1.It's time to stop the lies about Zambia
2.Sikatana was fearless voice of reason
1.It's time to stop the lies about Zambia
The Times of Zambia article below is about the death of the country's former Agriculture Minister, Mundia Sikatana, who is described "as a fearless voice of reason who executed selfless service for the nation."
Sikatana was Agriculture Minister when Zambia suffered severe food shortages a decade ago in 2002 and refused the GM food aid being offered by the US, insisting on the provision of non-GM food aid to its people instead. Zambia's Vice President notes how well Mundia Sikatana handled this difficult situation: "...not a single Zambian life was lost due to lack of access to natural, non-Genetically Modified maize."
This is a point that has also been emphasised by Charles Mushitu of the Zambian Red Cross who told the BBC how alternative sources of (non-GM) food aid were successfully provided: "We didn't record a single death arising out of hunger."
This is a point that is worth emphasising because of the GM lobby's persistent rewriting of history over the GM food aid issue in Zambia.
This occurred most recently in the Channel 4 documentary "What the Green Movement Got Wrong", which presented the views of Mark Lynas and Stewart Brand. Following the line taken by Brand in his book "Whole Earth Discipline", the documentary "interspersed heart-wrenching photos of starving children in Zambia, their emaciated mouths crying out for help, with a story of how the environmental movement blocked the delivery of food aid to Zambia from the United States because the grain was genetically modified."
As Adam Werbach noted in his criticism of the film: "[T]he environmental movement doesn't run the country of Zambia. Greenpeace has since published a letter that it sent African governments at the time encouraging them to accept food aid despite fears that genetically modified seeds would 'pollute' local seedstock."
The Channel 4 programme prompted the GM enthusiast Matt Ridley and James Delingpole of the Daily Telegraph to promote the view that "hundreds – perhaps thousands – of starving Zambians... died in the 2002 famine... thanks to the misinformed campaigning of green activists."
Here are some of the other attempts that have been made over the years by the GM lobby to manufacture "crimes against humanity" in Zambia:
"Radical Greens spread rumours that the corn was poisonous, and might cause cancer, or even AIDS. So it got locked up in warehouses, while children starved..." - Paul Driessen, syndicated US columnist
"...aid workers were taking food away from the mouths of starving children. This was just one more example of the folly of the 'precautionary principle,' and how it is killing poor people in Africa... perhaps as many as 20,000 Zambians died as a result." - Roger Bate, Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
"Thousands of [Zambians] starved to death or succumbed to diseases due to increased susceptibility from malnutrition" - Alex Avery of the Hudson Institute
"How did we get that far; who was responsible for whispering (those) messages to those policy makers... That is something that I would rather sooner or later want to find out, because you're talking about literally crimes against humanity" - Willy DeGreef, former Head of Regulatory Affairs at Syngenta
"The Bush administration is not going to sit there and let these groups kill millions of poor people in southern Africa through their ideological campaign" - Andrew Natsios, then head of USAID
African leaders who refused US food aid should be tried "for the highest crimes against humanity in the highest courts of the world." - Tony Hall, then US Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies
Yet in reality, as Dr Scott notes, "not a single Zambian life was lost". And Zambia has gone on to make good progress in its food production without any use of GMOs.
It's probably too much to hope that Mundia Sikatana's passing might also mark the laying to rest of all the sickening lies about Zambia made by the GM lobby in their desperation to promote GMOs.
2.Sikatana was fearless voice of reason – Scott
The Times of Zambia, June 20 2012
VICE-President Guy Scott has described late former Agriculture Minister, Mundia Sikatana as a fearless voice of reason who executed selfless service for the nation.
Dr Scott said Mr Sikatana will be remembered for, among issues, his distinctive manner in which he handled the famine that had affected the country 10 years ago.
Speaking shortly before leading other mourners to view the body, he said President Michael Sata has conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family as he also joined the nation in mourning the late minister.
Dr Scott said Mr Sikatana had respect for human rights and spoke his mind even when it was unfashionable to appear to challenge the official interpretation of events or situations.
“If today as a nation we seem to speak out more freely when we see acts of injustice being committed, it is partly because of the courage of moral giants like him,” he said.
Mr Sikatana was aged, 67, when then President Levy Mwanawasa appointed him Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister in 2002.
Dr Scott recalled that the year 2002 was a difficult one in Zambia as there was widespread crop failure owing to a poor rainfall pattern.
That prompted donors to offer the country Genetically Modified Maize. At that time, the effects of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on the health of the citizenry was not clearly understood and it remained a matter of considerable debate even today.
Government later rejected the donor offer preceded by a debate in support and against the GMOs.
“This action (rejecting the offer) alone put the Government at risk of alienating some of our cooperating partners. The responsibility to explain to our people the Government position on this matter fell squarely on Mr Mundia Sikatana as Minister of Agriculture.
He carried out this difficult task with distinction, while ensuring that not a single Zambian life was lost due to lack of access to natural, non-Genetically Modified maize,” Dr Scott said.
Speaking earlier during a joint High and Supreme Court Valedictory session, acting Chief Justice, Lombe Chibesakunda said Mr Sikatana would be remembered for being a bold, brilliant and distinguished legal brain.
He was a courteous and hardworking politician who greatly contributed to the advancement of the profession and the country as a whole.
Solicitor-General Musa Mwenye said Mr Sikatana belonged to a generation of lawyers that put the law practice above monetary benefits, a generation he said was a fast depleting.
Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) vice-president, Martin Musaluke described the late Mr Sikatana as a gentleman, true patriot and hard worker renowned for his envious and brilliant cross-examination skills.
Mr Sikatana’s widow, Monde, described her late husband as a man with many things embodied in him such as him being selfless, courageous, loving, and mentor.
One of his daughters, Muyambango said she would remember her father for his energy, hard-work which often resulted in him to forget to pick up his children.
The vice-president’s wife Charlotte, former First Lady, Maureen Mwanawasa, senior Government officials, members of opposition political parties and legal practitioners, were among the prominent people that attended the Valedictory church service and burial at Lusaka’s Memorial Park Cemetery.
Mr Sikatana was born in 1938 and died on Thursday last week at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).