Peace Corps Chief Does About-Face By Al Kamen Wednesday, December 3, 2003; Page A27 Back on Oct. 23, Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez said he was, withMessage 1 of 1046 , Dec 9 7:00 AMView SourcePeace Corps Chief Does About-Face
By Al Kamen
Wednesday, December 3, 2003; Page A27
Back on Oct. 23, Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez said he was,
"with mixed emotions," stepping down as head of the agency he had run
for only 20 months and heading back home to California effective Nov.
The White House issued the usual statement praising his "tremendous
leadership," and he told the press he wanted to tend to his parents'
health and to "recharge my batteries."
But he never left. On Nov. 18, four days after he was supposed to be
gone, Vasquez sent an e-mail to "All Peace Corps" saying he would be
"continuing my Peace Corps service to an indeterminate date." He gave
"pending initiatives and activities affecting the Peace Corps" as his
reason, although it's unclear which of those initiatives or activities
had not been pending when he quit. A spokesman yesterday said "a key
driver" in his decision was to make sure the agency's budget is in
place, but Vasquez has little to do with that.
There was some speculation that he was getting out before a Dayton
Daily News investigative series hit the stands a few days later saying
that assaults against volunteers had more than doubled from 1991 to
Asked about the timing, Vasquez told the newspaper he didn't know what
the final stories were going to say, had made the decision to leave
"some time ago" and places "family above everything else in life."
There was also talk he was heading back for a job in the new
Schwarzenegger administration in Sacramento, and more chatter recently
that maybe that didn't work out.
So what's going on here? In his e-mail, Vasquez said: "Over the past
few days and weeks, I have received many supportive messages from staff,
volunteers and [returned volunteers]. I am grateful and humbled by these
words of friendship and good wishes."
So these presumably sincere notes changed his mind? In any event,
Vasquez looks to be sticking around maybe into early next spring. What's
that old saying? Forgotten, but not gone?
Malawi churchgoers see off yobs
Mr Mpinganjira was attending the service
Malawi police are investigating an attack on cars belonging to the
leader of the opposition, Brown Mpinganjira.
The incident happened while Mr Mpinganjira was at a church service in
Machinga, north of Blantyre on Sunday.
A senior churchman told the BBC some 20 youths belonging to the ruling
party threw stones at the cars.
The worshippers left the service, chased the youths and gave them a
beating before handing three of them over to the police, he said.
Reverend Daniel Gunya, of Malawi's second largest church, the Church of
Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), said while his sermon was in
progress worshippers heard the sound of breaking glass and steel.
He said that worshippers "abandoned their prayers" and gave chase with
Police in Machinga say the three young men they captured are being
charged with malicious damage and are expected to appear in court this
week after investigations.
The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre says there has been a frosty
relationship between the church and the ruling party, with the latter
accusing the former of being in cahoots with the opposition.
Last week the CCAP issued a statement urging Malawians to vote out the
ruling party in next May's elections for mismanaging the economy and
democracy during its nine-year rule.
Former education minister Brown Mpinganjira announced on Sunday the
formation of his new group, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to
thousands of supporters.
Local Malawian and the Potter's Language
By Charles Mkoka
Blantyre , Malawi
Many of the travelers to and from Malawi's Chileka International
Airport are unaware that about 5km away is the Ngumbe Trading Center.
This trading center used to be a hub for the miners that trekked to
South Africa in the 1970 and 80's to look for 'greener pastures' in the
gold mines. They had to spend a week at this trading center, where the
South African Teba Company provided accommodation, and you can guess the
kind of enthusiasm these miners had to go back home again.
A stones throw from the trading center, along the road that leads you
to Blantyre, the commercial capital of Malawi, stands a shabby old
house. This house stands on one of the busiest roads, often used by
executives, business people, politicians and head of states that use
Malawi Airport. "Bakali Ceramics" are the only words written on the
building, along with a picture of one of the products that this pottery
expert produces. It needs keen interest to discover what happens inside
this house, a house that is unlike any other.
What surprises people most is the kiln, just like those used by the
Stone Age people to smelt iron in those far off days. However, these are
modern times, and this furnace is used to heat the pottery, after it is
dry but before it is decorated with different colors of the client's
Sammie John Bakali a professionally trained potter of ceramics runs the
shop with two assistants, Patrick Bakali his son and Rhodrick Chimwaza
All his knowledge was acquired from Christopher Steven, a Greek
volunteer who worked for St. Martins Anglican Church in 1983. Steven
also trained 17 other Malawians in the production of pottery at Malindi,
a town on the eastern arm of Lake Malawi in the lakeshore district of
The original plan was to train church members voluntarily, and the sale
of ceramics used to run the operations of the church. However, members
showed little interest in learning this lucrative venture. At the age of
22, Bakali was one of those that registered their keen interest to
acquire technical knowledge in the production of ceramics from Steven.
The initial production generated enough income for the church.
Under the supervision of Steven, who gave them the technical expertise,
the team created a name in ceramics production that spread like
bushfire. Steven, who returned home to Greece after completion of his
voluntary work in 1983, left a crop of Malawians that were the best in
ceramic production. However, the Malindi pottery scheme was rocked with
financial woes, and Bakali later left to concentrate on his private
undertakings. Since 1989, Bakali has been operating independently, and
now occupies the building along the road to Blantyre, so that clients
traveling to and from the Airport can view his works; regarded as some
of the best countrywide.
In an exclusive interview at his shop, Bakali stated that few people,
throughout the country, are accustomed to ceramics. "It took time for
the people to accept them as quality products." said Bakali. "Right now,
from the year 2000, many people come to ask for ceramics; even from as
far away as Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi." he added, "This is a
sign that they appreciate the quality of my products."
Not only local residents have noticed Bakali efforts. He recently won a
contract to produce ceramics for the country's first citizen. His works
were noticed by the President one day as he was on his way to Blantyre
from the Airport. "I am glad that my efforts have started to be
recognized countrywide." Bakali recounts.
"I was invited to State House and given K30, 000.00 as a token of
appreciation for my work from the first citizen in the land, President
Bakili Muluzi. This encouraged me to work harder," said Bakali who is
well outfitted for ceramic production, and treats his material to
several processes before starting to mould items that have been
requested by his clients.
By Charles Mkoka
"There is plenty of science involved in the production of ceramics, and
the tools that we use can be simple in nature or complicated." he
The ideal soil for ceramic production is Dambo clay, and after it has
been collected from half a meter underground, it is treated to various
processes. To ensure that it is ideal for the production of ceramics,
the soil is steeped in a potter's trough and then sieved in a potter's
mesh to remove sand and debris.
While in the workshop, the clay is taken through various processes and
stages. Depending on the weather, it is taken to a drying zone where it
can stay for close to three days. It is later taken to a storage zone
were the clay can stay for over a month without drying out or loosing
its material strength.
Chiluba on trial for corruption
The trial of former Zambian President, Frederick Chiluba, charged with
168 counts of theft totalling more than $40m of public money, has begun.
Mr Chiluba is accused of conspiring with a number of senior officials
to divert public funds into a London bank account for private use.
His lawyers deny the charges, saying the account was used to fund
overseas intelligence service operations.
The trial was adjourned until Wednesday shortly after it started.
The BBC's Christian Fraser in the capital, Lusaka, says that Mr Chiluba
emerged from his car laughing and smiling, before turning to the public
to shout: "Peace for Christmas".
He has assembled an expensive legal team and extra seats had to be
found for them in the Lusaka magistrates court.
Zambia's 'matrix of plunder'
A second trial is due to start on 16 December, in which Mr Chiluba is
charged with the theft of some $4m.
After 10 years in office, he stood down in 2001 after failing in a bid
to change the constitution to let him stand for a third term in office.
He was succeeded by President Levy Mwanawasa, from the same Movement
for Multiparty Democracy.
He has vigorously pursued an anti-corruption campaign and personally
urged parliament to lift Mr Chiluba's immunity from prosecution this
However, the opposition says that the campaign has become a political
Mr Chiluba came in power in 1991 after campaigning on an
anti-corruption platform against Zambia's first leader Kenneth Kaunda.
Zimbabwe row mars summit finale
The Commonwealth summit has ended with Zimbabwe's decision to withdraw
overshadowing all other business.
President Robert Mugabe said he did not accept the decision to maintain
Zimbabwe's suspension indefinitely.
He said the move was "unacceptable" and pulled out with immediate
The issue has split Commonwealth leaders meeting in Nigeria, with South
Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia extremely upset at the move.
"The organisation did not reach this decision by consensus," said
Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano.
"We are unhappy because we cannot accept these undemocratic
But other countries put the blame for the situation firmly on Harare.
"It is not a crisis for the Commonwealth, but it is a crisis for
Zimbabwe," said New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Zimbabwean ruling party senior official Didymus Mutasa said they were
glad to have pulled out.
"This is like an escape from hell because Britain and its white allies
have turned the Commonwealth into a Zimbabwe lynching club," he said.
Correspondents say Mr Mugabe's move in effect removes any leverage or
pressure that Commonwealth leaders can use with Zimbabwe and leaves the
careful diplomacy of the Abuja summit in tatters.
Commonwealth officials and leaders of countries like Britain, Australia
and Canada will now have to work extremely hard to restore the
organisation's sense of unity.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth last year after an
election widely seen as flawed.
Mr Mugabe had earlier threatened to leave the 54-nation group if the
country was not "treated as an equal".
After the Commonwealth decision was taken, he received explanatory
phone calls from Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, South African
President Thabo Mbeki and Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson.
In response, Mr Mugabe said the decision was unacceptable as Zimbabwe
would settle for nothing short of the removal of the suspension.
"Anything that you agreed to on Zimbabwe which is short of this
position - no matter how sweetly worded - means Zimbabwe is still the
subject of the Commonwealth," he said.
"It is unacceptable. This is it. It [Zimbabwe] quits and quits it will
Commonwealth spokesman Joel Kibazo said the group wanted Zimbabwe to
return and would work to continue trying to engage with its government.
Before Zimbabwe's decision, Mr Obasanjo was given the crucial role of
deciding whether Zimbabwe had progressed enough for it to return to the
Obasanjo (right) had been charged with monitoring Zimbabwe's progress
He said Zimbabwe could probably have returned within "months rather
Mr Mugabe had already indicated his response would be to pull out if
the Commonwealth decided to maintain his country's suspension.
It is entirely in character, sadly... and it is a decision which he and
particularly the Zimbabwean people will come to regret," said British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
In a speech at the end of his Zanu-PF party's conference in Masvingo on
Saturday, Mr Mugabe had harsh words for the grouping.
Commenting on Zimbabwe's suspension, and his lack of an invitation to
the summit in Nigeria, he likened the Commonwealth to characters in
George Orwell's novel, Animal Farm, where some members are more equal
Daily News has its say at summit
05 December 2003 17:49
A special edition of a newspaper banned three months ago by the
government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe hit the newsstands in
Nigeria on Friday as Commonwealth leaders were debating how to handle
the Zimbabwe crisis.
"The voices Mugabe wants to silence," shouted the front-page headline
of the 48-page edition of The Daily News, distributed as Commonwealth
leaders met with the shadow of Zimbabwe looming large over their
four-day summit in the Nigerian capital.
The paper, adorned with colour pictures depicting state oppression
against the media and the opposition in Zimbabwe, was tucked inside an
influential Nigerian newspaper, ThisDay.
"This is part of a new effort to ensure that the newspaper hits the
newsstands on Zimbabwe's streets," said the paper's legal adviser,
"The story of Zimbabwe is the story of The Daily News," she said.
The Daily News, the only private newspaper in Zimbabwe, was banned on
September 12 after a Supreme Court judgement declared it illegal.
It appeared briefly on October 25, a day after an administrative
tribunal ordered it to obtain an operating permit from a
government-appointed commission before the end of last month. But
several journalists and top company officials were arrested and charged
with illegally publishing a newspaper, and The Daily News has been off
the presses since then.
The paper has been strongly critical of the Mugabe government and its
stance has won wide respect among ordinary people in Zimbabwe, where it
boasted as many as 950 000 readers.
The special edition was published in Nigeria to try to give maximum
exposure to the plight of the paper and the deep political and economic
crisis in Zimbabwe, which was suspended from the Commonwealth last year
after Mugabe won elections marred by vote-rigging and violence.
Commonwealth leaders have set up a special committee to look into the
Zimbabwe crisis and try to avoid a damaging split over whether the
Southern African nation should remain suspended from the 54-member
Without The Daily News, Zimbabweans only have the government-run
propaganda sheets The Herald and its Bulawayo regional edition, The
Under the headlines "Press bombed", "Mobs destroy newspapers" and "New
reign of terror erupts on farms", the special Nigeria edition chronicled
a history of media and opposition repression by Mugabe's 23-year-old
government and the disastrous effects of its controversial land reform
Under the land reforms, Mugabe's government has seized land from white
commercial farmers and redistributed it to landless black Zimbabweans.
Critics of Mugabe have said the land seizures have worsened a food
crisis in Zimbabwe sparked by a severe drought in the Southern African
Other Southern African countries affected by the drought have since
recovered and do not require food aid, while up to 5,5-million
Zimbabweans -- almost half the country's population -- are expected to
require humanitarian aid by the end of the year. -- Sapa-AFP
Mugabe's mouthpiece: Kick Britain out of Zimbabwe
09 December 2003 13:13
Zimbabwe's state press called on President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday to
sever diplomatic ties with Britain and Australia, blaming British Prime
Minister Tony Blair's government for all the southern African country's
economic and political crises.
"The time has now come for Zimbabwe to fully engage Britain head-on by
cutting all diplomatic ties with the former colonial master and its
sidekick, Australia," the government-controlled daily Herald said in a
front-page editorial. Mugabe announcement on Sunday night that he was
withdrawing Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth after it decided to continue
Zimbabwe's suspension from the 54-member association indefinitely.
The Herald is controlled directly from Mugabe's office. Blair and
Australian Prime Minister John Howard were seen as the leading
protagonists for Zimbabwe's extended suspension. Zimbabwe was first
suspended in April last year after the Commonwealth found that Mugabe
had rigged his victory in presidential elections a month before.
The Herald said that Mugabe's decision to pull out of the Commonwealth
"only deals with the symptoms and not the cause of the disease."
"The issue is not the Commonwealth or any other third parties but
Britain and its Prime Minister, Tony Blair."
It said Britain had brought about "sanctions," imposed by the European
Union, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, which had "savaged"
The Herald went on: "The country's political landscape has been put
into disarray following the creation of the British-sponsored
(opposition) Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a host of
non-governmental organisations that have sought to cause mayhem and
instability in the country by staging foolish demonstrations and media
campaigns designed to precipitate instability and undermine the
It said that international concern about human rights, democracy, press
freedom and the independence of the judiciary were "a smokescreen to
maintain the colonial grip on Zimbabwe".
"Kicking Britain out of Zimbabwe and withdrawing from London will have
its repercussions, but it will be a worthwhile price to pay and a true
test of sovereignty," The Herald said.
"Smart" sanctions have been imposed since 2002, and apply exclusively
to Mugabe and members of his immediate ruling clique. Diplomats point
out they go no further than banning them from travel and from holding
assets in the countries imposing the sanctions.
Britain, the colonial authority until Zimbabwe's independence in 1980,
has been the government's largest aid donor and currently is the biggest
contributor to famine relief needed to feed 5,5-million people facing
starvation, and has given 26-million pounds since September 2001.
Cultural ties run deep between the two countries, and Britain has
become home to an estimated 100 000 illegal Zimbabwean economic refugees
fleeing economic chaos at home.
The government routinely blames the British labour government for its
problems, accusing it of spying, sabotage and even of hijacking
Zimbabwe's fuel supplies on the high seas. International and local civil
rights groups have recorded thousands of cases of murder, torture,
assault, illegal detention and other human rights abuses by the
government and ruling party militias since 2000 when Mugabe, fearing
imminent defeat in parliamentary elections launched a campaign of
repression to try and destroy the pro-democracy MDC.
The Commonwealth secretariat reported before the weekend's Commonwealth
summit that Mugabe had done nothing to carry out democratic and
electoral reforms he agreed to since the suspension was imposed.
Mugabe, who turns 80 in February and is now in his 24th year of rule,
last week denounced calls for him to retire. He said he intended to stay
in power at least until 2008. - Sapa
Mugabe to discuss cyber society
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has travelled to the Swiss city of
Geneva to attend a United Nations meeting on the information society.
The summit will discuss how developments such as the internet have
affected the world.
His trip comes two just days after he withdrew from the Commonwealth.
The BBC's Alan Little in Geneva says that it is not known whether he
will address the meeting but his presence is a calculated act of
He is under sanctions from the European Union and the United States but
is free to travel to Switzerland.
In Zimbabwe, 14 people were recently charged after sending e-mails
calling for mass protests against Mr Mugabe's government.
Zimbabwe's secret services have been trying for several years to
acquire high-technology equipment to monitor online communications.
A senior official from a Zimbabwean internet service provider (ISP)
told BBC News Online that he did not believe the authorities had yet
obtained this equipment.
The government controls all local radio and television stations and
recently closed down the only privately-owned daily newspaper.
Correspondents say this leaves the internet as one of the only ways for
the opposition to spread its message, although only a small number of
people have access to computers.
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