Former Sadc leaders ask Muluzi to break from local politics by Willie Zingani, 13 January 2006 - 06:18:02 Former Sadc heads of state attending the AfricanMessage 1 of 1046 , Jan 13, 2006View SourceFormer Sadc leaders ask Muluzi to break from local politics
by Willie Zingani, 13 January 2006 - 06:18:02
Former Sadc heads of state attending the African Leaders Forum (ALF) meeting in Mozambique have urged Malawi's former president Bakili Muluzi to "slow down" on local politics and join regional peace mediation efforts, according to a close diplomatic source in the Mozambican capital.
The source told The Nation that six retired Sadc presidents led by former South African President Nelson Mandela met Muluzi privately on Wednesday to persuade him to take a break from Malawi politics in order to take active part in peace mediation efforts on the continent.
The source said they did not get his immediate response.
"I understand Muluzi would rather consult his UDF party officials first before responding to his counterparts' request," said the source, adding that many retired Sadc leaders appreciate the positive role Malawi's former president played as a peace mediator the period he served as Sadc chair but were concerned with his conduct at home where he is not in talking terms with President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Muluzi, who left for Mozambique Tuesday, joined a team of retired presidents from 16 African countries at a forum they are brainstorming on how they can use their experiences and expertise to make a valuable contribution to the continent's development.
The Sadc leaders' pressure on Muluzi follows recommendation calling on retired presidents to concentrate their energies on promoting peace, security and stability on the continent.
But Muluzi's spokesperson, Sam Mpasu, who had not been in touch with the UDF national chair since he left for Maputo four days ago, said he was not surprised over the retired Sadc leaders' concerns.
"Muluzi has a wealth of experience in mediation talks which he demonstrated effectively when he was chairman of Sadc and Comesa," said Mpasu. "He was involved in mediations in DRC, Rwanda, Sudan and many other countries and the world knows that."
But Mpasu said people could not expect a person in Muluzi's "difficult" position to offer his services effectively to his country and the rest of the region when he is being called a criminal, suffering humiliation all the time, denounced on the radio and public rallies.
Chancellor College political analyst Boniface Dulani said it was fair for Muluzi to quit local politics completely, and join the likes of Mandela, former Mozambique president Joachim Chissano and Botswana's Ketumire Masire who because of their approach to life after retiring are in the class of respected old statesmen.
"I would agree that as long as Muluzi continues to be dominant in internal politics it will be difficult for anyone to consider him for regional peace mediation responsibilities," he said.
Dulani observed that politics both in UDF and DPP revolves around Muluzi and Mutharika; as a result it becomes difficult for their close allies to offer sensible advice because "many of them can't survive on their own".
"But if I were Muluzi I would have wanted to be remembered as an old statesman, and not someone who continued getting involved in local partisan politics," said Dulani.
According to Mozambican News Agency (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique), 16 African former heads of state on Wednesday formally set up the Africa Forum*, as a grouping of former presidents and prime ministers, and elected former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano as its first chairperson.
They elected Nicophore Soglo of Benin as the deputy chair, and Mandela, as the organisation's Patron.
A short declaration, signed by all participants, said they were "encouraged by the emerging democratic practices and culture of peace in Africa, and the concomitant determination among African leaders to relinquish power upon expiry of their terms of office".
They were convinced that the new Forum "can make a substantive contribution to the efforts to promote and implement the objectives of the African Union and of Nepad (New Partnership for Africa's Development)".
The declaration also committed the former leaders "to continue, in our private capacities, to share our individual and collective experiences, knowledge and commitment to the promotion of justice, peace, security, stability and development in Africa".
Other leaders attending the forum included Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia), (Pierre Buyoya) Burundi, Jerry Rawlings (Ghana) among others.
Lions attack 5 people in Nkhata Bay
by Edwin Nyirongo, 13 January 2006 - 05:55:06
People of Traditional Authority Kabunduli in Nkhata Bay are living in fear as rampaging lions have attacked and injured five people in the area.
Life has completely stopped as people no longer go to attend to their gardens and children are not going to school.
"How can we send our children to school when we are not assured of their safety? It is better we stay at home and if they want they should come here," said Minias Manda, a mother of two Thursday.
Senior chief Kabunduli said the lions are causing unease because people do not know where they are and who would be the next victim.
He said the lions started killing goats and sheep before they took on unsuspecting people on Thursday last week.
"People live in fear here and they feel defenceless. They have stopped farming, they have stopped taking their livestock to the bush to feed them, they cannot hold prayers at night, they cannot take a sick person to the hospital and even the children are afraid to go to school," he said.
The chief claimed that he sent the message to the Wildlife Department last week and all he was told was that they would come but to no avail.
Speaking at Nkhata Bay District Hospital, one of victims Mdike Kamanga said the lion attacked him on Tuesday while farming in his garden on .
He explained that he carried a spear after learning that lions are attacking and killing livestock which helped him.
"When I was farming, a lion came but I quickly took a spear and stabbed it on the chest but it overpowered me and I fell down. My wife called for help but when people came, it had already beaten me on the buttocks and upper leg. It also killed my dogs," he said.
Another victim, Gabriel Phiri who was also admitted at the hospital, said he was also attacked while working on his farm on Wednesday.
He said he tried to run away but the beast pounded on him to the ground. When his brother, Petros Phiri heard the screaming and tried to help, the lion left him and attacked his brother, whose arm was completely crashed and has been referred to Mzuzu Central Hospital.
Another brother, Wingliton Phiri came to help his two brothers but the lion left the second victim and attacked him. He is also admitted at the hospital.
Nkhata Bay District Health Officer Dr. Charles Munthali said one of the four lions' victims was referred to Mzuzu Central Hospital.
Munthali said the victims have injuries in the buttocks, elbow, shoulders, and legs.
On Thursday last week another lion attacked a woman while sleeping in her house at Chintheche in the same district.
"It was midnight when the lion forced itself in my house. It grabbed and threw me out of the house and I felt pain all over the body," said Joyce Nyirongo at Chintheche Health Centre.
Chintheche Senior Clinical Officer Hastings Sikoti said Nyirongo has improved within the few days she had been at the hospital because she is now able to stand up.
Mzuzu Wildlife Officer Alex Chunga could not be reached on his mobile. He, however, told the Daily Times of Thursday that his officers are also tracking the lions in Mzimba.
Blantyre is UN millennium city
by Henry Chilobwe, 13 January 2006 - 05:53:46
A United Nations envoy Professor Jeffrey Sachs Thursday declared Blantyre a second United Nations Millennium City after Kisumu of Kenya.
He said the UN will pump resources in the two cities so that they create a strong economic base.
Sachs who heads the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was in the country to assess the opportunities as well as the challenges that Blantyre City faces in its quest to achieve the MDGs.
He met City Assembly technocrats and other stake holders as well as political leaders and members of the civil society to appraise him on the possible ways of ending the poverty in Blantyre and make the city blossom in economic development and social service delivery.
Sachs, who was accompanied by UN resident representative Michael Keating, said Blantyre as the country's commercial capital and Malawi as a whole are reeling in deep poverty and are in urgent need of assistance in order to improve people's livelihoods.
"There is no doubt that Malawi needs urgent massive aid in order to reduce the scaring poverty levels. While the MDGs are meant to reduce these poverty levels Malawi is sinking deeper in the crisis and it really needs urgent, massive assistance.
"Malawi is a difficult country which is extraordinarily impoverished, the life expectancy is half that of the high income countries," said Sachs.
But Sachs said the UN will also put emphasis on the development of the rural areas in the country, through its millennium villages programme, in order to complement the effort that will be made in transforming the city of Blantyre.
He observed that if poverty remains the same in the rural areas the effort in the city will be wasted because the rural population will immigrate into the urban areas and create slums and other undesirable effects of urbanisation.
"Transformation of the city cannot be done in isolation of the rural population because it is that sector of society that will support this effort. While people in towns are busy with industrial work the rural area has to supply the cities with food and the cities have to provide the markets where these people can sell their products," said Sachs.
He added: "But the situation now is that the rural people cannot afford to feed themselves and therefore are failing to support the cities and the buying power of the people in the cities is also very low such that they do not provide the much needed market for the produce."
Sachs said most countries in Africa are failing to produce enough food because of pressures on the land which have resulted in heavy washout of soils.
He pledged that the UN will support governments to provide improved seed and cheap fertilizers to end hunger which is also one of the MDGs.
But Sachs noted that Blantyre faces big challenges because of poor infrastructure as well as an undeveloped transport system that cannot attract investors to set up big industries.
Director of Health Services Lester Bandawe, who was representing chief executive officer Sophie Kalimba, said the assembly faces a lot of challenges due to lack of finances and the slow pace of economic development to create employment for the booming population.
Sachs flew in yesterday on his tour of African countries that started in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Sachs was also in the country in September last year where he came to assess the poverty levels in Malawi.
Food shortage hits Nkhata Bay
by Francis Tayanjah-Phiri, 13 January 2006 - 05:52:13
Traditional leaders and Members of Parliament (MPs) in Nkhata Bay have warned that many people in the district risk starvation should government and other donors not intervene with relief maize as is the case in other areas.
The leaders said the situation has been worsened by poor cassava yields*the main food crop in the lakeshore district*and poverty.
Nkhata Bay was allegedly left out of the list of districts benefiting from free food distribution from government.
"It's true that the hunger situation is very bad. Despite the fact that we argued vehemently in Parliament that Nkhata Bay should be included on the list of beneficiaries, nothing has been done," said Nkhata Bay West MP Rodrick Kavuta (PPM).
Nkhata Bay South MP Aleke Banda (PPM) also said there was a serious food shortage in most areas of his constituency.
He said most households in the affected areas do not have sufficient food hence in need of free food.
"Unfortunately, those who did the assessment omitted*and usually omit*Nkhata Bay thinking that the cassava plants they see yields much. This is a very wrong assumption and we have always argued so," said Aleke.
He said diseases affected the said cassava plants in most fields in the district and, coupled with low rainfall, have worsened the food shortage in the district.
On his part, Nkhata Bay North MP Fred Nkhwazi (Independent) also agreed with Banda that if government did not intervene immediately the situation would spark starvation.
Chief Mkumbila also confirmed the food shortage saying: "There is so much hunger in my area and I wish the government or other donors rushed to assist before people starve."
Nhata Bay acting District Commissioner Andrew Kasote the district has some areas that needed urgent food aid.
An assessment by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC), chaired by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, initially left out Nkhata Bay on its list of beneficiaries of free food.
Meria Nowa Phiri, Commissioner for Poverty and Disaster Management, confirmed that Nkhata Bay alongside Likoma Island and Mzimba districts, were left out on the initial list of beneficiaries recommended by MVAC.
"It is indeed true that the government voucher system [for free food] is not reaching these three districts. That is why we consulted the World Food Programme (WFP) to consider assisting them and our records show that WFP is also assessing how it can help Nkhata Bay," she said.
Chiefs demand money for Mardef forms
by Bright Sonani, 13 January 2006 - 05:46:30
Some chiefs in the country have been accused of demanding money from potential beneficiaries of the Malawi Rural Development Fund (Mardef) loans for them to sign their forms.
Mardef officials made the admission Thursday saying some chiefs were demanding K300s for their signatures as part of tradition which requires that subjects should give something whenever they go to see their chiefs.
But two senior chiefs in the country have condemned the act saying those chiefs who were demanding the money were just greedy.
Mardef Board Member Dunstan Malithano, speaking during a press briefing on the latest developments on the K5 billion loan scheme, also condemned the act that it was not in line with the loan's policy and regulations.
"Mardef does not encourage this type of practice. It is difficult for us to trace the chiefs who are demanding the K300s. However, we are definitely against this practice of the chiefs," said Malithano who was sitting in for chairman Joseph Mwanamvekha.
Mardef General Manager Philleas Chienda explained that some chiefs were demanding the money saying that it was part of tradition whereby subjects are supposed to pay something before they would be allowed to see a chief.
But Senior Chief Kaomba said it was not true that the chiefs' demand was tradition.
"This is a government job just like when we sign for passports, opening of bank accounts or the Malawi Social Action Fund (Masaf). We are just implementing government programmes and demanding something is stealing," said Kaomba.
He said chiefs are only given something only when a funeral, birth or wedding is reported to them and said there was no fixed amount for that.
Inkosi Ya Makosi Mbelwa IV said signing such forms was part of their responsibility.
"Those chiefs are just greedy," he said.
During the briefing both Malithano and Chienda dismissed reports that the loans were suspended because they were politicised.
"We went where they were reports of politics involved but did not see any trace of politics. Parliament, before the loans were suspended also went out to check on their own but they could not trace any political influence," said Chienda.
Chienda explained that the resumption of the loans would start at the beginning of February.
He said all those who collected the forms will by January 17 hand them over to Malawi Rural Finance Company (MRFC) for a desk appraisal and the following week the forms would be sent to Mardef for scrutiny and approval.
"The following week we will start training, that is between January 23 and 24. Once training is over we would then advise Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) to start disbursing the funds," he said.
Chienda said with the type of training given to the beneficiaries the fund expect at least a defaulting rate of less than one to two percent.
He then disclosed that out of K35 million already disbursed before the loan facility was suspended, the beneficiaries have repaid K6 million "with very minimal monitoring."
However, Chienda disclosed that government is yet to release K4 billion for the K5 billion loan facility saying Mardef was still banking on the K1 billion in their account at MSB.
"The fund already dispersed K35 million to nine districts, two in the North, three in the Centre and four in the South," said Chienda.
Chienda, however, in an interview soon after signing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and MSB said the money in their custody would be adequate for initial disbursement.
Commenting on how the money would be released, acting Secretary to the Treasury Patrick Kabambe said the Mardef programme was demand driven and the rest of the money would be released according to a request from Mardef.
Mardef initially started to disburse the funds but was stopped by Parliament which expressed dissatisfaction on how the loans were being handled.
Malawians Need Urgent Food Assistance As Rains, Winds Batter the South - UN
UN News Service (New York)
January 11, 2006
Posted to the web January 12, 2006
Heavy rains and strong winds in Malawi have driven floods across fields already planted for this year's harvest, affecting tens of thousands of people, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.
Residents of worst-hit Chikwawa and Nsanje districts were already receiving food assistance because of the poor 2004/2005 harvest, while across Malawi the national food security situation has continued to worsen, OCHA warned.
Last August, the UN and the Government declared that 4.2 million people would require food assistance through March 2006, but by the end of November that figure had swelled to just over 5 million.
To help those newly added to the list of people needing assistance, UN humanitarian agencies will require 52,700 metric tons of food over the 202,000 metric tons originally requested.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said that while it is cooperating with the Government, the food crisis across Southern Africa and transport obstacles have created major challenges to getting food assistance into the country. But despite this, WFP has almost doubled its school feeding programme to include more than 400,000 children.
Moderate and severe malnutrition increased nationwide to 13.1 per cent in November from 7.6 per cent last October. According to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), admissions of severely malnourished children to 48 Nutrition Rehabilitation Units in November rose 17 per cent compared to the same period in 2004, with the highest jump - 45 per cent - occurring in the southern region. The number of admissions in November over October increased 30 per cent nationwide.
At the end of last August, the UN launched a six-month Flash Appeal for Malawi, requesting $74 million for food and nutritional assistance to support national food distribution as well as voucher schemes and cash subsidies, and to subsidize seed and fertilizers for small farmers. More than two-thirds of the way through the Appeal, just over $41 million has been received to date - or 56 per cent of what is needed, OCHA said.
World Vision, Nasfam in tree planting campaign
by Nation Reporter, 13 January 2006 - 06:13:25
World Vision Malawi (WVM) and National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (Nasfam) have launched tree planting campaigns in Lilongwe and Mchinji districts where they expect to plant 216,000 and 1,000 tree seedlings respectively.
In Lilongwe, WVM has mobilised over 74 villages at Lundu within Traditional Authority Chimutu, Lilongwe in project that will raise 216,000 seedlings.
Speaking during the launch, WVM Area Development Programme (ADP) Manager for Chata Ishmael Chirwa said WVM has set aside K2.5 million to support four nurseries constructed by villagers on their own.
He said WVM decided to support the tree planting activities in the area because the villagers asked for assistance to restore the destroyed natural vegetation.
Chirwa said he was impressed with the high degree of understanding among the community on the importance of tree planting activities.
In Mchinji, Nasfam launched the season by assisting villagers around Senior Traditional Authority Simphasi's area to plant 1,000 trees at Chimteka where the T/A appealed to traditional healers to engage in exercise.
Simphasi said more trees have been cut by herbalists who use them for traditional medicines.
Henry Kalomba, Nasfam Regional Manager (Centre), said it was important for farmers to engage in tree planting because they also use more trees in tobacco farming.
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