June 2009


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News Release                                                                                                       Contact:
For Immediate Release                                                                                       Jennifer DeSimone(202) 673-3916
Jdesimone@usadf.gov
 
USADF Signs Grant to Support Farmer Group in Zambia
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 25, 2009 – The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) has signed a grant to support farmers in Zambia. The grant will benefit the Kadande Farmers Group (KFG) located in Chama District. 
In speaking about the grant, USADF President Lloyd Pierson stated “By directly funding this farmers group, USADF is promoting economic development at the grassroots level in Zambia.”

KFG is an organization of farmers who grow rice and other crops such as maize and groundnuts, providing a market for the agricultural products its members produce.  The organization has identified a high demand for its rice but cannot meet those demands due to its limited production, storage, and marketing capabilities.
 
The eighteen month grant will be used to finance improvements to its financial systems, development of a business and marketing plan, trainings in improved agronomic practices, and purchasing milling equipment.
 
USADF began programming in Zambia in 2003. Zambia’s current portfolio stands at twenty-one investment projects totaling nearly $4.6 million dollars. For more information about the portfolio, please visit the country’s quick source page at http://www.adf.gov/USADF-QuickSourceCountryPortfolioPage-Zambia.htm.
 
The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) is a United States Government agency dedicated to expanding access to economic opportunity in Africa. Currently USADF operates in 20 African nations.  Over the past 25 years, USADF has funded nearly 1,500 projects representing in excess of $150 million in support of African enterprises and local African communities.  For more information on USADF, its programs and application guidelines, visit www.usadf.gov.

Copyright © 2009 Zambian Chronicle. All Rights Reserved.

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us

 

 

 

 

News Release                                                                                                      

Contact: Jennifer DeSimone

For Immediate Release                                                                                      

(202) 673-3916

Jdesimone@usadf.gov  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 25, 2009 – The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) has signed a grant to support farmers in Zambia. The grant will benefit the Kadande Farmers Group (KFG) located in Chama District.  

In speaking about the grant, USADF President Lloyd Pierson stated “By directly funding this farmers group, USADF is promoting economic development at the grassroots level in Zambia.” 

KFG is an organization of farmers who grow rice and other crops such as maize and groundnuts, providing a market for the agricultural products its members produce.  The organization has identified a high demand for its rice but cannot meet those demands due to its limited production, storage, and marketing capabilities. 

The eighteen month grant will be used to finance improvements to its financial systems, development of a business and marketing plan, trainings in improved agronomic practices, and purchasing milling equipment. 

USADF began programming in Zambia in 2003. Zambia’s current portfolio stands at twenty-one investment projects totaling nearly $4.6 million dollars. For more information about the portfolio, please visit the country’s quick source page at http://www.adf.gov/USADF-QuickSourceCountryPortfolioPage-Zambia.htm

The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) is a United States Government agency dedicated to expanding access to economic opportunity in Africa. Currently USADF operates in 20 African nations.  Over the past 25 years, USADF has funded nearly 1,500 projects representing in excess of $150 million in support of African enterprises and local African communities.  For more information on USADF, its programs and application guidelines, visit www.usadf.gov

Copyright © 2009 Zambian Chronicle. All Rights Reserved.

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By CELIA W. DUGGER 

LUSAKA, Zambia — As the gleaming black Mercedes-Benz pulled up to the courthouse, an aide rushed to the passenger door, bowed deeply and then ceremoniously opened it. A foot, finely shod in a dove-gray shoe, appeared, followed by the rest of the man, Frederick Chiluba.

FTJ arriving at a court in Lusaka in May for a hearing on charges of corruption - Picture by Mariella Furrer for The New York Times

FTJ arriving at a court in Lusaka in May for a hearing on charges of corruption - Picture by Mariella Furrer for The New York Times

For a decade, he was president of Zambia. Now, more than seven years after he left office, a court is deciding whether he stole from his impoverished people. A verdict is to be announced July 20. 

As common thieves and drug peddlers milled about, Mr. Chiluba strode through the corridors to his hearing, shaking hands, smiling magnanimously, throwing an arm around a co-defendant to chuckle over a private joke. Amid men in dingy shirts and worn trousers, he was impeccably dressed in a double-breasted charcoal suit, with a red silk handkerchief peeking from his breast pocket and a gold, diamond-studded watch glinting at his wrist. 

But once he was in the dock, his jovial demeanor evaporated. In the thin, sickly light that filtered in from narrow windows one recent morning, Mr. Chiluba replied somberly when the magistrate asked why his lawyers had failed to present a written summation on time. 

“I wasn’t aware, your honor, until today that the submissions are not made,” he said. 

Mr. Chiluba is a rarity in Africa, a Big Man brought low by corruption charges. He says he has done nothing illegal, but his many critics say his fall was brought on by the usual sins of the powerful — greed, vanity and pride — and a major tactical blunder: he underestimated the man he hand-picked in 2001 to succeed him as president, the plodding, diligent lawyer Levy Mwanawasa. 

Mr. Mwanawasa died last year after an illness. But his pursuit of Mr. Chiluba outlived him. 

“Chiluba called himself the political engineer and he believed Mwanawasa would be his puppet,” said Mark Chona, who was appointed by Mr. Mwanawasa to lead a task force to investigate abuses of the Chiluba era. “But he misread Mwanawasa. For us, it was divine providence.” 

Even as Mr. Chiluba awaited his judgment, his wife, Regina, was convicted on corruption charges in March and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. 

Mr. Chiluba already faced a London civil court judgment in 2007 in a case brought by Zambia’s attorney general. He is still contesting the payment of damages. 

In that case, Justice Peter Smith of the High Court ruled that the former president owed Britain $57 million for, among other things, expenditures from a secret intelligence agency bank account in London that was “set up primarily to steal government money.” 

“He should be ashamed,” Sir Peter wrote. 

The judge concluded that though Mr. Chiluba had a salary of only about $10,000 a year during his decade in office, he spent more than $500,000 in a single shop, Boutique Basile, in Geneva. 

“The president (unlike the emperor) needs to be clothed,” Sir Peter archly noted in his judgment. 

The shop owner, Antonio Basile, testified last year that payment for the clothes sometimes arrived in suitcases stuffed with cash. 

The goods are now stored in battered metal trunks by Zambia’s anticorruption task force. There are piles of designer suits, monogrammed dress shirts and elegant ties, silk pajamas and dressing gowns. 

But most remarkable are more than 100 pairs of size 6 shoes, many affixed with Mr. Chiluba’s initials in brass. He is just a little over five feet tall, and each pair has heels close to two inches high. They are a riot of color and texture: jade-green lizard skin and burgundy suede, cream-colored ostrich and lustrous red silk. 

As his second term drew to a close, Mr. Chiluba claimed that a popular clamor had arisen for him to stay in office. A third term would have required amending the Constitution. But by then, Mr. Chiluba, a former trade union leader elected as a reformer, led a government renowned for corruption. Civic groups and churches organized to stop him, and succeeded. 

Not long after he withdrew from contention, The Post, an independent newspaper, quoted a member of Parliament as saying that Mr. Chiluba was a thief. The state pressed charges of criminal libel against The Post’s editor and the politician. 

The legal maneuver backfired. Mutembo Nchito, the brash young lawyer representing The Post pro bono, effectively put Mr. Chiluba’s integrity on trial. He won access to records of the intelligence agency bank account in London, and discovered evidence of generous payments to Mr. Chiluba’s children, the boutique and even the chief justice of the Zambian Supreme Court, among others. 

“You never expect to find a smoking gun,” he said in wonderment. 

But before Mr. Nchito could introduce the bank records in evidence, he needed President Mwanawasa’s permission. 

Mr. Mwanawasa, who could have cited national security to hush up the scandal, instead gave Mr. Nchito permission to use the records, led an effort to strip Mr. Chiluba of immunity and named Mr. Chona to head the task force on corruption. Mr. Nchito was hired to prosecute criminal charges against Mr. Chiluba, who was accused of stealing about $500,000. 

The task force, now headed by Maxwell Nkole, has won convictions against Ms. Chiluba and former military commanders, among others. 

Mr. Mwanawasa not only pushed the prosecution of a leader from his own party but also, in the final months of his life, sharply criticized President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe for his violent repression of the opposition there. Despite his staid manner, Mr. Mwanawasa proved himself a maverick, challenging the patronage politics and tolerance for authoritarian rule that have marred many postcolonial African nations, historians and analysts say. 

Mr. Chiluba, in unsworn testimony earlier this year, expressed outrage at what he saw as Mr. Mwanawasa’s rank betrayal. 

“The presidency in Africa is not cheap,” Mr. Chiluba said, according to a transcript. “People die to secure the presidency. But here was Mr. Mwanawasa, who received it on a silver platter from my hands. He stabbed me in the back badly. I still bleed.” 

In his testimony, Mr. Chiluba denied that he had ever stolen public money. Instead, he said that he had spent money donated in political campaigns by corporate interests and other “well-wishers.” The identity of these contributors was secret because of what Mr. Chiluba called “the golden rule of anonymity.” The donors, he said, were made aware that “the party’s president has personal needs.” 

After the recent hearing, Mr. Chiluba walked quickly to his Mercedes, waving off questions with a flick of his hand. 

Back in the courtroom, Moffat Kabamba, a skinny 21-year-old in windbreaker and sneakers, followed Mr. Chiluba into the dock. He was charged with swiping a cellphone and a bicycle. He mournfully confided that he had decided to confess because he was guilty. 

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

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By ZamChro Correspondent

Algeria beat hosts Zambia 2-0 Saturday (June 20th) at Konkola Stadium in Chililabombwe to take the lead in Group C of the African/World Cup combined qualifiers and prove that the historic win over Egypt was just the beginning of a spectacular run. 

From Bechar to Batna, Saida to Skikda, cities across Algeria turned into a sea of green and white. Streets which had been empty while the match was televised were suddenly filled with jubilant fans. 

The dream of seeing the national side make it through to the World Cup – for the first time since 1986 – is now a real possibility. 

Despite a whirlwind start from the Copper Bullets, the Algerians skilfully fended off Zambia’s attacks. Hervé Renard’s players banked on their ability to surprise the Algerians right from the start of the match, but Algeria’s defenders stood their ground and gained in confidence, while their forwards began threatening Zambia’s defence. 

The pressure culminated in the 21st minute when a free kick taken by Marseille midfielder Karim Ziani led to a goal by Glasgow Rangers defender Majid Bougherra. The breakthrough came at just the right moment for Rabah Saadane’s men to deal a body blow to their opponents. 

Zambia’s attacks became more spirited but were all thwarted by the Algerian defence, where goalkeeper Lounes Gaouaoui reigned supreme and made decisive saves, including one where he used both fists to deflect a powerful shot by Given Singuluma in the 34th minute. 

Algeria scored again during the second half, stunning their opponents in the 66th minute. Lorient midfielder Rafik Saifi, who had only just returned to the pitch in a substitution, took advantage of a great pass from Rafik Djebbour to make it 2-0. 

The Algerian players then rallied in defence to fend off the ensuing counter-attacks. The strategy paid off; Zambia were visibly affected by Algeria’s advances and all their attempts missed the target. 

The win confirmed the Greens’ pre-match confidence. They were determined to come back home from Zambia with a serious shot at qualifying for the World Cup. 

“We now have an opportunity to take pole position in the race to the World Cup,” newly-selected Rafik Halliche commented before the match. “We basically have everything it takes to win,” he predicted, drawing inspiration from the team’s stunner over Egypt. 

Zambia coach Renard [which means ‘fox’ in French], joked about his name and said that the difference between him and Saadane was that only one of them was a real fox (Saadane had previously claimed to be a “fox and a half”). Renard said Algeria would “come up against a dead end in Zambia”. 

He was wrong. 

Algeria now have seven points from three matches, three more than Zambia. The other Group C squads, Rwanda and Egypt, each have one point from two games. The group winners will qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. 

Copyright © 2009 Zambian Chronicle. All Rights Reserved.

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By Shapi Shacinda 

LUSAKA, June 21 (Reuters) – Several Zambian hospitals have shut their admission wards and sent hundreds of patients home because of a crippling strike by nurses over pay, the country’s biggest labour federation said on Sunday. HospitalThe nurses’ strike entered its 17th day on Sunday, with the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) saying the situation in many hospitals had become a “national disaster”. 

“Some wards are completely deserted while in other wards there is a skeleton staff. We are trying to impress upon the workers to return to work as we continue to dialogue with the government,” ZCTU General Secretary Roy Mwaba told Reuters. 

Operations at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), one of the largest referral hospitals in southern Africa, and several hospitals across Zambia have been paralysed since nurses and some paramedics rejected a 15 percent pay rise from the government last week. 

Mwaba said patients were dying and bodies lay uncollected in the few wards that were still treating patients in a critical condition. 

“I have been to 15 wards and I have seen 10 (uncollected) dead bodies. This is a crisis and I urge President Banda to visit the UTH and get first hand information about what is going on and to act quickly to save the situation,” he told reporters. 

Nurses have been demanding a 25 percent wage hike, but the government has only offered them an increase of 15 percent. 

The average monthly salary of junior nurses is $300, while senior nurses are paid around $400 per month. 

Health Minister Kapembwa Simbao has said the strike was illegal and called on the striking nurses to return to work. But the workers’ representatives have urged President Rupiah Banda to intervene and seek dialogue with the nurses. 

© Thomson Reuters 2009. All rights reserved.

Ethiopian Review

The U.S. Secretary of State’s assistant for African affairs told VOA’s Tizita Belachew today “the door is open” to improving relations between the United States and Eritrea.

In his second month on the job, Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson today discussed issues confronting several African countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and Zimbabwe. Carson has previously accused the State of Eritrea of shipping arms and fighters to Somalia to support the insurgency of al-Shabab. Today, the assistant secretary revealed a surprising twist in his efforts to engage Eritrea.

Carson, who has served as a U.S. diplomat in six African countries, told Tizita, “I met with the Eritrean ambassador and asked to meet with President Isaias Afwerki. If he will give me a visa, I will be there.” However, after Carson left his passport with the Eritrean embassy “for an extended period” he was surprised to find it returned “without a visa in it.”

“If relations are not improved it will not be because we’re not trying to act as a respected partner.”

Carson said the Obama administration seeks to normalize strained relations. “This administration seeks a better relationship with Eritrea,” Carson said. The most recent difference is over Eritrea’s support for the insurgency against the Transitional Government of Somalia.

President Afewerki told VOA’s Tigrigna service in Asmara two weeks ago that he looks forward to meeting Carson, but Afewerki repeatedly denies flying weapons to al-Shabab in Somalia.

“There is a growing volume of real and circumstantial evidence of continuing relations between Asmara and al-Shabab,” Carson said today. “We encourage Eritrea to cut off relations” with the insurgents, he said. “There should be no transit for foreign fighters through Eritrea.”

“The door is open if they are transparent on Somalia.”

ZANIS.

President Rupiah Banda has with immediate effect reappointed former Communications and Transport Minister Dora Siliya to cabinet following the High Court Judgment which has cleared her of any wrongdoing.

In a media statement made available to ZANIS by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Dickson Jere, Ms Siliya will now serve as Education Minister.

President Banda has since moved the Education Minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa to the Ministry of Communications and Transport.

Yesterday , the Lusaka High Court cleared Ms Siliya of the Dennis Chirwa lead tribunal’s findings which stated that the former minister of Communication had breached the constitution in the manner she handled the RP Capital Partners issue.

High Court Judge Philip Musonda quashed the tribunal’s findings that Ms Siliya breached the constitution when she ignored the Attorney General’s advice over RP capital partners.

Ms. Siliya resigned from her ministerial position after the judgment of the tribunal findings.

Meanwhile, President Banda has constituted a five-Member Cabinet Committee to find a lasting solution to the ongoing financial and technical problems at the state-owned Zambia Telecommunications Corporation (ZAMTEL).

The committee comprises Finance and National Planning Minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, Communications and Transport Minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa as well as the Mines and Mineral Resources Minister Maxwell Mwale.

Others are Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Felix Mutati and his Energy and Water Development counterpart Kenneth Konga.

Mr. Banda has further directed all Permanent Secretaries serving under the ministries in the Cabinet Committee to form a technical committee which will serve the Cabinet Committee.

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