Ethno-Net Database: Zambia

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ZAMBIA / ZAMBIE


 
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Africa
 
Opposition leader asks Government to reveal its deals with IMF
Concerns over irregularities in HIPC fund spending
New anti-corruption regulations 'unconstitutional
Reports on Ethnic Relations  /  Rapports sur les relations éthniques  

The following section is mainly consisted of part, full or summaries of articles taken from newspapers.
La section suivante est essentiellement constituée d'exraits, de la totalité ou de résumés d'articles issues de journaux .


02 / 27 / 2004

THE POST (Zambia)

"Opposition leader asks Government to reveal its deals with IMF" (Webster Malido)

Lusaka - Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata has challenged the government to come out in the open and tell Zambians what agreements it has entered into with the IMF and the World Bank.
Commenting on continued calls by government leaders that Zambians should sacrifice for the economy to improve, Sata yesterday observed that Zambia was now at a critical point more than it was in 1978 when the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other donors pulled out of the country.
Sata said it was unfair for the government to ask Zambians to sacrifice this year without telling them what it is that it had agreed upon with the donor community.
Sata said Dr. Kenneth Kaunda's government after the pull out of donors in 1978 survived then because it had a large parastatal support base, including the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, which provided the country with foreign exchange earnings.
He said it was strange that government leaders had turned themselves into spokespersons for the donor community where they were even threatening that the country could be liquidated by multilateral institutions if Zambians were not ready to suffer a little more.
Vice-President Nevers Mumba on Monday warned that Zambia risked being liquidated by the IMF and the World Bank if the nation did not submit to their conditions.
But Sata said from 1978 to 1988, Zambia achieved more in terms of development without the assistance of donors than from 1992 to 2004 with the interference of donors.
Sata noted that the donor community was asking Zambia to reduce the civil service by 50 per cent because the government was spending too much on workers' pay.
"If Zambia succumbs to demands of the donor community to reduce the civil service by 50 per cent so that we can achieve the HIPC completion point, who is going to enjoy the benefits from HIPC and who will implement whatever benefits we will get from HIPC?" he asked.

02 / 17 / 2004

"Concerns over irregularities in HIPC fund spending"

Zambian debt relief monitors have raised concerns over alleged irregularities in spending on poverty relief under the donor-supported Highly-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
The independent HIPC Tracking and Monitoring External Team, investigating the use of the funds saved under the debt relief programme, identified alleged abuses involving top civil servants in a report released last week.
The team was established by the Ministry of Finance in 2001 to investigate the disbursement of funds in the Copperbelt and Northern provinces.
As a "least-developed" country, Zambia qualifies for the HIPC debt-reduction programme of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. According to the Minister of Finance, Ng'andu Magande, at the end of 2002 the country had around US $97 million saved as a result of HIPC, of which about $21 million had been spent as required on social welfare programmes.
But the team found that at least two road repair contracts were awarded to companies in which senior civil servants had interests, while another road repair contract in the Kalulushi district in the Copperbelt province was apparently awarded to a company run by the husband of a provincial procurement officer.
The monitoring team's report noted that "there was undue influence from politicians on the appointment of some road contractors ... furthermore, some members of the tender committees took advantage of their positions and got involved in 'insider dealings' and thereby awarded themselves contracts through their 'fronts' - companies owned by their relatives or friends".
The Northern Province had used more than $156,000 of the HIPC funds on salaries and fuel, and for festivals and political celebrations. A greater part of the social welfare grant allocations "had not reached the intended beneficiaries, and the social welfare officers either absented themselves or failed to provide records on recipients".
Several million Zambian kwacha had been diverted to non-HIPC programmes by the Copperbelt province.
Jack Jones Zulu of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), who sits on the eight-member monitoring team, pointed out that the findings were not any different to their report for last year on the disbursement of HIPC funds in the Central and Lusaka provinces.
"This is the second time we have identified the abuse of the HIPC funds by senior government officials," said Zulu. According to him, no action was taken against the erring officials identified last year.
"It is pointless identifying the problems, when nothing is done to instil confidence in our donor organisations," he commented, and suggested that the team should include cabinet ministers and parliamentarians to enhance its powers to monitor and take action.
The team, which included the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Zambia Institute of Marketing, the Economic Association of Zambia, the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction and the JCTR, among other civic bodies, was "toothless" at the moment, said Zulu.
Magande has responded to the findings with the assurance that the government will not allow "the continued misuse and abuse of the scarce resources by the very people who are paid to be custodians ... my ministry will strictly supervise the various projects and programmes, and any lapses will be dealt with sternly."

02 / 16 / 2004

"New anti-corruption regulations 'unconstitutional'"

New anti-corruption regulations allowing Zimbabwean police to hold suspects accused of economic crimes for up to four weeks without bail are "unconstitutional", a human rights body said on Monday.
Presidential Powers were used on Friday to amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which now enables the police to detain people suspected of committing economic crimes, including corruption, money laundering and illegal dealing in foreign exchange and gold, for up to a week.
The police can also hold suspects for a further 21 days if prima facie evidence of their involvement is produced.
Noel Kututwa, deputy director of the Zimbabwe-based Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa, pointed out that the amendments contravened the constitutional right of citizens to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
"The regulations, by denying bail for seven days, also contravene the individual's right to a fair hearing, as prescribed in the constitution," he told IRIN.
Kututwa said he "failed to understand the need for invoking presidential powers when the parliament is in session - an issue involving civil liberties should be debated in parliament".
The regulations were introduced as part of President Robert Mugabe's attempts to clamp down on corruption, following the arrest of a senior ZANU-PF central committee member, James Makamba, a week ago. The official Herald newspaper said on Monday that figures previously released by the police showed Makamba had allegedly transferred several million Zimbabwean dollars as well as foreign currency abroad.
Telecel, the country's third-largest mobile phone company, of which Makamba is a director, also allegedly "externalised" foreign currency and Zimbawean dollars.
Mugabe last week also created a new Ministry of Anti-corruption and an Anti-monopolies Programme, with ZANU-PF stalwart Didymus Mutasa as the head.

02 / 12 / 2004

"Media demand access to information"

Members of the Zambian media are to march to the centre of the capital, Lusaka, on Friday to demand enactment of the Freedom of Information Bill.
The march is part of a five-day campaign, running since Monday, to lobby for the bill to be brought before the current session of parliament, said Kellys Kaunda, chairman of the Zambian chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa.
Kaunda said the bill was among three pieces of legislation which were to have been approved by parliament last year. "The other two - the now Independent Broadcasting Authority Act, and an amendment to the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act, to transform it into a public service broadcaster - went through parliament. But the Freedom of Information Bill was withheld," he told IRIN.
The government withdrew the proposed legislation last year to hold further consultations.
The aim of the bill was to provide for the right of access to information; set out the scope of information to be made available to the public; and promote transparency and accountability by public officers.
The Press Association of Zambia, the Zambia Media Women's Association, the Zambia Union of Journalists and the Society for Senior Zambian Journalists are all participating in the campaign. The organisations say the bill could assist journalists attempting to uncover corruption in Zambia.

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