on Ethnic Relations / Rapports sur les relations
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 .
/ 15 / 2003
"Mwanawasa renews corruption fight"
President Levy Mwanawasa has stepped up his anti-corruption crusade
by banning cabinet ministers and senior officials from bidding
for government contracts, a move cheered by civil society groups.
you [government ministers] feel business is more important for
you, it is better for you to resign as you cannot have it both
ways [do business and serve government]," Mwanawasa said
at a campaign rally on Sunday in eastern Zambia.
vowed to sack any government officials using their positions to
win government contracts.
think this is a bold step by the president once again, as far
as the corruption fight is concerned. As the church, we welcome
this but our main concern is whether this government has the capacity
to know whether a guy who has bid and won a tender is a friend
or relative of a cabinet minister ... has President Mwanawasa
done enough research? That is our concern," Reverend Japheth
Ndlovu, general-secretary of the influential Christian Council
of Zambia (CCZ) told IRIN.
has spearheaded a drive against graft since coming to power in
December 2001. His renewed vow to weed out corruption has come
barely a week after Vice-President Enoch Kavindele was allegedly
linked to two multi-million dollar business deals.
was said to be connected to a company contracted as the sole importer
of crude oil to Zambia, Trans-Sahara Trading (TST), and the South
African cellular phone provider, Vodacom. He has denied involvement
in either case, but said his son had direct dealings with the
has since used his presidential powers to terminate prematurely
the TST deal, news reports said.
Kaleyi, a Zambian business journalist, said stopping politicians
dabbling in business would take more than an appeal to their sense
of ethics: "Most of the ministers and top government officials
in Zambia are businessmen and -women by background. Nothing will
stop them from giving friends or relatives tips of what tender
is coming up and the easiest way to win it. To me it's a futile
fight, but a good effort nevertheless."
Mwanawasa's corruption crusade has been generally welcomed - domestically
and by international donors - his presidency remains mired in
controversy over the conduct of the 2001 election. The Supreme
Court is hearing a petition by opposition parties in which top
former officials have testified that tax payers' money was used
to illegally fund Mwanawasa's campaign.
Mwanawasa has not been distracted. Arrest warrants have been issued
against former president Frederick Chiluba and senior figures
in his administration, which ruled Zambia for 10 years - an era
known as the "decade of plunder".
/ 14 / 2003
"Church leaders call for re-run of elections"
leaders in Zambia on Monday stepped into the fray over the legitimacy
of Levy Mwanawasa's presidency, calling for fresh elections to
resolve the controversy.
been almost two years since President Mwanawasa took power and
yet people are still questioning his authority. This is not healthy
for national unity. The result of this uncertainty is that many
Zambians have adopted a wait-and-see attitude before they commit
wholeheartedly to national development projects," Christian
Council of Zambia secretary-general, Reverend Japhet Ndhlovu,
came to power with 29 percent of the vote in a December 2001 election,
but opposition parties alleged fraud and petitioned the Supreme
Court. Three of the country's largest church bodies at the weekend
called for fresh elections.
various forums we have raised this issue of an election re-run.
We believe that this would sort out the confusion once and for
all. If the government is assured of its popularity, it has nothing
to worry about," Ndhlovu said.
has recently been mounting for Mwanawasa to step down, following
damaging testimony before the Supreme Court suggesting electoral
fraud helped him into office.
has reportedly said he would not succumb to "ill advice"
to resign, and instead would wait for the Supreme Court's decision.
is important that before any re-run is held, all the necessary
stakeholders revisit the country's electoral laws. It is imperative
that there is consensus that a candidate should win at least 51
percent of the national vote to be considered for president. This
would do away with questions of legitimacy," Ndhlovu suggested.
added that the country's poverty reduction programme had suffered
because of "party politicking".
/ 09 / 2003
"Magistrates win sympathy over strike"
dingy holding cell at Lusaka's Chelstone police station was designed
to house some 15 suspects awaiting court hearings. It now regularly
accommodates double that, and numbers are expected to rise still
further if a solution is not quickly found to a strike for better
salaries and working conditions by Zambia's magistrates.
a shame that all these people have to wait for days in such harsh
conditions because some of the offences they have committed qualify
for bail or bond," a custody officer in a faded khaki uniform
told IRIN. "But as long as the strike continues, we have
no choice but to keep them here ... that is our job."
magistrates have managed to win some sympathy from sections of
civil society over their conditions of service, despite concerns
over the conditions of suspects in detention.
Levy Mwanawasa has appealed to them to resume work while the government
addresses their salary demands, a position backed by Magistrates'
Association of Zambia Chairman Jones Chinyama. However, the membership
has chosen to stay away.
industrial action, which has now entered its second week, is having
a direct impact on the country's justice system.
government needs to ensure speedy trials for justice to be seen
to be done. But in the same breath, they have to pay magistrates
better ... in other words, the magistrates are justified to call
for better conditions. It is not a secret that the government
has increased the perks of other public workers. For the sake
of justice, pay the magistrates well, so that the wheels of justice
can roll on," urged Ngande Mwanajiti of the Inter Africa
Network for Human Rights and Development.
guys earn the equivalent of about US $100 and they are expected
to provide justice when they are presiding over a case involving
30 million kwacha [US $6,000]. How can you expect to fight corruption
when people in influential positions such us magistrates are underpaid?
I think their cries are justified," lawyer Charles Cola told
opposition has seized on the magistrate's strike, the latest in
a spate of industrial action in Zambia, to attack the government.
demands of not only teachers but magistrates must be addressed
quickly. Mr Mwanawasa made a mistake to increase judges' and politicians'
salaries and forget other public workers. He was explicitly telling
them that they are less important than the judges and politicians,"
Ben Mwila, leader of the opposition Zambia Republican Party told
to the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, which collects
monthly data on the cost of living, a family of six needs just
over a million kwacha a month (roughly US $200) for a "basic
public workers threatened a nationwide strike if the government
did not give in to their demand for a 1.5 million kwacha (US $300)
meeting with Mwanawasa, who explained the budgetary constraints
facing the government, their union leaders agreed on a 615,000
kwacha (US $123) to 1.1 million kwacha (US $220) rise. However,
some workers, especially teachers in Lusaka, refused to accept
the deal and have stayed out on strike.
04 / 08 / 2003
"Misuse of HIPC funds alleged"
of misuse of debt-relief funds have emerged in Zambia, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) told IRIN on Tuesday.
is one of the least developed countries which qualify for the
Highly-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt-relief programme of
the IMF and World Bank.
January this year, President Levy Mwanawasa described Zambia's
US $6.5 billion debt burden as "intolerable".
year we have to find in excess of US $200 million just to service
debt. This year the figure may exceed US $300 million. Unserviced
debt quickly grows, with compound interest making it even more
difficult to contain," he said.
is currently struggling with food shortages, brought on largely
by drought, and the impact of HIV/AIDS.
IMF has estimated that without HIPC, Zambia's debt servicing obligations
would have been about US $420 million in 2001.
resident representative Mark Ellyne explained that HIPC "savings
are government funds that might have been paid for debt services,
[which instead] can now be spent on social services". He
added that the IMF had so far disbursed about US $450 million
in interim debt relief to Zambia.
Ellyne said allegations had emerged recently of the misuse of
think it was done at low levels and not at high levels - at district
levels there were some accusations. I think there's been some
investigation [of the allegations], but I'm not aware of any convictions
as yet," he added.
said he could not elaborate on the specifics, nor could he "make
judgements" about the allegations, which had been reported
in the local media.
are just waiting to see if the government gives us more information.
Government normally does an accounting for us, a report on HIPC
disbursements at the end of each year," he said.
on HIPC Transparency
/ 03 / 2003
"Southern Africa: Feature - US slams poor rights
records in region"
report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
The human rights records of five governments in Southern Africa
during 2002 were described as "poor" by the US Department
of State in its annual reports.
Zimbabwe, "President [Robert] Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party
used intimidation and violence to maintain political power. A
government-sanctioned, systematic campaign of violence targeting
supporters and potential supporters of the opposition began in
late 2001 and intensified during the year ... security forces
committed extrajudicial killings," a 37-page report on Zimbabwe
party supporters and war veterans, which the US called "an
extralegal militia", had "with material support from
the government, expanded their occupation of commercial farms
and killed, abducted, tortured, beat, abused, raped and threatened
farm owners, their workers, opposition party members and others
believed to be sympathetic to the opposition," the report
State Department said various civil liberties were infringed and
freedoms of speech and the press were circumscribed by "restrictive
laws". The report also pointed to the internal displacement
of former commercial farm workers "due to the ongoing land
resettlement policies", adding that "tens of thousands
of opposition supporters were displaced by threats of violence".
of women and children continued and "the president and his
government encouraged widespread resentment of the white minority".
The report also noted anecdotal reports of trafficking of people.
among governments with a rights record deemed poor was Zambia.
"Although there were some improvements in a few areas, serious
problems remained," the State Department said.
report on Zambia said police officers had committed several unlawful
killings and "frequently beat and otherwise abused criminal
suspects and detainees". While some officers were arrested,
"most officers who committed such abuses did so with impunity".
police force lacked professionalism, investigative skill and discipline.
prison conditions were "harsh and life-threatening".
"Arbitrary arrests, prolonged detention and long delays in
trials were problems [and] the police infringed on citizens' privacy
rights," the report noted.
were reports that the government "at times sought to restrict
with Zimbabwe, violence against women remained widespread and
they "continued to experience discrimination in both law
and fact, including the denial of widows' inheritance rights,"
the State Department added.
was another country where the government's human rights record
was said to be problematic. The State Department charged that
the government "continued to commit serious abuses"
during 2002. The country celebrates its first anniversary of the
ceasefire agreement which ended its 27-year civil war on Friday,
Angola report noted that "citizens have no effective means
to change their government" and that "members of the
security forces committed extrajudicial killings, were responsible
for disappearances and tortured, beat, raped and otherwise abused"
people in that country.
the signing of the ceasefire agreement with former rebel group
UNITA, "the army ceased to be the major human rights offender
outside of [the disputed] Cabinda province", where separatist
rebels have been waging an armed struggle since Angola's independence.
were responsible for killings, disappearances, torture, rape and
other abuses until the effective cessation of hostilities in February
2002, after the death of its leader Jonas Savimbi, the report
the police force assumed the mantle of "worst offender"
and prison conditions remained "harsh and life-threatening".
government routinely used arbitrary arrest and detention, and
lengthy pre-trial detention was a problem. Where it did function,
the judiciary was subject to the influence of the president, the
ruling MPLA party, or anyone able to offer bribes in exchange
for favourable rulings," the report charged.
government continued to limit independent investigations of human
rights abuses but did allow peaceful public protest and opposition
party meetings, the State Department noted.
tiny kingdom of Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as absolute
monarch, was among the countries whose governments "continued
to commit serious abuses", this report observed.
that Swazis were unable to change their government peacefully,
the State Department added that "the government interfered
with the judiciary and infringed on citizens' privacy rights ...
restricted freedom of assembly and association and prohibited
report on Swaziland also noted that freedom of the press was limited
and that "legal and cultural discrimination and violence
against women, as well as abuse of children, remained problems".
Mozambique, the government's rights record improved in some areas
but still remained poor.
continued to commit numerous abuses, including unlawful killings
... beat persons in custody, and abused prostitutes and street
children." Citizens' rights were restricted and the judiciary
was "inefficient, understaffed and under-funded ... dominated
by the executive and subject to corruption".
report also commented that "unlike in the previous year,
there were no confirmed reports that women or children were trafficked
to South Africa or Swaziland for prostitution".
US State Department said South Africa, Madagascar, Botswana, Namibia,
Comoros, Malawi and Lesotho generally respected the human rights
of their citizens.