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  • Christine Chumbler
    Opposition challenge Mugabe law The opposition in urban areas were less intimidated by election violence By Grant Ferrett in Harare The Supreme Court in
    Message 1 of 26 , Jan 19, 2001
      Opposition challenge
      Mugabe law

      The opposition in urban areas were less intimidated by
      election violence
      By Grant Ferrett in Harare

      The Supreme Court in Zimbabwe has begun
      hearing a challenge by the main opposition
      party against President Mugabe's decision last
      month to amend the electoral law.

      The amendment prevents the courts from
      overturning any of the results of last year's
      parliamentary elections, even if there is
      evidence of corrupt or illegal practices.

      Riot police surrounded the Supreme Court as
      the hearing was due to begin, providing an
      indication of the depth of the controversy still
      surrounding the poll last June.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic
      Change had planned to challenge the results of
      40 constituencies, a third of the total number
      of contested seats, largely on the grounds of
      violence in the run-up to voting.


      Sitting members of parliament say the
      amendment cannot now be removed.

      But the opposition
      Movement for
      Democratic Change
      says it is

      Its lawyer told the
      Supreme Court that
      the decision to prevent
      any legal challenge
      amounted to a denial
      of the constitutional
      right to the protection
      of the law.

      The government, which has hired a South
      African lawyer to present its case, argues that
      invalidating results from last year's poll could
      threaten democracy and stability in Zimbabwe.

      Whatever the outcome, the prospects are

      If the Supreme Court rules in favour of the
      opposition it would mark an important step
      towards the holding of a series of by-elections.

      Given the example of recent months, that
      would probably result in renewed violence and
      intimidation - most of it carried out by
      supporters of the ruling party.

      Another possibility is that the government will
      once again simply ignore the Supreme Court,
      further undermining the rule of law.
    • Christine Chumbler
      More Rains, Renewed Problems UN Integrated Regional Information Network (Nairobi) March 21, 2001 Posted to the web March 21, 2001 Heavy rains have continued
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 22, 2001
        More Rains, Renewed Problems

        UN Integrated Regional Information
        Network (Nairobi)
        March 21, 2001
        Posted to the web March 21, 2001

        Heavy rains have continued throughout Malawi, worsening the
        flooding in the south of the country and threatening new areas
        that were initially unaffected, an OCHA situation report released
        on Tuesday said. Some 335,000 people have been affected by
        the floods that have so far inundated 13 out of Malawi's 27
        districts, killing 14 people and causing widespread damage.

        In Nsanje and Chikwawa districts in the south, 125,000 and
        62,500 people have been affected respectively. "Parts of these
        districts are not yet accessible due to poor conditions of roads
        and bridges, hindering delivery of relief items," OCHA said.

        While the Department of Disaster Preparedness, Rehabilitation
        and Relief (DDPRR) has distributed maize, beans and salts as
        well as blankets in Nsanje, Mangochi, Zomba and Chikwawa,
        those items were "distributed only to people within the reach of
        public authorities, namely people accommodated in public
        buildings, schools and churches." In the Central region, heavy
        rainfall has affected more farms, especially in Salima district. "The
        situation in Nkhotakota district, the worst affected in the Central
        region, remains critical," warned OCHA.

        DDPRR had provided food assistance to the affected, until the
        depletion of stocks on 6 March. The government has appealed for US $6.7 million in assistance. Together with DDPRR, UNDP is
        coordinating donor and the UN's efforts in response to the
        emergency. UNDP, UNICEF and WHO have deployed assessment teams in the field. The government and UNDP finalised arrangements for the procurement of blankets, iodised salt and plastic sheets with funding from the government of Norway and OCHA, the report said.

        Meanwhile, WFP has commenced food distribution for 58,900
        "most affected persons" in six districts, aiming at providing 690 mt.
        WFP has worked out a logistics plan in collaboration with district
        officials and other partners to ensure efficient delivery of
        assistance. The possibility of using small canoes and army
        helicopters for areas that cannot be reached by road or rail is
        under consideration, OCHA noted. The International Federation
        of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Malawi Red Cross have also been active in relief distribution.
      • Christine Chumbler
        Church ultimatum to Malawi president By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre Malawi s second largest church, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian or CCAP, has
        Message 3 of 26 , May 16, 2001
          Church ultimatum to
          Malawi president

          By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre

          Malawi's second largest church, the Church of
          Central Africa Presbyterian or CCAP, has asked
          President Bakili Muluzi to come out in the open
          on whether he will or will not stand for an
          unconstitutional third term of office.

          Last month the CCAP issued a pastoral letter
          cautioning the ruling United Democratic Front
          (UDF) against moves to change the
          constitution to allow Mr. Muluzi to stand again
          when his second term comes up in 2004.

          Reacting to the pastoral letter, Information
          Minister Clement Stambuli said it was
          premature to discuss the issue of the third
          term because the ruling party politiburo or the
          cabinet are yet to discuss it.

          But the General Synod of the CCAP - the
          church's highest authority - says that is not
          good enough.

          In a letter to the president and Mr Stambuli
          the church says the debate could have been
          curtailed had the president himself came out
          clean on the issue.

          The church says: "Our humble request is that
          you, Mr President, simply declare your decision
          not to seek a third term and we believe this
          matter will be put to rest."

          'Democratic values'

          The church says its opposition to Mr Muluzi's
          third term bid is not a judgment on his
          effectiveness as president. It says the reason
          for its opposition to the third term is to ensure
          that democratic values that Malawians sought
          in 1994 are upheld.

          But despite the general opposition to the third
          term issue, UDF leaders have stepped up the
          unofficial campaign for the bid. Special songs
          beseaching Mr Muluzi to stay put have been

          Mr Muluzi himself, although he has not openly
          made his stand clear on the issue, has never
          cautioned his cadres, heightening speculation
          that this is a calculated move to make it seem
          as if it has come from the grassroots.

          However, the recent capitulation of his
          Zambian counterpart Frederick Chiluba on the
          third term issue and Mozambican President
          Joachim Chissano's announcement that he
          would not seek another term could leave Mr
          Muluzi isolated under pressure to discard the
          third term idea.
        • Christine Chumbler
          Malawi s treason trial judge resigns By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre A high-profile treason trial in Malawi, in which four people are being accused of plotting
          Message 4 of 26 , Nov 6 6:24 AM
            Malawi's treason trial
            judge resigns

            By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre

            A high-profile treason trial in Malawi, in which
            four people are being accused of plotting to
            overthrow the government of President Bakili
            Muluzi, will have to start again following the
            sudden withdrawal of presiding judge, Justice
            Anaclet Chipeta.

            Mr Chipeta is himself facing court proceedings
            on charges of issuing judgements favourable to
            opposition parties.

            With two other judges, Justices Dunstain
            Mwaungulu and George Chimasula Phiri, Mr
            Chipeta is scheduled to appear before
            parliament in Lilongwe on Tuesday at the start
            of their impeachment proceedings.

            The impeachment
            follows complaints by
            the ruling United
            Democratic Front, UDF,
            that the three senior
            judges were working in
            cahoots with the

            New trial

            There were emotional scenes and a near
            fracas in the High Court in Blantyre on Monday
            as the judge announced his withdrawal from
            the case.

            He told the shocked courtroom that he could
            not continue with the treason case when he
            himself was on trial.

            "I can't put everybody on hold as I am
            preparing my own defence before parliament,"
            he said.

            Mr Chipeta also said that however he directed
            the jury in the case, both parties would be

            He therefore said the safest way forward was
            to withdraw from the case and hand it over to
            another judge.

            Everybody in the packed courtroom held their
            breath as the judge went on to explain that
            this means the case should start afresh with a
            new jury and a new judge and that the state
            should recall all the 15 witnesses.

            Shocked indignation

            Soon after the judge made his ruling, all the
            four suspected coup-plotters and their lawyers
            reacted with shocked indignation.

            Alleged coup leader Sudi Adak Sulaimana told
            journalists he would rather rot in jail than come
            back to court after another judge is appointed.

            "We are being
            persecuted," he said.
            "How can we endure all
            that once more
            because parliament
            wants to interfere with
            the judiciary?"

            Mr Sulaimana has said
            that the treason trial
            itself was a plot to
            discredit Malawi's
            opposition leader.

            He claims the
            government had offered him money and his
            freedom if he promised to say National
            Democratic Alliance leader Brown Mpinganjira
            was behind the attempted coup.

            Near tears

            Mr Sulaimana's co-accused, soldier Moses
            Bwanali, in near tears, said his wife had given
            birth to his baby while he was in prison.

            He said since the case was nearing its end, he
            thought he would be able to see his baby since
            he said he was convinced he was innocent.

            Defence lawyer Fabiano
            Mzumara told BBC News
            Online he would apply
            for bail because the
            latest developments
            were not his clients'

            "The court might take a
            long time to appoint a
            new judge so my
            clients, if they will be kept in prison, will suffer
            for no reason of their own making," he said.


            Director of Public Prosecution Fahad Assani
            said he was totally taken by surprise with
            Justice Chipeta's ruling.

            "I need more time to find out the way
            forward," he told BBC News Online.

            Meanwhile another High Court judge, Bathiel
            Chiudza Banda, slapped Parliament with an
            injunction, restraining MPs from summoning the
            three judges.

            In a strongly-worded ruling, Justice Banda
            asked where Malawi's young democracy was
            going when even judges could be threatened in
            their job.

            "I am granting the injunction in the national
            interest," he said.

            In yet another twist, Speaker of Parliament
            Sam Mpasu told Monday's sitting of parliament
            that the three judges would no longer be
            summoned because the Judicial Service
            Commission had appeal to him not to call the
            judges until the Commission investigates the
            three judges' alleged misconduct.

            It is not clear what this means for Justice
            Chipeta's resignation.
          • Christine Chumbler
            Zimbabwe cracks down on illegal journalists Harare | Thursday ZIMBABWEAN authorities are searching for several foreign journalists who entered the country as
            Message 5 of 26 , Jan 24, 2002
              Zimbabwe cracks down on
              'illegal' journalists

              Harare | Thursday

              ZIMBABWEAN authorities are searching for several foreign
              journalists who entered the country as tourists in defiance of a
              ban on most visiting correspondents, a senior government official
              said on Thursday.
              The state controlled daily Herald said that its "investigations"
              established that reporters from Britain's Guardian and Telegraph
              newspapers, the London-based Economist, South Africa's
              Sunday Times "and a few other foreign scribes" had declared
              themselves as holidaymakers on arrival here and were illegally
              working as journalists.
              Several of the "illegal" journalists have been covering the
              worsening repression in the run-up to presidential elections in
              March and their reports have been published under their names in
              their newspapers.
              "Our net is closing in on them and we should be able to account
              for all of them by the end of the day," said George Charamba,
              secretary for the department of information.
              Visiting journalists have to obtain accreditation from the
              information department before being allowed into the country.
              Early last year, the regime ended its previously open policy and
              only a handful of foreign correspondents have been granted
              It says the BBC is "banned" from coming here.
              "What makes the whole development quite sinister is the fact that
              these journalists have got intelligence cover from a hostile state
              because they are on assignment," Charamba said, without
              The Herald claimed the journalists were staying in hotels and
              "MDC safe houses."
              The announcement came as deepening confusion surrounded
              controversial information minister Jonathan Moyo's attempt to
              introduce new press laws that will allow the regime to shut down
              the country's independent press, stop its journalists working, and
              cut off reporting to the outside world of the escalating crisis in the
              Wednesday's debate on the bill was delayed for the fourth time in
              just over a week, amid signs of angry opposition to the bill from
              MPs of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
              Meanwhile, a journalist from Madagascar who had planned to
              spend her vacation with friends in Zimbabwe was turned away
              when she arrived at the airport in Harare, she said from
              Nivo Sahondra Randriamasimanana, a journalist for a French
              magazine, Capricorne, was allowed to stay at the airport only a
              few minutes before being put on the first plane leaving for
              Passports from Madagascar state the holder's profession, and
              when immigration authorities saw the word "journalist" they did
              not even ask whether she had come to Zimbabwe for work or for
              tourism, she said.
              "They really treated me like a criminal," Randriamasimanana
              said. Tourists to Zimbabwe can normally pay for a visa at the
              airport in Harare, but journalists coming to report on the country
              must apply one month in advance from their home country for a
              special visa. - Sapa, AFP


              And in South Africa, safety issues in schools are finally getting attention...

            • Christine Chumbler
              EU poised for action on Zimbabwe Mugabe: Invited observers but excluded Britain European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels are discussing new UK
              Message 6 of 26 , Jan 28, 2002
                EU poised for action on

                Mugabe: Invited observers but excluded Britain
                European Union foreign ministers meeting in
                Brussels are discussing new UK proposals on
                possible sanctions against Zimbabwe.

                Britain was expected to press its EU partners
                to impose limited sanctions if Harare does not
                meet demands for monitors for the 9-10 March
                presidential elections.

                Reports suggest several
                EU members are
                reluctant to impose
                sanctions, such as the
                freezing of assets
                abroad, arguing it would
                give Mr Mugabe's
                government an excuse
                to exclude international

                But state media in Zimbabwe said Mr Mugabe
                had invited foreign observers to the elections,
                including observers from the EU, but would not
                allow observers from Britain, whom he accused
                of backing the opposition.

                UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said ahead of
                Monday's meeting that it was time to put
                President Mugabe "on the spot" amid mounting
                violence ahead of the election.

                "The tragedy unfolding in Zimbabwe is driven
                by one man's ruthless campaign to hang on to
                power whatever the cost," Mr Straw told the
                Guardian newspaper.

                EU foreign ministers are
                considering four
                options, ranging from no
                change in policy at all
                to an immediate
                imposition of sanctions.

                Correspondents say the
                most likely outcome will
                be somewhere between
                these two extremes.

                In a letter sent to Brussels a week ago,
                Zimbabwe committed itself to inviting

                And Mr Mugabe was quoted as saying in a
                meeting on Monday with state media reporters
                that Nigeria and the South African
                Development Community could send observers

                Observers from the Commonwealth, the EU -
                excluding Britain - and other regional and
                international organisations could go at a later,
                unspecified date, he said.


                Over the past few days the British Government
                has backed away from the idea of trying to get
                EU sanctions imposed at once.

                But Mr Straw said on
                Sunday that Mr
                Mugabe's actions had
                sullied the reputation
                of the whole of
                southern Africa.

                "Clearly what has been
                happening in Zimbabwe
                is totally
                unacceptable," he said.

                "And I think the word
                the Prime Minister
                [Tony Blair] used last
                Wednesday was that
                Mugabe's actions were a disgrace to his own

                EU foreign ministers are expected to debate
                cutting aid to the troubled country and may
                ban Zimbabwean governmental figures from

                The EU has repeatedly urged Mr Mugabe to
                end political violence.

                It wants him to organise fair presidential
                elections, ensure freedom of the press and to
                end the continued illegal occupations of
                white-owned farms by so-called war veterans.

                It is also concerned about new proposed
                legislation that would severely censor the
                country's media and restrict foreign reporting
                in the country.

                The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
                could decide to recommend Zimbabwe's
                suspension when it meets on Wednesday.

                But BBC diplomatic correspondent Barnaby
                Mason says a full decision cannot be made
                until the Commonwealth heads of state summit
                at the beginning of March.


                Mt Kilimanjaro Is Melting To Its Death

                The East African Standard (Nairobi)
                January 27, 2002
                Posted to the web January 27, 2002
                An astonishing development is changing one of Africa's most remarkable land marks beyond recognition. The ice cap on Mt Kilimanjaro, one of the few places in the world where ice and snow can be seen on the Equator, is expected to disappear in the next 12 years. Staff writer Mildred Ngesa and photographer Blasto Ogindo recently visited the mountain on a fact finding mission.
                Guide: "Leo mlima umenuna (Today the mountain is annoyed)!"
                Writer: "Mlima umenuna? (The mountain annoyed?)"
                Guide: "Ndio, mlima umekasirika, kwa maana umejificha nyuma ya mawingu, hautaki kuonekana! (Yes the mountain is annoyed and that is why it is hiding behind the clouds, refusing to be seen)"
                It was a warm and cloudy morning in the serenity of Moshi town. The beauty of Moshi, accentuated by the domineering presence of Mt Kilimanjaro, is an enduring joy to the visitor.
                No matter which side of Moshi you may be, waking up to the view of the magnificent mountain recalls a popular refrain in these parts: I woke up and kissed the Kilimanjaro good morning.
                Today, however, on the first morning of our assignment, there was no visible Kilimanjaro to kiss. Thick clouds had assembled above and around the giant mountain, forming a protective cover.
                "As the day unfolds, the mountain may be kind enough to peek through the clouds, a very beautiful sight," Nechi Limo, our guide, told us.
                True to his word, the mountain broke into view as dawn gave way to a bright new day. A few hours towards midday, Africa's highest mountain stood tall and proud in all its glory, with the twin peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi filling up the view.
                Sheets of snow from one of the peaks roll down the mountainside but soon disappear into crevices before reaching the base of the mountain.
                Unknown to many, the popular shiny ice cap on Kilimanjaro is actually on Kibo peak. Mawenzi peak does not have any snow or ice left, although years back it too wore a shiny ice cap.
                "Believe it or not, Mawenzi is now bare without any snow or ice on it. About 15 years ago, the ice cap was there. The same case applies to Mount Meru in Arusha which also had an ice cap once upon a time. Now, Mount Meru has no evidence of ice on it," says Philemon Ndesamburo, Moshi's Member of Parliament.
                Ndesamburo, who is also the shadow Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources in the opposition CHADEMA party, is one of the few Tanzanian leaders who can authoritatively talk about Mount Kilimanjaro's melting ice cap.
                A native of the old Moshi District located directly at the foot of the mountain, Ndesamburo says a lot of changes have taken place on the mountain since his childhood.
                "When I was a young boy in the village, we seldom saw the whole of Mt Kilimanjaro throughout the year. Most of the time, the whole mountain was covered in snow and the ice cap was so thick that the whole mountain would be engulfed in dense clouds for months," he says.
                Today, it is possible to view the whole mountain on a daily basis. Because of the reduction of the ice and snow on the mountain, the cloud cover around it is not as thick and persistent as before.
                "Our government dismisses the melting of the ice cap as propaganda by the western media. If this is so, why can't the government do its own research then come up with a report on the exact situation at the mountain?" he challenges.
                Last year, American Professor Lonnie Thompson from Ohio State University went with a group of scientists to Moshi to find out more on the melting ice cap. The group intended to fly a balloon atop the mountain so as to acquire a least 50 tonnes of ice from the mountain to facilitate their research.
                "Surprisingly, the government stopped the researchers saying that the balloon flights would scare away animals. That was a petty excuse," Ndesamburo says. Thompson and his colleagues, however, carried on with their research and established that the ice cap was melting fast. It is estimated that the whole cap will be completely gone in 12 years.
                "We have the results of Prof Thompson research. Eighty years ago, there was about 12.2 square kilometres of ice cap. By the year 2,000, there was only 2.2 square kilometres of ice cap left," the legislator says.
                These are the findings that prompted Prof Thompson to lead an international campaign in an effort to make scientists as well as environmentalists aware of this turn of events.
                Thompson research also confirms that Peru's Quelccaya's ice cap in the Southern Andes mountains has also shrunk by at least 20 per cent since 1963. More troubling, however, is Thompson observation that the rate of retreat for one of the main glaciers flowing out of the ice cap Qori Kalis has been 32 times greater in the last three years than it was in the period between 1963 and 1978.
                In his report, Thompson states: "Officials worry that the loss of the ice cap atop Kilimanjaro will be devastating to the thriving trade that brings people to the mountain each year and fuels the country's economy."
                Ndesamburo concurs with these findings and adds that a number of seasonal rivers that used to flow from atop the mountain to the surrounding areas have dried up.
                "Moshi has a population of over 200,000 people most of whom are farmers. This is the area where the bulk of Tanzania's coffee is produced. Banana farming is also vibrant. However, with these rivers drying up, there is a big disaster waiting to happen," he says.
                A spot check around Marangu, Himo and various villages at the foot of the Kilimanjaro reveals a number of rivers have dried up. From the Mawenzi peak, rivers Una, Monjo and Ona are no longer reliable to the villages around it while rivers Karanga, Weruweru and Kikafau, flowing from the Kibo peak, have also dried up.
                Going further east towards the Rombo side of the mountain, the ice cap is completely gone. Gone too is the giant river Ungwasi, a main source of water for the people of Rombo.
                Even more disturbing is the gradual disappearance of rain forests that are crucial to agriculture.
                "We have a major problem of de-forestation here. All the saw mills operating in this area should be closed down. The government knows about the destruction of forests. Sadly, those doing this are destroying rain forests which are crucial to our survival," Ndesamburo argues.
                We established that tree felling around Mount Kilimanjaro is rife. Also contributing to the degradation of the mountain are fires that ravage the place during the dry season. Some of these fires are accidentally started while others are arson attacks for various reasons. Global warming is also blamed for the melting of the ice cap.
                Ndesamburo says the warming is "due to excessive carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere from factories that use gas, oil and coal."
                The tragedy is that few Tanzanians truly understand what is happening to the ice cap and how it could affect their lives.
              • Christine Chumbler
                MDC details fraud claims in presidential poll Stuffed ballots, missing ballots, attacks on polling agents ¯ it s all in the opposition s report on how the
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 26, 2002
                  MDC details fraud claims in presidential poll

                  Stuffed ballots, missing ballots, attacks on polling agents ― it's all in the
                  opposition's report on how the party says President Robert Mugabe's government
                  "manipulated the electoral process"


                  Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
                  (MDC), rejected the results of the March 9-11 poll shortly after Mugabe was
                  declared the winner.

                  But the inch-thick report released on Tuesday provides the most detailed analysis
                  yet aiming to support Tsvangirai's claim that the election was "stolen" and
                  "massively rigged".

                  The party found large differences between the number of ballots tallied at polling
                  centres and the number of votes cast according to the official results.

                  According to the party's count, 185 961 ballots went missing in 48 constituencies.
                  The number of ballots recorded at polling stations in those areas was higher than the
                  number announced when the registrar-general gave the results, the report said.

                  The opposite happened in 72 other constituencies. The number of votes announced
                  by the registrar general was as much as 246 445 votes higher than the figures
                  announced at the counting centres, according to MDC.

                  Official results gave Mugabe 426 454 more votes than Tsvangirai, extending his
                  22-year grip on power by a further six years.

                  The party said it had still been unable to
                  compile a complete national report on the
                  election because pro-Mugabe militants
                  had blocked their polling agents from
                  monitoring 40% of rural voting stations.

                  "The report covers only the initial phases
                  of information gathering because many of
                  the polling agents are still detained by
                  the police or their whereabouts unknown
                  as a result of intimidation or related
                  reasons," the party said.

                  Mugabe's government has not responded
                  to most of the allegations made by the
                  MDC and has rejected reports from
                  observer missions ― including local
                  independent observers, regional
                  parliamentarians, the Commonwealth and
                  most western nations ― which found the
                  polls were neither free nor fair.

                  At least 42 people have died since the
                  start of this year in political violence,
                  most of them MDC supporters.

                  The MDC has reported two of its polling
                  agents killed either by soldiers or
                  pro-Mugabe militia.

                  Thousands more have suffered beatings
                  or other intimidation, according to rights

                  In its report, the MDC said 83 of its
                  campaign rallies were disrupted or cancelled by police or the militias, who have set
                  up bases around the country during the last two years.

                  Among the other irregularities cited by the party were:

                  no opposition access to state media, which operate the only radio and
                  television networks in Zimbabwe;
                  a 40%- reduction of polling stations in urban areas, where the MDC enjoys
                  most of its support;
                  reduced numbers of independent observers, with only 430 domestic observers
                  granted accreditation, of the 12 000 who applied;
                  Mugabe's issuing of new electoral regulations right up to the day before the
                  voting began;
                  new laws that curtailed freedoms of expression and association;
                  and a delay in opening polling stations on a court-ordered third day of voting in

                  Some African nations have backed the results, including South Africa, Kenya,
                  Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, even though South Africa and Nigeria were
                  part of a three-nation team that subsequently suspended Zimbabwe from the
                  54-nation Commonwealth for a year.

                  Other African nations, including Ghana and Senegal, have joined Western capitals in
                  criticizing the polls, saying they failed to meet democratic standards.


                  African leaders seek aid

                  Leaders of 21 African states have gathered in
                  Abuja in Nigeria to fine-tune a plan to finance
                  economic development in the continent, ahead
                  at a meeting of the world's biggest
                  industrialised countries.

                  The plan, dubbed the New Partnership for
                  African Development (Nepad), is the brainchild
                  of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and
                  Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

                  The BBC's Elizabeth
                  Blunt says African
                  countries are counting
                  on the plan to
                  re-engage potential
                  donors and investors.

                  It is to be discussed by
                  G8 leaders, who will lay
                  out their response -
                  including financing to
                  tackle the Aids crisis
                  which affects tens of millions of Africans - in

                  South Africa has requested that the Western
                  countries, on whose money the plan depends,
                  should not victimise the whole continent
                  following the election in Zimbabwe.


                  The summit aims to develop in more detail the
                  ideas drawn up by the 16 member states of
                  Nepad before a visit to Nigeria by Canadian
                  Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who is due to
                  host the next G8 meeting.

                  It hopes to persuade Western countries and
                  companies to invest $64bn (£45bn) a year in
                  Africa, targeting economic growth of 7%, in
                  exchange for promises that good governance
                  and transparency will be encouraged.

                  On the agenda are
                  subjects including
                  peace and security,
                  agriculture and market
                  access, capital flows,
                  economic and
                  corporate governance,
                  infrastructure and
                  human development.

                  But some fear that the
                  recent election in
                  Zimbabwe has put
                  that investment at

                  Western governments,
                  together with a clutch
                  of non-governmental
                  organisations including
                  the Commonwealth,
                  cast doubt on the
                  legitimacy of the
                  President Robert Mugabe's victory.

                  Zimbabwe's neighbours, however, were broadly
                  in agreement that Mr Mugabe won fairly.

                  Punish one, punish all

                  Jacob Zuma, the South African deputy
                  president, warned against "collective

                  "There is a tendency to
                  look at one country and
                  say that it is every
                  country in Africa... to
                  almost want to punish
                  all countries in Africa
                  collectively," Mr Zuma
                  told reporters in South

                  "Zimbabwe was such an
                  example. If one country
                  has done certain
                  things... you must not
                  try to also punish other

                  African leaders should
                  not be expected to be
                  held responsible for
                  bringing Zimbabwe into
                  line, he warned.

                  "If a country like France
                  misbehaved, no-one
                  would say that
                  everything is in the
                  hands of (British prime
                  minister) Tony Blair," he
                • Christine Chumbler
                  Malawi food crisis plan to cost $150-million Malawi wants to spend 6,8 billion kwacha ($150-million) to combat its devastating hunger crisis, a statement from
                  Message 8 of 26 , Apr 3, 2002
                    Malawi food crisis plan to cost $150-million

                    Malawi wants to spend 6,8 billion kwacha ($150-million) to combat its devastating
                    hunger crisis, a statement from Vice President Justin Malewezi's office said on


                    The statement, issued after Malewezi held discussions with donors in the
                    administrative capital Lilongwe this week, said half the amount would address
                    medium-term food security issues.

                    Assistance to flood victims and cholera control will each cost five million dollars, the
                    statement added, without saying how the programs would be funded.

                    The food crisis began in part last year, when the worst floods in living memory struck
                    the nation. Drought this year has caused crops to fail, leaving the nation with severe
                    food shortages.

                    Malnutrition has left the population more
                    vulnerable to disease, including cholera,
                    which has claimed 503 lives since the
                    outbreak began in November.

                    More than 300 people starved to death in
                    January and February alone, according to
                    civic and church groups.

                    Malawi also needs to replenish its
                    strategic grain reserves, after 60 000 tons
                    of the staple maize were sold to Kenya last year in a corruption scandal.

                    Spending will also include a supplementary feeding program for the chronically ill, the
                    elderly and other vulnerable groups. Agriculture secretary Anddrina Mchiela was
                    quoted by the media on Saturday as saying that the government has responded to
                    the worst hunger in living memory by supporting supplementary feeding programs for
                    pregnant women and children under five.

                    Up to 76% of the country's 11-million people have no food, according to official
                    figures. - Sapa-AFP


                    Zimbabwe media chief

                    Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief
                    executive Alum Mpofu has resigned amid a
                    government inquiry into his sexuality.

                    The state-run corporation said Mr Mpofu was
                    leaving for personal reasons and his resignation
                    would take effect immediately.

                    He was quoted by state-run media as saying
                    his decision followed reports of impropriety on
                    his part.

                    The government launched an inquiry after
                    allegations that Mr Mpofu was caught "in a
                    compromising situation" with another man at a
                    night club.

                    President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly
                    denounced homosexuals, describing them as
                    "worse than pigs and dogs".

                    Mr Mpofu, who is 43 and married with three
                    children, was recruited to the ZBC from the
                    South African Broadcasting Corporation last

                    Last month, Zimbabwe enacted a new law
                    curbing the activities of independent and
                    foreign news media.
                  • Christine Chumbler
                    Blantyre Embarks On US $14m Power Line Project African Eye News Service (Nelspruit) April 10, 2002 Posted to the web April 10, 2002 Raphael Mweninguwe
                    Message 9 of 26 , Apr 11, 2002
                      Blantyre Embarks On US $14m Power Line Project
                      African Eye News Service (Nelspruit)
                      April 10, 2002
                      Posted to the web April 10, 2002
                      Raphael Mweninguwe
                      Malawians won't be left in the dark much longer once the country's electricity supply company completes a US$14 million project on its power lines.
                      The country's political capital Lilongwe and commercial capital Blantyre have been particularly plagued by frequent power blackouts mainly because of silt build up at the Nkula and Tedzani hydro-electric power stations.
                      "Tedzani power station has been out since November last year," said chief executive of the Electricity Corporation of Malawi, Douw van Wyk.
                      He said a British based company had been contracted to rehabilitate transmission power lines at a cost of US$6 million and US$8 million in Lilongwe and Blantyre respectively.
                      "Work has already begun in Lilongwe and is expected to be finished sometime this year," he said.
                      About two years ago Malawi and Mozambique entered an agreement to share power. Nothing has come of the agreement as yet but Van Wyk said the two sides were still negotiating.
                      He said that both countries were keen to implement the project because it would boost power supply in the region but that it was expensive.
                      "It is expected to cost over US$40 million and is expected to be finalised in November 2004," he said.


                      Officials Adjourn Talks in Zimbabwe

                      By Angus Shaw
                      Associated Press Writer
                      Wednesday, April 10, 2002; 7:24 PM

                      HARARE, Zimbabwe ** Ruling party and opposition officials adjourned talks Wednesday with an
                      agreement to reconvene next month, despite gaping differences over how to resolve their dispute over
                      last month's elections.

                      In a brief statement, the two sides said they adopted a set of procedural rules and "an agenda for
                      dialogue" for the talks scheduled to resume May 13.

                      The rules said an objective of the talks was to achieve tolerance of divergent views, and the top agenda
                      item was a discussion on the legitimacy of the March 9-11 polls, an apparent concession by the ruling
                      party to keep the talks alive.

                      The government has dismissed opposition calls for a rerun of the presidential balloting, which the
                      government said President Robert Mugabe won.

                      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change insisted at the opening of talks Monday that the
                      nation's political stalemate could only be resolved by new elections.

                      Several independent observer groups have said the elections were deeply flawed. The United States
                      condemned the vote and the Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies suspended Zimbabwe for
                      a year.

                      The state Herald newspaper, a government publication, accused the opposition Wednesday of
                      "blackmail" for refusing to accept the poll results and forcing a standoff that jeopardized trade and
                      investment in Africa.

                      "The MDC should be told in no uncertain terms that it should accept its defeat and settle for its role as an
                      opposition party," it said.

                      Official results showed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai losing with 1,258,401 votes to Mugabe's

                      Tsvangirai condemned the tally as rigged and tainted by political violence and demanded an immediate
                      end to state-orchestrated reprisals against his supporters.

                      Officials from Nigeria and South Africa were mediating the talks.

                      The opposition argued Monday the ruling party's participation in the talks was tacit admittance the rigged
                      elections had plunged the country into a deep crisis.

                      Mugabe, 78, has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and vowed to crush any protests against his
                      election victory.

                      Police and troops blocked protests in major cities organized Saturday by a reform alliance and arrested
                      64 demonstrators.

                      Since the beginning of the year, political violence has claimed 48 lives, 31 of them opposition supporters,
                      according to local human rights groups. Hundreds more people suffered assaults, death threats, torture
                      and evictions from their homes, mostly at the hands of ruling party militants, since the poll.
                    • Christine Chumbler
                      Journalist Killed in Troubling Circumstances Reporters sans frontières (Paris) PRESS RELEASE August 12, 2002 Posted to the web August 12, 2002 Paris Reporters
                      Message 10 of 26 , Aug 13, 2002
                        Journalist Killed in Troubling

                        Reporters sans frontières
                        PRESS RELEASE
                        August 12, 2002
                        Posted to the web August 12, 2002


                        Reporters Without Borders today expressed its concern
                        about the death of freelance journalist Don Kulapani on 8
                        August during the hold-up of a bar in the capital, and called
                        on the authorities to conduct a full investigation into this
                        killing, which has coincided with attacks on journalists by
                        the ruling party.

                        "We ask you to fully clarify the circumstances of the
                        journalist's death and to establish that it was not linked to
                        the exercise of his profession", Reporters Without Borders
                        secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Interior
                        Minister Monjeza Maluza. "The fact that it coincides with
                        recent attacks on journalists by the UDF's youth league is
                        troubling, to say the least", Ménard said in the letter, which
                        requested that Reporters Without Borders be kept
                        informed about the investigation's progress.

                        A freelancer who used to work for The Chronicle
                        newspaper, Kulapani was in a bar in the capital, Lilongwe,
                        on 8 August when four armed men entered and opened
                        fire, hitting the journalist. They then stabbed him many
                        times. The assailants took cases of beer, musical
                        equipment and cash from the till before making off.
                        Kulapani died as a result of these injuries.

                        The journalist's death comes soon after the release of a
                        statement by the ruling UDF denying news media claims
                        that it had a unit tasked with silencing investigative
                        journalists who "embarrass" the government. In early
                        August, the National Media Institute of South Africa
                        claimed to have discovered a UDF plot to attack
                        journalists of the Daily Times, Weekly Chronicle, Pride
                        and BBC for having accused the UDF of intending to
                        change the constitution to allow President Bakili Muluzi to
                        run for a third term in 2004.

                        Young activists have been implicated in beatings of
                        journalists who support the opposition party, especially
                        journalists working for the Chronicle, Kulapani's former
                        employer. The Daily Times had already alleged in
                        November 2001 that the UDF had complied a list of
                        journalists who "discredit the party" and that it intended to
                        use its youth wing to attack them.


                        Tension Rises on Zimbabwe Farms

                        By Angus Shaw
                        Associated Press Writer
                        Tuesday, August 13, 2002; 8:56 AM

                        HARARE, Zimbabwe ** White
                        farmers facing eviction reported
                        Tuesday a wave of threats and
                        intimidation by government officials
                        and ruling party militants trying to
                        force them off their land.

                        Farmers leaders said five farmers in
                        southeastern Zimbabwe left their
                        land early Tuesday after local
                        officials, armed police and soldiers visited their
                        farms and told them they were
                        violating the eviction laws.

                        No physical action was taken, but five farmers went
                        to stay with neighbors
                        not affected by eviction orders, the Commercial
                        Farmers Union, representing
                        4,000 white farmers, said.

                        In other incidents in the north of the country,
                        militants threatened violence if
                        farmers did not abandon their properties, said
                        Justice for Agriculture, a group
                        calling for the evictions to be challenged in

                        A black settler on one of the farms in the Banket
                        tobacco and corn district
                        fired a pistol in the air in an effort to drive the
                        owner and his black workers
                        away Monday, said Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman for
                        the group.

                        In other incidents near Harare, a black manager
                        employed by a white farmer
                        was assaulted by militants Monday and three other
                        farmers were under
                        pressure from black settlers to leave, she said.

                        A deadline for nearly 3,000 white farmers to leave
                        their land expired last
                        week as part of the government's often violent land
                        reform program. But the
                        government has taken no direct action to enforce the
                        eviction order.

                        The government says its program was a final effort
                        to correct colonial era
                        imbalances in land ownership. Critics say it is part
                        of the increasingly
                        authoritarian government's effort to maintain power
                        amid more than two years
                        of economic chaos and political violence mainly
                        blamed on the ruling party.

                        The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
                        Association, which has led
                        the often violent occupation of white-owned farms
                        over the past two years,
                        said its members would not take the law into their
                        own hands to remove
                        defiant farmers.

                        "It is now the responsibility of the government of
                        Zimbabwe to make sure the
                        laws of Zimbabwe are obeyed in all respects,"
                        chairman Patrick Nyaruwata

                        President Robert Mugabe said Monday he would not
                        tolerate opposition to
                        his plans to redistribute white-owned farms to
                        blacks. He said he would not
                        allow whites to retain massive farms, though he said
                        he was willing to let
                        "loyal" farmers keep some land.

                        Mugabe did not refer to evictions in a second speech
                        marking a Defense
                        Forces Day holiday Tuesday.

                        He said the land redistribution program was "being
                        finalized." Military
                        personnel had been given farms and more would
                        continue to get land.
                      • Christine Chumbler
                        Malawi floods kill four, over 15 000 homeless Blantyre 06 January 2003 11:50 Floods in Malawi have left four people dead and more than 15 000 people homeless
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jan 7, 2003
                          Malawi floods kill four, over 15 000

                          January 2003 11:50

                          Floods in Malawi have left four people dead and
                          more than 15 000 people
                          homeless while causing extensive damage to
                          desperately-needed maize
                          crops, relief officials said on Sunday.

                          "The situation is very bad. Extensive flooding has
                          taken place," said Lucius
                          Chikni, commissioner of disaster and relief.

                          "Thousands of people are homeless and there has
                          been extensive crop
                          damage," he added.

                          Two people died when heavy rains hit the south of
                          the country on Thursday,
                          caused four big rivers to burst their banks. Two
                          others died last week when
                          flooding occurred in the north of the country,
                          leaving 290 families homeless.

                          The main highway connecting the commercial centre
                          Blantyre to Lilongwe
                          the administrative capital, was reported to have
                          been heavily damaged in
                          some sections.
                          High tension power lines were brought down by the
                          storm, disrupting power
                          supply in Blantyre on Sunday for several hours.

                          Chikuni said he and Poverty and Disaster Management
                          Minister Lee Mlanga
                          on Sunday flew by helicopter to the affected
                          lakeshore districts of Ntcheu
                          and Dedza, to conduct an assessment of the

                          He said most of the flooding had been caused by
                          tropical cyclone Delfina
                          which hit the country last week, and was aggravated
                          by environmental

                          The floods are likely to increase hardship in a
                          country where some three
                          million people are threatened by famine.

                          Floods last year were partly responsible for
                          causing the current food
                          shortages in the southern African country. Malawi
                          needs 600 000 tons of
                          maize, its national staple, to stave off famine. -


                          Finance Minister Probed Over Sale of Maize

                          UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
                          January 6, 2003
                          Posted to the web January 6, 2003


                          Malawi's finance minister is expected to come under investigation for
                          involvement in the controversial sale of the country's strategic maize
                          reserves just months before widespread crop failure, officials told
                          IRIN on

                          With 3.3 million Malawians facing hunger, President Bakili Muluzi last
                          appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the alleged
                          mismanagement of the state-run Agriculture Development and Marketing
                          Corporation (ADMARC).

                          The commission is expected to investigate whether Finance Minister
                          Friday Jumbe, who was then head of ADMARC, had "unduly" benefited
                          from the sale of the maize.

                          "Minister Jumbe is just one of the officials who will be investigated.
                          There is
                          to date no evidence of guilt or innocence. The commission is merely a
                          fact-finding commission. It is our mandate to find out if Jumbe
                          benefited personally from his involvement in the management or sale of
                          the said maize," commission chairman Khuze Kapeta told IRIN.

                          Almost 160,000 mt of grain was sold from the strategic grain reserves
                          August 2000, of which 60,000 mt was exported to Kenya.

                          This was after unprecedented floods earlier in the year had ravaged
                          production. The floods, followed by drought, left Malawi with a
                          shortfall of
                          about 480,000 mt and made it one of the hardest hit of the six
                          African countries - along with Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland
                          and Lesotho - that are struggling to cope with their worst food
                          in recent years.

                          The government has blamed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for
                          forcing it to sell at least part of the reserve in 2000 to reduce debt,
                          accusation denied by the IMF.

                          The IMF's countered that Malawi sold the maize after advice from a
                          consultant, hired by the government in a European Union-funded

                          In August last year, former Poverty Alleviation Minister Leonard
                          was sacked by Muluzi for alleged corruption in the sale of the

                          Magulama was named in an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report into the
                          matter which accused him of acquiring 300 mt of maize without paying

                          It also named several parliamentarians, from both the opposition and
                          ruling party, who bought maize from the strategic grain reserves for
                          in different markets.

                          ACB Deputy Director, Alex Nampota, told IRIN: "We conducted our
                          investigations in the most transparent way and our final report
                          reflected our
                          findings. But the fact that a commission of inquiry has been set up to
                          further investigate the sale of the maize suggests that there are

                          "The commission will hopefully satisfy those who are still worried
                          about the
                          sale of the reserves. It goes toward showing ordinary Malawians who
                          suffering that the government is doing something to be rid of
                          Nampota said.


                          Zimbabwe food riots

                          Four police officers have been injured in a
                          dormitory town near Harare, when youths
                          attacked people queuing for food on Sunday,
                          police have said.

                          In the second city of Bulawayo, there is tight
                          security around the courthouse, where 39
                          people are appearing in connection with food
                          riots on Friday, reports the French news
                          agency, AFP.

                          Up to six million
                          people, half of the
                          population, are
                          suffering from food
                          shortages according to
                          aid agencies.

                          Meanwhile, President
                          Robert Mugabe has
                          moved to tighten his
                          control of the main
                          cities, which are
                          opposition strongholds,
                          by announcing that he will appoint governors
                          for both Harare and Bulawayo.

                          Correspondents say that governors enjoy
                          considerable power and they are likely to be
                          used to sideline opposition mayors in both

                          'Green Bombers'

                          Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said that
                          about 200 people were queuing up for
                          mealie-meal, the scare staple food, when a
                          group of youths attacked the police who were
                          controlling the crowd.

                          "In the process of controlling the crowd, some
                          youths came and disrupted the queue resulting
                          in four police officers being injured," Mr
                          Bvudzijena told AFP.

                          Opposition supporters
                          have been prevented
                          from receiving food aid
                          and even from buying
                          food in urban areas,
                          says the Movement for
                          Democratic Change
                          (MDC) and donor

                          But it is reported that
                          activists from Mr
                          Mugabe's Zanu-PF
                          party were behind the
                          disturbances in both
                          the town of Chitungwiza, 23km south of
                          Harare, and Bulawayo.

                          The privately owned Daily News reports that
                          "Green Bombers", graduates of a
                          government-run youth training scheme, were
                          involved in the Chitungwiza riots.

                          The police said they had not identified the

                          In Bulawayo, a group of "war veterans" was
                          dispersed by riot police when they tried to
                          protest outside the courthouse on Monday.

                          State media have accused the "war veterans",
                          who have been used to intimidate opposition
                          supporters, of organising Friday's food riots.

                          They were apparently unhappy at the unfair
                          distribution of food.

                          The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting
                          Corporation reported that residents had
                          accused grain board officials of corruptly
                          supplying maize to unscrupulous millers, who
                          then sold it on at exorbitant prices.


                          Zimbabwe's eight largely rural provinces
                          already have governors, who also sit in

                          Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
                          denied that the new governors would make the
                          opposition mayors redundant and said they
                          would coordinate development.

                          Opposition parties point the finger of blame at
                          Mr Mugabe and his government for the food
                          shortages because of disruption caused by his
                          controversial programme of land reform.

                          The president says the cause of the crisis is a
                          combination of a drought and a Western
                          imperialistic plot aimed at keeping power in the
                          hands of Zimbabwe's whites.
                        • Christine Chumbler
                          Vampire fever sweeps Malawi Raphael Tenthani | Blantyre 10 January 2003 09:12 A senior ruling party official was recovering in a hospital on Thursday after
                          Message 12 of 26 , Jan 10, 2003
                            Vampire fever sweeps Malawi
                            Raphael Tenthani | Blantyre

                            January 2003 09:12

                            A senior ruling party official was recovering in a
                            hospital on Thursday after
                            being stoned by an angry mob who believed rumours
                            he was harbouring

                            Malawi's government has been campaigning to quell
                            vampire rumours that
                            have spread throughout the impoverished southern
                            African country, saying
                            opposition elements were using the rumours to
                            discredit the ruling party.

                            Eric Chiwaya, a senior official with the United
                            Democratic Front party was
                            badly beaten in the attack on Wednesday night.

                            Hundreds of people from a township south of
                            Blantyre stoned his house and
                            when he tried to escape by car, they stoned him
                            inside the vehicle, he said.

                            Police had to fire shots to disperse the crowd.
                            Rumours had spread through
                            the township that Chiwaya was harbouring vampires
                            and had approached
                            community leaders asking them to let them into the

                            Police said three people had been arrested for
                            inciting violence in the
                            incident. Horrifying stories of vampires attacking
                            villagers in the dead of night
                            and sucking their blood began circulating last
                            month in Malawi.

                            Frightened villagers have beaten to death a man
                            suspected of being a
                            vampire, attacked and nearly lynched three visiting
                            priests and destroyed an
                            aid group's encampment they feared was the
                            vampires' headquarters.

                            President Bakili Muluzi called the rumours
                            unfounded and malicious, and
                            accused unnamed opposition groups of trying to
                            undermine him by saying
                            his government gave aid agencies human blood in
                            exchange for food aid. -


                            White Farmer: Judge Seized Zimbabwe Farm

                            By Angus Shaw
                            Associated Press Writer
                            Friday, January 10, 2003; 9:10 AM

                            HARARE, Zimbabwe – A High Court judge ignored an
                            order by his own court barring him from moving onto
                            a farm
                            confiscated from a white family, the owner of the
                            land said Friday.

                            According to the white farmer, Vernon Nicolle, Judge
                            Hlatshwayo told him he was allocated the land by
                            government under its land reform program
                            commercial farming by blacks.

                            The controversial land reform program, which the
                            government says is a tool to correct colonial era
                            injustices by
                            giving farms to poor, landless blacks, has come
                            under fire for
                            giving many of the prime farms instead to
                            confidantes of
                            longtime President Robert Mugabe.

                            Nicolle obtained a High Court order in September
                            freezing a government eviction notice on his property
                            in Banket, 60 miles northwest of Harare on grounds
                            there were errors in the notice.

                            That order suspended Nicolle's eviction until the
                            government revised the notice. It has not been

                            Accompanied by a police escort, Hlatshwayo moved
                            onto the 900-acre farm last month. He also
                            moved equipment and workers there, according to
                            correspondence to the judge by Nicolle's lawyers.

                            Nicolle, one of the biggest grain producers in the
                            district, is living in his farmhouse on an adjacent 192

                            "This has seriously affected my operations. The
                            eviction was declared invalid and as a judge he should
                            know how the legal system in Zimbabwe works,"
                            Nicolle said Friday.

                            "I'm going to take him to the High Court. We won't
                            stop until we reach the end," he said.

                            Hlatshwayo was not immediately available for
                            comment. Nicolle said when he confronted Hlatshwayo,
                            the judge said he had been allocated the land by the

                            The government has confiscated more than 90 percent
                            of land owned by about 4,000 white farmers
                            under a plans to redistribute it to blacks to farm.

                            At least 6.7 million people, more than half the
                            population, face starvation blamed on erratic rainfall and
                            agricultural disruptions caused by the chaotic land

                            Zimbabwe has been wracked by political and economic
                            turmoil for nearly three years that began with
                            violent farm seizures by ruling party militants.

                            The country is suffering its worst ever economic
                            crisis. Hard currency shortages have caused gas
                            stations to run dry. Corn meal, the staple food,
                            bread, milk, sugar and other commodities are scarce
                            and long lines have become commonplace.

                            Justice for Agriculture reported violent incidents
                            and intimidation have continued against white farmers
                            still on their land or visiting abandoned properties
                            to collect belongings and equipment.

                            It said a woman and her two children were assaulted
                            in northwestern Zimbabwe on Thursday at their

                            Her husband, Alan Parsons, reported to police the
                            identity of the assailant as Themba Mliswa, a ruling
                            party activist and prominent soccer coach who
                            apparently took over the family's farmhouse after they
                            left last year, fearing for their safety.

                            The farm, in the troubled Karoi district 120 miles
                            northwest of Harare, had not been targeted for

                            "When I arrived at the farm, I was approached by
                            Mliswa, who had changed the locks to the house. ...
                            He asked what I was doing on the farm," Parsons


                            China donates 4 500 tons of maize to

                            January 2003 10:58

                            China has donated 4 500 tons of maize to famine-hit
                            Zimbabwe, the
                            state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on

                            The donation of the southern African country's
                            staple food, which was
                            handed over on Thursday, comes at a time the
                            country face a shortfall of
                            well over 300 000 tons of maize between now and
                            March, when the next
                            harvest is due.

                            Around eight-million out of Zimbabwe's 11,6-million
                            people are threatened
                            with famine.

                            It is the hardest-hit out of six southern African
                            countries affected by food
                            shortages caused by drought and unsound government
                            policies. - Sapa-AFP
                          • Christine Chumbler
                            Reporter arrested for interview with a vampire 21 January 2003 09:33 Police in Malawi arrested a radio journalist yesterday for broadcasting an interview with
                            Message 13 of 26 , Jan 21, 2003
                              Reporter arrested for interview with a

                              January 2003 09:33

                              Police in Malawi arrested a radio journalist
                              yesterday for broadcasting an
                              interview with a man who claimed to have been
                              attacked by a vampire.

                              Southern Malawi has been rife with rumours of
                              blood-sucking vampires,
                              fuelled by the popular belief that the government
                              is colluding with vampires
                              to collect blood for international aid agencies.

                              A judge later dismissed charges against Maganizo
                              Mazeze of broadcasting
                              false information likely to cause public alarm,
                              after an interview on a local
                              radio station with a tea-planter from the southern
                              province of Thyolo.

                              "I am not bitter with anyone," Mazeze said after
                              his court appearance. "In
                              fact, my sojourn in jail has reinforced my resolve
                              to unearth issues
                              authorities would otherwise prefer buried."

                              The police said there was no evidence to support
                              the interviewee's claims.

                              A man was recently stoned to death by villagers in
                              Thyolo after being
                              suspected of working with vampires. - Guardian


                              Mugabe party office

                              Attackers have thrown petrol bombs at a ruling
                              party office in a suburb of the Zimbabwean
                              capital, Harare.

                              One person died and seven people were hurt,
                              several seriously, say police.

                              Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said
                              about 50 young men drove into Harare's
                              western Kuwadzana township on Monday
                              night, smashing property and assaulting
                              pedestrians before throwing petrol bombs at
                              the offices.

                              "It's a political attack.
                              We suspect that it is
                              related to the
                              by-election to be held
                              in the suburb," Mr
                              Bvudzijena said.

                              A parliamentary
                              by-election is
                              expected to take
                              place soon, following
                              the death in police
                              custody last year of
                              an opposition
                              Movement for
                              Democratic Change (MDC) MP, Learnmore


                              Police are blaming the attack on opposition
                              supporters and have made 16 arrests.

                              Mr Bvudzijena said the
                              attack appeared aimed
                              at "provoking political
                              violence on a wider

                              MDC officials say it is
                              the work of militant
                              supporters of
                              President Robert

                              They say Zanu-PF is
                              waging a violent
                              campaign to win the
                              seat in the Kuwadzana constituency by trying
                              to intimidate voters. The MDC won almost all
                              urban seats in parliamentary elections in June

                              Widespread political intimidation and
                              persecution of opposition supporters has been
                              reported in recent months.


                              Last week, MDC MP Job Sikhala and human
                              rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba said they were
                              tortured by police while being held in police

                              Both appeared in court over the weekend and
                              were then released on bail.

                              At a news conference in Harare, Mr Sikhala
                              said he was severely tortured all over his body
                              "for a solid eight hours" including having
                              electrodes attached to his genitals.

                              "They also used planks to beat under my feet
                              and over the entirity of my body... I am still in

                              He said he was then forced to drink poison
                              which they said was urine.

                              Zimbabwe is in the grip of a major food crisis
                              affecting more than half of the country's

                              President Mugabe's government is accused of
                              withholding food aid from opposition


                              Zimbabwe distances itself from Moyo's
                              Richard Thompson

                              January 2003 12:40

                              The South African government has "noted and
                              accepted" the Zimbabwean
                              government's explanation of remarks by its
                              information minister -- who
                              described South Africans as "filthy, recklessly
                              uncouth and barbaric".

                              Foreign Affairs representative Ronnie Mamoepa said
                              on Sunday the South
                              African government had requested an explanation
                              from Zimbabwean
                              authorities regarding Jonathan Moyo's remarks.

                              Moyo's outburst followed a story in the Sunday
                              Times of January 12 about
                              his shopping trip to South Africa, when he spent
                              large sums on luxury items
                              while millions of his compatriots face starvation.

                              In his response to that story, Moyo criticised the
                              South African media and
                              South Africans in general, and clearly implied that
                              President Thabo Mbeki
                              was not fit to lead the African Renaissance.

                              "If these people believe they can lead an African
                              renaissance, then God help
                              them," Moyo said.

                              Pretoria's request -- on Tuesday -- for an
                              explanation from Harare can be
                              seen as a demarche, in diplomatic terms an extreme
                              form of criticism.

                              Harare's reply to that demarche criticises the
                              Sunday Times for its
                              "invasion" of Moyo's privacy and "disregard" for
                              his status as a cabinet

                              However, it goes on to distance itself from
                              "inferences" that "cast
                              aspersions on President Thabo Mbeki's impeccable
                              credentials as a Pan

                              "Nothing could be further from the truth," the
                              Zimbabwean government says
                              in the statement.

                              "The Zimbabwe government respects and supports the
                              role and efforts of His
                              Excellency President Thabo Mbeki to bring about the
                              dawn of a new

                              Mamoepa said the South African government accepted
                              the reassurance "in
                              as far as it pertains to the government and people
                              of South Africa."

                              Zimbabwe was suspended from the councils of the
                              Commonwealth -- a
                              lesser penalty than outright suspension -- after
                              President Robert Mugabe
                              was returned to office in 2002 in elections marred
                              by violence and widely
                              regarded as rigged.

                              Mbeki is a member of the "troika" delegated by the
                              Commonwealth heads of
                              Government Meeting to consider whether that
                              suspension should be
                              continued is to meet again in March.

                              Mbeki's representative Bheki Khumalo said on
                              Sunday Moyo's remarks
                              "would have no bearing on that meeting."

                              He emphasised that Mbeki would approach the
                              question with an open mind.

                              Meanwhile, Moyo blamed the opposition and
                              disgruntled civil servants on
                              Sunday for spreading reports of a retirement plan
                              for Mugabe, accusing
                              them of treason and agitating for a coup.

                              "If there is anyone who has hatched a plot to
                              force the president to step
                              down they should face the full wrath of the law,"
                              Moyo told the state Sunday
                              Mail newspaper.

                              Moyo said the debate on Mugabe's future was,
                              "tantamount to plotting a
                              coup in the glare of the media."

                              He blamed the economic crisis gripping the southern
                              African country
                              marked by massive shortages of food, fuel and hard
                              currency, on
                              government bureaucrats fumbling what he termed
                              "technical" economic
                              factors, and not ruling party policies.

                              "There is a lot of inefficiency, let alone
                              corruption," he said.

                              "Our greatest challenge at the moment is that we
                              have a civil service that is
                              not performing."

                              Moyo suggested some members of the civil service
                              may be serving "hostile
                              political interests."

                              The economic disruptions in the country --
                              partially blamed on the
                              government's often violent seizure of thousands of
                              white-owned commercial
                              farms -- and erratic rains have caused the
                              unprecedented shortages and
                              spurred record inflation and unemployment.

                              An estimated 6,7-million people face starvation in
                              coming months. Analysts
                              say the unravelling of the economy is likely to
                              intensify demands for
                              Mugabe's departure.

                              In his comments, Moyo made no mention of two of the
                              most powerful figures
                              in the ruling party, Parliament speaker Emmerson
                              Mnangagwa and military
                              commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe, who have been
                              cited in reports as
                              favouring Mugabe's retirement.

                              Moyo also denied any rifts in the ruling party.

                              "You will not find in the party any significant
                              elements that want to act
                              unconstitutionally and undemocratically in favour
                              of coup plotters and
                              electoral cowards," said Moyo.

                              The South African government, meanwhile, faced
                              criticism on its Zimbabwe
                              policy from another quarter on Sunday. Zimbabwe's
                              main opposition the
                              Movement for Democratic Change accused Mbeki of
                              "hypocrisy" and
                              "dishonesty" in his approach to the situation in

                              "The South African government frankly, is
                              dishonest," MDC
                              secretary-general Welshman Ncube was reported as
                              saying, in the Sunday

                              "It is not surprising, really, because it is the
                              same SA government which is
                              saying to the rest of the world: 'Don't do anything
                              about Zimbabwe. Let
                              (Mugabe) go on with his torture and abuse. Let
                              bygones be bygones'," he
                              said. - Sapa
                            • Christine Chumbler
                              Authorities Take Stock Of Damage Caused By Floods African Church Information Service January 27, 2003 Posted to the web January 29, 2003 Reported By Hamilton
                              Message 14 of 26 , Jan 30, 2003
                                Authorities Take Stock Of Damage Caused By

                                African Church Information Service
                                January 27, 2003
                                Posted to the web January 29, 2003

                                Reported By Hamilton Vokhiwa

                                Authorities in Malawi are taking stock of damage caused by floods,
                                following heavy rains that pounded the country recently.

                                The extraordinarily heavy rains occasioned by a cyclone named Defina,
                                caused widespread damage to infrastructure and agricultural land. A
                                number of roads, bridges and railway lines were damaged. Large areas
                                crop fields were washed away, killing at least 10 people and
                                tens of thousands of people, now in need of relief aid.

                                A wash-away of a bridge along Zalewa highway caused a major disruption
                                of traffic between Blantyre and Lilongwe, but has since been partly
                                repaired to allow traffic to pass.

                                Road traffic authorities said three people went missing when the
                                across Rivi-rivi river was swept away, following two days of incessant

                                More bridges were washed away throughout the country, rendering a
                                number of areas inaccessible to motor vehicles.

                                This caused President Bakili Muluzi to declare a state of emergency.
                                was the second time the president was making such a declaration in a
                                span of less than one year.

                                In February last year, President Muluzi declared a state of emergency
                                following widespread food shortages that led to deaths of hundreds of
                                people, especially children.

                                The Commission for Disaster Preparedness, Relief and Rehabilitation,
                                said in total, up to 15, 000 people have been displaced by the current

                                Lucius Chikuni is the head of the Commission. He said work had started
                                bring food and tents to the displaced people, who had sought refuge in
                                schools and churches in affected regions.

                                The most affected areas include Karonga and Rumphi in the northern
                                region, Lilongwe, Salima and Ntcheu in central part of the country,
                                Machinga and Balaka in the south.

                                In Ntcheu district, the Malawi Television featured a cemetery where
                                raging flood waters washed away coffins, leaving the graves open. Some
                                bodies were recovered several kilometers away.

                                Western aid agencies have promised to step up relief assistance,
                                following the declaration of a state of emergency by President Muluzi.

                                A representative of a western diplomatic mission based in Lilongwe,
                                that the declaration would pave way for a suitable response by western

                                World Food Programme (WFP) information officer, Abbelgadir Musallam,
                                said his organisation was at pains to try to reach some areas in the
                                districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje in lower Shire Valley. He said they
                                forced to divert relief food items to other accessible sites more than
                                kilometers away from the strategic distribution centres.

                                "We have no money to airlift the relief items. Our movements have been
                                delayed and we don't know what is happening to those people."

                                When making the declaration, President Muluzi said the costs of
                                could be expected to run into millions of Kwachas.

                                District officials and representatives of non-governmental
                                have issued urgent appeals for food, medicines, blankets, tents and
                                sheets for the displaced people.

                                Over the past few weeks, teams of field workers from non-governmental
                                organisations, the department of disaster preparedness and relief
                                rehabilitation, as well as the international organisation of doctors
                                borders have been forcing their way across washed out roads to reach
                                displaced people.

                                District Commissioner for Salima, Gift Rapozo, said about 2,300 people
                                18 villages were isolated and that government officials including those
                                his office were failing to reach the displaced people.

                                "We have come up with the number after estimating the village
                                but we don't really know how many more people are isolated. It might
                                possible that others left the areas when they sensed the dangerous
                                situation," he said.

                                Shadrick Matsimbe, who is the chairman of the Road Users Association,
                                said his organisation had difficulties to reach an isolated area
                                because a
                                bridge had been swept away.

                                "People are starving in the villages as we are failing to supply them
                                relief items because of the poor condition of the roads and bridges
                                to those areas," he pointed out.

                                Religious organisations were mobilising relief aid to the affected
                                One of them, the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), donated
                                flour and cow peas to 1000 households displaced by floods in Salima.

                                Ironically, the floods have come after governments in the southern
                                region were advised to plan for another season of little rainfall, and
                                possibly, a terrible drought.


                                Harare police break up
                                mayor's meeting

                                Zimbabwean police have fired tear gas at
                                hundreds of residents of the capital, Harare, as
                                they entered the office of the mayor.

                                Mayor Elias Mudzuri, who is from the opposition
                                Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), says
                                he was trying to inform his constituents about
                                water shortages.

                                He told the BBC's Focus
                                on Africa programme
                                that this was the only
                                way he could
                                communicate with
                                rate-payers because state-owned media
                                refuse to interview him or even carry his

                                Mr Mudzuri was arrested two weeks ago for
                                holding an illegal meeting.

                                Earlier this month, the government announced
                                that it would introduce governors to run Harare
                                and the second city of Bulawayo, which both
                                have MDC mayors.

                                'Police state'

                                Under tough new security laws, the police
                                have wide powers to break up meetings of
                                more than five people.

                                But Mr Mudzuri said the meeting was going to
                                be held in his office and so he did not need
                                police authorisation.

                                "I hold meetings every five minutes with more
                                than five people," he said.

                                "It's becoming a police

                                He also said that the
                                police were invited to
                                the meeting and had
                                originally given their
                              • Christine Chumbler
                                Ghost Employees Deplete Govt Coffers African Church Information Service February 24, 2003 Posted to the web February 25, 2003 Hobbs Gama Blantyre Things have
                                Message 15 of 26 , Feb 26, 2003
                                  'Ghost Employees Deplete Govt Coffers'

                                  African Church Information Service
                                  February 24, 2003
                                  Posted to the web February 25, 2003

                                  Hobbs Gama

                                  Things have turned sour in several government departments in Malawi,
                                  where civil servants have not been paid salaries on time. A situation
                                  of ghost
                                  workers created by senior government officials, is depleting the

                                  Teachers in primary and secondary schools, being the most affected,
                                  abandoned classes in a number of schools in several districts around
                                  country, including Blantyre.

                                  The issue of ghost workers came out strongly following an audit
                                  instituted by
                                  International Monetary Fund (IMF) late last year. It was discovered
                                  that the
                                  government's inflated wage bill was a result of huge numbers of
                                  workers created by officials in six ministries.

                                  Names of deceased staff, retired workers, and of fake individuals were
                                  noticed on payrolls. The education ministry was the most affected.

                                  The Teachers Association of Malawi (TUM) has since taken the treasury
                                  task, accusing it of being insensitive to the plight of teachers, who
                                  the largest part of public workers. Out of a total 120,000 workforce in
                                  public sector, 60,000 are teachers.

                                  TUM General Secretary, Lucien Chikadza, said morale was low in all
                                  education divisions around the country. He blamed the ministry of
                                  headquarters for the mess.

                                  Towards the end of last year, workers in education, agriculture and
                                  ministries went for Christmas and New Year holidays without pay.

                                  In the past two years, salaries have been paid irregularly.

                                  Finance Minister, Friday Jumbe, has since apologised to teachers and
                                  promised speedy action, saying teachers were victims because the
                                  wage bill was plagued with a lot of problems.

                                  "The situation is regrettable because issues of salaries are not
                                  The wage bill in the ministry has been fluctuating when it is supposed
                                  remain constant," said Jumbe.

                                  Last month, an IMF team made its seventh visit to Malawi since 2002,
                                  accused the government of spending beyond budget passed by parliament.

                                  The Fund suspended a US$56 million aid until issues of financial
                                  mismanagement and poor governance were resolved, and presidential
                                  limited, among other conditions.

                                  Subsequently, Malawi's bilateral donors , the United States of
                                  Britain and the European Union, have also closed their aid taps.

                                  Angered by President Muluzi's reckless spending, the World Bank is
                                  pressing the government to refund US$1.5 million in aid of various
                                  uncompleted projects. The EU is also demanding that the administration
                                  gives back about US$7 million, for similar reasons.


                                  UN blames Mugabe for crisis

                                  The United Nations food agency
                                  has said that the Zimbabwe
                                  Government is largely
                                  responsible for the
                                  humanitarian crisis there.

                                  The Zimbabwe crisis was "almost
                                  beyond comprehension" and could
                                  easily have been avoided, said
                                  James Morris, head of the World
                                  Food Programme.

                                  He pointed to President Robert Mugabe's land
                                  redistribution programme,
                                  which has left thousands of normally productive farms
                                  lying idle.

                                  Up to seven million people - half the population -
                                  need food aid, donors

                                  This year's harvest is expected to be even lower than
                                  in 2002 - just
                                  40% of normal.

                                  The government has also been accused of diverting food
                                  aid away from
                                  opposition areas.


                                  Mr Mugabe blames the food shortages on failed rains.

                                  He also says that his land reform programme should
                                  increase food
                                  production, because white farmers generally grew cash
                                  crops such as
                                  tobacco and paprika, while small-scale black farmers
                                  generally grow the
                                  staple food, maize.

                                  But Mr Morris disagreed.

                                  "This scheme (land reform) along
                                  with restrictions on private sector
                                  food marketing and a monopoly on
                                  food imports... are turning a drought
                                  that might have been managed into
                                  a humanitarian nightmare," he told
                                  lawmakers in the United States.

                                  Mr Morris said that he had held six
                                  meetings with Mr Mugabe in the past
                                  six months but had failed to
                                  persuade him to alter his economic
                                  policies or remove bureaucratic
                                  obstacles to food production or aid

                                  The head of the US Agency for
                                  International Development, Andrew
                                  Natsios, agreed.

                                  Zimbabwe had become "a basket
                                  case rapidly sliding into a disastrous
                                  famine that is politically induced," he

                                  A government audit reportedly
                                  shows that many of the farms seized
                                  from white farmers have been allocated to government
                                  ministers and
                                  officials, rather than landless blacks.

                                  In neighbouring Malawi, which was worst hit by the
                                  food shortages last
                                  year, the government says that the situation is
                                  improving this year.
                                • Christine Chumbler
                                  Just have to point out that on the BBC site today, quite a few hints of peace. Leaders in Sudan are predicting that war will be over by June; observers are
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Apr 3, 2003
                                    Just have to point out that on the BBC site today, quite a few hints of
                                    peace. Leaders in Sudan are predicting that war will be over by June;
                                    observers are cautiously optimistic about the peace deal signed in the
                                    DRC yesterday; and rebels have ended their boycot of the transitional
                                    government in Cote d'Ivoire. Could it be that parts of Africa are
                                    examples of peace for the rest of the world?


                                    Malawi cabinet sacked
                                    Raphael Tenthani
                                    BBC, Blantyre

                                    President Bakili Muluzi has sacked his entire cabinet
                                    just two
                                    days after naming an outsider as his successor.

                                    A brief statement from the office of
                                    the president did not give any
                                    reason for the surprise decision but
                                    only said all matters requiring
                                    cabinet attention should be directed
                                    to his office until a new cabinet is

                                    The Secretary to the President and
                                    Cabinet Alfred Upindi told me this
                                    afternoon he too does not know why
                                    Mr Muluzi has sacked his cabinet.

                                    He said the president just called him
                                    into his office at State House on Wednesday morning
                                    where he was told
                                    to issue the statement.

                                    The decision to dissolve the cabinet comes only two
                                    days after President
                                    Muluzi announced that the cabinet and the ruling
                                    United Democratic
                                    Front politburo had anointed Bingu wa Mutharika to be
                                    his successor for
                                    the elections scheduled for 18 May 2004.

                                    President Muluzi had tried but failed both in court
                                    and in public opinion to
                                    change the constitution to allow him a third term in

                                    Resignation threats

                                    Several ministers and UDF leaders have accused
                                    President Muluzi of
                                    imposing the 69-year-old economist on the party.

                                    A senior UDF official told me that it
                                    had not been done according to the

                                    Several ministers, according to
                                    cabinet sources, threatened to quit
                                    soon after President Muluzi told both
                                    the cabinet and the UDF National
                                    Executive Committee that he wanted
                                    Mr wa Mutharika to be his chosen

                                    My cabinet source told me that ever
                                    since President Muluzi's first attempt
                                    to change the constitution to allow him to stay on in
                                    power flopped, he
                                    has been intimidating any senior minister he suspected
                                    was eyeing the
                                    top job.

                                    The source told me he settled for Mr wa Mutharika, a
                                    recent arrival to
                                    the cabinet, as a way of punishing the presidential

                                    He said the president's announcement that Mr wa
                                    Mutharika was elected
                                    by the joint cabinet and UDF National Executive
                                    Committee was a


                                    He said President Muluzi simply told everyone to
                                    endorse his anointed

                                    The speculation is that President Muluzi will now
                                    purge his cabinet of all
                                    ministers who are unhappy with the succession process.

                                    But analysts say it is only a matter of time before
                                    major splits start
                                    rocking the ruling party following President Muluzi's
                                    decision to impose a
                                    presidential candidate on the party.


                                    Zanu-PF is only five seats away from total

                                    03 April
                                    2003 12:42

                                    Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF is within sight of a
                                    two-thirds majority in
                                    parliament that would enable it to make
                                    constitutional amendments. This
                                    makes three upcoming by-elections all the more
                                    important for the opposition
                                    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

                                    Zanu-PF holds 95 of the 150 seats in parliament.
                                    The 150 seats include 30
                                    that are appointed directly or indirectly by
                                    President Robert Mugabe -- eight
                                    provincial governors, 12 non-constituency MPs and
                                    ten chiefs appointed by
                                    their peers and given final approval by Mugabe.

                                    According to Zimbabwe's parliamentary records, the
                                    MDC holds 54 seats.
                                    The ZANU-Ndonga party of the late Ndabaningi
                                    Sithole, veteran nationalist
                                    and Mugabe critic, has one seat.

                                    Five of the 150 seats are currently vacant. Two of
                                    these -- the Mashonaland
                                    West governor's seat and a replacement for deceased
                                    chief Mukwananzi --
                                    will almost certainly be filled by Zanu-PF members,
                                    said Greg Linington,
                                    lecturer in constitutional law at the University of

                                    The others are the constituencies of Harare
                                    Central, following the resignation
                                    of MDC Member of Parliament (MP) Michael Auret due
                                    to ill health, and
                                    Makonde in the northwest of the country, vacant due
                                    to the recent death of
                                    Education Minister Swithun Mombeshora of Zanu-PF.
                                    Also up for grabs is
                                    Chiredzi South, in the northeast of the country,
                                    after the suspension of
                                    Zanu-PF MP Aaron Baloyi.

                                    It was recently reported that MDC MP Tafadzwa
                                    Musekiwa had fled to
                                    London to escape alleged intimidation and had
                                    resigned his Harare seat.
                                    But a parliamentary official as well as MDC
                                    representative Paul Themba
                                    Nyathi said they had not yet received official
                                    notification of this, so his
                                    Zengeza constituency is not considered vacant.

                                    According to the constitution, if the ruling party
                                    holds "two thirds of the full
                                    membership" of parliament, which is 100 of 150
                                    seats, then it is entitled to
                                    make constitutional amendments, Linington said.

                                    Zanu-PF are therefore five seats short of the 100
                                    seats required.

                                    Analyst Chris Maroleng of the Institute of Security
                                    Studies Africa said the
                                    issue of constitutional amendments becomes relevant
                                    in the context of
                                    recent reports, denied by the government, of the
                                    search for an exit strategy
                                    for Mugabe.

                                    "The constitution currently says that within 90
                                    days of the president's death
                                    or retirement, there has to be a presidential
                                    election to appoint a
                                    successor," Maroleng explained. "But a
                                    constitutional amendment could
                                    allow Mugabe to appoint a successor ahead of his
                                    departure and bypass an

                                    The upcoming by-elections therefore become all the
                                    more critical, with the
                                    attending risk of political violence and

                                    "During the presidential election the [Zanu-PF]
                                    strategy was to reduce the
                                    number of voters, as a high voter turnout benefited
                                    the MDC and low turnout
                                    benefited Zanu-PF," Maroleng said.

                                    Other influences include whether a constituency is
                                    urban or rural -- where
                                    traditionally it is more difficult for the
                                    opposition to campaign. Most rural
                                    seats are held by Zanu-PF, while the MDC tends to
                                    be urban-based.

                                    Maroleng said that of the three by-elections, the
                                    Makonde seat was likely to
                                    be a "borderline" MDC/Zanu-PF seat as it had been a
                                    close contest in the
                                    last election, with reported incidents of

                                    The Electoral Supervisory Commission has yet to set
                                    a date for the closely
                                    watched contests. - Irin
                                  • Christine Chumbler
                                    Upheaval in Ruling Party Continues UN Integrated Regional Information Networks May 2, 2003 Posted to the web May 2, 2003 Johannesburg Splits in Malawi s United
                                    Message 17 of 26 , May 5, 2003
                                      Upheaval in Ruling Party Continues

                                      UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

                                      May 2, 2003
                                      Posted to the web May 2, 2003


                                      Splits in Malawi's United Democratic Front (UDF) began to emerge this
                                      week as another senior official announced his resignation from the
                                      ruling party.

                                      On Thursday, Jan Sonke, a UDF lawmaker for the commercial capital
                                      Blantyre, cited the party's failure to "reduce poverty, strengthen
                                      democracy and improve the economy" as reasons for his resignation.

                                      He is the third high-ranking UDF official to leave the party following
                                      a recent controversial decision by President Bakili Muluzi to dissolve
                                      his entire cabinet and name Bingu wa Mutharika - a political newcomer -
                                      as the UDF's candidate for the 2004 presidential elections.

                                      Soon after the political shake-up, Harry Thomson, (former environment
                                      minister) and Aleke Banda (former agriculture minister) quit the party.
                                      Both men had expressed an interest in the presidency, and Banda also
                                      objected to Muluzi's bid for a third term in office.

                                      But observers say the split in the ruling party could be an opportunity
                                      to entrench political pluralism in Malawi, where the UDF is seen to
                                      dominate the political stage.

                                      "Any kind of split in the UDF would be significant for the future of
                                      democracy in Malawi. Senior UDF members who are dissatisfied with Muluzi
                                      may decide to leave the party and form a new opposition. On the other
                                      hand, some may leave and join existing opposition groups," Ralph
                                      Kasambara, chairman of the NGO, the Civil Liberties Committee, told

                                      "This will in the long term encourage healthy debate and produce a
                                      vibrant opposition. Presently, the UDF has a stranglehold on politics in
                                      Malawi and by watering down some of that power, we will eventually
                                      escape the quagmire of a state dominated by just one party," he added.

                                      Meanwhile, John Tembo on Tuesday was elected president of the main
                                      opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP). The MCP convention was marred by
                                      violence after it emerged that Tembo, the deputy leader of the party,
                                      had won more votes than party leader Gwanda Chakuamba, and would
                                      therefore be the party's candidate in the 2004 presidential elections.

                                      Some 15 people were injured in the clashes.


                                      African Presidents Tackle Zimbabwe Chaos

                                      By ANGUS SHAW
                                      The Associated Press
                                      Monday, May 5, 2003; 6:32 AM

                                      HARARE, Zimbabwe - Three African presidents arrived in Zimbabwe Monday
                                      for talks aimed at ending the political chaos and violence that has
                                      crippled the nation for three years.

                                      South African President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun
                                      Obasanjo and Malawi President Bakili Muluzi went to a Harare hotel where
                                      they were scheduled to meet with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe,
                                      whose increasingly autocratic rule has been blamed for causing the

                                      They were also scheduled to hold a separate meeting with Morgan
                                      Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

                                      Zimbabwe officials said the main talks with Mugabe were to be held at
                                      his State House offices, where reporters for some foreign media
                                      organizations were refused entry.

                                      The new mediation efforts come ahead of a trip to southern Africa by
                                      Walter Kansteiner, the U.S. State Department's top Africa official.
                                      Kansteiner will visit South Africa and Botswana, and will try to win
                                      backing for calls for political reform in Zimbabwe.

                                      Mugabe, 79, who led the nation to independence in 1980, narrowly
                                      defeated Tsvangirai in presidential polls last year that independent
                                      observers said were deeply flawed.

                                      The opposition, along with Britain, the European Union and the United
                                      States, have refused to accept the results, saying voting was rigged and
                                      influenced by intimidation mainly against opposition supporters.

                                      Zimbabwe's opposition MDC has criticized African leaders for
                                      recognizing Mugabe's re-election amid state-sponsored political

                                      The Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said in an editorial
                                      Monday that Mugabe's foes hoped the talks would lead to Mugabe's
                                      retirement and implied the government feared a possible attack from U.S.
                                      and British forces, an implication both nations have repeatedly denied.

                                      "There is trepidation ... about the timing of the visit in view of the
                                      pronounced positions of the British and American governments over regime
                                      change in Zimbabwe following their successful invasion and occupation of
                                      Iraq," it said.

                                      Talks between the MDC and Mugabe's party, mediated by Nigeria and South
                                      Africa, ended in a stalemate last year.

                                      Mugabe said last month he would only meet with Tsvangirai if the
                                      opposition recognized his re-election and dropped a court case
                                      challenging the result, conditions the MDC has previously rejected.

                                      The opposition and the main labor federation have shut down most of the
                                      economy with two national anti-government strikes since mid-March.

                                      Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence.
                                      Inflation has soared to a record 228 percent, unemployment is nearly 70
                                      percent and Zimbabweans face shortages of hard currency, food, gasoline
                                      and medicine.

                                      More than 200 people have been killed in political violence since 2000
                                      and thousands of others, mostly opposition supporters, have been
                                      arrested and tortured, rights groups say.
                                    • Christine Chumbler
                                      Malawi bans Big Brother Africa Big Brother Africa has been taken off the air in Malawi after the country s parliament condemned it as immoral . It voted to
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Aug 6, 2003
                                        Malawi bans Big Brother Africa

                                        Big Brother Africa has been taken off the air in Malawi after the
                                        country's parliament condemned it as "immoral".

                                        It voted to ban the pan-African reality series from its public TV
                                        station because of concerns about its sexual content.

                                        Taylor Nothale, chairman of the parliamentary committee on the media,
                                        said he had received a number of complaints, particularly from parents.

                                        He said most Malawians felt the show might encourage young people to
                                        engage in immoral behaviour.

                                        "People are subjected to horrible pictures which are corrupting the
                                        morals of our children," Mr Nothale said.

                                        Opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba said: "We want the government to
                                        stop that nonsense on TV."

                                        Most of the southern African country's 10.6 million people are deeply
                                        conservative Christians. It also has a Muslim minority.

                                        Malawi has become the third African nation to condemn the series
                                        following concerns raised by religious and political leaders in Zambia
                                        and Namibia.

                                        They have complained that some of the footage broadcast is too

                                        State-run Television Malawi has been broadcasting highlights of the
                                        South Africa-based show every evening.

                                        It originally featured 12 contestants, each from a different African
                                        country, locked together inside the Big Brother house.

                                        As with the western-style format, they are voted off one by one.
                                        Malawi's representative, Zein Dudah, was removed a month ago.

                                        Apart from the condemnation over sexual content, the show has been
                                        praised for bridging cultural gaps and exploding some of the myths
                                        contestants share about fellow Africans.

                                        Show producer Carl Fischer said: "If (the show) didn't generate any
                                        controversy, the project would be a failure."

                                        Rich Malawians will still be able to watch the show on satellite


                                        Cheap malaria drug approved

                                        A cheap drug to combat malaria is to be launched by GlaxoSmithKline.
                                        The drug could help to save millions of lives each year in some of the
                                        world's poorest countries.

                                        According to GSK, a course of treatment with Lapdap will cost just 18
                                        pence (29 US cents) for an adult and 9 pence for a child.

                                        This is much cheaper than many existing drugs, some of which can cost
                                        as much as £33 per course.

                                        Major killer

                                        Malaria affects around 300 million people around the world each year.

                                        Nine out of 10 cases occur in Africa. The disease claims the lives of
                                        at least one million people annually, according to the World Health
                                        Organization (WHO).

                                        Many of these lives could be saved if more affordable drugs were

                                        This latest drug, which combines two existing anti-malaria compounds,
                                        has been developed by GSK in collaboration with the WHO and scientists
                                        in the UK.

                                        The $5m development costs were shared between GSK, the WHO and the UK
                                        Department for International Development.

                                        Trials have shown that it is more effective than some existing
                                        treatments and can also help people who are resistant to some older

                                        It has now been approved for use by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare
                                        products Regulatory Agency.

                                        GSK said the drug would be made available in sub-Saharan Africa as soon
                                        as possible.

                                        In a statement, the company said: "GlaxoSmithKline plans to make Lapdap
                                        available at preferential prices across sub-Saharan Africa as soon as
                                        local approval has been granted."

                                        Professor Peter Winstanley, director of the Wellcome Trust Tropical
                                        Centre at the University of Liverpool which led the development work,
                                        welcomed the drug's approval.

                                        "Lapdap can help us meet the urgent need for an affordable anti-malaria
                                        treatment for use in Africa," he said.
                                      • Christine Chumbler
                                        BBC has a photo gallery of a man living with AIDS in Malawi http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/04/africa_aids_in_malawi/html/1.stm *****
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Jul 15, 2004
                                          BBC has a photo gallery of a man living with AIDS in Malawi



                                          Sunshine City goes dark

                                          Ryan Truscott | Harare, Zimbabwe

                                          15 July 2004 12:59

                                          Living in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, is getting harder as weary
                                          residents battle with frequent power cuts, water shortages and the
                                          ever-rising prices of basic goods.

                                          Harare once boasted the nickname "Sunshine City" but in the depths of a
                                          Zimbabwean winter, it's looking less and less that way for all
                                          residents, regardless of their income levels.

                                          Last week the state-run power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
                                          Authority (Zesa), announced it is introducing power cuts at peak periods
                                          due to increased demand from the cold weather and Zimbabwe's inability
                                          to find additional sources for power imports from outside the country.

                                          Zimbabwe imports 30% of its power, much of it from neighbouring South
                                          Africa, but has in the recent past reportedly had problems settling its

                                          Coinciding with the power cuts, Zesa has started broadcasting
                                          advertisements every half hour on state radio, proclaiming "Zesa: Power
                                          to the people."

                                          "While we sit in the dark with candles waiting for the power to come
                                          back on and women stream out of the bush with firewood on their heads
                                          because they can't afford electricity, the jingles go on and on and on,"
                                          says Zimbabwe writer Cathy Buckle in her weekly commentary.

                                          In several suburbs of the capital, streetlamps and house lights flicker
                                          off at 6pm at night -- to be restored three hours later.

                                          There are also cuts scheduled for three hours in the mornings.

                                          "It's every night," moans one elderly resident of the relatively
                                          well-heeled Avondale suburb, near Harare's main hospital.

                                          "It was Thursday, Friday and then again at half-past six on Saturday,"
                                          she complains. She adds that she keeps her bath "half full" to be ready
                                          for water cuts -- usually advertised in the state-run Herald newspaper
                                          and on public radio.

                                          In June some suburbs had no water for almost three weeks. The
                                          authorities blamed pump failures at the ageing Morton Jaffray water
                                          plant, as well as a lack of crucial aluminium sulphate used to treat the

                                          A so-called "water demand management system" was brought in. This meant
                                          cutting off supplies to other suburbs for 24-hour periods.

                                          Harare's opposition-led city council says it does not have the funds to
                                          maintain infrastructure. But efforts to hike rates have been blocked by
                                          Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who has also dismissed
                                          Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) mayor Elias Mudzuri.

                                          A member of President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, Chombo last month
                                          declared previously approved increases "unjustified" and ordered a

                                          The Harare city council has only held two meetings in the past six
                                          months, says Jameson Gadzirai of the Combined Harare Residents'
                                          Association, leaving residents concerned that civic governance is being
                                          frustrated by party politics.

                                          "What the residents are feeling now is that council decisions are not
                                          being implemented because of a broader agenda being pushed by the [local
                                          government] ministry," Gadzirai says.

                                          There are other concerns. Public hospitals in the city are faring
                                          badly. The privately owned Standard reported this month that corpses at
                                          Harare's Central hospital are being rolled down the stairs from wards to
                                          the mortuary because there is no money to repair the lifts.

                                          Health delivery has been one of the biggest casualties of Zimbabwe's
                                          four-year old economic downturn. Cases of kwashiorkor -- a sometimes
                                          fatal illness usually associated with times of war and famine -- have

                                          At least 621 were treated last year in the city's clinics, according to
                                          a report by the council's director of health, Lovemore Mbengeranwa.

                                          Price hikes too are a worry. Although inflation rates have fallen, from
                                          more than 600% at the end of last year to just less than 400%, prices of
                                          foodstuffs and many basic goods continue to rise.

                                          Faced with an outcry, the country's energetic Reserve Bank Governor
                                          Gideon Gono last week said that "the thinking that prices ought to come
                                          down because inflation is coming down is fallacious", the state-run
                                          Ziana agency reported.

                                          Gono told the conference that prices should still be going up by about
                                          6%. But his figures do not square with prices on shop shelves: bread has
                                          more than doubled in two months from about Z$1 200 a loaf to Z$2 900.

                                          Meanwhile fuel queues resurfaced last week. A wearying fact of life for
                                          many Zimbabwean drivers over the past three years, the queues seemed to
                                          have disappeared after the authorities removed price controls.

                                          State radio said last week's queues were due to "logistical" problems
                                          in fuel distribution. -- Sapa-AFP
                                        • Christine Chumbler
                                          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
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Jul 22, 2004
                                            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

                                            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.


                                            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


                                            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

                                            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
                                          • Christine Chumbler
                                            Development-Malawi: Rapid Urbanisation Looks Irreversible Inter Press Service (Johannesburg) July 27, 2004 Posted to the web July 27, 2004 Frank Phiri Blantyre
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Jul 29, 2004
                                              Development-Malawi: Rapid Urbanisation Looks Irreversible

                                              Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

                                              July 27, 2004
                                              Posted to the web July 27, 2004

                                              Frank Phiri

                                              Every morning, residents of Malawi's sprawling commercial hub, Blantyre
                                              wake up to deafening noises as hundreds of thousands of people pour into
                                              the city to try to make a living.

                                              During peak hours, roads from townships leading to the city's main
                                              streets become clogged with traffic that range from minibuses, trucks,
                                              bicycles and a sea of pedestrians.

                                              Road accidents are common and vary from five to ten a day in the city,
                                              according to the police.

                                              Back in the 1980s, peak hours in Blantyre hardly resulted in traffic
                                              jams unless, of course, if the convoy of the late dictator Hastings
                                              Kamuzu Banda was passing-by and roads had to be cordoned off by order.

                                              Now Blantyre's landscapes are changing. The latest United Nations
                                              Centre for Human Settlement (UNCHS) study on urbanisation shows that the
                                              city of Blantyre and other trading centres in the northern and central
                                              regions of Malawi are becoming noisier, thanks to rapid urbanisation.

                                              The study, which was released this month, says Malawi, a tiny,
                                              landlocked and impoverished southern African nation of about 13 million
                                              has emerged as the fastest urbanising country in the world with an urban
                                              population growth of 6.3 percent, compared to 0.5 percent in rural

                                              According to the study, three million people now live in urban areas
                                              compared to 260,000 in 1966, something which represents a 25-percent

                                              The study, which has tipped Malawi to score highly in urbanisation in
                                              the next 15 years, concurs with an earlier study by the UK Department
                                              for International Development (DFID) that 44 percent, or more than 5
                                              million people would live in towns by 2015.

                                              It says three-quarters of Malawi's population lives in the main urban
                                              centres of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba.

                                              The findings of the two studies prompted Malawian authorities and civil
                                              society Tuesday to convene a meeting in the administrative capital,
                                              Lilongwe to debate how to meet the challenges of urbanisation in the
                                              next 15 years.

                                              The stakeholders, meeting under the theme "Malawi is World Champion in
                                              Urban Population Growth", admitted that urbanisation was the main
                                              contributing factor to land and housing shortages, congestion, squatter
                                              settlements, crime, HIV/AIDS infection and unemployment.

                                              Malawi's economy depends on agriculture and shortages of land have in
                                              recent years contributed to perennial food shortages, which refuse to
                                              ease. In 2002, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation
                                              (FAO) and other aid agencies estimated that more than three million
                                              Malawians needed emergency food. This year, the agencies have projected
                                              that more than one million people will starve if food aid is not

                                              Economists fear that the need to import the staple maize this year
                                              could cause depreciation of kwacha as the country's foreign exchange
                                              cover is low. Donors are withholding aid, citing fiscal indiscipline by

                                              Apart from food insecurity, HIV/AIDS infection has emerged as the most
                                              appalling crisis to hit the urban areas. Malawi's HIV infection
                                              prevalence hovers at 14.7 percent, according to the latest UN Joint
                                              Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) report.

                                              Of the one million people infected, the Malawi National AIDs Commission
                                              (NAC) estimates that 25 percent, or 250,000, are in urban areas compared
                                              to 13 percent in the rural areas.

                                              The commission estimates that AIDS has created about 600,000 orphans.
                                              As a result, orphanages are now overwhelmed.

                                              "Most of the orphans end up on the streets as beggars and grow up into
                                              thugs," says Bertha Bonongwe of Chisomo Care Group, an orphanage at
                                              Ndala Village in the outskirts of Blantyre.

                                              City officials say urbanisation is also leading to squatter
                                              settlements, which cause congestion and sanitation breakdowns. According
                                              to UNCHS, 71 percent of residents in Blantyre live in squalid and
                                              unplanned settlements.

                                              City officials blame utility companies for providing installations in
                                              areas that are not fully developed.

                                              "Installations such as water and electricity in underdeveloped places
                                              attract people to go and settle in such areas," says Sophie Kalimba, the
                                              chief executive of Blantyre City Assembly.

                                              Masauko Ngwaluko, spokesperson for the Lilongwe Water Board, says
                                              vandalism of plastic water pipes has been on a steady increase in recent
                                              years. The pipes are used for making teapots and other domestic
                                              appliances, which are on high demand in the city.

                                              "We're losing about K650,000 (6,000 United States dollars) every month
                                              to repair vandalised installations," he says, adding that such
                                              disruptions were leading to failure by the board to provide
                                              uninterrupted services to residents.

                                              The country's sole power utility, the Electricity Supply Corporation of
                                              Malawi (Escom), is also feeling the pinch of urbanization. Its
                                              installations, such as transformers, are targeted by residents who
                                              extract the oil for unknown use, it says.

                                              Critics say Malawi has become poorer in the past 10 years of
                                              re-introducing multiparty democracy. Before 1994, Malawi had been a
                                              one-party state for more than 30 years under Banda. Over 65 percent of
                                              the population now lives below the poverty line of one dollar a day,
                                              according to the World Bank.

                                              In April, a study by Khwima Nthara, an economist with Deloitte and
                                              Touche firm revealed that Malawi's Gross National Income - that is
                                              earned by individuals in a country - has fallen from 220 dollars in 1997
                                              to 160 dollars now.

                                              Economists and UN agencies believe poverty is the main driving force
                                              behind the rural-urban migration in Malawi. "The influx of people from
                                              rural areas is directly linked to increasingly harsh conditions many
                                              families are facing in outlying areas of Malawi," says the UNCHS study.

                                              To address the problems faced by the urban poor, the Secondary Centres
                                              Development Project (SCDP) - a German funded project - is servicing
                                              unplanned housing sites with access to clean water, drainages, roads and
                                              processing land ownership certificates.

                                              Charles Mkula, the projects' communication officer, says SCDP has
                                              processed 8,900 title deeds for the poorest households in urban areas.

                                              "Due to urbanisation, poverty is increasing in urban households with
                                              homeless migrants living in slums not fit for human habitation," Mkula
                                              told IPS.

                                              Like it or hate it, rapid urbanisation looks irreversible in Malawi.

                                              "Evidence shows urbanisation cannot be stopped whether by law, policy
                                              or development projects targeting the poor. The best thing to do would
                                              be to let public investment follow the people," argues Mtafu Zeleza
                                              Manda of the Malawi Institute of Physical Planners (MIPP), which pools
                                              the country's engineers, architects, and planners.


                                              Malawi clerics caught canoodling

                                              By Raphael Tenthani
                                              BBC correspondent in Blantyre

                                              A Catholic priest and nun have been arrested in Malawi for making love
                                              in an airport car park.
                                              The 43-year-old priest and 26-year-old nun were caught "in the act" in
                                              a tinted saloon car parked at Lilongwe International Airport.

                                              "It was a bizarre spectacle, the public alerted airport police after
                                              noticing the car shaking in a funny way," police spokesman Kelvin Maigwa
                                              told the BBC.

                                              The pair is due before a magistrate in the capital, Lilongwe, on

                                              Abandoning pastoral duties

                                              When the police arrived, catching them in the act, the two were
                                              promptly arrested and charged with indecent behaviour in a public place,
                                              Mr Maigwa said.

                                              They were detained overnight at a police station near the airport.

                                              The charge is a misdemeanour and, if convicted, the pair may get away
                                              with a small fine.

                                              The two were first noticed by eye-witnesses as they parked the car and
                                              wound up the tinted windows.

                                              "We thought they could be rushing for a plane that was about to take
                                              off but we were surprised that they never got out of the car," said a
                                              taxi driver.

                                              After being arrested, the nun was allowed to put on her habit, Mr
                                              Maigwa said.

                                              The priest was dressed in civilian clothes, he said.


                                              Zambia cracks down on hackers

                                              Dickson Jere | Lusaka, Zambia

                                              29 July 2004 13:58

                                              Zambia's government is to present a tough Bill on cyber crime to
                                              Parliament on Friday that will see convicted hackers and other offenders
                                              face harsh sentences ranging from 15 to 25 years in jail.

                                              The Computer Misuse and Crimes Bill enjoys strong backing from bankers
                                              and the Computer Society of Zambia, a group of professionals promoting
                                              computer use, who say hacking into dormant accounts has become a problem
                                              in this poor Southern African country.

                                              "We feel this law will help to deal with the increasing number of
                                              electronic frauds and hacking especially in the financial sector," said
                                              Milner Makuni, president of the Computer Society of Zambia.

                                              The most famous cyber offence in Zambia was committed by a young
                                              computer wizard who hacked the State House website and replaced the
                                              picture of then president Frederick Chiluba with a cartoon.

                                              He was arrested and charged with defaming the head of state but the
                                              case failed to succeed because there was no law in Zambia that deals
                                              with cyber crimes.

                                              "The Bill, once passed, will help to deal with high-tech cyber crimes
                                              that our current legal system cannot address," said Bob Samakai, a
                                              Ministry of Communication permanent secretary.

                                              But some cyber experts worry that the measure is likely to be abused by
                                              the authorities to curb access to the internet.

                                              "It is difficult to regulate the use of computers and internet because
                                              we are dealing with a world wide web," said Brenda Zulu, a renowned
                                              cyber journalist who specialises in online reporting.

                                              She said the country should first develop a policy on information
                                              communication technology (ICT) before rushing to enact legislation on

                                              Currently, the Zambian government is seeking public input in its draft
                                              ICT policy, which is yet to be adopted.

                                              "This law is very vague and not necessary for Zambia at the moment,"
                                              said Lloyd Himambo, an editor of Zambia's online newspaper The

                                              He said regulating the use of computers will be a difficult undertaking
                                              and wondered how such a law will be enforced in Zambia, a country where
                                              computers are a preserve of the rich.

                                              About one in 1 000 Zambians owns a computer, according to unofficial

                                              The Computer Society of Zambia agrees that enforcing such a law will be
                                              difficult, but pledged to help train police officers to understand cyber

                                              "I think what people should be fighting for is to upgrade their
                                              security features on their websites to deal with hacking but not to
                                              criminalise it," said Zulu, adding that hacking a site can be done
                                              outside Zambia, making it difficult to track the offenders.

                                              A senior Zambian lawyer who has studied the Bill said it is an "import
                                              of the British Act" and lacks local input.

                                              "I think this law is very advanced for the Zambian society and
                                              government should not rush it through Parliament before reaching
                                              consensus," he said, on condition of anonymity. -- Sapa-AFP
                                            • Christine Chumbler
                                              Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt UN Integrated Regional Information Networks September 20, 2004 Posted to the web September 20, 2004 Johannesburg Malawi s
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Sep 21, 2004
                                                Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt

                                                UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

                                                September 20, 2004
                                                Posted to the web September 20, 2004


                                                Malawi's winter harvest should ordinarily ease the country's existing
                                                food shortage, but there is concern that the new crop could be affected
                                                by poor summer rains.

                                                The cultivation of winter crops starts soon after the main summer crop
                                                has been harvested, usually around July, and takes place in areas where
                                                there is residual moisture after the end of the rainy season, or farmers
                                                have access to irrigation facilities.

                                                Due to a poor summer harvest it is estimated that up to 1.6 million
                                                people will require food assistance up to March 2005, but aid agencies
                                                have noted that a bumper winter harvest could narrow the existing food

                                                "In the past few years, the government of Malawi has been encouraging
                                                winter crop production through various means, and this has resulted in a
                                                steady production increase," the Famine Early Warning Systems Network
                                                (FEWS NET) said in its latest country report.

                                                However, the 2003/04 rainfall "was significantly worse than that of
                                                2002/03, especially in the winter maize producing areas", FEWS NET
                                                noted. "This poor rainfall would have resulted in relatively less
                                                residual moisture and water availability, necessary preconditions for
                                                winter crop production. The general expectation is that winter crop
                                                production should be lower than last season, especially in the southern
                                                region, which was the most hit by the dry spells and shortness of the
                                                rainfall season."

                                                The National Statistics Office (NSO) has forecast a winter maize
                                                harvest of around 225,000 mt, slightly higher than the previous year's
                                                224,000 mt. However, FEWS NET said the NSO forecast was questionable,
                                                given the poor rainfall this year.

                                                "Although the coming winter harvest - around October to December -
                                                would help improve the aggregate national food availability situation,
                                                the improvements for smallholders in the southern region will be
                                                short-lived, and a majority of the households will continue to rely on
                                                the markets for food," FEWS NET commented.

                                                But the rising cost of staples has limited household access to food.
                                                "Prices have already started to rise, consistent with predictions of a
                                                worse than normal [harvest] year ... continued prices increases will
                                                adversely affect households' ability to purchase food," the report

                                                It will take an estimated 56,000 mt to 83,000 mt of emergency food aid
                                                to assist the rising number of households in need until the next
                                                harvest, FEWS NET forecast.


                                                Zimbabwe court drops paper case

                                                A Zimbabwean court has dropped charges against four directors of the
                                                banned Daily News newspaper.
                                                The privately-owned paper was shut down a year ago by police under the
                                                country's tough media laws.

                                                The magistrate said there was insufficient evidence to show they had
                                                published the paper illegally.

                                                But the publication will stay off the news-stands pending a decision by
                                                the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the media legislation.

                                                Zimbabwean and international rights groups have condemned the law,
                                                which compels all journalists and newspapers to be accredited by a
                                                government-appointed media commission.

                                                Magistrate Lillian Kudya said the state failed to prove the paper
                                                intentionally violated the law, as the paper had won court cases
                                                granting the paper a licence, AFP news agency reported.

                                                "We are free. We knew justice was going to prevail," said Samuel Nkomo,
                                                the paper's chief executive after the ruling.

                                                Launched five years ago, the Daily News was the country's sole
                                                privately-owned daily paper and was a persistent critic of President
                                                Robert Mugabe's government.
                                              • scottgeibel
                                                Well that s not good news... let s hope that the colorful Autumn leaves and Spring flowers brighten the moods of Malawi s disappointed farmers. ... existing
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Sep 22, 2004
                                                  Well that's not good news... let's hope that the colorful Autumn
                                                  leaves and Spring flowers brighten the moods of Malawi's disappointed

                                                  "Christine Chumbler" <cchumble@d...> wrote:

                                                  > Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt
                                                  > UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
                                                  > September 20, 2004
                                                  > Posted to the web September 20, 2004
                                                  > Johannesburg
                                                  > Malawi's winter harvest should ordinarily ease the country's
                                                  > food shortage, but there is concern that the new crop could be
                                                  > by poor summer rains.
                                                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.