Hope for Africa s cursed children By Jane Elliott BBC News Online Health Staff For the first two years of his life burns victim Mavuto was unable to walk. AnMessage 1 of 1046 , Mar 4, 2003View SourceHope for Africa's 'cursed' children
By Jane Elliott
BBC News Online Health Staff
For the first two years of his life
burns victim Mavuto was unable
An accident with scalding water had
left the skin on one of his legs so
scarred he was unable to stand.
And the future looked bleak for the
little Malawian boy, whose name
His injuries were not life threatening so he did not
qualify for treatment
at the local hospital.
But in a society where a disability is considered a
curse Mavuto faced
life as an outcast dependent on charity.
Luckily for Mavuto he was one of the first patients
chosen to get
operations at the newly-opened Beit Trust Cure
for children in Blantyre.
Senior anaesthetist Nicola Canning
said it was fantastic seeing the
two-year-old stand up for the first
"He had been a burns victim and his
left leg was completely bent double.
"He had never stood up, not in two and a half years.
"We released the thickened skin around the leg and put
the leg in
"And 48 hours later he was standing.
"There is a lot of stigma for children like this
and it is considered a curse if anything like
this happens to them.
"They are judged on whether they can carry a
bucket of water and if they can't they are
considered no good," she said.
Nicola, who works at the Homerton Hospital,
in East London, spent eight weeks holiday in
the southern African state, helping set up the
new orthopaedic hospital, which will serve
nearly 50,000 disabled children.
Nicola said she had been astonished by what
she had seen in Malawi.
"It was amazing there was a hospital being set up so
"When we arrived the hospital was built, but
everything for it was in
Malawi is ravaged by HIV, with drought, famine, plague
The life expectancy is just 40.
But the new hospital, which employs the only four
in the country, hopes to make life better for the 12
The Homerton donated two anaesthetic machines to the
was set up following charity cash.
The first patient through the doors of the new
hospital was 14-year-old
Dalitso, who had no movement in one of his arms.
He had fallen from a tree three years before and his
arm had never
Although Dalitso will need another two operations his
future now looks a
lot brighter thanks to the work of Nicola and her
"We asked him if he was frightened of having the
operation and he said
no because he knew that we would make him a lot better
and that just
made me cry."
There are lots of children there with bow legs because
of rickets and
with clubs feet. Many have deformities following falls
"Without this hospital these children would not get
treated because they
are elective cases.
"Most of the children have malaria and HIV and worms
and that slows
down the healing process.
"Although this new hospital was great and a centre of
excellence I did
also see the state hospital and I will never complain
about the NHS
"I fell in love with Malawi.
"The people have nothing, but they are warm and
I will be going back again this year in my holidays. I
found it very hard
to leave," she said.
Employers Review Draft Policy On HIV/Aids in the
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
February 28, 2003
Posted to the web February 28, 2003
By Brian Ligomeka
The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) says there is
need for employers in the country to review the Draft Malawi Policy on
HIV/AIDS in the workplace carefully in order to safeguard their
Speaking at a consultative workshop on the proposed draft policy, ECAM
president, Humphrey Mvula, pointed out that when the fight against the
spread of HIV/AIDS in the workplace is very going on smoothly here in
Malawi, the interests of employers ought to be safeguarded and that
resultant policy should not disadvantage them.
"Employer organisations worldwide are
increasingly involved in this fight against
HIV/AIDS. This is the more reason why
ECAM is also actively involved in the fight,
and hence the involvement in the review of
the Draft Malawi Policy on HIV/AIDS in the
workplace to ensure that Employers'
interests are safeguarded and that the resultant policy does not
disadvantage them," said Mvula.
He observed that HIV related illnesses 'are affecting the balance
most company's in many ways, explaining that on the expenditure side,
"costs are increasing in geometrical proportions and these costs are
bound to increase in terms of medical costs, hiring and training costs
withstanding other worker benefits."
Mvula who is also chief executive for Shire Bus Lines said that the
employer is further disadvantaged by the fact that some of the earlier
conditions of service that have been carried over by most companies
a broad base expenditure coverage, which reflect the communal nature
the Malawian society.
"On the revenue generation front, continuous absenteeism of those
suffering from HIV/AIDS, attending to the sick and funerals, fatigue of
infected by the virus negatively impact on the businesses and lower
productivity of newly hired employees affect production and hence
contribute to reduced profits," explained Mvula.
He told the workshop that financial estimates obtained from some
companies indicated that a lot of profits have been lost through HIV
Besides the direct costs incurred by various companies and
according to Mvula, there are other indirect costs that arise from the
"Just the fear of HIV/AIDS infected fellow workers and poor morale
associated with company policies that prevent staff from attending to
issues relating to HIV/AIDS is in itself traumatic enough to affect
productivity," he said.
Mvula disclosed that companies are finding it extremely difficult to
with the pandemic both socially and economically.
He however hinted that ECAM is committed to the establishment of a
sustainable policy on HIV/AIDS at the workplace and its willingness to
establish on going HIV/AIDS prevention programmes by among other
things encouraging non-discriminatory policies at the workplace.
"From our membership perspective, there is no pre-employment HIV
testing medical confidentiality of records is recognized and
death benefits have remained," said Mvula adding that this has resulted
companies to pay higher premiums at pension providers.
He further said that terminating policies do not distinguish between
related illness and other disabling illnesses that attract medically
The ECAM President however cautioned that employers would not forever
sustain such costs if some reasonable compromise would not be attained
with all stakeholders. He said that some traditional values must be
unbundled in the wake of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"The cultural requirements on burial places needs to be reviewed. For
example, a child of less than five years dying in Blantyre born from
who hail from Chitipa and demand that such a funeral be transported to
Chitipa does not auger well for Smalll or Medium Employers. The
expectation of the society must also be redefined particularly the
coverage for the policy bearing in mind the high dependency ratio that
exists in Malawi," pointed out Mvula.
He said the employers mourn about the lack of cooperation from other
stakeholders in dealing with HIV/AIDS as a social problem affecting
Malawians. The employers would like reciprocal cooperation and
understanding from employees, unions and the society at large.
According to Mvula, employers in the country firmly believe that the
successful implementation of the proposed draft policy at the
lies in the sharing of costs by all stakeholders.
"As ECAM, we would look towards government facilitating the
establishment of social security policies that would allow equal
contributions by the employee and the employers," he said.
Participants at the workshop, which was funded by the US Department
through Project Hope brainstormed on suggested practical, positive and
constructive recommendations to be incorporated in the final policy.
The workshop, which attracted wide participation from various
was held at Shire Highlands Hotel on Monday.
MTL Digital Equipment Boosts Telecommunication
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
February 28, 2003
Posted to the web February 28, 2003
By Standard Reporter
Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) has described problems which
their customers were encountering in the past when making phone calls,
faxes and telexes as sad experiences of the past. MTL Public Relations
Officer, Dora Banda, told The Malawi Standard that following the
commissioning of new digital exchanges in many parts of the country
including Blantyre and the Lower Shire districts of Nsanje and
"It is very unlikely that customers will encounter any problems with
digital exchanges. If anything the problem will probably be how
can control their talking time because the quality is just excellent,"
Banda said the installation and
commissioning of the new digitalt
exchanges replacing analogue
exchanges, have improved
telecommunication in the country.
She explained that the project has cost
MTL US$5.5 million. The project involved the supply and installation of
main Southern Region Transit Switch and a ten-position operator
assistance centre. The switching units, housed in the buildings
with brick walls, were supplied and installed in the outskirts of
namely Mpemba, Chilobwe, Zingwangwa, Manase, Chilomoni, Chirimba,
Ndirande, Nkolokoti, Bangwe, and Newlands with Chirimba as the
controlling centre because of its proximity to the industrial site.
According to Banda, under the same project 100 kilometres of optical
cable was laid to connect the switch centres and the national network
well as duct and cable for each telephone exchange.
"Apart from installing new switches and laying of new cable network,
project also rehabilitated the existing cable network for the three
exchanges in Blantyre namely Chichiri Stadium, Limbe and Blantyre
exchanges," she said.
Initially, MTL employed up to 400 labourers to dig trenches and build
boxes. However during the course of the project it became imperative
sub contract the works. Intertec was contracted to complete buildings
Telesuprecon to complete the cable network.
Banda says the project met a lot of challenges during the
stage. Apart from human and other resources, finding suitable sites
exchange buildings was not an easy task. Storage and control of
materials was another challenge.
"We managed to sort out all these problems, but it was as if the
had just began. We sometimes had problems to dig across private land
order to lay our cables. Private property like crops, trees, water
damaged and the company had to compensate all individuals affected,"
However the project was not spared from vandalism of exchanges and
outside plant equipment. The project started with buildings in the
half of 1998 while civil works for cables started in November 1991 at
She pointed out that it was a pity that vandalism cost the company a
money resulting in the delay to complete the project.
"One of the reasons why the project took such a long time was the
constant vandalism on cables and exchange buildings. We kept going
back and forth" she says adding, "telecommunications infrastructure is
very expensive, every time a cable was vandalized, it had to be
and this was costly to the project."
According to MTL engineers the switching and the transmission
installed in the digital exchanges, has a Lifespan of 15 years or more
the cable network can last for 30 years and beyond.
Commenting on the performance of the digital equipment, Banda says:
"MTL customers will definitely notice the speed at which service will
provided, speedy clearance of faults and reduced frequency in faults."
She adds: "Apart from these, the digital exchanges come with value
services like call waiting, call forwarding, code barring, three way
conference call and faster access to E-mail/Internet services. The
completion of this project and the Southern Region Network and
improvement project have completed the confidence building in MTL and
customers are assured of reliable telecommunications infrastructure.
Similar projects are underway in resort districts of Mangochi and
Besides commisssioning the new digital exchanges, MTL has also
introduced new incentives, which include pre-paid billing system.
"Our customers will also be pleased to note that a project to install a
post-paid and a pre-paid billing system has already started. These two
systems will tremendously reduce the billing queries we get from our
customers. The new billing systems will enable families to budget for
amount of units to purchase in a specific period of time," says Dora
Malawi Hopes for Pipeline From Nacala
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique
February 28, 2003
Posted to the web February 28, 2003
One of the major priorities for Malawi, within the context of the
Development Corridor, is to seek support for building a pipeline from
northern Mozambican port of Nacala to the Malawian capital, Lilongwe.
Speaking at the Nacala Corridor Investors' Conference on Thursday,
Malawian President Bakili Muluzi stressed the interest of his
country in lowering the transport costs of fuel. At the moment, much
Malawi's fuel reaches it by road, in tankers making the long journey
the South African ports.
Muluzi said the best solution for his country was certainly a pipeline
Nacala, which happens to be the nearest port. He added that plans for
oil refinery in Lilongwe are also on the drawing board. When AIM asked
him, at a press conference, how much a pipeline would cost, Muluzi
give no figures. But he promised that the sums required would be made
public "as soon as is opportune". He accepted that the sums involved
would be "very large".
Also on Thursday, the two founder
members of the Nacala Development
Corridor, Mozambique and Malawi, signed
an addendum to their agreement, allowing
Zambia to join.
Nacala could serve eastern Zambia - but
currently the Zimbabwean rail network is not linked to the Nacala
Zambia's entry into the development corridor, in practical terms, must
involve building a rail link between the Zambian town of Chipata and
Mchinji, in Malawi, a distance of 31 kilometres.
Malawian Duo Records Album
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
February 28, 2003
Posted to the web February 28, 2003
New musicians have emerged on the entertainment arena from the resort
township of Liwonde in Machinga with a 10-track debut album, Mau anga
(My Voice or My Words).
The album is scheduled to be on the market early April. Although the
track name resembles that of a book authored by State President, Dr
Muluzi, the contents are totally different.
The artists, Gift Mambo and Sam Donzani
aka Sly Dread I are currently recording the
music at MC studio in Blantyre with
Joseph Namasani behind the consul.
According to the duo, Mau anga or The
Never-Ending Mission is all about
day-to-day social issues as well as spiritual.
"We have tried our best to come up with unique composition and
instrumentation. Most music in the country is about sorrow and
without suggesting solutions to the problems. But our music is quite
different in that it gives hope to all grief-stricken people and
solutions to their problems," explained the 24-year-old Sam Donzani.
The album has songs like Tsoka langa, which is about a child who has
gone through miseries since birth. He was always down with various
illnesses, but grew up at the mercy of God. His parents divorced when
was still young and his mother struggled to send him to school and as
child to a single parent he concentrated on education and finally
succeeded in life.
Mwatanganidwa is a gospel number in the album, which narrates how
busy people are with earthly things, forgetting their God. The artist
people to change behaviour and secure a place in the Kingdom of God in
"People forget that life is one big road with many sign posts and they
about God when they are going through hardships or good times," said
year- old Gift Mambo.
Other numbers in the album include Oneness and One day.
All instruments were played and arranged by MC Studio Artists, Joseph
Namasani and Raymond Sekeni.
The music has already started enjoying airwaves in all the radio
The budding stars told The Malawi Standard that they are not in the
industry for money as is the case with most musicians in the country.
"We are in the music industry to stay, not for money," said Donzani.
Donzani and Mambo said their idol on the local music scene is the late
Muga Mtaya and Jamaican based Morgan Heritage.
Mambo hails from Tembenuka Village in Liwonde, Machinga while Donzani
comes from Traditional Authority Chigaru in Blantyre.
Africa's war on terror targets poverty
By Adam Lusekelo
Africa's ambitious new
development plan, Nepad, is
examining how poverty and
instability can spawn conflict
Even before the 11 September
attacks there was a recognition that
poverty in one part of the globe
creates scope for regional conflict
and international crime.
"It is futile, if not foolhardy to think
there is no link between poverty and
terrorism," says Tanzania's President Benjamin Mkapa.
Links to Al Qaeda have been found in several African
countries - and
Kenya and Tanzania experienced the direct effects of
terrorism in 1998
when their citizens died in bombings of US embassies.
Kenyans suffered again last year when a tourist hotel
was blown up.
In a second report on Nepad, the BBC World Service
importance of tackling arms control and conflict.
There has been a growing realisation that there can be
no security for
any of us unless globalisation is managed with greater
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has
acknowledged how terrorism can
come from "pent up feelings of
injustice and alienation from
divisions between the world's richer
and poorer nations".
African leaders have devised the
Nepad partnership, pledging
themselves to deliver transparent
government in return for more
support for Africa's development
plans from the world's wealthy
During the 1990s, aid to Africa fell by a third, from
$17bn at the start of
the decade to $12bn.
As a result, "Africa is the poorest continent and its
getting poorer", says
UK International Development Minister Clare Short.
Since the end of the Cold War, the world's richer
nations have preferred
to ignore places such as Somalia and Sudan, where
their attempts to
quell conflict have failed.
But there is now greater
engagement in Africa's failures than
would have been thinkable a decade
Britain's military intervention in
Sierra Leone in support of the
elected government is one example,
and contrasts with Europe's failure to
prevent genocide in Rwanda.
Mr Blair has said that if Rwanda happened again, his
country would have
"an absolute duty" to intervene.
But although prospects for peace are better now than
for decades - with
hope for Congo, Angola and Sudan - the challenges to
a result of war are enormous.
Some 20% of Africa's people are affected by conflict,
and most of the
victims are innocent civilians.
The World Bank estimates that
conflict is knocking 2% a year off
Africa's economic growth.
Large numbers of refugees place a
burden on neighbouring countries;
Tanzania, for instance, has taken in
1.5 million refugees in the last
Regional instability also cripples
efforts to control the spread of HIV.
The Nepad framework therefore
envisages support for peacekeeping from developed
countries in return
for better governance from African leaders.
Fair trade hypocrites?
But the benefits of political stability can only flow
policies are also right.
Much depends on whether G7 leaders' self-criticisms
In particular, trade policies are seen as a test of
Lectures on fair trade doled out by industrialised
protecting their own local interests, have been widely
particularly on farm subsidies.
African states are being conditioned "not to subsidise
which the lives of our people depend", says Tanzania's
Muthoni Muriu, Oxfam's regional
manager for West Africa, adds: "If
agricultural products from
developing countries were able to
compete fairly, the foreign exchange
would be six times the amount of aid
By stressing a partnership between
African and G7 nations, Nepad's
development blueprint aims to tackle
Nepad's co-ordination should put a stop to the lack of
produced unsuitable liberalisation policies, argues
Nigeria's representative on Nepad's steering
But critics of Nepad warn that Africa's rush to
embrace globalisation is
fraught with economic dangers. They see little respect
or equality in theent
developed world's approach.
Key players in Nepad would agree that trade pacts are
skewed in favour
of the developed world.
"The answer... is not to walk away but to ensure that
we work even
harder to build stronger alliances between the
says South African trade negotiator Faizel Ismail.
Another Nepad priority is to grow trade within Africa
as the continent
accounts for less than 1% of global trade, says
Silencer Mapuranga of
the Commonwealth Business Council.
A unified stance and more internal
trade could increase Africa's clout.
"If the whole of Africa works
together then it is much more
realistic to consider a greater
equality of power," says Alec Erwin,
South Africa's trade minister,
pointing to "immensely rich" energy,
mineral and agricultural resources.
Perhaps the biggest challenge
Africans now face is to recognise
that there is potential for progress.
At present, 47% of African savings are sent out of
Africa by Africans
themselves. If we don't believe in our own continent,
Forty-one cricket fans jailed in Zimbabwe
At least 41 cricket supporters were preparing on
Monday to spend their
fourth night in jail in the western city of
Bulawayo following Zimbabwe's
World Cup match against Holland, relatives of the
arrested people said.
They were arrested on Friday outside the grounds of
Queens Sports Club in
Bulawayo after a peaceful demonstration during the
match to protest against
the government of President Robert Mugabe. The
cricket supporters in
Bulawayo were among nearly 200 people arrested by
police since Friday,
including 26 supporters of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change
who on Sunday were
illegally arrested and then assaulted by soldiers
guarding Mugabe's official
residence in Harare.
"The lawyers having been trying all day to get them
to court so they can be
released, but it looks like they are not going to
let them go until after
(Tuesday's) game against Pakistan," said the wife
of one of the men in the
cells. She asked not to be named. - Sapa-DPA
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