Saturday, November 02, 2013

(HERALD ZW) Latest: Land audit on cards
October 10, 2013 Costa Mano Headlines, Top Stories
Herald Reporter

Land audit is on the cards to ascertain the number of beneficiaries of land reform and establish those that are productively using the land.

In an interview, Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said the audit would determine whether or not Government still needed to acquire more land for resettlement.

“We plan to do an audit to see how many farms have been distributed and how many have taken up what they were offered,” he said.

“The audit will also give us an insight if there is still need for us to acquire more land.”

Details to follow…

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DDF targets 32 000ha for tillage
October 10, 2013
Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter

GOVERNMENT has released US$500 000 to the District Development Fund that will be used to repair broken down tillage machinery to increase the operational fleet for the 2013/2014 cropping season.DDF is now in the process of repairing the broken down implements and tractors that are meant to provide tillage for vulnerable households around the country. The DDF is operating 20 percent of the total fleet.

DDF deputy director-Land Development and Tillage, Mr Tambirai Chiwera said the company was targeting to till 32 000 hectares of land during this cropping season.

Mr Chiwera said due to the limited tillage capacity and the overwhelming demand for the services in the small holder farming sector, DDF was this season targeting the vulnerable in society who have no draught power.

“These include the aged, orphans, heroes’ widows or widowers and other vulnerable groups as defined by the Department of Social Welfare. We have commenced this programme with the Zunde Ramambo plots whose proceeds are traditionally used to assist vulnerable families.”

He said five tractors were distributed per province. These tractor units move in a cluster, tilling the Zunde Ramambo plots first before attending to fields of the orphans, heroes’ widows and the aged.

“We have 532 tractors but only 109 are operational. These are obviously not adequate for all the provinces as they only constitute 20 percent of the total fleet,” said Mr Chiwera.

“If those tractors with minor faults are repaired the target figure may be increased to 93 000ha. The target hectarage is lower than last year due to the limited funding for repair and maintenance.”

Out of the 532 tractors the company has, 109 are operational, 200 have minor faults while 223 have major faults. DDF has 411 ploughs, 81 working, 150 broken down with minor faults and 180 with major faults. Out of the 153 disc harrows, 35 are operational, 46 and 71 have minor and major faults respectively.

The company has 108 planters, 22 are working, 31 have minor faults while 55 have major ones. Eighteen of the 21 seed drills are working and three of them not functional due to major breakdowns.

Mr Chiwera said the US$500 000 disbursed by the Treasury was not adequate to cater for the repairs of the machinery and implements adding that more money was required to replace the broken down machinery.

The vulnerable households will have their land tilled for free as the charges will be paid for them by Government. DDF charges 32 litres of fuel per hectare for the dry rate and US$45 to till a hectare of land or US$88 for wet rate.

The dry rate is when the farmer provides fuel and pays for the tillage per hectare while the wet rate is when DDF provides both fuel and the tillage service.

The District Development Fund, is charged with the responsibility of providing and maintaining rural infrastructure within the communal, resettlement and small scale commercial farming areas of Zimbabwe.

Its programmes are funded by Government and the private sector.

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(HERALD ZW) Senior MDC-T officials call for Tsvangirai ouster:Mwonzora
October 10, 2013 Costa Mano Headlines, Top Stories
Lloyd Gumbo, Herald Reporter

SOME senior MDC-T officials have openly called for the ouster of Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, party spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora has revealed. Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Harare this afternoon, Mr Mwonzora said there were divisions within the leadership on the subject.

“Yes there are people who have raised issues in the national executive, in the national council, at various forums,” said Mr Mwonzora in response to questions whether some officials raise the issue of leadership renewal at senior level.

“They have raised the issue about the need for leadership renewal. And there are other people who don’t think it’s a good idea and that we should remain with the leadership that we have.”

He said party officials were allowed to call for leadership renewal during party meetings.

While the white element within the MDC-T, among them, party treasurer Mr Roy Bennett, former Marondera Central legislator Mr Ian Kay and Bulawayo South legislator, Mr Edward Cross have been outspoken about the need for Mr Tsvangirai to step down, Mr Mwonzora said there were also blacks within the formation calling for leadership renewal.

He said Mr Bennett and Mr Kay jumped the gun by calling for Mr Tsvangirai’s ouster through the press.Mr Mwonzora said the national council, national executive and the standing committee resolved that the current leadership headed by Mr Tsvangirai would remain in place until the party’s elective congress set for 2016.

Mr Tsvangirai has reportedly expressed interests in representing the party at the 2018 harmonised elections after having lost consecutively to President Mugabe since the 2002 Presidential elections.Mr Mwonzora claimed there was no factionalism in the MDC-T saying having divergent views did not translate to factionalism.

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Mangani won't have it easy in E/Province - Andrew
By Francis Lungu
Wed 09 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

ANDREW Banda says Lameck Mangani will not have it easy to organise the PF in Eastern Province because he does not have the ability to do so in the opposition MMD stronghold. But Mangani says Andrew is not in the MMD party leadership structure to speak on these issues.

In an interview, Andrew said the MMD was thankful to President Michael Sata for appointing Mangani as PF chairperson for the province because he would make it easy for the opposition MMD to mobilise.

Asked on Mangani's allegations that the MMD was winning parliamentary by-elections in Eastern Province because of the rigging structures left by his father Banda as it was impossible for a candidate to get a zero vote at a polling station no matter how poor he or she could be, Andrew said the PF leadership in the province was cheating President Michael Sata that all was well.

"We (MMD) thank (President) Sata and the PF for appointing Mangani provincial chairman. Let us see if he can organise the PF in Eastern Province," he said.

But Mangani wondered in what capacity Andrew was speaking within the MMD because he was not in the party leadership structure.

"Andrew is speaking as what, an MMD official or the son of Rupiah Banda who was once the leader of the party?" Mangani wondered.

He said Andrew should not be excited with the victory of MMD in Mkaika because the PF leadership in the province knows what happened and the tricks the former ruling party used to win.

"We are aware of what Andrew did during the campaigns in Mkaika, there is nothing to be excited about. Actually the PF is gaining ground in Eastern Province, the tide is changing in favour of the PF. I am not interested in politics of tribe if that is what Andrew is promoting because his father was MMD leader then he thinks can speak on MMD affairs," Mangani said.

But Andrew said the ruling party was losing elections in the East also because it was not doing the ground work.

"They did not do their work; that's all. Politics is about work; they did not campaign, and they were cheating the President (Sata) just like people have been cheating other presidents in the past, that all was well when things are not okay on the ground. There is no fertiliser in the country but they tell the President that all is well," Andrew said.

Statistically, however, Mangani said the ruling PF was penetrating into Eastern Province because it won the Msanzala Parliamentary by-elections, a seat previous held by the MMD.

He said the MMD just returned its Mkaika and Chipata Central Parliamentary seat, where Mangani himself lost.

"PF won all the three local government elections in Lundazi and won two out of three in Nyimba and even in Petauke, PF won two out of the three local government seats, so what is Andrew talking about?," questioned Mangani.

But Andrew claimed that Mangani was not his match in political mobilisation because he (Andrew) had been in politics for 25 years.
Meanwhile, Andrew accused Mangani of having personal hatred towards the Banda family, which behaviour he said was unAfrican.

"Mangani's behaviour is unAfrican and unZambian. One day, he wakes up, he says Rupiah Banda is meeting chiefs for him to stand again. Patronising leadership! What is it that he has against our family? Can he tell us where his father is so that we also talk about his family… But we are not interested in personalities; we are interested in the law. I was arrested and let the law take its course," he said in reference to his arrest over the political violence that characterised the Mkaika parliamentary by-election, in which MMD retained the seat.

"I was charged with an offence of violence in Chipata during the Mkaika parliamentary by-election and the matter is in court, and I will prove it in court that I am not the one who committed that crime and that those people (suspected PF supporters) prove that they did not abduct me," he said.

Andrew also maintained that he would go ahead with legal proceedings against ZNBC and the Zambia Daily Mail for reporting that he was brandishing machetes during the campaigns ahead of the Mkaika poll.

"I am not leaving you (ZNBC and Zambia Daily Mail); I am proceeding with this legal action against ZNBC and Daily Mail… the sooner they retract the better… They accused me of travelling with a machetes all over and hacking people… that thing is not dead; I am reviving it," declared Andrew.

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Magande warns govt against unplanned expenditure
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe and Gift Chanda
Wed 09 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

NG'ANDU Magande says it is surprising that the government wants to shift from expansionary budget to constrained expenditure when a lot of infrastructure projects are still ongoing.

And ActionAid Zambia says revenue mobilisation next year should not only centre on raising taxes but sealing tax leakages in all economic sectors.

Last month, Secretary to the Cabinet Fredson Yamba revealed that next year's budget will focus on reducing government expenditure as a way of containing rising fiscal deficit, which has accelerated from targeted five per cent this year to 8.5 per cent of the gross domestic product.
Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda is this Friday expected to deliver the budget speech to the National Assembly.

Commenting on the upcoming presentation of the 2014 national budget, Magande, who is National Movement for Progress (NMP) president, said it was inevitable for the government to watch its many unplanned expenditures to contain the widening fiscal deficit.

"Just after being in power for two years, you are already constraining your budget," said Magande, one of the longest-serving finance ministers in Zambia.

"The first budget the PF presented, they said it was for Rupiah Banda; the second one was theirs. Now the third budget, they are talking about regressing… it is like we are going backwards."

Magande, who supported treasury plans to contain the widening public expenditure, said there was need to spell out how the constrained budget would not hurt key infrastructure programmes.

"This year's deficit can only be dealt with by reducing your borrowings next year," Magande said.

"If next year, they are restraining the budget, how are they going to finish all the road projects they have started? I accept what Mr Yamba said that we have to constrain the budget next year. But what is going to happen to these roads they have started? It means the projects have to be abandoned."

Magande said proper budget execution could not be achieved in the absence of proper planning.

"Don't be excited that because you can start a road, then that is an achievement," said Magande. "It's how and when we could complete a road."

And ActionAid said sealing all tax leakages should not just be in the mining sector, but in all the other growth sectors of the economy.
The charity organisation said that sealing tax loopholes had potential to improve the overall performance of all tax types and increase efficiency and equity in the tax system.

"Tax mobilisation is not just about copper rentals," Patrick Nshindano, an Economic Justice Project officer at ActionAid Zambia said.

"It is about ensuring effective tax collection," he said.

Nshindano said there were a number of pitfalls hampering the government's ability to mobilise revenue which needed to be addressed in next year's budget.

Citing tax avoidance and evasion by some multinational corporations, Nshindano said the government needed to tackle the vice to increase domestic revenue mobilisation.

He also said the government needed to harmonise company taxation.
Currently, corporate tax rates are sector-based and differ across sectors.

In its proposal to the budget, ActionAid has proposed that the government unify corporate rates towards 30 per cent to arrest revenue leakage through tax planning.

"An example is Zambia Sugar Company which, despite being both an agriculture and manufacturing company, has most of its expenditure deductions accounted for under manufacturing to avoid paying tax at 35 per cent," ActionAid stated.

The charity also advised the government to re-negotiate or cancel double taxation agreements with particular countries, especially those with the Swiss Confederation and the Republic of Ireland.

ActionAid said double taxation agreements allowed foreign-owned companies to choose countries where withholding tax is zero-rated.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Ex-mayor ditches MDC-T for Madhuku's party
09/10/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

FORMER Marondera mayor Farai Nyandoro has joined the Lovemore Madhuku-led National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) political party, ditching the MDC-T.

Nyandoro, who contradicted MDC-T claims that the July 31 vote was rigged insisting the party authored its stunning defeat through the imposition of candidates, told Wednesday that frustration had forced him to abandon ship.

“I have left the movement a bitter man; I was being frustrated and haunted since 2010 when the party suspended me,” he said.

“What frustrated me is lack of democracy and constitutionalism within the party which I loved so much. For instance, the party constitution clearly states that if one is suspended his case should be heard within 14 days and this was not the situation in my case.

“I was suspended in 2010 and up to now I still remain suspended without a proper disciplinary hearing.”

Pouring his heart out, Nyandoro added: “What also pains me is that I almost lost my life to political violence in the early years of 2000 when it was a taboo to contest in Mashonaland East province under the MDC banner.

“But I stood put after being beaten to death at Eagle Turner by Zanu PF supporters when I contested the elections for Ward 2 Marondera rural.”

In August Nyandoro blamed the MDC-T’s defeat on factionalism, the imposition of candidates and “bootlicking”, contradicting claims by the party leadership that the polls had been rigged.

“We went the election a divided lot in Mashonaland East Province. The leadership was aware of what I am saying; imposition of candidates cost the party, and it is a fact,” he said then.

“Our party used to belong to the poor, it used to belong to students and workers but of late we saw the party being hijacked by the elites, those who have money, and this did not go down well with the electorate.”
NCA spokesperson Madock Chivasa confirmed Nyandoro had joined the party.

“A lot of such people are coming to join the party, and it is happening in all the districts throughout the country. What I can tell you at the moment is that we are going to have an audit of our membership just before the congress in March next year to establish how has joined,” he said Chivasa.

In jumping ship for the NCA, Nyandoro joins a number other disgruntled senior MDC-T members who have also ditched the party.

They include Emmanuel Chiroto the former deputy Harare mayor, Felix Magalela Mafa, Aaron Chinhara who lost the MDC-T primaries for Redcliff, Samuel Sandla Khumalo who wanted to represent the MDC-T in the Magwegwe constituency and former Sunningdale councillor Musa Macheza.

Interim NCA leader Madhuku has been engaging the MDC-T rebels since announcing his intension to form a political party.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC-T slams upsurge in ‘police brutality’
09/10/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

COMMENT - More MDC grandstanding to the international gallery. They have nothing to run on other than dragging down the image of their own country, and the livelihoods of their own countrymen. - MrK

THE opposition MDC-T party has expressed concern over what it said was an upsurge in police brutality after cops put down a demonstration by women in Hwange and removed hundreds of families illegally settled in Mashonaland West province.

Police reportedly moved in with batons to put down a demonstration Monday by spouses of Hwange Colliery Company who were protesting the company’s failure to pay salaries for about five months.

Hwange Central MP Brian Tshuma said some of the protesters were badly beaten and sustained injuries while at least two were detained.
In a statement Tuesday the MDC-T said the violent suppression of the demonstration contravened the country’s constitution.

“On Monday, at the Hwange Colliery mine, the police violently disrupted a demonstration staged by over 100 defenceless women who were demanding outstanding salaries and allowances for their spouses who have not been paid for over five months,” the party said.

“These women and some children were viciously assaulted by the police with baton sticks and booted feet. This suppression of the demonstration was in clear violation of Section 58 the new Constitution which clearly provides for freedom to demonstrate.

“This shows that Zanu PF, through the police, is bent on subverting the people’s rights enshrined in the new Constitution.”

A Bulawayo-based pressure group, Bulawayo Agenda, also claimed that the company had threatened to sack the spouses of the protesting women.

“Employees at the colliery have gone for 5 months without receiving their salaries prompting the Monday demonstration which was violently disbanded by police leaving four women hospitalised after sustaining injuries,” the group said.

“The company is also threatening to lay-off all the husbands of the women who participated in the demonstrations.”

Meanwhile, the MDC-T also condemned the removal of hundreds of villagers in parts of Mashonaland West where the party claimed they had been settled in order to vote for Zanu PF in the July 31 elections.

“On Tuesday, hundreds of families were left homeless in Mapinga, Banket in Mashonaland West after a group of vicious and heavily armed police officers destroyed and burnt their huts,” the party said.

“What is clear is that these families who have been at the farm for less than four months were brought in by Zanu PF to vote for its candidates in the 31 July elections.

“Now that the elections are gone these poor families are being discarded like dirt and have been left to face the vagaries of weather.

“Further, the MDC notes with concern the unconstitutional and unlawful farm invasions by Zanu PF officials throughout the country, especially in the Mashonaland Central province.

“We are convinced that what is happening now is a clear sign that once again Zimbabwe is on the brink to returning to lawlessness, brutality and anarchy.

“We call upon all Zimbabweans to be united and stop Zanu PF from bringing Zimbabwe back to retrogression.”

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KK endorses $2bn FQM's Sentinel Mine
By Staff Reporters
Wed 09 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

Dr Kenneth Kaunda has endorsed the $2 billion under-construction Sentinel Mine by First Quantum Minerals (FQM) at Kalumbila.

Dr Kaunda also joined the chorus of stakeholders calling for removal of any impediments to ensure that benefits from the single largest investment in Zambia quickly start flowing to Zambians in a significant and sustained fashion. The mine is 120 kilometres west of Solwezi in senior chief Musele's area.

"We have a massive opportunity through this investment by FQM to make Zambia more prosperous. I see young men and women, Zambians and visitors working tirelessly to make this mine a success. Therefore, every effort must be made to remove any impediments. This is the message I will be taking to President Michael Sata," said Dr Kaunda when he toured the construction site.

"I know President Sata. He is an excellent leader. He was my first Governor of Lusaka. So I know very well; he is going to act. I told him I was coming here, and I will go back and convey the impressive work going on here, and the urgent need to remove any hurdles."

Dr Kaunda's white handkerchief set the construction site into frenzy with scores of workers chanting "KK!". Keeping his tradition, he preached unity and love before leading all present into singing Tiyende Pamodzi.

Earlier, Kalumbila Minerals Limited (KML)assistant general manager Tristan Pascall said the development opportunity Sentinel Mine presented could be captured by the 3,000 direct jobs by the mine, and 10,000 indirect jobs while stimulating other sectors of the economy.

"For those the mine cannot employ, they will be gainfully employed. For example, if one was a farmer, Sentinel will make him abetter farmer. A fisherman will also become a good farmer," he said.

Sentinel Mine is expected to start production in the first quarter of 2014, producing 300,000 tonnes of copper per annum.

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Pupils at Mazabuka school riot over exams
By Lemmy Likando in Mazabuka
Wed 09 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

OVER 140 grade twelve pupils from Santa Josephs Private School in Mazabuka have rioted, destroying school property worth thousands of kwacha following failure by school authorities to secure an Examinations Council of Zambia centre.

The pupils at the school, located in Kaleya, about eight kilometers from Mazabuka town, ran amok, setting the library on fire.

They were incensed upon being informed by the school director Joseph Mulenga that they would not write their examinations this year but next year because a teacher whom the school engaged to help secure them a place misappropriated their examination fees.

Mulenga, who said the school had done its best in securing a place for them, regretted that someone had misused the money.

Meanwhile, a teacher from Kaonga High School who offered to assist the private school in securing a centre for the pupils to write their exams from, has been arrested and remanded in police custody for embezzling over K18,000, which they paid to him.

Robert Haloba, a senior teacher at Kaonga Secondary School, who earlier promised to make arrangements on behalf of their school, is alleged to have collected the money which he later embezzled, thereby failing to secure a centre for the pupils.

Southern Province police commissioner Charity Katanga, who confirmed Haloba's arrest, stated that he was believed to have pocketed the more than K18,000 meant for boarding and examination fees which he collected from Santa Joseph's pupils, assuring them that they would write their examinations at Namulundu Secondary School in Kafue.

However, the pupils, who gathered at Kaonga Secondary School, where they were scheduled to board buses, dragged Haloba to Mazabuka Central Police Station when it became evident that they would not travel to Namulundu for their exams.

Haloba has been charged with obtaining money by false pretences and will appear in court soon.

And an affected pupil, Naliet Moonga disclosed that management at the school ordered the 150 pupils to pay K500 for accommodation while in Kafue and K302 as examination fees per pupil.

And a cross section of affected parents who besieged the police station upon learning of the development demanded that Haloba pay them back their money.



(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC-T suspends Gweru mayor Kombayi
08/10/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE MDC-T has suspended Gweru mayor, Hamutendi Kombayi and four councillors for allegedly defying the party whip during last month’s mayoral elections.

National organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, said Kombayi and the four councillors - Moses Marecha (Ward 5), Tawanda Magidi (Ward 16), Farai Muza (Ward 17) and Artwell Matyorauta (Ward 8) - would soon appear before the party's disciplinary committee.

The officials are accused of defying a directive to vote for the party’s preferred mayoral candidate, councillor Charles Chikozho in the elections.

“I can confirm that Gweru mayor, Cllr Kombayi has been suspended together with four other councillors pending disciplinary hearing. However, the national executive is yet to deliberate on their fate,” said Chamisa.

“The disciplinary process is underway. The councillors are facing allegations of refusing to be guided by the party in the recently held mayoral elections. They will appear before the national disciplinary committee,” he said.

The party has threated to sack officials who defied party instructions during the elections which saw some of MDC-T councillors voting for Zanu PF candidates in towns such as Kwekwe, Redcliff and Victoria Falls.

Local government minister Ignatius Chombo recently said the government would continue to work with the mayors and councillors should they be expelled from the MDC-T.

“The antics that those who voted for an elected Zanu PF councillor to be mayor should be expelled, that is purely an MDC-T matter. It is quite unfortunate . . . we will continue working with the councillors and mayors whether expelled or not,” he said.

However, an independent lawyers group, Veritas, said under the new Constitution, the officials seats automatically become vacant once their party writes to the local government minister advising him of their expulsion.

Said Veritas: “If they (MDC-T) expel any councillors from the party, the next steps are regulated by section 278 of the Constitution which provides that the seat of a mayor, chairperson or councillor in a local authority automatically becomes vacant as soon as a political party has written to the Minister of Local Government that the member has ceased to belong to the party.

“But the party would have no right to fill a vacant seat simply by nominating another qualified party member … (regard mayors or chairpersons) a vacancy must be filled by a councillor elected by the council concerned.

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(NEWZIMBABWE, IRIN) Corrupt traditional leaders profit from illegal land sales
08/10/2013 00:00:00

IN the past decade, 60-year-old Josiah Makasha, in the rural Seke district outside the dormitory town of Chitungwiza, some 35 km north of Harare, has seen urban sprawl shrink pastures and deplete his cattle herd by two-thirds.

Makasha used to have 15 head of cattle, but now makes do with five. “There is hardly any more grazing land for our cattle, so we don’t have a choice but to keep small herds. Our land has been taken over by people from the city who are buying plots and building houses,” he told IRIN.

For Seke's villagers, the receding pastures are not their only problem. Traditional leaders - empowered to distribute land to members of their communities - are reducing the sizes of plots to sell parts of the land to buyers from Chitungwiza and Harare for personal profit.

“It seems we will soon end up as backyard tenants in the land of our ancestors. Our headmen are the main culprits as they are enriching themselves at the expense of the villagers by selling the land that is supposed to belong to us as a community. Our children have nowhere to go and end up cramped on our homesteads,” Makasha said.

The traditional leaders, Makasha said, are supposed to accept a nominal fee of US$7 from local community members receiving new plots, after which the community members are supposed to pay $5 annually in tenure fees. But instead, the headmen are selling two-hectare plots for as much as $4,000 to home seekers from urban areas.

As a result of the widespread sale of land in the district by headmen and chiefs, he said, villagers have reduced space to plant crops and engage in market gardening, particularly the production of green vegetables and tomatoes that provide extra income to local families.

Warship Dumba, the president of the Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe, a group promoting the interests of councillors and serving as a watchdog that monitors municipal authorities, is worried about the unplanned encroachment into rural areas.

“The situation is common in rural areas that border cities and towns and seems to be getting out of hand. Traditional leaders are conniving with chiefs and district administrators to grab land from helpless villagers, and of major concern is the fact that this is making rural dwellers poorer while a few individuals get richer.

“There is no doubt that cities like Harare and Chitungwiza have serious housing problems, but it is not acceptable to change land use without following proper procedures,” Dumba, who said his organization has carried out several investigations, told IRIN.

Surplus land has long been held in custody by the traditional leaders to distribute to expanding families among local communities. But growing demand for accommodation from nearby urban areas has turned places like Seke into a sprawling residential areas for urban dwellers.

Low-budget houses have sprouted in rural Seke over the past 15 years, particularly in the last four years, according to Makasha, taking up hundreds of hectares of land that should be reserved for the local people.

Unofficial estimates indicate that Harare and Chitungwiza, the latter having been built to cater mainly for commuters working in the capital, have an estimated housing backlog of over two million units, against a combined population of about four million.

Commercial use

Some of the people buying rural land in rural areas surrounding the two cities of Harare and Chitungwiza are also doing so for commercial purposes.

Simon Makuvaza, 42, a senior bank employee in the capital, runs a thriving piggery project on two hectares that he bought three years ago from a headman whose village is in Seke.

He has built a small cottage for two workers who tend his pigs, as well as pens and water reservoirs occupying slightly under a hectare. He has reserved the rest of the land for chicken farming and a fish pond.
His plot is one of the numerous pieces of land that extend into what used to be grazing wetlands.

“The purchase of this land was done secretly because it is illegal. The headman claimed to the chief that I am his nephew who was desperate for land and, in that regard, I am covered,” said Makuvaza, whose pigs number more than 500. He paid $4,000 for the plot, he told IRIN.

The headman, he said, persuaded the two families that occupied the land to move to a smaller space on the outskirts of the village, where the soil is sandy and therefore unproductive.
One of the headmen, Patrick Gonyora*, 65, says the illegal sale of communal land has transformed his family’s life.

He has been selling pieces of land to individuals from Harare and Chitungwiza since 2009, when he was made a traditional leader, taking over from his late brother. With profits from the illegal sales of land in his village, he turned his four-room thatched house into a modern one, complete with electricity.

He also runs piggery and poultry projects that he started with the money he gets from land buyers, and owns a used imported truck from Japan.

“Whenever I sell a piece of land, I notify the chief. I have the right to give land to people who want it, but these days, nothing comes free of charge, so they have to pay,” Gonyora told IRIN.

“I know that there are villagers who have been complaining to the chief that I am reducing land meant for farming and grazing, but I don’t care. I am benefiting from the powers that I was given as a headman.”

Ignatius Chombo, the local government minister whose ministry controls land acquisitions in urban and rural areas, however, told IRIN that traditional leaders did not have the power to sell land to private individuals.

“Traditional leaders are custodians of the communal land and it is illegal for them to sell it, so they risk being prosecuted. Those that buy the land are also doing it illegally, and there is no way in which they can have title deeds, so they would be removed once they are known; they are not entitled to compensation,” said Chombo.

He said: “It is unacceptable that the traditional leaders are changing land use by selling plots for residential and commercial purposes, a trend that disturbs villagers’ livelihoods.”

Unlike private buyers, municipalities are legally permitted to take over land within their districts, said Chombo. Many rural municipalities have worsened the situation for villagers by expanding into villagers’ land to build houses for employees, local businesses and workers at rural business centres.

Chombo urged rural district councils to ensure that villagers are not disadvantaged when their plots are taken over by municipalities for commercial and housing projects. District councils must not move people without finding alternative places to settle them, he said.

His words, however, could come too late for Kerina Juru, 65, from rural Goromonzi. The local district council wants her homestead for a housing project for its employees and business owners at the nearby business growth centre.

“City council officials came here last month and told me that I had to move within six months because they want to build houses here. They said it was my duty to find an alternative place to go, but where will I find the land?” she told IRIN.
Forced removal

Caring for her four grandchildren after their mother's death a few years ago, Juru worries she will be forced to sell her four head of cattle to buy a new plot elsewhere. “I am not sure if I will be able to find a school near enough for my grandchildren,” she said.

Since 2005, she said, the Goromonzi rural district council has moved scores of families from the village. Some of them have been lucky enough to acquire new land in other villages, while others have resorted to “squatting” with their relatives.

“This forced removal of villagers is ruthless. Many families are now struggling to grow enough crops to feed their families, and the situation has been worsened by the fact that the rains are no longer reliable these days,” Juru said.

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PF is going the MMD way on cadre discipline
By Editor
Tue 08 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

We think the Patriotic Front leadership is making a very grave mistake by allowing the type of cadres that the MMD had in Lusaka to emerge in their party.

What we are seeing is a replica of the type of party the MMD had in Lusaka before the 2011 elections. The MMD had developed a very violent team of cadres that took over the party and its activities in Lusaka.

This group of cadres reigned by violence, intimidation and to some extent blackmail. They became untouchable. No MMD leader could dare go against them. The only person they could listen to, without question, was the party president. They won the support of the president by showing him unquestionable and unwavering support.

And with the support of the president, they created a lot of political space for themselves to manoeuvre without anybody stopping them. They enjoyed themselves - they had the money, they attended any state function even without invitation. The party leadership tolerated them, could not question them or denounce their behaviour because it was too risky politically for them to do so. Tolerating them meant them being seen to be on the side of the president. Not even the police could do anything about their unruly or violent behaviour.

But what the MMD leadership did not realise was that this unruly and violent behaviour of their cadres was costing them general public support needed to win elections. Their behaviour left the public dismayed and disheartened. These cadres became the face of the MMD. But it was a hated face of the MMD. The more unruly, violent and assertive these cadres became, the more the MMD became unpopular with the masses of our people.

Of course, we do realise that most of the PF's key politicians came from the MMD. Most of them only joined the Patriotic Front after the 2006 elections. Some were even MMD parliamentary candidates in 2006 itself. It is therefore not surprising that they have brought with them that type of behaviour into the Patriotic Front.

The behaviour of Patriotic Front cadres in Lusaka is leaving many people, many voters dismayed and disheartened. Generally, the Zambian people want to see politics conducted in a peaceful and honest way, devoid of any violence and slander of political opponents. They want to see political leaders and their cadres guided by the truth, integrity and justice.

It is necessary for Patriotic Front leaders and their cadres to always remind themselves that the politics they are engaging in should be for the good of the country and the people, and not for the political survival of any individual or party. If the spirit of the primacy of the common good were to animate them, we would not be witnessing the unruly behaviour, the violence, wrangling, bickering and power struggling which leaves the masses of our people dismayed and disheartened.

In the present atmosphere of fierce competition and character assassination, it is necessary for the leaders and cadres of the Patriotic Front to remind themselves of the noble goals of political activity.

And as we have pointed out before, there is need for the Patriotic Front to reexamine the type of cadres they have and ask themselves: is this the kind of cadre the Patriotic Front needs or does not need?
The Zambian people want to see party cadres who conduct themselves in a more humane, humble and sober manner. They don't want to see party cadres who behave as if they are all the time high on dagga or intoxicated with alcohol.

The Zambian people want to see party cadres who are selfless and who are not simply looking for cuts or for personal benefits in this or that. Today's party cadres seem to be for hire to the highest bidder. Those who are ready to part with money control them. A senior MMD politician once told us that "wherever you see cadres marching, protesting, beating people and engaging in all sorts of violence, someone has forked out money". This seems to be true not only for MMD cadres but for Patriotic Front cadres as well as for those in the UPND. And this is why our politics are increasingly becoming violent. We are so often witnessing intra-party and inter-party cadre violence. Why? It is simply because there is someone paying for it; cadres are being rewarded for being violent and unruly.

Zambia needs a different type of cadres from what we have today. We need party cadres who are rooted and grounded in society, and understand what their role is in transforming our country. We need cadres who are ready to influence people, communities and structures by their exemplary humane behaviour.

But it is not by accident that things are what they are today with our party cadres. There has been an increasing decline in political morality, ethics and values in the country. And this has caused considerable damage to the moral standing of our politicians and their party cadres.

There is need for the Patriotic Front and other political parties in our country to start paying a lot of attention to the training of cadres. This is the only way we will be able to strengthen our multiparty political dispensation because this can only be done by cadres who are well grounded politically. Our political parties need to make some internal assessments of the way they are operating if they are to positively respond to the needs, aspirations and interests of our people.

Of course, the membership of the Patriotic Front has been growing very fast since coming to power. Why? This is simply because this is where the eating is taking place. And this growth in membership is not reflected in the activities of the Patriotic Front. Most members and some of the leadership, even at central committee level, are not involved in the daily life of the party. The activities of the party are actually being run by elements without any party positions. There is need to assess the members of the party and the central committee members on the basis of their deployments and their work within the organisation. This is the only way they will be able to build a party of activists and not merely members. There is need to invest resources in the development of cadres and ensure that they are being properly inducted and educated on party policies and that there are continuous political education programmes for them.

In order to guarantee that the Patriotic Front does not change its colour, the party must not only have a correct line and correct policies but must train and bring up thousands of party cadres to carry on its work. This is an extremely important issue, a matter of life and death for the Patriotic Front. It is a matter of fundamental importance for the present and the future of the party. And from the highest structures down to the grassroots, they must everywhere give constant attention to the training and upbringing of cadres. They must purposefully train thousands of cadres and hundreds of first-rate mass leaders who are loyal and devoted in serving the nation and their party.

This is important because it is on these cadres that the party relies for its links with the masses. Given the importance of their tasks, such cadres must be free from selfishness, from individualistic heroism, ostentation, sloth, passivity and arrogant sectarianism. Such are the qualities and style of work demanded of party cadres.

Cadres are a decisive factor, once the political line is determined. Therefore, it is important to train large numbers of new cadres in a planned way.

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Sata will handle PF indiscipline - Mulenga
By Tilyenji Mwanza
Tue 08 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

MULENGA Sata says party officials should not use him to get to his father. A few weeks ago some PF members in Lusaka sent a petition to President Michael Sata through his son Mulenga, demanding for the removal of Kabimba as secretary general of the party.

The cadres, who had earlier been involved in a fight with another PF group which was against endorsing President Sata for another term, said they wanted Mulenga to talk to his father over going for another term and to deal with Kabimba.

The group had marched to Mulenga's home, where they presented the petition.

The cadres also petitioned Sata's son to have Lusaka district and provincial leaderships dissolved.

Mulenga promised to convey the message to the party leadership including Kabimba, Vice President Guy Scott and his father.
Mulenga was also among officials that attended a consultative meeting in Lusaka that deliberated on Kabimba's issue and which culminated in a resolution to remove the secretary general.

He later said he wanted Kabimba to continue as secretary general.
And in an interview, Mulenga, who is Lusaka deputy mayor, said there were many things going on in the party but they should not be addressed through him.

"I do not want to speak in the capacity as my father or be used to get to my father. The indiscipline going on in the party will be handled by the big man. I do not want to be used in this. I do not want to be used by anyone," said Mulenga after being asked about the indiscipline that was going on in the PF.

Mulenga observed that with President Michael Sata's return from the US, the PF house would be put in order.

"With the big man back, things will return to order and I expect people to go to him for answers; not look to me for answers. Yes, in the past I was used to take a message of concern to my father but that was in the past and now that he is back, let these things go to him," he said.

Mulenga said he was saddened by the wrangles in the PF and called on the party leadership to address them.

"I am urging party leadership to take up more responsibility. However, I know the party leadership is working on the matter," said Mulenga.

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Kaunda calls for unity
By Fridah Nkonde
Tue 08 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

DR Kenneth Kaunda says people should love one another regardless of tribe, race, or colour. And Northmead Assembly of God senior pastor Bishop Joshua Banda says the news that media houses have been subjecting Zambians to for the past 40 days is nauseating.

Meanwhile, Bishop Boniface Nkonde says Zambians should continue praying for the leaders because they pass through a lot of challenges. At an inter-denominational national prayer service in Lusaka on Sunday, Dr Kaunda called for national unity, saying Zambians were one.

"The Commandments say, 'love God with all your heart, soul and mind. Love your neighbour as you love yourself and do unto others the way you would want them to do unto you'. We should stop pointing fingers at each other to say 'he is this tribe, colour' or what. We should all love one another because we are all God's children," Dr Kaunda said.

"Your neighbour can be a woman, a boy but they are all His children. Whichever field we serve in, we should not preach hatred because of tribe, colour… we should always remember this commandment. If you are pointing fingers at each other because of tribe, colour, then you are questioning God's commandment," said Dr Kaunda.

And Bishop Banda, who is also Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) committee member, encouraged the media to stop publishing stories where people insult each other.

"We do not want to hear insults. The past 40 days have not been okay for the country. The news has been nauseating because the media have been publishing stories about people. Some are here and others are not. We will not follow you. The media have a responsibility to inform the nation but you should change the tempo of your message and stop the name-calling and labelling. As a church, we are determined that Zambia stays together. When people are insulting each other, don't write," Bishop Banda said.

He said there was also need for political leaders to stop issuing inflammatory statements.

Meanwhile, delivering his homily, Bishop Nkonde, who is also EFZ committee member, said there was need for Zambians to continue praying for the leaders.

"Each leader has direction to take people to a certain position, so we should continue praying for them," said Bishop Nkonde.

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Farmers should not plant yet, warns meteorologist
By Tilyenji Mwanza
Tue 08 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

A METEOROLOGIST says the rains that were experienced yesterday in some parts of the country were as a result of tropical winds from the east that had caused a disturbance in the lower clouds.

According to a meteorologist talked to, who did not want to be named, the rains were not an indication of the beginning of the rainy season and cautioned farmers against planting.

"No, the rainy season has not begun. These rains are just a small disturbance because of the easterly winds. For farmers, please do not start farming; the rains experienced are less than a millimeter and farmers are encouraged to plant when we have experienced more than or at least 20mm," he said.

The meteorologist further explained that the Meteorological Department had problems in predicting weather because it used global models to make its comparisons.

"Our biggest challenge here is we don't have local models; we rely on global models to give our forecast but we are trying," he said.
He observed that the rainfall this year would be more favourable than last year's.

"We are expecting a better and more favourable rainy season as compared to last year. Unless otherwise, we do not expect any droughts or rainfall complaints from farmers," he said.

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(NEWZIMBABWE, AFP) Envoy summoned over minister’s treatment
08/10/2013 00:00:00
by AFP

ZIMBABWE said on Tuesday that it had summoned the American ambassador in Harare over the frisking of foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi on a recent trip to the United States. Mumbengegwi was asked to go through security checks at New York's JFK airport, in an apparent denial of diplomatic privilege.

Permanent secretary Joey Bimha said ministry officials had on Monday met the US ambassador, Bruce Wharton, following the airport incident.

“I confirm we met the ambassador (on Monday),” Bimha told AFP.

“He has since apologised and said he is going to find out what happened.”

Mumbengegwi was returning home after attending the UN General Assembly as part of the entourage accompanying President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's relations with the US are strained after Washington imposed targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe following elections in 2002, which Western observers said were rigged to hand Mugabe victory.

The sanctions include travel restrictions on Mugabe and members of his inner circle and a freeze of assets belonging to Mugabe's allies or entities with links to him and his ruling Zanu-PF party.

In 2005, Zimbabwe threatened to expel the then-ambassador Christopher Dell for allegedly interfering in its political affairs.
Dell was also reprimanded for entering a restricted area of the National Botanical Gardens in Harare.

The US rejected the results of the last July elections which extended Mugabe's 33-year rule on grounds that the polls were not credible.
The results were also disputed by Mugabe's main rival Morgan Tsvangirai as “a massive fraud”.

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(TRUTH OUT) The Golden Dawn Murder Case, Larry Summers and the New Fascism
Monday, 07 October 2013 09:03 By Greg Palast, Truthout | News Analysis

Golden Dawn of Larry Summers(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)On September 18, hip-hop artist Pavlos Fyssas, aka Killah P, was stabbed outside a bar in Keratsini, Greece.

Larry Summers has an airtight alibi. But I don't believe it.

Larry didn't hold the knife: The confessed killer is some twisted little fuckwit member of Golden Dawn, a political party made up of skinhead freaks, anti-immigrant fearmongers, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-Albanian sociopaths and ultra-patriot crazies. Think of it as the Tea Party goes Greek.

Following Fyssas' killing, other groups of dangerous psychopathic misfits, namely the European Union and Greece's governing coalition, moved to ban Golden Dawn.

Over the weekend, Greece's rulers arrested six members of Parliament who belong to Golden Dawn. Apparently, Greece's political leaders prefer democracy as defined by Egypt's General Sisi.

To my friends on the Greek left: It's sickening to watch you cheer the arrest of Golden Dawn parliamentarians. Mark my words: You are next.

Listen up:

My investigation reveals that behind the banning of Golden Dawn, besides the usual European distaste for democracy, is something far more sinister: The ruling parties are distracting the public from their own involvement in the crime.

The rise in violence and hate crimes is no surprise. The official unemployment rate in Greece is 28 percent, and over 60 percent among young men. No wonder desperate youths are wrapping batons in Greek flags and beating immigrants: When people are pressed to the wall, they hunt for their tormentors - and too often find their fellow victims to blame.

Economic devastation breeds fascism. In the 1930s, the hungry and angry sought relief in hyper-patriotism, racism and pogroms. In the 1980s Reagan recession in the United States, when factories shut down in the Midwest, the hopeless unemployed joined right-wing skinhead cults and went on a killing rampage - beginning with the murder of Jewish journalist Alan Berg and ending with the bombing of a government building in Oklahoma, killing 168.

Vultures Over Athens

Golden Dawn is a symptom of the nation's illness, not its cause. Unfortunately, the brown-shirts go after easy targets - Pakistanis, Gypsies, Africans, whoever is different and easy to whack. It's a lot easier to stab a hip-hop artist than it is to go after a hedge-fund shark.

The real culprits behind the suffering are well camouflaged. So let me name some: In Greece, we begin with billionaires Kenneth Dart and Paul "The Vulture" Singer.

Dart and Singer bought up Greek government bonds for pennies on the dollar. While the holders of 97 percent of Greek bonds agreed to accept a loss of 75 percent of their value, Dart and Singer demanded several hundred percent more than they paid. Then Dart and Singer threatened the dead-broke Greek government. If Greece did not pay this ransom, Dart and Singer would declare Greek bonds in default. Every bank in Europe holding these government debts as reserve funds would face technical bankruptcy; the value of government bonds worldwide would implode in value; and the entire hemisphere would face a new financial collapse.

It was financial terrorism, and the Greek government gave in. It paid the full ransom demanded. Dart grabbed over half a billion dollars ($513 million) from the Greek treasury - and only the gods know how much Singer has pocketed.

How was this vulture food paid for? With "austerity" - tightening a belt that's already not much bigger than its buckle. To pay Singer and Dart, the Greek government announced it would fire 15,000 workers.

What's sick is that the ruling coalition (or misruling coalition) does not say this is to cover the payoffs to the vultures. Rather than stand up to these financial terrorists, the government blames their victims, pointing to its own citizens as lazy and greedy who must be punished. The victims' punishment is called "austerity."

The Austerity Fairy Tale

My children often ask me, "Daddy, where does 'austerity' come from?" And I tell them:

Once upon a time, there was a good fairy named John Maynard Keynes. He wanted to stop depressions, financial crises and suffering, so he conceived of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He said, 'When a nation's foreign exchange earnings drop (say, if the price of oil rises or Greek tourism falls because its currency is overvalued), the countries taking the poor nations' money, rich countries like Germany and the United State, would lend it back via the IMF.

By this rule, the rich lending to the poor, the world prospered and lived happily ever after . . . until the 1980s, when a wicked witch, known as the Iron Lady, and America's gaga grandpa, Reagan of the Rich, insisted that the IMF and the World Bank beat poor nations with a stick called, "structural adjustment."

Nations facing destitution because of higher oil costs, currency imbalance or predatory interest rate demands were "structurally adjusted." Structural adjustment is a cruel and debilitating potion of mass firings of public employees, cheap sell-offs of national assets and deregulation of corporate profiteering. This ripping the wings off the better angels of government is called, "austerity."

The good fairy Keynes had warned about this evil potion, this snake oil called "austerity." Cutting government spending during a recession, he said, will only make things worse.

And that's what happened: In every single case, the "adjusted" nations' economies were devastated.

Structural adjustment reached its cruel apotheosis in the early 1990s under the guidance of the World Bank's chief economist, one Larry Summers.

But then, in 1997, Summers' post was taken by Professor Joseph Stiglitz.

In 2001, I met Stiglitz whom I'd heard was quietly expressing grave doubts about austerity and structural adjustment à la Summers. He agreed to go public. Over several hours of discussion, which I recorded for BBC TV, Stiglitz charged that IMF-imposed austerity was " a little like the Middle Ages. When the patient died, they would say, well, we stopped the bloodletting too soon; he still had a little blood in him."

Stiglitz detailed for me the ill effects of the "structural adjustment" demands, including "free" trade, which he likened to the Opium Wars; bank deregulation, which he found ludicrously dangerous; privatization, which Stiglitz called "briberization"; and budget-cutting austerity.

The budget cuts and free-market nostrums, Stiglitz told me, were as cruel as they were stupid. And he said of those who profited off these IMF diktats, "They don't care if people live or die."

Stiglitz went on to win the Nobel Prize in economics for his skepticism of Markets über Alles.

So how, a decade after austerity, briberization and all their cruelties were exposed and discredited, did Greece (and Spain, and Portugal and too many others) end up under austerity's bloody grip?

To begin with, in 2000, Larry Summers, as US treasury secretary, successfully demanded the World Bank fire Stiglitz and purged the bank and IMF of austerity apostasy.

Why? Austerity may fail the public, but it's damn profitable for those on the inside.

All you need is a riot and a few dead bodies.

The IMF Riots

Among Stiglitz's stunning revelations to me was his description of "the IMF riot." I showed him confidential World Bank and IMF plans for the nation of Ecuador. These included what seemed to be a warning to that nation's finance minister that austerity could lead to violence in the streets, "social unrest"- which the World Bank recommended be crushed with "resolve." In Ecuador, "resolve" meant tanks.

Did the IMF really write the riots into the plans?

Yes, Stiglitz said, matter-of-factly. "We had a name for it: 'The IMF Riot.' "

When a nation is "down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole caldron blows up."

And that's what we're seeing in Greece. It began in May 2010, when some sick, misguided berserker set fire to a bank in Athens and killed four bank employees. The killings did the trick: The left's protests against insane austerity and banker gangsterism came to a halt.

Still, people could see that the austerity medicine was making Greece ill. So, they put their hopes in a new party, Syriza, which, from nowhere, became the second highest vote-getter in Greece by promising to oppose austerity. Once in office, the faux-left Syriza completely sold out its positions.

That leaves Golden Dawn, although diseased by racism and violently bent, as the only one of Greece's top four parties to stand firm against rabid austerity and the economy being chained like a beaten dog to Germany's currency.

In 2010, the bank burning was used to discredit protests by the left. Today, once again, the Greek government, dancing on its hind legs, begging for a biscuit from German bankers, has used a murder as an excuse to outlaw the only major party dissenting from the austerity suicide pact.

I wish I could say that the reason Golden Dawn is being banned is because of the violent bend of its racist followers. But that's just not what's going on here.

Dimitris Kazakis, the leader of Greece's true progressive party, the United People's Front (EPAM), has spoken out against Golden Dawn's racist violence - and the greater danger of the bogus charges created to arrest members of Parliament. He scolds Greeks, reminding them that this is how the military dictatorship seized power in 1967.

So, who are the real fascists?

Fascism, as defined since the days of Il Duce, is the official combination of government and big business. By that definition, Golden Dawn is the only non-fascist party among Greece's top four. And that is why Golden Dawn has been targeted for elimination.

I hope my fellow progressives will excuse me for not applauding.

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(WHAT'S LEFT)US Aiming Higher than Nuclear Deal in Iran
Posted in Iran by what's left on October 6, 2013
By Stephen Gowans

US hostility to Iran didn’t begin with the latter enriching uranium. It began in 1979, when Iran extricated itself from US domination by overthrowing the US-backed Shah, who had been installed after the United States and Britain engineered the overthrow of Iran’s democratically-elected, and economically nationalist, prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh irked the British and Americans by nationalizing his country’s oil industry.

Ever since the Shah’s overthrow, Washington has been waging war on Iran, through a proxy (Saddam Hussein’s Iraq), by sanctions, assassinations, cyber-warfare and threats of military intervention. The goal is to bring Iran back under US domination. Ending Iran’s nuclear program—or more specifically, its domestic production of nuclear fuel—is only part of the larger goal.

Recently, there has been talk of relaxing” or “easing” (though not ending) sanctions and of a possible “thaw” in US-Iranian relations. Washington sees, in the new Iranian president, the possibility of concessions, and wants to facilitate Iran’s partial capitulation. Israel fears that Iran is sending false signals, and is playing for time.

Iran is seeking an end to sanctions and recognition of its right to enrich uranium. [1] This conflicts with Washington’s view that Iran has the right to nuclear energy, but not to domestic production of nuclear fuel. Washington wants Iran to:

• Halt work on a heavy water reactor at Arak (which could produce plutonium);
• Destroy the subterranean Fordo uranium enrichment facility (which is invulnerable to air attack);
• Suspend production of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity (deemed dangerously close to weapons grade);
• Relinquish its existing stockpile of nuclear fuel;
• Allow international inspectors to talk to Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (who has been hidden away, out of reach of Israeli assassins. [2]

Even if Iran acceded to all of Washington’s demands, a number of US sanctions would remain. These include sanctions intended to stop Iran from:

• Developing other weapons of mass destruction;
• Building ballistic missiles;
• Supporting Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad;
• Exercising influence in the Middle East;
• Exporting arms;
• Dealing with unrest and subversion at home (stoked by the misery created by Western sanctions);
• Monitoring and censoring domestic internet communications. [3]

In previous talks with Iran, US and European negotiators have offered to relax some sanctions. For example, they proposed to end trade sanctions banning exports of airplane parts to Iran, in return for Iran suspending domestic production of nuclear fuel. This is a mild trade sanction, hardly punitive in comparison to the ban on Iranian oil exports and isolation of Iranian banks that have taken a heavy toll on Iran’s economy and more to the point, on the lives of its people.

Background [4]

In return for forswearing the development of nuclear weapons, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) grants to non-nuclear weapons states the right to develop and use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Iran is a member of the treaty, and its nuclear facilities are monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). IAEA monitors have never reported that Iran has diverted nuclear material to military use.

Whether the right to develop and use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes includes the right to enrich uranium is disputed, but some NPT members, including Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands, have domestic uranium enrichment programs which operate without sanction or threat. Only Iran is denied this right.

Israel refused to become a member of the NPT, presumably to allow itself the option to develop nuclear weapons. The country has an estimated 400 nuclear warheads, and the aircraft, ballistic missiles and submarine-launched cruise missiles to deliver them anywhere in the Middle East. In contrast, even if Iran did have nuclear warheads, it hasn’t anywhere near the range of delivery options Israel has, and would struggle to develop them.

This raises an embarrassing question for the United States. Why is Iran the object of sanctions, bombing threats, cyber-warfare, and an assassination campaign targeting its nuclear scientist, despite its forswearing the development of nuclear weapons and opening its nuclear facilities to the IAEA, when Israel, which actually has nuclear weapons and refuses to join the NPT, faces no similar pressure? The answer, according to John Bolton, who was deputy secretary of arms control under George W. Bush, is that “The issue for us is what poses a threat to the United States.” In other words, the key here is not a nuclear weapons capability but whether the country that possesses it is under US domination.

The United States supplied the Shah’s Iran with the Tehran research reactor, which began operations in 1967, and is still used to produce medical isotopes. It is this reactor which requires uranium enriched to 20 percent purity. In 1974, with Washington’s approval, the Shah announced plans to build two reactors at Bushehr. At the time of the 1979 revolution, the reactors were nearing completion. After the revolution, the United States tore up its nuclear agreements with Iran and pressured other countries to treat the country as a pariah.

The history of Iran’s nuclear program can be divided into two periods: Before the revolution, and after. Before the revolution, the United States and other Western countries helped Iran acquire nuclear technology. After the revolution, they did their best to freeze Iran out.

In the mid-1980s, Iran asked the IAEA for assistance in enriching uranium. The NPT directs nuclear powers to furnish non-nuclear member states with information, equipment and materials for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The idea is that there’s a quid-pro-quo: non-nuclear states agree to foreswear nuclear weapons in return for the nuclear weapons states helping them develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Under US pressure, Iran’s request for assistance was rejected. With this avenue blocked, Iran turned to AQ Khan, the father of the Pakistan bomb. The AQ Khan network provided Iran with design information and equipment for uranium enrichment facilities, enabling Iran to build an enrichment plant at Natanz.

Crying Wolf

US, Israeli and other US-ally intelligence agencies, western politicians, and the western media, have cried wolf about Iran developing nuclear arms since the early 1980s. In 1984, Jane’s Defence Quarterly reported that Iran was “entering the final stage of the production of a bomb.” [5] In 1995, The New York Times reported that US and Israel officials believed that Iran would have nuclear weapons by the year 2000. [6] Thirteen years later, Iran still doesn’t have a bomb. “It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany, and it’s racing to arm itself with atomic bombs,” warned Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in 2006. [7] Netanyahu has been raising the same alarm for years. In 1992, he predicted that Iran was three to five years away from producing a warhead. [8] Today, he says Iran is only a few months away from developing a nuclear bomb. With his egregiously bad record of prediction, Netanyahu has revealed himself to be a fear-monger, and an unreliable prognostic.

No intelligence agency has ever produced hard evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. The IAEA has never found that Iran has diverted nuclear material to military use. The US intelligence community’s Intelligence Estimate says that Iran abandoned a nuclear weapons program in 2003. The opinion that Iran had a nuclear weapons program to abandon in the first place is probably based on Iran acquiring information and equipment from AQ Khan. [9] Whatever the case, the US intelligence community doesn’t believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons today, and has said so repeatedly. Even so, major US news media regularly assert that the West believes Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons. If so, who in any official capacity in the West truly believes this?

In 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed six resolutions on Iran’s nuclear energy program, demanding that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program. But the Security Council had no legal basis to claim that Iran’s nuclear energy program is a threat to international peace and security, and therefore, no basis to pass its resolutions. To repeat:

• There is no evidence Iran has nuclear weapons.
• The country’s nuclear facilities are monitored by the IAEA.
• The IAEA hasn’t uncovered any diversion of nuclear material for military use. [10]

What’s more, Iran hasn’t attacked another country in 200 years. And if Iran’s enriching uranium is a threat to international peace and security, why isn’t Argentina’s, Brazil’s, Germany’s, Japan’s and the Netherland’s? The answer is plain from Bolton: They’re US satellites; Iran isn’t.

Double Standards

Washington Post columnist Walter Pincus argues that the Israelis insist Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons despite Tehran’s assurances they are not, because that’s what the Israelis themselves did. Pincus wrote that:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders continue to accuse Tehran of deceit in describing its nuclear program as peaceful.

Perhaps Netanyahu sees Iran following the path Israel took 50 years ago when it’s known that his country joined the relatively small nuclear weapons club.

Back in the 1960s, Israel apparently hid the nuclear weapons program being carried on at its Negev Nuclear Research Center (NNRC) at Dimona. It deceived not only the international community but also its close U.S. ally. It repeatedly pledged “it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the area.”

In early 1966, at the time of a U.S. sale of F-4 fighter-bombers to Israel, the Johnson administration insisted that Israel reaffirm that pledge. “Foreign Minister Abba Eban told Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara that Israel did not intend to build nuclear weapons, ‘so we will not use your aircraft to carry weapons we haven’t got and hope we will never have,’” according to the State Department’s Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XVIII.

Sound familiar? Maybe that’s why Netanyahu was so tough Tuesday during his U.N. General Assembly speech when attacking Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s statements that Tehran’s nuclear program is peaceful. When the Israeli prime minister asked, “Why would a country that claims to only want peaceful nuclear energy, why would such a country build hidden underground enrichment facilities?” I thought Dimona.

According to the bipartisan, Washington-based, Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Machon 2 facility at Dimona “is reportedly the most sensitive building in the NNRC, with six floors underground dedicated to activities identified as plutonium extraction, production of tritium and lithium-6,” for use in nuclear weapons. [11]

The answer to Netanyahu’s question about why Iran would bury its enrichment facilities deep underground is obvious: to protect them from an Israeli air attack. Israel destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility in 1981 and bombed a suspected nuclear facility in Syria in 2007, and has repeatedly threatened to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. It would be criminally stupid not to hide enrichment facilities underground with Mars-worshiping Israel in the neighbourhood, since the Zionist settlers are bent on denying any country in the Middle East that is not under the sway of its patron, the United States, access to nuclear technology, whether for peaceful or military purposes.

The important point that Pincus misses is that Israel never joined the NPT, thereby giving itself the legal latitude to pursue nuclear weapons, but more importantly, remaining free from IAEA monitoring, which would have made keeping the development of nuclear weapons under wraps inordinately difficult, and more likely, impossible. A country that intends to develop nuclear weapons on the sly doesn’t want international inspectors poking around its nuclear installations. That’s why non-nuclear countries that have gone on to develop nuclear weapons have either not joined the NPT, or have withdrawn from it before embarking on nuclear weapons development. The fact that Iran continues to belong to the NPT and therefore submits to ongoing monitoring, even though its treaty rights have been abridged and nuclear member states have failed to live up to their treaty obligations to share nuclear technology and know-how with Iran, is a compelling reason to doubt the country is trying to follow the path Israel did of developing nuclear arms covertly.

Washington’s Aims

What Washington ultimately wants is the replacement of Iran’s independent government with a pliable regime, that is, regime change in Tehran—a return to the time before the 1979 revolution. A recent US Congressional Research Service report notes that “observers believe that the international community should offer incentives—such as promises of aid, investment, trade preferences, and other benefits—if Iran were to completely abandon uranium enrichment in Iran or were there to be a new regime formed in Iran (emphasis added.)” [12] If the goal of sanctions is to deter Iran from enriching uranium, why offer to lift sanctions were there to be a new regime formed in Tehran? In this can be glimpsed the ultimate aim of anti-Iran economic warfare: Not to force Tehran to relinquish its right to enrich uranium, but to install a new regime. The United States already allows its satellites Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands to enrich uranium, and doubtlessly would allow Iran to do the same were the regime in Tehran as committed to acquiescing to Washington’s leadership as US satellites are.

As it manoeuvres to bring about regime change in Tehran, the United States pursues its intermediate goal of containing Iran, to limit its influence. Crippling Iran’s economy through sanctions serves two goals: weakening Iran and warning other countries of what happens to those who do not submit to US hegemony. The prospect of Washington even relaxing some sanctions has agitated Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates who fear that, with some of the fetters on Iran’s economy removed, the country will be better able to challenge them economically. [14]

Many US sanctions against Iran and those of US satellites are rooted in the pretext that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program, or at the very least is developing a nuclear weapons capability, that must be stopped because it is a threat to Israel. Attributing a covert nuclear weapons program to Iran while propagating a farrago of nonsense about Iran seeking to annihilate Israel militarily, allows Israel to remain militarily bulked up and immune from calls to relinquish its weapons of mass destruction, ostensibly in order to defend itself, but actually to be intimidating enough to act as Washington’s policeman on the beat. How, it is asked, can Israel disarm when its security is under unceasing threat from hostile neighbors? The necessity of guarding against a wide array of vastly exaggerated threats is a pretext all aggressive powers use, including the United States and Britain, to justify the maintenance of vast and multifariously dangerous arsenals, less for self-defense and more for aggression and to cow other countries into submission. Britain, for example, says it needs its nuclear arsenal for self-defense, but denies that North Korea needs nuclear weapons for the same purpose. However, of the pair, North Korea is the most likely to come under attack. Indeed, it has been the object of unceasing hostility from the world’s greatest military power for over six decades. The chances of Britain being attacked, even absent its nuclear weapons, are about as great as the chances that nuclear-weapons-free Canada will be—approximately zero.

Iran’s military capabilities pale in comparison with those of Israel, which are subsidized by the United States. Moreover, Israel’s security is vouchsafed by US military power. Iran poses no military threat to Israel of consequence, and, even in possession of a few warheads, would be greatly outclassed by Israel, both in the size of sophistication of its nuclear arsenal, and in the means of delivery. As a supporter of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, Iran is more of a nuisance to Israel than a direct threat. The idea that a nuclear-weapons-equipped Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel is a canard, of no more substance than Netanyahu’s frequent warnings, dating back to the early 1990s, that Iran is on the threshold of going nuclear.

Regime Change

Sanctions are a pathway to regime change. Their purpose is to create enough suffering that Iranians will rise in revolt and open the gate from within. That economic warfare has created suffering is not in doubt. Oil sales, which account for 80 percent of the country’s revenue, have been halved. Iran’s foreign exchange reserves have dwindled. Financing business deals has become terribly complicated. [14] Sanctions are deliberately disruptive.

Bahman Eshghi, who owns a bus manufacturing company, told The New York Times that “he ‘nearly had a heart attack’ when he found out that President Obama had imposed sanctions against any company working with Iran’s automotive industry. ‘That’s me,’ he said. ‘I feed 100 families in a city where nobody has work. Is Mr. Obama waging economic war on our leaders or on us?’ [15]

The answer is that Obama is waging war on ordinary Iranians. When the hardships the US government imposes become unendurable, it’s hoped that ordinary Iraninas will rise in revolt and topple their government, allowing Obama or his successors to install a US puppet, to return Iran to its status before the 1979 revolution. At that point, if it is ever reached, US foreign policy goals for Iran will have come to fruition.

There’s little chance of Washington significantly relieving its pressure on Iran. The United States may make insignificant concessions in return for Iran curtailing its production of nuclear fuel. This would leave Iran dependent on the West for fuel to power its reactors, and therefore more pliant, and more apt to make concessions on other matters, from reducing support to its Axis of Resistance partners to “reforming” its economy to accommodate Wall Street. Apart from making these minor concessions, it’s difficult to see Washington lifting sanctions en masse or normalizing relations with Iran until a pliant puppet regime has taken up residence in Tehran. For Washington, the name of the game is regime change. Arms control alone falls well short of the goal-line.

1. Michael Schwirtz and David E. Sanger, “Dueling narratives in Iran over U.S. relations”, The New York Times, September 29, 2013.

2. David E. Sanger, “Big challenges remain despite progress on Iran”, The New York Times, September 28, 2013; Jodi Rudoren, “Israel and others in Mideast view overtures of U.S. and Iran with suspicion”, The New York Times, September 28, 2013.

3. Kenneth Katzman, “Iran Sanctions”, Congressional Research Service, July 26, 2013.

4. This section based on Peter Oborne and David Morrison, A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran, Elliot and Thompson, London, 2013.

5. Oborne and Morrison.

6. Oborne and Morrison.

7. Joel Greenberg, “Benjamin Netanyahu invokes Holocaust in push against Iran”, The Washington Post, February 29, 2012.

8. Oborne and Morrison.

9. Oborne and Morrison.

10. Oborne and Morrison.

11. Walter Pincus, “Fineprint: A new approach for Israel?” The Washington Post, October 2, 2013.

12. Katzman.

13. Sanger; Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee, “Netanyahu, in U.N. speech, assails Iran’s new president”, The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2013.

14. Thomas Erdbrink, “Iran staggers as sanctions hit economy”, The New York Times, September 30, 2013.

15. Erdbrink.

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People surrounding the President
By Editor
Mon 07 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Chief Matanda of Mansa district says he has reservations about some people surrounding President Michael Sata because they do not share his vision for the country.

This doesn't seem to be a new argument. This argument used to be heard during Dr Kenneth Kaunda's days when many used to say that he was a good man but some of the people who surrounded him were not good enough.

Some people used to praise Frederick Chiluba, saying he was a very good leader but some of the people around him were not that good and were causing problems for him.

We heard similar things said about Levy Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda. It seems all our presidents have been good but some of the people they appointed had problems. How should these concerns be dealt with?

Our laws give the president a lot of discretionary powers to appoint citizens to various government and state positions. And in our political parties, party presidents also have varying powers to make certain appointments. This is a prerogative they have. And the choices they make are purely theirs.

Our presidents carry a lot of responsibilities; they have a lot of work to do. And they need the help of other people to carry out their functions. They have rights to create certain positions in government that will enable them to function well and deliver efficiently, effectively and in an orderly way on their obligations to the people.
The people our presidents appoint to assist them should be able to compensate for their bosses' weaknesses, inadequacies and even failures.

While our presidents derive great experience from the exercise of their functions as heads of state and government, they do not have the privilege of being - nor could they be - specialists in all economic and social spheres. They are basically politicians - in itself one of the most difficult tasks in today's world - and above all, they must be responsible ones. Therefore, they need people with certain skills, experience or knowledge to help them, to work with them, to work for them. And the list of such people is very long. The president needs a suitable vice-president to help him or her. The president also needs all sorts of ministers and deputy ministers, a secretary to the Cabinet and all sorts of permanent secretaries. Diplomats and their assistants also have to be appointed by the president. There are also appointments to various state agencies, including those dealing with national security, intelligence and law enforcement. The president also plays a very important and critical role in the appointment of key Judiciary and judicial officers.

If the president appoints the right people, capable people, his or her job becomes easier and the possibility of delivering on electoral promises increases. If the appointments are poor, wherever there is a poor appointment, problems start and delivery on promises is jeopardised.

We know that making these appointments is not an easy undertaking for any president. And the more appointments one makes, the more difficult the situation becomes. It is not possible for one to know all the best people, all the most suitable individuals for the jobs on offer. It means some of the appointments the president makes are as a result of consultations and lobbying.

In this country, the president has a very long list and his office is full of job applicants. There are all sorts of people queueing to be appointed this or that. Some are people the president has been involved with in his political struggles. Others are cadres of the ruling party.

Then there is a long queue of relatives and friends who want jobs from the relative or friend who is in a position to make appointments to various government and state offices. And sometimes those who are the best suited for the jobs don't join the queue of patronage and the president doesn't in any way get to know them. Sometimes those who need these jobs the most are inclined the least. Most of the appointments the president has to make, there are no adverts - it is simply a question of headhunt. In the end, the appointments made from the point of view of efficiency may not be the most optimal.

Many considerations come in. Political considerations can never be removed from these appointments. Political jobs are for political people. There is no need for one to seek a political job when they have never been in politics or have never been interested in politics. But we have people who have never been interested in politics, who have never done any political work wanting to take up political jobs such as being ministers. Some of such people might have been very close to the president before assuming power and that can put a lot of pressure on the president.

And there are times when the president may ask some of his friends to recommend names for certain government or state positions which he or she is not able to fill on his or her own. Here, again, there is a danger of people simply recommending their own relatives, friends, or other associates who may not add any value to the president's work. Out of trust, the president takes recommendations from relatives or friends and makes appointments. Some of these appointments may turn out to be a disaster and problematic for the president.

But whichever way they are appointed, the responsibility for their performance lies with the president - the buck stops at the president. But how does one get this right? We can't say that responsibility should be taken away from the president because it is the president who has to work with these people. And the relationship has to be one of trust and loyalty. This is the case all over the world.

What this means is that the president has to personally pay a lot of attention to these appointments because at the end of the day, it is the president alone, as the appointing authority, who bears the consequences of bad appointments. And the primary criteria in these appointments should be efficiency and effectiveness.

The life of the president has also to be made easier by those close to him or her - the relatives, friends, comrades, party cadres and so on and so forth. They should leave him or her alone to make the right choices. And when anyone is called upon to assist in this process, there should be maximum honesty and sincerity to ensure that the best appointments for the job are made.

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Kabimba demands discipline in PF
By Moses Kuwema in Mumbwa
Mon 07 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

WYNTER Kabimba says all the bad elements in the PF will be flushed out. And Kabimba says he is not resigning. Meanwhile, Kabimba says the survival of the PF beyond this year and even 2016, will depend on the lessons that the party will learn from political parties that have been in power before, such as UNIP and MMD.

Addressing PF officials and members at the council chambers in Mumbwa on Saturday, Kabimba urged the party members in the area to watch out for detractors, whom he said wanted to destroy the party.

"Our people deserve respect from us as a governing party. Let them be harassed by the opposition, not us.They did not vote for us that we must allow hooligans to be carrying machetes against them. Two weeks ago, they broke Investrust Bank, a local bank owned by a Zambian. They are hired to come and dent the image of this party. All of us must stand up to these illegal hooligans and because they are paid, their paymasters will get tired or they will go broke," he said.

Kabimba said genuine PF members must guard the party jealously against hooligans, whom he said were coming into the party wearing PF chitenge or shirts and claiming to be more PF than those that had been there before. He said those hooligans were recruited from UNIP and MMD.
Kabimba said the PF must continue to grow, to be united and to be strengthened.

"These are the values that we have cultivated in this party. This party must continue having members that are disciplined, members that are committed to the party and because of that, the strength of the party, unity, commitment, will depend on the quality of the leaders. The party can only be as good as its leaders," he said.

Kabimba said as secretary general of the PF, he was proud that the unity and discipline that he had been preaching about had taken root in the last two weeks. Kabimba said genuine PF members were not commodities who could be bought. He said the culture of impunity had been confined to Lusaka.

"I cannot be good secretary general for the hooligans. They will not even be there in 2016. Don't worry about the coffins that they carry. I am not inside there. People were crying 'Oh! no they are carrying coffins around town'; I was not inside. I am not resigning. This is my party. I cannot cook nshima and let others eat. Watch out against these detractors. They have come to destroy our party and after they have done so, they will move on," he said.

He cautioned PF members to be on the lookout for people that were going round the country, purporting to be taking messages in the name of the President.

And Kabimba said when the PF came into power, it made a public pronouncement that what was happening in the MMD, where the party was dipping its fingers in the national treasury, was wrong and that it should not repeat itself under the PF government.

He said the action was tantamount to the party stealing money from the government, which was the same as stealing money from the people of Zambia.

"UNIP today is dead and dead completely and I doubt if it is ever going to come back. MMD today, it does not matter what they do, it is dead and gone. One of the major mistakes that UNIP made was to cultivate in its membership, the culture of impunity. UNIP members used to say it pays to belong to UNIP.

MMD came, we thought that they would kill that culture of impunity; they continued with it," he said.

Kabimba said the culture of impunity entailed that members of a ruling party could go out and harass citizens under the guise and name of their party.

"They think that they can go round demarcating people's plots and selling without being brought to account because they belong to the PF. That is what the culture of impunity means. The Zambian people decided to kick out the political parties that were in power in order to defend themselves from this culture of impunity," he said.

Kabimba said the PF could not be an exception to the rule of being voted out if it continued with the culture of impunity.
He said there was nothing special about the PF.

"If we are going to cultivate the same culture of impunity, of harassing citizens, demarcating plots, making our people cry and even regretting that they voted for PF in 2011, we shall go the same way unless those of us that are in the leadership of the party can begin to condemn these activities publicly," he said.

Meanwhile, Kabimba, who was in the company of Lusaka district chairman Goodson Banda and Lusaka Province youth chairman Kennedy Kamba, said there were no arbitrary decisions that were made in the PF because people are either appointed or elected.

Kabimba commended the district leadership in Mumbwa for coming up with the initiative of fundraising, saying this was how certain districts in the country managed to buy themselves motor vehicles.

Meanwhile, Kabimba says the Church should play a leading role in praying for people in leadership positions because their task ahead was challenging.

During thanksgiving worship for members of parliament from the United Church of Zambia (UCZ), Kabimba, who spoke on behalf of other members of parliament from both the ruling and opposition political parties, said the leaders meant well in their service to the country.

"This is the first time that we are meeting as members of parliament from across different political parties. If it was not in church, my colleagues from the opposition would have walked away, so you can see the influence of the Church on members of parliament," he said.

Kabimba said it was not an election or a nomination that made people good leaders but that that was just the beginning.
He said a lot of the challenges that the world was faced with had been caused by poor leadership.

"We need the guidance of the Church on how to lead others. Those of us in leadership positions are not special and it is inhuman to think like that," he said.

And UCZ Synod Bishop Reverend Mutale Mulumbwa called on leaders to be role models in the way they conduct themselves.

Giving his addess at St Matthew's congregation yesterday, Rev Mulumbwa said the Church had a duty to encourage and pray for leaders.

"You have a partner to work with in the name of UCZ. We have very important programmes to work with for the people of Zambia. We should find some common ground to serve our people, and one of them is the area of infrastructure development such as schools and hospitals," said Rev Mulumbwa.

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