democracy


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The old adage “practice makes perfect” holds true to every locale in the human enterprise  and or in everyone’s life. The upcoming presidential by-election will usher in a 4th president for the Zambian Enterprise, democratically elected in a peaceful transfer of power.

 

While others may want to just take this for granted, we at the Zambian Chronicle realize its importance and significance that we just had to write home about it. On a continent filled with rage and at best incumbents’ desire for lifelong presidencies, the Zambian Enterprise leads the pack in many ways.

 

In fact, other than ours in the Sub-Saharan region, Botswana is the only country that boosts of holding the longest record in peaceful transfer of power with democratically elected presidents and its economic stability speaks volumes of its own.

 

All things being equal, democracies have the ability to bring out the best among the collective; the people and not the system(s) become the means through which society chooses for itself what its desired posterity should be.

 

No one single person becomes more powerful than the sum of the all and by so doing it (a democratic system) creates checks and balances for the mutual benefit(s) of both the system and its peoples. Of all other latent issues, democracy tends to create a system of correcting wrongs with the greatest of ease.

 

Take the emergence of multiple party politics in 1991, for instance. The Kaunda era though vibrant at first could not stand the test of time. This is because it was built on flawed communistic policies and no amount of humanism preaching by KK or even Archangel Gabriel could improve anything otherwise at all.

 

The fact is simply that communism does not work, however perfectly envisioned even in a perfect world. Man is impenitently self-interested and when there is nothing for him/her but for the collective he/she tends to be ineffective at best.

 

It is no wonder every body during the latter Kaunda era developed a “Niva Boma” attitude. One was not obligated to anything and “Waco ni waco” (nepotism) swelled and huge misappropriation of all resources led to corruption and other graft devices.

 

When FTJ came on the scene, he really did not have any message at all but the smart people of the Zambian Enterprise gave him a chance all because they were ready for change. They were promised privatization, and without asking for accountability they went along because they had hope the time for “Niva Boma and Waco in Waco” had come to an end.When they matched through the streets chanting “The Hour, The Hour, The Hour Has Come”, to many others it did not matter whether or not that hour had come for them to be unemployed, that hour had come for them to be without medical coverage, free hospitals and free education; it mattered dimly squat what that “hour that had come” meant.

 

Most smarts even mistook democracy for privatization I often remark … but the system worked. This is not to say, there was no corruption, this is not to say peoples’ perception about “Niva Boma and Waco ni Waco” changed, in most cases these were actually amplified.

 

The Chiluba regime proved that too much power bestowed in the presidency was erroneous and corrective measures were taken, it also proved that zeal without knowledge is murderously dangerous for any enterprise and we started replacing rhetoric with execution starting with Levy P Mwanawasa, SC.

 

We learnt that government works better when it is accountable to the electorate and not the other way round. We learnt that there is still a lot of international goodwill out there as long as a nation is willing to do the right things, by taking the right steps, every time, all the time …

 

And overall, as every one adhered to good governance, bad apples were being identified and exposed, culprits brought to book including FTJ himself and the system got perfected day by day, thanks a trillion in great part to Levism (MHSRIP).

 

Levy had his share of mistakes too but we will leave those for others to comment at the present moment. But we know that he did his best to turn the economy, the work culture and posterity around; at each and every stage, he had the best interest of our Enterprise at heart …

 

After next week, the smart people of the Zambian Enterprise are heading to the polls again, in part to prove the system works but overall, to perfect it even further.

 

Oh yes, practice makes perfect and we encourage all the eligible smart people of the Zambian Enterprise to go the polls en masse, it’s our God given right, make use of it …

 

We once said here that not much would be expected out of this by-election because it is more of a care-taker presidency until the Tripartite General Election in 2011.

 

But we encourage even losers to understand that there is a lot of winning in losing and moving the nation forward after conceding – there can only be one president at a time.

 

Whoever becomes the next CEO of our Enterprise, we at the Zambian Chronicle will render our full moral support just like we did for Levy.

 

We will criticize him when we see mistakes made not because we want to be vocal for nothing by using our bully pulpit but because Zambia is greater than any single one of us.

 

Whatever the outcome, the real winner will be Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. who proved the system works and practice makes perfect, Long Live Levism!!!

 

Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newyork Times

WASHINGTON — General David H. Petraeus, the commander of American forces in Iraq, and Ryan C. Crocker, the American Ambassador to Iraq, faced a new round of deep congressional skepticism today, not only about progress in the war and the prospects for eventual withdrawal, but also about whether the nation’s involvement in Iraq had made it more vulnerable on other fronts.

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

Gen. David H. Petraeus during testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

Reach of War

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The general and the ambassador carried their message of “fragile and reversible” progress in the war to the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday morning and the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the afternoon, the day after they testified before the corresponding committees in the Senate. Repeating the opening statements they made to the Senate panels, the two men once again yielded little fresh information about when the American military presence in Iraq could be reduced beyond the roughly 140,000 troops who will be left when the “surge” of about 30,000 extra troops sent to the country in 2007 winds down again in July.

Representative Ike Skelton, Democrat of Missouri and the chairman of the Armed Services committee, said in opening the first hearing on Wednesday that he saw far too few signs of real progress in Iraq, and warned that the continuing war’s strains on the American military were diverting the country from attending to other threats, starting with what intelligence reports say is a terrorist resurgence along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. “The effort in Iraq is putting at risk our ability to decisively defeat those most likely to attack us,” he said.

Mr. Skelton said that while the “surge” had temporarily lowered the amount of violence in Iraq, Iraqis had failed to “step up” to take advantage of the improved security. And he said he feared that officials in Baghdad would feel no sense of urgency to pursue sectarian reconciliation and achieve full autonomy until “we take the training wheels off and let the Iraqis begin to stand on their own two feet.”

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker acknowledged the problems — “The situation in certain areas is still unsatisfactory, and innumerable challenges remain,” the general told the House panel, as he had the Senate committees on Tuesday — but the two men said that the current course was producing important results and that it was the only way forward. “I do remain convinced that a major departure from our current engagement would bring failure,” Mr. Crocker said.

Representative Duncan Hunter of California, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services committee, agreed with their assessment. While some had declared the surge a failure from the start, he said at the morning hearing, “I think, by all metrics, it’s been a success.” He cited Anbar Province, where some formerly hostile Sunni tribesmen are now aligned with American forces, saying the situation there had changed from violent to “extremely benign.”

Despite lingering problems in the Iraqi Army, Mr. Hunter said, “I think they’ve made enormous advances and improvements since the last hearing we held.”

Republicans’ expressions of support for administration policy clashed again with deeply expressed doubts about Iraq, mostly from Democrats, when the general and the ambassador moved to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the afternoon.

Representative Howard L. Berman, Democrat of California and the chairman of the committee, said, “In some areas, we seem to be slipping backwards.” He cited a recent resurgence of violence in Baghdad. Vital areas of Baghdad, like the central neighborhood known as the Green Zone that includes the United States Embassy and the heavily fortified headquarters of the national government, remained vulnerable, Mr. Berman said.

“How effective could this effort have been when mortars and rockets can rain on the Green Zone?” he asked. “For more than two weeks, our embassy is bombarded. In all, the past two-plus weeks have seen the worst violence in the Green Zone since the war began.”

But Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the ranking Republican, embraced the administration’s argument. “Immediate disengagement would only embolden the forces of radical Islam and leave an enormous power vacuum in Iraq, one to be filled by the regime in Iran, with its proxies in Iraq and throughout the region.”

A blog looking at daily life inside Iraq, produced by The Times’s Baghdad bureau.

President Bush, who has indicated that he expects to rely heavily on the general’s recommendations, is scheduled to outline his policy for the months ahead at the White House on Thursday. Despite their regular prodding and criticism of the administration on the conduct and cost of the war, the Democrats in Congress appeared to lack sufficient support to force a significant change in the president’s approach. With some exceptions, Congressional Republicans have stood with Mr. Bush.

General Petraeus’s plan, laid out for both the House and Senate committees, is to hold force levels steady after the surge ends in July, with no new withdrawals for at least 45 days, while commanders evaluate the situation in Iraq. That would leave little time to withdraw more than two or three brigades before the end of the Bush presidency, even if a pullout began in earnest as soon as the 45-day period ended.

But in his testimony before the Senate panels, the general seemed far from ready to recommend such withdrawals, or even to say under what conditions he might favor them, despite persistent questioning from Democrats on the two committees.

Tuesday’s hearings lacked the suspense of last September’s debate, when the focus was on measurable benchmarks and heightened expectations of speedy troop withdrawals. But they thrust the war to the center of the presidential campaign, as General Petraeus faced questioning from the two Democrats and one Republican still vying for the White House. He told them at one point that progress in Iraq had been “significant and uneven.”

General Petraeus’s tone was notably sober, and he acknowledged that “we haven’t turned any corners, we haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel,” despite the intensified American military campaign over the past 15 months of the surge.

Though the increased troop commitment sharply reduced insurgent attacks across much of Iraq last year, the relative calm was broken last month when the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki ordered an assault on Shiite militias in Basra, setting off renewed violence there and around Baghdad.

At times, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, the Democratic candidates, and Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, seemed to be talking about two different wars. “We’re no longer staring into the abyss of defeat, and we can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success,” Mr. McCain said.

Mrs. Clinton, sitting just a few feet away as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, cited Iraq’s sluggish political progress and a questionable recent Iraqi military campaign in Basra as evidence not of success, but rather failure.

“It might well be irresponsible to continue the policy that has not produced the results that have been promised time and time again,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Senator Obama, Mrs. Clinton’s rival, restated his view that the war in Iraq had been a “massive strategic blunder.” During a hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee, he said his efforts to end the war would include a timetable for withdrawing troops and an intensified diplomatic effort that would include talks with Iran.

In their remarks on Tuesday, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker referred only infrequently to the political benchmarks that served as a framework for their testimony last fall, but which the Iraqi government for the most part has been unable to achieve.

“Countless sectarian fault lines still exist in Baghdad and elsewhere,” General Petraeus said. But he noted that Sunni leaders previously marginalized by Iraq’s Shiite-led government had joined the security efforts over recent months, with important successes.

General Petraeus said the security situation in Iraq remained in flux in part because of the “destructive role Iran has played,” with its backing of “special groups” of Shiite radicals that he said now posed the greatest immediate threat in Iraq. He said that the threat posed by Sunni extremists who say they are aligned with Al Qaeda had been “reduced significantly” but would required “relentless pressure” to ensure that the extremists did not regroup.Both General Petraeus and Mr. Crocker faced sharp questioning from Democrats who sounded increasingly exasperated. “A year ago, the president argued that we wouldn’t begin to withdraw troops from Iraq, because there was too much violence,” Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts said. “Now the president argues we can’t begin to withdraw troops, because violence is down.”

A recurring theme of the criticism involved the financial costs of the war at a time when Iraq has built up a budget surplus fueled by high oil prices. Another was that a timetable for withdrawing American forces would force the Iraqi government to shoulder more responsibility for its own fate.

The Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, also criticized the Bush administration’s negotiations on a lasting security agreement with Iraq and its refusal to submit the agreement to the Senate for ratification. Mr. Crocker repeated several times that the agreement being negotiated would not rise to a level requiring a Senate vote, but that did not satisfy Mr. Biden.

“You need to do much more than inform the Congress, you need the permission of the Congress if you’re going to bind the next president of the United States in anything you agree to,” the Democratic senator said.

In the Senate galleries, protesters echoed those attacks, interrupting the debate on occasions. As Mr. McCain argued against what he described as “reckless and irresponsible” calls for rapid withdrawal from Iraq, a protester stood up with a banner saying, “There’s no military solution.” When Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat, questioned General Petraeus on when reductions of troops could continue, a man shouted, “Bring them home,” and was later evicted.

A group of women attended in traditional Muslim dress, their faces painted with ghostly makeup. Some held bloodied dolls, and some had red-stained hands. Their signs read, “Surge of Sorrow” and “Endless War.”

Even some Republicans voiced reservations about a war effort whose end remained far from clear. “Our patience is not unlimited,” said Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, who was sworn in less than a year ago.

But General Petraeus signaled that the war was far from a foreseeable end. “We haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel,” he said when pressed by Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana about the basis for his positive assumptions. “The Champagne bottle has been pushed to the back of the refrigerator. And the progress, while real, is fragile and is reversible.”

 

This article incorporates portions of an earlier report on the Senate hearings by Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker.

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George Bush endorses Hillary Clinton, Hillary,McCain friends

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By Belliah K Theise

 b6_edited.jpegThis week ‘s memo is about  the next Zambian president. Who should take the Zambian presidential sit in 2011?

I hate to admit this, the truth is, our leaders are always voted by villagers, marketeers and street boys who have no clue about education and foreign policies. 

 According to our observation, most politicians have a way to get into a mind of a person with little knowledge or no knowledge at all.  This includes developed countries. If you take a close look on politics, you will find that people end up voting for a candidates who keeps preaching what voters want to hear. People will go out to vote just because of a hear say,  without assessing a candidate  in practical terms.

In most cases, political Candidates have a tendency to study what the audience want to hear. Any one can stand and say I will give you jobs, bring rich breakfast, lunch and dinner in your home. Zambian Voters will listen because there are no jobs and are in poverty. As a candidate, you are happy when people vote for you. Are you going to keep your promise once you are voted in office?

 Practically, things always turns out to be different from all the promises that politicians make.

it’s time for candidates who are aspiring, to start preaching on practical issues and not to give fake hopes to people. Talk about real things that affects the economy of every country, and explain, to voters that it is not an easy path to bring stability to the country, it takes hard work and devotion to make things happen.

Disappointments, comes out when a candidate makes fake promises, do something else after being voted into office. We ask all the aspiring candidates to be more practical in the way they make promises to people, to avoid early disappointments.

It is not fair for voters  who have no clue on “Inflation” or economics, who listens innocently and line up to vote for a candidate who later does something contrary to his/her promise.

Zambia has highly experienced ,knowledgeable, and educated people.  Why is it that Zambians ends up voting for wrong leaders?

Could it be that all the educated Zambians, are too frustrated with the system, and has opted to sit back and watch, while the poor Zambian villagers , marketeers and street boys take their stand to vote for what they hear from those who can read their minds and give them fake promises? or could it be that qualified leaders and educated Zambians are  too busy with other duties and other personal stuff, or they are not brave enough to fight for their people or  is it lack of bringing themselves out with a positive approach to their fellow Zambians?

 If you are candidate or a voter. It is time to revisit your weaknesses and try to improve on them.

Our advice is:

Avoid:  Hate, tribal, gossip, and malicious rumors. By all means, should not be used as a tool to pick a right candidate for president. Validate each rumor, use your own discretion and common sense. Avoid operating like robots that are programed to perform certain functions.  Operating like a robot, makes both leaders and their voters look like idiots, when things go sour.

Remember:

Not every rumor or gossip is true. Yes there is no smoke without fire, but you have to remember that humans always enjoy negatives that appear on a candidate without using their good sense of judgement or common sense, they vote basing on those facts. If a negative outweighs a positive side of a candidate, it takes away all the good work he/she has done.

Remember, Media and campaigns are there to help voters to pick the best candidate, but at the same time, uses that as a tool to bring down a candidate, if the opponent has strong links to the media.  Many great leaders are brought down in no seconds, and voters end up voting for useless candidates.

Again… use your common sense and your good judgement, when you read negatives that comes flying on potential candidates.

On that note, we decided to re-visit Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika’s profile, as she seem to be carrying all the package of what makes a great president.

We at Zambian Chronicle, would like to see Dr Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, contest for president in 2011. We have well rounded Zambian candidates like, HH and Many more, Inonge adds to the package.

For years, Zambians have had a problem when it comes to picking a president. It’s time to check where Zambians go wrong when it comes to voting?

Weakness:

We Vote with emotions, tribal, rumors and hate, Worse more when it comes to gender. 

In the end we get disappointed with our own voting when things go in a different direction. 

May be it is time to turn around, and look seriously inside lives and works of the aspiring candidates, without looking at a tribe, relations, cheap gossips or malicious rumors.

It is even more difficult to convince a Zambian mind, when it comes to women leadership.

When we look at Zambians, we see a lot of potential candidates men and women, that can lead us in 2011, and bring light to Zambia. 

I am not here advocating for Inonge because I am a woman.

Here at Zambian Chronicle, we are looking at the credentials, Education and experience.

Zambia needs a candidate for president, that has both local and foreign policy experience. As an African country we can not rule out education. It should be very cardinal  in this aspect.

 Therefore when it comes to choosing a president, let us open our eyes and pick quality and not quantity.

Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika and Hakainde Hichilema are both quality.

Having said that, Zambian Chronicles will continue to bring out candidates, that we think can make great president for Zambia in the future.

As we pointed out, in our earlier debates, Hakainde Hichilema and Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika, have the real package.

Therefore, without looking at the tribes and gender, we feel Inonge can make a great president for Zambia for 2011. This includes, the appointees of ministers and local government officials.

This forum may help the next Zambian President to pick right candidates for certain roles.

Below is Inonge ‘s profile and credentials:

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Princess Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika (born 10 July 1943, Senanga) is a senior Zambian politician currently. For more about her check

http://www.inongelewanika.com/family.htm

   1.   Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika is currently Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to the United States of America . Before her appointment to Washington D.C.

 2. She was Ambassador and Special Envoy to the Zambian President during his term as Chairman of the African Union.

3. Dr. Lewanika served as a Member of Parliament in the Zambian Parliament from 1991 to 2001. She was the first Chairperson of the Zambia All Party Women Parliamentarians Caucus and also founding Vice-chairperson of the outhern, Eastern and Horn of Africa African Women Parliamentarian Caucus.

  

4. At a very critical time just before national elections in 2001, Dr. Lewanika chaired the National Crisis Committee of the Alliance of Opposition Political Parties.

5.  She is a former candidate for President of the Republic of Zambia in the December 2001 Elections.

6.  She is an Educator by profession and has worked in various levels of Education.

Prior to her involvement in politics, Dr. Lewanika worked with UNICEF in key leadership roles in Africa overseeing more than twenty countries at a time. Jim Grant, the former head of UNICEF once called her “the most knowledgeable person about the children of Africa .” Dr. Lewanika was among five women from various continents to brief members of the United Nations Security Council on the first and unprecedented debate that resulted in UN Resolution 13 on WOMEN, PEACE and SECURITY in the year 2000. She was among sixteen (16) eminent African Women Members of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) Committee on Peace and Development, an Advisory Group to the African Union.

She was President of Federation of African Women’s Peace Networks (FERFAP) from 1997 to 2002. As President of the Federation of African Women Peace Networks (FEFAP) she contributed to mobilization of peace activities. In that capacity, she was selected to be among ten prominent African Women Peace Workers that visited Rwanda soon after the genocide. She later led a United Nations delegation to Burundi and Rwanda to assess the effects of the genocide on women and children and recommend intervention strategies. She led the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) Observer Mission of 96 Southern African

Academicians, Researchers and Members of Civil Society to the Zimbabwean Presidential, Mayoral and Council Elections in 2002. She was one of the International Youth Foundation’s founding board members.

Dr. Lewanika holds a Ph.D. in Early Childhood and Primary Education from New York University . She is a mother of two grown daughters, a grandmother to four boys and a grand daughter. She has lived in five countries and speaks eight languages.

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A look at more of  Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika’s work Below: 

After 30 years of promoting girls’ education in the less-developed world, aid workers are now realizing that it is not enough to simply open the school door to girls. Unemployment, clean water and HIV/AIDS are now also on their agenda.
Inonge Mbikusita-LewanikaWASHINGTON (WOMENSENEWS)–Like many aid workers and activists trying to improve the lives of women in developing countries, Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika has long viewed education as the key to solving many of her countrywomen’s problems.Mbikusita-Lewanika, a former member of Zambia’s parliament and now the country’s ambassador to the United States, says the benefits of educating girls are so numerous– from raising marrying ages and lowering birth rates to stemming health and economic problems–that she would like to install a plaque reading “Send the Girls to School” in every village.But 30 years after the U.S. government and other aid-givers began to promote gender equality in their programs, they, like Mbikusita-Lewanika, have learned that relieving the burdens of poor women is more complex than once thought. Foreign aid officials from the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and various nongovernmental organizations say that it is not enough to open the school door to girls if their families are besieged by unemployment, unclean water, labor-intensive household chores and, increasingly, debilitating health problems such as HIV/AIDS. Nor is it enough to get a few women elected to the parliament or congress while women in the countryside still suffer age-old discriminations.To succeed, say aid experts, gender-equality programs must be integrally incorporated into the aid process from top to bottom, beginning with constant attention to gender issues at the policy level and ending with a wide distribution of burden-relieving aid in the rural areas where discrimination is often most ingrained.In Africa, for instance, women perform about 75 percent of agricultural work, according to Mark Blackden, the lead economist in the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Management of Gender Equity Division. He estimates the continent’s per-capita income would have doubled over the last 30 years if women had been given more aid and education to help with crop production. But aid givers have only recently realized that “one does indeed need to talk about the African farmer and her husband,” Blackden said.Instead, because of cultural misunderstandings, they have often directed agricultural education and technology to men. As a result, Mbikusita-Lewanika said, it is not uncommon to see men sitting on tractors as women and girls continue to cultivate with a hand hoe nearby.Clearing a small plot of land in this manner can involve 18-hour days, leaving women little time to raise their children, gather fire wood, walk long distances to find potable water and, increasingly, care for the sick. With such intensive household labor needs, Mbikusita-Lewanika said girls often have little time for school.”The average woman takes care of everyone else but herself,” Mbikusita-Lewanika said at a recent Capitol Hill briefing for legislative staff.In countries where economies have been destroyed by conflict or AIDS, another factor diminishes the rationale for education: The lack of jobs when a girl graduates. As a result, Mbikusita-Lewanika said that, while education “may be the most important investment, it may not necessarily be the first investment” that donors should undertake. For instance, providing drinking water would save women in many Zambian villages 1 1/2 hours a day, she said.In 1973, the U.S. Congress passed the Percy Amendment requiring that the nation’s foreign aid help integrate women into the mainstream of developing countries’ societies. Since then, the U.S. Agency for International Development–the main administrator of U.S. development aid–and other organizations have progressed from conducting a few gender equality projects a year to considering gender issues as a part of nearly every decision. While women’s issues once were often segregated in a separate office or set of discussions, all programs are now expected to address their impact on women.”The progress can be summed up in one sentence: It is no longer a separate thing,” USAID administrator Andrew S. Natsios told a Washington foreign aid conference earlier this month.

More Work to Be Done

Still, aid officials and activists say there is much more to do. According to the World Bank, more than 20 percent of the world’s population still lives on about $1 per day. The majority are women. And women’s burdens, especially in AIDS-stricken Africa, are growing as they bear bigger social and financial burdens.

One way donors can begin to lift that burden, Mbikusita-Lewanika told legislative staff, is to bypass governments and distribute aid money to local faith-based organizations and other groups that work at the local level and already know the intricate problems the women in their community face. Many central governments have not established effective ways to distribute help in the countryside, she said.

Other officials suggest increasing funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The $2 billion the Bush administration is prepared to spend in 2004 “is not enough,” said Kathryn Wolford, president of Lutheran World Relief, based in Baltimore.

Wolford also suggests an increased focus on debt relief for poor countries, which would free funds for social programs and infrastructure that could relieve women’s burdens.

Other activists say aid organizations need to collect and process more data showing the positive link between women’s participation and economic development. While many activists suggest that there is already too much talk about women’s problems and not enough action to solve them, economists say that more convincing evidence of the link between women’s progress and economic progress could be found.

At the foreign aid conference, Phil Evans, the senior social development adviser for the United Kingdom’s U.N. mission, said that statistical gender analyses are often riddled with “methodological problems,” in large part because researchers have focused on studying women instead of placing them in a societal context.

Some say the United States should signal its commitment to gender equality by ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty that aims to outlaw discrimination against women and requires signatory countries to periodically report on their progress. President Carter signed the treaty in 1980 but the U.S. Senate has not ratified it as 174 nations have done.

Ratifying the treaty would send a powerful signal that the United States will join the world to “use the instruments available to us to hold countries accountable” for improving women’s lives, Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the Washington-based International Center for Research on Women, told legislative staff.

New Solutions in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, USAID is attempting to deal with these challenges and its methods are not always very subtle. To encourage families to educate their daughters, USAID gives extra rations of vegetable oil to girls who attend school every day for a month, Natsios said. The number of girls attending school has increased overall from 6 percent to 35 percent, Natsios said, and is reaching 50 percent in some towns.

Not all of USAID’s work in Afghanistan is so targeted at women and girls but Natsios said he has found that nearly every project is having an impact on women’s status. For instance, the U.S. program that is building a 300-mile road from Kandahar to Kabul is unexpectedly improving women’s health in southern Afghanistan. Now mothers in childbirth and women in other forms of medical distress can be driven to medical facilities in Kabul in a matter of five to six hours. Before the road was built, the trip could take two days, Natsios said.

In addition, USAID has installed day-care centers in all Afghan government ministry buildings. Natsios said women who work for the ministries–many now widows with young children–said they would not return to their jobs unless their children had a safe place to go.

While many activists and government officials say gender issues are no longer seen as women’s alone, they hope the next 30 years will bring a greater resolution to age-old problems.

“It has taken a very long time to get as far as we are and (we) have a very long road to go,” said Julia Taft, assistant administrator and director of the United Nation’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

Lori Nitschke is a freelance journalist living in Washington, D.C. She was recently a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University in New York, where she received master’s degrees in journalism and business administration. Previously, she covered economic issues for Congressional Quarterly.

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

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ABOUT 500 workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) have been issued with summary dismissal letters following their two-day riotous behaviour in protest against alleged poor conditions of service. And Police have apprehended seven CCS workers in relation to the riot that took place on Tuesday at the copper smelter company.Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi, and Copperbelt permanent secretary, Jennifer Musonda, confirmed the figure of the dismissed workers in separate interviews yesterday. Mr Chuanqi revealed that company property worth about US$200,000 was allegedly destroyed by the irate workers during the riot.He said management was saddened that the workers rioted before the conclusion of negotiations with union representatives.

Mr Chuanqi said the workers had been given a grace period of three days within which to exculpate themselves and show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.

He complained that work had been adversely affected by the workers’ riotous behaviour.

Mr Chuanqi warned that all workers identified as ring leaders would be dismissed from employment to discourage others from behaving in a similar manner.

By press time yesterday more than 19 alleged ring leaders had been identified while more than 66 workers collected their summary dismissal letters.

Mr Chuanqi appealed to workers to exculpate themselves within the stipulated time so that the innocent ones could be reinstated.

“We’re appealing to the workers to respond quickly to the summary dismissal letters so that those that did not take part in the riotous behaviour could be reinstated because work has been grossly affected and we need local manpower,” he said.

Mr Chuanqi said CCS belonged to Zambians and wondered why the workers destroyed what belonged to them simply because of a dispute that could have been resolved amicably.

“What we are building here also belongs to Zambians, so people must desist from destroying this investment. For those who will not come to collect their letters, we will follow them until they get them so that they can exculpate themselves,” he said.

However, Mr Chuanqi paid tribute to government for its continued support to Chinese investment in Zambia.

He also said the Chinese worker only identified as a Mr Li who was injured during the riot on Tuesday was discharged from the hospital.

And Mrs Musonda also confirmed that workers were served with summary dismissal letters when they reported for work yesterday.

A check by the Zambia Daily Mail crew yesterday at the CCS premises found several riot police officers manning the company.

Some Zambian workers were found waiting to collect their summary dismissal letters while others were reluctant to collect them, claiming that they did not take part in the riot.

Those spoken to said they were ignorant about the whole thing and that they were just forced by some of their colleagues to riot.

Copperbelt Police commanding officer, Antonneil Mutentwa, revealed that six officials of the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and their member were apprehended by police in connection with the riot.

Mr Mutentwa said the union officials and their member were apprehended around 17: 45 hours on Tuesday.
NUMAW national secretary Albert Mando condemned the action by the workers to riot and damage company property.

“We are not in support of what the workers did. We are also disappointed with what happened on Tuesday because the negotiations have not yet collapsed, so why strike or riot?” Mr Mando said.

Zambia Daily Mail

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Times of Zambia reports…

Chambishi fires 500

 ALL the 500 striking workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) were yesterday fired while seven National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) branch officials were arrested and detained on Tuesday evening.

The workers were served with letters of summary dismissal by management in the morning.

The move by management was as a result of the riotous behaviour by the workers at the company premises on Tuesday morning.

Police said those arrested were detained at Kitwe Central Police Station to help with investigations.

The workers at the Chinese-owned company had been on strike since Monday, demanding improved conditions of service.

The situation worsened on Tuesday when the workers decided to become violent and damaged property worth millions of Kwacha.

Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi and NUMAW national secretary, Albert Mando, confirmed that all the 500 workers who took part in the work stoppage had been served with letters of summary dismissal and had been given three days in which to exculpate themselves.

But Mr Mando said it was unfortunate that management had decided to serve the workers with letters of summary dismissal, saying there was no reason to continue with negotiations when its members had been served with letters of dismissal.

He, however, said his union would work hard to ensure that the seven branch union officials, who had been arrested, were released so that negotiations could continue.

“Yes, I have been told that the management at the company has also served the workers with letters of summary dismissal, but it is unfortunate management has resolved to take this stance.

“This decision by management will affect our negotiations because how do we negotiate when our members have been given letters of summary dismissal,” Mr Mando said.

And speaking in an interview at CCS, Mr Chuanqi said the management at the company had decided to serve its workers with letters of summary dismissal as a way of disciplining them for their riotous behaviour, but that they were free to exculpate themselves.

He said management was eager to listen to the concerns of the workers, but was saddened that the workers quickly resolved to become riotous and damaged property at the company.

He said the Chinese investment in Zambia was there to benefit both Zambians and Chinese and there was no reason for Zambian workers to become violent and damage property.

“As management, we do not take pleasure in dismissing our employees, but we want them to know that violence does not pay and that they have to do things according to the law. Problems arise where there are people, but things must be done correctly,” Mr Chuanqi said.

And Mr Mando confirmed the detention of the seven union branch officials and that he was trying to secure their release.

Mr Mando, who was still at the Kitwe Central Police Station by Press time, said those arrested were branch chairman, Oswell Chibale Malume, vice-branch chairman, Christopher Yumba, branch secretary, Steven Kabwe, branch vice-secretary, Christopher Nkandu, treasurer, Kafwaya Ndombwani, vice-treasurer, Chanda Mhango and a shop steward, Kachinga Silungwe.

Mr Mando said the seven were picked up on Tuesday evening and had not been formally charged although they were still being interrogated.

“Yes I can confirm that seven of NUMAW branch officials at Chambishi Copper Smelter have been arrested and detained at Kitwe central police station. They were picked up around 18:00 hours on Tuesday.

“I am actually at the police station, but I have not talked to them because they are still being interrogated and have not been formally charged. As a union, we are trying to secure their release,” Mr Mando said.

The Times team which went to CCS found the place deserted with only armed police dotted all over to keep vigil.

End of report.

BBC Reports..

 

Difficult tasks await Kenyan MPs

By Karen Allen
BBC News, Nairobi

It had all the pageantry and trappings of a state ceremony.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga arrive at parliament

The two leaders agreed the power-sharing deal last week

The national anthem, the guard of honour, the ceremonial dress – but this was a unique opening of parliament.

Kenya’s lawmakers are under the spotlight in a way never seen before.

Kenyans still stunned by post-election violence are vesting their trust in leaders in a country where in the recent past, they have been badly let down.

More than half of the members of parliament are newcomers and they will be expected to hit the ground running, to turn up to vote and pave the way for a historic coalition.

A coalition aimed at restoring unity to what the president described as “one Kenya”.

Stumbling blocks

It was a week to the day that a power-sharing deal had been agreed between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

They shook hands in the presence of the world’s media, flanked by Kofi Annan and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Opening of Kenyan parliament 6/03/08
The new parliament began with two minutes of silence

That was just the start of a process. In the coming weeks lawmakers will be expected to enact legislation that will amend the constitution and allow a grand coalition to be formed.

They then have to try to “sell” the idea of power sharing to their constituents, among them people who are now homeless or who have lost loved ones in the violence.

There are still potential stumbling blocks ahead – in particular, how power will be shared and how cabinet posts and other senior positions will be allocated.

But for Thursday’s ceremony the tone was conciliatory and upbeat.

After a two minute silence – first for parliamentarians killed in post-election violence and then for “ordinary” Kenyans who lost their lives, President Kibaki rose to his feet.

In a 30-minute speech he stressed the need for last week’s peace accord to be quickly enacted into law, but warned that it would require “goodwill, unity, good faith and integrity” of Kenya’s lawmakers.

Awkward realities

This country is emerging from one of the darkest periods of its history and the coming weeks will be a real test of the commitment of all sides to a durable peace.

A member of the Kikuyu Mungiki gang threatens a man with a machete in Nairobi's Kibera slum, 10 January 2008

Some 1,500 people died in unrest after disputed poll results

Kenyans will be forced to confront some awkward realities with the establishment of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to investigate past injustices and violence blamed on supporters on all sides of the political fence.

They will also be forced to compromise.

There are concerns that a grand coalition will rob Kenyans of a real opposition.

This has effectively been a deal between two political blocks – those supporting President Kibaki’s PNU and those backing Raila Odinga’s ODM.

Earlier in the day, diplomats insisted the onus would be on the media to help keep the government in check.

But what is clear is that this could be the start of a new pragmatism in Kenyan politics. A chance for a new breed of politician to shine, putting aside a past where winner takes all.

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