Wednesday, July 19, 2017

South African Communist Party 14th Congress Discusses Future Role in National Politics
Debate intensifies around the present character of a decades-long alliance which achieved state power

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

There was much speculation in the corporate media surrounding the deliberations and outcomes of the 14th National Congress of the South African Communist Party (SACP) which took place from July 10-15 in the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg.

A major question was whether the SACP would remain within the Tripartite Alliance along with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African National Civic Organizations (SANCO).

From the outset the gathering engaged in scathing criticism of the ANC-led government and President Jacob Zuma. Allegations of corruption involving leading figures in the ANC and their relationships with a family ofIndian nationals, the Gupta-owned firms, which critics claim weld an unjustifiable influence over appointments and policy.

Although several reports in the South African press suggested that a decision had been made to contest the 2019 presidential race as the SACP, the Congress agreed to study these proposals advanced by provincial structures and to hold another Special Congress in 2018 where an actual roadmap will be announced. Secretary General Dr. Blade Nzimande appealed for the SACP delegates to prioritize fundraising saying that cadres must enhance the financial status of the organization.
On the final day of the Congress, Nzimande implored the delegates stressing:”Let us not come here, sing about state power, take resolutions, and then go sit back and not fundraise for the SACP. Every party cadre is a fundraiser… we have been poor for too long, there is no reason why we should continue to be poor. But please cadres, do not take money from the Guptas… we do not want it. It will bring us bad luck. Do not take dirty money… go and fundraise legitimately from our country’s workers, especially, and many other people who are sympathetic to us.” (Citizen, July 15)

As it related to the notions that the SACP was seeking to break up the Tripartite Alliance, Nzimande was quoted as denying that any decisions had been made. He noted that there was no easy solution in approaching the challenges facing the ANC and the Alliance in the 2019 national elections where a new president and parliament will be chosen. The SACP Secretary General asserted that a resolution of these issues was a process which could only be resolved through broad consultations with Alliance partners.

Nzimande went on to say: ”We are not going to be seeking permissions, but at the same time we are saying that given this new conditions [current affairs], how then should we continue working together, because we still believe that the alliance is still relevant. I do not believe that there is any organization that is ready-made to contest elections… we will cross that bridge when we get to it.” (Citizen, July 15)

COSATU, the Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution

At present South Africa is facing a worsening recession with joblessness increasing and the value of the national currency (rand) in decline. However, this is not a situation that is peculiar to this particular country which is the most industrialized in Africa.

In the oil-producing West African state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which was said three years ago to have surpassed South Africa as the largest continental economy, at least momentarily, is also deeply mired in recession. The fact that these two leading African countries are facing substantial difficulties is reflective of the continuing dependency by post-colonial states on international finance capital and its markets.

COSATU Secretary General Bheki Ntshalinshali addressed the SACP 14th Congress emphasizing the centrality of the African working class in any efforts aimed at economic transformation. COSATU has endorsed South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in his campaign to become leader of the ANC as well as the presidential candidate for the ruling party in 2019.

Ntshalinshali told the SACP while acknowledging the advances made for the South African people under ANC leadership over the last nearly quarter-century and the contradictions of continuing poverty among the proletariat, that: “In dealing with both these questions, we cannot afford to be both emotional and metaphysical in our approach. Firstly, we need to admit that the dysfunctionality of the Alliance and the marginalization of the COSATU and SACP are not accidental but they reflect the obvious weaknesses in the organizational power of the working class. The question that needs to be answered is why we have failed to build working class hegemony inside the movement. We cannot just pretend that the solution to our frustrations with the Alliance and the ANC is to give workers and the working class a new address and fail to correctly diagnose the reasons that have led us to be where we are as the working class. But workers need a united and coherent SACP, whether you decide to contest state power or not.” (

The Historic Role of the Tripartite Alliance

This coalition of forces which today is represented by the ANC, COSATU, SANCO and the SACP began to consolidate a working relationship among the youth cadre during the early-to-mid 1940s.

Later in 1949, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) drafted a Program of Action which played an instrumental role in the transformation of the organization in alliance with the-then Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) that was banned in 1950 under the Suppression of Communism Act enacted by the European-settler National Party which won electoral power in 1948.
With the emergence of the Campaign of Defiance Against Unjust Laws from 1952-1956, various revolutionary forces encompassing the ANC, the Congress of Democrats (COD), Indian National Congress, the Colored People’s Organization (CPO), the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW), among others sought to engage the apartheid system through a wave of mass protests, strikes and boycotts. By 1956, the National Party regime had charged 156 leaders of the Defiance Campaign with treason leading to a four year trial which resulted in a collapse of the government’s case winning acquittal for the resistance organizers.

Just one year prior to the indictments on treason charges, on June 26, 1955 the Congress of the People was convened in Kliptown where The Freedom Charter was adopted. This document served as a guiding programmatic impetus to the struggle for national liberation from the mid-1950s to the ascendancy of the ANC to power in 1994.

After 1961, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) was formed by the ANC and the SACP. By the 1980s a combined mass, armed and industrial workers struggle would break the back of the apartheid system. The unbanning of the ANC and the SACP, the release of political prisoners including Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki along with the return of exiled cadre by February 1990 set the stage for the transition to a non-racial democratic dispensation beginning in 1994.

The drafting of a post-apartheid constitution and the implementation of sweeping reforms in the areas of labor, human rights, race relations, women’s rights, economic opportunities and governance, by the late 1990s placed the Republic of South Africa in a vanguard position in the realm of contemporary politics on the continent. Under the leadership of the ANC, South Africa was able to play its inevitable role as a focal point for the consolidation of unity in the Southern Africa region and the advancement of similar objectives in Africa as a whole.
However, problems in the implementation of genuine socio-economic transformation has prompted fierce debate within the respective Alliance member-formations as well as disagreements over strategic and tactical issues in taking the organizations forward towards the realization of the aims of the National Democratic Revolution in the 21st century. The SACP 14th National Congress came on the heels of the ANC National Policy Conference held earlier in the month of July. At the ANC Policy Conference there was discussion on the accusations of corruption and the need to refurbish both the internal operations of the ruling party and the strength of the Alliance.

One South African political analyst voiced trepidation about the possibility of the SACP leaving the Alliance saying it would be ill-advised. Ralph Mathekga noted that both organizations needed each other claiming that the understanding of the present period was greater among the SACP than the ANC.

Mathekga emphasized the need for unity in an interview with the Citizen newspaper, saying: “The ANC does not fully understand state capture and its implications, but the SACP fully understands this phenomenon and it should help the ANC to expedite this issue and resolve it. Without the SACP, the ANC is just a party of slogans without depth.” (July 14)

Although Mathekga’s conclusion that the ANC needed the SACP is well taken, it is highly unlikely that the ruling party cadre from the branch structures right up to the National Executive Committee (NEC) lacks understanding of the contemporary political and economic crisis inside the country. The question is whether an effective policy approach can be developed which is successful in galvanizing the base and the leadership in a manner which fosters unity of purpose and action.

The political alternatives to the Alliance represent an even more fractured social landscape encompassing the minority right-wing Democratic Alliance (DA) and the putative ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who routinely unite in their campaigns to undermine the ANC and the SACP. COSATU was split with the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in November 2014.

A new labor group called the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) was formed in 2016 which has announced that it will create another socialist party. It will remain to be seen if such a party is formed as a viable functioning entity and whether they can meaningfully contest within the national elections of 2019.

The restructuring of industrial and finance capital in South Africa has resulted in profound challenges for labor organizations. As has happened in western capitalist states, the proportion of workers who belong to unions has shrunk significantly. Overcoming these barriers to enhancing the role and authority of the working class is an international phenomenon.  
African Union 29th Summit Held Amid Rising Crises of Economic Decline and Social Instability
Initiatives needed to reverse negative growth and the realization of continental unification

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Monday July 10, 2017

On July 3-4 the African Union (AU) held its 29th Annual Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while the continent is faced with monumental challenges from Cairo to Cape Town.

Held under the theme of “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth”, the gathering recognized the necessity of economic and social development to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for Africa. A recent decline in commodity prices impacting the raw materials, energy and agricultural producing states illustrates the need to plan for an independent strategy of guaranteeing the health and well-being of over one billion people.

The two leading economic countries on the continent, South Africa and Nigeria, are both in recession. Unemployment is growing and the national currency of these states has fallen into precipitous decline. Bond rating agencies based in the United States are issuing reports which question the capacity of the ruling parties of each nation to engineer remedies that will make them more creditworthy to international finance capital.

South Africa and Nigeria encompass growing youth populations placing social and political pressure on their governments to address the need for accessible employment opportunities for all. Nonetheless, the dependence upon foreign markets for the export of natural resources and cash crops systematically undermines strategic planning within the present world division of labor and economic power.

Just three years ago western financial publications were hailing what they described as phenomenal growth in many African nations. The Federal Republic of Nigeria was proclaimed to have surpassed the Republic of South Africa as the leading power house of the region.

Countries such as Angola, Algeria, Gabon, Nigeria and Ghana experienced an influx of foreign direct investment largely due to the rising oil and natural gas prices. However, by 2015, the prices of oil, natural gas and other resources had declined by over 60 percent.

These factors compounded the social and political instability brought about as a result of the U.S. and NATO wars against the governments in Libya and Ivory Coast which resulted in the collapse of these societies fueling the migration from Africa across the Mediterranean and into Southern, Central and Eastern Europe.

Similar western interventions in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and the unresolved question of Palestine independence, has worsened the crisis of displacement. United Nations agencies have reported that the situation of dislocated persons domestically, as well as refugees and migrants, with estimates numbering 65-75 million people,easily surpasses any period since the conclusion of World War II.

In his opening address, AU Chairperson President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea noted that the organization was: “Aware of the importance of human capital, the AU has decided to harness the African youth, to find ways and means of developing the youth which constitute 70 percent of the total population. The holistic management of the challenges faced by the youth call on us to find alternatives to build economies that are resilient and capable of ensuring the space for the youth in our continent.” (Zimbabwe Chronicle, July 4)

If these issues are not the focus of AU policy the future painted by Conde would not be a desirable one. A region so rich in minerals and land could further deteriorate making conditions unlivable to even larger numbers of people across the continent.

Conde went on to emphasize that: “It is imperative on us African leaders that if we don’t invest in the youth, we would have failed our duty and compromised dangerously the future of our youth. We would have condemned them to unemployment and immigration to become parasites and beggars.”

These observations are poignant in light of the hostility that African migrants are met with in Europe and the U.S. The migration issue is being utilized by the ultra-right wing neo-fascist groups and political parties as a wedge to win political power and advance policies which reinforce racism and national discrimination against people from the former colonial territories of Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific.

Gender Equality, the Role of Youth and Economic Development

Although the AU mandated at its conception in 2002 the full integration of women within the governing structures of national and regional centers of power there is still considerable work to be done in this arena. In some countries women are represented in significant numbers within cabinet and parliamentary bodies, the civil service and professional fields. However, the onus of the declining economic situation, foreign intervention and internecine conflict falls upon the backs of women and youth.
The 19th Ordinary General Assembly of First Ladies of Africa (OAFLA) took place simultaneously with the overall AU Summit. H.E. Ms. Amira ElFadil Mohamed, who is the Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU Commission stressed that there is a pressing need for a systematic and integrated strategy aimed at tackling all four areas of the thematic demographic dividend pillars. These areas include health and wellbeing; employment and entrepreneurship; education and skills development and rights and good governance. Without adequate progress in all four areas there cannot be long lasting growth, social stability and genuine development.

According to a press release issued by OAFLA on July 4, its says: “Sustainable and affordable access to maternal and child health care, HIV testing and counselling and immunization services, according to the Commissioner of Social Affairs, will ultimately result in young people meaningfully contributing to the socio-economic development of their society, thereby enabling them to make the right informed decisions about their health.”(

Ms. Mohamed said of the challenge that:“The youth of our continent need to be guaranteed social and economic development if they are to contribute to their nations’ and continents’ economic development.”

Also H.E. Mrs. Roman Tesfaye emphasized: “It is high time that African nations put in place favorable policies and increase youth targeted investments. We need to lift and break the barriers faced by African youth in accessing and utilizing reproductive health information and services.”

Pan-Africanism, Self-Reliance and National Liberation

Republic of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe followed through on a previous commitment when he served as AU Chairperson two years earlier. Mugabe presented a check for $1 million to the AU Foundation saying it was a “modest contribution” aimed at breaking the cycle of donor dependency.
Zimbabwe and other anti-imperialist states had criticized the AU’s readmission of the Kingdom of Morocco earlier this year absent of the resolution of the Western Sahara question. Now both the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and their occupiers based in Rabat are members of the continental organization.

Morocco has carried out a diplomatic offensive among the AU member-states. Its offers of economic assistance have swayed numerous governments to agree on a compromised position on the inherent anti-colonial mission of the organization.

In the aftermath of the 29th Summit in Ethiopia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the SADR, Mohamed Salem OuldEssalek, convened a press conference in the Algerian capital saying that the AU would however deploy a taskforce to explore solutions to the Western Sahara crisis. The UN has gone on record calling for an internationally-supervised referendum on the future of the SADR.

Nevertheless, Morocco continues to object to such an election claiming that the Western Sahara was an integral part of the Kingdom. During the early 1980s, the SADR was admitted as a full member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor to the AU. These decisions prompted the withdrawal of Morocco from the OAU/AU which lasted over three decades.

Essalek highlighted the decision of the AU Summit during the press conference in Algiers saying: "The AU will not accept the continuation of the conflict between the two states since Morocco has signed and adopted its constitutional charter whose articles 3 and 4 stipulate the imperative respect of the borders established at independence and peaceful dialogue between member countries.”

He went on to say the AU Summit had: “Defeated the plan of the Morocco occupier attempting to repeal AU's traditional decisions on the Saharawi cause.”

Essalek claims the decisions in Addis Ababa: “reiterates and reinforces the positions of the AU after the accession of Morocco, a decision that frustrates Morocco. This is the first time the AU has taken such a decision since 1991."

It will remain to be seen how vigorous the approach of the AU will be in regard to winning national liberation for the SADR. The resolution of this conflict and other border issues is essential in building the necessary political trust that can move the continent towards full social and economic integration.

Only a collective approach to genuine independence and sovereignty will lay the foundation for the realization of a functioning Pan-Africanism. Moreover, the AU member-states must transform their governing structures into truly representative institutions with the mandate of the workers, farmers and youth which can effectively break with the world capitalist system and move toward socialist reconstruction.  
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Fri. July 14, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Fri. July 14, 2017 special edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear this episode just go to the following URL:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the passing of South African Jazz artist Ray Phiri; fighting has erupted once again in the Libyan capital of Tripoli; the Republic of Sudan is still seeking the lifting of sanctions by the United States amid suspension in the ongoing talks between Khartoum and Washington on the normalization of relations; and Somalia authorities has targeted a ship which its says was responsible for interrupting internet usage in the Horn of Africa state.

In the second hour we look at the 50th anniversary of the Newark Rebellion of July 12-17, 1967.

Finally this episode presents a rare archival address by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Stokely Carmichael at the UCLA on May 24, 1967.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Thurs. July 13, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Thurs. July 13, 2017 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear this program just click on the website below:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the police harassment of an African American State's Attorney in Florida; Brazil's former Worker's Party President Lula da Silva has been convicted on alleged corruption charges; French President Emmanuel Macron has insulted African women and society in a public speech at the G20; and China recently launched a quantam satellite to guard against cyber crimes.

In the second hour we examine the Black Power Movement during 1967 looking at the impact of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the urban rebellions which spread throughout the country that year and the more moderate forms of politics promoted in this period.

The final hour rebroadcast an audio documentary on the Black Panther Party in 1970. 
Dr Nkomo: Had to Learn to Be Military Commander
July 8, 2017
Opinion & Analysis
By Yoliswa Duba
Zimbabwe Chronicle

On The late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo

IN his autobiography, The Story of My Life, the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo recounts on how he had to learn to be a military commander.

Dr Nkomo, who was the commander of the Zipra forces during the country’s protracted liberation struggle, says although he carefully left the day-to-day command of the men to senior soldiers, he regularly visited the training camps and bases.

“When negotiations broke down, I went to the soldiers and said I had done what I could, it was up to them now. I emphasised that they were not fighting to do me a favour nor I them; we were in it together for our country,” says Dr Nkomo.

He says he did his best to keep the forces supplied with material to fight with and see to it that it was fairly distributed.

“It was up to them to put those supplies to good use. Our lads came from poor homes where blankets and clothes were highly prized possessions. I had to make sure such things were for military use, not for giving to girlfriends,” says the late Father Zimbabwe.

The boys, he said, had no money and were tempted to sell a blanket or a pair of boots to buy a present for a girl or to get a smoke of marijuana.

“They were all volunteers who had chosen to leave home to fight; they had to be motivated not ordered about. We had more volunteers than we could feed, clothe and arm,” says Dr Nkomo.

As a result, there were allegations from Western journalists visiting their transit camps in Botswana, that they were kidnapping young people from the schools to turn them into fighters.

Instead, Dr Nkomo says, they tried hard to persuade the lads to stay and finish their studies but they would not.

“Botswana, with its long, open border with South Africa, was terribly vulnerable to attack and President Seretse Khama could not allow guerilla camps there. We had to charter aircraft to lift our refugees out of Botswana into Zambia – I am afraid we still owe the Zambian government several millions of dollars for the help they gave with that,” says Dr Nkomo.

But, at one point towards the end of the war, transport difficulties, caused largely by South African disruption of traffic, led to a genuine shortage of food throughout Zambia.

People were going hungry in the camps and officers in the army continuously reported that morale was suffering badly.

“Without a regular ration of the sadza that was their staple diet, the men would get out of control. I went straight to President Kaunda and told him of the danger. He knew his own people were short of food, that discontent was growing and production suffering. But he picked up the telephone and gave an order. For the coming weeks all supplies of food for the civilian market were to be diverted to the Zimbabwean camps, in consultation with my staff,” says Dr Nkomo.

This act of generosity by President Kaunda, who was prepared to put his own popularity at risk for a cause he believed in kept hope in the Zipra camps alive.

Aside from ensuring his forces were fed and clothed, Dr Nkomo had other unique challenges to deal with.

Thousands of young refugee girls insisted on volunteering to fight but there was no place for them all.

“It was not the girls’ fault, but the presence of young women in a camp of young male soldiers caused tremendous trouble. Fortunately, we had splendid women to face the challenge of organising the girls,” says Dr Nkomo.

Through help from international organisations, Victory Camp school was set up for the girls outside Lusaka.

There, they got a better education than they would have done at home.

“Some we did train to use weapons and employed as camp guards but they were a tiny minority. The one thing I regret about our volunteers was that their military discipline became almost too strong. Our tactic was to move in small groups against the enemy, so each man had to be ready to take over command as soon as the man above him had been knocked out of the fight; I always emphasised that to the lads when I spoke to them before going out on operations,” says Dr Nkomo.

But the discipline was so strong that individual soldiers would not answer him directly, they always waited for the most senior person to answer and refused to speak on their own initiative even to their commander-in-chief, says Dr Nkomo.

He says his only training for the role of commander-in-chief was that of a social worker.

“I tried to approach the job dispassionately, realising that everyone in an army has a role to play. Even visiting the wounded I tried not to appear upset if I saw a fine young man who had an arm or a leg; I just said it was a soldier’s job to suffer for his nation.”

Dr Nkomo says he was worried about and worked to solve his soldiers’ individual problems – how to get artificial limbs and how to readapt to family life after a wound.

“But I never allowed myself to show distress. If the wounded men became demanding, ordering the nurses around and insisting on special treatment, I always told them to respect their colleagues, that everyone had a necessary place in the national struggle; getting wounded did not win any privileges when everyone was doing his best,” says the late nationalist.

Most of their fighting was with small arms and simple weapons. The AK riffle became every young man’s dream – stubby and reliable.

It was apparently far better than the long Nato rifle carried by the Rhodesian forces.

“Transporting heavy weapons through the Rhodesian air cover was terribly risky and it was rare that we brought off conspicuous triumphs like the rocketing of the soil storage camps in Salisbury and in Bulawayo – the Salisbury tanks burned for a week, a symbol of our success, but the Bulawayo reserve was unfortunately empty when Zipra hit it,” says Dr Nkomo.

But their success against the Rhodesian Forces was far greater than they allowed to be known at the time.

Also, they could not claim the credit they deserved because they needed to keep secret the fact that they had been given some Soviet surface to air missiles, Sam-7s.

“We deployed them first in defence of our camps in Zambia and caught the enemy by surprise. The first time we used them we knocked down two of their strike aircraft, the second time we got four,” says Dr Nkomo.

He says those who lived through the war were hardened by it and those who died were their close friends.

-This article is a special tribute to Dr Nkomo on the anniverary of his death.
A Humble Giant and Peacemaker
JULY 9, 2017

Last Saturday Zimbabwe marked the 18th anniversary of the death of Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo. Tinashe Farawo spoke to a close security detail of the late Father Zimbabwe. Due to the nature of his profession, we publish his remarks under a pseudonym.

Cde Hondo Yeminda

In 1977 I was transferred to work at Dr Nkomo’s house in exile, with his nephew Newsreel in charge of security.

It was during my assignment that I got to find out that he was a committed family man.

During my stint, Father Zimbabwe lost a close family member. He confided his fears of losing another family member to Rhodesians forces, especially after losing a step-brother in the mid 1970s.

Dr Nkomo did not want anything happening to Newsreel, his nephew.

I remember that after Independence in 1980, one of Umdala Wethu’s mission was to go to his rural home where his parents are buried.

He slept in the small round hut like any other villager.

He renovated his house in Pelandaba, Bulawayo and personally took charge of redoing the kitchen for his wife, Mama Mafuyana.

Dr Nkomo always said that was the least he could do for her because she had raised their children alone and Mama Mafuyana deserved the best.

His wife did not want to move from Pelandaba, where most people visited.

The same was with Dr Nkomo’s house in Highfield which was also another meeting place for people from all over the country.

Hence he got his family a private house in Gunhill in Harare where he would have quality time with them.

Dr Nkomo also personally started Blue Lagoon, a small business for the family. He spent his private time at Makwe, a farm in Matebeleland South, enjoying farming with his wife. The man also had a thriving dairy farm in Harare South.

These were his family enterprises.

Dr Nkomo usually spent much time at Nijo Motel in Harare and Mguza projects to mention a few. These were things he enjoyed doing outside of political work.

He always referred to President Mugabe by his first name, but with respect.

Umdala Wethu respected President Mugabe’s attempt to reconcile the nation after elections in 1980, and said “we had fought, people had died so that the people of Zimbabwe could rule themselves. What we had failed to win was Government by our own party, but we should be happy that our colleagues during the liberation war won”.

Father Zimbabwe declined the offer for him to be ceremonial President of the new Zimbabwe and accepted to be a minister.

It is a result of such selflessness that I view Dr Nkomo as a peacemaker, a humble giant who wanted the best for this country.

His views on land was the reorganisation of the people’s way of living both in urban and rural areas.

The late Vice-President’s guidelines were to acquire commercial farms for use by those in communal areas, side-by-side with commercial farmers; that the acquired land for resettlement be used collectively by forming co-operatives, which must be non-racial and non-political.

He hoped that villages coming out of this reorganisation would eventually grow into towns.

Dr Nkomo said this would create the growth of commerce and industry in the villages, generating jobs outside urban areas.

A memorable moment I spent with him was in February 1982 when, in disguise, I took him to Bulawayo from Harare after his failed attempt to meet Prime Minister Mugabe.

In January 1981, Joshua Nkomo was removed from Minister of Home Affairs to Minister of Public Service.

He called for a Zapu central committee meeting, which wanted him to resign but he highlighted the unrest that might arise within Zipra, and convinced his colleagues that it was necessary for him to stay.

The Prime Minister then granted him the post of Minister Without Portfolio assisting the Prime Minister on Defence and Public service and to remain a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security.

In February 1981 fighting between Zanla and Zipra broke out.

Full-scale fighting broke out at Entumbane, the site of previous fighting, where Zanla and Zipra assembly points had been moved.

To stop the fighting Joshua Nkomo literally took over the Brady Barracks Command Centre.

Joshua Nkomo went to Gwayi River Mine Camp where the main Zipra regular army was encamped and told them that it was no longer necessary to keep them as an organised army.

It was not until towards the end of December 1981 that the final dispersal of Zipra fighters at Gwayi took place. They were deeply disillusioned, their future was empty after failing to find places in Zimbabwe’s security forces. At least 3 000 were refusing to leave.

Brigadier-General Mike Reynolds was in charged Gwayi. He asked the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo to help in persuading the men to leave. We drove to Gwayi River Camp where he told them that it was time to go to their respective homes.

I think what made him tick was to give leadership.
Lessons From Mudhara Josh
JULY 16, 2017
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Vp Phelekezela Mphoko

I first met Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nkomo, when I was a child in 1952; I was 12-years-old then.

I used to work with my uncle Aaron Dhlomo, commonly known as Ndabambi. They worked together at Rhodesia Railways, so I used to visit my father, my uncle, and then that is when I first met the Old Man.

To me, Dr Nkomo was like a parent, not a politician or trade unionist, because he was very close to my uncle.

I was going to school, and after finishing my course in 1960, I came back to Bulawayo and that time it was NDP and under NDP it was Mawema who was president.

When Zapu came in I also met him; we were not very close at that time.

We later (became) closer when I became one of his bodyguards along with Albert Nxele, Walter Mbambo, Winston and some other guys from Harare.

(One of them) Abraham used to say, “Follow your leader like a shadow.”We were bodyguards at that time and that is when we started moving with the Old Man during the time of Zapu.

When Zapu was banned, he went to Semukwe, that is where he was restricted.

I was now working at Dunlop. At Dunlop I started a collecting some money for Dr Nkomo and that is when the management identified me as politically-minded. So the money we collected we gave it to a certain Charles Nyathi who would take it to Semukwe. I also went to Semukwe to see the Old Man.

When he came out of restriction that is when we travelled extensively as bodyguards of the Old Man.

The drivers included Boniface Malowa Gumbo, uncle to the President, and Fibian, and quite a number of people who were bodyguards, up to the time we went to Cold Comfort Farm.

At Cold Comfort Farm it was agreed that we should now pursue an armed struggle. (There was) a special affairs committee led by James Chikerema, including Marembo and somebody else whose name I have forgotten, who were supposed to be leaders of that organisation. Now, I was personally recruited by the Old Man himself.

All of his bodyguards, Albert Nxele, Walter Mbambo, Sam Dumaza, Edward Mzwazwa, myself and then Peter Madlela, we were directly recruited by the leader, Joshua Nkomo.

Specifically in my case he came home. On the night of the 4th of April we were supposed to leave Bulawayo and we left on that day in 1964; the six of us.

So we went to board a train in Luveve for Northern Rhodesia and that was the last time I saw the Old Man.

We went for the military training and after that we came back to form the military wing of Zapu where in 1965 I would become chief of logistics; Ambrose was in charge of training; Abraham Nkiwane was in charge of transport — transporting weapons between Lusaka and Tanzania; and Godwin Buche became part of the training with Walter Mbambo; Robson Manyiwa was the chief-of-staff and Akim Ndlovu was the commander.

That was the first military establishment of Zapu.

Then came 1965, I remember very well that is when Buche and myself crossed into Rhodesia (with the help of) the local fisherman.

There was one we used to call Shorty and we bought a boat for two pounds.
We had by then established the crossing points.

So, that was 1965; then 1966 we started having people coming for training.

The ‘65 group was the one already in Zambia; the 1966 group is the one which included Tshinga Dube, David Moyo and other people.

But I was already in the command and in charge of logistics.

Then 1967, we had a joint military command which had then been established in 1966 with the ANC.

So, in the joint military command, I was in charge of logistics, co-chief of logistics with Masondo from the ANC and there was Akim who was the commander and his counterpart was Joe Modise.

Around May-June 1967, we were preparing for the Wankie operations.

I was commander of combined logistics and became commander of Nkomo Camp and then I moved to Danang which was at Luthuli Camp.

I commanded the joint rehearsal in preparation for the Wankie operation, I was the commander deputised by Jexe, an ANC guy.

So, after the training, which was one month, you talk a month’s rehearsal, it was very hectic. Joe Modise was one of the people in the camp, Chris Hani and John Dube were also from our side.

The joint training at Luthuli base was under my command.

After deploying for the Wankie operations, we went to Sipolilo. Sipolilo was also a joint military host and deployment for the ANC and us.

The plan was very ambitious.

We were supposed to cross the fighters under the command of Moffat Hadebe then the commissar was Masuku and other ANC comrades.

So we were supposed to cross the comrades which we did, then we crossed the weapons, then the donkeys for transport and the finally the Land Rover.

We created a raft with eight drums each side and it was very big and could sustain that weight. I think we had over 100 boxes of weapons, ammunition, medication and other logistical items.

Our plan was to cross the raft and tie it on the other side, deploy a platoon across, another platoon remaining on the Zambian side.

Once the raft had crossed, they would pull it back.

Unfortunately the rope was so big as the platoon went deeper into the water, the rope started sagging and it went into the water and became very heavy.

As it was now almost at the centre of the river where the current was powerful, and with a very heavy rope which was now wet, it sunk along with everything.

The seven guys who were rowing also fell in the water but they managed to survive; but all our equipment sunk there and I believe that equipment is still there up to today.

So we proceeded, the guys had their weapons — personal issues — and we crossed into Sipolilo.

There were four commanders; Abraham Nkiwane, Dumiso Dabengwa, Joe Modise and myself. We operated in Sipolilo and worked with the people, we were very close to the villagers.

Then we came back after almost a month, it was now 1968.

When they (Dr Nkomo and other leaders) were released in 1974, I remember I was in Czechoslovakia with President Sam Nujoma attending a World Peace Council. They were released and they went to Lusaka.

I went to see the Old Man and it was after a long time he remembered me; I was still very slim those days.

And then from there he was going in and out frequently.

One of the most important activities that took place at that time in 1974 when the leaders were there under the leadership of Muzorewa’s UNC and then from there we went to Victoria Falls for peace talks on the bridge together with South Africa and Zambia. Mozambique sent a delegation it was led by Monteiro; Tanzania as well.

At that time Zanu was having a lot of problems; in fact it was the time the leaders had been arrested.

Now the Old Man was there at Victoria Falls together with others, then the negotiations continued. They went back to Rhodesia because the discussions had to go to their logical end.

From there we went to Mozambique under Zipa.

What I remember is that in Mozambique it was different from when we were in Zambia. We first formed our Joint Military Command where we were serving together with Josiah Tongogara; Mangena was chief-of-staff, Tongogara was chief of operations, I was chief of logistics, Mataure was in charge of training, Munyanyi was in charge of intelligence, Robson Manyika was political commissar.

That is the command where we served with Josiah Tongogara.

The difference with the joint command of before was, it was led by political leaders — Jason Moyo and Herbert Chitepo where the leaders at the time.

When we moved to Mozambique in 1975 for the Zipa command the most senior person from Zanla was Webster Gwauya, who was a member of the Central Committee, the rest were junior people; very junior. Some had never had the opportunity of leading.

Rex Nhongo was among them, but had not been a leader in the true sense and that is why we had serious problems within the movement.

There were quite a number of things which happened; we don’t rule out infiltration because when the leadership of Zanu was not there people were just flocking both to us and Zanu.

But in our case at least we were there as leaders, we could screen: but what about Zanla where there was nobody?

That is why there was so much commotion — there was no leader.

We were the summit: President Mugabe was not there, Mudhara Joshua was not there, nobody was there because it was an intention by others for different purposes.

However, we went to Mozambique to try and rescue Zanu from collapse, in the process we had serious problems.

So the group of people who came after the closure of the border on the 3rd of February 1976 when President Samora Machel closed that border were the commanders.

That same day after addressing us, all Zipra cadres who had come to rescue Zipa were arrested by the Mozambicans on the instigation of Zanla comrades.

They were all sent to Tete, including Thomas Ngwenya, who is making so much noise about himself as if he was above us.

I sent my wife to see them in Tete; she travelled all the way to Chimoio. When she got to Chimoi she used her brother who was in the army to send the communication to those people who were there.

Then from there in 1976 sometime in August, I was arrested myself with the instigation of these guys — Zanla. I was arrested and thrown into a prison at an island.

My wife is the one who did the best and got me released.

My arrest coincided with the time when the British wanted to help the Geneva talks. But they took my car and they wanted to kidnap my wife only to discover she was Mozambican although she spoke Zulu.

When I was released, in the command General Odala was my counterpart from the government — he was in charge of logistics, I was in charge of logistics for Zipa.

Under my command I got a number of guys including Mhaka, Brig Kanhanga who were under my command for logistics.

All the materials which we got was kept under Frelimo, because you couldn’t keep weapons in a foreign country.

When I was released from prison I stayed at Kadoso Hotel, President Mugabe also came and we stayed together for three months at Kadoso Hotel.

The president was in room 21 and I was in room 19 and we were there together for three months before we were allocated houses. That was the time when we went to Tanzania to dismantle Zipa.

We flew together with the President to Tanzania.

The President was there, the Old Man was there, Muzorewa was there, and that was the first Frontline States meeting attended by President Augustino Neto of Angola.

The decision was to be made that the leadership whether it is Zipa or the leaders, who would go to Geneva. There was a heated argument.

There were people like Dzino who were challenging the leaders, that the leadership of Zimbabwe was not a monopoly.

It was finally resolved that leaders come back to their leadership positions and then the young fellows like Dzino and others were supposed to fall under the leadership.

They argued until they got arrested.

But the most critical point is that I talked to Dr Nkomo and told him that the situation in Mozambique was hostile because Frelimo was close to Zanu and, yes, I had been arrested.

Then the Old Man said to me: “No one owns anybody. If somebody can own somebody then you can also own that somebody. Go back to Mozambique and make sure that that situation favours you and favours us.”

I went back to Mozambique; that is when I became a representative of Zapu after the collapse of Zipa.

In Mozambique I had a responsibility to co-ordinate President Mugabe as leader of Zanu and president Nkomo as leader of Zapu. I also had the responsibility to co-ordinate president Nkomo as leader of Zapu and President Samora Machel.

Those were the roles which I had.

And during my stay there from 1975 up to 1980 we had so many delegations from Lusaka, the Old Man coming with his delegations all the time and I had all those years to develop a relationship with the Old Man.

The biggest lesson I learnt from the Old Man is that nobody owns anybody. One other thing is the biggest lesson also is that Old Man Josh was not a tribalist, never!

That is one thing I learnt from him. He was allergic to tribalism.

You can see by his own fellow leaders in Zapu, there was himself as the president, Josiah Chinamano, Joseph Msika, Samuel Munodawafa, Aaron Jirira, Dan Madzimbamuto, Willie Musarurwa, George Silundika, Edward Ndlovhu and others.

The majority of the people were all from Mashonaland; so the fact that Zapu was a Ndebele outfit is a fallacy of the Rhodesians.

He was a unifier and he worked under anybody including Muzorewa. Muzorewa felt so big and fired Nkomo at one time and Nyerere reprimanded him.

So those are some of the lessons I learnt from the Old Man.

A fortnight ago, Zimbabwe marked the 18th commemoration of the death of Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo. Our senior reporter Lincoln Towindo spoke to Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, on how he worked closely with the late Father Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Vice President Mphoko Slams Command
Sunday Mail
JULY 16, 2017

Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has expressed reservations on “planned” economic turnaround under the “Command” banner, saying such programmes do not work.

He said this in an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Mail in Harare last week.

Government has over the 2016/17 summer cropping season implemented a Specialised Maize Production and Import Substitution Programme, better known as Command Agriculture, under a public-private partnership with Sakunda Holdings.B

While that programme targets commercial production, the State, again in public-private partnership, also provided maize free inputs to households across Zimbabwe under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme.

Projections by both Government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation point to a maize harvest of at least 2,1 million tonnes against national annual requirements of 1,8 million tonnes.

The success of the State’s intervention has seen Government extending Com-mand Agriculture not only to the next summer cropping season, but also applying the concept to other sectors like fisheries and livestock. This has seem President Mugabe publicly  describing Command Agriculture as “beautiful”.

However, last week VP Mphoko – who was at the time the Acting President – told The Sunday Mail he was not too enamoured by the concept.

First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe initiated the idea of Command Agriculture, and Cabinet – in which VP Mphoko sits – adopted it, with President Mugabe assigning VP Emmerson Emmerson Mnangagwa to spearhead implementation.

Asked if Command Agriculture had Cabinet’s full backing following weeks of rabid attacks by Higher and Tertiary Education,

Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, VP Mphoko said: “I don’t know how you want to put it. The (Command Agriculture) programme, I don’t want to put some of these words you are talking because I have never agreed with them.

“I have trained in the Soviet Union and I know what a planned economy is, but I am saying and we must be very careful not to distort our programmes. Because if you give a headline on a particular subject or a title to a book stick to the title, don’t distort it.”

VP Mphoko added that investors did not care about policy discord in Government as they were only driven by self- interest.

“In Zimbabwe there is everything here; you tell them not to invest but they want milk, they want fish they want gold, they want platinum they want all the minerals that we have here.

“Whether it’s agriculture or what the ministers say, those people are governed by their interests.”

VP Mphoko spoke strongly against factionalism in Zanu-PF.

“Factionalism will not help anybody, instead it will destroy you. You see what happens is that you cannot anoint yourself; you can’t do that. You have to be anointed not by someone.

“Go to the Bible and look at how King Solomon was appointed. David was very sick, he was very frail and one of his sons, Adonijah, slaughtered over 50 beasts and anointed himself, assisted by Joab, who was a general in the army.

“Joab and Adonijah were working together. In the meanwhile the reality happened, and David installed Solomon and those who had anointed themselves failed completely. Those are lessons you must learn.

“You must learn what also happened to others during the Mzilikazi era. People decided to install Nkulumane before they had established that Mzilikazi was dead and as a result of that, it failed.”
Declare Your Assets, Zimbabwe Vice President Demands
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
JULY 16, 2017

All public officials should publicly declare their assets and sources of wealth to engender transparency, curb corruption and end criminal abuse of public funds, Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has said.

Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Mail last week, VP Mphoko said he was prepared to lay bare what he owned and encouraged other officials to follow suit.

The VP, who oversees policy co-ordination and implementation in Government, said officials found guilty of unduly benefitting should be stripped of the assets.

He called for closer monitoring of ministries and parastatals by Parliament, saying the legislature should be involved in public tender processes.

Imposition of stiff penalties by the courts, he said, had failed to curb corruption because convicted culprits could live “like kings” in prisons after “buying” correctional services officers.

Said VP Mphoko: “I wish we were like the Chinese or the Muslims who say if you steal they will cut your hand off; the Chinese would take you to the firing squad straight away. But here people have no feelings for other people.

“The solution we keep on talking and have stiff penalties. But stiff penalties also are questionable because if you are taken to prison, especially when there is politics of poverty, everybody is accessible to be bought.

“Stiff penalty? You take a man to prison and in the prison he lives like a king because he has money.“

Government is working on a law to compel public officers and senior executives at parastatals and State-owned enterprises to declare their assets.

The Public Sector Governance Bill will empower the Office of the President and Cabinet to monitor board members and senior executives at parastatals and State enterprises, and examine their assets and business interests to ensure good corporate governance.

Also, permanent secretaries will no longer sit on public boards, while directors who fail to declare assets and/or financial interests will face prosecution.

The Bill, which is being driven by the Finance and Economic Development Ministry, feeds into Government’s Results-Based Management System.

Many countries have similar legal instruments.

Said VP Mphoko: “The only way corruption can end is that first and foremost let us declare our assets, let us declare assets as leaders.

“Those who have crossed the line all that they have stolen must be taken and given to the people.

“Arresting alone doesn’t help — thati’zinto linike abantu back — just take the things and give them to the people because it’s not yours, you are now stealing from the people.

“Going to jail does not help anybody; tora zvinhu udzose kune vanhu. This applies to everybody, including political leaders. Even myself, of course!”

VP Mphoko added that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was itself corrupt.

“(President Mugabe) has registered an anti-corruption body, look at the structures he has created to end corruption.

“Now the anti-corruption itself is now corrupt. The instrument that is supposed to take care of this problem is now corrupted.

“What we should do is declare assets – everybody – and see what our people have.”

VP Mphoko said some ministers had personalised portfolios.

“What has happened is that a number of ministries have been personalised; personalised in the sense that when you move into a ministry you remove everybody in that ministry including (parastatal) board members and put your own people.


‘‘If you are going into a ministry and you want continuity you will need those people.

“For checks and balances, in the 1980s, there was what was called an inter-ministerial committee; I remember very well we were about 15 members in that committee.

“What happened was no ministry could make big decisions on its own, it was monitored by the committee.

“Until such a time I don’t know how they made it that ministries now just do things on their own.

“I would suggest that to monitor some of these things and close down these holes we have Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, they can also be used, for instance, whenever there is a tender in any ministry, let the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee be involved.

“If there is something which involves the ministry of Transport, let the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport be involved.

“I think that will help us a lot by putting checks and balances. Otherwise if we don’t do that people will continue doing the wrong things.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Zimbabwe First Lady Injured at Airport
JULY 16, 2017

President Mugabe returned yesterday morning from a routine medical check-up in Singapore, but the arrival was with not without incident as First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe suffered a minor ankle injury at Harare International Airport.

Amai Mugabe had accompanied her husband to Singapore, where the Head of State and Government receives spcecialised eye treatment, and on arrival back home they were met by Vice-President’s Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet ministers and senior civil servants, and service chiefs.

The freak incident occured when the First Couple’s chauffeur set the vehicle in motion before the First Lady had properly settled in.

The sudden movement of the vehicle saw Amai Mugabe withdraw her foot from the car, and as she lost her balance, one shoe came off and was run over by a rear wheel.

In a statement yesterday, Presidential Press Secretary Mr George Charamba said Amai Mugabe had been treated at a local hospital and was discharged.

“First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe, suffered some soft tissue bruising on the right ankle as a result of a freak car incident at the

Harare International Airport early this morning. The incident happened as the First Couple, which had just alighted from an overseas trip, was about to leave the Harare International Airport for the  Residence.

“The First Lady was taken to local facilities where doctors examined and treated the bruise. “The examining doctors confirmed that she suffered no major injury.

“At the time of her discharge, which was about an hour later, she complained of pain from the hurt ankle.

“His Excellency the President, accompanied by Mr (Simba) and Mrs (Bona) Chikore, was with the First Lady throughout the examination, treatment and subsequent discharge. The First Lady is recovering at home.”

Meanwhile, a motorcycle outrider with the Presidential motorcade suffered a fractured arm after crashing into an Isuzu pick-up truck along Airport Road while escorting the First Family from Harare International Airport yesterday morning.

No civilian harm was reported and the police officer is expected to make a full recovery.
The Lake is For Malawi to Lose: Going to War With Tanzania Over the Boundary Wrangle Would be Foolhardy
July 18, 2017
Steve Nhlane
Nyasa Times

Malawi needs to be proactive and not just reactive on the Lake Malawi boundary wrangle with its north-eastern neighbour, Tanzania. But while I am on this, let me warn that resorting to wresting the part of the lake Tanzania claims is its territory will only worsen the matter. To be brutally frank, and without underrating our military prowess, Malawi will be the bigger casualty in any military undertaking with Tanzania. Tanzania, geographically bigger than Malawi—is no match for us military-wise.

To begin with, we need the lake more than Tanzania needs the part they are claiming to belong to them. Unlike Tanzania, which also has lakes Victoria and Tanganyika and a long seashore on the Indian Ocean, Lake Malawi is our only biggest water resource body spanning all the three regions. As a result its economic importance to Malawi cannot be overstated.

We need the lake for transport purposes—which to say the least—we have underutilised. The lake’s fish resources are an economic lifeline for 90 percent of the people along the lakeshore who subsist as fishermen. Take away the lake and see what would become of people in Karonga, Nkhata Bay, Likoma and Chizumulo, part of Rumphi, Nkhotakota, Salima, Mangochi. In short, the lake is actually synonymous with their livelihood.

At national level, Lake Malawi is the main source of water for the Shire River, which is again the source of 90 percent of our hydro-electricity from Nkula, Tedzani and Kapichira hydro-power stations.

Agriculturally, Illovo and Dwangwa Sugar company—probably the country’s biggest employers—depend on water bodies from the Shire and Lake Malawi, respectively. And if we had visionary leaders, they would long have transformed lakeshore districts into breadbaskets for the entire country producing rice, maize and cassava.

Blantyre Water Board’s main source of water—Walker’s Ferry—is the Shire River (whose main source of water is Lake Malawi), meaning that the whole Blantyre city and parts of Chiradzulu and Thyolo are serviced by the Shire River.

As a tourist destination—which again I must state we have grossly underdeveloped—Lake Malawi’s importance cannot be overstated, contributing a good percentage to the tourism’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In short, Lake Malawi’s importance should not be something any caring government should only talk about when there are no elections in the country. In Tumbuka we would have said navyose vyamthengere.

If truth be told, since 2014 the DPP-led government has been in a power-drunken stupor on this important issue and is only being awakened now that Tanzania has published maps showing part of the eastern part of the lake as belonging to them.

Going to war with Tanzania over the lake would be foolhardy (Uchindere wakufikapo). They have both the military and economic might to annihilate us within a short period of time.

With the issues I have outlined above, not even the elections should have stopped us from getting the mediators to continue the talks. Why should everything else come to a standstill when there are elections? After all, it has been two years and six months since Malawi held its elections and one year since Tanzania went to the polls.

The problem on the part of Malawi is the ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ mentality. It is na├»vity at its worst that the Malawi government only wants to do something when Tanzanians are on the offensive. That is not the way to go. Government should quickly get this issue to a logical conclusion.

It is a well-known fact that Tanzania wants half of the eastern part of the lake because of the oil exploration activities underway in the lake. And it is unlikely that the Sadc mediators—led by Mozambique former president Joachim Chissano—will side with Malawi on the issue, the Anglo-Heligoland Treaty notwithstanding. That is why it is important for Malawi to be proactive and take the issue to the International Court of Justice. That part of the lake is for Malawi to lose.
Farmers Pushed Off Their Land to Save Tanzania's Great Ruaha River
Kizito Makoye
KILOLO, Tanzania
Thomson Reuters Foundation

Gazing at the exposed, rocky bottom of the Great Ruaha River, known as the jewel of Tanzania, Rosemary Kasenza ponders what the future holds for her family now that there is no longer enough water for her crops.

"I am worried because it's the dry season and I don't have enough food to feed my children," she said.

Kasenza grows potatoes, maize, onions and bananas on 3 hectares (7 acres) of land in the fertile Ruaha basin in southern Tanzania.

She says she used to have no problem irrigating her crops but now the river flow slows to a trickle in the dry season.

"We have experienced long periods of drought which have badly affected the river flow," said Kasenza, who runs a channel to drain water from the river to her farm.

The 51-year-old mother of six is among the roughly 1 million small-scale farmers who produce much of the East African nation's food, many cultivating rice on water-intensive farms.

In the Ruaha basin, the government accuses farmers of illegally squatting on protected land along the river banks. Now, thousands face eviction as authorities try to protect wetlands critical for the river's flow - and the survival of local wildlife.

The government says farmers' water-intensive methods and herders' cattle have brought the once mighty river close to death, but farmers and pastoralists say they have lived in harmony with nature for decades, and are victims of drought.

"I don't have anywhere to go. We have been staying here all our lives. My children have known no other home than this one," Kasenza said.

Wildlife and Water

Described as the "ecological backbone of Tanzania", the Great Ruaha River flows nearly 500 km (300 miles) from its source in the Kipengere mountains, through vast wetlands and the Ruaha national park before emptying into the Rufiji River in the southeast.

The Ruaha river produced more than half of Tanzania's hydropower for decades but increasingly frequent periods of drought have forced the government to shift to fossil fuels, including gas, for electricity production.

A task force set up this year by the Tanzanian government to examine the river's continuing degradation highlighted the impact of intense agriculture on the river's health and recommended the eviction of farmers and pastoralists from some areas.

Speaking in May after reviewing the task force report, Samia Suluhu Hassan, Tanzania's Vice President said the government would consider removing farmers who encroached on water sources to help restore the river's flow.

"(We must) come together to save the ecosystem of the valley for the welfare of our lives and the interests of the nation as a whole," she was reported as saying in local media.

During a visit to the river basin in the Kilolo area last month, muddy, drying ponds were visible along the river and crocodiles and hippos seemingly finding it difficult to cool themselves.

In another area, vultures hovered above mounds of dead fish rotting in the sun.

Officials say the degradation of the river spans its entire length, from source to mouth.

In an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, January Makamba, minister of state in the Vice President's environment office, said farmers who divert water from the river to their farms were responsible not only for the degradation of the environment but also for the death of wildlife.

It is illegal to divert water from the river in wetland areas the government deems to be protected sites.

"We are going to take stern measures against them regardless of their status or position in order to save the river ecology," he said. "We feel it is necessary to be very aggressive and uncompromising in enforcing the laws."

Long Term Problems

Authorities say that the Ruaha river dried up for the first time during the dry season of 1993. Water levels have dropped and dry spells have lengthened since, sometimes lasting several months, the minister said.

"You can say, without fear of being contradicted, that the river is collapsing. And, for once, God is not responsible," Makamba told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

He said that unless urgent action is taken to restore flows to the river, Ruaha National Park - the largest in east Africa and home to about 10 percent of the world's lions - will die.

"The beauty of nature across the basin was breath-taking, its destruction is heart-breaking," he said.

According to the minister, farmers with legitimate land claims will be compensated and allocated plots elsewhere but those who occupied land in the river's basin illegally would have to return to "where they came from".

"If someone settles in an area that he clearly knows to be protected land, they will not be compensated," the minister said.

According to local analysts however, the government's decision to evict poor farmers from the river basin and the more fertile areas of wetland will cut families off from natural resources they have relied on for generations.

"Smallholder farmers along river banks have for a long time managed to feed themselves and their families adequately without causing any harm to nature," said Lucas Mnubi, an environmental expert and the editor of Nature magazine in Dar es Salaam.

Mnubi said authorities should instead teach communities how to harvest river water sustainably, not evict them from the land.

Local farmers say they are being unfairly singled out and the move to evict them would destroy their livelihoods.

"We are being accused of destroying water sources, but the government doesn't realize the biggest enemy is drought," said Benjamin Nzuki, a farmer in Kilolo.

According to Nzuki, local farmers have always tried to conserve water sources, especially in the catchment areas.

"We always plant water-friendly trees in order to protect catchment areas so as to allow free flow of the water," he said.

Nzuki called on the government to work with local communities instead of "harassing them and branding them invaders".

The minister said farming methods that were less water-intensive would be introduced in some areas and communities taught about the importance of protecting water sources.

"We have (also) put a limit on the number of cattle that each household can keep to cope with land scarcity and manage water sustainably," Makamba said.

However herders who graze their animals in the riverlands are not happy.

"Pastoralism is business like any other, if you ask me to keep ten cows instead of hundreds you will obviously deny me income," said Leikim Saburi, a herder in Kilolo district.

Reporting by Kizito Makoye, Editing by Paola Totaro and Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit
Morocco to Open Embassy in Zambia This Year
Xinhua| 2017-07-19 04:34:14
Editor: yan

LUSAKA, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Morocco intends to open an embassy in Zambia in September in order to enhance relations between the two countries, a visiting official said on Tuesday.

Morocco's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mounia Boucetta said the embassy will in the interim be headed by a charge d'affaires,

The visiting minister said when he paid a courtesy call on her Zambian counterpart Harry Kalaba that there was need for the two countries to have an action plan for the successful implementation of 19 bilateral agreements signed between the two countries when Moroccan King Muhammed VI visited Zambia in February this year.

The visit, she said, ushered in a new era in the relationship between the two countries, adding that the 19 agreements will boost ties.

According to her, the two countries share a common vision and desire to establish peace, stability and respect for the sovereignty of each country in Africa.

On his part, the Zambian minister said the establishment of the embassy will enhance the country's continental integration.

The Moroccan minister is here for the review of the 19 agreements in order for the two countries to come up with specific activities to ensure the objectives of the agreements were achieved.

On Monday, she held a meeting with agriculture minister Dora Siliya where they discussed specific areas of cooperation in the agriculture sector.
Political Instability May Derail Zambia's IMF Loan, Says Fitch Ratings
Xinhua| 2017-07-19 04:39:17
Editor: yan

LUSAKA, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Political tension could distract Zambia's plans to access an aid package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), international rating agency Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday.

While acknowledging that the key rating drivers for Zambia remains fiscal and external deficits and their effect on public sector debt, Fitch said the key risk stemming from the current political tension if it escalated could jeopardize an IMF aid package as well as other lender's willingness to provide the southern African nation with external financing, a statement posted on its website said.

It added that progress towards an IMF program has remained slow and may be delayed further by domestic political events, adding that expectation of an IMF program was key to Zambia's B/negative sovereign rating.

Zambia has witnessed political tension emanating from last year's disputed elections. The tension has worsened following the arrest of the country's leading opposition figure Hakainde Hichilema who was arrested in April and is facing treason charges.

On July 4, President Edgar Lungu invoked Article 31 of the country's constitution which gives security wings enhanced security measures to deal with a spate of fires and damage to other public properties witnessed in the country.

The move was approved by parliament and has since been extended for three months.

During an IMF's recent mission to Zambia last month, the two parties agreed on the remaining actions needed to reach staff-level agreement and a request to the IMF Executive Board could be made next month if the two sides could reach understandings.

Last week, the Zambian leader said the IMF could go if they were not happy with his decision to invoke Article 31 which resulted in the declaration of a state of threatened public emergency.

His comments were backed by Minister of National Development Planning Lucky Mulusa who said Zambia was not desperate for an IMF aid package.

The comments have raised suspicion on the current talks with the IMF, with critics asking the government to come clean on what was happening.

Talks with the IMF began last year as the southern African nation's economy crumbled due to falling copper prices and a large fiscal deficit.

An IMF program is expected to help support the balance of payments, provide a policy anchor for fiscal and economic reforms and unlock additional sources of external financing from multilateral and bilateral lenders.
Zambia Parliament Approves 'Enhanced Security Measures'
Opposition boycotts vote, calls President Edgar Lungu's emergency decree a plot to 'silence critics and kill democracy'.

Lungu invoked new security measures - blaming the opposition for a string of arson attacks [AFP]

Zambia's parliament has approved enhanced measures for security services for a 90-day period in a decree by President Edgar Lungu, a move critics say is an effort to tighten his grip on power.

Opposition legislators boycotted the vote on Tuesday, leaving only the 85 members of the president's majority party to pass the measure.

Lungu invoked the emergency powers last week, alleging that opposition parties were behind a string of arson attacks intended "to create terror and panic," including one that burned down the main market in the capital Lusaka.

Nobody was killed or injured in the blaze.

Political tensions in Zambia, seen as one of Africa's more stable and functional democracies, have been rising since the arrest on treason charges of main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, who narrowly lost to Lungu in a bruising election last year.

Hichilema, along with five others, is accused of trying to overthrow the government after a column of opposition vehicles failed to make way for the president's motorcade.

'Killing democracy'

Ruling Patriotic Front legislators voted to give law enforcement agencies "enhanced measures" to curb "rising cases of politically motivated fires and vandalism of vital electricity supply lines".

Under the measures, police can prohibit public meetings, close roads, impose curfews and restrict movements.

Lungu's aide, Amos Chanda, said the measures "were deemed necessary to restore public order" and that civil liberties such as free movement had not been suspended.

Hichilema's United Party for National Development (UPND) has accused Lungu of endangering the country's democracy and plotting a dictatorship.

Some 48 UPND legislators could not take part in Tuesday's vote as they had been suspended by parliament for boycotting an address by Lungu in March.

The decree "constitutes abuse of power designed to silence his critics and kill democracy," UPND vice president Geoffrey Mwamba said in a statement on Monday.

"It is clear that (Lungu's) actions are premeditated and designed to strengthen the hand of dictatorship."

Mwamba denied any UPND involvement in the fires.

"Innocent Zambians will be arrested on mere suspicion just to fulfil the Patriotic Front's political agenda to remain in power forever," he said.

Church leaders in Zambia have also criticised the emergency powers, warning the move would scare away investors needed to boost Zambia's weak economy.

"This is a clear sign of dictatorship - just because of a fire at a market and you declare a state of emergency?" Bishop Simon Chihana, president of the International Fellowship of Christian Churches, told the AFP news agency.

"Lungu is only thinking about his continued hold on to power. He is not concerned about the well-being of Zambia."

The country's last state of emergency was declared in 1997 by then president Frederick Chiluba after an attempted coup. It was lifted the following year.
African Countries Like Gambia Must Try New Strategies to End Malaria
By Serufusa Sekidde

Malaria is a monster. I was 12 years old the first time I contracted cerebral malaria. After several days of staying in bed unwell without receiving proper treatment from my boarding school dispensary, one night I woke up delirious, screaming and shouting. I had to be restrained by my brother and classmates. By the time I was rushed to a local hospital in Eastern Kenya, I was in a coma. While I survived, hundreds of thousands of people die from malaria each year.

Gambia also sees malaria as a monster that must be eliminated and it aims to be the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to do so by soliciting more donor funding. While the usefulness of more funding is unquestionable, funding alone is not the panacea, and Gambia - and other African countries aiming to eliminate malaria - needs to have at least three other arrows in its quiver.

First of all, Gambia and any other African countries wanting to eliminate malaria need to increase funding for the health system overall, with more funding coming from within the country. There is a strong correlation between increased governmental spending on national healthcare systems - not just on vertical malaria programs - and decreasing rates of malaria infections.

Currently, Gambia’s health care system costs around $60 million dollars to run annually and well over 60% of that money comes from international donors, with Gambians themselves footing almost 20% of health care expenditure out of their own pockets. Not only does this imbalance need to be corrected but also more funds need to come from within the country. If Gambia is to join the ranks of 33 countries and territories that have eliminated malaria, it must follow their examples and build robust malaria eradication campaigns that lie on the foundations of a resilient, equitable and functional healthcare system.

Gambia’s government is asking for $25 million in extra funding - equivalent to almost half of the country’s current budget for health - from international donors in order to reach its goal of eliminating malaria. However, if the government were to match that funding dollar for dollar from other sources within the country and invest that matched funding into other strategic pillars of the health system, that would go a long way in creating impactful and sustainable gains for its health system overall.

Secondly, African countries like Gambia need to increase strategic health cooperation and global health diplomacy with other countries. Mosquitoes and diseases know no borders. Eliminating malaria within the country will be a pyrrhic task if imported malaria cases are not addressed and there is no engagement in health cooperation with their neighbours. Thus for Gambia, more global health diplomacy is needed with countries in the West Africa region, particularly its sole neighbour Senegal which uses awareness-raising music, film and other innovations to tackle malaria.

Further, according to the 2016 World Malaria Day report by the World Health Organization, 21 countries are on course to eliminate malaria by 2020, including five African countries. They should consider holding a forum to discuss swift action and mutual accountability and plan a win-win strategic trans-continental partnership to combat malaria. When Comoros worked with the Chinese, starting in 2007, to conduct mass drug administration for malaria on one of its islands, it was hailed as a novel but controversial approach. Malaria cases fell by 95%.

Lastly, African countries need to engage more with the private sector in ways that go beyond just seeing them as cash cows. In Ghana, a highly-touted partnership with a global mining conglomerate - AngloGold Ashanti - led to a 74% reduction in malaria in a region in two years. The company was losing workers and productivity overall because of malaria cases, so in close partnership with the Ghana Ministry of Health, they started a highly-effectively malaria control program. In my visits as a healthcare strategy consultant to the Gambia and other African countries, I have found many willing private sector companies - both local and foreign - willing to engage government in mutually beneficial partnerships.

The first steps governments should take is improving their business environments by initially focussing on making progress in key indicators such in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, such as facilitating trade across borders and improving the tax regime. It is hard for the private sector to consider engaging with government, let alone flourish, when a country like Gambia is ranked 145th in the world in 2017 in the Ease of Doing Business index. Another step would be to engage the diaspora – whose remittances equate to 20% of Gambia’s GDP - as investors in strategic initiatives like diaspora bonds to combat malaria as well as leveraging their business experience and networks.

To be sure, Gambia and many other African countries are already implementing many of the recommended measures for eliminating malaria, such increasing supply and use of bed nets; proper testing of suspected malaria cases and treatment; the use of technology to strengthen implementation of existing malaria control strategies and others. However, to reach the goal of elimination, more needs to be done in a smart, strategic way.

While I survived malaria, many do not and even more see it as an inevitable part of life. Eliminating malaria is possible, however, it needs nothing less than bold and strategic leadership peppered with guile and guts. Let’s ensure that one day malaria is an eradicated infectious disease, starting one African country at a time.

Serufusa Sekidde is a Ugandan medical doctor currently working in London for a pharmaceutical company. He is a 2015 Aspen New Voices Fellow and writes in his personal capacity.