- Two Opposition MPS Defect to Ruling Party
Blantyre, (Malawi (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, May 1, 2000) - Two
MPs of the opposition Malawi Congress Party in the opposition stronghold of
the central region Monday announced their defection to the ruling United
Democratic Front of President Bakili Muluzi, expressing loss of faith in their
According to the constitution, the defectees automatically lose their
parliamentary seats thereby necessitating by-elections.
Political observers describe the defection of MPs Boma Zgambo and Tanilani
Chipeta as a further blow to the mainstream opposition in the country.
The MCP is steadily losing popularity in its main turf of the central region after
the UDF recently won three by- election seats that were made vacant by the
deaths of MCP legislators.
Information minister Clement Stambuli told PANA that MPs Zgambo and
Chipeta, from the central tobacco-growing district of Kasungu, joined the UDF
Sunday, saying they had lost faith in the leadership of the MCP.
"They have indeed crossed the floor," Stambuli said, confirming that by-
elections will be held and the two former MPs will stand on the ticket of Muluzi's
Four low-ranking opposition politicians, who also defected to the UDF, have
accused the opposition of lacking leadership.
Muluzi's ruling UDF has 100 seats in the Malawi 193- seat Parliament, the MCP
has 64 MPs while its alliance partner - the Alliance for Democracy - has 29.
Police Ask Interpol To Investigate Recruitment
Panafrican News Agency
April 29, 2000
by Raphael Tenthani
Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) - The Malawian police is to seek international assistance
to recover an undisclosed sum of money collected by a London-based syndicate
that promised external employment to Malawian professionals.
A Malawi Police Service spokesman told PANA in Blantyre Saturday that the force
would contact Interpol and the Scotland Yard to investigate the company and
recover the 20 Pounds swindled from the unfortunate Malawians.
Following an advertisement in a local daily, many Malawian professionals in the
fields of health, engineering and agriculture had paid the fee hoping to secure
international career jobs.
The company that placed the advert, WorldImpact Limited, had claimed that it
wanted 36 doctors, 45 nursing staff, 54 engineers and 60 agriculturists from central
Africa to join a purported multi- million project in the Middle East and Eastern
But, the advert turned out to be lots of expensive hot air. Months passed without
any acknowledgement and the applicants started smelling a rat.
The bitter truth of the sad affair emerged when one of the applicants, Mirriam
Chisale, asked a relative in London to pay the 20 Pounds for her.
Chisale's relatives discovered that the given address of WorldImpact Limited 24
Foundation Road, London, SW17, OHO, was a house occupied by Nigerians and
not an office of the purported international employment.
"My relatives phoned the place before they went to deliver my mail and they were
surprised to find that the phone number belonged to a residential place and not an
office," said Chisale.
The Weekend Nation, who had published the advert conceded, in an article
published Saturday, that the newspaper group did not suspect it was an unwitting
aide to an international fraud ring.
WorldImpact Limited had paid for the advert without any problem.
Malawi Suspends Tobacco Importation
Panafrican News Agency
May 1, 2000
by Raphael Tenthani
Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) - Government has with immediate effect suspended
importation of tobacco leaf into Malawi amidst wrangles over prices for the local
crop at auction floors.
The move follows a nationwide protest by tobacco growers against low prices on
the floors at the beginning of sales of this season's crop fortnight ago.
When the floors opened on 17 April the average top price was moderately high at
two dollars (about 95 Malawi Kwacha) per kg. But 30 minutes into the sales the
price plummeted to a historic low of 10 US cents per kg.
Growers at the main auction floors in the capital, Lilongwe, and Limbe Auction
Floors in the commercial capital, Blantyre, protested the low prices and forced a
week's suspension of the sales.
The Tobacco Association of Malawi, the body that looks at the interests of tobacco
growers in the country, accused processing companies of deliberately fixing prices
by ferrying in foreign leaf, which they claimed saturated the market thereby
pushing prices down.
The president of the association, Albert Kamulaga claimed that one of the
companies had about 8,000 metric tonnes stacked away in its warehouse even
before the auction floors opened.
But Charles Graham, chairman for Tobacco Exporters Association of Malawi, while
admitting there were tobacco imports, denied that the foreign leaf was responsible
for the low prices on the floors.
What the importers were doing, he said, was within the laws of Malawi, which
allow companies in Zambia and Mozambique - where they do not have processing
plants - to bring it in for processing before exportation.
"The importation of tobacco from Zambia and Mozambique has nothing to do with
the local leaf and therefore the exercise cannot affect the ongoing tobacco sales,"
In spite of that the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has moved swiftly to
suspend all importation of the leaf from neighbouring countries.
A senior ministry official told PANA the decision was taken to save the country's
economy. "Tobacco is our lifeline, we had to remove anything that is seen to affect
sales," he said.
In a press statement, the ministry said government had temporarily suspended
importation of the leaf from neighbouring countries until the end of May.
"This suspension will be reviewed from time to time. Where and when compelling
reasons prevail, importation will be resumed," the ministry said.
However, the general manager of the Tobacco Control Commission, Godfrey
Chapola, said the importers had to justify their move first before being permitted to
Sales resume Tuesday after Monday's May Day holiday.
But when the floors reopened Monday last week, after a week of intensive
negotiations between growers and buyers, prices had bounced back up to around
two dollars, sometimes edging around 2 dollars and 50 cents, at both Lilongwe and
Limbe auction floors.
Tobacco is very important for Malawi with at least 90 percent of the population,
about 11 million, depending on the industry. Tobacco accounts for over 70 percent
of its foreign exchange earnings.
When Malawi tobacco leaf recorded an 800,000 dollars deficit in 1998, the local
currency, the Kwacha, lost 68 percent of its external value, causing an
unprecedented run on commodity prices in the country.
Mtwara Port Will 'Open up' Southern Africa
Nairobi (The East African, April 30, 2000) - The planned expansion and
modernisation of Mtwara port is expected to help four landlocked countries
transport their bulk cargoes.
Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia will be the main beneficiaries as
Tanzania opens up this mineral-rich area.
The move follows an initiative by Tanzania and Malawi to set up the Mtwara
Development Corridor that aims at unlocking the wealth of Tanzania's south and
providing landlocked Malawi a shorter and more direct route to the Indian
Ocean via Mtwara port.
The port, developed as Tanzania's first mainland free port beginning next June,
follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between five South
African companies and the governments of Malawi and Tanzania to upgrade the
The director-general of the Tanzania Harbours Authority (THA), Mr. Samson
Luhigo, said recently that work on the harbour was complete.
Mr. Luhigo said THA would upgrade handling and storage facilities at the
three-berth Mtwara port where duty free goods would be processed and re-
exported or stored and distributed.
"Besides Malawi, the port will also serve Mozambique and Zambia," he said.
These countries are expected to provide the inland transport network linking the
sub-region by tarmac roads to Mtwara.
With the expansion and modernisation, the port will provide facilities for
international cruise ships that sail the Indian Ocean. Such ships call at Cape
Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Maputo, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and
Mombasa. They will be able to bring visitors to southern Tanzania tourist
attractions, while cargo ships will load and offload cargo for countries in
The Mtwara free port will provide an alternative to businessmen who currently
have to fly to Dubai for such facilities.
The Lindi port and Mafia Island harbour in southern Tanzania have also been
upgraded to boost business in the south.
The government of Denmark has pledged to donate Tsh200 million ($250, 000)
for the Mafia Island wharf expansion and modernisation programme, due to
begin this year.
The Mtwara harbour project will cost an estimated $1 billion in foreign direct
investment, the Tanzania government has said. The project is expected to be
complete by the end of 2001.
The port expansion will take up a total area of 200 acres and increase the
number of berths from three to five. The quay will be expanded 800 metres.
Next to the port will be the 60-acre "free processing zone," while another 260
acres have been earmarked for commercial activities, such as a planned luxury
hotel of 100-300 rooms.
Built between 1948 and 1954, Mtwara port is a natural harbour, one of three
major ports managed by THA, and is being developed within the framework of
the Southern Africa Development Community.
Muslims, Christians Clash Over Tape In Malawi
Panafrican News Agency
April 28, 2000
By Raphael Tenthani
Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) - One person is receiving treatment after he and four
others were seriously injured during clashes involving at least 500 Muslims and
Christians in Zomba, Malawi's former colonial capital.
The two groups clashed Saturday over an audiotape, which Muslims view as
Pastor Zakaria Mtukula, a famous evangelist at a suburb in Zomba, some 68 km
from Blantyre, recorded the tape following the translation of the Muslim's Holy
Koran to Malawi's national language, Chichewa.
In the 60-minute tape, Mtukula alleges that the translation, done by a leading
Muslim cleric, Sheikh Yusuf Kanyamula, admits the supremacy of Jesus over
The charismatic preacher is taking his message around the town to the annoyance
of the Muslim community.
According to the police, the fracas occurred when Muslims tried to disrupt
Mtukula said that the Muslims invaded the prayer ground during the sermon,
snatched the Holy Bibles, alleging that the preacher was misleading people.
A row ensued as the Christians resisted the Muslim invasion, leading to the injury
of the five Christians.
"To make matters worse the group came to my house and knifed my watchman,"
Mtukula added that since he put his preaching on tape, he has received several
But Kanyamula, the translator of the Koran, said Muslims are a peaceful
community and only wanted dialogue with the pastor. He said Mtukula
misunderstood his translation by alleging that he conceded Jesus' supremacy over
"We know the pastor is serving some elements that see Islam as a threat to
Christianity," he alleged.
Kanyamula also claimed that these elements were behind the spreading of
rumours that once Malawi voted for an Muslim president the country would be
turned into Islam.
Mtukula and Kanyamula met in Zomba on Wednesday where the Sheikh asked
the Pastor to withdraw his controversial tape from circulation. But Mtukula
reportedly turned down the request, telling Kanyamula the Malawi Constitution
espouses freedom of worship and it was up to the listeners to judge the tape.
Mtukula claims his tape is only a comparative study on the two Holy books, the
Christian Bible and the Muslim Koran, which, he said, was a healthy debate in a
multi-faith country like Malawi.
Meanwhile, letters have been distributed in mosques urging Muslims to defend
This is latest incident in the rising tension between the majority Christian
community and the minority Muslim one in Malawi.
The previous wrangle between the two religions was over the introduction of a
religious teaching in secondary school, which Christians still view as a covert move
by Malawi's Muslim president to indoctrinate youngsters with Islam. The
controversy still remains.
Consultations are going on between officials of the education ministry and leaders
of the two feuding religions to reach an understanding. But both sides are refusing
- But good info for my childhoods class which will be doing projects on child labor. Maybe having the info will spur people to change things. I still hold out hope...How's the home solar project??KCOn Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 9:26 AM, Christine Chumbler <wartpiggy@...> wrote:
Nothing to be proud of here, I'm afraid.
Malawi's child tobacco pickers 'poisoned by nicotine'Aug 24 2009 07:05Children in Malawi who are forced to work as tobacco pickers are exposed to nicotine poisoning equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day, an investigation has found.
Child labourers as young as five are suffering severe health problems from a daily skin absorption of up to 54mg of dissolved nicotine, according to the international children's organisation Plan.
Malawian tobacco is found in the blend of almost every cigarette smoked in the West. The low-grade, high-nicotine tobacco is often used as a filler by manufacturers, reflecting a long-term global shift in production.
Tobacco farms in America declined by 89% between 1954 and 2002. Three-quarters of production has migrated to developing countries, with Malawi the world's fifth biggest producer.
Seventy percent of its export income comes from tobacco and the country is economically dependent on it.
Plan cites research showing that Malawi has the highest incidence of child labour in Southern Africa, with 88,9% of five to 14-year-olds working in the agricultural sector. It is estimated that more than 78 000 children work on tobacco estates -- some up to 12 hours a day, many for less than 1p an hour and without protective clothing.
Plan's researchers invited 44 children from tobacco farms in three districts to take part in a series of workshops. They revealed a catalogue of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and spoke about the need to work to support themselves and their families and pay school fees.
The children reported common symptoms of green tobacco sickness (GTS), or nicotine poisoning, including severe headaches, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, coughing and breathlessness.
"Sometimes it feels like you don't have enough breath, you don't have enough oxygen," one child said. "You reach a point where you cannot breathe because of the pain in your chest. Then the blood comes when you vomit. At the end, most of this dies and then you remain with a headache."
GTS is a common hazard of workers coming into contact with tobacco leaves and absorbing nicotine through their skin, particularly when harvesting. It is made worse by humid and wet conditions, which are prevalent in Malawi, as residual moisture on the leaves helps nicotine to be absorbed quicker.
Everyday symptoms of GTS are more severe in children than adults as they have not built up a tolerance to nicotine through smoking and because of their physical size. There is a lack of research into the long-term effects of GTS in children, but experts believe that it could seriously impair their development.
Neal Benowitz, professor of medicine, psychiatry and biopharmaceutical sciences at California University in San Francisco, said: "Numerous animal studies have shown that administration of nicotine during infancy and adolescence produces long-lasting changes in brain structure and function, as well as behavioural changes that are not seen when nicotine is administered to adults.
"The brain of a child or adolescent is particularly vulnerable to adverse neurobehavioural effects of nicotine exposure."
Plan called on Malawi's government to enforce existing child labour and protection laws and on plantations to provide safer, fairer working conditions for those children forced to work. It demanded that multinational tobacco companies scrutinise their suppliers far more closely and follow their own corporate responsibility guidelines.
Macdonald Mumba, Plan Malawi's child rights adviser, said: "This research shows that tobacco estates are exploiting and abusing children who have a right to a safe working environment.
"Plan is calling for better enforcement of child labour laws and harsher punishment for employers who break them. These children are risking their health for 11p a day." - guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009
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