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  • Christine Chumbler
    Indian Company Offers Cheaper AIDS Drug Panafrican News Agency (Dakar) February 12, 2001 Posted to the web February 12, 2001 Blantyre An Indian phamarceutical
    Message 1 of 1046 , Feb 13, 2001
      Indian Company Offers Cheaper AIDS Drug

      Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)
      February 12, 2001
      Posted to the web February 12, 2001


      An Indian phamarceutical company has offered to supply
      low-cost triple-therapy AIDS drug cocktail to Malawi, a medical
      source disclosed in Blantyre.

      The head of mission of Medicines Sans Frontier in Malawi,
      Mariline Mulemba told journalists that the Indian Company,
      CIPLA Limited - a major manufacturer of generic drugs - has
      made the offer to MSF and the government.

      "We are already in consultation on the issue with concerned
      parties such as (Malawi) government," she said.

      If the deal is sealed, MSF says the cocktail will cost a patient
      350 US dollars a year.

      According to MSF, the commercial value for the AIDS cocktail
      ranges from between 10,000 dollars and 15,000 dollars a year
      per patient.

      Five multinational drug companies, backed by the WHO and
      other UN agencies, offered in May 2000 to sell their anti-AIDS
      drug cocktails at reduced prices to poor countries, MSF notes.

      But CIPLA Limited was not among those companies.

      Malawi, like most sub-Saharan African states, has a very high
      HIV/AIDS prevalence rate with at least 15.96 percent of its 10
      million people believed to be carrying HIV, the virus that can lead
      to AIDS.


      Prison Suicide Shocks Police

      Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)
      February 12, 2001
      Posted to the web February 13, 2001

      Blantyre, Malawi

      Police officers in Malawi's central boarder town of Mchinji had a
      shock of their life Monday when they found a son of a prominent
      farmer and businessman hanging in a police cell.

      Police spokesman Oliver Soko told PANA that Bernard
      Mzumacharo, 26, hanged himself by tying a cloth to rafters in a
      cell where was confined.

      "Bernard was handed in to the police by his father when he stole
      computers, a photocopying machine and a video camera from a
      family business for which he was in charge," he said.

      He sold the stuff in Lilongwe.

      Soko said police were planning to drive him to the capital,
      Lilongwe, to help locate the stolen stuff when they found his
      dead body hanging in the cell. He had tied a jersey to the rafters
      and strangled himself by rounding it on his neck.

      This was not the first time Bernard had landed himself on the
      wrong side of the law.

      The police spokesman said Bernard was arrested last year
      when he stole his father's gun and tried to shoot his father,
      veteran diplomat-turned-farmer, Andrew Mzumacharo.

      He said suicide by hanging or drinking a particularly potent
      pesticide called 'Termic' was on the increase in Malawi among
      people suffering from terminal illness or those who have
      embezzled huge amounts of money.

      He also said school girls who become pregnant take their own
      lives for fear of reaction from angry parents.

      Soko, however, said suicide in police cells was not common
      because whenever one is arrested he is thouroughly searched
      for items that could be used to harm themselves.


      Irrigation Scheme Boosts Agro-Industry

      Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)
      February 12, 2001
      Posted to the web February 12, 2001

      Raphael Tenthani
      Blantyre, Malawi

      An irrigation scheme in Bwanje Valley in central Malawi has
      boosted the area's fledgling agro-processing industry and
      small-scale exporting business, according to officials.

      Bwanje Valley Irrigation Scheme, which straddles the central
      districts of Ntcheu and Dedza, covers some 800 hectares of
      low-lying fertile land which does not necessarily require fertiliser.

      The scheme in 1999 received financial assistance of 14.8
      million US dollars from the Japanese government.

      Some 515 hectares of the 800 hectares is under cultivation in
      the area, which also has at least 13 boreholes, four rice mills
      and good access road.

      Specially dug canals are used to irrigate the area.

      The Irrigation Scheme is run by at least 132 farmers'
      co-operatives or clubs comprising 2,240 families.

      Technical expertise for the scheme comes from the Japanese
      International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and Malawi's
      Agriculture and Irrigation Ministry.

      According to a report by the Malawi Investment Promotion
      Agency (MIPA), the scheme was established to improve food
      security and income generation for people in the area.

      MIPA says if sustained, the project would further boost
      small-scale agro-processing and exports.

      A rice milling company has already emerged from the scheme,
      while polished Faya Rice is already being exported on the
      international market, especially to Zimbabwe.

      MacAdam, an official from the Rice Milling Company, said Faya
      has been identified as a unique Malawi rice brand.

      Farmers in the area also grow Pusa 33, another high and fast
      growing variety of rice, similar to Faya.

      Meanwhile, MIPA says one of the greatest challenges facing the
      farmers is meeting the high demand.

      But, while the scheme is progressing, the farmers are
      complaining that they lack adequate seedlings for a winter crop.

      The Agriculture and Irrigation Ministry is said to be conducting a
      seed and fertiliser trial to come up with specific crops for the


      Serial Killers Resurface In Southern Malawi

      Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)
      February 12, 2001
      Posted to the web February 12, 2001

      Blantyre, Malawi

      At least eight men have been murdered in most macabre
      fashion in the southern district of Chiradzulu, some 30km
      outside Blantyre, in what police and traditional leaders say is the
      resumption of serial killings in the area.

      Five months ago, the High Court convicted and sentenced to
      death two alleged serial killers in the same district.

      Chief Likoswe, a senior traditional leader in the area, said the
      eight men had all died in a similar fashion leaving hallmarks of a
      serial killings.

      Likoswe said the private parts of all the deceased were hacked
      off, ears cut off and their eyes gouged out.

      He suggested the new serial killers to be part of the 19 that were
      released early last year for lack of evidence when police
      arrested 23 suspects following similar serial murders targeting

      Director of Public Prosecution Fahard Assani had released the
      19 for lack of sufficient evidence.

      The chief also suggested that the gang of serial killers was
      working for merchants who believe mixing human parts with a
      concoction of charms might multiply their riches.

      According to police records, eight women died during the three
      months of serial killings but people in the area say there were at
      least 22 deaths.


      Malawi Pins Hope On Textile Exports At
      SADC Talks

      Panafrican News Agency (Dakar)
      February 12, 2001
      Posted to the web February 12, 2001

      Raphael Tenthani
      Blantyre, Malawi

      Malawi's fledgling textiles industry is eagerly awaiting the
      outcome of a Southern African Development (SADC) trade and
      industry sub-committee meeting currently underway in
      Johannesburg, South Africa, whose decisions may enable it to
      resume duty-free clothing exports into the South African market.

      The SADC trade and industry meeting, which started last
      Thursday and is expected to end on Friday, is expected to make
      a final decision on allocation of textiles and garments export
      quotas into the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) by
      non- union members Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia
      and Mozambique under the SADC Trade Protocol preferential

      For Malawi, the allocation of the export quotas to the SACU
      markets - which includes South Africa - is vital for its textile
      industry which is on the verge of collapsing following South
      Africa's decision to stop accepting Malawi's textile on duty-free

      Pretoria pulled the plugs on Malawi's imports following
      allegations that Malawi's exports were not meeting the rules of
      origin - the amount of local raw material inputs - as stipulated in
      the bilateral trade agreement between the two countries.

      Malawi had enjoyed duty-free access for its textiles into the
      South African market under a bilateral trade agreement which
      saw a dramatic increase of Malawi's textile exports into South
      Africa from less than five million US dollars in 1994 to over 70
      million US dollars by 1998.

      By 1998, the Malawi textile industry had increased its
      employment from 4,000 to 11,000 employees.

      But South Africa's decision to restrict Malawi's textile imports by
      imposing duty and other penalties on them has devastated the
      latter's textile industry as it made it less competitive.

      At least six clothing companies in Malawi have closed down
      business, leaving over 3,000 people jobless since January 2000.

      Kantilal Desai, a spokesman for the textile industry in Malawi,
      said the loss of business in South Africa has disturbed the
      industry in Malawi since only a handful of companies are still
      able to meet a 25 percent local raw material content in clothing
      products to qualify for duty free export to South Africa.

      Desai said that since Malawi's textile industry is still growing,
      textile companies have problems in interpreting the rules of
      origin as stipulated in the trade agreement.

      He said it was high time the Malawi government renegotiated the
      trade agreement because it was difficult for Malawi's textile
      industry to meet the 25 percent local content as stipulated in the

      The current SADC meeting in South Africa is expected to
      consider revising the quotas.

      In addition, the local industry looks set to bounce back into the
      South African market with garments exports once the SADC
      trade protocol becomes effective immediately after the meetings
      in Johannesburg.
    • Christine Chumbler
      ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17 The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by
      Message 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006

        ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract

        by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17

        The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by government to look for another contractor instead of China Hunan Construction to construct of the long awaited Karonga/Chitipa road.

        China Hunan from Mainland China won the bid which was approved by the ADB but government later wanted to award the contract to a Portuguese firm, Mota Engil, the second lowest bidder, claiming China Hunan's bid was unrealistically low and that the company had very little experience in Africa.

        Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe confirmed on Sunday the ADB rejected the proposal at a meeting held between the bank and Malawi government in Tunisia last week.

        The Malawi government wanted the Tunisia meeting to authorise it to get another contractor for the road, said Gondwe.

        "They did not allow us to look for another contractor because of their regulations. But we are about to get another alternative for Karonga/Chitipa and I would be surprised if it does not start before end June," said Gondwe.

        The minister explained that the bank insisted that regardless of the unrealistic cost estimates, China Hunan should be allowed to go ahead with the construction.

        But Gondwe could not give further details about the alternatives, arguing there are still a few loose ends to tighten up before disclosing it.

        The problem with China Hunan, according to Gondwe, is that it would require more money to meet the total cost of the project.

        This paper reported last week that government met Taiwanese representatives where they offered to fund the road if the ADB continued to reject its favoured contractor, Mota Engil.

        Gondwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports on the Taiwanese offer, saying government was looking at a number of ways to handle the issue.

        According to Gondwe, the China Hunan's bid was 24 percent lower than the consulting engineers' estimates of K7.9 billion and 34 percent below the second lowest bidder.

        President Bingu wa Mutharika laid a foundation stone for the construction of the road this year ahead of a crucial byelection in Chitipa in December last year.

        The President's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the Chitipa Wenya constituency by-election that fell vacant following the collapse and subsequent death of Speaker of Parliament Rodwell Munyenyembe who belonged to the UDF.

        Last week, police and the District Commissioner (DC) for Chitipa stopped a rally that was aimed at soliciting people's views about development projects in the district.

        The meeting, which was reportedly organised by Concerned Citizens of Chitipa, was among other things also supposed to tackle the controversial Karonga/Chitipa road.

        The project failed to start off in 2000 when a contract for an initial loan of US$17 million and US$15 million from the Taiwanese government was signed, with some quarters claiming the Bakili Muluzi administration diverted the money to another road.


        Chihana operated on

        by Edwin Nyirongo, 22 May 2006 - 06:32:31

        Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Chakufwa Chihana, who is in South Africa receiving treatment, had a brain operation on Friday at Garden City Clinic, family and party officials confirmed on Sunday.

        Aford national chairman Chipimpha Mughogho said he was told by the family members that Chihana had a successful operation on Friday and was put in an intensive care unit.

        Mughogho said Chihana, who initially complained of headache, was found with a brain tumour which South African doctors removed.

        Mzimba West MP Loveness Gondwe said Aford boss condition was stable.

        "Hon. Chihana had a major operation and after that he was put in the intensive care unit but his condition is stable. I do not know where he was operated on but it had something to do with the skull," she said.

        Deputy Information Minister John Bande referred the matter to the Health Minister Hetherwick Ntaba who was reported to be in Geneva, Switzerland.

        Aford publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda said when Chihana's situation got worse, the family alerted the Office of the President and Cabinet who took him to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.

        "The doctors at Mwaiwathu advised that he should be sent to South Africa and they even identified the doctor for him," he said.

        He said the costs are being met by the Malawi government, contradicting his earlier statement that his boss covered the cost.

        Mughogho is now in charge of the party.

        Gondwe will be a busy person when Parliament starts meeting on June 6 as she is the only Aford MP remaining.


        Pillane proposes presidential age limit

        by Emmanuel Muwamba , 22 May 2006 - 06:34:13

        A member of the DPP National Governing Council Abdul Pillane on Saturday urged members of political parties and the civil society to put an upper age limit in the Constitution for presidential candidates.

        Pillane was addressing members of political parties and civil society in Liwonde during a two-day follow up workshop to the National Conference on the Review of Constitution held in March in Lilongwe.

        "My view is that (an upper) age limit should be at 75. We have to give a chance to younger people to lead because in circumstance, when you age you become forgetful especially when sickly," said Pillane. "Overall, chances should be given to young people."

        But UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, whose party members agitated for the age limit during presentations, played the issue down.

        "I feel there is no logic to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates. If someone is 90 or 80 I don't know how that can influence the electorate not to vote for someone who is younger, I don't see any logic behind that," said Makwangwala.

        MCP participants at the workshop also vehemently objected to the proposal.

        MCP vice president Nicholas Dausi in an interview said: "There is no constitution in Africa which stipulates an upper age limit. So it would be strange in Malawi to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates."

        MDP President Kamlepo Kalua also opposed the need to have an upper age limit.

        "If we have personalities in mind that we want to discriminate against then it is unfortunate. The constitution we want to build is a guiding document for future generations and it should not bar certain individuals on the basis of grudges," he said.

        The Malawi Law Constitution Issues Paper of March 2006 says several submissions that were received put an upper presidential age limit in the Constitution.

        "It is argued that it is common sense that mental knowledge faculties tend to fail with age. As regards what the actual age limit should be the submissions are far from being agreed. The range is from 60 years to 80 years," read submissions in the Issues Paper.

        On whether MPs should double as ministers, Kalua said this should be the case.

        Makwangwala also said it is not right for MPs to serve as ministers because the Legislature, another arm of government, is reduced while the Executive branch is beefed up from another arm of government.

        "There is no separation of powers when MPs double as ministers," said Makwangwala.

        But Pillane said there is no problem for MPs to work as ministers as well, saying MPs are elected by the President.

        "One can serve both posts. There have been no problems before for people to double," said Pillane.

        The Centre for Multiparty Democracy funded the workshop through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.

        The objective was to come up with a collective position on the Issues Paper which will be presented to the Special Law Commission that will be constituted soon.


        Mussa hails new driving licence

        by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:58:52

        Transport and Public Works Minister Henry Mussa last week said the design of the Malawi-Sadc driving licence would guard against forgery and ensure that only skilled and legitimate drivers of particular vehicles are licensed.

        Mussa was speaking at the official launch of the licences in Lilongwe where he announced that traffic police would from July enforce speed limits and sober driving using Breathalysers which his ministry is in the process of procuring.

        The minister said financial constraints are the reason for the delay in procuring the equipment but assured that by July they would be available.

        "With the new equipment, the days of those who believe in the thrill of drink and driving are numbered," warned Mussa.

        Mussa added that with the new licence, government is optimistic that the country's roads would be safe.

        Acting Director of Road Traffic James Chirwa said the features that distinguish the new from the old licences are the Malawi national flag and a ghost image of the driver's photograph, among others.

        Those with old licences, according to Chirwa, are expected to get the new ones after the expiry of the former.


        UDF demands investigation on Kasambara

        by Rabecca Theu, 22 May 2006 - 06:30:46

        The United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked government to investigate Ralph Kasambara on allegations of abuse of office while he was attorney general.

        UDF publicity secretary Sam Mpasu told the press Sunday that the party is neither amused or saddened by the removal of the former AG but asked government to institute investigations on Kasambara.

        "Beyond the removal of the Attorney General, we now urge President Mutharika to institute investigation against Mr Kasambara into allegations that have made rounds in the public domain during the recent past. These include: Mrs Helen Singh and SS Rent-a-Car; SGS and ITS saga; ...........the use of Malawi Police Service in the arrest of three Chronicle journalists and the handling of Mrs Rubina Kawonga," said Mpasu.

        Mpasu also accused Kasambara of awarding government contracts to Lawson and Company where he was a senior partner.

        "We urge government to thoroughly investigate the former AG. We also ask government to cautiously select the new AG ," said Mpasu, who was accompanied by the party's Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala, leader of the party in Parliament George Mtafu, chief whip Leonard Mangulama and a member of the executive Hophmally Makande.

        But Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati said UDF should give offer its advice to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).

        "They should advise bodies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau to conduct the investigations and why are they saying this now? Is it because Kasambara has been fired? This is not a personal issue. If they have other pressing issues they should just say so. These arguments should have come up earlier on when the said cases were happening," she said.

        Kasambara asked UDF to proceed with the mission of urging government to investigate him.

        "They can do their job. Everyone has a right to lobby for anything they want in the country. UDF has a right to do that, let them go ahead," he said.

        Kasambara was relieved of his duties as AG by the President last week. Government has not given reasons behind the removal.


        Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land

        The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

        May 18, 2006

        Posted to the web May 19, 2006

        Andrew Lungu


        MALAWIANS who have encroached on both the 'no-man's' and part of the Zambian land at the Mwami border in Eastern Province have plucked out some beacons that were used in the demarcation of the border.

        The Malawians are now using the beacons as stools in their newly-established villages on Zambian land.

        Eastern Province Minister, Boniface Nkhata, said in Chipata yesterday that if the situation was not controlled urgently, Zambia would lose huge tracts of land to Malawians migrating into Zambian in large numbers.

        A check at the Zambia-Malawi border showed a number of beacons had been vandalised and new structures constructed on the 'no man's' land and a large portion of Zambian land.

        Mr Nkhata said the trend extended to many parts of the province bordering the two countries.

        "A large portion of Zambian land has been taken up by the Malawians starting from the Chama boundary up to the Mwami border.

        "The weighbridge at the Mwami border was initially in Zambia from the time both countries gained independence from Britain, but now the bridge is on Malawian soil," Mr Nkhata said.

        The minister, who is former Chama District Commissioner, said there was similar encroachment in Lundazi and Chama districts where Zambia shares a boundary with Malawi.

        He said a Malawian farmer identified as Mr Mfune had cultivated 71.5 hectares on Zambian land and employed about 265 Malawian workers.

        "Khombe Farm in Chama district in Kanyerere's area, along the Muyombe road which leads to Northern Province where this Malawian farmer has cultivated a vast land is on the Zambian territory," he said.

        Workers on the farm admitted that they were farming on Zambian soil but could not go back to Malawi because the land in that country was inadequate for cultivation.

        Mr Nkhata appealed to the ministry of Lands to urgently release money for the demarcation of the Zambia-Malawi border to avoid further land disputes between the two countries.

        Meanwhile, the Immigration Department in Livingstone has arrested a couple and another man, all Zimbabweans, for working in Zambia without permits.

        They were arrested at Gwembe village yesterday where they worked for Into Africa, a tour operating company that provides bush dinners and breakfast.

        According to the Immigration Department in Livingstone, the trio entered Zambia through the Victoria Falls border as visitors but decided to work for the company illegally.

        Last week, immigration officers arrested 10 Zimbabwean traders and six Ethiopians for entering and staying in Zambia illegally.

        The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.

        The Ethiopians were arrested at Konje Guest House when they ran out of money to proceed to Botswana.



        Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests

        Harare, Zimbabwe

        22 May 2006 11:51

        Zimbabwe's biggest labour federation on Saturday threatened to call massive demonstrations against the government over poor salaries and worsening living conditions for workers in the country.

        The threats are ratcheting up pressure against President Robert Mugabe's government after similar threats by the biggest opposition party in the country, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), about two months ago.

        Speaking at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) conference on Saturday, the labour body's president, Lovemore Matombo, said the powerful union wants the government to award workers salaries that match the country's ever-rising inflation.

        "I can assure you we will stage massive demonstrations to force them [employers] to award workers minimum salaries that tally with the poverty datum line," said Matombo.

        Matombo did not say when exactly the ZCTU would order workers to strike.

        Opposition protests

        Meanwhile, the MDC on Sunday said it will push ahead with plans for anti-government protests, saying victory in a key by-election at the weekend was a "sign the electorate supported its policies", including democratic mass resistance.

        A spokesperson of the main faction of the splintered MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said victory over Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and a rival MDC faction in a Saturday by-election in Harare's Budiriro constituency is a sign Zimbabweans still have confidence in party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his policies.

        Tsvangirai, the founding leader of the MDC, heads the main rump of the opposition party whose candidate, Emmanuel Chisvuure, polled 7 949 votes to win the Budiriro House of Assembly seat.

        Gabriel Chaibva of the other faction of the MDC, led by prominent academic Arthur Mutambara, garnered 504 votes while Zanu-PF's Jeremiah Bvirindi polled 3 961 votes.

        "This election showed that the electorate still has confidence in the MDC [Tsvangirai-led] leadership and its policies," Chamisa told independent news service ZimOnline.

        He added: "We will now move to consolidate our position * we still believe in mass protests. Until we have attained our goals we see no reason why we should abandon [plans for protests]."

        Tsvangirai has threatened to call mass protests this winter against Mugabe and his government. He says the mass protests, whose date he is still to name, are meant to force Mugabe to relinquish power to a government of national unity to be tasked to write a new and democratic Constitution that would ensure free and fair elections held under international supervision.

        Mugabe and his government, who had hoped for victory in Budiriro to show they were recapturing urban support from a splintered MDC, have not taken idly the opposition's threats to call mass protests, with the veteran president warning Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he ever attempted to instigate a Ukraine-style popular revolt in Zimbabwe.


        In a fresh crackdown against dissension, the police last week arrested several church and civic leaders for organising public prayers and marches to mark last year's controversial home-demolition exercise by the government.

        The police also banned the marches and prayers, fearing they could easily turn into mass protests against Mugabe and his government.

        However, the marches went ahead in the second-largest city of Bulawayo after organisers had obtained a court order barring the police from stopping the march.

        Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police and the military to crush street protests, worsening hunger and poverty are fanning public anger that Tsvangirai -- with proper planning and organisation -- could easily manipulate.

        Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe six-year old economic crisis that has seen inflation breaching the 1 000% barrier. Last year, the World Bank said Zimbabwe's economic crisis was unprecedented for a country not at war.

        The MDC and major Western governments blame Mugabe for wrecking the country's economy, which was one of the strongest in Africa at independence from Britain 26 years ago.

        Mugabe denies the charge blaming the crisis on sabotage by Britain and her allies after he seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks six years ago.

        The Harare authorities recently hiked salaries for civil servants, with the lowest-paid soldier now earning about Z$27-million while the lowest-paid school teacher now takes home about Z$33-million.

        But the salaries are still way below the poverty datum line, which the government's Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says now stands at a staggering Z$42-million a month for an average family of six.

        The Zimbabwe government often accuses the ZCTU, a strong ally of the MDC, of pushing a political agenda to remove Mugabe from power.

        Meanwhile, Matombo and Lucia Matibenga retained their posts as president and first vice-president respectively during the ZCTU congress that ended on Saturday. -- ZimOnline

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