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AFRIK-IT  February 1996

AFRIK-IT February 1996

Subject:

Story which got The Post banned

From:

David Lush - MISA <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Wed, 21 Feb 1996 18:59:00 GMT+0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (177 lines)

The following article was the lead story in the February 5 edition of The
Post newspaper. Publication of this article resulted in the banning of the
February 5 edition of The Post, and the charging of the paper's
Editor-in-Chief Fred M'membe, Managing Editor Bright Mwape and Special
Projects Editor Matsautso Phiri with contravention of the State Security
Act.
 
For those with direct Internet access, the full edition of the February 5
edition of The Post is available at  http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~declan/zambia/
(this edition of the paper had to be removed from The Post's own WWW site,
hosted in Zambia by Zamnet, because it was a banned publication "in any
form").
 
 
 
Referendum set for March
 
By Staff Reporter
 
 
       President Chiluba, his ministers and some ruling MMD officials are
       secretly planning a referandum in March, this year to get the 'public'
       to endorse the government white paper and usher in an MMD tailored
       Constitution.
 
       The President also intends to hold local government elections at the
       same time, with little notice to the opposition.
 
       In so doing, it is believed, the government hopes to "dribble past"
       informed public opinion in civic organisations and the opposition
       parties which have been advocating for a constituent assembly.
 
       A secret programme leaked to The Post reveals that money for the
       project, amounting to more than K150 million, will come from a fund
       under the control of President Chiluba, from an undisclosed source.
 
       And according to sources at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the secret
       plan was to have been launched in the last week of January by legal
       affairs minister Remmy Mushota who was expected to issue a press
       statement on "submissions by non governmental organisations and
       pressure groups" dismissing their views.
 
       The programme, now two weeks behind schedule, includes expenditure of
       K40 million on publication of constitutional campaign material, K6
       million on advertisements on radio, television and newspapers, K90
       million on tours to provinces by ministers and some selected civil
       servants, and K15 million on a meeting in Siavonga to analyse evidence
       received and report to cabinet.
 
       After which there will be a "thirty days publication of the bill in the
       Government Gazette", followed by a "referendum on part III in
       conjunction with the local government elections" between the first and
       the fourth week of March.
 
       But ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) national secretary,
       health minister Michael Sata, saw nothing strange in his party
       consulting the people on its constitutional proposals.
 
       "There is nothing wrong with consulting people. We have always been
       doing that, so why should we not do so now?" Sata asked in an interview
       yesterday.
 
       And Zambia Democratic Congress president Dean Mung'omba yesterday
       advised government not to shortcut the process because matters dealing
       with the Constitution and elections were national issues.
 
       "There are many players who include voters themselves. The processes
       cannot be handled secretly.  They must be discussed with other
       stakeholders, including opposition parties," Mung'omba said in an
       interview yesterday.  "While government is entitled to call snap
       elections, they are definitely not entitled to shortcut the processes."
 
       Mung'omba, who described government insistence to adopt the
       constitution through parliament said it was "as destructive as it is
       annoying".
 
       "ZDC is ready to participate in any election and would not be taken by
       surprise," Mung'omba said."We had sufficient information from
       government itself about local government elections in March and
       presidential and parliamentary elections in June-July.  Either way we
       are ready."
 
       And opposition United National Independence Party (UNIP) chairman
       Malimba Masheke has deplored government secrecy in dealing with
       constitutional issues.
 
       "MMD cannot rule this country through secrecy.  We are also
       participants and we should be involved," Masheke said in an interview
       yesterday, adding:  "If they are going for a referandum we will meet
       them but they must come out in the open.  They should not try to take
       people by surprise."
 
       Masheke, who also criticised the MMD's choice of March for the
       referandum and local government elections, said the money being used by
       government to advance its view is public money.
 
       "Why have elections in March when most parts of the country would be
       impassible?  It is because they want to be the only ones to reach these
       areas by helicopters so they can rig the elections," Masheke charged,
       adding that the K151 million government would spend on tours and
       publicity materials "is public money and there is need for to be
       accounted for".
 
       Liberal Progressive Front secretary Rolf Shenton described government
       action and its secret plans as strange and not to its advantage.
 
       "I find it strange that they want to do this.  It's surely to
       government's advantage if we reach a consensus.  But we will fight this
       tooth and nail," Shenton said.  "If government puts one side we must
       use all means to put our side to the people."
 
       But Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) national secretary and
       spokesperson Bishop John Mambo reminded government about what was
       agreed at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in 1991.
 
       "The give and take which was there in 1991 was expected to continue in
       the Third Republic.  We agreed at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and
       God would be disappointed if we change," Mambo said.  "You cannot
       afford to be stubborn in an election year.  You must listen to people,
       they are the voters."
 
       Mambo advised government to examine the many serious issues which need
       to be addressed such as another extension of voter registration, the
       need for President Chiluba to meet other parties, churches and civic
       organisations, the establishment of an independent electoral commission
       and to heed the call for a constituent assembly.
 
       Asked about the planned referandum, Mambo, who said he was aware that
       churches and NGO were being probed by government because of their
       views, said there was need for people to know in detail about such a
       move.
 
       "If they bring a referandum, we need to know about it.  We need to know
       what is being asked.  There should be no dark corner arrangements for
       anything," Mambo said.
 
       Zambia Civic Association chairperson Lucy Sichone has described
       government intentions as "strange" and "wasteful".
 
       "If this is what they are doing it is strange.  They seem to have lost
       direction. How can they consult in secret and on their own position?"
       asked Sichone in an interview yesterday.  "What they should translate
       and consult on is the Mwanakatwe report and the draft constitution."
 
       And Sichone said whatever the government does they will be outdone.
 
       "What question will they ask?  Any way whatever they do we will be able
       to muster enough no votes against them," Sichone said.
 
       And revealing the details of the provincial tours the sources said an
       amount of K10 million has been budgeted for each province and a
       minister assigned.
 
       All provincial trips which are expected in the first and second week of
       February have Edith Nawakwi assisted by permanent secretary at home
       affairs K. Mwansa assigned to Northern Province while Samuel Miyanda
       and Ernest Mwansa are expected to tour Luapula.  Bennie Mwiinga goes to
       North Western, Luminzu Shimaponda and Axon Sejani with legal affairs
       director Valentine Kabonga to Southern and Sikota Wina and civil
       servant Joshua Kanganja to Western Province.
 
       Others who are similarly scheduled include Remmy Mushota for
       Copperbelt, Paul Tembo with civil servant Mrs Johnston for Central
       Province and Eric Silwamba with civil servant Eva Jhala for Lusaka
       Province. All are to be assisted by provincial ministers and their
       permanent secretaries and information officers.
 
 
ends
 
David Lush
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
Private Bag 13386
Windhoek, Namibia
Tel. +264 61 232975, Fax. 248016
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

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