- Sorry for the multiple emails, but BBC snuck in some later stories...
Judge reprieves Malawi
By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre
A high court judge has granted an injunction
which suspends the expulsion from parliament
of seven opposition politicians in Malawi.
Among them are former senior minister Brown
Mpinganjira, and his wife Lizzie, who were
expelled from the ruling United Democratic
Front last year and have since formed the
National Democratic Alliance pressure group.
They were expelled
because under the
constitution, MPs are
with parties or political
groupings, other than
the party they
Justice Frank Kapanda ordered parliament and
the seven sacked MPs to present their
arguments before Justice William Hanjahanja on
Sunday on whether they deserve to be fired or
Their lawyers had argued that they had
already been sacked from the UDF when the
controversial section 65 of the constitution
The pressure group has managed to garner
some support from the UDF stronghold of the
southern region, and analysts say the move to
ban some of them was designed to undermine
The expulsion of the
president of the
Congress Party of
Hastings Banda was
and his right-hand
man, the outspoken
had been accused of
forming an alliance with
the third largest group
in parliament and taking senior positions within
The debate on the issue in parliament on
Wednesday followed the circulation of a letter
by two MPs, one ruling party and another
opposition, to the speaker, asking him to
declare their seats vacant because they had
left their original party.
During the heated exchange it was argued that
five of the disaffected MPs were voted in as
ruling party representatives and as they have
now joined groupings whose objectives, it is
claimed, are political in nature, they have
forfeited claims to their seats.
But when the speaker allowed the debate to
go ahead despite the absence of the seven
accused MPs, even senior ruling UDF MPs
protested, saying it was unfair.
Loveness Gondwe, MP, said that if the motion
was not vindictive, then all other MPs in the
alliance should also have their seats declared
But the speaker curtailed the debate, saying
his decision was final.
Also banned from parliament is the tycoon and
former financier of the ruling party, James
Makhumula, who left the party early this year
Both Mr Mpinganjira
and Dr Ntaba told the
BBC they would fight
both legally and
politically to regain
Mr Mpinganjira said he
knew all along that the
introduction of the
had been targeted at
The move to dismiss
the seven MPs has already drawn wide-spread
condemnation among civil society and the
Their expulsion would trigger a round of
Zimbabwe editor walks
The editor of Zimbabwe's only privately-owned
daily newspaper, the Daily News, has been
been released on bail after being held
overnight and charged with giving false
It comes as reports from Zimbabwe say the
government intends to remove voting rights
from most Zimbabweans living abroad.
Geoff Nyarota and Wilf Mbanga, a former
director of the company which publishes the
paper, appeared at a Harare Magistrates court
on Friday where they were given $10,000
Zimbabwe dollars bail.
The Daily News is
fiercely critical of the
government and in
January, its printing
press was destroyed by
But Mr Nyarota
by his spell in custody.
"Nothing whatsoever will make me change the
policy of my newspaper," he said
"This was just a minor irritation."
Earlier this week, a government newspaper,
The Herald, said that The Daily News might be
shut down because its publishers had broken
investment and foreign exchange control
Mr Nyarota and three colleagues were arrested
in August after publishing a story which alleged
that some police officers were involved in the
looting of white-owned farms.
New rules are to be introduced before next
year's presidential election which would limit
the use of postal votes to diplomatic staff and
soldiers serving outside Zimbabwe, said The
Herald on Friday.
expatriates would be
barred from using a
return visit as a
pretext for casting
their ballot at home.
Political analysts say
believes most of the
of Zimbabweans living
abroad support the
for Democratic Change.
About 30,000 white Zimbabweans, and as
many as a million farm workers and their
families from other African countries, who have
dual nationality, have already had their voting
They are required to either renounce their right
to a foreign passport, or forego their
On Thursday the government said that it would
only allow civil servants to monitor presidential
elections, due early next year.
In last year's parliamentary elections,
foreigners were banned but local civic
organisation trained thousands of
Mr Chinamasa said that
some of these
funded by foreigners
and therefore did not
interests at heart.
immediately cried foul,
saying this was
preparing the ground to
rig the elections.
The European Union has threatened to impose
sanctions if it is not allowed to monitor the
Zimbabwe clash with
The Oppenheimer dynasty in South Africa is
heading for a confrontation with the Zimbabwe
Government over land reform.
The Oppenheimers control two of Africa's
richest companies - the Anglo American
Corporation and De Beers - and own 2.4 million
acres of farmland in Zimbabwe - approximately
the size of Belgium.
The family is resisting government calls to
hand over a large proportion of its
But Zimbabwe vice-president Joseph Msika has
visited Oppenheimer ranches to tell them that
an interim agreement has been reached.
Family spokesman Clifford Elphick told the
BBC's World Business Report that it was not
their understanding that land is going to be
"There is a process of discussion between
Nicky Oppenheimer and the Zimbabwean
government," he said.
In September 2000
Mugabe made a rare
concession on his
reforms by telling Anglo
American that it could
keep its properties.
Now there are reports that deputy chairman
Nicky Oppenheimer is under pressure to give up
"A compromise is that Nicky would give his
management instructions to remove cattle
from some areas so crops could be planted
whilst the rain was falling," Mr Elphick said.
The family would then reclaim its land, but the
government wants it to remain under the
control of black farmers.
The problem revolves around the question of
what land the family is prepared to make
available to the government.
The government says it wants a total of
65,000 hectares of land by the end of the
year, claiming that Anglo American's
possessions amount to the size of Belgium.
"We are running a very successful business
with 20,000 head of cattle on that property. It
is a question of making sure the business
"At the same time we have to make land
available to the invaders, if you want to call
them that - the war veterans - which would
suit their needs and the sort of agriculture
they want to practice," Mr Elphick said.
There is a danger that Zimbabwe is making an
example of the Oppenheimer dynasty because
they are so powerful.
"I hope that isn't the case because we are
looking for a compromise," Mr Elphick explained.
Mr Mugabe has authorised the seizure of more
than 4,500 white-owned farms as part of his
often-violent drive to redistribute land he says
was stolen by British settlers more than 100
Aid agencies have warned of impending severe
food shortages in Zimbabwe - citing a
combination of drought and the farm invasions.
Commercial farmers say Mr Mugabe has failed
to honour a deal under which his government
agreed to end farm invasions in return for
pledges of financial help from former colonial
- Judge reprieves Malawi
I guess they don't have separation of powers and the system of checks and
If our Congress had censured, then banished a member of congress, Not even
the Supreme Court could get him/her back...
Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp
- According to my sources, the bit about USAID's funding is not exactly the whole story, as you might expect.
Malawi donors suspend
President Muluzi is planning to travel to Europe to
discuss the suspensions
By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre
At least four of Malawi's major donors have
suspended aid to the impoverished southern
African state citing widespread corruption and
The news emerged in a
Chikaonda to President
He says in the letter,
that I have seen a
copy of, that both the
European Union and
the United States have
It says the EU has not only suspended the
release of 15m Euros ($13m) but has also
demanded a refund of seven million Euros
The EU delegation discovered anomalies while
carrying out an audit, discovering that funds
had been used for projects outside any
The delegation's economic advisor, Theo
Kaspers, said the EU had written a fresh
memorandum of understanding with conditions
which had to be signed.
The United States government, through the US
Agency for International Development (USAID),
has also diverted at least $6m of the $7m
meant for Malawi to another country.
It said the move came in response to the
Malawi Government's decision to suspend its
Other donors, notably Britain, have also put on
hold development aid to Malawi because of
corruption, mismanagement and political
Denmark, whose envoy Orla Bakdal was forced
to leave after the Danish embassy questioned
how its money was being used, has also scaled
down sponsored projects in Malawi.
The suspensions could not come at a worse
time for Malawi.
The government needs
to imports thousands
of tonnes of maize to
offset the worsening
Mr Chikaonda has
recommended that the
cabinet be informed on
the developments to
discuss other ways of
He has also suggested
that President Muluzi
and himself travel to Brussels to discuss
developments with the EU.
Meanwhile, the practical effects of the aid
suspensions are already being felt.
New salaries for teachers, the police and
medical workers - which President Muluzi
promised last June - have yet to materialise,
already fuelling sporadic strike actions.
- Zambian president suffers stroke
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has suffered a minor stroke, state radio has reported. A spokesman said he was making steady progress.
The president was admitted to hospital in London for a check-up two weeks ago.
Mr Mwanawasa, 57, has been in office since 2001, and has said he intends to contest elections later this year for a second and final term.
The radio report did not make clear how long ago President Mwanawasa had suffered the stroke.
"Chief Government Spokesman Vernon Mwaanga revealed that President Mwanawasa suffered a minor stroke," Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation radio reported.
"Mr Mwaanga however, said the president was making steady progress," ZNBC said.
Mr Mwanawasa cancelled an election campaign trip and flew to London to see doctors after feeling ill on 1 April, officials said.
But a government spokesman said Mr Mwanawasa had gone to London for a routine check-up to ensure his fitness ahead of the election campaign.