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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Southern African leaders gathered in Zambia on Wednesday at the funeral of President Levy Mwanawasa, who turned Africa’s biggest copper producer into a rare African success story.

Thousands of Zambians attended the funeral and were seated in tents erected at the parliamentary complex in the capital Lusaka. National flags flew at half-mast.

Mwanawasa, 59, died in a French military hospital last month after suffering a stroke in June. He had led Zambia since 2001 and was re-elected in 2006.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, Botswana’s leader Seretse Khama Ian Khama and the presidents of Namibia, Mozambique and Malawi also attended the funeral.

Mwanawasa’s copper-plated coffin was placed about five metres (yards) from the dais where leaders and officials were sitting.

Mwanawasa set himself apart from other regional leaders by speaking out about the political and economic crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, and was one of the fiercest critics of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe — who attended the funeral.

His tough stance against corruption in Zambia endeared him to donor countries and he was credited with turning the southern nation into one of Africa’s economic success stories.

Mwanawasa’s economic policies helped produce strong growth averaging 5 percent annually over the last six years, though many Zambians still live in poverty.

Vice President Rupiah Banda is acting president, and a presidential election is expected in November.

The ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) will choose its presidential candidate on Friday.

Mwanawasa’s widow Maureen told mourners at the funeral that she felt sorry most of all for the orphans Mwanawasa took care of through his local Baptist church.

“He was the father of all. It is the orphans he took care of that bring pain to my throat, they are orphaned again”.

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Zambia’s two dominant mobile operators, MTN and Zain have rejected a request from the regulator to share parts of their network infrastructure, claiming it would be difficult to maintain quality assurance.

The IDG News Service reported that at a recent meeting at the regulator’s office, MTN customer services manager Chimfwembe Mzyece said the company wants to accomplish its nationwide expansion program on its own.

Zain also shared the same opinion and despite noting the oft-cited problems in rural Africa with reliable power supplied – is convinced it can roll out its network without assistance. The company recently announced plans to spend some US$70 million on its network this year in an effort to boost its subscriber base to 2.7 million.

MD David Venn has previously warned that the high taxes on imports of network infrastructure kit, of 25% was hampering the company’s plans. The company is lobbying the government to have this tax lowered, and also on licenses for 3G services.

According to figures from the Mobile World tracker, Zain ended last year with just under 2 million customers – and a market share of nearly 78%. The country itself has a population penetration level of just 21% and two other operators, Zamtel and MTN.

Source: IT News

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Cambridge University psychologist once took a survey. They wanted to collect data for nations under the British Commonwealth around the world on each continent and see which nationals had the highest IQ per region.

 

They took samples of test results they had prepared using “Special Papers” from 1963 to 1983.  Anyone who went through the Cambridge examination system knows that for one to qualify from Grade 7 to Form 1 or Grade 8 needed to seat for Special Paper 1 and Special Paper 2 exams apart from regular subjects.

 

The Special Papers were not part of the regular syllabus but one had to pass both to qualify and these papers were designed to test the IQ of students and they also helped secondary school registrars in knowing which classes new entrants would be best suited for based on their passing criteria.

 

I read the results of that survey at the British Council in Lusaka in 1984 – I liked going to their library during school holidays. I was not shocked to discover that, Zambians did not only score high but they actually were on top for Africa, India was top for Middle and Far East Asia and Bahamas was top for the Caribbean’s and so on.

 

The smart people of the Zambian Enterprise had such a high IQ per capita of any nation in Africa based on those findings and it is no wonder we refer to them here at the Zambian Chronicle as “Smart” all the time. It is no conjecture that people who try to fool us can not succeed all the time; they may some time but not all the time.

 

It is no marvel that the smart people of the Zambian Enterprise have been trailblazers when it comes to being the first on many fronts not just at home but around the world. I have never seen a Zambian at the bottom of their class even as foreign students around the world.

 

When they are hired in foreign lands, they rise faster to managerial positions compared to others of African decent. They make better employees overall and they tend to hold their positions longer than average in most cases.

 

At home and abroad the smart people of the Zambian Enterprise have always shown leadership in times of crisis because they don’t usually sugar play issues, they call a spade what it is. They are usually loyal and can easily be counted on …

 

The smart people of the Zambian Enterprise are so peaceful, their peacefulness is sometimes mistaken for docility, and they are so hospitable their kindness is usually taken for granted; they are so meek their meekness is misunderstood for weakness.

 

They are so innovative and it is amazing what they usually come up with. Their analytical skills are out of this world – sometimes leading to paralysis of analysis, while their problem solving skills are more than phenominal.

 

Now that the vetting process for the next CEO of the Zambian Enterprise has began, we are confident the smarts will come up with the best choice to carry on the duties of the Enterprise for many are they that remain. 

 

For this reason we have opened up a new page Zambia Votes’ 08 where just debates about the next elections will be conducted. It will be a forum for all who wish to air their views on who the next president ought to be and why their choice makes sense.  

 

Out of respect for the first family, we wanted to wait until the Late President had been put to rest but we have taken a paradigm from his own political party which will be announcing their pick for the presidency come September 5th and we did so that equal time would to be accorded to others in the same vein.

 

The page is not restricted to one political party but all; the excogitations will also embrace all. I will post my comments there not in my capacity CEO & President of Zambian Chronicle but as a Zambian citizen free to air my personal views in my private capacity – because Zambia is greater than any single one of us. 

 

We have no doubts that the smart people of the Enterprise will come up with the best choice because they are smart to start with. We don’t even see it fit to make suggestions at this point, they are smart enough to float the names at Zambia Votes’ 08 of whomever they see fit. 

 

We trust their judgment and we have a track record to prove that with and as the days approach for all of us to do our civic duty in choosing the next president, we are happy Zambia Votes’ 08 will be a great place to discuss from …

 

Please join in as the smarts from around the world gather at this “Insaka” to meet, lock horns and discuss the merits of who they think would be the best for the best of the best …  

 

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

 
 
 
 
 

 

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Lusaka – The body of late Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa arrived back home from Paris Saturday in a gold coffin draped in a Zambian flag to a sombre ceremony at Lusaka International Airport. The plane touched down in overcast conditions at 9 am (0800 GMT) to a 21-gun salute and a fly-past by Zambia Air Force jets.The mood of sorrow that hung over his return contrasted with the joyful send-off he received when he left the country nearly two months ago for an African Union (AU) summit in Egypt.

ImageMwanawasa suffered a massive stroke on the eve of the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh that left him in a semi-vegetative state. He died on Tuesday at the age of 59 in a Paris military hospital.

Acting president Rupiah Banda led the retinue of mourners, including a number of government officials, who received the coffin on the airport tarmac.

A choir of singers wearing costumes bearing the image of Mwanawasa’s face sang haunting melodies.

Mwanawasa, who endeared himself to the West through his criticism of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, is Zambia’s third president since independence from Britain in 1964 and the first to die.

The coffin was taken in an open-top hearse 25 kilometres to Mulungushi International Conference Centre, where it will lie in state for a few days before being taken around the country.

Thousands of Zambians lined the airport road to pay respects as the cortege passed.

ImageHe will be buried on September 3, the day on which he would have turned 60, at his Palabana farm, some 12 kilometres north of Lusaka.

The passing of the popular Mwanawasa, who came to power in the 2001 presidential elections and was reelected in 2006 on the back of an anti-corruption drive and economic turn-around, has left a power vacuum in Zambia.

Western diplomats in Lusaka say there is no obvious successor to him within his ruling Movement for a Multi-Party Democracy, because the post of party vice-president is vacant. According to the constitution, elections must be held by November 17, within 90 days of his death.

Some MMD members have been pushing for the party to endorse Banda, who is from the United National Independence Party, for president to ensure Mwanawasa’s legacy is continued.
 
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LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) — Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, whose criticism of the political and economic crisis of neighboring Zimbabwe helped break the traditional silence of African leaders toward one of their own, died Tuesday in France. He was 59.

Mwanawasa, who was hospitalized in Paris after suffering a stroke six weeks ago, had a reputation for integrity and fought corruption in his country, but never managed to lift the Zambian people out of crushing poverty.

Zambia’s third president since independence from Britain, Mwanawasa was not bound by the liberation movement ties of older African leaders and was the first among them to criticize Zimbabwe’s autocratic President Robert Mugabe, who had long been revered as an African independence hero.

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was one of the first to pay tribute to a “good friend and comrade” who stood up for democracy in southern Africa.

“His passing-on is a sad day to the Zimbabwean people,” said Tsvangirai, who had repeatedly asked that Mwanawasa mediate in the Zimbabwean crisis.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Mwanawasa’s death “a great loss for the African continent” and for democracy.

Vice President Rupiah Banda announced Mwanawasa’s death to the country.

“It is with deep sorrow that I have to tell the people of Zambia that our president … has passed away this morning,” Banda said on radio and television. He announced a week of national mourning.

Mwanawasa’s death leaves a power vacuum in Zambia, one of the world’s biggest copper producers. Under the constitution, elections should be held within 90 days.

Born on Sept. 3, 1948 in Mufulira in northern Zambia, Mwanawasa graduated from the University of Zambia and practiced law before going into government service. After a stint as solicitor general in 1986, under Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, Mwanawasa soon became a key figure in the push for multiparty democracy.

When Frederick Chiluba defeated Kaunda in Zambia’s first multiparty elections in 1991, Mwanawasa was appointed vice president, but then quit the post, complaining of corruption.

Even so, Chiluba later tapped Mwanawasa to be his successor. Mwanawasa won the presidency in 2001 in an election marred by allegations of fraud, and was re-elected with 43 percent in 2006 in a poll generally regarded as transparent and fair.

As he sought to establish his legitimacy in his first term of office, Mwanawasa seized on anti-corruption and economic reforms and targeted Chiluba, who was found guilty in a London court of stealing US$46 million from state coffers during his 10-year rule.

Mwanawasa won praise from the business community and middle class Zambians as well as many Western donors and investors for his free market policies.

He tamed inflation and, after years of economic stagnation, presided over a period of growth helped by a boom in global copper prices. His economic austerity and market-opening policies drew support from the United States, the World Bank and lending institutions who agreed in 2005 to cancel nearly all of Zambia’s $7.2 billion foreign debt.

But critics accused him of turning a blind eye to the plight of the poor in a country where less than 20 percent of the population has formal employment and the majority lives below the poverty line. Zambia’s sprawling townships, homes of the urban poor, became the power base of his populist rival Michael Sata.

Riots broke out briefly after 2006 elections when Sata supporters accused the electoral commission of manipulating the results. Mwanawasa successfully appealed for calm.

“The peace we currently enjoy should not be taken for granted,” he said. “Some political parties are disrupting this peace. All peace-loving Zambians must rise and say ‘No’ to all those preaching violence and chaos in this country.”

Opponents said Mwanawasa pandered to the whims of Western donors; Mwanawasa countered that it was thanks to the forgiveness of foreign debt that he was able to increase spending on education and health.

Sata and other critics also said he was too subservient to China, which poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Zambia’s copper sector.

Mwanawasa criticized the West for failing to follow through on promises of increased aid and trade.

Africa “is in the hands of Europe” but needs China’s economic aid, Mwanawasa told an audience of American students in 2007.

“You people in the West redeem yourself before you begin attacking China,” Mwanawasa said.

He is survived by his wife and several children. Funeral plans were not immediately announced.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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 LUSAKA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) — Zambia’s opposition Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND) have called for the withdrawal of the bills to increase salaries and allowances for the president, ministers and other constitutional office holders, according to Sunday Times of Zambia.

    At a public rally held here Sunday by the two opposition parties and civil society groups to press for withdrawal of the bills, PF leader Michael Sata described the bills as immoral, saying they would continue pressing the government to withdraw ahead of a planned demonstration outside parliament building next week.

    “This government should show leadership, especially that President Levy Mwanawasa is currently in hospital. It is imperative for Vice-President Rupiah Banda to show true leadership on this matter.

    “We will not stop fighting this matter until the bills are withdrawn. This is the time for Zambians to unite on a matter that will affect their lives once it is approved,” he said.

    UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema expressed dismay at the intended salaries. He said most sectors of the economy required sufficient funds to boost economic growth and that it was the obligation of the government to protect the citizens.

    “To award themselves these hefty salaries is highly immoral and irresponsibility of the highest order. We are here to speak for the people who can’t speak for themselves. Government should show accountability in the manner this country is being run,” he said.

    About 10 civil society organizations also issued a communiqué at the rally opposing the proposed allowance hikes.

    But Local Government Deputy Minister and spokesperson of the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Ben Tetamashimba said it was not possible to withdraw the bills because they had already been passed by parliament Friday.

    He accused the political parties of merely politicking. With the three bills passing through the third reading, what now remains is the president to assent to them so that they become law.

    According to the bills, the president shall be paid a salary calculated at an annual rate of 164,120,016 kwacha (about 48,271 U.S. dollars) while the vice-president would get 99,227,544 kwacha.

    The speaker would get 86,284,817.40 kwacha per annum while his deputy would get 75,117,123 kwacha per annum.

    Cabinet ministers and their deputies would get 75,117,123 and 70,161,239 kwacha per annum respectively.

    The secretary to the cabinet and the attorney general would respectively get 159,340,959 and 135,485,950 kwacha per year. (1U.S. dollar = 3,400 kwacha)

 
Editor: Bi Mingxin

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Lusaka, Zambia – Zambia’s former information minister and chief government spokesperson Vernon Mwaanga has urged the cabinet to consider the constitutional provisions available over the succession of the country’s ailing President Levy Mwanawasa who has remained hospitalised in Paris, France, since he suffered a stroke 29 June.

Mwaanga, who is still a member of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), said those in government should determine the future of the country over the succession of Mwanawasa, should it become necessary.

His remarks followed Friday’s ministerial statement to parliament by Health Mini ster Brian Chituwo, who said presently Mwanawasa “is in a stable but heavily sedated condition,” and that his healing process will take long.

“Knowing President Mwanawasa the way I do and having worked with him, he would expect that we all come together and move the country forward. There are more adequate provisions in the constitution to address such things as the illness of the

president,” Mwaanga said Monday night during a live programme “The Matter at Hand” on a private television station, MUVI TV.

According to him, under the current constitution, only the cabinet can decide by a simple majority, if advised that the president is not in a position to continue, to adopt a resolution informing the Chief Justice to appoint a medical board of not less than three members to examine the matter.

The Chief Justice will then submit the findings of the medical board to parliament and if approved, presidential elections would be called within 90 days, during which the vice-president will act as president.

Mwaanga, however, noted with regret the weaknesses in the constitutional provisions, which does not state the time-frame when the president should be allowed to recover.

“I think it will have to take a brave cabinet minister to call for a resolution on the illness of the president to submit to the Chief Justice. The cabinet minister who will raise this matter may be asked where he draws the powers from the constitution and if enough time has been given to allow the president to recover.

“But maybe a time will come when doctors attending to Mwanawasa in Paris, will s ay the president is not in the condition to continue. In the absence of this medical report from doctors in Paris, I understand the hesitation by cabinet ministers to do so,” Mwaanga, a former minister in the governments of Kenneth Kaunda, Frederick Chiluba and Mwanawasa said.

“Let us bear in mind that all of us have a collective responsibility to move this country forward if and when the time comes.”

Mwanawasa who has been living with diabetes and hypertension ailments suffered a first stroke that was described as “mild” in April 2006 and was evacuated and treated in London, England.

On 29 June, on the eve of the African Union Summit in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, he suffered another stroke and was taken to Sharm El-Sheik Hospital, from where he was later evacuated to Percy Military Hospital in Paris 1 July, where he is still admitted in the intensive care unit.

Lusaka – 12/08/2008

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