- Violence Marks Opening of Parliament
UN Integrated Regional
June 7, 2001
Posted to the web June 7, 2001
A Muslim leader is in critical condition after suffering
injuries in clashes on Tuesday between supporters of
Malawi's ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and
supporters of the opposition National Democratic Alliance
(NDA), news reports said. Reports said that several
others were also seriously injured during the clashes
which took place outside parliament on the body's
Reports said that UDF supporters smashed a
photo-journalist's camera, while several other journalists
fled to safety after being threatened by the ruling party's
supporters. They added that heavily armed police and
other senior government officials showed reluctance to
take action to stop the violence.
Former minister Brown Mpinganjira, founding member of
the NDA, told DPA that the violence had been
"sanctioned" by Malawian President Bakili Muluzi to
"intimidate people into accepting him to stand for a third
term of office". Mpinganjira's claims were, however,
brushed aside by the ruling party's campaign director,
Dumbo Lemani, who distanced his party from the fracas,
- Malawi Doesn't Want Foreigners to Own
African Eye News Service
July 18, 2001
Posted to the web July 18, 2001
A proposed new land policy in Malawi stipulates that
foreigners who own freehold land in the country have seven
years to either become citizens, or forfeit their land to
Land minister Thengo Maloya explained that the proposed
policy aimed to prevent land wars and instill investor
"Land issues are extremely dangerous and have started
wars elsewhere," he said. "Malawians are no longer
sleeping. They suffered during colonialism and later
continued to work for foreigners on their forefathers' land.
"We don't want foreigners owning land." He said all
foreigners currently owning freeholds would have to attain
Malawi citizenship or leave the land to the locals and lease
it from them.
Maloya says the new national land policy would instill
investor confidence. "Investors would be able to lease land
up to when, they feel, they have recovered investment
return and profits. And they would be assured of no
encroachments on their land," Maloya explained.
He said the word 'indigenous' had been removed from the
policy to allay fears on non-black Malawians, who saw the
document as discriminatory.
"We all know that not all Malawians have a black skin,
some are of mixed race, while others are white or of Asian
origin. The indigenous group meant all these, including the
locals, who can do well economically if just given a portion
of land," he explained.
Land ministry technical adviser Rexford Ahene said the
proposed policy was instrumental to the future
socio-economical development of the country as it would
build both capacity and stabilise land administration.
The policy would also clearly demarcate public and private
land and institutionalise 6.8 million hectares of land under
traditional authorities. It will prevent people losing land
The policy is expected to be tabled in the next sitting of
Parliament in September this year. Meanwhile thousands
of people have encroached on tea estates in the populous
Mulanje district, claiming that the land belonged to their
Mulanje district commissioner Hastings Bota says the
development had forced the land ministry to send teams of
surveyors to verify maps of the area to establish the
villagers' claims. - African Eye News Service
- [I'll be leaving tomorrow for a 2 week work trip, so this will be the
last news email for a little while.]
Malawi sacks top lawmaker probing maize
Malawi's ruling party has fired the outspoken
chairman of a parliamentary
committee who was investigating a maize scandal
blamed for worsening
severe food shortages here, an official said on
Joe Manduwa of the United Democratic Front (UDF) was
fired on Tuesday
over his role in investigating the sale in the midst
of a severe drought in
southern Africa of more than 160 000 tons of maize
from Malawi's strategic
grain reserves, the official said.
The sale has left the country with a 600 000 ton
shortfall of maize, the
country's staple food, and left 3,2 million
Malawians threatened with
No reason was given for Manduwa's dismissal, said
the official, who spoke
on condition of anonymity. Chief whip George Ntafu
faxed a letter to
parliamentarians informing them of Manduwa's
removal, he said.
"This is a move to block me from investigating some
top people involved,
which we have uncovered," told Manduwa.
He said attempts to get details on politicians
involved in the maize scandal
were frustrated by the UDF.
Manduwa, a former deputy agriculture minister,
headed a 19-member
committee that was due to present its report on the
maize scam to
parliament next month.
The maize scandal has cost the cash-strapped
government $40-million, and
is blamed for worsening the nation's food
The Anti-Corruption Bureau is set to prosecute
high-ranking officials allegedly involved in the
sale of the maize reserves.
Manduwa, who remains an MP for Mwanza East district
in southern Malawi,
stirred controversy in parliament when he
recommended the country should
start growing marijuana, for non-narcotics purposes,
to replace the main
cash crop, tobacco.
He also has called for marketing a locally made
aphrodisiac, saying if exported to western nations
it could lift the nation out
of poverty. - Sapa-AFP
Zimbabwe trumpets 'victory over
The Zimbabwe government on Tuesday greeted with
triumph news that a
Commonwealth troika had decided to spare it from
further sanctions, calling
the decision a victory over colonialism.
The official Herald newspaper said the two African
members of the troika,
Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa
"did Africa proud" by out-voting Australia's Prime
Minister John Howard.
The troika met in Abuja, Nigeria on Monday, six
months after it partially
suspended Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth over flawed
returned President Robert Mugabe to power.
Howard backed full and immediate suspension of
Zimbabwe, while Obasanjo
and Mbeki wanted to continue to monitor the southern
African country for
another six months.
The three agreed that nothing had been done yet to
concerns that Mugabe had been re-elected
undemocratically. But Commonwealth secretary general
along with Howard and Prime Minister Tony Blair of
colonial power Britain, said the 54-member body
intends to keep the
Speaking on BBC radio, McKinnon said the
Commonwealth had given
Mugabe a 12-month period that expires on March 19
next year, to come into
line before full suspension from the organization is
"We are still remaining engaged," he said. "The
Commonwealth is not just
walking away from this. We are doing our best to
remain engaged and try to
Blair and Howard agreed on Tuesday after meeting in
London to keep up
pressure, with the British leader reiterating his
concern at the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe, a Foreign Office
Meanwhile, the Herald, which closely reflects
government thinking, claimed
Howard's agenda was "not to discuss the situation in
Zimbabwe but to
prescribe punishment to a country that had dared
Zimbabwe has accused white Commonwealth countries of
undermine a controversial land reform programme.
The government-backed scheme is aimed at redressing
in land ownership by the compulsory acquisition of
which are redistributed to landless blacks.
Aid agencies warn that the programme, which has
resettled some 300 000
black families and aims to resettle many more, will
aggravate a famine that
threatens over half the country's 12-million people,
because the new
landowners are not trained commercial farmers.
Zimbabwe's main political opposition criticised the
troika for being too
lenient on Mugabe.
Welshman Ncube, the Secretary General of the
Democratic Change (MDC) said the Commonwealth had
opportunity to take firm action."
He said Obasanjo and Mbeki had given their assent to
an "unrepentant and
unreforming" Mugabe and given him "another six
months to destroy the
"Right now it (the government) is doing everything
to subvert democratic
processes in Zimbabwe," he charged.
The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe from its
political councils after its
observer mission to the March presidential polls
produced a report saying
the election did not reflect the will of voters.
The Zimbabwe government rejected that report, which
it described as flawed
and one-sided, and accused the troika of acting
unilaterally when it partially
Masipula Sithole, a political science lecturer at
the University of Zimbabwe,
said the reprieve had not totally let Zimbabwe off
If there was no improvement in the next six months,
the country could
expect the ultimate censure -- sanctions and full
suspension from the body
-- he warned.
"I believe we have been given a long rope," Sithole
said. He described as
"premature" the glee in government circles over
being spared further
"We know what is coming," he said. "If we don't
improve within the next six
months, we're doomed."
On Monday Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs Minister Stan
the panel's decision, and invited the troika to come
and assess the situation
in Zimbabwe for themselves.
"Particularly we want Prime Minister Howard to come
to Harare," Mudenge
said. "He can come and see what he wants to see, he
can discuss what he
wants to discuss." - Sapa-AFP
- Malawi VP quits ahead of election
Malawi's Vice-President Justin Malewezi has resigned ahead of general elections due in May.
In a surprise statement, Mr Malewezi also resigned from the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF).
He cited personal reasons for his departure, but the BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre says his resignation statement hints that Mr Malewezi is now deciding his next political move.
He had been seen as the obvious man to succeed President Bakili Muluzi as the UDF candidate until Economics Minister Bingu wa Mutharika, a relative outsider, was appointed.
Mr Muluzi lost a spirited campaign to secure a third term in office.
"I have resigned for personal reasons. At the same time, I have proceeded on leave pending retirement until I hand over the vice-presidency to my successor after the general elections on May 18, 2004," Mr Malewezi said in a statement.
He served as first vice-chairman of the UDF since Malawi's first democratic elections in 1994, which ended the rule of long-time leader Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
Four months ago the ruling party entered a loose alliance with the country's second largest opposition party, the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) whose leader Chakufwa Chihana, was named second vice-president.
Our correspondent says the appointment of Mr Chihana seems to have been the last straw for Mr Malewezi.
Several senior ruling UDF officials resigned in protest over Mr Wa Mutharika's anointment while some were fired from their party positions for publicly opposing the president's choice.
- Malawi mob attacks police station
At least two people have been killed following clashes between the police and demonstrators in Malawi.
Police spokesman Willie Mwaluka said scores of youths throwing stones had besieged a police station at Nsanje, near Malawi's border with Mozambique.
They were protesting at the death of a man in custody whom they claimed had been tortured to death.
Correspondents say political tensions are high in the south ahead of the 18 May presidential elections.
Mr Mwaluka said the man had committed suicide after being arrested for being drunk in public.
The angry crowd besieged the police station when news of the death spread, with police officers barricaded inside being pelted with stones and other missiles.
Mr Mwaluka said the mob then went on the rampage, ransacking and looting people's houses, grocery shops and a department store.
"It was a pure orgy of looting and general disorder," he said.
Opposition Republican Party spokesman Silas Kanjere alleged that police arrested the man for chanting anti-government slogans and for proclaiming that Gwanda Chakuamba should be Malawi's next president.
Mr Chakuamba is the presidential candidate for a coalition of seven opposition parties.
The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre says tension is high in the town as the angry youths have vowed to avenge the death of their colleagues.
Officers from a nearby Malawi Army garrison have been called in to re-enforce security.
- Malawi: Battle Over the Airwaves Goes to Court
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
April 22, 2004
Posted to the web April 22, 2004
The opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has taken legal action against the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Television Malawi (TVM) for allegedly biased coverage of election campaigning.
NDA attorney Ralph Kasambara said his client was seeking redress for the alleged blackout of opposition parties by the public broadcasters.
"I am only hoping that the court will direct the two public media institutions to comply with the Parliamentary and Presidential Act [on free and fair elections]," said Kasambara. The NDA is also asking the courts to rule that all competing parties have fair access to public broadcasters.
NDA spokesperson Salule Masangwi said the party had resorted to court action, as "the ruling party has an advantage over us because of [coverage by] the two media houses".
Deputy director-general of the MBC, Eunice Chipangula, was quoted by Capital Radio FM as saying that coverage of political parties was based on the number of MPs each party had in the national assembly.
"This is how we learned from South Africa when we went there to learn about political reporting," said Chipangula.
This assertion is being challenged by the NDA, whose presidential candidate, Brown Mpinganjira, was previously the minister of information in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) government.
Parliament was dissolved last month and there are currently no MPs in the house, argued the NDA.
According to documents filed in the courts, the NDA also wants the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to adhere to the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections laws, as the MEC is also facing accusations of bias toward the ruling party.
The court is to hear the NDA's application on 3 to 4 May.
Mozambique battles malaria
23 April 2004 13:55
Mozambique said on Friday it is stepping up a prevention campaign against malaria, the country's third-biggest killer after cholera and Aids, by encouraging the use of mosquito nets and looking at new treatments.
Malaria, caused by a parasite carried by the Anopheles mosquito, killed 3 200 people in Mozambique last year out of a total of 4,5-million cases, the Health Ministry said in a statement, two days ahead of Africa Malaria Day.
The worst affected area is the northern Nampula region with 627 fatalities, followed by the southern Maputo province with 471 deaths, said the statement.
Authorities have been encouraging the use of mosquito nets and are trying to raise public awareness among children, who are the most affected along with pregnant women.
"We think that by educating children we will be securing successes in the struggle against malaria," National Director of Health Alexandre Manguel said.
The Health Ministry is also planning to introduce a new line of antimalarial drugs to replace chloroquine, to which the parasite carried by the mosquitoes has grown resistant in recent years.
Mozambique is also battling an outbreak of cholera that has claimed 100 lives this year out of about 20 000 reported cases, according to official statistics.
The majority of cholera cases have been reported in the capital, Maputo, and the central city of Beira, where about 50 000 people were earlier this year vaccinated on an experimental basis.
The Health Ministry is also awaiting the results next month of trials on an orally administered vaccine for cholera.
HIV/Aids has been another health plague but authorities have not published any figures of the number of deaths from the disease.
Mozambique, with a population of more than 17-million, has an adult HIV prevalence rate of 16% with about 700 new infections daily. -- Sapa-AFP
- Malawi president 'a bad choice'
Former President Bakili Muluzi has apologised to Malawians for choosing
a successor who has turned against him.
Current President Bingu wa Mutharika was proposed by Mr Muluzi as the
United Democratic Front candidate in the 2004 presidential elections.
But he resigned from the UDF after a bitter political tussle and is now
launching his own political party.
President Mutharika accuses Mr Muluzi of thwarting his high-profile
"Let me apologise to the country for the choice of Bingu wa Mutharika
and imposing him on the country," Mr Muluzi told a political rally in
the capital, Lilongwe.
"I didn't know he would be accommodating dissenting views," he said.
Mr Muluzi, who remains extremely influential within the UDF, chose Mr
Mutharika as presidential candidate after parliament rejected his
attempt to amend the constitution to allow him to stand for a third
The BBC's Raphael Tenthani says it is the first time Mr Muluzi has
admitted imposing a successor on his party and suggests the gloves have
now come off in their worsening row.
No party has a majority in the 193-member parliament, but the UDF is
believed to be considering impeaching the president.