- Mar 31, 2005DPP Wants Misa to Discipline Journalists
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)
March 24, 2005
Posted to the web March 30, 2005
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Ishmael Wadi said on March 23
2005, that government would be compelled to prosecute two journalists
arrested over the ghost story if they are not disciplined.
Wadi said he would give the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) -
Malawi chapter, also known as the National Media Institute of Southern
Africa (Namisa), a reasonable period to take action against Mabvuto
Banda of "The Nation" and Raphael Tenthani of BBC.
However, Namisa chairperson Lewis Msasa said there was no way the two
journalists would be disciplined when there was evidence that they
talked to the presidential aide on religious affairs, Malani Mtonga.
The top government prosecutor said he had not yet decided to drag the
matter to court but observed that there was need to amend the police
charge. "I expect the media body to communicate to me on the
disciplinary action they are going to take. That I will appreciate,
because if we take each and every case to court, we may flood the
courts," he said.
Wadi was, however, quick to point out that: "I will be compelled to
take the matter to court. But of course, this matter can best be
addressed at an institutional level, so I expect MISA Malawi to come to
me on that one.
On the charges levelled against the journalists, the DPP said there
were several elements in the police charge of publishing false news
likely to cause public alarm, which could not be easily proved. He added
however that he was considering to amend the charge to 'publishing an
article calculated to disrespect the high office of the president
contrary to Section 4 of the Protected Flags, Emblems and Names Act,
Chapter 1803 of the Laws of Malawi'. But some commentators observed that
the Act was outdated since it was in conflict with the Constitution and
does not comply with the democratic dispensation.
Msasa said much as the organisation appreciated government's gesture on
the matter, it could not apologise on behalf of the journalists when
there was evidence. Therefore he felt that the matter should be decided
The two scribes, who were arrested on March 15 2005, are currently on
police bail and also appeared before the Parliamentary Media and
Another journalist, Horace Nyaka, who works at the Vice- President
Cassim Chilumpha's press office, was also arrested as an accomplice. He
was released unconditionally.
The committee first heard from Mtonga who complained to police that
although the two journalists quoted him in their respective stories, he
did not talk to them. In the story, Mtonga was quoted as saying
religious leaders would gather at the New State House to pray for
President Bingu wa Mutharika who was being haunted by evil spirits.
Opposition parties, human rights organisations and the civil society
condemned the arrests, saying they were meant to instill fear in the
In the absence of a functioning media council or similar regulatory
body, MISA Malawi has often assumed the role of a mediator between
government, the media and general public.
Zim voters queue to cast ballots
31 March 2005 08:28
Zimbabweans waited in long lines on Thursday to cast ballots in
parliamentary elections that President Robert Mugabe hopes will prove
once and for all the legitimacy of a regime critics say is increasingly
isolated and repressive.
Before any ballots were cast, opposition leaders and independent rights
groups said the vote was already skewed by years of violence and
Despite a light rain, residents in the capital, Harare, started
gathering at the polls up to three hours before they opened. There were
some delays as electoral officials completed last-minute preparations
under the watchful eye of police.
Mugabe accuses British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other Western
leaders of backing the six-year-old Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), the first party to challenge his rule seriously. He dubbed
Thursday's vote the "anti-Blair election", and MDC supporters
"My vote today will be a vote for Zimbabwe's sovereignty," said Thomas
Mseruka, a 46-year-old carpenter and ardent government supporter. "I'll
be voting to defend our country."
"I wanted to be the first in the queue, to be served early," said
Beauty Chigutiare. "We need change. We want jobs, we want good houses."
The opposition counters that British Prime Minister Tony Blair isn't
running in Thursday's poll, which it says is about Mugabe's own failings
after nearly 25 years in power.
Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by 50% over the past five years.
Unemployment is at least 70%. Agriculture -- the economic base of
Zimbabwe -- has collapsed and at least 70% of the population lives in
Opposition leaders blame the country's economic woes on the
government's often-violent seizure of thousands of white-owned
commercial farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.
Mugabe defends the programme as a way of righting racial imbalances in
land ownership inherited from British colonial rule, and blames food
shortages on years of crippling drought.
At stake on Thursday are 120 elected parliamentary seats. Mugabe
appoints another 30 seats, virtually guaranteeing his Zanu-PF party a
About 5,8-million of Zimbabwe's nearly 12-million people are registered
to vote. But up to 3,4-million Zimbabweans who live overseas -- many of
whom are believed to be opposition supporters -- have been barred from
The opposition MDC won 57 seats in the last parliamentary election in
2000, despite what Western observers called widespread violence,
intimidation and vote rigging. But it has lost six seats in subsequent
In 2002, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai narrowly lost an equally flawed
While there has been much less violence during this campaign,
opposition leaders and rights groups said intimidation remained high.
Residents in drought-stricken rural areas were told they could forfeit
desperately needed food aid if they voted for the opposition, they
A series of repressive laws introduced since 2000 drastically curtailed
the opposition's ability to meet, express its views and access the
media. While restrictions eased in recent weeks to allow campaigning by
all sides, rights groups said the damage was already done.
Mugabe's government hand-picked election observers, barring groups that
were critical of previous polls.
Rights groups have also raised concerns about the voters' roll.
Based on an audit of 10% of the list, the FreeZim group concluded it
contains up to one million dead people, more than 300 000 duplicate
names and one million people who no longer reside at their registered
Mugabe has 'already won'
Meanwhile, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president
Willie Madisha told supporters during a Wednesday-night vigil at the
Beit Bridge border post that Mugabe had already won his country's
In an address to protesters demonstrating in solidarity with Zimbabwean
workers Cosatu believes are suffering rights violations, Madisha said
the elections will not be free and fair, reported South African
Broadcasting Corporation radio news.
"The fact that he [Mugabe] has been able to redemarcate the elections
districts in a way that favours him and his party, [is a problem] for
"The areas where he does not have support, like in the urban areas,
have been cut in a way that they have been said to attach to the rural
areas. That's one thing," said Madisha.
"Secondly, there has been harassment, there has been intimidation,
there have been arrests of people. That is yet another problem," he
said. -- Sapa
Pictures at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/4396779.stm
Nearly as good as new will do just fine
30 March 2005 09:59
At 9am on a Monday morning, the used clothing vendors at Chiquelene
Market in Mozambique's capital, Maputo, are still unpacking their
The contents of bales of clothing purchased from wholesalers in the
city centre are inspected with care: a good batch containing newer, more
fashionable clothing can yield good sales; a bale containing more worn
items in dated styles may mean a difficult week ahead.
"Sometimes I have to throw them away," said Angelina Arnaldo, as she
sorts through a pile of underwear, separating boxers from briefs.
The sale of clothing donated to charities in Europe and North America
has supported Arnaldo and her seven children for 17 years. On a good
day, she takes home around $10.
"It's easier than selling food because it doesn't go off," she
explained, as a man wearing a "Merry Christmas" baseball cap hands her 5
000 meticais ($0.33) for a pair of boxers emblazoned with cartoon
characters from Snow White. "But business was better before -- these
days, people don't have money even for used clothes, and there are more
people selling than before."
Shoppers with less time and more money browse through stalls displaying
new clothing near the front of the market, but most people duck past the
cheaply made imports from China, Dubai and South Africa, and squeeze
their way down narrow, maze-like passageways, dodging puddles and young
boys hawking cigarettes, in search of the used clothing section.
Hundreds of vendors compete for business in this sprawling market, one
of several in Maputo, where large quantities of used clothing change
hands. Some specialise in jeans; others sell only men's white shirts or
women's swimwear. Vendors report that most of the clothing comes from
Canada, but, judging from the labels, most of it originated in the
United States and was shipped via Canada.
T-shirts reveal the most about their origins. "Wrestling Camp 1983 --
Portland, Or", reads a well-worn yellow shirt. "Life's a Beach --
Laurie's Bar-mitzvah, Oct 12, '96", announces another. A red T-shirt
with a picture of a naked lady trumpets, "May's Club -- Rose City's
Maura Marina is shopping for the baby she is expecting in a couple of
months. She buys clothes for her entire family from Chiquelene Market --
not, she said, because she cannot afford new clothes, but because she
prefers the quality.
Marina insisted she drew the line at used underwear but vendors and
wholesalers report that women's bras are one of their biggest sellers.
Trying on a bra for size, another woman said she also preferred the
quality of used clothes from Europe and North America, but the real
clincher was the price -- a new bra would set her back around $20,
compared to around $1 for a used one.
In an effort to protect local garment manufacturers, several African
countries have imposed bans on the influx of used clothing but, in
Mozambique, where the textile industry has not recovered from a long
civil war that ended in 1992, used clothing has become an integral part
of the economy.
Bipin Lalgi manages one of about 14 used clothing wholesalers in
Maputo, where all the bales filling his store arrived in a container
from Toronto. A 45kg bale sells for between 1,5- and 2,5-million
meticais ($100 to $170), depending on the quality and type of clothing
"If they stopped us importing these clothes, many people would suffer
from poverty," Lalgi said. When the shop opened in 1996, he could shift
around 50 bales of clothing a day, but in recent years competition from
other wholesalers has seen sales decline to around 15 bales a day.
The president of the Textile Federation in neighbouring South Africa,
Walter Simeoni, argues that many more jobs could be created in the long
term by banning imports of used clothing and investing in local
After thousands of job losses in the sector, South Africa implemented
such a ban in 1999. Although Simeoni conceded that the ban had not
prevented South Africa's textile industry from continuing to flounder
due to other factors, including the massive influx of cheap clothing
from China, he maintains that a similar ban would benefit countries like
"I know there's a moral issue attached, and that governments say, 'we
have poor people who've got to have access to this used clothing'. On
the other hand, as long as they have the used clothing, they won't have
an industry and, in the long term, it's more important to build up an
industry," Simeoni explained.
Back in Maputo, 24-year-old Pedro Samuel is selling secondhand T-shirts
from a two by one metre space at Xipamanine Market. He estimates there
are 1 000 vendors selling used clothing at this market alone.
"At the moment, this is the only job I can do," Samuel said, explaining
that he started helping his father sell used clothing when he was aged
just 11. "People buy from me because they can't afford to buy new," he
shrugged. -- Irin
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