IBA Report Angers Government The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) August 19, 2002 Posted to the web August 19, 2002 Pushpa Jamieson The report published by theMessage 1 of 1046 , Aug 20, 2002View SourceIBA Report Angers Government
The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
August 19, 2002
Posted to the web August 19, 2002
The report published by the International Bar Association (IBA)
exposing how threats to freedom and justice have triggered off a chain
reaction putting millions of people in Malawi under threat of famine
been strongly condemned by the Government of Malawi.
The IBA's report is the result of investigations carried out by a team
distinguished jurists from four continents.
The Press Release issued by the Ministry of Information in Lilongwe
on Friday (which is reproduced in full on Page 11 [of The Chronicle,
but apparently not available online]) states that the IBA
Report is 'full of lies and gross distortions of the state of democracy
Malawi' and bemoans the disgraceful allegations against the
government and the President by the IBA.
Reporting on the issue the allafrica.com website quoted Linda Dobbs
QC of the IBA delegation as saying: *The scale of the poverty, the
food shortages, and the AIDS epidemic in Malawi would challenge
any society and any government.' *International support is going to
be absolutely critical to get the people of Malawi through this
But to secure this, the Government and Executive are going to have to
take urgent and convincing steps to restore international confidence
the country, attack corruption and uphold the rule of law. Right now,
they seem to be heading in the wrong direction.' President Muluzi
needs to ensure that the democratic institutions set up in Malawi are
not only protected but reinforced, and that the rule of law and
adherence to the Constitution are put above the concerns of individual
politicians or government officials.
Cracks in the UDF Grow Wider
The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
August 19, 2002
Posted to the web August 19, 2002
.... as more resignations take place and defections grow
amid accusations of undemocratic behaviour
A founding member of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and
member of the party's Central Executive Committee, Harold Williams
has joined the bandwagon of a lengthening list of disgruntled
to resign from the ruling party.
Correspondence leaked to The Chronicle indicates that Williams has
been long suffering in his plight to bring attention to leadership in
party that the direction being taken by the UDF was contrary to that
espoused by their own constitution. His efforts to help re-direct the
party largely went unanswered.
Williams joins others such as former UDF Treasurer General and
financier James Makhumula, UDF Legal Advisor Arthur Makhalira,
former UDF Ministers Brown Mpinganjira and Peter Chupa among
Former members of the UDF have generally remained in politics with
some forming the National Democratic Alliance headed by
Mpinganjira others forming *Concerned Citizen's' groups while
Williams, for instance has joined the newly formed MAFUNDE Party
as Publicity Secretary.
A simple letter penned by Harold C. Williams to W. Katenga-Kaunda
at the UDF Headquarters in Limbe written in June states simply: 'I
write to you in your capacity as de-facto Secretary General of the
United Democratic Party to advise you that I have resigned from the
Party with immediate effect.
'My views on what has been happening within the Party since the UDF
won the 1994 elections are well known to you and to many in the Party
and my decision should come as no surprise to you.' Williams, a
former Malawi Police Officer was tipped to head the Ministry of Home
Affairs under the Muluzi administration but despite his contributions
the enthroning of the UDF in 1993/4 he has been largely sidelined by
the party of his choice.
His efforts to contribute further are expressed in a Memorandum to the
State President dated 15 May (see Page 6) at the height of the push
for a third term of office by some UDF functionaries. Williams
indicates that his concerns which he has voiced since 1996 were
never even acknowledged, never mind addressed and he felt that he
was flogging a dying horse.
His Memo to the President and a lack of reaction has forced him to
make the painful decision to leave the UDF. Further, since submitting
his resignation letter some two months ago he has not had the
courtesy of being communicated to by the party.
The only response he got after handing in his resignation was one that
he said he expected. A letter of termination from government came a
month after his own, on the 26 July advised him, just before he was to
chair a regular meeting of the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) that
his appointment as Chairperson of the Board was terminated
' I decided not to make a public fuss of it (resignation). Because of
views on the lack of democracy within the party I have been excluded
from their fora for many years now,' he said.
'As you know, it is impossible for those who hold contrary views to be
given the opportunity of free debate within UDF.' The UDF party has
been split by differing ideologies with some members taking a stance
that President Muluzi remains the one and only candidate for the post
of President in the 2004 elections. This runs counter to the
Constitution which allows only two concurrent terms of office.
In the last sitting of parliament the UDF, President Muluzi
the rebel leader of the break away faction of the Malawi Congress
Party (MCP) John Tembo as well as Chakufwa Chihana, president of
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) suffered humiliation when the
motion brought by the opposition MP for AFORD Khwauli Msiska was
defeated. This put paid to any further attempt by the president to
remain in office indefinitely.
Another faction, though silent on the matter believes that there are
those in the party who would stand and effectively bring success to
party at the next elections.
The undemocratic stance of such as Davis Kapito, Dumbo Lemani,
Uladi Mussa and Patrick Mbewe left many in the UDF concerned that
democracy was being abrogated. Additionally there are many
aspirants who resented the assertion that they were not qualified or
competent to run for the presidency.
Among those who are considered potential candidates are the State
Vice President Justin Malewezi, the UDF Vice President Aleke
Banda, senior minister and leader of UDF in Parliament Harry
Thomson, younger ministers, Dr. Ken Lipenga and Henry Phoya.
The UDF has not held a convention in 8 years as is required and many
of the problems that face the party emanate from this as officials in
position operate by default rather than by mandate, including Muluzi
Speaking from Blantyre on behalf of MAFUNDE Williams said: ' We
believe that the fact that no MP in the UDF was prepared to stand up
in parliament against the Party hard-liners automatically condemns
any UDF candidate from the existing UDF executive and
parliamentary group as being more interested in their personal
situation than the real concerns of the people who elected them.
'However,' he said, 'any move from within the UDF to bring democracy
back into a Party which has been run as the personal fiefdom of one
man and his cronies is a welcome move for democracy in Malawi'.
A political analyst indicates that the next few months would be very
crucial to the survival of UDF.
Coping Strategies Eroded As Poverty Deepens
UN Integrated Regional Information
August 20, 2002
Posted to the web August 20, 2002
This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the
Over the past decade Malawi has lurched from one crisis to another,
leaving the country's poor bruised from an array of shocks to their
The latest have been floods and drought that have destroyed this
year's crop, resulting in what has been described as "the worst
famine" the country has experienced in fifty years.
Today close to three million people face critical food shortages,
according to UN reports. The country's single major natural asset,
agricultural land, is under severe pressure from rapid population
growth while the volatile twin cocktail of hunger and HIV/AIDS
threatens to increase the number of orphans, now standing at
But what coping strategies do poor people in Malawi adopt in times of
crisis? And are these 'informal safety nets' adequate in the face of
acute food insecurity?
A report by the UK-based Institute of Development Studies (IDG) titled
'Making Less Last Longer: Informal Safety Nets in Malawi' examined
the coping strategies among Malawi's poor and asked some pertinent
questions of the government.
"Rather than programmes that merely compensate for production
deficits the Malawian government should consider alternatives to help
boost agricultural production," the report remarked.
The report sketched how the removal of fertiliser subsidies in 1994/95
and massive currency devaluations had contributed to increasing food
production deficits at household and national levels.
To illustrate, the report quoted a teacher from Zomba who complained
that his annual salary increment of 10 percent in July 1998 was
insufficient to cover the dramatic maize and fertiliser price rises
"In 1997/98 season he purchased two bags of fertiliser and harvested
four bags of maize, but in 1998 he could not afford any fertiliser and
expected to harvest only two bags in 1999," the report said.
To mitigate against diminished resources, the rural poor have opted
for additional cash through borrowing, or gifts from friends or
In an increasing number of instances, people would ration or skip
daily meals altogether.
In urban areas coping strategies are dominated by cost-cutting
measures. These include moving to low-rent squatter areas, using
unprotected water sources and withdrawing children from schools.
The Malawian kwacha has been repeatedly and heavily devalued
during the 1990s. In August 1998 the kwacha was devalued by 62
percent resulting in massive escalation in living costs.
In comparison to urban respondents those in rural areas had fewer
income-generating opportunities to draw on, and more rural
households were refused assistance from relatives and friends, the
"Informal transfers, either between rich and poor or among the poor
themselves, appear to be declining over time, partly as a general
consequence of commercialisation and partly because deepening
poverty means that the economic basis for redistribution is
"Neighbours who occasionally lend sugar or salt are now asked for
interest free loans. The wealthy headman who extracts unpaid labour
as tribute from community members is called upon to release some of
his surplus grain to villagers who have no food," the report said.
But while these coping strategies may be effective for dealing with
minor shocks such as illness, Malawi's rural poor are increasingly
unable to deal adequately with severe shocks such as drought.
"With these shocks and stresses, informal safety nets are contracting
and losing their capacity to buffer the poor against temporary or
permanent declines in food production," the report noted.
The report suggested that the government should move to strengthen
formal safety nets, although it warned that government intervention
should not encourage dependency and a 'handout mentality' among
"Instead, the cause of deepening poverty and food insecurity should
be addressed through productivity-enhancing safety nets that
promotes sustainable livelihoods in the longer term."
One of the ways this could be done was public works projects that do
not compete with farming and provide cash to participants, the report
A recent evaluation of a major public works project revealed that the
majority of workers favoured payment in cash after the harvest, in
during the hungry season, and in fertiliser and seeds at planting
However, public works projects raised unresolved gender concerns.
For example men tended to monopolise cash-for-work projects while
women were channelled into lower status food-for-work activities, the
'Inputs-for-work' would be an innovative way of achieving
improvements in agricultural productivity, reversing the declining
which are the major cause of the current state of food insecurity in
Malawian households, the report recommended.
The report also called for greater emphasis on the development of all
forms of capital (including human and social) in poor communities.
"Community infrastructure projects could build physical capital,
feeding programmes that encourage attendance build human capital,
micro credit for small enterprises offer financial capital to the
the report said.
The full report can be viewed at:
Black Zimbabweans told
to take land
The Zimbabwe Government has urged black
settlers to begin working on land being left by
The call comes as many white farmers, who
were arrested for refusing to give up their
land, pack their bags as part of bail conditions
which order them off the farms.
A white farmers' leader
told BBC News Online
that the bail
because the farmers'
legal objections were
Around 2,900 white
farmers had to leave
their land by 8 August
but most of them
stayed put, risking
fines and jail terms of
up to two years.
Mugabe has said that
he wants to finish his
redistribute land from
whites to blacks this
"Those who have been
allocated land should
move to the farms andl
utilise it," Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted as
saying in the state-owned Herald newspaper.
He said that they should have moved when an
earlier deadline for farmers to stop farming
expired 45 days ago.
Some 207 white farmers have been arrested
since last Thursday, a police spokesman told
the French news agency, AFP. Some spent the
weekend in custody.
Many of them have
their eviction orders
and have been
released on bail.
But the bail
conditions imposed on some of those
who have been to court stipulate that
they must leave their farms within a
day or two.
Others have been allowed time to
wind up their affairs before leaving.
Colin Shand, who has been writing a
diary for BBC News Online, was told
by the courts on Monday he had until
Tuesday afternoon to leave his home.
David Hasluck, director of the
white-dominated Commercial Farmers'
Union, said the bail conditions had
the same effect as the original
"This is very wrong when the facts of
the matter have not been argued," he
Mr Mugabe has repeatedly said that
white farmers will be allowed to keep
one farm each.
But farmers say this is not happening
on the ground and this is the basis
for some of the legal objections being
"It is a desperately sad situation.
People are loading up their assets to
move out. Many have nowhere to go
and are looking for places to stay,"
CFU official Ben Freeth told the
Associated Press news agency.
"Ethnic cleansing is exactly what it is.
There's no other term for it," he said.
The evictions come as millions of
Zimbabweans are facing famine after
poor rains were compounded by
disruption to the agricultural sector.
The United States
the arrests of
white farmers and
says it has
nothing to do with
appalled... that at
a time when 6 to
facing the real possibility of famine
that the Mugabe government
continues its senseless campaign to
evict commercial farmers and farm
workers," said US State Department
spokesman Philip Reeker.
"Many of the farms seized thus far
appear to have been distributed to
ruling party officials and to regime
insiders and not to the landless
peasants whose interest Mr Mugabe
pretends to represent," he said.
Zim land reform decimates game
Up to 60% of wildlife on privately owned game
ranches and conservancies in
Zimbabwe has been slaughtered since the land reform
launched two years ago, estimates Voiceless Victims,
a Zimbabwe action
Wildlife experts believe that poachers may have
killed up to 600 000
animals, including endangered black rhinos, since
the programme to
displace white farmers began.
Activists will use the World Summit for Sustainable
Development later this
month as a forum to highlight the carnage,
emphasising how what is
happening across the nearby border contradicts the
values that delegates
will be debating at the summit.
Many Zimbabweans are worried about the state of
wildlife in their country,
but they are campaigning silently. "In a country
where one word can cost
you your farm, you are extremely careful not to
upset authorities," a
concerned game farmer said.
Interest groups are especially worried about the
black rhino. It is being
poached for its horn and faces extinction in
Zimbabwe. Rangers used to
monitor and protect the rhinos, but the war veterans
who are the shock
troops of the resettlement campaign have put paid to
Voiceless Victims says it has confirmed that at
least 10 black rhinos have
been killed and 13 others have been treated for
injuries. The action group
fears that as many as 30 rhinos may have been killed
in inaccessible areas.
Private farms and conservancies protect more than
70% of the black rhinos
Poachers have hammered the Bubiana Conservancy near
Seven commercial farmers formed the conservancy in
1991. Three have
been forced to flee their land. About 20 of the 50
scouts have fled because
of threats and intimi- dation, says Voiceless
Victims. One of the farmers
fears that 20 of the 40 black rhinos in the
conservancy may already have
Poachers have even targeted a black rhino
rehabilitation programme in the
Matusadona National Park, near Kariba Dam. In April
two rhinos were
poisoned with an agricultural pesticide. War
veterans who have invaded
game farms have stripped game fences to construct
Voiceless Victims says it has evidence that
authorities have sanctioned the
shooting of game to feed Zanu-PF youth militias.
"This country's natural heritage is being
decimated," said a member of the
Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. "Unless the
government restores law
and order, we can ultimately kiss Zimbabwe's
The chairman of Chiredzi Conservancy says it has
lost thousands of
animals. "The settlers are chopping down trees,
killing the game, setting
snares and threatening to kill game scouts."
A Zimbabwean who won plaudits for helping to rescue
more than 500he la
elephants from the Gonarhezou National Park during
the drought in 1992, is
bitter about the state of wildlife in Zimbabwe. "I
barely see animals on my
farm now," he said. "The president himself said the
conservancies would not
be taken for resettlement, but we have seen
This is a fun photo essay on decorated shacks in South Africa's slums.
ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17 The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal byMessage 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006View Source
ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract
by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17
The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by government to look for another contractor instead of China Hunan Construction to construct of the long awaited Karonga/Chitipa road.
China Hunan from Mainland China won the bid which was approved by the ADB but government later wanted to award the contract to a Portuguese firm, Mota Engil, the second lowest bidder, claiming China Hunan's bid was unrealistically low and that the company had very little experience in Africa.
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe confirmed on Sunday the ADB rejected the proposal at a meeting held between the bank and Malawi government in Tunisia last week.
The Malawi government wanted the Tunisia meeting to authorise it to get another contractor for the road, said Gondwe.
"They did not allow us to look for another contractor because of their regulations. But we are about to get another alternative for Karonga/Chitipa and I would be surprised if it does not start before end June," said Gondwe.
The minister explained that the bank insisted that regardless of the unrealistic cost estimates, China Hunan should be allowed to go ahead with the construction.
But Gondwe could not give further details about the alternatives, arguing there are still a few loose ends to tighten up before disclosing it.
The problem with China Hunan, according to Gondwe, is that it would require more money to meet the total cost of the project.
This paper reported last week that government met Taiwanese representatives where they offered to fund the road if the ADB continued to reject its favoured contractor, Mota Engil.
Gondwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports on the Taiwanese offer, saying government was looking at a number of ways to handle the issue.
According to Gondwe, the China Hunan's bid was 24 percent lower than the consulting engineers' estimates of K7.9 billion and 34 percent below the second lowest bidder.
President Bingu wa Mutharika laid a foundation stone for the construction of the road this year ahead of a crucial byelection in Chitipa in December last year.
The President's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the Chitipa Wenya constituency by-election that fell vacant following the collapse and subsequent death of Speaker of Parliament Rodwell Munyenyembe who belonged to the UDF.
Last week, police and the District Commissioner (DC) for Chitipa stopped a rally that was aimed at soliciting people's views about development projects in the district.
The meeting, which was reportedly organised by Concerned Citizens of Chitipa, was among other things also supposed to tackle the controversial Karonga/Chitipa road.
The project failed to start off in 2000 when a contract for an initial loan of US$17 million and US$15 million from the Taiwanese government was signed, with some quarters claiming the Bakili Muluzi administration diverted the money to another road.
Chihana operated on
by Edwin Nyirongo, 22 May 2006 - 06:32:31
Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Chakufwa Chihana, who is in South Africa receiving treatment, had a brain operation on Friday at Garden City Clinic, family and party officials confirmed on Sunday.
Aford national chairman Chipimpha Mughogho said he was told by the family members that Chihana had a successful operation on Friday and was put in an intensive care unit.
Mughogho said Chihana, who initially complained of headache, was found with a brain tumour which South African doctors removed.
Mzimba West MP Loveness Gondwe said Aford boss condition was stable.
"Hon. Chihana had a major operation and after that he was put in the intensive care unit but his condition is stable. I do not know where he was operated on but it had something to do with the skull," she said.
Deputy Information Minister John Bande referred the matter to the Health Minister Hetherwick Ntaba who was reported to be in Geneva, Switzerland.
Aford publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda said when Chihana's situation got worse, the family alerted the Office of the President and Cabinet who took him to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.
"The doctors at Mwaiwathu advised that he should be sent to South Africa and they even identified the doctor for him," he said.
He said the costs are being met by the Malawi government, contradicting his earlier statement that his boss covered the cost.
Mughogho is now in charge of the party.
Gondwe will be a busy person when Parliament starts meeting on June 6 as she is the only Aford MP remaining.
Pillane proposes presidential age limit
by Emmanuel Muwamba , 22 May 2006 - 06:34:13
A member of the DPP National Governing Council Abdul Pillane on Saturday urged members of political parties and the civil society to put an upper age limit in the Constitution for presidential candidates.
Pillane was addressing members of political parties and civil society in Liwonde during a two-day follow up workshop to the National Conference on the Review of Constitution held in March in Lilongwe.
"My view is that (an upper) age limit should be at 75. We have to give a chance to younger people to lead because in circumstance, when you age you become forgetful especially when sickly," said Pillane. "Overall, chances should be given to young people."
But UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, whose party members agitated for the age limit during presentations, played the issue down.
"I feel there is no logic to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates. If someone is 90 or 80 I don't know how that can influence the electorate not to vote for someone who is younger, I don't see any logic behind that," said Makwangwala.
MCP participants at the workshop also vehemently objected to the proposal.
MCP vice president Nicholas Dausi in an interview said: "There is no constitution in Africa which stipulates an upper age limit. So it would be strange in Malawi to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates."
MDP President Kamlepo Kalua also opposed the need to have an upper age limit.
"If we have personalities in mind that we want to discriminate against then it is unfortunate. The constitution we want to build is a guiding document for future generations and it should not bar certain individuals on the basis of grudges," he said.
The Malawi Law Constitution Issues Paper of March 2006 says several submissions that were received put an upper presidential age limit in the Constitution.
"It is argued that it is common sense that mental knowledge faculties tend to fail with age. As regards what the actual age limit should be the submissions are far from being agreed. The range is from 60 years to 80 years," read submissions in the Issues Paper.
On whether MPs should double as ministers, Kalua said this should be the case.
Makwangwala also said it is not right for MPs to serve as ministers because the Legislature, another arm of government, is reduced while the Executive branch is beefed up from another arm of government.
"There is no separation of powers when MPs double as ministers," said Makwangwala.
But Pillane said there is no problem for MPs to work as ministers as well, saying MPs are elected by the President.
"One can serve both posts. There have been no problems before for people to double," said Pillane.
The Centre for Multiparty Democracy funded the workshop through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.
The objective was to come up with a collective position on the Issues Paper which will be presented to the Special Law Commission that will be constituted soon.
Mussa hails new driving licence
by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:58:52
Transport and Public Works Minister Henry Mussa last week said the design of the Malawi-Sadc driving licence would guard against forgery and ensure that only skilled and legitimate drivers of particular vehicles are licensed.
Mussa was speaking at the official launch of the licences in Lilongwe where he announced that traffic police would from July enforce speed limits and sober driving using Breathalysers which his ministry is in the process of procuring.
The minister said financial constraints are the reason for the delay in procuring the equipment but assured that by July they would be available.
"With the new equipment, the days of those who believe in the thrill of drink and driving are numbered," warned Mussa.
Mussa added that with the new licence, government is optimistic that the country's roads would be safe.
Acting Director of Road Traffic James Chirwa said the features that distinguish the new from the old licences are the Malawi national flag and a ghost image of the driver's photograph, among others.
Those with old licences, according to Chirwa, are expected to get the new ones after the expiry of the former.
UDF demands investigation on Kasambara
by Rabecca Theu, 22 May 2006 - 06:30:46
The United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked government to investigate Ralph Kasambara on allegations of abuse of office while he was attorney general.
UDF publicity secretary Sam Mpasu told the press Sunday that the party is neither amused or saddened by the removal of the former AG but asked government to institute investigations on Kasambara.
"Beyond the removal of the Attorney General, we now urge President Mutharika to institute investigation against Mr Kasambara into allegations that have made rounds in the public domain during the recent past. These include: Mrs Helen Singh and SS Rent-a-Car; SGS and ITS saga; ...........the use of Malawi Police Service in the arrest of three Chronicle journalists and the handling of Mrs Rubina Kawonga," said Mpasu.
Mpasu also accused Kasambara of awarding government contracts to Lawson and Company where he was a senior partner.
"We urge government to thoroughly investigate the former AG. We also ask government to cautiously select the new AG ," said Mpasu, who was accompanied by the party's Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala, leader of the party in Parliament George Mtafu, chief whip Leonard Mangulama and a member of the executive Hophmally Makande.
But Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati said UDF should give offer its advice to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).
"They should advise bodies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau to conduct the investigations and why are they saying this now? Is it because Kasambara has been fired? This is not a personal issue. If they have other pressing issues they should just say so. These arguments should have come up earlier on when the said cases were happening," she said.
Kasambara asked UDF to proceed with the mission of urging government to investigate him.
"They can do their job. Everyone has a right to lobby for anything they want in the country. UDF has a right to do that, let them go ahead," he said.
Kasambara was relieved of his duties as AG by the President last week. Government has not given reasons behind the removal.
Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
May 18, 2006
Posted to the web May 19, 2006
MALAWIANS who have encroached on both the 'no-man's' and part of the Zambian land at the Mwami border in Eastern Province have plucked out some beacons that were used in the demarcation of the border.
The Malawians are now using the beacons as stools in their newly-established villages on Zambian land.
Eastern Province Minister, Boniface Nkhata, said in Chipata yesterday that if the situation was not controlled urgently, Zambia would lose huge tracts of land to Malawians migrating into Zambian in large numbers.
A check at the Zambia-Malawi border showed a number of beacons had been vandalised and new structures constructed on the 'no man's' land and a large portion of Zambian land.
Mr Nkhata said the trend extended to many parts of the province bordering the two countries.
"A large portion of Zambian land has been taken up by the Malawians starting from the Chama boundary up to the Mwami border.
"The weighbridge at the Mwami border was initially in Zambia from the time both countries gained independence from Britain, but now the bridge is on Malawian soil," Mr Nkhata said.
The minister, who is former Chama District Commissioner, said there was similar encroachment in Lundazi and Chama districts where Zambia shares a boundary with Malawi.
He said a Malawian farmer identified as Mr Mfune had cultivated 71.5 hectares on Zambian land and employed about 265 Malawian workers.
"Khombe Farm in Chama district in Kanyerere's area, along the Muyombe road which leads to Northern Province where this Malawian farmer has cultivated a vast land is on the Zambian territory," he said.
Workers on the farm admitted that they were farming on Zambian soil but could not go back to Malawi because the land in that country was inadequate for cultivation.
Mr Nkhata appealed to the ministry of Lands to urgently release money for the demarcation of the Zambia-Malawi border to avoid further land disputes between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department in Livingstone has arrested a couple and another man, all Zimbabweans, for working in Zambia without permits.
They were arrested at Gwembe village yesterday where they worked for Into Africa, a tour operating company that provides bush dinners and breakfast.
According to the Immigration Department in Livingstone, the trio entered Zambia through the Victoria Falls border as visitors but decided to work for the company illegally.
Last week, immigration officers arrested 10 Zimbabwean traders and six Ethiopians for entering and staying in Zambia illegally.
The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.
The Ethiopians were arrested at Konje Guest House when they ran out of money to proceed to Botswana.
Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests
22 May 2006 11:51
Zimbabwe's biggest labour federation on Saturday threatened to call massive demonstrations against the government over poor salaries and worsening living conditions for workers in the country.
The threats are ratcheting up pressure against President Robert Mugabe's government after similar threats by the biggest opposition party in the country, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), about two months ago.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) conference on Saturday, the labour body's president, Lovemore Matombo, said the powerful union wants the government to award workers salaries that match the country's ever-rising inflation.
"I can assure you we will stage massive demonstrations to force them [employers] to award workers minimum salaries that tally with the poverty datum line," said Matombo.
Matombo did not say when exactly the ZCTU would order workers to strike.
Meanwhile, the MDC on Sunday said it will push ahead with plans for anti-government protests, saying victory in a key by-election at the weekend was a "sign the electorate supported its policies", including democratic mass resistance.
A spokesperson of the main faction of the splintered MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said victory over Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and a rival MDC faction in a Saturday by-election in Harare's Budiriro constituency is a sign Zimbabweans still have confidence in party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his policies.
Tsvangirai, the founding leader of the MDC, heads the main rump of the opposition party whose candidate, Emmanuel Chisvuure, polled 7 949 votes to win the Budiriro House of Assembly seat.
Gabriel Chaibva of the other faction of the MDC, led by prominent academic Arthur Mutambara, garnered 504 votes while Zanu-PF's Jeremiah Bvirindi polled 3 961 votes.
"This election showed that the electorate still has confidence in the MDC [Tsvangirai-led] leadership and its policies," Chamisa told independent news service ZimOnline.
He added: "We will now move to consolidate our position * we still believe in mass protests. Until we have attained our goals we see no reason why we should abandon [plans for protests]."
Tsvangirai has threatened to call mass protests this winter against Mugabe and his government. He says the mass protests, whose date he is still to name, are meant to force Mugabe to relinquish power to a government of national unity to be tasked to write a new and democratic Constitution that would ensure free and fair elections held under international supervision.
Mugabe and his government, who had hoped for victory in Budiriro to show they were recapturing urban support from a splintered MDC, have not taken idly the opposition's threats to call mass protests, with the veteran president warning Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he ever attempted to instigate a Ukraine-style popular revolt in Zimbabwe.
In a fresh crackdown against dissension, the police last week arrested several church and civic leaders for organising public prayers and marches to mark last year's controversial home-demolition exercise by the government.
The police also banned the marches and prayers, fearing they could easily turn into mass protests against Mugabe and his government.
However, the marches went ahead in the second-largest city of Bulawayo after organisers had obtained a court order barring the police from stopping the march.
Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police and the military to crush street protests, worsening hunger and poverty are fanning public anger that Tsvangirai -- with proper planning and organisation -- could easily manipulate.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe six-year old economic crisis that has seen inflation breaching the 1 000% barrier. Last year, the World Bank said Zimbabwe's economic crisis was unprecedented for a country not at war.
The MDC and major Western governments blame Mugabe for wrecking the country's economy, which was one of the strongest in Africa at independence from Britain 26 years ago.
Mugabe denies the charge blaming the crisis on sabotage by Britain and her allies after he seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks six years ago.
The Harare authorities recently hiked salaries for civil servants, with the lowest-paid soldier now earning about Z$27-million while the lowest-paid school teacher now takes home about Z$33-million.
But the salaries are still way below the poverty datum line, which the government's Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says now stands at a staggering Z$42-million a month for an average family of six.
The Zimbabwe government often accuses the ZCTU, a strong ally of the MDC, of pushing a political agenda to remove Mugabe from power.
Meanwhile, Matombo and Lucia Matibenga retained their posts as president and first vice-president respectively during the ZCTU congress that ended on Saturday. -- ZimOnline