way to overturn that decision is by having an Act of Parliament nullifying that decision. No other authority, even SADC, can do anything about it.”

Tsvangirai, who had opposed plans by Mugabe for an early election, recently toured the region to urge SADC leaders to press his rival over the implementation of further reforms before the polls can be held.

The regional grouping – which has helped facilitate negotiations between the coalition parties – is due to hold a summit over the elections this month.

Madhuku however, said the court ruling meant that the summit would now only discuss ways of funding the elections.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said the country does not have the estimated US$130 million needed to finance the elections.

“(The SADC summit) can only discuss about other things but not the proclamation dates while principals can only discuss about the actual dates,” said Madhuku.

“At the end of the day under the current circumstances, it is better for Zimbabwe to have a bad election than having no elections at all.”

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(NEWZIMBABWE) I won’t be removed by Britain: Mugabe
02/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has said he won't step down because of pressure from Britain and other countries for a change in government.

“You want me to retire? You do not talk of retirement when elections are coming, do you?” the 89-year-old president told Kyodo News in an interview in the Japanese city of Yokohama where he was attending and a thre- day summit on African development.

Mugabe will lead his Zanu PF party in elections to choose a substantive government this year, replacing the coalition administration he formed with rival Morgan Tsvangirai after disputed polls in 2008.
The Constitutional Court ruled Friday that the elections must be held by July 31.

“Retirement will come when the occasion demands it. But just now we are going to fight to beat the sanctions and to disgrace the Europeans and the Americans who thought we will collapse,” Mugabe added.

"I've thought about retirement, but not when the British are saying we want regime change. I won't be changed by the British. My people will change me.

“I do not retire from their government (Europeans), I am a Zimbabwean serving Zimbabwean people. If my people say I must retire, I retire. But they still want me to go on.

“So, who is saying I must retire? The same enemies who imposed sanctions on me? That’s the more reason why I will not retire and will not die also.”
The veteran leader again lashed at Europe for imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“People of Europe are surprised why we are still alive,” he said. “They thought we were going to die, all of us, and this ‘monster’ called Robert Mugabe, they announced how many deaths of me? I don’t know now.

“I have ceased to count how many times they have said he has died, but here you are seeing me. I am not a ghost after dying so many times. A ghost of a ghost, of a ghost.”

He dismissed suggestions the sanctions under which he is banned from travelling to most Western countries had isolated him and his regime.

“The world’s two biggest countries China and India, over a billion people each, and the whole of Asia I can visit any country and so it’s not isolation,” he said.

“What do I have to do with those robbers of Europe? They lived on our natural resources, depended on our gold. Now they have exhausted their natural resources.

“Africa still has plenty of natural resources and my country still has plenty of natural resources.”

He also rejected allegations of electoral fraud and human rights abuses insisting the West had vilified his government for re-distributing land to the country’s majority blacks.

“They say I am a dictator because we took land from the Europeans. But we had an agreement with the British government that there would be land reform and acquisition,” said the Zanu PF leader.

“So, how does one become a dictator when one says we take our land because you do not want to pay compensation? We stand for people’s rights and don’t forget the people fought for the land and died for it.

“We had thousands of people killed in massive bombings; one incident claiming as many as 700 lives. We used to bury them in mass graves in Mozambique and Zambia.”

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Nevers accuses PF of forming a militia
By Kombe Chimpinde and Gift Chanda
Mon 03 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

NEVERS Mumba yesterday accused the PF of forming a militia comprising party cadres to sort out those opposed to its policies and governance.

Speaking at a briefing held at his residence in Kabulonga, Mumba challenged the PF to publiclly disband the alleged militia which he said was responsible for the incident that occurred on Friday.

Some members of civil society organisations, opposition political party officials and journalists who gathered at the Bible Gospel Church of Africa to pray against the removal of fuel and maize subsidies, were harassed and beaten by some unknown people.

Mumba said the act was done with the full knowledge of PF officials.
And Mumba said that the PF should consult the MMD over KCM's intention to lay off 2000 workers, because MMD had faced similar problems.
He also advised the government and KCM to dialogue and agree on the way forward stressing that nationalisation of the mines was not the solution.

And the MMD is asking Zambians to help rescue the party from bankruptcy through money donations.

MMD vice-president for political Michael Kaingu said yesterday in an interview that it would be Zambians that would help finance his party.

"We want to find the resources from the people of Zambia. Now that you people have realised that experimenting can be costly, it is important that you beef us up," Kaingu said when asked how his party hoped to raise funds to continue operating. "You people of Zambia must come back to us. We have the formula."

Last month, MMD chairperson for elections Kenneth Chipungu disclosed that the party was struggling to raise money to participate in the forthcoming by-elections.

Earlier, MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu said his party's sources of funds were drying up.

Nyangu said the financial constraints facing MMD would affect its survival because monthly contributions from members of parliament were not enough to sustain the party's operations.

Meanwhile, Kaingu said Zambians had an opportunity of backing MMD again following the PF's backtrack on campaign promises.

"We are seeing a paradigm shift from what they PF were saying during the election campaigns. They have increased fuel prices, prices of essential commodities have gone up. When they were campaigning they were showing that they were socialists but what we are seeing now is that they have moved away from socialism to capitalism," Kaingu said about the decision by the government to scrap consumption subsidies.

He also said it was regrettable that KCM planned to cut 2,000 jobs at its mine in Chingola.

Kaingu however said it would be disastrous for the government to nationalise the mine.

Kaingu said he did not expect the government to run the mines when it had failed to manage the agriculture sector in the country.

"It is unfortunate however that these 2,000 workers could lose their jobs, but we told them that this government has no capacity to run this economy. These problems at the mine are out of bad policies by the PF government," said Kaingu.

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UPND not interested in replacing HH - Kakoma
By Allan Mulenga in Lusaka and Lemmy Likando in Sinazongwe
Mon 03 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

THE UPND is not interested in replacing Hakainde Hichilema as party president, says party spokesperson Charles Kakoma. And Kakoma says the UPND does not only depend on Hichilema for financial support.

Meanwhile, Sinazongwe residents have pledged total support towards their expelled area member of Parliament Richwell Siamunene and have vowed to shame Hichilema by making sure that his party loses the seat once by-elections are held in the constituency.

Commenting on Siamunene's statement that the UPND should begin to look beyond Hichilema as party president for 2016 elections, Kakoma said he was hopeful that members would still elect Hichilema as party leader at the national convention.

"The UPND is not interested in replacing Hakainde Hichilema. We chose him as a leader and he remains there as party president. I am sure that when we go for the national convention, the people will still choose him as a leader of the party," he said.

Kakoma said UPND was ready to mount a serious challenge to the PF in 2016 elections.

"Siamunene is no longer a UPND member therefore he cannot speak on behalf of the party. He is a member of the PF practically. He has no moral rights to choose who should be leading the UPND. But there are no fortunes that the UPND is losing. Right now we are growing as a party," he said.

"Therefore, I do not see which fortunes he is talking about. If we expel him, it doesn't mean that the fortunes have gone down. The people in Sinazongwe are jubilating for expelling Siamunene."
Kakoma said UPND was not the party for Tongas alone, but for all Zambians.

"What he Siamunene is talking about is nonsense that Hakainde need to recruit Tongas. Hakainde is recruiting people from all over Zambia. Does it mean that he only needs to recruit Tongas. I don't follow that logic, he is actually thinking along tribal lines," he said.

"This party is not for Tongas. Dr Canisius Banda and Honourable Mutale Nalumango made correct decisions to join the party of the moment. Everybody is seeing the failures of the PF and they are aligning with the correct political force."

And Kakoma said the UPND does not only depend on Hichilema for financial support.

"There are a lot of members who contribute to the party; members of parliament; national management committee members and sympathisers all contribute to the party. Obviously, HH also contributes, but that is not to say that people should come to the party because they want handouts from Hakainde. It doesn't work like that," said Kakoma.

And the residents who on Friday gave Siamunene a thunderous welcome during his visit to the constituency to attend the burial of Mike Siamize, a UPND cadre who is also Siamunene's cousin who died last week in a road accident along the Livingstone Road have vowed to teach Hichilema a lesson.

Proceedings at the burial site almost came to a standstill when Siamunene's ministerial vehicle arrived at Sinanjola village where Siamize was buried much to the delight of the residents that gathered at the site.

Soon after the burial which was attended by Kalomo UPND member of parliament Request Muntanga who represented Hichilema, the residents who could not be controlled by the heavy presence of police officers thronged Siamunene encouraging him to stand strong and be rest assured that he had the support of the people in the area.

A resident, Kenny Sibanda was heard telling Siamunene that people in the area are so grateful to the government for initiating various developmental projects and that they will show appreciation by making sure that they voted for him now that UPND had expelled him.

Sibanda added that residents in the area are fed-up with the UPND which is expelling its members of parliament that have accepted to work with the government.


'Removal of subsidies will empower rural population'
By Cynthia Phiri in Choma and Noel Iyombwa in Chingola
Mon 03 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

COMMENT - More neoliberal, trickle down garbage. Removing subsidies will 'empower the rural population through the creation of value chain clusters'. Proof? - MrK

THE Choma Business Association says the government's bold decision to remove fuel and maize subsidies will empower the rural population through the creation of value chain clusters which will in turn create job opportunities.

And a Chingola-based businessman Mumba Soko says people should not look at the governments' move to remove subsidies on maize and fuel in a political manner but rather in an economic way.

In an interview, association chairperson Evans Chisenga said with the creation of value chain clusters across the country, the monies saved from subsides would bring economic empowerment to the locals through job creation.

Chisenga said subsidies had for a long time put the rural population at a disadvantage adding that it was time for all Zambians to get a fare share from the national cake.

And Chisenga has appealed to the government through the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) not to misdirect monies meant for the development of value chain clusters to other sectors.

He said CEEC should ensure that monies meant for a particular project were allocated to that project and not channelled to another.

"For instance, Choma has been allocated funds for the dairy, so once these monies are in, they should not be channeled to another sector, otherwise it will defeat the whole purpose," he explained.

Chisenga however noted with concern that most business people were into buying and selling of products rather than production.

He said there is need for CEEC to analyse all value chain clusters across the country to ensure that each district had a manufacturing plant of local products from within the area.

He said districts like Choma could also produce end products like yogurt and cheese among other milk products rather than just buying and selling milk.

"Once all the districts have manufacturing plants, a lot of jobs will be created and the talk of high unemployment levels in the country will be over," he said.

And Soko said for the government to remove the subsidies, it realised the benefit it would have on Zambia's economy.

He however expressed worry that the majority of Zambians especially those in rural areas did not understand the effects of subsidies on the economy adding that the government should have sensitised the mass.

Soko said those who were against the decision were dwelling on the short-term effect adding that it was a right decision and had been a long overdue.

Another businessman Ezekiel Musonda said the government should have first removed the subsidy on fuel then later on maize instead of removing them at the same time.

He also called on sensitising the people as the government did on the rebased currency.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Mugabe hero of African liberation
This article was written by Our reporter
on 2 June, at 16 : 33 PM

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is the greatest black statesman alive today in Africa. Greatness here must be evaluated on the criteria of whether the person who claims the position of leadership of his or her people against colonialism, apartheid and white rule has been able to guide the nation to greater liberation, dignity and independence.

If we judged only on these criteria, not on the whims of popularity gained from affability and praise by Europe and the US, then Mugabe stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Therefore, his comments on Nelson Mandela’s legacy need to be taken seriously. Today it can be said with a measure of confidence that Zimbabwe is the only liberated black nation in sub-Saharan Africa. This liberation has been archived through a long and ongoing battle, with lots of mistakes on the way. Mugabe has been able to maintain strategic inflexibility with brilliant tactical manoeuvres.

The strategic vision has been the return of land. The return of the land is a foundation to liberation in countries that suffered settler colonialism.

Zimbabwe under the leadership of Mugabe and Zanu-PF has now resolved the land question. In other words, they have returned land to Zimbabweans. Before the 2000 land occupation movement, only about 6 000 white settlers owned about 80 percent of the land. They controlled and dominated the agricultural economy.

Today, the picture is totally different, 245 000 blacks now own most of the land; add their families and the number is likely to be millions of beneficiaries. This is contrary to the lie that only Mugabe’s cronies received land. New evidence shows that those associated directly with the ruling party occupy less than 10 percent of the redistributed land.

Contrast that with South Africa where about 50 000 white families and trusts own more than 80 percent of the land. The ANC government guided by Mandela’s policy of reconciliation without justice has in the past 20 years managed to buy back a pitiful 8 percent of the land from “willing farmers”. At this rate it will take more than 100 years to buy back only about 30 percent of the land from whites.

The ANC’s “willing buyer, willing seller” policy essentially legitimises land dispossessions, unlike the Zimbabwean example where there was a sunset clause for such an arrangement. In SA it is self-imposed and protected by the constitution.

At the same time white farmers not only control the agricultural sector in SA but the very agricultural regime is racist, anti-black and environmentally harmful.

The cost of reconciliation without justice is seen even in how white farmers are allowed to poison the nation for profits. Blacks are fed GMO maize which is their staple food. Again, to the credit of political leadership of Mugabe, Zimbabwe has rejected GMO produce even when facing massive food shortages.

This has led to condemnation by the Western press who have portrayed Mugabe as a ruthless dictator who is starving his nation for fun. But it would seem principle is more important to Zanu-PF nationalists than the convenience of acceptability. It’s as if they say, “It’s better to die fighting than on one’s knees”. So when Mugabe says Mandela has been soft on whites at the expense of blacks he speaks a simple truth. He knows that the cost of liberation is condemnation. To be considered a saint in Western eyes is a curse black leaders should avoid like the plague.

The media has been biased in reporting on Zimbabwe since the height of the crisis, when land was returned. There was total silence on the underlying causes, such as the fact that after almost 20 years of independence Zimbabwe was struggling to get both the UK and US to honour the Lancaster agreement, which bound the two countries to provide funding for land redistribution. Both countries reneged on the agreement.

The greatness of Mugabe as an anti-colonial warrior was proven beyond the battlefield. During his 11 years in prison, he amassed several university degrees from reputable universities; bringing his total to a whooping seven degrees. Upon his release, Mugabe re-organised the armed struggle and had literally defeated Ian Smith with all his Western and South African backing.

In a memorable act of defiance, during the difficult Lancaster talks, Lord Carrington in a provocative move named Lord Soames the Governor of the still colonised Zimbabwe. Mugabe retorted colourfully, “Lord Carrington can go to hell!”.

Our generation shall forever remember his message at the UN-world conference for Sustainable Development in 2002 in Joburg. Mugabe, defending the land occupations said; “We have fought for our land, we have fought for our sovereignty, small as we are we have won our independence and we are prepared to shed our blood to protect the nation”. Then the punch line: “So Blair, keep your England and let me keep my Zimbabwe”.

The white world retaliated. The Zimbabwean economy was attacked by sanctions and systematic runs on the Zimbabwean currency; suffocating the nation. This, coupled with the brazen support for the opposition party the MDC by the West, further exacerbated the political crisis. There were fuel and food shortages everywhere, a crisis had hit the people directly. Scores left the country, mostly for SA.

Thabo Mbeki folded his arms while speaking beautifully about “African Renaissance”. It seemed the desire was to let Zimbabwe fail so that the ANC could terrorise blacks into submission and never demand their land back..

One can’t help but imagine Mugabe as a father who sees his children being starved by his enemies to turn them against himself. The sacrifices of the liberation movement and the principle of independence were at stake. Harassed by hunger and an unstable economy, a lot of Zimbabweans seem to have pleaded like the children of Israel en route to the promised land under Moses; they looked back and said it was better to live in slavery than to suffer like this.

Mugabe and Zanu-PF were walking a tightrope, they knew the land of milk and honey was waiting just around the corner. That’s visionary leadership. Today, all fair commentators are telling how Zimbabwe’s land reform is actually on a positive upswing with production levels rising astronomically under Zimbabwean ownership. Maize and tobacco have been liberated from 2 000 white farmers to more than 70 000 black farmers for each commodity.

The new book, Zimbabwe Took its Land Back, by Joseph Hanlon and others, gives a different and beautiful story to the reported gloom and doom.

There is another shocking silence in the South African media, on how Mugabe and Zanu-PF are turning the state into an instrument of transformation through a brave and well-executed programme of mass empowerment and economic transformation – the indigenisation programme.

Harare has done the impossible. They have summoned such companies as Anglo American to cede 51 percent of their shares to Zimbabweans. Which is allocated as follows: 10 percent of the equity goes to the community where the mining activity happens, another 10 percent goes to the workers and 10 percent goes to some BEE-type consortiums and the state takes 21 percent into a national fund. This model is superior to the South African BEE model and it benefits the people more.

Zimbabwe has regained her soul. South Africa remains a racist anti-black reality with a beautiful constitution where blacks suffer humiliation every day. It’s not an exaggeration to say Mandela’s leadership style, characterised by accommodation with the oppressors, will be forgotten if not rejected within a generation. On the other hand, Mugabe is likely to be a figure of liberation for a long, long time.

Mngxitama is a writer and community activist and the editor of New Frank Talk and author of Fools of Melville.

This article was first published The Sunday Independent (SA).

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(HERALD ZW) . . . I am not a dictator
Monday, 03 June 2013 00:11
Lovemore Chikova in YOKOHAMA, Japan

President Mugabe says he is not a dictator but is being smeared by Western countries because of the land reform programme that addressed colonial injustices through dispossessing white farmers of excess land.

Speaking in separate interviews with Kyodo News, NHK News and Asahi Shimbun newspaper, all of Japan, yesterday, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said Zimbabwe has followed the tenets of democracy since independence.

“They say I am a dictator because we took land from the Europeans,” President Mugabe said. “But we had an agreement with the British government that there would be land reform and acquisition.

“We have held elections from day one and every five years we have been holding elections. (Tony) Blair (former British prime minister) said he wanted to appeal to Europe politically by telling them that we were violating democracy, violating human rights and the rule of law. He then appealed to Europe to support him to impose sanctions on us.”

President Mugabe said Zanu-PF stood for people’s rights.

“So, how does one become a dictator when one says we take our land because you do not want to pay compensation, you Mr Blair,” he said.

“We stand for people’s rights and don’t forget the people fought for the land and died for it. We had thousands of people killed in massive bombings. One incident claiming as many as 700 lives. We used to bury them in mass graves in Mozambique and Zambia.”

President Mugabe said he never imprisoned any Briton for political reasons, yet he was imprisoned for 11 years because he was fighting for independence.

He said people would vote freely in the harmonised elections expected on or before July 31.

“There will be no violence,” he said. “We do not want to mete out violence on our people. What for?”
President Mugabe said he would retire when the appropriate time comes.

“You do not talk of retirement when elections are coming, do you?” he said. “You want me to retire? Retirement will come when the occasion demands it. But just now we are going to fight to beat the sanctions and to disgrace the Europeans and the Americans who thought we will collapse.

“Yes, I have thought about retirement, but not when the British are saying we want regime change. I won’t be changed by the British, my people will change me.”

President Mugabe said he would go on as long as Zimbabweans want him to continue.

“I do not retire from their government (Europeans), I am a Zimbabwean serving Zimbabwean people,” he said, “If my people say I must retire, I retire. But they still want me to go on. So, who is saying I must retire? The same enemies who imposed sanctions on me? That’s the more reason why I will not retire and will not die also,’’ he said.

President Mugabe attributed his longevity to strong genes and adherence to a strict exercise regimen.

He said the inclusive Government was not workable, likening it to putting together water and fire.

President Mugabe said the MDC was formed with the help of the British to extinguish the fire of the revolution.

He said Europeans who imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe were being surprised by the country’s resilience.

“People of Europe are surprised why we are still alive,” he said. “They thought we were going to die, all of us, and this ‘monster’ called Robert Mugabe, they announced how many deaths of me? I don’t know now.

“I have ceased to count how many times they have said he has died, but here you are seeing me. I am not a ghost after dying so many times. A ghost of a ghost, of a ghost.”

President Mugabe said he pointed out to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their bilateral meeting on Saturday that after warming up to Zimbabwe in the early years of independence, Japan had suddenly gone cold.

“I remarked to the Prime Minister that we thought they were being influenced by Europe which had imposed sanctions on us,” he said.

“We didn’t understand why Japan should act in the same way as Europe and even withdrawing some financial grants.”

President Mugabe said Mr Blair, whom he could “not credit with much wisdom” was responsible for misleading other nations about Zimbabwe.

But he said he was not isolated from the world because of the sanctions since Europe did not represent the whole world.

“The world’s two biggest countries China and India, over a billion people each, and the whole of Asia I can visit any country and so its not isolation,” he said.

“What do I have to do with those robbers of Europe? They lived on our natural resources, depended on our gold. Now they have exhausted their natural resources. Africa still has plenty of natural resources and my country still has plenty of natural resources.”

President Mugabe also had courtesy calls from some Japanese organisations and companies at his hotel.

Speaking after meeting him, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation president Hirobumi Kawano said they were interested in bringing minerals exploration equipment to Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe is famous and rich in mineral resources and we want to enhance our cooperation in that area,” he said.

AFRECO president Mr Tetsuro Yano said he held a successful meeting with the President centred on investment in the manufacturing sector.

President Mugabe also met with Kaidaren Committee on Southern Africa chairperson Mr Yutaka Kase and discussed water and sewer reticulation infrastructure issues that need urgent attention.

He later met with Japan-African Parliamentary Friendship League chairperson Mr Ichiro Aizawa.

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(HERALD ZW) White people are not sorry
Sunday, 02 June 2013 00:00

Let bygones be bygones, a cheerful Gordon Brown implored the people of Mozambique on a visit in 2005. Grilling Patrick Chinamasa in a television interview, Stephen Sackur, the BBC Hard Talk presenter, decried Zanu-PF’s relentless colonial rhetoric and asked if it was not “time to move on.”

It takes little imagination to understand why the white community in places like South Africa would prefer the black generality to quickly forget their apartheid past. A good black memory threatens the very butter on their bread.

The rapist demands forgiveness

There is quite a disconnect between black feelings of resentment and the optimistic let’s-sing-kumbaya-around-the-fire position taken by the white world. Their argument is you are no longer slaves, you are no longer segregated and you are no longer colonies, so from whence come your tears?

The whites have moved on but the blacks clearly have not.

The devilish violence meted out to white farmers in South Africa is telling. Some argue that these are merely robberies but the gratuitous nature of the attacks suggest otherwise. In one such sadistic attack a woman was cut through the groin right up to the neck, her intestines spilling out in the process. You need not go so far to steal a few hundred rands.

Black resentment toward the whites can be best explained through a rapist analogy. Consider a man who forces himself on a young woman and violates her in the most shameful way. The courts give him 15 years with hard labour.

If the two should meet after the service of his time it is unlikely the offended will be neutral. It would take quite some nerve for the man in question to demand that she forget the past and be hearty in his presence.

The abuses against the black man have not enjoyed even the little pleasure of seeing the offender sent away to a correctional facility. How then can he be asked to forget? The Israelis were so bitter they demanded that those who had violated them be sent to the gallows. Justice sometimes does require the payment of dues.

Given or taken?

[Ian Smith]

Ian Smith

The real problem is that the vast majority of blacks feel the white world is not sorry for its past sins.

Ian Smith and his fellow Rhodesians did not have an epiphany and suddenly realise the error of their ways. Right till the end (perhaps even till today) they never believed that blacks had a right to the dignity of equality.

They had to be coerced through violence to accept the humanity of the black man.

In the same way, the African Americans had to march and campaign to end segregation. This was not given out of white generosity or intellectual enlightenment.

Even after having managed these victories, the blacks continue to be discriminated in places of employment and other arenas of life.

These facts brought together send a clear message to blacks. While the white world might give outward expressions of oneness and equality their actions speak otherwise. If they believed in our equality they would give it, instead we are left to fight for basic rights.

An example is South Africa.

If the whites are truly sorry for their apartheid past why do they not voluntarily surrender lands that they stole in the name of apartheid, or even just half of them? The contradiction is similar to that of a robber who waylays a horseman, steals his beast and rides off pleading repentance.

The fact of the matter is that they will not voluntarily surrender that land because they are not sorry they took it.

The sincere restitute

It is worth noting that Britain has never apologised for its colonial past.

It has never offered an unqualified condemnation of its enthusiastic participation in slavery nor has it admitted that it enjoyed significant economic benefits from the same.

This is significant because it betrays British indifference to the evils they committed. Perhaps not even indifference, I have a lingering suspicion that the British are quietly fond of their imperial past.

They are certainly not overwhelmed with regret.

At those times that the white world has indeed been sorry for their actions they have followed up this remorse with concrete action.

Take the Irish potato famine for instance. Tony Blair offered an unreserved apology and accepted that those deaths were the direct consequence of a cruel British administration.

The Germans, especially contrite for their decidedly shameful Nazi past, went as far as building museums as an expression of their collective national regret. This was in addition to having paid punishing reparations to the allied governments.

The United States offers yet another example; during the Second World War the American intelligence services feared that Japanese Americans would side with their mother nation and launch attacks on American soil.

In a reactionary move that violated Americas said commitment to freedom and the rule of law, the authorities detained over 100 000 Japanese Americans without charge and placed them in camps. It was a form of imprisonment. Their crime was simply who they were.

In 1988 the Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which allowed for the payment of $20 000 in reparations to each victim. In their estimation, an apology was not enough - words do come cheap.

It is against this background that it becomes clear that the white world is not truly sorry for the evils it has visited upon blacks both within its borders and here in Africa.

When will we get an apology without fighting for it?

The Kenyan Mau Mau fighters have had to fight the British in the courts. Britain was refusing to take responsibility for the tortures its military meted out to the African “savages’’.

What is even more troubling is that the British want to lay claim to assets acquired through the unjust actions of their predecessors but firmly reject any burden of responsibility and liability over violations that took place in acquisition of those assets.

In the same way, the African Americans are equally denied reparations.

The poverty of that community can be directly traced to racial segregation that denied them property rights, access to jobs and other economic opportunities.

This in turn gave birth to a menial underclass that had no access to the means of production. They have no inheritance to pass. They are locked in the poverty trap.

One would have thought the American conscience would recognise the injustice perpetrated against African Americans and seek to make amends.

Not so.

There are no special funds directed at African American communities to rebalance the economic unfairness brought about by racial segregation.

There are no special loans they can access to start businesses. There is no talk of reparations.

It is not difficult to understand why the white world treats the blacks so miserably.

They are just not sorry.

We may have forced their hand through armed struggle but they still harbour the same feelings they had on the eve of independence in 1980.

The hoisting of a black flag does not change a white heart.

We would be naïve to believe the Rhodesians were overnight turned into non-racialists.

The white farmers often complain that many farmers who lost their land had purchased it after receiving certificates of no interest from the government.

This is true.

What is curious is that not a single white African has ever come forward to accept that the land they owned was acquired through direct dispossession of the indigenous blacks.

Surely there should be at least a handful of such culprits. The fact of it is that they want to keep that land even if it was stolen.

How then can they claim they are sorry?

Politically incorrect as it is, my conclusion after an examination of the facts is that the white man is not sorry for his past misdeeds.

There is no evidence of contrition.

If anything, he continues to perpetuate domination but has cleverly modified his techniques to keep in step with civilised times.

Amai Jukwa is a loving mother of three. She respects Robert Mugabe, is amused by Tsvangirai and feels sorry for Mutambara.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) I won’t be removed by Britain: Mugabe
02/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has said he won't step down because of pressure from Britain and other countries for a change in government.

“You want me to retire? You do not talk of retirement when elections are coming, do you?” the 89-year-old president told Kyodo News in an interview in the Japanese city of Yokohama where he was attending and a thre- day summit on African development.

Mugabe will lead his Zanu PF party in elections to choose a substantive government this year, replacing the coalition administration he formed with rival Morgan Tsvangirai after disputed polls in 2008.

The Constitutional Court ruled Friday that the elections must be held by July 31.

“Retirement will come when the occasion demands it. But just now we are going to fight to beat the sanctions and to disgrace the Europeans and the Americans who thought we will collapse,” Mugabe added.

"I've thought about retirement, but not when the British are saying we want regime change. I won't be changed by the British. My people will change me.

“I do not retire from their government (Europeans), I am a Zimbabwean serving Zimbabwean people. If my people say I must retire, I retire. But they still want me to go on.

“So, who is saying I must retire? The same enemies who imposed sanctions on me? That’s the more reason why I will not retire and will not die also.”

The veteran leader again lashed at Europe for imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“People of Europe are surprised why we are still alive,” he said. “They thought we were going to die, all of us, and this ‘monster’ called Robert Mugabe, they announced how many deaths of me? I don’t know now.

“I have ceased to count how many times they have said he has died, but here you are seeing me. I am not a ghost after dying so many times. A ghost of a ghost, of a ghost.”

He dismissed suggestions the sanctions under which he is banned from travelling to most Western countries had isolated him and his regime.

“The world’s two biggest countries China and India, over a billion people each, and the whole of Asia I can visit any country and so it’s not isolation,” he said.

“What do I have to do with those robbers of Europe? They lived on our natural resources, depended on our gold. Now they have exhausted their natural resources.

“Africa still has plenty of natural resources and my country still has plenty of natural resources.”

He also rejected allegations of electoral fraud and human rights abuses insisting the West had vilified his government for re-distributing land to the country’s majority blacks.

“They say I am a dictator because we took land from the Europeans. But we had an agreement with the British government that there would be land reform and acquisition,” said the Zanu PF leader.

“So, how does one become a dictator when one says we take our land because you do not want to pay compensation? We stand for people’s rights and don’t forget the people fought for the land and died for it.

“We had thousands of people killed in massive bombings; one incident claiming as many as 700 lives. We used to bury them in mass graves in Mozambique and Zambia.”



Sata says he expects total cooperation from mines
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe and Brina Siwale in Livingstone
Sat 01 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says he expects total cooperation from mining investors in ensuring that mineral resources being exploited benefit the people, who are the custodians of the rich natural resources the country is endowed with.

And President Sata says despite the slight reduction in maize production this season as a result of poor rainfall in some places and the outbreak of army worms, the country remains food-secure.

Meanwhile, President Sata has been honoured by the Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management for his outstanding work as one of the founding members of the institute.

In a speech read on his behalf by Vice-President Guy Scott during the official opening of the 56th Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial Show at Kitwe's Show Grounds yesterday, President Sata said mining companies must be compliant with all the laws of the country and undertake meaningful corporate social responsibility programmes that would contribute to improvement in the lives of the people in communities in which they operate.

"This will enhance the investment climate because communities will be able to see benefits from the exploitation of their resources. Mining has the potential to continue contributing to the development of the country because there were still many minerals which were yet to be explored," he said.

He said current mapping of the nation's mineral wealth stood at only 52 per cent and industrial minerals such as limestone and clay could be used in the manufacturing of input for the construction sector while limestone and phosphates could be used in the agriculture sector.
President Sata said minerals such as manganese and iron ore were critical inputs for the steel industry.

He said both local and foreign investors must invest in the exploitation of the minerals.

And President Sata said with the expected national maize harvest for this season at 2,532,800 metric tonnes and the 455,221 metric tonnes of carry-over stocks from the last season, the country was expected to have maize surplus of 453,995 metric tonnes.

He said it was gratifying that the Copperbelt Province had again made a significant contribution to the production of many crops including the staple food, maize.

President Sata said the government had taken measures to reform subsidies in the agriculture sector so as to redirect resources in order to better develop the agriculture industry and other sectors of the economy.

He said the government however would continue to provide input subsidy on fertiliser that would benefit 900,000 farmers during the next season.

And Copperbelt chairman Bill Osborn said agriculture, like mining, had continued to boast growth and side by side, the two sectors had stood out as the mainstay of the economy.

Osborn said this year's theme 'Mining and Agriculture for continued development and Prosperity' showed that the two sectors had continued to provide employment to the majority Zambians and also getting the larger populace out of poverty and providing food security.
Earlier, agriculture minister Robert Sichinga said the government had managed to reach out to over 94,000 farmers on the Copperbelt under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) during the 2011-2012 farming season.

In his message to exhibitors and showgoers at this year's 56th Copperbelt Mining, Agriculture and Commercial show that was officially opened yesterday, Sichinga said the ministry managed to accomplish a number of activities in accordance with the sixth National Development Plan to the 80,000 farming households during the 2011-2012 farming season in the Copperbelt Province.

"The aforesaid households are spread out across 44 agricultural blocks and 156 agricultural camps. We managed to reach out to 94,180 farmers under the Farmer Input Support (FISP), 86,560 with maize and 7,620 with sorghum. We also managed to sale out 223,000 fish fingerlings to the public through the National Aquaculture Research Development Centre which is situated in Mwekera in Kitwe in the province," Sichinga said.
He said the province cultivated over 134,000 hectares by the farmers that led to the production of 248,000 metric tonnes of maize and nearly 39,000 metric tonnes of wheat.

Sichinga said 50,000 metric tonnes of Soya beans, 5,000 metric tonnes of groundnuts and nearly 21,000 metric tonnes of mixed beans and the sweet potatoes produced amounted to 21,000 metric tonnes.
"The livestock population pigs stood at 6, 9875 cattle at 62, 846 goats and 8,542 sheep. Whereas various fowls, mainly composed of chickens were over 2,588,830. All these developments are in line with this year's theme mining and agriculture for continued development and prosperity," Sichinga said.

And President Sata was yesterday honoured with an honorary fellow membership award during the institute's 16th annual general meeting.
President Sata was a founding member of the Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management from July 3, 1967 to March 18, 1972.
He was one of the Zambian Personnel Management Experts and was nominated on the Interim Committee which spearheaded the formation of the institute.

And labour minister Fackson Shamenda urged human resource practitioners in the country never to disregard labour laws.

In a speech read for him by labour deputy minister Rayford Mbulu, who also received President Sata's honorary award, Shamenda said the government expected all human resource managers in the country to appreciate and correctly interpret the labour laws and advise their employers accordingly.

Shamenda maintained that non-Zambians should not be allowed to perform human resource functions because Zambians better understood the challenges that local people face.

Meanwhile, institute president Winner Kanyembo said the institute had limited capacity to carry out inspections for compliance with the law.

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Let's ensure prosperity is achieved by all - KK
By Larry Moonze
Fri 31 May 2013, 14:01 CAT

Dr Kenneth Kaunda says meaningful emancipation of Africa can only take place if the continent achieves social and economic development.

Addressing the Africa Day reception organised by African diplomats accredited to Canada at the Quebec Conference Centre on Wednesday evening, Dr Kaunda said the quest for liberty, self-determination and independence was inherent in all human beings.

He noted that African leaders at the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the African Union and its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity in Addis Ababa reaffirmed their commitment to the ideals of Pan Africanism, including commitment to efforts in addressing the root causes of conflict in order to make peace and stability a reality for the continent.

"I am pleased therefore that leaders pledged their commitment to economic progress and bold steps have been made towards the construction of a united and integrated Africa including through the implementation of the continental Free Trade Area and our commitment to place African people, in particular, women and youth as well as persons with disability at the centre of our efforts to eradicate poverty. We live in a global village and in this fast globalising world we need to work together to ensure that our people in Africa attain higher standards of living. Therefore, anchored in our determination to respect the rule of law, human rights and the dignity of our fellow human beings, let us ensure that prosperity is achieved by us all and that the vision of our union to build an integrated and prosperous and peaceful Africa is realised."

Earlier, Dr Kaunda was introduced to an ovation in the Senate.
Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella had to call the House to order to introduce Dr Kaunda which in itself was a first such procedure in a long time.

However, Dr Kaunda did not address the Senate.

Earlier, in the day Dr Kaunda met with Canadian foreign minister John Baird to whom he delivered a letter containing "goodwill message to Canadian Prime Minister… From President Michael Sata in which he thanked Canada for its huge industrial investment in Zambia."

President Sata called for more Canadian investment in Zambia.
So far, Canada has invested some US$6 billion in two mines in Zambia operated by First Quantum Minerals. This is Canada's biggest investment portfolio in Africa.

Dr Kaunda said it was a great pleasure to visit Canada, which was a strong member of the Commonwealth and one of the Group of 8 influential countries of the world.

He said he readily accepted the African diplomats' invitation to join them in commemorating the 50 years of African unity because of the special place that Canada held in the struggle against apartheid.

"I wish to pay special tribute therefore to my friend and colleague Honourable Brian Mulroney, the former prime minister of Canada, who did not shy away from tough and controversial decisions but seized the reigns in the Commonwealth and fought shoulder-to-shoulder with us his colleagues to help dismantle apartheid," Dr Kaunda said. "This therefore secured freedom and justice for our oppressed brothers in Southern Africa. To this end I salute you my dear friend and your great country, Canada."

He said during the colonial era, Africans lived in racially segregated countries.

Dr Kaunda said racism was practiced in all sectors of human development including in places of worship.

"When we talk about the formation of the OAU, one of the aspirations that we received as freedom fighters was during the independence of Ghana in 1957 which I was privileged to attend with other freedom fighters," he said.

"On that occasion we heard the founding president His Excellency Dr Kwame Nkrumah proclaim that the independence of Ghana was meaningless until the whole continent was liberated. Indeed, that was very inspirational. It gave us encouragement that no matter how long it took, independence was attainable."

Dr Kaunda said Africa had had a share of successes and challenges over the years.

"Looking back I can say as a people we have succeeded on many fronts," he said.

"The aspirations of the people to self-determination and independence have largely been met. Colonialism, oppression and apartheid in Africa have been eliminated. The OAU has been replaced by the African Union and there are still challenges that we face as a people of the great continent. Initially the people's aspirations were for freedom and liberty but that is more meaningful if it is complemented by a higher standard of living. In this day and age as we engage with other partners in business we need to prioritise the placing of our abundant natural resources at the disposal of African people in general."

Dr Kaunda called for policies that helped Africa add value to her raw materials to facilitate creation of wealth and jobs for the people.

"That is what the people of Africa are looking for, an integrated prosperous and peaceful Africa," said Dr Kaunda. "God bless our union."

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Hypocrisy about by-elections
By Editor
Sat 01 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

Parliamentary by-elections are certainly an expensive or costly affair.

And invariably, all political players would like to avoid them wherever and whenever it is desirable to do so. But there are also times when those who think they can gain something from them love them, like them. All hate parliamentary by-elections when there are no benefits for them. They love or like them when there are political gains from them.

If today Sylvia Masebo was to defect from the ruling Patriotic Front and join the opposition UPND, no one in the leadership, membership of that party would oppose that move. They would actually celebrate that defection and would happily go for a by-election. Equally, those in the Patriotic Front would rejoice at similar defections from the opposition. So in truth, there is no political group that is totally in support of or in opposition to parliamentary by-elections. It all depends on what they are to gain or to lose from them.

For now, the defections of members of parliament seem to be in one direction - from the opposition to the ruling party. And as a result of this, the opposition is crying in fear of being destroyed, its numbers being reduced by these defections.

The opposition's concern when it comes to parliamentary by-elections is not really about the costs. It is really about the political losses, the reduction in the numbers of members of parliament under their parties.

If the opposition were so worried about the cost, they would not expel any of their members of parliament and force a by-election. And as Nickson Chilangwa aptly put it, if the opposition was truly and genuinely opposed to parliamentary by-elections on account of cost, they would never participate in any such elections. The consequence of this would be a parliamentary by-election without a cost because one would win without being opposed, without an election being conducted.
If the opposition is truly opposed to parliamentary by-elections on account of cost, they should not expel any of their members of parliament to save costs. Are they capable of not doing so? No. They are ready, when it suits them, to take actions that will result in parliamentary by-elections.

So there is some hypocrisy on this issue. By-elections are sometimes undesirable to our politicians and their political parties but not for the reasons of cost they are advancing. The true reason is fear of loss of power. If they could win all the by-elections, none of them would complain about the cost of by-elections.

The UPND, a few weeks ago, called on the President to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections less than two years in office. This, they claimed, would save the country the cost of parliamentary by-elections. Is this correct? Is this true? No. A general election will be more costly to hold than the parliamentary by-elections that are being held. And one doesn't need to be a mathematician, accountant or economist to come to this conclusion. Simple arithmetic is all one needs to demonstrate the falsity of what is being suggested. And this suggestion is not as a result of ignorance about election costs. They know the costs of elections. They want a general election not for the purpose of saving costs. They want a general election in the hope that they can win and get into power.

This is not strange for the UPND. It is a political party that has always overrated its chances. It is a party that has always failed to read the political situation in the country correctly. In their mistaken view, and as always, they think now they are more popular than the Patriotic Front and they are in a position to win any general election that is called before 2016. After listening to their own voices discrediting, slandering Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front government, they think these are the voices of the people of Zambia.

They deceived themselves the same way in the run-up to the 2011 elections. They used to claim that Hakainde Hichilema was more popular than Michael and that the political landscape in Lusaka and the Copperbelt had changed in their favour. They also used to deceive themselves that with Frederick Chiluba's support, Rupiah Banda would sweep Luapula Province. Of course, to them everything is about tribe, region. They thought simply because Chiluba hailed from Luapula, then he would deliver the votes from that area to Rupiah, whom he was working with and supporting. Things don't work that way. Even in Mongu, they thought they were in control. But when the elections came, Michael and the Patriotic Front defeated all of them in this headquarters of Western Province.

And these characters used to claim in the run-up to the 2011 elections that no opposition political party, including themselves, was in a position to defeat the MMD alone. They joined forces with MMD but were defeated single-handedly by Michael and the Patriotic Front. Again, they failed to read the politics of this country correctly. When are they going to learn to see things the way they are and adopt correct political strategies and tactics?

It is true that parliamentary by-elections cost a lot of money and are as such not desirable. But we are not going to wish them away without making the necessary constitutional changes. As long as people have the right and opportunity to change political parties, they will do so and cause parliamentary by-elections. And as long as we continue to depend on the goodwill and judgement of individuals without the necessary constitutional restrictions and political culture, by-elections will continue. Look at the number of people changing political parties every day! Imagine if all these were members of parliament or councilors, how many by-elections would we have to hold every month?

Ours is a country where even leaders of political parties, presidents of political parties defect to other parties. Imagine how many by-elections we would hold at this level if there was some restrictive mechanism that required such an election when party presidents defect!
For instance, how can Nevers Mumba, the president of MMD, today complain about parliamentary by-elections, forgetting where he himself is coming from? Nevers abandoned his own political party, defected from his own political party to join the MMD and become vice-president of the Republic. And when he ceased to be the vice-president, Nevers applied to be adopted as a Patriotic Front parliamentary candidate for Chinsali Central. But he was rejected at the last minute by the Patriotic Front leaders and supporters in Chinsali. Today, this same Nevers is the president of the MMD and is demanding that others shouldn't do what he himself found right and correct to do - defect!

Clearly, there is hypocrisy and dishonesty about this issue of parliamentary by-elections. Let's deal with it in an honest way and find ways of putting to an end, if possible, these expensive by-elections.



Zim begins to receive maize imported from Zambia
By Elita Chikwati in Harare, Zimbabwe
Sat 01 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

COMMENT - This is the MDC at work, putting the manipulation of the Zimbawean people before helping them.

THE 150,000 tonnes of maize imported by Zimbabwe from Zambia have started trickling in, agriculture minister Dr Joseph Made has said.

The grain was imported under a government-to-government arrangement despite attempts by finance minister Tendai Biti, who is also MDC-T secretary general, to block the deal.

He wanted the maize to be imported by private buyers, a development that would have put the grain beyond the reach of many needy families.
This, analysts said, was part of MDC-T's plans to create conditions for protest votes, a throwback to election 2008.

Made on Thursday said priority would be given to parts of the country in desparate need of the commodity.

"Priority areas are Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Midlands, Masvingo and some parts of Manicaland. It is important that governors and chiefs work closely with the Grain Marketing Board to ensure the maize reaches as many families as possible."

Made said chiefs should ensure the maize is allocated to families in dire need.

"Everybody needs food but we have to prioritise the worst affected. There are some families without anything and these should be given to priority," he said.

Made urged chiefs to monitor the situation on the ground since stocks were still low.

Zimbabwe imported the maize to ease shortages caused by last season's poor rains.

Officially launching the Food and Nutrition Policy recently, President Robert Mugabe said payment modalities for the grain would be discussed later.

He said his Zambian counterpart President Michael Sata made the pledge during a telephone conversation.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Zimbabwe land comparison an honour: SA Minister
31/05/2013 00:00:00

IT is an "honour" to have South Africa's land reform process compared to what happened in Zimbabwe, Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti told MPs on Friday.

"(President Robert) Mugabe is reversing what the British did to the people of Zimbabwe. It's an honour," he said in the National Assembly following an often angry and emotion-filled debate on his department's 2013/14 budget.

Nkwinti was responding to remarks made earlier in the House by Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald, who warned the minister he was "playing with fire" by whipping up emotions on the land issue.

"You are creating insecurity. I want to say to the honourable minister, you are creating a typical Zimbabwe situation.

"You are busy, before the election, to blame whites and apartheid [for the land situation]," Groenewald said.

Nkwinti told Groenewald he was right.

"You were right... about whipping up emotions, just like Zimbabwe. Yes, President Mugabe is the president of Zimbabwe, and here we have President Zuma.

"But he [Groenewald] says we're like him [Mugabe]. That is a praise, by the way."

At this point, Nkwinti was interrupted by loud cries and heckling from opposition benches.

The minister responded to these by repeating he considered the comparison with Zimbabwe to be praise for the work government was doing on land reform.

"Yes, it is praise... he [Groenewald] says we're like Zimbabwe. That is praise, thank you very much.

"It's an honour. It is an honour. What did you expect?

"Would you have been happier if he [Groenewald] had said, we were like the British colonialists who killed South Africans to take our land? Would that have been an honour?" Nkwinti asked, to loud cheers from ANC benches.

Achilles heel

Earlier, he spelled out government's aims on land reform and the future of South Africa in this regard.

"The Mangaung conference of the ANC has given us very clear instructions on this - go and change the skewed land ownership pattern in South Africa so that we can have black people taking control of the economy of the country," Nkwinti said, to loud acclamation from ANC MPs.

The emotive tone of the debate was sparked earlier by outgoing Democratic Alliance MP Atholl Trollip, who fired a final stinging broadside against rural development and land reform officials.

"Your departmental staff are the Achilles heel of your department," he told Nkwinti

"Regrettably, due to the shocking work ethic of your staff, I leave here with the queries I inherited from my predecessor - and those that were generated during my time in the portfolio - mostly unanswered."

Trollip is leaving Parliament to take up a seat in the Eastern Cape legislature. He took over as DA spokesman on rural development and land reform last year, after losing his position as parliamentary leader to Lindiwe Mazibuko.

Delivering his last speech, he told Nkwinti his department was failing.

He told MPs the minister had conceded that 90 percent of the department's land reform programme projects had failed.

"This failure has provided those that prey on the resources of the state easy access to a source of ready cash.

"The so-called recapitalisation programme, set up to resuscitate commercial farms that this department has allowed to fall into unproductive disrepair, has become a veritable cash cow for corrupt officials and their cohorts."

Trollip suggested Nkwinti focus on the "facts" in agriculture. These included that the contribution of agriculture to South Africa's GDP had dropped from 9.1 percent in 1965, to less than two percent last year.

"(Further), the number of commercial farmers has gone from 100,000 to 36,000 in 15 years.

"These are the people that feed the nation, who employ hundreds of thousands of people. But they are disappearing," he warned.

Trollip suggested Nkwinti was failing emerging black farmers.

"This is your responsibility, and you are failing them dismally. If you are honest, honourable minister, you will have to admit you are not producing new, competent commercial farmers, or competent small-scale farmers through the land reform programme."

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(CNN) France targets Total CEO as company reaches
settlement in U.S. over Iran bribes
By James O'Toole @jtotoole May 29, 2013: 4:33 PM ET

Total is the latest high-profile company to be ensnared in a foreign bribery case.

French energy giant Total has agreed to pay nearly $400 million to U.S. authorities after acknowledging that it paid massive bribes to secure drilling rights in Iran, and the company's chief executive may face a criminal trial in France as well.

Total (TOT) will pay $245 million to the Justice Department as part of a deferred-prosecution agreement, and $153 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The case was developed in cooperation with French authorities, who have requested that Total CEO and chairman Christophe de Margerie and two other individuals "be referred to the Criminal Court for violations of French law, including France's foreign bribery law," the DOJ said.

A statement from France's prosecutor of the republic identified those two individuals as Bijan Dadfar and Abbas Yazdi.

Total CFO Patrick de La Chevardière said in a statement that the company "look[s] forward to continuing our work and... demonstrating our strong commitment to ensuring ethical and legal compliance with laws around the world."

Total acknowledged that the allegations from the Department of Justice are "true and accurate," according to the deferred-prosecution agreement, but said it "reaffirms that it has not committed any offense under applicable French law."

"In the event of a trial, Total and its chief executive for the Middle East at the time will argue that the behavior that they are accused of was completely legal under French law," Total said in a statement to French news agency AFP.

De Margerie formerly served as president of Total's Middle East operations.

Related: Ralph Lauren admits bribery at Argentina subsidiary

The Justice Department said Total paid $60 million in bribes to a government official in Iran between 1995 and 2004 in an effort to secure oil and gas development rights in the country. Total funneled the money to the official via "consulting agreements" with intermediaries.

"Total mischaracterized the unlawful payments as 'business development expenses' when they were, in fact, bribes designed to corruptly influence a foreign official," the DOJ said.

Total reaped more than $150 million in profits as a result of the bribes, according to the SEC.

The charges in the U.S. case will be dismissed after three years provided Total adheres to terms of the deferred-prosecution agreement, including the implementation of an enhanced compliance program and the appointment of an independent monitor.

U.S. officials have stepped up enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in recent years.

Germany's Siemens paid $800 million to the DOJ and SEC as part of a global bribery case in 2008. Halliburton and KBR paid $579 million in 2009 in connection with bribery allegations in Nigeria, while the United Kingdom's B.A.E. paid $400 million to the DOJ in 2010 after being accused of making false statements about its anti-corruption efforts to U.S. authorities.

CNN's Carol Cratty contributed reporting from Washington. To top of page

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(STICKY) (BLACK STAR NEWS) The choice is clear: Africa must embrace Nkrumah's vision and Unite
Milton Allimadi
May 26,2013

The question of African unity has been on some front pages this week as the African Union (AU) reflects on 50 years of existence, with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) being its earlier incarnation.

A unified Africa, under one continental government, remains the best solution for dealing with Africa's myriad problems, in this 21st century and beyond.

A United States of Africa, with a continental army, would secure control of the continent's immense wealth for the benefit of its people and for uplifting millions out of poverty.

Counting Africa south of the Sahara alone, the armed forces would have about 2 million men and women under arms; combined with the north African armies the total would be more than four million. By comparison: India has 4.7 million; China has a total force of 4.5 million; Russia 3.5 million; the United States, about 2.3 million; and, Britain 400,000.

Africa is endowed with almost every type of natural and mineral resource wealth. Yet these are currently primarily used to fuel the economies of the industrialized countries, and the emerging ones such as China's, India's and Brazil's rather than for the benefit of African countries.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone contains mineral and natural resources whose value is estimated at nearly $30 trillion.

These include: high quality timber; gold; diamonds (30% of the world's reserves); coltan (70% of the world's reserves); copper; cobalt; and, many other minerals.

Yet Congolese remain impoverished. Foreign powers allow bandits financed by Rwanda and Uganda to wreak havoc in Congo's eastern region, which contains most of its resources. Under this planned chaos, private corporations enjoy absolute rent; they siphon off Congo's resources through Rwanda and Uganda without paying fees or taxes to the central government.

In the meantime, the bandit militias have ethnically cleansed the resource-containing zones through depopulation to make it easier to plunder resources. Ten million Congolese have perished since Rwanda and Uganda first invaded in 1997. The military and political elite in Rwanda and Uganda have become wealthy under this profitable genocide: the Western corporations that purchase the blood minerals have profited the most.

The Western powers allow genocide in Congo without any consequences to the political and military leadership in Rwanda and Uganda. The major media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN and the BBC, which could influence public opinion to demand that Western powers sanction Rwanda and Uganda remain silent; they essentially aid and abet genocide in Africa. The media outlets are very partisan when making demands that suit their interests: such as calling for intervention in Libya and Syria.

Congo's tragedy is only one of many other illustrations of the type of calamity that Kwame Nkrumah feared would beset the continent, if Africa did not unite. Nkrumah himself had tried to prevent the earlier attempt to dismember Congo, that led to the murder of Patrice Lumumba by Belgian agents and Moise Tshombe's collaborationist regime.

Nkrumah appealed for continental unity when leaders of newly-independent African nations first met on May 24, 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU); the predecessor of the AU.

"Unite we must," Nkrumah said. "Without necessarily sacrificing our sovereignties, big or small, we can here and now forge a political union based on defence, foreign affairs and diplomacy, and a common citizenship, an African currency, an African monetary zone, and an African central bank. We must unite in order to achieve the full liberation of our continent."

Nkrumah warned that decolonization on paper was not sufficient to protect African countries. Western countries would still need the continent's vast mineral and natural resource wealth to continue fueling their economies. He noted that half the gold at Fort Knox, in the United States, originated from Africa.

So long as African countries remained weak and divided, their economies would remain underdeveloped unless they could change the terms of trade with the industrialized countries, Nkrumah warned.

This is because Western countries determined the price at which raw materials from African countries were sold to the industrialized countries; these same industrialized countries also controlled the price at which African countries purchased manufactured products from them.

Nkrumah called this a "neo-colonial" relationship; he said it would ensure that African countries remained impoverished. And without the ability to protect their resources, eventually, African countries would not be able to protect their national sovereignty, their boundaries, or their formal independence from colonial powers such as Britain and France.

African countries had to deal on equal terms with the industrialized world, Nkrumah said. This could only be accomplished if the individual African countries came together under one umbrella: with a continental government; a continental currency; a continental national armed forces; and, common foreign relations policy.

"No independent African state today by itself has a chance to follow an independent course of economic development, and many of us who have tried to do this have been almost ruined or have had to return to the fold of the former colonial rulers," Nkrumah had warned. "This position will not change unless we have a unified policy working at the continental level. The first step towards our cohesive economy would be a unified monetary zone, with, initially, an agreed common parity for our currencies."

At the 1963 OAU conference two distinct camps emerged: those who, led by Nkrumah, supported speedy move towards African unity; and, another camp that supported a more gradual approach that would focus on regional economic integration that would then broaden later.

Even if the gradualism approach had merit at some point, it comes at a very high cost today. It's so open-ended that it could take another 50 years with minimal success.

In the meantime, many recent incidents confirm that Nkrumah's worst fears continue to be fulfilled: collectively, a continent of millions exercises minimal control over its own affairs and the will of African leaders can be ignored with impunity.

The former colonial powers are now brazenly involved in the continent's affairs with impunity.

In 2010, it was primarily France, Britain and Italy, all former colonial rulers, that successfully advocated for NATO's military intervention and aerial invasion of Libya. The United States joined the campaign.

The months of uninterrupted indiscriminate bombing led to: deaths of countless Libyan civilians; destruction of the country's impressive infrastructure built with its oil wealth; and, the brutal murder of the long-time ruler Muammar al-Quathafi who in recent years had become the most vocal advocate of African unity.

The Libyan debacle demonstrated Africa's political impotence to the entire world. When the AU tasked South Africa's president Jacob Zuma with leading an African-supported peace plan, he needed permission from NATO command to travel to Libya. Under the no-fly zone his plane could have been shot down.

Zuma convinced al-Quathafi to sign on to the AU plan which called for: a ceasefire; a humanitarian corridor for civilians; and, internationally-monitored elections. The NATO powers instructed their insurgents not to sign on. The powers had no interest in democracy in Libya; each coveted the country's vast oil and natural gas supplies.

Today Libya is in chaos -- no one is talking about democracy or accountability and liability for NATO's destructive war which replaced a stable state with anarchy and also promoted the ethnic cleansing of Black Libyans, including the annihilation of the city of Tawargha.

Similarly, in the Ivory Coast, it wasn't an African solution that broke the stalemate between Alasanne Quatarra and Laurent Gbagbo, both of whom claimed they had won presidential elections. France's air-forces turned the tide in Quatarra's favor and routed Gbagbo's army; the loser is now at the Hague, awaiting trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has become an agency for enforcing the political will of Western countries. Quattara's own armed forces continues to commit atrocities, without a murmur from the ICC since he's the anointed Western leader.

After the collapse of the al-Quathafi regime, radicals seized sophisticated weapons from his destroyed army's armory and invaded Mali, seizing nearly half of the country. France sent an intervention army to clean up the mess it had helped precipitate since some of the radicals who invaded Mali were the same forces that NATO had empowered in Libya.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), France maintains an army in the capital of Bangui. In Mali, the French army was decisive in helping to repel the invaders, including from Timbuktu. Yet, in the CAR, the French army stood by and allowed rebels to seize control of the capital; clearly the deposed regime no longer fulfilled France's own interests.

In Libya, France and Britain still hope to be rewarded, when the smoke clears, with favorable terms for oil and natural gas concessions; in the Ivory Coast, as in Mali, France has re-established a neo-colonial relationship; and, the CAR has always been a French neo-colony.

These are the kind of conflicts, conducted by weak and myopic African rulers and role players on one side; and their accomplices, Western regimes and unscrupulous corporations on the other side.

As other regions of the world, in Asia, Europe, South America, move towards regional economic and political integration, in many parts of Africa the politics are retrogressing and conditions resemble the "banana republic" era that once bedeviled South America.

We now see how Nkrumah's fears have come to fruition when even an eroded power such as France can exercise such disproportional control and influence over Africa's destiny and over events on the continent.

Until China became unified in the 1950s, Western countries used to treat China the same way as African countries are dealt with today: Now China has emerged as a major economic and political power globally.

There is no question that a United States of Africa offers the key for Africans to seize control of their destiny and this is what the younger generation of Africans must demand.

Young Africans must demand for elected progressive governments that are accountable to voters and then push these governments to embrace African unity as an imperative.

A United States of Africa would eliminate many of the conflicts, including the most bloody ones such as the ones between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda and in Burundi; and the genocide in Congo by Rwanda's and Uganda's armies and militias. Moreover, Rwanda's Gen. Paul Kagame and Uganda's Gen. Yoweri Museveni would no longer have the powers to order illegal invasions of any territory in Africa.

A United States of Africa would allow the continent to negotiate for fairer terms of trade since Africa would speak with the clout of a powerful government and a huge single market for goods and services.

A United States of Africa would combine all the militaries into one powerful continental Armed Force capable of repelling any foreign armed transgressions. Africa would also be able to demand the removal of foreign military bases from the continent.

The choice is clear: Africa must embrace Nkrumah's vision.

Africa must unite.

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