- Jan 7, 2003Malawi floods kill four, over 15 000
January 2003 11:50
Floods in Malawi have left four people dead and
more than 15 000 people
homeless while causing extensive damage to
crops, relief officials said on Sunday.
"The situation is very bad. Extensive flooding has
taken place," said Lucius
Chikni, commissioner of disaster and relief.
"Thousands of people are homeless and there has
been extensive crop
damage," he added.
Two people died when heavy rains hit the south of
the country on Thursday,
caused four big rivers to burst their banks. Two
others died last week when
flooding occurred in the north of the country,
leaving 290 families homeless.
The main highway connecting the commercial centre
Blantyre to Lilongwe
the administrative capital, was reported to have
been heavily damaged in
High tension power lines were brought down by the
storm, disrupting power
supply in Blantyre on Sunday for several hours.
Chikuni said he and Poverty and Disaster Management
Minister Lee Mlanga
on Sunday flew by helicopter to the affected
lakeshore districts of Ntcheu
and Dedza, to conduct an assessment of the
He said most of the flooding had been caused by
tropical cyclone Delfina
which hit the country last week, and was aggravated
The floods are likely to increase hardship in a
country where some three
million people are threatened by famine.
Floods last year were partly responsible for
causing the current food
shortages in the southern African country. Malawi
needs 600 000 tons of
maize, its national staple, to stave off famine. -
Finance Minister Probed Over Sale of Maize
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
January 6, 2003
Posted to the web January 6, 2003
Malawi's finance minister is expected to come under investigation for
involvement in the controversial sale of the country's strategic maize
reserves just months before widespread crop failure, officials told
With 3.3 million Malawians facing hunger, President Bakili Muluzi last
appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the alleged
mismanagement of the state-run Agriculture Development and Marketing
The commission is expected to investigate whether Finance Minister
Friday Jumbe, who was then head of ADMARC, had "unduly" benefited
from the sale of the maize.
"Minister Jumbe is just one of the officials who will be investigated.
to date no evidence of guilt or innocence. The commission is merely a
fact-finding commission. It is our mandate to find out if Jumbe
benefited personally from his involvement in the management or sale of
the said maize," commission chairman Khuze Kapeta told IRIN.
Almost 160,000 mt of grain was sold from the strategic grain reserves
August 2000, of which 60,000 mt was exported to Kenya.
This was after unprecedented floods earlier in the year had ravaged
production. The floods, followed by drought, left Malawi with a
about 480,000 mt and made it one of the hardest hit of the six
African countries - along with Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland
and Lesotho - that are struggling to cope with their worst food
in recent years.
The government has blamed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for
forcing it to sell at least part of the reserve in 2000 to reduce debt,
accusation denied by the IMF.
The IMF's countered that Malawi sold the maize after advice from a
consultant, hired by the government in a European Union-funded
In August last year, former Poverty Alleviation Minister Leonard
was sacked by Muluzi for alleged corruption in the sale of the
Magulama was named in an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report into the
matter which accused him of acquiring 300 mt of maize without paying
It also named several parliamentarians, from both the opposition and
ruling party, who bought maize from the strategic grain reserves for
in different markets.
ACB Deputy Director, Alex Nampota, told IRIN: "We conducted our
investigations in the most transparent way and our final report
findings. But the fact that a commission of inquiry has been set up to
further investigate the sale of the maize suggests that there are
"The commission will hopefully satisfy those who are still worried
sale of the reserves. It goes toward showing ordinary Malawians who
suffering that the government is doing something to be rid of
Zimbabwe food riots
Four police officers have been injured in a
dormitory town near Harare, when youths
attacked people queuing for food on Sunday,
police have said.
In the second city of Bulawayo, there is tight
security around the courthouse, where 39
people are appearing in connection with food
riots on Friday, reports the French news
Up to six million
people, half of the
suffering from food
shortages according to
Robert Mugabe has
moved to tighten his
control of the main
cities, which are
by announcing that he will appoint governors
for both Harare and Bulawayo.
Correspondents say that governors enjoy
considerable power and they are likely to be
used to sideline opposition mayors in both
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said that
about 200 people were queuing up for
mealie-meal, the scare staple food, when a
group of youths attacked the police who were
controlling the crowd.
"In the process of controlling the crowd, some
youths came and disrupted the queue resulting
in four police officers being injured," Mr
Bvudzijena told AFP.
have been prevented
from receiving food aid
and even from buying
food in urban areas,
says the Movement for
(MDC) and donor
But it is reported that
activists from Mr
party were behind the
disturbances in both
the town of Chitungwiza, 23km south of
Harare, and Bulawayo.
The privately owned Daily News reports that
"Green Bombers", graduates of a
government-run youth training scheme, were
involved in the Chitungwiza riots.
The police said they had not identified the
In Bulawayo, a group of "war veterans" was
dispersed by riot police when they tried to
protest outside the courthouse on Monday.
State media have accused the "war veterans",
who have been used to intimidate opposition
supporters, of organising Friday's food riots.
They were apparently unhappy at the unfair
distribution of food.
The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation reported that residents had
accused grain board officials of corruptly
supplying maize to unscrupulous millers, who
then sold it on at exorbitant prices.
Zimbabwe's eight largely rural provinces
already have governors, who also sit in
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
denied that the new governors would make the
opposition mayors redundant and said they
would coordinate development.
Opposition parties point the finger of blame at
Mr Mugabe and his government for the food
shortages because of disruption caused by his
controversial programme of land reform.
The president says the cause of the crisis is a
combination of a drought and a Western
imperialistic plot aimed at keeping power in the
hands of Zimbabwe's whites.
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