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  • Christine Chumbler
    Jan 31 9:31 AM
      Malawi students riot
      over 'third term'

      Students in Malawi have set fire to the ruling
      party offices over President Bakili Muluzi's
      attempt to alter the constitution to stay in
      power.

      The students took to
      the streets after
      thousands of Mr Muluzi's
      supporters marched in
      the commercial capital,
      Blantyre, to back the
      president's move.

      Police dispersed the students after firing tear
      gas.

      Mr Muluzi's attempt to run for a third term has
      divided Malawians, and a parliamentary bill to
      this effect was shelved earlier this week.

      But this has angered members of his United
      Democratic Front (UDF) who have intimidated
      opposition MPs.

      Library attacked

      Hundreds of students hurled stones at Mr
      Muluzi's sympathisers, who themselves carried
      stones, machetes and knives.

      "We got furious about
      this because the
      police were protecting
      the UDF supporters
      and we rushed to
      torch their regional
      office," a student
      leader said.

      UDF supporters waving
      banners reading "He
      will stand again" had
      broken all the windows
      of the university
      library.

      After the students were dispersed by police,
      the Muluzi supporters marched back through
      the city under police escort.

      There were no reports of injuries or arrests.

      Controversial

      Feelings have been running high in Malawi over
      the third term issue, and when a parliamentary
      started on Monday, police had to fire tear gas
      to disperse some 4,000 people protesting
      against the bill.

      Police also had to intervene in parliament to
      prevent fights breaking out between rival MPs
      after the bill was withdrawn.

      On Tuesday, Mr Muluzi sacked Commerce and
      Industry Minister Peter Kaleso because of his
      opposition to the 'third term' bill.

      A similar bill was narrowly defeated in July last
      year.

      Unless the constitution is changed, Mr Muluzi is
      due to step down in 2004, when he is due to
      finish his second term in office.

      *****

      Malawi MPs flee over
      third term row

      By Raphael Tenthani
      BBC, Blantyre

      Two opposition Members of Parliament from the
      central tobacco heartland of Kasungu are in
      hiding after angry militant youths of the ruling
      United Democratic Front (UDF) terrorised their
      homes.

      Gwanda Chakuamba, leader of the opposition
      Malawi Congress Party (MCP), told BBC News
      Online that Sailes Gulule and Carrington Jimu
      had fled their homes after the youths invaded
      their compounds Wednesday night, threatening
      to kill them.

      The youths were angered by
      the government's failure to
      change the constitution to
      enable President Bakili
      Muluzi to stand for a third
      term in office.

      A parliamentary bill to this effect was shelved
      earlier this week after widespread opposition.

      The issue has divided Malawians and when the
      debate started on Monday, police had to fire
      tear gas to disperse some 4,000 people
      protesting against the bill.

      Unless the constitution is changed, Mr Muluzi is
      due to step down in 2004.

      Knives and stones

      "It's shameful that the ruling party wants to
      take us back to the dark days," Mr Chakuamba
      said.

      Mr Gulule said he was
      trying to plead with
      Inspector General of
      Police Joseph Aironi to
      provide protection for
      the MPs.

      Speaking from his
      undisclosed hiding
      place, Mr Gulule said
      the militant youths
      came to the MPs'
      houses in an open van
      in the dead of night.

      He said sympathisers warned him to flee his
      house because the vehicle was full of people
      armed with machetes and stones.

      "I was really scared," he said. "I am in hiding
      but I am worried about my family."

      Both Mr Gulule and Mr Jimu were reported in
      the local media as having rejected UDF
      attempts to persuade them to vote for the bill.

      Food shortages

      The two are the latest victims of the fall-out
      following the shelving of the controversial third
      term bid.

      Sacked Commerce and Industry Minister Peter
      Kaleso and outspoken MP Green Lulilo
      Mwamondwe, from the opposition Alliance for
      Democracy (Aford) had to seek refuge at the
      British High Commission after being roughed up
      by UDF activists.

      Two other dissident ruling UDF MPs, Joe
      Manduwa and Jan Jaap Sonke, had to be
      rescued by police after openly saying they
      would thwart the bill.

      Meanwhile, the British High Commission has
      expressed disquiet over the holding of the
      extraordinary parliament session.

      In a press release, the UK said it was sad that
      at a time Malawi was reeling from severe food
      shortages and the impact of HIV/Aids,
      government saw it wise to spend 7 million
      Malawi kwacha ($80, 000) to hold the special
      debate.

      *****

      Zim admits to "admin errors" in land reform
      process
      Johannesburg
      31
      January 2003 07:58

      The Zimbabwean government has admitted that some
      "administrative errors"
      had occurred during its land reform process, South
      African Agriculture and
      Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza said on
      Thursday.

      These included that some commercial farmers whose
      land was seized for
      redistribution, were left without any land, despite
      the government's policy
      that they should be allowed to keep one farm, she
      told reporters at the
      Johannesburg International Airport after returning
      from a two-day visit to
      Zimbabwe.

      "There are some instances where a person who had
      two farms were left with
      none at all."

      Other examples of administrative errors included
      that two prospective new
      land owners were allocated the same farm, and that
      applicants for land were
      allowed to settle on that land, only to find out
      later that the farm had been
      allocated to someone else.

      "The government and the commercial farmers have
      started discussions to
      correct the administrative irregularities."

      Although the uptake of land among small-scale
      farmers was between 80 and
      90%, that of commercial farmers was only about 30%,
      Didiza said.

      "That indicates to you that there are indeed
      challenges."

      She said the price of seed, fertiliser and farming
      implements was too
      expensive because due to the foreign exchange
      rate.

      "Indications are that all is not hunky-dory. There
      are successes, but there
      are also challenges."

      The Zimbabwean government estimated that the maize
      that had been
      planted, would yield a crop of 1,1-million tons, if
      the season went well, the
      minister said.

      "The challenges are there, but you are beginning to
      see some process of
      mitigation."

      Foot-and-mouth disease broke out in Zimbabwe two
      years ago and has still
      not been brought under control.

      Didiza said the South African Cabinet would discuss
      the possibility of
      helping its neighbour with the vaccine it needed to
      fight the disease. - Sapa

      *****

      Official Seeks Closure of Zimbabwe Paper

      By Angus Shaw
      Associated Press Writer
      Thursday, January 30, 2003; 11:01 PM

      HARARE, Zimbabwe -- The information
      minister told Zimbabwe's Supreme Court that
      the country's only independent daily newspaper
      is illegal and should be punished for flouting
      stringent media laws, court officials said
      Thursday.

      The Daily News has refused to register with the
      government as required by the laws, the
      minister, Jonathan Moyo, said in a sworn
      statement to the court, the officials said.

      Moyo is the architect of the media laws, which
      critics say are aimed at stifling criticism of the
      government.

      The Daily News admits refusing to register and
      has asked the court to strike down the law,
      saying it violates rights to free expression and
      association. The court has not scheduled a
      hearing.

      Moyo said until courts or Parliament repealed
      the media act it should be obeyed. He asked
      the Supreme Court to dismiss the newspaper's
      application and force it to comply or shut down, the
      officials said.

      Authorities have cracked down on independent
      journalists in recent months.

      Police have arrested 14 local independent
      journalists, including several from The Daily News, mainly on
      charges of publishing "falsehoods" that carry a
      penalty of up to two years in jail. The only journalist to
      be tried so far was acquitted.

      The new laws also require foreign journalists to
      apply for government approval before coming to
      Zimbabwe. The government routinely denies the
      requests.

      No action has been taken against journalists working
      for state-controlled media.

      On Monday, Japanese Ambassador Tsuneshige Iiyama
      said he had not made remarks attributed to him
      in the state Herald newspaper criticizing the leader
      of the opposition Movement for Democratic
      Change. The paper is closely controlled by Moyo.

      Parts of the article were "totally fabricated," the
      ambassador said in a letter to Herald editor Pikirayi
      Deketeke. Iiyama also said Moyo had raised
      "Zimbabwe's bad image."

      And last week James Morris, the U.N. special envoy
      to the southern African hunger crisis, complained
      the Herald fabricated a remark attributed to him
      praising Zimbabwe's often-violent seizures of
      white-owned commercial farms.

      Morris protested a second time after claiming his
      first protest letter was published in the paper with key
      words edited out to change the meaning.

      Three journalists, two of them Americans with
      government press accreditation, were detained by police
      for seven hours Tuesday and denied telephone calls
      and access to a lawyer.

      On Wednesday, five foreign Lutheran church workers
      were deported after being accused of being
      undercover journalists trying to gather information
      on aid projects to help the Lutheran World
      Federation raise funds.

      *****

      Heavy jail terms for
      Mozambique murder

      Six men found guilty of killing an investigative
      journalist in Mozambique have been given jail
      sentences of up to 29 years.

      The mastermind of the
      plot to kill Carlos
      Cardoso in November
      2000, Anibal dos Santos,
      was tried in his absence
      after escaping from
      prison in September.

      Mr dos Santos, known as Anibalzinho was
      arrested in South Africa on Thursday, and
      police there say he will be extradited to
      Mozambique.

      Some of the other five defendants have
      implicated the son of President Joaquim
      Chissano in what the judge called
      Mozambique's "worst-ever crime".

      The murder and subsequent trial gripped
      Mozambique and the streets of the capital,
      Maputo, were deserted as the sentences were
      handed down.

      Mr Cardoso was investigating a prominent
      family's role in the nation's largest banking
      scandal

      Voluntary return

      Anibalzinho, 31, was sentenced to 28 years
      and six months in jail by a Maputo court for
      murder, illegal possession of firearms and
      making false statements to state authorities.

      His five accomplices received jail terms of 23
      years and six months each after changing their
      pleas to guilty.

      They were also
      orderered to pay
      restitution of 4 billion
      meticais (US$175,000)
      to Mr Cardoso's family.

      "The six committed a
      serious crime," said
      Judge Augusto Paulino.

      "I think the
      punishments were
      correct. I am happy,"
      said Mr Cardoso's
      widow, Nina Berg.

      Anibalzinho told a Pretoria court on Friday he
      would return to Mozambique voluntarily.

      "I just want to finish this matter," he said.

      Mysterious cheques

      The court proceedings - described by some as
      the trial of the century - have been broadcast
      live on national television.

      Last month, attention in the trial shifted to the
      president's son, Nyimpine Chissano.

      The suspects showed
      a cheque signed by Mr
      Chissano to the court,
      saying he had used it
      to pay for Mr
      Cardoso's killing.

      Nyimpine Chissano has
      denied this, saying the
      cheque may have
      come from a business
      contact to whom he
      had given signed
      cheques as a
      guarantee.

      He has not been charged with any crime.

      Correspondents say that a court decision to
      launch a formal investigation into the
      allegations against Mr Chissano will prove
      crucial in persuading the people of Mozambique
      whether their judiciary is above political
      interference.
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