- Muluzi Denies GNU
Daily Times (Blantyre)
December 7, 2001
Posted to the web December 7, 2001
PRESIDENT Bakili Muluzi yesterday denied having discussed with Alliance for Democracy (Aford) President Chakufwa Chihana on the issue that the two parties should form a government of national unity (GNU) at a rally he addressed in the North.
"It's true I met Aford President Chihana, but we did not discuss the issue of forming a government of national unity. Why should we do that. This government is stable and it has got no problems.
"During my meetings with Chihana, we only discussed the judges and hunger issues," Muluzi said.
Muluzi said as a State President, he accepts any opposition member to meet and work with him so long that particular individual talks sense. He added that his government does not believe in politics of confrontation and division.
Muluzi said his meetings with opposition members is about bringing development in the country and trying to unite the nation.
In a Daily Times article of yesterday, Aford Vice-President Du Mhango is quoted to have admitted that his party is meeting tomorrow at Vipya Private Secondary School to discuss whether the party should form a government of national unity with the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) or not.
The Vice-President went on to say that whatever the executive will say, will not be final as it will have to be ratified by the national convention of the party.
Aford member of parliament Green Lulilo Mwamondwe is also quoted in the same article saying there is no cause of forming a government of national unity because there is no tention or civil war in the country.
He further said Karonga is not the same as people are booing at him in the streets for escorting Chihana when he went to see Muluzi.
Mwamondwe is also quoted to have said that it would be a big joke if the government of national unity is formed because Government has failed to explain the scandals namely: the K125 million Ministry of Education, the K560 million Petroleam Control Commission, the Fieldyork notebook and the Apex Land Rover.
Muluzi Sets Inquiry to Check Artist Death
Daily Times (Blantyre)
December 5, 2001
Posted to the web December 6, 2001
President Bakili Muluzi has instituted a six-member Commission of Inquiry to investigate the death of reggae artist Evison Matafale who died at Lilongwe Central Hospital (LCH) last week Monday.
The commission chaired by is Judge Leonard Unyolo comprises musician Lucius Banda, lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale, Dr. Gombwa, father George Buleya and Sauti Phiri an officer from Malawi Distilleries.
The commission of inquiry comes days after the Human Rights Commission of Malawi also announced that it will investigate Matafale's death.
Matafale's death last week provoked speculations that he might have been tortured.
However the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Fahad Assan said Matafale died a natural death.
A postmortem carried at LCH revealed that he died of pneumonia.
Matafale was laid to rest Wednesday at his home village in Chileka.
Musicians Say No to Lucius Banda on Commission
Daily Times (Blantyre)
December 7, 2001
Posted to the web December 7, 2001
Musicians are protesting the inclusion of music star Lucius Banda in the President Bakili Muluzi-appointed commission of inquiry to investigate into death of the country's widely-believed reggae king Evison Matafale who died under police custody.
Music Association of Malawi (MAM) chairman Davie Mafuleka yesterday was shocked at the composition of the inquiry team saying some members are incompetent and are likely to slant the probe.
He singled out Lucius Banda whom he alleged was a rival of Matafale wondering how Banda was going to compromise with the fallen hero he never agreed with when he lived.
Mafuleka said discussions are underway among musicians to see to it that the probe team has competent members who will come up with an objective report.
"Whoever advised the president in appointing that commission of inquiry ill-advised him; these were rivals in their principles, and naturally there are likely to be prejudices in the findings," Mafuleka said.
"If anything," he said, "the president would have included an authority like Goodson Gomonda who is the chairman of (MAM) or any rastafarian a faith in which Matafale belonged to."
A couple of weeks ago during a consultative meeting between the Copyright Society of Malawi, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and the MAM in Blantyre, Banda exchanged bitter words with Matafale after they differed on whether or not musicians should be paying revenues.
Days later after Matafale smashed Asian shop glass counters in Blantyre and Limbe, Banda told Daily Times of November 8 that it was not surprising for that late Matafale had so behaved.
"I expected Matafale to act the way he did because he did not behave normally earlier in the day during a meeting between MRA and Cosoma," Banda said.
During the meeting Matafale and a majority of other musicians had strongly protested the introduction of tax on musicians saying that was going to jeopardise the music industry.
Efforts to talk to Banda yesterday proved futile as his mobile phone was engaged the entire day.
Matafale, who was arrested at Chileka in Blantyre and detained in Lilongwe, was charged with criminal defamation on suspicion of authoring a defamatory letter.
Meanwhile, rastafarians in Blantyre are on Tuesday taking to the streets to protest the inclusion of Lucius Banda.
"We aren't happy with his [Lucius Banda] presence on the commission of inquiry," said Ras Ray, the chair for rastafarians yesterday.
Gwazantini May Be Remanded Too Long
Daily Times (Blantyre)
December 7, 2001
Posted to the web December 7, 2001
Chief State Advocate has not ruled out a possibility that Alice Gwazantini, on allegations that she scalded her maid to death, will remain in remand "too long" saying investigations take "too long" sometimes.
Mc Lean Kamwambe said some remandees have had to wait for over nine years to have their homicide cases heard. "She [Mrs Alice Gwazantini] is only been in prison for a couple of months [Since August this year]," he said.
But Civil Liberties Committee Executive Director Emmie Chanika yesterday said Gwazantini is there "accidentally."
"It's not a thing she planned for and there is no need to say that she can stay too long. They should speed up their investigations as soon as possible to protect her rights" she said.
Investigations into the case in which the Namiwawa-based woman, who allegedly doused hot water on 13-year-old Ntchayi Jakisoni after she allegedly ate her boss's sweet potato, is progressing at a snail's pace following the transfer of a police officer who was handling the case.
The Chief State Advocate said that the case will only resume after another police officer has been identified.
"We do not want to do our investigations in a hurry. We want this case to be properly investigated," he said.
Kamwambe said the state had failed to immediately appoint another person to handle the case.
Chanika, however, failed to make out why the policeman handling a sensitive story could be transfered just like this.
Henry Phoya, lawyer for Gwazantini refused to comment arguing the matter is in court.
Gwazantini, who was arrested mid-August this year was denied bail by Justice Frank Kapanda on the grounds that her offence was not bailable.
Blantyre's Chief Export Hooks Its Children
African Eye News Service (Nelspruit)
December 6, 2001
Posted to the web December 6, 2001
A growing number of Malawian children aged between 10 and 14 are smoking, strengthening the anti-smoking lobby's attempts to convince the government to find an alternative to tobacco as its main means of income.
Tobacco is Malawi's chief export accounting for over 80% of foreign exchange, but producers of the leaf are facing increasing pressure from the World Health Organisation (WHO) who wants to see them cut production as of 2003.
A WHO-sanctioned Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) was conducted amongst children aged between 10 and 20 in the country's commercial city of Blantyre and the administrative capital, Lilongwe.
"The survey found that 35,1% of the total respondents had either consumed tobacco or had access to it in the past 10 years," said project manager for the Consumers Association of Malawi, Yuen Chikando.
"As a consumer rights body we deplore the tobacco consumption among the youth because it shows a breakdown in enforcement of laws," Chikando added.
Malawi was among 85 worldwide signatories of the 1999 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which stipulated that countries could rely on production of tobacco until 2003 before an alternative was identified.
But president Bakili Muluzi told the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) in October that tobacco production would not discontinue in the near future.
"We shall continue to grow tobacco until we find an alternative," he said. - African Eye News Service
Admarc Lays Off 225
Daily Times (Blantyre)
December 6, 2001
Posted to the web December 6, 2001
The country's major sole grain marketeer, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) laid off 225 employees last month alone in its restructuring process, officials have said.
Inside sources at the Admarc Headquarters in Limbe disclosed that the process would see about 1,500 jobs more on the line.
"Panic and fears have gripped us here as we do not know who is next. Some of our colleagues have already gone. But there's nothing we can do as the employers are legally following all the procedures in retrenching its employees," the source said.
Confirming the lay-offs, Admarc General Manager Friday Jumbe said in an interview yesterday there are always those fears that many would lose jobs when there are redundancies.
"So far we have laid off 250 employees, but there is no cause for alarm," said Jumbe but could not disclose how many would be retrenched.
Responding to a faxed questionaire, Senior Public Relations Officer Mary Mabviko said Admarc will retain those who fit in the new corporate structure.
She said the lay-offs are on-going saying a good many employees will be laid off once the exercise is over.
Jumbe, told the press in September that the restructuring would enable the corporation to save K100 million when the exercise winds up.
The General Manager said the corporation was to do away with two regional offices in the Southern and Northern regions, explaining that regionmal office for the South would be allocated to markets where the action is and that there would be one Regional Manager in the Central Region.
Justifying the excercise, Jumbe said there were duplication of duties as the Regional office in the South had resources which could be found at the headquarters in Limbe while in the North, they were handling a small percentage of work which could be handled by one regional manager in the Central Region.
K56 Million for Combating HIV/Aids
Daily Times (Blantyre)
December 6, 2001
Posted to the web December 6, 2001
Spurred by the impact HIV/AIDS is having on the country's development the German government has donated K56 million to assist in combating the epidemic.
Director of German Development Cooperation Joachim Neunfinger told Daily Times that the money will fund a new programme initiated by the Ministry of Health and Population and the National Aids Secretariat.
GTZ said in a press release that the new programme will help the Aids Secretariate to implement a National strategic plan at district and community level and will develop appropriate monitoring tools and measure the impact of the intervation.
The release said the programme will also assist in incorporating health education components in selected projects in the sectors of health, agriculture, education and civic education.
According to the release within the Malawi-German programme of technical cooperation there are 26 projects operating throughout the country.
"The overall goal of the new HIV/AIDS awareness and education programme is to reach a targeted group of people in a participatory approach and develop culturally acceptable and gender-oriented means for a healthy behaviour," said the release.
Nuenfinger said three technical assistants have been deployed to Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu to integrate HIV/AIDS education into all projects through out the country.
He said the new programme is expected to facilitate the provision of HIV/AIDS information efficiently and effectively to combat the epidemic currently affecting the socio-economi dimensions.
Desperately saving sable
Smugglers are profiting from the ongoing political turmoil in Zimbabwe.
South Africans are smuggling rare and endangered wildlife species out of
Zimbabwe in an attempt to *save* them from becoming victims of the
political chaos in that country.
In one daring *rescue*, a Potgietersrus game farmer smuggled 24 sable antelopes
into South Africa in a Dakota. The plane managed to avoid radar detection and
landed in a mielie field.
Sable, handsome black and white antelope with curved horns, used to be plentiful in
Zimbabwe but are like gold in South Africa. A single breeding animal can fetch at
least R120 000 on the open market.
Things started to go wrong for the Potgietersrus farmer, Hugo Ras, when 13 of the
sable died as a result of their journey and neighbours got to hear about it. Veterinary
authorities imposed emergency quarantine measures on surrounding farms in
Captain Herman Lubbe of the South African Police Service’s stock theft unit, who
investigated the incident, says the biggest danger in smuggling antelopes into the
country is the possibility that they might spread foot and mouth disease. The two
countries signed an agreement in August providing for strict checks on cross-border
movement of livestock.
Ras was whisked into court late last month and fined R41 000, or four years and
three months in jail, for importing the sable without the necessary permits, customs
clearance and veterinary certificates.
Lubbe says his unit receives reports of sable being smuggled into the country almost
on a daily basis. The Mail & Guardian has received independent reports of lions being
smuggled in for breeding and *canned* hunting operations.
Most reports are virtually impossible to verify because the
sympathies of sources lie with the smugglers, whom they
regard as saving the animals from certain death.
In just one wildlife conservancy area in south-eastern Zimbabwe,
it is estimated that about 30 000 animals have been killed in
snares and by poachers over the past 18 months. The Bubiana Conservancy was set
up in 1993 primarily as a sanctuary for black rhino, which are on the critically
The government, which owns all Zimbabwe’s rhino, evacuated 38 black rhinos from
areas where poaching was rife and put them in the care of the conservancy. In eight
years, their numbers swelled to more than 100. Bubiana had the highest
concentration of rhinos in Zimbabwe, second in Africa to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi
Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.
But since land invasions began at the conservancy, 12 of the rhinos have been found
in snares and a calf was burnt to death in one of several poachers’ fires that have
killed countless smaller animals.
At the Bangala Ranch, once a prosperous fishing and hunting concern, the
settlement of about 600 families has resulted in the annihilation of all the wildlife,
including herds of sable.
*Sable are very easy to poach because they return to their home range a number of
times before pressure forces them to leave,* says Bangala managing director
Sable are popular in South Africa because they are rare. *We only have a few
thousand, whereas particularly in the western parts of Zimbabwe there used to be so
many sable that they were almost as common as impala are here,* says Paul
Bartels, director of the Wildlife Biological Resource Centre.
In the mid-1990s the Zimbabwean game industry woke up to the fortunes that could
be made out of sable trading ― at the time a sable sold for R10 000 in Zimbabwe
fetched about R80 000 in South Africa. A moratorium was placed on selling or
moving sable, with the intention of finding out how many there are in Zimbabwe and
placing controls on the market.
But the political chaos has ensured that, though the moratorium still applies in
theory, there will be no game counts or controls in place in the near future ― and
only the smugglers will profit.
Union boss calls for Mugabe to
GLENDA DANIELS, Johannesburg | Friday
ZIMBABWE can be saved from economic collapse only if its
President, Robert Mugabe, is removed from power at the next
election, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade
Unions (Cosatu) Zwelinzima Vavi said this week.
Speaking after a three-day meeting of the Southern Africa Trade
Union Co-ordination Council (Satucc) in Johannesburg, Vavi
asked: "How do we save Zimbabwe? Remove Mugabe in the next
He said Mugabe's sole aim was power, and that he was
"desperate and does not care how many corpses he leaves
The council, of which Vavi is president, unites union federations in
countries of the Southern African Development Community,
except the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mauritius.
His comments coincide with a visible toughening of the South
African government's stance on Zimbabwe, including three public
attacks by President Thabo Mbeki, and a propaganda assault on
Mbeki in Harare's state-owned Herald. Relations between the two
countries are more strained than at any time since 1994.
Vavi said he was not sure the South African government could do
anything about the near-collapse of the Zimbabwean economy
"seeing that we are facing similar problems -though not on the
same scale - of poverty and escalating unemployment. We do not
have our fundamentals right in this country."
He said, however, that Mbeki is now "making the right noises,
which is encouraging ... We need more of these noises, but
would have preferred stronger statements earlier. It might have
helped a bit."
Vavi said Afro-pessimism might be playing some role in the slide
of the rand. However, he did not believe the theory that the
currency was rapidly devaluing because of South Africa's initial
"quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe.
"You cannot blame every problem with the rand on Zimbabwe.
Our economy is unstable; there is chronic rising unemployment
and slow delivery. Which country is going to listen to South Africa
when the rand is R11,10 to the dollar?"
An investment strike by South African business and huge capital
flight was affecting the local economy, Vavi said.
Regional unions at the Satucc meeting decided to write a letter to
Mugabe asking him to curb the "anarchy" in Zimbabwe and stop
intimidating unions and opposition parties.
The federation decided that free and fair elections in Zimbabwe
are not possible if the current climate of lawlessness persists.
"We should be doing more than sending a memorandum, though,
as this will probably be ignored. We should be mobilising workers
to defend democracy actively," Vavi said.
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
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
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.
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.
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