- Dec 3 6:58 AMMalawian farewell to
By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre
Thousands of Malawians have attended the
funeral of the country's most popular reggae
musician, who died suddenly in police custody
early this week.
In a rousing send off, close to 10,000 people
from all walks of life thronged Chileka town,
just outside the capital, Blantyre, to say
goodbye to Evison Matafale popularly known as
Police have denied foul
A few days before his
death, the controversial
Matafale, who was 32
years old, uttered some
"I don't fear death because my Bible tells me
that I should fear the one that kills both body
and spirit, not the body alone."
Though Malawi's music industry attended the
ceremony en masse, it was dreadlocked
members of the Rastafarian community who
dominated the ceremony, turning it into more
of a fiesta than a sombre gathering.
But tension filled the
air as some thirsted for
revenge for the death
of their prophet.
Police, whom many
people accuse of killing
the musician, were
warned not to come
anywhere near the
ceremony as were
ruling party officials.
Police officers at a
nearby police post
barricaded themselves inside as the funeral
cortege passed by singing songs of revenge.
Elton, Matafale's brother, told journalists the
singer was arrested and tortured by police last
Saturday because of letters he had written to
President Bakilu Muluzi denouncing his
"When I saw him at Maula Prison he was in a
bad shape," he added.
According to police, the reggae star was
arrested at his house in Blantyre to be
interrogated about those letters.
In them he had accused the president of
backing Muslims and Asian traders and
exploiting ordinary Malawians.
The singer, a
had early this month
lost his cool with an
Asian merchant over
payments. He had also
been suffering from
His mother had pleaded
with the police not to
take her son away but
officers had assured
her he would be released the same day.
However, police sources said Matafale was
transferred to the capital, Lilongwe, in the
night where he was remanded in custody.
Lilongwe Central Hospital administrator Charles
Mwasambo said that Matafale died of severe
He said there was no evidence of torture when
police officers brought the reggae star into
"His condition deteriorated around midnight and
he died at 0320 in the morning (Tuesday)," he
Matafale rose from almost nowhere to become
Malawi's favourite musician last year with the
release of his debut album, Kuyimba 1.
Soon after Kuyimba 1
he disappeared from
the public view for
almost a year battling
But after coming out of
hospital he released his
second album, Kuyimba
2, which catapulted
him back into the
His music, laced with
frank social commentary done in a Jamaican
reggae style, made him popular both in pubs
Meanwhile, the dread-locked Rasta community
- of which Matafale was an elder - are
planning a series of demonstrations as part of
the mourning process.
Matafale leaves behind a five-year old
daughter and an album of uncut songs.
The only single on the album that has been
released was 'Time Mark', a tribute to victims
of the terrorist attacks on the United States of
America on 11 September.
World Jurists Protest Removal of Judges
African Church Information Service
December 3, 2001
Posted to the web November 30, 2001
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has protested in a letter to Malawian leader Bakili Muluzi and his attorney-general Peter Fachi against the removal of judges, saying the act is contrary to the basic principles of the role of the judiciary adopted by the African Charter General Assembly.
The Geneva-based ICJ, a worldwide organisation devoted to protecting human rights and the rule of law, described the dismissal of judges as against the African Charter on People's and Human Rights, which Malawi ratified in 1989.
The world body of judges also asked the government to suspend parliamentary proceedings against them and that any disciplinary matters against the judges be brought before the Judicial Service Commission so that the judges can be afforded a fair hearing.
"We express our deep dismay that Parliament had made a recommendation for the removal of three High Court judges, George Chimasula Phiri, Dunstain Mwaungulu and Ancaclet Chipeta, for alleged misconduct," said the letter.
The letter indicated that the removal recommendation was not pursuant to the 1994 Constitution of Malawi, which calls for the establishment of the Judicial Service Commission, the body responsible for disciplinary matters relating to judicial officers.
The Charter, adopted by the General Assembly in 1985, among other things provides that governments must protect the independence of the judiciary, whose functioning must be free from threats or interference.
Any charge against a judge in his/her professional capacity shall be processed under an appropriate procedure. The judge shall have the right to a fair hearing, it says.
The three judges await their fate from President Muluzi, who the National Assembly petitioned last week to have them dismissed.
Last week, Leader of the House Harry Thomsom and some opposition MPs argued that the judges be given a chance to be heard before they are removed, but most MPs voted otherwise.
Meanwhile, a special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Dato Param Cumaraswamy, has sent an urgent appeal to President Muluzi and his government to desist from interfering with the independence of the country's judiciary.
In his appeal, the UN official said he was especially worried that Parliament went ahead to impeach the judges despite their obtaining an injunction from the High Court restraining the proceedings.
He said he was also disturbed that even the judge who granted the injunction, Justice Bathiel Chiudza-Banda, was also threatened to appear before Parliament to be impeached.
He reminded Muluzi that Malawi's own Constitution said that only the Judicial Service Commission, and not Parliament, is responsible for disciplining judicial officers.
More worrying were allegations that the charges against the judges were politically motivated after they made a string of rulings against the ruling UDF party, he said.
Cumaraswamy reminded the government that as a signatory to the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, Malawi should make sure that the independence of the judiciary was guaranteed by the State.
"Judges are not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority except the law and the Constitution," he said, adding that "decisions in disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings should be subject to an independent review."
Mbeki's patience with Mugabe
Johannesburg | Monday
SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki has stepped up criticism
of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, saying his counterpart
could no longer expect protection while the political crisis there
deepens, a newspaper reported Sunday.
"He wants Mugabe to know that he should not expect protection
any more. Up to now we have rallied behind him," a senior South
African official told The Sunday Times, requesting anonymity.
Mbeki also urged Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi, the chairman
of the Southern African Development Community, to convene a
special task team on Zimbabwe, the paper said.
Another unnamed official said Mbeki's patience was "wearing
thin" because Zimbabwe's crisis was hampering efforts to
launching an economic revival plan for Africa.
The paper said Mbeki was receiving reports that hundreds of
refugees were streaming across the border every day.
Mbeki publicly slammed Mugabe twice this week, accusing his
government of pursuing wrong economic policies that had
aggravated the country's political crisis and had ripple effects
throughout the entire region.
The South African head of state also voiced concerns for
journalists in Zimbabwe -- who are increasingly targeted in a
government clampdown -- and for the prospect of fair elections
Mbeki has in the past come under fire for his reluctance to
criticize his neighbour, in particular regarding Harare's
controversial land reforms which aim to redress colonial-era land
imbalances. The reforms have been accompanied by violence and
lawlessness on white-owned farms by government-sponsored
But regional concern has heightened recently over Zimbabwe's
critical food shortages, skyrocketing inflation and unemployment,
and its unabashed campaign against the independent press and
Mbeki also raised concerns over Harare's refusal to allow the
European Union to deploy observers during next year's
presidential elections, and raised the spectre of civil conflict if the
poll was not seen to be legitimate.
"If the outcome is not accepted by the people of Zimbabwe, the
situation will be even worse and you have the danger of civil
conflict," Mbeki said.
Presidential representative Bheki Khumalo reiterated the stance
in The Sunday Times.
"If the elections are not legitimate, the situation will be far worse
than it is now. The president therefore wants to double the efforts
to seek a resolution to the crisis," Khumalo said.
Meanwhile, the main Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), has called on all Zimbabwean
citizens living in South Africa to register for the forthcoming
presidential election, SABC television reported on Sunday.
Hundreds of Zimbabwean nationals turned out to welcome Gibson
Sibanda, deputy president of the MDC in Johannesburg on
In his main address, Sibanda accused Mugabe and the ruling
Zanu (PF) of unleashing violence, and of waging a propaganda
war, against opposition members.
He said the MDC is ready to remove President Robert Mugabe
from office and to start re-building the economy. - AFP
Zimbabwe Unionists Urge Defiance
By Michael Hartnack
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, December 2, 2001; 4:06 PM
HARARE, Zimbabwe ** Unionists, priests, and thousands of representatives from civic groups on Sunday
announced a civil disobedience campaign to force Zimbabwe's government to implement political reforms and
stage free presidential elections early next year.
Zimbabwe has been gripped by economic and political turmoil for nearly two years since government-backed
militants began invading white owned farms, and the appeal for mass action by the National Constitutional
Assembly could further heighten tensions.
Risking arrest, assembly leaders agreed to embark on a nationwide program of civil disobedience, strikes and tax
boycotts beginning in January, unless the government gives in to their demands for reform.
"We will proceed regardless of the consequences," said Douglas Mwonzora, the assembly's spokesman.
The assembly last year successfully campaigned against a constitutional amendment proposed by President
Robert Mugabe to enable him to redistribute thousands of white-owned farms to landless blacks.
The proposal was defeated in a referendum, but Mugabe ignored it and condoned the subsequent seizure of
1,700 white-owned farms by ruling party militants as a justified response to the legacy of inequitable land
ownership left by colonial rule.
With his popularity fast eroding, Mugabe has attempted to squash dissent via an often-violent campaign against
the opposition and the independent media.
"What we have seen so far is just the beginning," said Mwonzora.
Assembly chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, said it was fruitless to hope that Mugabe would respond to diplomatic
pressure for political reform.
Delegates attending an assembly gathering Saturday adopted a new draft constitution, which proposes boosting
Parliament's powers, entrenching human rights and limiting the power of the presidency.
However they rejected Madhuku's proposals calling for the abolition of the death penalty, for abortion to be
made available on demand and for homosexuality to be decriminalized
"We are here producing a document for popular mobilization," said Madhuku. "These were areas of
disappointment but the people have a right to (determine) their own constitution."
But Mugabe, speaking in Masiiwa, 70 miles northeast of Harare Saturday, said he was not afraid of losing power
in the upcoming poll.
"The opposition will never win the elections under whatever circumstances," the government-controlled Sunday
Mail newspaper reported him as saying.
By BBC News Online's Joseph Winter
Robert Mugabe is pulling out all the stops to
ensure that he wins the presidential elections
due in Zimbabwe before next April.
Electoral laws have been proposed which will
effectively deny the vote to hundreds of
thousands of young people without jobs, who
are invariably opposition supporters.
Foreigners have been told that they will not be
allowed to send monitors to the elections and
only civil servants - susceptible to government
control - will be accredited.
sympathisers have been
named as judges, so
that legal challenges to
such laws, and possibly
the election results, by
the opposition will be
doomed to failure.
And more new laws are
in the pipeline to stop independent journalists
from writing stories which do not meet with
The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change is being vilified as a "terrorist
organisation" and officials warn of a US-style
"war against terror".
The low-level campaign of intimidation against
MDC activists, especially in the exposed rural
areas, is continuing - as is the confiscation of
land belonging to white farmers who are
accused of supporting the opposition.
Self-styled "war veterans" were recently
allowed to rampage through the second city of
Bulawayo attacking whites and other
suspected opposition supporters unmolested
by the watching police.
The 77-year-old Mr
Mugabe and his
advisors are laying,
foundation stones of a
very high wall around
want change, buoyed
by the MDC's strong
showing in the June
elections, are losing
"There's no way that Mugabe will lose the
election," says one long-suffering Harare
resident. "And even if he does lose the vote,
he won't give up power."
The Financial Gazette newspaper reports that
Mr Mugabe is building underground bunkers at
State House in case the elections descend into
And the MDC has not yet come up with any
Their 56 members of
parliament are unable
to block the
much they huff and
economy continues to
suffocate in the
absence of foreign aid
Workers are being laid off by the day and with
inflation officially running at 98%, bread and
even the staple food, maize-meal, are
A multi-screen, state-of-the-art cinema
complex on the outskirts of Harare has had to
close down because it can no longer get the
foreign currency to import films from
Some lucky people, mainly with good
connections, are benefiting from the
distribution of farmland, so that even if they
do not have a job, they can at least grow their
MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was taken
to court for warning
that if Mr Mugabe does
not step down, he
would be removed from
power by force. The
charges were dropped
but this could well be
an accurate prediction
for Zimbabwe's future.
With Mr Mugabe at the
helm, there is no
prospect of a reversal
The biggest challenge is to earn some foreign
currency in order to pay for essentials such as
oil and electricity, not to mention computers,
vehicles and food imports.
International investors and donors are the
fastest way of getting hard currency into the
country but both groups will continue to steer
well clear of Harare if Mr Mugabe rigs his way
"Frightening," is how one Zimbabwean
describes the prospect of another six years of
Mr Mugabe's rule.
Earlier this month, a group of civic
organisations attempted to stage a "mass
protest" at the new electoral laws but it fizzled
out when a meagre 50 protestors turned up.
Riot police flooded
Harare city centre and
that they were risking
lungfuls of tear-gas,
rubber truncheons and
a night in the cells.
But as Zimbabweans
become more hungry,
they will also become
If they feel that they
have no chance of changing the government
through elections, there will come a point
when they feel violence is the only answer.
Just as black nationalists, led by Mr Mugabe,
felt in the 1970s with regard to Ian Smith's
white minority government.
Even if he manages to hold onto power next
year, ultimately, Mr Mugabe's carefully-laid
brickwork will crumble to dust.
But he seems determined to drag his country
down with him.
Eleven contest Zambian
Eleven candidates have filed successful
nominations to stand in the Zambian
presidential election on 27 December.
The successful applicants include three former
Zambian vice presidents - Levy Patrick
Mwanawasa of the ruling Movement for
Multiparty Democracy, Christon Tembo of the
opposition Forum for Democracy and
Development, and the Heritage Party's Godfrey
Five other nominations were rejected for not
fulfilling requirements correctly.
The presidential poll, which will be held on the
same day as parliamentary elections, will mark
the end of President Frederick Chiluba's 10
years in office.
In April, Mr Tembo led a cabinet revolt against
attempts by President Chiluba to extend his
presidency for an unconstitutional third term.
Pictures from a Tembo rally
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