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  • Christine Chumbler
    THIRD TERMISM STRIKES MALAWI THE United Democratic Front (UDF) has, through various functionaries last week confirmed that President Bakili Muluzi will stand
    Message 1 of 1046 , Aug 6, 2001
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      THIRD TERMISM STRIKES
      MALAWI
      THE United Democratic Front
      (UDF) has, through various
      functionaries last week confirmed
      that President Bakili Muluzi will
      stand as presidential candidate
      again in 2004 after indicating that
      he has proved to be the only
      leader capable of obtaining, for the
      UDF a successive 3rd term in
      government. According to UDF
      Regional Governor for the Centre,
      Uladi Mussa, Muluzi will stand
      again in the Elections in 2004
      because people want him to rule
      this country for forty years.
      Mussa, speaking at a party rally in
      Salima which was broadcast live
      on the state run MBC radio last
      Thursday declared that Muluzi is
      the candidate for the UDF in 2004
      because there is no one else who
      can lead the party. Muluzi during
      his address neither agreed to nor
      denied the various
      announcements made despite
      Mussa saying there was a move
      to amend the constitution to allow
      this to take place. - The Chronicle

      *****

      PROSTITUTES HIT MALAWI EN
      MASSE FOR SUMMIT
      SCORES of prostitutes from the
      neighbouring countries of Zambia,
      Zimbabwe and Botswana and from
      within Malawi itself have begun
      arriving in Blantyre set to ply their
      trade ahead of the Southern Africa
      Development Committee (SADC)
      summit which takes place in the
      city from today (Monday) up to the
      15th of this month. About 13
      SADC Heads of State and
      government including hundreds of
      other officials are expected to
      swell the numbers of potential
      clientele as they attend the
      summit, the second to be hosted
      by Malawi. The country last
      hosted a similar summit in 1997.
      The prostitutes started arriving in
      the city some two weeks ago and
      are already frequenting Blantyre┬╣s
      most popular entertainment
      centres and hotel bars. Bar
      tenders interviewed at random
      confirmed the presence of foreign
      looking girls in most bars and
      night clubs in the city. "They are
      pouring in, most of them seem to
      be from Zambia and Zimbabwe,"
      one bartender said. Prostitution is
      illegal in Malawi. - The Chronicle

      *****

      Zim briefs: US 'racist', assault,
      expulsion, GMOs

      Harare | Monday

      A UNITED STATES Senate bill which could usher in visa
      restrictions against people responsible for violence in Zimbabwe is
      racist, Zimbabwean Information Minister Johnathan Moyo said in
      an interview on Sunday with a pro-government newspaper.
      "The bill is a racist bill because it's targeting African people
      whose crime is to seek the restoration of their fundamental
      rights," Moyo said in The Sunday Mail.
      "America is basically a racist country. Its history is a history of
      racism, slavery and colonialism. Our former slave masters can
      never be our liberators," Moyo said.
      The "Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act", which passed
      late Wednesday, asks the administration of President George W
      Bush to consult with other nations on ways to implement visa
      restrictions and other targeted sanctions against those
      responsible for political violence in Zimbabwe.

      * RALPH FENWICK COBBERT, a Kwekwe farmer, is in the
      intensive care unit at the Avenues Clinic in Harare where he is on
      a life support system after he was savagely attacked with an axe
      by a group of suspected war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters on
      Friday afternoon.
      Cobbert(76), a widower, was admitted to the Avenues Clinic on
      Saturday afternoon. He was struck with an axe on his head and
      sustained a deep cut. Doctors said the right side of his brain was
      severely damaged. Details of the attack are still unclear. War
      veterans occupied Cobbert┬╣s farm last year.

      * FORMER United States ambassador to the United Nations and
      the first black mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young has just paid two
      visits to Zimbabwe within a short space of time, meeting with
      Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.
      Reports say Young, an Atlanta businessman who runs a public
      relations firm might be after the public relations job to spruce up
      Zimbabwe's tattered image. The job is currently being done by
      another former US politician, Herman Cohen. - AFP, The Daily
      News, The Insider

      *****

      MDC: 'Zim by-election
      not free or fair'

      JASPREET KINDRA, Johannesburg | Monday

      ZIMBABWEAN opposition party the Movement for Democratic
      Change (MDC) has claimed that the crucial weekend by-election
      in the rural constituency of Bindura, convincingly won by the
      ruling Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front
      (Zanu-PF), was not free and fair.
      Speaking to the Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg, MDC secretary
      general Welshman Ncube said voters in Bindura were enclosed in
      *concentration camp* like conditions. *The commercial farming
      areas of Bindura was a no-go area for us,* he claimed.
      Ncube maintains that his party members were beaten up and the
      party could not campaign in the area. *And on the day of the
      polls, any of the residents who were likely to vote for the MDC
      were beaten up, * he added.
      In view of the *undemocratic* manner in which the election was
      conducted, Ncube said his party -- led by Morgan Tsvangirai --
      had met with the African National Congress chair Mosioua
      Lekota, the Congress of South African Trade Unions* executive as
      well the South African Communist Party last week to urge them
      to send election monitors three months prior to next year*s
      presidential elections.
      The Zimbabwean deputy high commissioner in South Africa,
      Danson Mudekunye, denied the reports of intimidation and the
      allegation that elections were not free and fair. He pointed out that
      European Union monitors were present during the elections: *If
      the MDC had won, then the election would have been free and
      fair.*
      The Bindura by-election was widely believed to be a test case for
      the political mood in the country ahead of presidential elections
      likely to be held around April, when 21-year incumbent Robert
      Mugabe will fight for yet another term.
      The Bindura seat fell vacant when MP and minister Border Gezi, a
      close aide of president Robert Mugabe, was killed in a car crash
      in April this year.
      Zanu-PF*s Elliot Manyika defeated MDC candidate Elliot Pfebve
      by polling 15 864 votes, 6 408 more than his rival. Pfebve had
      actually fared better in last year*s elections, when he had stood
      against Gezi.
      Prior to the election, reports had said that Pfebve and 16 of his
      supporters were arrested en route to a polling station.
      Mudekunye said Pfebve was taken to a police station and was
      warned and cautioned as he and his supporters were shouting
      slogans on the polling day within the 100m radius of a polling
      station -- which is unlawful.
      On widely reported projections that Zimbabwe is heading for a
      food crisis, a senior foreign affairs official said that according to
      the World Food Programme*s projections, *It is a very likely
      possibility.*
      A food shortage could have severe repercussions on South Africa,
      with the possibility of thousands of desperate Zimbabweans trying
      to enter South Africa.
      The foreign affairs official said his department is monitoring the
      situation.
      Mudekunye said the possibility of a food crisis had arisen as a
      result of a drought in the southern region, which has also affected
      Zambia and Malawi.
      He said the situation is under control at the moment, but added
      that there could be a shortage of cereal in February next year. -
      Mail & Guardian

      *****

      Zimbabwe collapse
      warning

      The main civic groups in Zimbabwe have called
      on President Robert Mugabe to act quickly to
      avoid serious bloodshed and economic
      collapse.

      Some 500 delegates from development
      agencies, professional associations, churches,
      human rights groups, labour and student
      unions urged the president to end what they
      called a violent campaign by his supporters,
      and set up a programme which would
      guarantee a free and fair poll in presidential
      elections due next year.

      They demanded an independent electoral
      commission, a new voters register, a political
      code of conduct and media freedom.

      The delegates said that if the president and
      the government refused to act, they reserved
      the right to engage in civic action, including
      civic disobedience.

      A spokesman for Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF
      party Nathan Shamuyarira dismissed the
      conference as a non-event.

      He said that those attending survived on
      foreign funding and were saying what their
      masters wanted to hear.
    • 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
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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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