- Malawi Opposition Threaten to Boycott Parliament Opening
Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, June 1, 2000) - The
opposition alliance of the Malawi Congress Party and the Alliance for
Democracy Thursday threatened to boycott the state opening of Parliament
Dan Msowoya, the alliance's joint secretary for information, said it would not
make sense for opposition lawmakers to attend Parliament where President
Bakili Muluzi is scheduled to make his traditional opening address.
"If we attend Parliament we will be contradicting ourselves since the opposition
leadership has taken its challenge to Muluzi's legitimacy to the highest court in
Malawi," he told PANA.
Muluzi is scheduled to kick-start the 2000 budget session of Parliament
proceedings with a speech, which takes stock of Malawi's performance since
the last budget was approved.
This session is particularly crucial since the legislators are expected to fashion out
how the 1.5 billion US dollars pledged by the donor community at May's
Consultative Group meeting will be used.
Msowoya said soon after the end of Muluzi's speech, the opposition will go
back to the house.
The opposition alliance's political secretary, Heatherwick Ntaba, said opposition
legislators are under instructions not to participate in any function presided over
by Muluzi since the opposition feels he is not the legitimate ruler of Malawi.
"This is our way of telling Muluzi that he was not constitutionally elected to rule
Malawi," he stressed.
But Anthony Livuza, the Speaker of Parliament's personal assistant, said
invitations to attend parliament are not sent to parties but to individual legislators.
"It's up to the MPs to decide whether they attend Parliament for their leaders or
for the constituents who elected them," he added.
Livuza said the speaker might use his discretion to apportion punishment to the
truant lawmakers. This may include them forfeiting that day's sitting allowance.
Msowoya said he was aware that certain MPs might be induced with money to
attend Muluzi's opening session. He said he already knew of some MPs,
including some very senior ones, who will attend Parliament just to undermine
opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba's leadership.
After High Court judge Isaac Mtambo dismissed their case, the opposition is
arguing in the Supreme Court of Appeal that Muluzi failed to get over 50 percent
of all the registered voters in Malawi.
Mtambo, in his ruling, argued that the constitutional "majority" meant all those
who actually cast their vote on Election Day.
Smoking Not A Serious Health Problem In Malawi
Panafrican News Agency
May 31, 2000
BLANTYRE, Malawi (PANA) - Malawians do not smoke a lot though the country is
among the world's leading producers of tobacco, a senior physician has said.
Prof. Edward Zylstra of the College of Medicine in Blantyre said Wednesday that
smoking does not have a significant impact on the delivery of health services in
"Malawians don't smoke that much compared to other countries," he told PANA.
Though most smokers are in developing countries, World Health Organisation
resident representative Nerayo Tekle-Michael said smoking levels in Malawi are
He said the WHO was worried about blatant advertising of tobacco products.
He noted that it was difficult to control advertising of tobacco in Malawi since
tobacco accounts for over 75 percent of the country's foreign exchange earnings.
The WHO is intensifying its fight against tobacco because the global picture on
smoking is alarming. About 11,000 people die every day from tobacco-related
diseases while at least 100,000 youngsters take up smoking every day across the
"If you smoke, you should know you are susceptible to contracting the 25
smoking-related diseases including cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure),
hepatitis and others," Tekle-Michael said.
Though rains came too late and were erratic this season in Malawi, the country's
Tobacco Control Commission says the weather was good for the tobacco crop and
production is expected to top 141 million kg.
- 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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