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  • Christine Chumbler
    Malawian farewell to the prophet By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre Thousands of Malawians have attended the funeral of the country s most popular reggae
    Message 1 of 1046 , Dec 3, 2001
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      Malawian farewell to
      'the prophet'

      By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre

      Thousands of Malawians have attended the
      funeral of the country's most popular reggae
      musician, who died suddenly in police custody
      early this week.

      In a rousing send off, close to 10,000 people
      from all walks of life thronged Chileka town,
      just outside the capital, Blantyre, to say
      goodbye to Evison Matafale popularly known as
      "the prophet".

      Police have denied foul
      play.

      A few days before his
      death, the controversial
      Matafale, who was 32
      years old, uttered some
      prophetic words.

      "I don't fear death because my Bible tells me
      that I should fear the one that kills both body
      and spirit, not the body alone."

      Tense atmosphere

      Though Malawi's music industry attended the
      ceremony en masse, it was dreadlocked
      members of the Rastafarian community who
      dominated the ceremony, turning it into more
      of a fiesta than a sombre gathering.

      But tension filled the
      air as some thirsted for
      revenge for the death
      of their prophet.

      Police, whom many
      people accuse of killing
      the musician, were
      warned not to come
      anywhere near the
      ceremony as were
      ruling party officials.

      Police officers at a
      nearby police post
      barricaded themselves inside as the funeral
      cortege passed by singing songs of revenge.

      Seditious mail

      Elton, Matafale's brother, told journalists the
      singer was arrested and tortured by police last
      Saturday because of letters he had written to
      President Bakilu Muluzi denouncing his
      government's policies.

      "When I saw him at Maula Prison he was in a
      bad shape," he added.

      According to police, the reggae star was
      arrested at his house in Blantyre to be
      interrogated about those letters.

      In them he had accused the president of
      backing Muslims and Asian traders and
      exploiting ordinary Malawians.

      The singer, a
      temperamental man,
      had early this month
      lost his cool with an
      Asian merchant over
      payments. He had also
      been suffering from
      malaria.

      His mother had pleaded
      with the police not to
      take her son away but
      officers had assured
      her he would be released the same day.

      However, police sources said Matafale was
      transferred to the capital, Lilongwe, in the
      night where he was remanded in custody.

      Lilongwe Central Hospital administrator Charles
      Mwasambo said that Matafale died of severe
      pneumonia.

      He said there was no evidence of torture when
      police officers brought the reggae star into
      hospital.

      "His condition deteriorated around midnight and
      he died at 0320 in the morning (Tuesday)," he
      said.

      Debut album

      Matafale rose from almost nowhere to become
      Malawi's favourite musician last year with the
      release of his debut album, Kuyimba 1.

      Soon after Kuyimba 1
      he disappeared from
      the public view for
      almost a year battling
      with tuberculosis.

      But after coming out of
      hospital he released his
      second album, Kuyimba
      2, which catapulted
      him back into the
      limelight.

      His music, laced with
      frank social commentary done in a Jamaican
      reggae style, made him popular both in pubs
      and homes.

      Meanwhile, the dread-locked Rasta community
      - of which Matafale was an elder - are
      planning a series of demonstrations as part of
      the mourning process.

      Matafale leaves behind a five-year old
      daughter and an album of uncut songs.

      The only single on the album that has been
      released was 'Time Mark', a tribute to victims
      of the terrorist attacks on the United States of
      America on 11 September.

      *****

      World Jurists Protest Removal of Judges

      African Church Information Service
      December 3, 2001
      Posted to the web November 30, 2001
      Brian Ligomeka
      Blantyre
      The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has protested in a letter to Malawian leader Bakili Muluzi and his attorney-general Peter Fachi against the removal of judges, saying the act is contrary to the basic principles of the role of the judiciary adopted by the African Charter General Assembly.
      The Geneva-based ICJ, a worldwide organisation devoted to protecting human rights and the rule of law, described the dismissal of judges as against the African Charter on People's and Human Rights, which Malawi ratified in 1989.
      The world body of judges also asked the government to suspend parliamentary proceedings against them and that any disciplinary matters against the judges be brought before the Judicial Service Commission so that the judges can be afforded a fair hearing.
      "We express our deep dismay that Parliament had made a recommendation for the removal of three High Court judges, George Chimasula Phiri, Dunstain Mwaungulu and Ancaclet Chipeta, for alleged misconduct," said the letter.
      The letter indicated that the removal recommendation was not pursuant to the 1994 Constitution of Malawi, which calls for the establishment of the Judicial Service Commission, the body responsible for disciplinary matters relating to judicial officers.
      The Charter, adopted by the General Assembly in 1985, among other things provides that governments must protect the independence of the judiciary, whose functioning must be free from threats or interference.
      Any charge against a judge in his/her professional capacity shall be processed under an appropriate procedure. The judge shall have the right to a fair hearing, it says.
      The three judges await their fate from President Muluzi, who the National Assembly petitioned last week to have them dismissed.
      Last week, Leader of the House Harry Thomsom and some opposition MPs argued that the judges be given a chance to be heard before they are removed, but most MPs voted otherwise.
      Meanwhile, a special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Dato Param Cumaraswamy, has sent an urgent appeal to President Muluzi and his government to desist from interfering with the independence of the country's judiciary.
      In his appeal, the UN official said he was especially worried that Parliament went ahead to impeach the judges despite their obtaining an injunction from the High Court restraining the proceedings.
      He said he was also disturbed that even the judge who granted the injunction, Justice Bathiel Chiudza-Banda, was also threatened to appear before Parliament to be impeached.
      He reminded Muluzi that Malawi's own Constitution said that only the Judicial Service Commission, and not Parliament, is responsible for disciplining judicial officers.
      More worrying were allegations that the charges against the judges were politically motivated after they made a string of rulings against the ruling UDF party, he said.
      Cumaraswamy reminded the government that as a signatory to the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, Malawi should make sure that the independence of the judiciary was guaranteed by the State.
      "Judges are not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority except the law and the Constitution," he said, adding that "decisions in disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings should be subject to an independent review."


      *****

      Mbeki's patience with Mugabe
      wears thin

      Johannesburg | Monday

      SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki has stepped up criticism
      of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, saying his counterpart
      could no longer expect protection while the political crisis there
      deepens, a newspaper reported Sunday.
      "He wants Mugabe to know that he should not expect protection
      any more. Up to now we have rallied behind him," a senior South
      African official told The Sunday Times, requesting anonymity.
      Mbeki also urged Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi, the chairman
      of the Southern African Development Community, to convene a
      special task team on Zimbabwe, the paper said.
      Another unnamed official said Mbeki's patience was "wearing
      thin" because Zimbabwe's crisis was hampering efforts to
      launching an economic revival plan for Africa.
      The paper said Mbeki was receiving reports that hundreds of
      refugees were streaming across the border every day.
      Mbeki publicly slammed Mugabe twice this week, accusing his
      government of pursuing wrong economic policies that had
      aggravated the country's political crisis and had ripple effects
      throughout the entire region.
      The South African head of state also voiced concerns for
      journalists in Zimbabwe -- who are increasingly targeted in a
      government clampdown -- and for the prospect of fair elections
      next year.
      Mbeki has in the past come under fire for his reluctance to
      criticize his neighbour, in particular regarding Harare's
      controversial land reforms which aim to redress colonial-era land
      imbalances. The reforms have been accompanied by violence and
      lawlessness on white-owned farms by government-sponsored
      militants.
      But regional concern has heightened recently over Zimbabwe's
      critical food shortages, skyrocketing inflation and unemployment,
      and its unabashed campaign against the independent press and
      judiciary.
      Mbeki also raised concerns over Harare's refusal to allow the
      European Union to deploy observers during next year's
      presidential elections, and raised the spectre of civil conflict if the
      poll was not seen to be legitimate.
      "If the outcome is not accepted by the people of Zimbabwe, the
      situation will be even worse and you have the danger of civil
      conflict," Mbeki said.
      Presidential representative Bheki Khumalo reiterated the stance
      in The Sunday Times.
      "If the elections are not legitimate, the situation will be far worse
      than it is now. The president therefore wants to double the efforts
      to seek a resolution to the crisis," Khumalo said.
      Meanwhile, the main Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement
      for Democratic Change (MDC), has called on all Zimbabwean
      citizens living in South Africa to register for the forthcoming
      presidential election, SABC television reported on Sunday.
      Hundreds of Zimbabwean nationals turned out to welcome Gibson
      Sibanda, deputy president of the MDC in Johannesburg on
      Sunday.
      In his main address, Sibanda accused Mugabe and the ruling
      Zanu (PF) of unleashing violence, and of waging a propaganda
      war, against opposition members.
      He said the MDC is ready to remove President Robert Mugabe
      from office and to start re-building the economy. - AFP

      *****

      Zimbabwe Unionists Urge Defiance

      By Michael Hartnack
      Associated Press Writer
      Sunday, December 2, 2001; 4:06 PM

      HARARE, Zimbabwe ** Unionists, priests, and thousands of representatives from civic groups on Sunday
      announced a civil disobedience campaign to force Zimbabwe's government to implement political reforms and
      stage free presidential elections early next year.

      Zimbabwe has been gripped by economic and political turmoil for nearly two years since government-backed
      militants began invading white owned farms, and the appeal for mass action by the National Constitutional
      Assembly could further heighten tensions.

      Risking arrest, assembly leaders agreed to embark on a nationwide program of civil disobedience, strikes and tax
      boycotts beginning in January, unless the government gives in to their demands for reform.

      "We will proceed regardless of the consequences," said Douglas Mwonzora, the assembly's spokesman.

      The assembly last year successfully campaigned against a constitutional amendment proposed by President
      Robert Mugabe to enable him to redistribute thousands of white-owned farms to landless blacks.

      The proposal was defeated in a referendum, but Mugabe ignored it and condoned the subsequent seizure of
      1,700 white-owned farms by ruling party militants as a justified response to the legacy of inequitable land
      ownership left by colonial rule.

      With his popularity fast eroding, Mugabe has attempted to squash dissent via an often-violent campaign against
      the opposition and the independent media.

      "What we have seen so far is just the beginning," said Mwonzora.

      Assembly chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, said it was fruitless to hope that Mugabe would respond to diplomatic
      pressure for political reform.

      Delegates attending an assembly gathering Saturday adopted a new draft constitution, which proposes boosting
      Parliament's powers, entrenching human rights and limiting the power of the presidency.

      However they rejected Madhuku's proposals calling for the abolition of the death penalty, for abortion to be
      made available on demand and for homosexuality to be decriminalized

      "We are here producing a document for popular mobilization," said Madhuku. "These were areas of
      disappointment but the people have a right to (determine) their own constitution."

      But Mugabe, speaking in Masiiwa, 70 miles northeast of Harare Saturday, said he was not afraid of losing power
      in the upcoming poll.

      "The opposition will never win the elections under whatever circumstances," the government-controlled Sunday
      Mail newspaper reported him as saying.

      *****

      Mugabe's election
      masterplan

      By BBC News Online's Joseph Winter

      Robert Mugabe is pulling out all the stops to
      ensure that he wins the presidential elections
      due in Zimbabwe before next April.

      Electoral laws have been proposed which will
      effectively deny the vote to hundreds of
      thousands of young people without jobs, who
      are invariably opposition supporters.

      Foreigners have been told that they will not be
      allowed to send monitors to the elections and
      only civil servants - susceptible to government
      control - will be accredited.

      Several government
      sympathisers have been
      named as judges, so
      that legal challenges to
      such laws, and possibly
      the election results, by
      the opposition will be
      doomed to failure.

      And more new laws are
      in the pipeline to stop independent journalists
      from writing stories which do not meet with
      official approval.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic
      Change is being vilified as a "terrorist
      organisation" and officials warn of a US-style
      "war against terror".

      Losing hope

      The low-level campaign of intimidation against
      MDC activists, especially in the exposed rural
      areas, is continuing - as is the confiscation of
      land belonging to white farmers who are
      accused of supporting the opposition.

      Self-styled "war veterans" were recently
      allowed to rampage through the second city of
      Bulawayo attacking whites and other
      suspected opposition supporters unmolested
      by the watching police.

      The 77-year-old Mr
      Mugabe and his
      advisors are laying,
      one-by-one, the
      foundation stones of a
      very high wall around
      State House.

      Zimbabweans who
      want change, buoyed
      by the MDC's strong
      showing in the June
      2000 parliamentary
      elections, are losing
      hope.

      "There's no way that Mugabe will lose the
      election," says one long-suffering Harare
      resident. "And even if he does lose the vote,
      he won't give up power."

      Luxuries

      The Financial Gazette newspaper reports that
      Mr Mugabe is building underground bunkers at
      State House in case the elections descend into
      civil war.

      And the MDC has not yet come up with any
      answers.

      Their 56 members of
      parliament are unable
      to block the
      controversial
      legislation, however
      much they huff and
      puff.

      Meanwhile, the
      economy continues to
      suffocate in the
      absence of foreign aid
      and investment.

      Workers are being laid off by the day and with
      inflation officially running at 98%, bread and
      even the staple food, maize-meal, are
      becoming luxuries.

      Gloomy future

      A multi-screen, state-of-the-art cinema
      complex on the outskirts of Harare has had to
      close down because it can no longer get the
      foreign currency to import films from
      Hollywood.

      Some lucky people, mainly with good
      connections, are benefiting from the
      distribution of farmland, so that even if they
      do not have a job, they can at least grow their
      own maize.

      MDC leader Morgan
      Tsvangirai was taken
      to court for warning
      that if Mr Mugabe does
      not step down, he
      would be removed from
      power by force. The
      charges were dropped
      but this could well be
      an accurate prediction
      for Zimbabwe's future.

      With Mr Mugabe at the
      helm, there is no
      prospect of a reversal
      of Zimbabwe's
      economic fortunes.

      The biggest challenge is to earn some foreign
      currency in order to pay for essentials such as
      oil and electricity, not to mention computers,
      vehicles and food imports.

      'Frightening'

      International investors and donors are the
      fastest way of getting hard currency into the
      country but both groups will continue to steer
      well clear of Harare if Mr Mugabe rigs his way
      to victory.

      "Frightening," is how one Zimbabwean
      describes the prospect of another six years of
      Mr Mugabe's rule.

      Earlier this month, a group of civic
      organisations attempted to stage a "mass
      protest" at the new electoral laws but it fizzled
      out when a meagre 50 protestors turned up.

      Riot police flooded
      Harare city centre and
      potential
      demonstrators knew
      that they were risking
      lungfuls of tear-gas,
      rubber truncheons and
      a night in the cells.

      But as Zimbabweans
      become more hungry,
      they will also become
      more angry.

      If they feel that they
      have no chance of changing the government
      through elections, there will come a point
      when they feel violence is the only answer.

      Just as black nationalists, led by Mr Mugabe,
      felt in the 1970s with regard to Ian Smith's
      white minority government.

      Even if he manages to hold onto power next
      year, ultimately, Mr Mugabe's carefully-laid
      brickwork will crumble to dust.

      But he seems determined to drag his country
      down with him.

      *****

      Eleven contest Zambian
      presidency

      Eleven candidates have filed successful
      nominations to stand in the Zambian
      presidential election on 27 December.

      The successful applicants include three former
      Zambian vice presidents - Levy Patrick
      Mwanawasa of the ruling Movement for
      Multiparty Democracy, Christon Tembo of the
      opposition Forum for Democracy and
      Development, and the Heritage Party's Godfrey
      Miyanda.

      Five other nominations were rejected for not
      fulfilling requirements correctly.

      The presidential poll, which will be held on the
      same day as parliamentary elections, will mark
      the end of President Frederick Chiluba's 10
      years in office.

      In April, Mr Tembo led a cabinet revolt against
      attempts by President Chiluba to extend his
      presidency for an unconstitutional third term.

      Pictures from a Tembo rally

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_1683000/1683614.stm
    • 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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