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  • Christine Chumbler
    Nov 4, 2004
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      Malawi: Project Encourages Female Condom Use

      UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

      November 2, 2004
      Posted to the web November 2, 2004

      In a move considered to be a breakthrough for the conservative culture
      of Malawi, a local NGO has been distributing female condoms to
      schoolgirls in the southern districts - the region worst affected by

      Hunger Project Malawi began providing female condoms to young women in
      Zomba and Blantyre district in September last year. Since then about
      9,000 condoms had been distributed by specially trained people in four
      areas. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) had donated US $4,800 to
      "kick-start the project," country director Rowlands Kaotcha noted.

      "There are many various NGOs in Malawi and most of them focus on male
      condoms. We have never seen the distribution of female condoms, and we
      have brought up this issue because we know female condoms are not
      generally accepted in Malawi and we want to break this attitude,"
      Kaotcha told PlusNews.

      Although the female-controlled prevention method was available, people
      remained sceptical of using it, as they found it uncomfortable.

      "Before any distribution is done we sensitise the communities on how
      they could use and dispose of the condoms. The majority of our women in
      Malawi are illiterate and need a lot of sensitisation," he said.

      In Malawi's patriarchal society, young women are expected to marry as
      early as 14 years of age, particularly in rural areas, and most school
      dropouts in the country are girls.

      Cultural practices such as "chinamwali", a form of initiation in which
      young girls are advised by their elders to marry early, have also been
      criticised by health experts as encouraging the spread of HIV/AIDS.

      Hunger Project has been working on food distribution initiatives for
      the past three years. "We are going into condom distribution because
      women are the most vulnerable and the most affected in Malawi. When some
      members of the family are sick at home, women shoulder the
      responsibility and even farming stops," Kaotcha said. "We want to
      protect them, so that they find time to farm."


      Mugabe tests the waters ahead of 2005 poll


      03 November 2004 09:01

      advertisementZimbabwe's ruling party has launched new membership cards
      as a way of testing its popularity ahead of next year's polls, state
      television reported on Tuesday.

      Members and senior party officials will now have to pay monthly
      subscription fees to belong to President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe
      African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), the party's finance
      secretary said.

      "Any serious political party, as Zanu-PF is, needs to know its
      membership strength," David Karimanzira said in comments broadcast on
      the main television news.

      "What would be the best way to determine the membership strength
      besides through payment of membership fees and subscriptions?"

      Ordinary membership cards, which are valid from now until 2009, will
      cost Z$5 000 (80 US cents) per card, the report said.

      Meanwhile, monthly subscriptions would also need to be paid by members,
      with officials in the decision-making politburo paying the highest
      amount of Z$42 000 dollars ($6,70) per month the report said.

      The announcement comes as the country prepares for polls next March.
      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is lobbying other
      countries in the southern African region to pressure Harare for a
      postponement of these.

      The MDC has said it would participate only if the Mugabe government
      stuck to electoral reforms. - Sapa-AFP


      Zanu-PF party official re-arrested


      04 November 2004 11:31

      Zimbabwe police re-arrested on Thursday Zanu-PF businessman James
      Makamba along with two senior executives from his cellular network
      company, Telecel.

      The company's managing director Anthony Carter and company secretary
      Edward Mutsvairo are currently in custody with Makamba, with all three
      being accused of "externalising foreign currency".

      Police claim Telecel sold 40% of its shares, worth about $70-million,
      outside Zimbabwe without permission from the central bank.

      Under Zimbabwean law, no dealings involving foreign currency can be
      made without permission from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

      Meanwhile, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said: "Telecel received
      money through its roaming service, but only $200 000 was remitted to

      In April this year, Telecel was fined Z$374,2-million on similar

      Makamba, who earlier this year spent seven months in prison before
      being acquitted, was arrested at Harare International Airport while
      allegedly on his way to South Africa.

      He is now being accused of buying a house and three motor vehicles with
      foreign currency without permission.

      In a related event, police have also arrested the owner of Zimbabwe's
      luxury Malilangwe Lodge, near the south-eastern town of Chiredzi.

      Anthony De La Harpe is accused of exporting over $4-million, almost
      R7-million and 33 600 euro. - Sapa
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