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  • Christine Chumbler
    Muluzi Warns On War The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) July 9, 2001 Posted to the web July 9, 2001 Christopher Jimu President Bakili Muluzi has warned Malawi
    Message 1 of 1046 , Jul 11, 2001
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      Muluzi Warns On War

      The Chronicle Newspaper
      (Lilongwe)
      July 9, 2001
      Posted to the web July 9, 2001

      Christopher Jimu

      President Bakili Muluzi has warned Malawi Congress
      Party (MCP) President Gwanda Chakuamba that he will
      deal with him if he dare start a war in Malawi.

      Muluzi, speaking at a recent rally in Chiradzulu monitored
      on the MBC radio said:'Chakuamba has always been
      saying that he wants to go to Sanjika after waging a war
      but he must be warned that we will deal with him,' said
      Muluzi adding, 'Malawi is not alone, I am very very
      serious on this issue. You will see ndege zopanda
      mapiko,' He continued by saying that he did not use force
      to wrestle power from the former head of state Kamuzu
      Banda.

      This is not the first time that President Muluzi has said
      opposition leaders want to forcibly remove him from
      power.

      Last month, speaking at a rally in Lilongwe's Area 23 he
      revealed that some opposition leaders were planning to
      oust him from power.

      However MCP Treasurer General, Hetherwick Ntaba
      wondered why the head of state should threaten
      members of opposition who are his subjects as well. 'The
      president has been making those threats for a long time
      now and it just shows that he has got bad advisors who
      do not tell him the truth,' Ntaba said.

      He went on to say that had it been that it was an
      opposition person making those threats he could have
      been arrested a long time ago.

      Said Ntaba, 'Muluzi should not believe his advisors
      because since 1994 they have been telling him that
      opposition members are planning to dethrone him but
      nothing has happened.' Efforts to talk to Gwanda
      Chakuamba proved futile as he was reportedly in the
      Lower Shire in his constituency and could not be reached
      on his mobile phone.

      *****

      Anonymous Leaflets Mar Independence
      Celebrations in North

      The Chronicle Newspaper
      (Lilongwe)
      July 9, 2001
      Posted to the web July 9, 2001

      By Our Reporter

      Anonymous leaflets that have been circulating in Mzuzu
      prior to independence day celebrations on Friday have
      warned President Bakili Muluzi and MCP vice President
      John Tembo against colluding to split the Malawi
      Congress Party (MCP) and the opposition and in the
      process killing the country's hard-won democracy.

      The leaflets distributed in the Northern districts of Mzuzu,
      Ekwendeni, Karonga, Mzimba and Rumphi says Tembo
      and Muluzi have killed democracy, split the opposition
      and delivered the Parliamentary majority to the ruling
      United Democratic Front (UDF) party. 'Recent events
      show that Tembo has burrowed his way next to the
      president and is once again the real power behind the
      throne. 'Tembo has killed democracy and delivered the
      Parliamentary majority to the UDF,' reads the leaflet in
      part.

      The leaflet states that in Banda's regime the name
      Tembo meant 'terror for all Malawians'. 'He was the real
      power behind the scenes and the dictatorship that finally
      ended in 1994 ,' reads the leaflet .

      The leaflet alleges that the State President is the one
      behind the pathetic vendor situation in the country. It says
      he 'knew well all along that vendors were wrong to trade
      their wares anywhere in the cities, but he needed their
      votes then.

      The leaflet further speaks on the performance of the
      police by saying: 'Muluzi can unleash armed police with
      live ammunition on the vendors with impunity.' it reads.

      In the document, the Police is accused of being partial in
      the course of its duties. It is alleged that the police
      condones and sanction *UDF sponsored violence' and
      take action only when the opposition retaliate.

      The state-run media - the Malawi Broadcasting
      Corporation (MBC) and Television Malawi (TVM) are
      accused of being used as 'tools for UDF propaganda
      and disinformation'.

      They are also accused of being instruments of the
      personality cult surrounding the President and the First
      Lady.

      However, reports indicates that the police had deployed
      a large contingent and have been working on a major
      Independence security plan described as the tightest and
      the most comprehensive ever conducted.

      The appeal that the leaflet ends with is to ask people not
      to attend the Independence Day Celebrations because
      the safety of the revellers cannot be guaranteed,
      especially if one is from the opposition. This it states is
      because the police exist only to protect UDF interests.

      Efforts to determine the authors of the leaflets by The
      Chronicle met with a complete blank.

      *****

      War Rhetoric Unhealthy for SADC
      Summit

      The Chronicle Newspaper
      (Lilongwe)
      July 9, 2001
      Posted to the web July 9, 2001

      Chikondi Chiyembekeza

      Repeated statements now and again uttered by
      President Bakili Muluzi that the opposition parties are
      planning to wage war to oust him from power have been
      described as 'unfortunate and untimely'. 'The timing of
      these statements is most unfortunate, given the
      forthcoming Southern African Development Community
      (SADC) Heads of Government summit to be held in
      Malawi. 'We urge that the security of SADC should not
      be sacrificed at the altar of a hurried and illogical
      rescript, such as this statement from President Bakili
      Muluzi and his government,' says Dan Msowoya, Alliance
      for Democracy (AFORD) Spokesman in reaction to
      Muluzi's charges.

      He said it is a 'criminal offence' to cause fear and alarm
      to the citizens of the country as being perpetrated by
      Muluzi as he utters allegations with no proof at all.

      Msowoya said the sentiments express how much of a
      'pervert' the president and his government are towards
      the opposition. 'These statements are merely a
      smokescreen to create mass anxiety and to facilitate the
      president's or government's hidden agenda, that now
      seeks justification in their desire to deploy or implement
      winglesss aeroplane (missiles) from Libya for example,'
      Msowoya said.

      Muluzi at rallies threatens to bring in wingless aeroplanes
      (ndege zopanda mapiko) should the opposition start war
      in the country.

      A fortnight ago in Lilongwe he said some opposition
      members went to the RSA to obtain fire arms to
      overthrow him.

      His political adviser, Dumbo Lemani repeated the same
      sentiments in parliament saying he had evidence that
      opposition leaders went to SA to plan the
      de-stabilisation of the countries in southern Africa region
      like Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

      The opposition have since denied the UDF claims. They
      said the trip was of benefit to the sustenance of the
      country's democracy.

      SA High Commission office in Malawi demanded an
      explanation from the president to which the response has
      not been given to date.

      Political analysts have argued that the statements are
      'not healthy' for the ever existing bilateral relations
      between Malawi and SA.

      'With Muluzi and his government's stance, most of us
      wonder how the government would proceed to guarantee
      the security of every diplomatic mission it seems bent on
      frightening,' said the analyst.

      The talk of the country plunging into war comes barely
      two years after the opposition parties were accused of
      attempting to upset the status quo.

      The first time was when the MCP president Gwanda
      Chakuamba was accused of having plotted with a SA
      businessman to assassinate Muluzi, allegations which he
      has denied and which have never been substantiated by
      the UDF or it's agents.

      *****

      Hemp Farming Unsuitable for Malawi

      The Chronicle Newspaper
      (Lilongwe)
      July 9, 2001
      Posted to the web July 9, 2001

      Christopher Jimu

      Indian hemp, which many have been considering to be
      the crop to take the place of tobacco following the
      anti-smoking lobby has been determined as being
      unsuitable for Malawi.

      According to the Minister of Agriculture, Leornard
      Mangulama the crop is not suitable for this country
      because of the growing climate. 'It is true that we are in
      the meantime looking at a crop that can compete with
      tobacco as a major foreign export earner but hemp has
      been ruled out because of our climate,' Mangulama said.

      He revealed that after intensive consultation and
      research it was discovered that Malawi's climate is not
      suitable for the growing of the non-narcotic hemp which
      is grown in other parts of South Africa and Mexico.

      Said Mangulama, 'This non-narcotic hemp is grown in
      very cool areas only and if the same crop is grown in a
      hot climate it becomes narcotic and as such it will be
      difficult to monitor its movement here in Malawi.'
      Because of this discovery the government has shifted its
      focus from hemp to other crops such as coffee, cassava,
      legumes, sugar and rice.

      Meanwhile the government has managed to get funding
      from the Arab Bank For Economic Development (ABED)
      to enable it to develop the Mangochi Rice Scheme which
      lies along the Mangochi - Monkey Bay Road near the
      Bishop's House in Mangochi.

      It has also been learnt that the government is in the
      process of looking for funding to rehabilitate the Luweya
      Scheme in Nkhatabay and other schemes in the Lower
      Shire.

      The threat to the production of tobacco as the main forex
      earner in Malawi has spurred efforts to find alternative
      crops for the country. Various possibilities are being
      forwarded including mushroom culturing, paprika, cotton
      and soya beans.
    • 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 8:06 AM
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        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.

        Crackdown

        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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