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  • Christine Chumbler
    Jul 22, 2004
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      Malawian leader to boot out MPs

      Malawi's newly-elected president has ordered parliament to move to a
      bombed-out sports complex so he can make it his official residence.
      Bingu wa Mutharika said he wanted to move from his Blantyre residence
      to the capital, Lilongwe, as part of attempts to streamline government
      operations.

      But the opposition said the decision ran against his promises to cut
      government expenditure.

      Parliament has 300 rooms and its own school and supermarket.

      New State House was originally built as a presidential palace at a cost
      of $100m by a former president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, but he only
      stayed in the house for 90 days.

      Parliament moved into the site in 1995.

      "The president needs enough room," said Ken Zikhale Ng'oma the
      president's chief of staff.

      Costly

      But Catherine Chisala, spokesperson for the Peoples Progressive
      Movement, said they were unimpressed.

      "It will be very expensive to renovate the Kamuzi Institute for Sports
      into a habitable place and the New State House into a presidential
      palace," she said.

      The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Malawi says that President Mutharika's
      predecessor, Bakili Muluzi, who was criticised for excessive
      over-expenditure, refused to occupy New State House, calling it an
      "obscene extravagance".

      The site of the proposed parliament was bombed by the army when it was
      occupied by paramilitaries loyal to President Banda when he lost power
      in 1993.

      The Malawi Young Pioneers, as they were called, were suspected of
      storing their arms in the building.

      The sports complex remains in disrepair.

      *****

      Malawi: Media Involved in Aids Information Dissemination

      UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

      July 21, 2004
      Posted to the web July 21, 2004

      Johannesburg

      Malawi's National AIDS Commission (NAC) and local media houses are
      currently discussing how journalists can help implement the country's
      national HIV/AIDS policy.

      Launched earlier this year by former President Bakili Muluzi, the
      policy aims to engage key institutions, like the media, in planning,
      coordinating and ensuring common standards in response to the AIDS
      crisis.

      Rita Chilolgozi, resident advisor of the policy project, said the main
      aim of the NAC was to disseminate the HIV/AIDS policy.

      "We need to use the media as a tool to help the people of Malawi
      understand the issues. Writing documents that no one sees just isn't
      enough. The media must be used as a channel through which to pass on the
      message," a local newspaper, The Chronicle, quoted Chilolgozi as
      saying.
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