- Oct 2, 2000Malawian Parliament At Odds With Judiciary
Panafrican News Agency
September 30, 2000
Malawi's Speaker of Parliament Sam
Mpasu is contesting the High Court's decision to lift the one-year
suspension on opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba for
repeatedly boycotting the Houses sessions, particularly when
President Bakili Muluzi is present.
Mpasu said in a statement issued in Blantyre that he would
summon High Court judge Anaclet Chipeta to explain himself
before the parliamentarian Public Appointments Committee.
Chakuamba boycotts any session attended by Muluzi on
allegations that Muluzi and his ruling United Democratic Front
(UDF) rigged the June 1999 elections and robbed him of victory.
The High Court lifted the suspension after Chakuamba had sued
Parliament, arguing that it calculated to frustrate the opposition
and elevate his deputy, John Tembo, a purported government
Chakuamba and Tembo are locked in a bitter leadership feud in
the opposition Malawi Congress Party. Tembo, a former critic of
Muluzi's UDF has since started making conciliatory remarks on the
government, a clear departure from Chakuamba's confrontational
With UDF's backing, Tembo became leader of opposition in
parliament after Chakumba's suspension. Since then, he has met
Muluzi twice since he assumed that post.
In a tersely worded press release, Mpasu accused Chipeta of
over-reaching himself in his judgement.
He claimed that the ruling stripped Parliament of its powers to
discipline its members.
"We will call the learned judge to ascertain from him if he has not
violated key sections of the constitution by over-reaching himself
in this manner," the Speaker's statement said.
Muluzi Calls for Rural Electrification
Panafrican News Agency
October 2, 2000
Malawi president Bakili Muluzi, who on Saturday switched on
the 130 million US dollars Kapichira Hydroelectric Power
Plant to the national grid, has said it is his government's wish
to make electricity available to the rural masses.
Muluzi said his government set up the National Electricity
Council for this purpose.
"This project has cost us several millions of dollars. Why
should my poor government invest so much money in
energy? It is because I strongly believe that energy is the
life-blood of modern industrial economy," he said.
The state-run Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi
(ESCOM) has embarked on a special programme where it
is supplying electricity to even thatched houses in peri-urban
centres. Since most people in these areas are low income,
ESCOM has designed a nominal flat rate charge for the
Muluzi commended ESCOM for that initiative but asked the
corporation to extend the project to the rural areas where,
ironically, close to 90 percent of the population lives but only
1 percent have access to electricity.
Malawi's national access to electricity is only 4 percent of
Malawi's 10 million people, the lowest in the 14-member
Southern African Development Community (SADC) whose
average regional electricity accessibility for its combined
400 million people is 20 percent.
With the switching on of the new power plant, ESCOM has
added 64 more megawatts to the national grid, bringing
ESCOM's power generation capacity to 284.7 MW.
Managing director Overtone Mandalasi said in an interview
Monday with the commissioning of the new plant, ESCOM
customers should experience minimal power interruptions
and load shedding.
"Blackouts and load shedding result from disruption in
supply. I am glad that this new plant has adequate generation
capacity that even in the event of losing one machine
(generator), we can still generate power," he said.
ESCOM is funding 30 percent of the new plant while the rest
is a loan from the International Development Agency of the
World Bank, German Development Funding Agency,
European Investment Bank, Commonwealth Development
Corporation and the Dutch finance institution, FMO.
The project is situated at the site of Kapichira Falls on the
Shire River in the southern district of Chikwawa. The project
has brought engineers and equipment from all over the world,
including Argentina, USA, France, Germany and Sweden.
US-based Tippets-Abbot-MacCathy-Statton Incorporated,
Piesold and Partners and Merz and McLellan won the
contract for the hydroelectric power project in 1992.
Mr Tsvangirai denies threatening the president
Police are reported to be considering
prosecuting the leader of Zimbabwe's main
opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai, after he
allegedly threatened President Robert Mugabe.
The Movement for Democratic Change leader
told 20,000 supprters at a rally on Saturday
that if Mr Mugabe did not want to step down
before the next elections scheduled for 2002
"we will remove you violently".
On Monday, state news agency ZIANA quoted
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena as saying
police were examining Mr Tsvangirai's speech
with a view to establishing grounds to charge
"Any threats of violence
are unlawful. There are
legitimate claims for
police to act and moves
are already in place,"
the police spokesman
was quoted as saying.
On Sunday, Zimbabwe's
ruling party warned the MDC that it would
respond with violence to any attempt forcibly
to remove President Robert Mugabe from
MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart
said that Mr Tsvangirai had no legal case to
"The MDC's position is
that Morgan Tsvangirai
was giving a warning to
President Mugabe to
consider history. There
is a long line of
dictators who have
refused to go
peacefully - and the
people have removed
them violently," he
Our correspondent in
Harare says that Mr Tsvangirai's comments
reflect an increasing desperation on the part of
many Zimbabweans as they watch the
economy continue to disintegrate after months
of political instability.
In the run-up June's parliamentary elections at
least 31 people died - mostly MDC supporters.
The MDC won 57 seats in parliament ending
Zanu-PF's virtual monopoly on power since
independence in 1980.
However, tension between the opposition and
ruling party has remained high since then.
Last week the MDC said a recent grenade
attack on its hq was the work of a police
agent, but the government alleged that the
MDC itself was behind the attack.
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>