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  • Christine Chumbler
    Blantyre Embarks On US $14m Power Line Project African Eye News Service (Nelspruit) April 10, 2002 Posted to the web April 10, 2002 Raphael Mweninguwe
    Message 1 of 26 , Apr 11, 2002
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      Blantyre Embarks On US $14m Power Line Project
      African Eye News Service (Nelspruit)
      April 10, 2002
      Posted to the web April 10, 2002
      Raphael Mweninguwe
      Malawians won't be left in the dark much longer once the country's electricity supply company completes a US$14 million project on its power lines.
      The country's political capital Lilongwe and commercial capital Blantyre have been particularly plagued by frequent power blackouts mainly because of silt build up at the Nkula and Tedzani hydro-electric power stations.
      "Tedzani power station has been out since November last year," said chief executive of the Electricity Corporation of Malawi, Douw van Wyk.
      He said a British based company had been contracted to rehabilitate transmission power lines at a cost of US$6 million and US$8 million in Lilongwe and Blantyre respectively.
      "Work has already begun in Lilongwe and is expected to be finished sometime this year," he said.
      About two years ago Malawi and Mozambique entered an agreement to share power. Nothing has come of the agreement as yet but Van Wyk said the two sides were still negotiating.
      He said that both countries were keen to implement the project because it would boost power supply in the region but that it was expensive.
      "It is expected to cost over US$40 million and is expected to be finalised in November 2004," he said.


      Officials Adjourn Talks in Zimbabwe

      By Angus Shaw
      Associated Press Writer
      Wednesday, April 10, 2002; 7:24 PM

      HARARE, Zimbabwe ** Ruling party and opposition officials adjourned talks Wednesday with an
      agreement to reconvene next month, despite gaping differences over how to resolve their dispute over
      last month's elections.

      In a brief statement, the two sides said they adopted a set of procedural rules and "an agenda for
      dialogue" for the talks scheduled to resume May 13.

      The rules said an objective of the talks was to achieve tolerance of divergent views, and the top agenda
      item was a discussion on the legitimacy of the March 9-11 polls, an apparent concession by the ruling
      party to keep the talks alive.

      The government has dismissed opposition calls for a rerun of the presidential balloting, which the
      government said President Robert Mugabe won.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change insisted at the opening of talks Monday that the
      nation's political stalemate could only be resolved by new elections.

      Several independent observer groups have said the elections were deeply flawed. The United States
      condemned the vote and the Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies suspended Zimbabwe for
      a year.

      The state Herald newspaper, a government publication, accused the opposition Wednesday of
      "blackmail" for refusing to accept the poll results and forcing a standoff that jeopardized trade and
      investment in Africa.

      "The MDC should be told in no uncertain terms that it should accept its defeat and settle for its role as an
      opposition party," it said.

      Official results showed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai losing with 1,258,401 votes to Mugabe's

      Tsvangirai condemned the tally as rigged and tainted by political violence and demanded an immediate
      end to state-orchestrated reprisals against his supporters.

      Officials from Nigeria and South Africa were mediating the talks.

      The opposition argued Monday the ruling party's participation in the talks was tacit admittance the rigged
      elections had plunged the country into a deep crisis.

      Mugabe, 78, has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and vowed to crush any protests against his
      election victory.

      Police and troops blocked protests in major cities organized Saturday by a reform alliance and arrested
      64 demonstrators.

      Since the beginning of the year, political violence has claimed 48 lives, 31 of them opposition supporters,
      according to local human rights groups. Hundreds more people suffered assaults, death threats, torture
      and evictions from their homes, mostly at the hands of ruling party militants, since the poll.
    • Christine Chumbler
      Journalist Killed in Troubling Circumstances Reporters sans frontières (Paris) PRESS RELEASE August 12, 2002 Posted to the web August 12, 2002 Paris Reporters
      Message 2 of 26 , Aug 13, 2002
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        Journalist Killed in Troubling

        Reporters sans frontières
        August 12, 2002
        Posted to the web August 12, 2002


        Reporters Without Borders today expressed its concern
        about the death of freelance journalist Don Kulapani on 8
        August during the hold-up of a bar in the capital, and called
        on the authorities to conduct a full investigation into this
        killing, which has coincided with attacks on journalists by
        the ruling party.

        "We ask you to fully clarify the circumstances of the
        journalist's death and to establish that it was not linked to
        the exercise of his profession", Reporters Without Borders
        secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Interior
        Minister Monjeza Maluza. "The fact that it coincides with
        recent attacks on journalists by the UDF's youth league is
        troubling, to say the least", Ménard said in the letter, which
        requested that Reporters Without Borders be kept
        informed about the investigation's progress.

        A freelancer who used to work for The Chronicle
        newspaper, Kulapani was in a bar in the capital, Lilongwe,
        on 8 August when four armed men entered and opened
        fire, hitting the journalist. They then stabbed him many
        times. The assailants took cases of beer, musical
        equipment and cash from the till before making off.
        Kulapani died as a result of these injuries.

        The journalist's death comes soon after the release of a
        statement by the ruling UDF denying news media claims
        that it had a unit tasked with silencing investigative
        journalists who "embarrass" the government. In early
        August, the National Media Institute of South Africa
        claimed to have discovered a UDF plot to attack
        journalists of the Daily Times, Weekly Chronicle, Pride
        and BBC for having accused the UDF of intending to
        change the constitution to allow President Bakili Muluzi to
        run for a third term in 2004.

        Young activists have been implicated in beatings of
        journalists who support the opposition party, especially
        journalists working for the Chronicle, Kulapani's former
        employer. The Daily Times had already alleged in
        November 2001 that the UDF had complied a list of
        journalists who "discredit the party" and that it intended to
        use its youth wing to attack them.


        Tension Rises on Zimbabwe Farms

        By Angus Shaw
        Associated Press Writer
        Tuesday, August 13, 2002; 8:56 AM

        HARARE, Zimbabwe ** White
        farmers facing eviction reported
        Tuesday a wave of threats and
        intimidation by government officials
        and ruling party militants trying to
        force them off their land.

        Farmers leaders said five farmers in
        southeastern Zimbabwe left their
        land early Tuesday after local
        officials, armed police and soldiers visited their
        farms and told them they were
        violating the eviction laws.

        No physical action was taken, but five farmers went
        to stay with neighbors
        not affected by eviction orders, the Commercial
        Farmers Union, representing
        4,000 white farmers, said.

        In other incidents in the north of the country,
        militants threatened violence if
        farmers did not abandon their properties, said
        Justice for Agriculture, a group
        calling for the evictions to be challenged in

        A black settler on one of the farms in the Banket
        tobacco and corn district
        fired a pistol in the air in an effort to drive the
        owner and his black workers
        away Monday, said Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman for
        the group.

        In other incidents near Harare, a black manager
        employed by a white farmer
        was assaulted by militants Monday and three other
        farmers were under
        pressure from black settlers to leave, she said.

        A deadline for nearly 3,000 white farmers to leave
        their land expired last
        week as part of the government's often violent land
        reform program. But the
        government has taken no direct action to enforce the
        eviction order.

        The government says its program was a final effort
        to correct colonial era
        imbalances in land ownership. Critics say it is part
        of the increasingly
        authoritarian government's effort to maintain power
        amid more than two years
        of economic chaos and political violence mainly
        blamed on the ruling party.

        The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
        Association, which has led
        the often violent occupation of white-owned farms
        over the past two years,
        said its members would not take the law into their
        own hands to remove
        defiant farmers.

        "It is now the responsibility of the government of
        Zimbabwe to make sure the
        laws of Zimbabwe are obeyed in all respects,"
        chairman Patrick Nyaruwata

        President Robert Mugabe said Monday he would not
        tolerate opposition to
        his plans to redistribute white-owned farms to
        blacks. He said he would not
        allow whites to retain massive farms, though he said
        he was willing to let
        "loyal" farmers keep some land.

        Mugabe did not refer to evictions in a second speech
        marking a Defense
        Forces Day holiday Tuesday.

        He said the land redistribution program was "being
        finalized." Military
        personnel had been given farms and more would
        continue to get land.
      • Christine Chumbler
        Malawi floods kill four, over 15 000 homeless Blantyre 06 January 2003 11:50 Floods in Malawi have left four people dead and more than 15 000 people homeless
        Message 3 of 26 , Jan 7, 2003
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          Malawi floods kill four, over 15 000

          January 2003 11:50

          Floods in Malawi have left four people dead and
          more than 15 000 people
          homeless while causing extensive damage to
          desperately-needed maize
          crops, relief officials said on Sunday.

          "The situation is very bad. Extensive flooding has
          taken place," said Lucius
          Chikni, commissioner of disaster and relief.

          "Thousands of people are homeless and there has
          been extensive crop
          damage," he added.

          Two people died when heavy rains hit the south of
          the country on Thursday,
          caused four big rivers to burst their banks. Two
          others died last week when
          flooding occurred in the north of the country,
          leaving 290 families homeless.

          The main highway connecting the commercial centre
          Blantyre to Lilongwe
          the administrative capital, was reported to have
          been heavily damaged in
          some sections.
          High tension power lines were brought down by the
          storm, disrupting power
          supply in Blantyre on Sunday for several hours.

          Chikuni said he and Poverty and Disaster Management
          Minister Lee Mlanga
          on Sunday flew by helicopter to the affected
          lakeshore districts of Ntcheu
          and Dedza, to conduct an assessment of the

          He said most of the flooding had been caused by
          tropical cyclone Delfina
          which hit the country last week, and was aggravated
          by environmental

          The floods are likely to increase hardship in a
          country where some three
          million people are threatened by famine.

          Floods last year were partly responsible for
          causing the current food
          shortages in the southern African country. Malawi
          needs 600 000 tons of
          maize, its national staple, to stave off famine. -


          Finance Minister Probed Over Sale of Maize

          UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
          January 6, 2003
          Posted to the web January 6, 2003


          Malawi's finance minister is expected to come under investigation for
          involvement in the controversial sale of the country's strategic maize
          reserves just months before widespread crop failure, officials told
          IRIN on

          With 3.3 million Malawians facing hunger, President Bakili Muluzi last
          appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the alleged
          mismanagement of the state-run Agriculture Development and Marketing
          Corporation (ADMARC).

          The commission is expected to investigate whether Finance Minister
          Friday Jumbe, who was then head of ADMARC, had "unduly" benefited
          from the sale of the maize.

          "Minister Jumbe is just one of the officials who will be investigated.
          There is
          to date no evidence of guilt or innocence. The commission is merely a
          fact-finding commission. It is our mandate to find out if Jumbe
          benefited personally from his involvement in the management or sale of
          the said maize," commission chairman Khuze Kapeta told IRIN.

          Almost 160,000 mt of grain was sold from the strategic grain reserves
          August 2000, of which 60,000 mt was exported to Kenya.

          This was after unprecedented floods earlier in the year had ravaged
          production. The floods, followed by drought, left Malawi with a
          shortfall of
          about 480,000 mt and made it one of the hardest hit of the six
          African countries - along with Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland
          and Lesotho - that are struggling to cope with their worst food
          in recent years.

          The government has blamed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for
          forcing it to sell at least part of the reserve in 2000 to reduce debt,
          accusation denied by the IMF.

          The IMF's countered that Malawi sold the maize after advice from a
          consultant, hired by the government in a European Union-funded

          In August last year, former Poverty Alleviation Minister Leonard
          was sacked by Muluzi for alleged corruption in the sale of the

          Magulama was named in an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report into the
          matter which accused him of acquiring 300 mt of maize without paying

          It also named several parliamentarians, from both the opposition and
          ruling party, who bought maize from the strategic grain reserves for
          in different markets.

          ACB Deputy Director, Alex Nampota, told IRIN: "We conducted our
          investigations in the most transparent way and our final report
          reflected our
          findings. But the fact that a commission of inquiry has been set up to
          further investigate the sale of the maize suggests that there are

          "The commission will hopefully satisfy those who are still worried
          about the
          sale of the reserves. It goes toward showing ordinary Malawians who
          suffering that the government is doing something to be rid of
          Nampota said.


          Zimbabwe food riots

          Four police officers have been injured in a
          dormitory town near Harare, when youths
          attacked people queuing for food on Sunday,
          police have said.

          In the second city of Bulawayo, there is tight
          security around the courthouse, where 39
          people are appearing in connection with food
          riots on Friday, reports the French news
          agency, AFP.

          Up to six million
          people, half of the
          population, are
          suffering from food
          shortages according to
          aid agencies.

          Meanwhile, President
          Robert Mugabe has
          moved to tighten his
          control of the main
          cities, which are
          opposition strongholds,
          by announcing that he will appoint governors
          for both Harare and Bulawayo.

          Correspondents say that governors enjoy
          considerable power and they are likely to be
          used to sideline opposition mayors in both

          'Green Bombers'

          Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said that
          about 200 people were queuing up for
          mealie-meal, the scare staple food, when a
          group of youths attacked the police who were
          controlling the crowd.

          "In the process of controlling the crowd, some
          youths came and disrupted the queue resulting
          in four police officers being injured," Mr
          Bvudzijena told AFP.

          Opposition supporters
          have been prevented
          from receiving food aid
          and even from buying
          food in urban areas,
          says the Movement for
          Democratic Change
          (MDC) and donor

          But it is reported that
          activists from Mr
          Mugabe's Zanu-PF
          party were behind the
          disturbances in both
          the town of Chitungwiza, 23km south of
          Harare, and Bulawayo.

          The privately owned Daily News reports that
          "Green Bombers", graduates of a
          government-run youth training scheme, were
          involved in the Chitungwiza riots.

          The police said they had not identified the

          In Bulawayo, a group of "war veterans" was
          dispersed by riot police when they tried to
          protest outside the courthouse on Monday.

          State media have accused the "war veterans",
          who have been used to intimidate opposition
          supporters, of organising Friday's food riots.

          They were apparently unhappy at the unfair
          distribution of food.

          The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting
          Corporation reported that residents had
          accused grain board officials of corruptly
          supplying maize to unscrupulous millers, who
          then sold it on at exorbitant prices.


          Zimbabwe's eight largely rural provinces
          already have governors, who also sit in

          Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
          denied that the new governors would make the
          opposition mayors redundant and said they
          would coordinate development.

          Opposition parties point the finger of blame at
          Mr Mugabe and his government for the food
          shortages because of disruption caused by his
          controversial programme of land reform.

          The president says the cause of the crisis is a
          combination of a drought and a Western
          imperialistic plot aimed at keeping power in the
          hands of Zimbabwe's whites.
        • Christine Chumbler
          Vampire fever sweeps Malawi Raphael Tenthani | Blantyre 10 January 2003 09:12 A senior ruling party official was recovering in a hospital on Thursday after
          Message 4 of 26 , Jan 10, 2003
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            Vampire fever sweeps Malawi
            Raphael Tenthani | Blantyre

            January 2003 09:12

            A senior ruling party official was recovering in a
            hospital on Thursday after
            being stoned by an angry mob who believed rumours
            he was harbouring

            Malawi's government has been campaigning to quell
            vampire rumours that
            have spread throughout the impoverished southern
            African country, saying
            opposition elements were using the rumours to
            discredit the ruling party.

            Eric Chiwaya, a senior official with the United
            Democratic Front party was
            badly beaten in the attack on Wednesday night.

            Hundreds of people from a township south of
            Blantyre stoned his house and
            when he tried to escape by car, they stoned him
            inside the vehicle, he said.

            Police had to fire shots to disperse the crowd.
            Rumours had spread through
            the township that Chiwaya was harbouring vampires
            and had approached
            community leaders asking them to let them into the

            Police said three people had been arrested for
            inciting violence in the
            incident. Horrifying stories of vampires attacking
            villagers in the dead of night
            and sucking their blood began circulating last
            month in Malawi.

            Frightened villagers have beaten to death a man
            suspected of being a
            vampire, attacked and nearly lynched three visiting
            priests and destroyed an
            aid group's encampment they feared was the
            vampires' headquarters.

            President Bakili Muluzi called the rumours
            unfounded and malicious, and
            accused unnamed opposition groups of trying to
            undermine him by saying
            his government gave aid agencies human blood in
            exchange for food aid. -


            White Farmer: Judge Seized Zimbabwe Farm

            By Angus Shaw
            Associated Press Writer
            Friday, January 10, 2003; 9:10 AM

            HARARE, Zimbabwe – A High Court judge ignored an
            order by his own court barring him from moving onto
            a farm
            confiscated from a white family, the owner of the
            land said Friday.

            According to the white farmer, Vernon Nicolle, Judge
            Hlatshwayo told him he was allocated the land by
            government under its land reform program
            commercial farming by blacks.

            The controversial land reform program, which the
            government says is a tool to correct colonial era
            injustices by
            giving farms to poor, landless blacks, has come
            under fire for
            giving many of the prime farms instead to
            confidantes of
            longtime President Robert Mugabe.

            Nicolle obtained a High Court order in September
            freezing a government eviction notice on his property
            in Banket, 60 miles northwest of Harare on grounds
            there were errors in the notice.

            That order suspended Nicolle's eviction until the
            government revised the notice. It has not been

            Accompanied by a police escort, Hlatshwayo moved
            onto the 900-acre farm last month. He also
            moved equipment and workers there, according to
            correspondence to the judge by Nicolle's lawyers.

            Nicolle, one of the biggest grain producers in the
            district, is living in his farmhouse on an adjacent 192

            "This has seriously affected my operations. The
            eviction was declared invalid and as a judge he should
            know how the legal system in Zimbabwe works,"
            Nicolle said Friday.

            "I'm going to take him to the High Court. We won't
            stop until we reach the end," he said.

            Hlatshwayo was not immediately available for
            comment. Nicolle said when he confronted Hlatshwayo,
            the judge said he had been allocated the land by the

            The government has confiscated more than 90 percent
            of land owned by about 4,000 white farmers
            under a plans to redistribute it to blacks to farm.

            At least 6.7 million people, more than half the
            population, face starvation blamed on erratic rainfall and
            agricultural disruptions caused by the chaotic land

            Zimbabwe has been wracked by political and economic
            turmoil for nearly three years that began with
            violent farm seizures by ruling party militants.

            The country is suffering its worst ever economic
            crisis. Hard currency shortages have caused gas
            stations to run dry. Corn meal, the staple food,
            bread, milk, sugar and other commodities are scarce
            and long lines have become commonplace.

            Justice for Agriculture reported violent incidents
            and intimidation have continued against white farmers
            still on their land or visiting abandoned properties
            to collect belongings and equipment.

            It said a woman and her two children were assaulted
            in northwestern Zimbabwe on Thursday at their

            Her husband, Alan Parsons, reported to police the
            identity of the assailant as Themba Mliswa, a ruling
            party activist and prominent soccer coach who
            apparently took over the family's farmhouse after they
            left last year, fearing for their safety.

            The farm, in the troubled Karoi district 120 miles
            northwest of Harare, had not been targeted for

            "When I arrived at the farm, I was approached by
            Mliswa, who had changed the locks to the house. ...
            He asked what I was doing on the farm," Parsons


            China donates 4 500 tons of maize to

            January 2003 10:58

            China has donated 4 500 tons of maize to famine-hit
            Zimbabwe, the
            state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on

            The donation of the southern African country's
            staple food, which was
            handed over on Thursday, comes at a time the
            country face a shortfall of
            well over 300 000 tons of maize between now and
            March, when the next
            harvest is due.

            Around eight-million out of Zimbabwe's 11,6-million
            people are threatened
            with famine.

            It is the hardest-hit out of six southern African
            countries affected by food
            shortages caused by drought and unsound government
            policies. - Sapa-AFP
          • Christine Chumbler
            Reporter arrested for interview with a vampire 21 January 2003 09:33 Police in Malawi arrested a radio journalist yesterday for broadcasting an interview with
            Message 5 of 26 , Jan 21, 2003
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              Reporter arrested for interview with a

              January 2003 09:33

              Police in Malawi arrested a radio journalist
              yesterday for broadcasting an
              interview with a man who claimed to have been
              attacked by a vampire.

              Southern Malawi has been rife with rumours of
              blood-sucking vampires,
              fuelled by the popular belief that the government
              is colluding with vampires
              to collect blood for international aid agencies.

              A judge later dismissed charges against Maganizo
              Mazeze of broadcasting
              false information likely to cause public alarm,
              after an interview on a local
              radio station with a tea-planter from the southern
              province of Thyolo.

              "I am not bitter with anyone," Mazeze said after
              his court appearance. "In
              fact, my sojourn in jail has reinforced my resolve
              to unearth issues
              authorities would otherwise prefer buried."

              The police said there was no evidence to support
              the interviewee's claims.

              A man was recently stoned to death by villagers in
              Thyolo after being
              suspected of working with vampires. - Guardian


              Mugabe party office

              Attackers have thrown petrol bombs at a ruling
              party office in a suburb of the Zimbabwean
              capital, Harare.

              One person died and seven people were hurt,
              several seriously, say police.

              Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said
              about 50 young men drove into Harare's
              western Kuwadzana township on Monday
              night, smashing property and assaulting
              pedestrians before throwing petrol bombs at
              the offices.

              "It's a political attack.
              We suspect that it is
              related to the
              by-election to be held
              in the suburb," Mr
              Bvudzijena said.

              A parliamentary
              by-election is
              expected to take
              place soon, following
              the death in police
              custody last year of
              an opposition
              Movement for
              Democratic Change (MDC) MP, Learnmore


              Police are blaming the attack on opposition
              supporters and have made 16 arrests.

              Mr Bvudzijena said the
              attack appeared aimed
              at "provoking political
              violence on a wider

              MDC officials say it is
              the work of militant
              supporters of
              President Robert

              They say Zanu-PF is
              waging a violent
              campaign to win the
              seat in the Kuwadzana constituency by trying
              to intimidate voters. The MDC won almost all
              urban seats in parliamentary elections in June

              Widespread political intimidation and
              persecution of opposition supporters has been
              reported in recent months.


              Last week, MDC MP Job Sikhala and human
              rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba said they were
              tortured by police while being held in police

              Both appeared in court over the weekend and
              were then released on bail.

              At a news conference in Harare, Mr Sikhala
              said he was severely tortured all over his body
              "for a solid eight hours" including having
              electrodes attached to his genitals.

              "They also used planks to beat under my feet
              and over the entirity of my body... I am still in

              He said he was then forced to drink poison
              which they said was urine.

              Zimbabwe is in the grip of a major food crisis
              affecting more than half of the country's

              President Mugabe's government is accused of
              withholding food aid from opposition


              Zimbabwe distances itself from Moyo's
              Richard Thompson

              January 2003 12:40

              The South African government has "noted and
              accepted" the Zimbabwean
              government's explanation of remarks by its
              information minister -- who
              described South Africans as "filthy, recklessly
              uncouth and barbaric".

              Foreign Affairs representative Ronnie Mamoepa said
              on Sunday the South
              African government had requested an explanation
              from Zimbabwean
              authorities regarding Jonathan Moyo's remarks.

              Moyo's outburst followed a story in the Sunday
              Times of January 12 about
              his shopping trip to South Africa, when he spent
              large sums on luxury items
              while millions of his compatriots face starvation.

              In his response to that story, Moyo criticised the
              South African media and
              South Africans in general, and clearly implied that
              President Thabo Mbeki
              was not fit to lead the African Renaissance.

              "If these people believe they can lead an African
              renaissance, then God help
              them," Moyo said.

              Pretoria's request -- on Tuesday -- for an
              explanation from Harare can be
              seen as a demarche, in diplomatic terms an extreme
              form of criticism.

              Harare's reply to that demarche criticises the
              Sunday Times for its
              "invasion" of Moyo's privacy and "disregard" for
              his status as a cabinet

              However, it goes on to distance itself from
              "inferences" that "cast
              aspersions on President Thabo Mbeki's impeccable
              credentials as a Pan

              "Nothing could be further from the truth," the
              Zimbabwean government says
              in the statement.

              "The Zimbabwe government respects and supports the
              role and efforts of His
              Excellency President Thabo Mbeki to bring about the
              dawn of a new

              Mamoepa said the South African government accepted
              the reassurance "in
              as far as it pertains to the government and people
              of South Africa."

              Zimbabwe was suspended from the councils of the
              Commonwealth -- a
              lesser penalty than outright suspension -- after
              President Robert Mugabe
              was returned to office in 2002 in elections marred
              by violence and widely
              regarded as rigged.

              Mbeki is a member of the "troika" delegated by the
              Commonwealth heads of
              Government Meeting to consider whether that
              suspension should be
              continued is to meet again in March.

              Mbeki's representative Bheki Khumalo said on
              Sunday Moyo's remarks
              "would have no bearing on that meeting."

              He emphasised that Mbeki would approach the
              question with an open mind.

              Meanwhile, Moyo blamed the opposition and
              disgruntled civil servants on
              Sunday for spreading reports of a retirement plan
              for Mugabe, accusing
              them of treason and agitating for a coup.

              "If there is anyone who has hatched a plot to
              force the president to step
              down they should face the full wrath of the law,"
              Moyo told the state Sunday
              Mail newspaper.

              Moyo said the debate on Mugabe's future was,
              "tantamount to plotting a
              coup in the glare of the media."

              He blamed the economic crisis gripping the southern
              African country
              marked by massive shortages of food, fuel and hard
              currency, on
              government bureaucrats fumbling what he termed
              "technical" economic
              factors, and not ruling party policies.

              "There is a lot of inefficiency, let alone
              corruption," he said.

              "Our greatest challenge at the moment is that we
              have a civil service that is
              not performing."

              Moyo suggested some members of the civil service
              may be serving "hostile
              political interests."

              The economic disruptions in the country --
              partially blamed on the
              government's often violent seizure of thousands of
              white-owned commercial
              farms -- and erratic rains have caused the
              unprecedented shortages and
              spurred record inflation and unemployment.

              An estimated 6,7-million people face starvation in
              coming months. Analysts
              say the unravelling of the economy is likely to
              intensify demands for
              Mugabe's departure.

              In his comments, Moyo made no mention of two of the
              most powerful figures
              in the ruling party, Parliament speaker Emmerson
              Mnangagwa and military
              commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe, who have been
              cited in reports as
              favouring Mugabe's retirement.

              Moyo also denied any rifts in the ruling party.

              "You will not find in the party any significant
              elements that want to act
              unconstitutionally and undemocratically in favour
              of coup plotters and
              electoral cowards," said Moyo.

              The South African government, meanwhile, faced
              criticism on its Zimbabwe
              policy from another quarter on Sunday. Zimbabwe's
              main opposition the
              Movement for Democratic Change accused Mbeki of
              "hypocrisy" and
              "dishonesty" in his approach to the situation in

              "The South African government frankly, is
              dishonest," MDC
              secretary-general Welshman Ncube was reported as
              saying, in the Sunday

              "It is not surprising, really, because it is the
              same SA government which is
              saying to the rest of the world: 'Don't do anything
              about Zimbabwe. Let
              (Mugabe) go on with his torture and abuse. Let
              bygones be bygones'," he
              said. - Sapa
            • Christine Chumbler
              Authorities Take Stock Of Damage Caused By Floods African Church Information Service January 27, 2003 Posted to the web January 29, 2003 Reported By Hamilton
              Message 6 of 26 , Jan 30, 2003
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                Authorities Take Stock Of Damage Caused By

                African Church Information Service
                January 27, 2003
                Posted to the web January 29, 2003

                Reported By Hamilton Vokhiwa

                Authorities in Malawi are taking stock of damage caused by floods,
                following heavy rains that pounded the country recently.

                The extraordinarily heavy rains occasioned by a cyclone named Defina,
                caused widespread damage to infrastructure and agricultural land. A
                number of roads, bridges and railway lines were damaged. Large areas
                crop fields were washed away, killing at least 10 people and
                tens of thousands of people, now in need of relief aid.

                A wash-away of a bridge along Zalewa highway caused a major disruption
                of traffic between Blantyre and Lilongwe, but has since been partly
                repaired to allow traffic to pass.

                Road traffic authorities said three people went missing when the
                across Rivi-rivi river was swept away, following two days of incessant

                More bridges were washed away throughout the country, rendering a
                number of areas inaccessible to motor vehicles.

                This caused President Bakili Muluzi to declare a state of emergency.
                was the second time the president was making such a declaration in a
                span of less than one year.

                In February last year, President Muluzi declared a state of emergency
                following widespread food shortages that led to deaths of hundreds of
                people, especially children.

                The Commission for Disaster Preparedness, Relief and Rehabilitation,
                said in total, up to 15, 000 people have been displaced by the current

                Lucius Chikuni is the head of the Commission. He said work had started
                bring food and tents to the displaced people, who had sought refuge in
                schools and churches in affected regions.

                The most affected areas include Karonga and Rumphi in the northern
                region, Lilongwe, Salima and Ntcheu in central part of the country,
                Machinga and Balaka in the south.

                In Ntcheu district, the Malawi Television featured a cemetery where
                raging flood waters washed away coffins, leaving the graves open. Some
                bodies were recovered several kilometers away.

                Western aid agencies have promised to step up relief assistance,
                following the declaration of a state of emergency by President Muluzi.

                A representative of a western diplomatic mission based in Lilongwe,
                that the declaration would pave way for a suitable response by western

                World Food Programme (WFP) information officer, Abbelgadir Musallam,
                said his organisation was at pains to try to reach some areas in the
                districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje in lower Shire Valley. He said they
                forced to divert relief food items to other accessible sites more than
                kilometers away from the strategic distribution centres.

                "We have no money to airlift the relief items. Our movements have been
                delayed and we don't know what is happening to those people."

                When making the declaration, President Muluzi said the costs of
                could be expected to run into millions of Kwachas.

                District officials and representatives of non-governmental
                have issued urgent appeals for food, medicines, blankets, tents and
                sheets for the displaced people.

                Over the past few weeks, teams of field workers from non-governmental
                organisations, the department of disaster preparedness and relief
                rehabilitation, as well as the international organisation of doctors
                borders have been forcing their way across washed out roads to reach
                displaced people.

                District Commissioner for Salima, Gift Rapozo, said about 2,300 people
                18 villages were isolated and that government officials including those
                his office were failing to reach the displaced people.

                "We have come up with the number after estimating the village
                but we don't really know how many more people are isolated. It might
                possible that others left the areas when they sensed the dangerous
                situation," he said.

                Shadrick Matsimbe, who is the chairman of the Road Users Association,
                said his organisation had difficulties to reach an isolated area
                because a
                bridge had been swept away.

                "People are starving in the villages as we are failing to supply them
                relief items because of the poor condition of the roads and bridges
                to those areas," he pointed out.

                Religious organisations were mobilising relief aid to the affected
                One of them, the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), donated
                flour and cow peas to 1000 households displaced by floods in Salima.

                Ironically, the floods have come after governments in the southern
                region were advised to plan for another season of little rainfall, and
                possibly, a terrible drought.


                Harare police break up
                mayor's meeting

                Zimbabwean police have fired tear gas at
                hundreds of residents of the capital, Harare, as
                they entered the office of the mayor.

                Mayor Elias Mudzuri, who is from the opposition
                Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), says
                he was trying to inform his constituents about
                water shortages.

                He told the BBC's Focus
                on Africa programme
                that this was the only
                way he could
                communicate with
                rate-payers because state-owned media
                refuse to interview him or even carry his

                Mr Mudzuri was arrested two weeks ago for
                holding an illegal meeting.

                Earlier this month, the government announced
                that it would introduce governors to run Harare
                and the second city of Bulawayo, which both
                have MDC mayors.

                'Police state'

                Under tough new security laws, the police
                have wide powers to break up meetings of
                more than five people.

                But Mr Mudzuri said the meeting was going to
                be held in his office and so he did not need
                police authorisation.

                "I hold meetings every five minutes with more
                than five people," he said.

                "It's becoming a police

                He also said that the
                police were invited to
                the meeting and had
                originally given their
              • Christine Chumbler
                Ghost Employees Deplete Govt Coffers African Church Information Service February 24, 2003 Posted to the web February 25, 2003 Hobbs Gama Blantyre Things have
                Message 7 of 26 , Feb 26, 2003
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                  'Ghost Employees Deplete Govt Coffers'

                  African Church Information Service
                  February 24, 2003
                  Posted to the web February 25, 2003

                  Hobbs Gama

                  Things have turned sour in several government departments in Malawi,
                  where civil servants have not been paid salaries on time. A situation
                  of ghost
                  workers created by senior government officials, is depleting the

                  Teachers in primary and secondary schools, being the most affected,
                  abandoned classes in a number of schools in several districts around
                  country, including Blantyre.

                  The issue of ghost workers came out strongly following an audit
                  instituted by
                  International Monetary Fund (IMF) late last year. It was discovered
                  that the
                  government's inflated wage bill was a result of huge numbers of
                  workers created by officials in six ministries.

                  Names of deceased staff, retired workers, and of fake individuals were
                  noticed on payrolls. The education ministry was the most affected.

                  The Teachers Association of Malawi (TUM) has since taken the treasury
                  task, accusing it of being insensitive to the plight of teachers, who
                  the largest part of public workers. Out of a total 120,000 workforce in
                  public sector, 60,000 are teachers.

                  TUM General Secretary, Lucien Chikadza, said morale was low in all
                  education divisions around the country. He blamed the ministry of
                  headquarters for the mess.

                  Towards the end of last year, workers in education, agriculture and
                  ministries went for Christmas and New Year holidays without pay.

                  In the past two years, salaries have been paid irregularly.

                  Finance Minister, Friday Jumbe, has since apologised to teachers and
                  promised speedy action, saying teachers were victims because the
                  wage bill was plagued with a lot of problems.

                  "The situation is regrettable because issues of salaries are not
                  The wage bill in the ministry has been fluctuating when it is supposed
                  remain constant," said Jumbe.

                  Last month, an IMF team made its seventh visit to Malawi since 2002,
                  accused the government of spending beyond budget passed by parliament.

                  The Fund suspended a US$56 million aid until issues of financial
                  mismanagement and poor governance were resolved, and presidential
                  limited, among other conditions.

                  Subsequently, Malawi's bilateral donors , the United States of
                  Britain and the European Union, have also closed their aid taps.

                  Angered by President Muluzi's reckless spending, the World Bank is
                  pressing the government to refund US$1.5 million in aid of various
                  uncompleted projects. The EU is also demanding that the administration
                  gives back about US$7 million, for similar reasons.


                  UN blames Mugabe for crisis

                  The United Nations food agency
                  has said that the Zimbabwe
                  Government is largely
                  responsible for the
                  humanitarian crisis there.

                  The Zimbabwe crisis was "almost
                  beyond comprehension" and could
                  easily have been avoided, said
                  James Morris, head of the World
                  Food Programme.

                  He pointed to President Robert Mugabe's land
                  redistribution programme,
                  which has left thousands of normally productive farms
                  lying idle.

                  Up to seven million people - half the population -
                  need food aid, donors

                  This year's harvest is expected to be even lower than
                  in 2002 - just
                  40% of normal.

                  The government has also been accused of diverting food
                  aid away from
                  opposition areas.


                  Mr Mugabe blames the food shortages on failed rains.

                  He also says that his land reform programme should
                  increase food
                  production, because white farmers generally grew cash
                  crops such as
                  tobacco and paprika, while small-scale black farmers
                  generally grow the
                  staple food, maize.

                  But Mr Morris disagreed.

                  "This scheme (land reform) along
                  with restrictions on private sector
                  food marketing and a monopoly on
                  food imports... are turning a drought
                  that might have been managed into
                  a humanitarian nightmare," he told
                  lawmakers in the United States.

                  Mr Morris said that he had held six
                  meetings with Mr Mugabe in the past
                  six months but had failed to
                  persuade him to alter his economic
                  policies or remove bureaucratic
                  obstacles to food production or aid

                  The head of the US Agency for
                  International Development, Andrew
                  Natsios, agreed.

                  Zimbabwe had become "a basket
                  case rapidly sliding into a disastrous
                  famine that is politically induced," he

                  A government audit reportedly
                  shows that many of the farms seized
                  from white farmers have been allocated to government
                  ministers and
                  officials, rather than landless blacks.

                  In neighbouring Malawi, which was worst hit by the
                  food shortages last
                  year, the government says that the situation is
                  improving this year.
                • Christine Chumbler
                  Just have to point out that on the BBC site today, quite a few hints of peace. Leaders in Sudan are predicting that war will be over by June; observers are
                  Message 8 of 26 , Apr 3, 2003
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                    Just have to point out that on the BBC site today, quite a few hints of
                    peace. Leaders in Sudan are predicting that war will be over by June;
                    observers are cautiously optimistic about the peace deal signed in the
                    DRC yesterday; and rebels have ended their boycot of the transitional
                    government in Cote d'Ivoire. Could it be that parts of Africa are
                    examples of peace for the rest of the world?


                    Malawi cabinet sacked
                    Raphael Tenthani
                    BBC, Blantyre

                    President Bakili Muluzi has sacked his entire cabinet
                    just two
                    days after naming an outsider as his successor.

                    A brief statement from the office of
                    the president did not give any
                    reason for the surprise decision but
                    only said all matters requiring
                    cabinet attention should be directed
                    to his office until a new cabinet is

                    The Secretary to the President and
                    Cabinet Alfred Upindi told me this
                    afternoon he too does not know why
                    Mr Muluzi has sacked his cabinet.

                    He said the president just called him
                    into his office at State House on Wednesday morning
                    where he was told
                    to issue the statement.

                    The decision to dissolve the cabinet comes only two
                    days after President
                    Muluzi announced that the cabinet and the ruling
                    United Democratic
                    Front politburo had anointed Bingu wa Mutharika to be
                    his successor for
                    the elections scheduled for 18 May 2004.

                    President Muluzi had tried but failed both in court
                    and in public opinion to
                    change the constitution to allow him a third term in

                    Resignation threats

                    Several ministers and UDF leaders have accused
                    President Muluzi of
                    imposing the 69-year-old economist on the party.

                    A senior UDF official told me that it
                    had not been done according to the

                    Several ministers, according to
                    cabinet sources, threatened to quit
                    soon after President Muluzi told both
                    the cabinet and the UDF National
                    Executive Committee that he wanted
                    Mr wa Mutharika to be his chosen

                    My cabinet source told me that ever
                    since President Muluzi's first attempt
                    to change the constitution to allow him to stay on in
                    power flopped, he
                    has been intimidating any senior minister he suspected
                    was eyeing the
                    top job.

                    The source told me he settled for Mr wa Mutharika, a
                    recent arrival to
                    the cabinet, as a way of punishing the presidential

                    He said the president's announcement that Mr wa
                    Mutharika was elected
                    by the joint cabinet and UDF National Executive
                    Committee was a


                    He said President Muluzi simply told everyone to
                    endorse his anointed

                    The speculation is that President Muluzi will now
                    purge his cabinet of all
                    ministers who are unhappy with the succession process.

                    But analysts say it is only a matter of time before
                    major splits start
                    rocking the ruling party following President Muluzi's
                    decision to impose a
                    presidential candidate on the party.


                    Zanu-PF is only five seats away from total

                    03 April
                    2003 12:42

                    Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF is within sight of a
                    two-thirds majority in
                    parliament that would enable it to make
                    constitutional amendments. This
                    makes three upcoming by-elections all the more
                    important for the opposition
                    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

                    Zanu-PF holds 95 of the 150 seats in parliament.
                    The 150 seats include 30
                    that are appointed directly or indirectly by
                    President Robert Mugabe -- eight
                    provincial governors, 12 non-constituency MPs and
                    ten chiefs appointed by
                    their peers and given final approval by Mugabe.

                    According to Zimbabwe's parliamentary records, the
                    MDC holds 54 seats.
                    The ZANU-Ndonga party of the late Ndabaningi
                    Sithole, veteran nationalist
                    and Mugabe critic, has one seat.

                    Five of the 150 seats are currently vacant. Two of
                    these -- the Mashonaland
                    West governor's seat and a replacement for deceased
                    chief Mukwananzi --
                    will almost certainly be filled by Zanu-PF members,
                    said Greg Linington,
                    lecturer in constitutional law at the University of

                    The others are the constituencies of Harare
                    Central, following the resignation
                    of MDC Member of Parliament (MP) Michael Auret due
                    to ill health, and
                    Makonde in the northwest of the country, vacant due
                    to the recent death of
                    Education Minister Swithun Mombeshora of Zanu-PF.
                    Also up for grabs is
                    Chiredzi South, in the northeast of the country,
                    after the suspension of
                    Zanu-PF MP Aaron Baloyi.

                    It was recently reported that MDC MP Tafadzwa
                    Musekiwa had fled to
                    London to escape alleged intimidation and had
                    resigned his Harare seat.
                    But a parliamentary official as well as MDC
                    representative Paul Themba
                    Nyathi said they had not yet received official
                    notification of this, so his
                    Zengeza constituency is not considered vacant.

                    According to the constitution, if the ruling party
                    holds "two thirds of the full
                    membership" of parliament, which is 100 of 150
                    seats, then it is entitled to
                    make constitutional amendments, Linington said.

                    Zanu-PF are therefore five seats short of the 100
                    seats required.

                    Analyst Chris Maroleng of the Institute of Security
                    Studies Africa said the
                    issue of constitutional amendments becomes relevant
                    in the context of
                    recent reports, denied by the government, of the
                    search for an exit strategy
                    for Mugabe.

                    "The constitution currently says that within 90
                    days of the president's death
                    or retirement, there has to be a presidential
                    election to appoint a
                    successor," Maroleng explained. "But a
                    constitutional amendment could
                    allow Mugabe to appoint a successor ahead of his
                    departure and bypass an

                    The upcoming by-elections therefore become all the
                    more critical, with the
                    attending risk of political violence and

                    "During the presidential election the [Zanu-PF]
                    strategy was to reduce the
                    number of voters, as a high voter turnout benefited
                    the MDC and low turnout
                    benefited Zanu-PF," Maroleng said.

                    Other influences include whether a constituency is
                    urban or rural -- where
                    traditionally it is more difficult for the
                    opposition to campaign. Most rural
                    seats are held by Zanu-PF, while the MDC tends to
                    be urban-based.

                    Maroleng said that of the three by-elections, the
                    Makonde seat was likely to
                    be a "borderline" MDC/Zanu-PF seat as it had been a
                    close contest in the
                    last election, with reported incidents of

                    The Electoral Supervisory Commission has yet to set
                    a date for the closely
                    watched contests. - Irin
                  • Christine Chumbler
                    Upheaval in Ruling Party Continues UN Integrated Regional Information Networks May 2, 2003 Posted to the web May 2, 2003 Johannesburg Splits in Malawi s United
                    Message 9 of 26 , May 5, 2003
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                      Upheaval in Ruling Party Continues

                      UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

                      May 2, 2003
                      Posted to the web May 2, 2003


                      Splits in Malawi's United Democratic Front (UDF) began to emerge this
                      week as another senior official announced his resignation from the
                      ruling party.

                      On Thursday, Jan Sonke, a UDF lawmaker for the commercial capital
                      Blantyre, cited the party's failure to "reduce poverty, strengthen
                      democracy and improve the economy" as reasons for his resignation.

                      He is the third high-ranking UDF official to leave the party following
                      a recent controversial decision by President Bakili Muluzi to dissolve
                      his entire cabinet and name Bingu wa Mutharika - a political newcomer -
                      as the UDF's candidate for the 2004 presidential elections.

                      Soon after the political shake-up, Harry Thomson, (former environment
                      minister) and Aleke Banda (former agriculture minister) quit the party.
                      Both men had expressed an interest in the presidency, and Banda also
                      objected to Muluzi's bid for a third term in office.

                      But observers say the split in the ruling party could be an opportunity
                      to entrench political pluralism in Malawi, where the UDF is seen to
                      dominate the political stage.

                      "Any kind of split in the UDF would be significant for the future of
                      democracy in Malawi. Senior UDF members who are dissatisfied with Muluzi
                      may decide to leave the party and form a new opposition. On the other
                      hand, some may leave and join existing opposition groups," Ralph
                      Kasambara, chairman of the NGO, the Civil Liberties Committee, told

                      "This will in the long term encourage healthy debate and produce a
                      vibrant opposition. Presently, the UDF has a stranglehold on politics in
                      Malawi and by watering down some of that power, we will eventually
                      escape the quagmire of a state dominated by just one party," he added.

                      Meanwhile, John Tembo on Tuesday was elected president of the main
                      opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP). The MCP convention was marred by
                      violence after it emerged that Tembo, the deputy leader of the party,
                      had won more votes than party leader Gwanda Chakuamba, and would
                      therefore be the party's candidate in the 2004 presidential elections.

                      Some 15 people were injured in the clashes.


                      African Presidents Tackle Zimbabwe Chaos

                      By ANGUS SHAW
                      The Associated Press
                      Monday, May 5, 2003; 6:32 AM

                      HARARE, Zimbabwe - Three African presidents arrived in Zimbabwe Monday
                      for talks aimed at ending the political chaos and violence that has
                      crippled the nation for three years.

                      South African President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun
                      Obasanjo and Malawi President Bakili Muluzi went to a Harare hotel where
                      they were scheduled to meet with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe,
                      whose increasingly autocratic rule has been blamed for causing the

                      They were also scheduled to hold a separate meeting with Morgan
                      Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

                      Zimbabwe officials said the main talks with Mugabe were to be held at
                      his State House offices, where reporters for some foreign media
                      organizations were refused entry.

                      The new mediation efforts come ahead of a trip to southern Africa by
                      Walter Kansteiner, the U.S. State Department's top Africa official.
                      Kansteiner will visit South Africa and Botswana, and will try to win
                      backing for calls for political reform in Zimbabwe.

                      Mugabe, 79, who led the nation to independence in 1980, narrowly
                      defeated Tsvangirai in presidential polls last year that independent
                      observers said were deeply flawed.

                      The opposition, along with Britain, the European Union and the United
                      States, have refused to accept the results, saying voting was rigged and
                      influenced by intimidation mainly against opposition supporters.

                      Zimbabwe's opposition MDC has criticized African leaders for
                      recognizing Mugabe's re-election amid state-sponsored political

                      The Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said in an editorial
                      Monday that Mugabe's foes hoped the talks would lead to Mugabe's
                      retirement and implied the government feared a possible attack from U.S.
                      and British forces, an implication both nations have repeatedly denied.

                      "There is trepidation ... about the timing of the visit in view of the
                      pronounced positions of the British and American governments over regime
                      change in Zimbabwe following their successful invasion and occupation of
                      Iraq," it said.

                      Talks between the MDC and Mugabe's party, mediated by Nigeria and South
                      Africa, ended in a stalemate last year.

                      Mugabe said last month he would only meet with Tsvangirai if the
                      opposition recognized his re-election and dropped a court case
                      challenging the result, conditions the MDC has previously rejected.

                      The opposition and the main labor federation have shut down most of the
                      economy with two national anti-government strikes since mid-March.

                      Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence.
                      Inflation has soared to a record 228 percent, unemployment is nearly 70
                      percent and Zimbabweans face shortages of hard currency, food, gasoline
                      and medicine.

                      More than 200 people have been killed in political violence since 2000
                      and thousands of others, mostly opposition supporters, have been
                      arrested and tortured, rights groups say.
                    • Christine Chumbler
                      Malawi bans Big Brother Africa Big Brother Africa has been taken off the air in Malawi after the country s parliament condemned it as immoral . It voted to
                      Message 10 of 26 , Aug 6, 2003
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                        Malawi bans Big Brother Africa

                        Big Brother Africa has been taken off the air in Malawi after the
                        country's parliament condemned it as "immoral".

                        It voted to ban the pan-African reality series from its public TV
                        station because of concerns about its sexual content.

                        Taylor Nothale, chairman of the parliamentary committee on the media,
                        said he had received a number of complaints, particularly from parents.

                        He said most Malawians felt the show might encourage young people to
                        engage in immoral behaviour.

                        "People are subjected to horrible pictures which are corrupting the
                        morals of our children," Mr Nothale said.

                        Opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba said: "We want the government to
                        stop that nonsense on TV."

                        Most of the southern African country's 10.6 million people are deeply
                        conservative Christians. It also has a Muslim minority.

                        Malawi has become the third African nation to condemn the series
                        following concerns raised by religious and political leaders in Zambia
                        and Namibia.

                        They have complained that some of the footage broadcast is too

                        State-run Television Malawi has been broadcasting highlights of the
                        South Africa-based show every evening.

                        It originally featured 12 contestants, each from a different African
                        country, locked together inside the Big Brother house.

                        As with the western-style format, they are voted off one by one.
                        Malawi's representative, Zein Dudah, was removed a month ago.

                        Apart from the condemnation over sexual content, the show has been
                        praised for bridging cultural gaps and exploding some of the myths
                        contestants share about fellow Africans.

                        Show producer Carl Fischer said: "If (the show) didn't generate any
                        controversy, the project would be a failure."

                        Rich Malawians will still be able to watch the show on satellite


                        Cheap malaria drug approved

                        A cheap drug to combat malaria is to be launched by GlaxoSmithKline.
                        The drug could help to save millions of lives each year in some of the
                        world's poorest countries.

                        According to GSK, a course of treatment with Lapdap will cost just 18
                        pence (29 US cents) for an adult and 9 pence for a child.

                        This is much cheaper than many existing drugs, some of which can cost
                        as much as £33 per course.

                        Major killer

                        Malaria affects around 300 million people around the world each year.

                        Nine out of 10 cases occur in Africa. The disease claims the lives of
                        at least one million people annually, according to the World Health
                        Organization (WHO).

                        Many of these lives could be saved if more affordable drugs were

                        This latest drug, which combines two existing anti-malaria compounds,
                        has been developed by GSK in collaboration with the WHO and scientists
                        in the UK.

                        The $5m development costs were shared between GSK, the WHO and the UK
                        Department for International Development.

                        Trials have shown that it is more effective than some existing
                        treatments and can also help people who are resistant to some older

                        It has now been approved for use by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare
                        products Regulatory Agency.

                        GSK said the drug would be made available in sub-Saharan Africa as soon
                        as possible.

                        In a statement, the company said: "GlaxoSmithKline plans to make Lapdap
                        available at preferential prices across sub-Saharan Africa as soon as
                        local approval has been granted."

                        Professor Peter Winstanley, director of the Wellcome Trust Tropical
                        Centre at the University of Liverpool which led the development work,
                        welcomed the drug's approval.

                        "Lapdap can help us meet the urgent need for an affordable anti-malaria
                        treatment for use in Africa," he said.
                      • Christine Chumbler
                        BBC has a photo gallery of a man living with AIDS in Malawi http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/04/africa_aids_in_malawi/html/1.stm *****
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jul 15 6:50 AM
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                          BBC has a photo gallery of a man living with AIDS in Malawi



                          Sunshine City goes dark

                          Ryan Truscott | Harare, Zimbabwe

                          15 July 2004 12:59

                          Living in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, is getting harder as weary
                          residents battle with frequent power cuts, water shortages and the
                          ever-rising prices of basic goods.

                          Harare once boasted the nickname "Sunshine City" but in the depths of a
                          Zimbabwean winter, it's looking less and less that way for all
                          residents, regardless of their income levels.

                          Last week the state-run power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
                          Authority (Zesa), announced it is introducing power cuts at peak periods
                          due to increased demand from the cold weather and Zimbabwe's inability
                          to find additional sources for power imports from outside the country.

                          Zimbabwe imports 30% of its power, much of it from neighbouring South
                          Africa, but has in the recent past reportedly had problems settling its

                          Coinciding with the power cuts, Zesa has started broadcasting
                          advertisements every half hour on state radio, proclaiming "Zesa: Power
                          to the people."

                          "While we sit in the dark with candles waiting for the power to come
                          back on and women stream out of the bush with firewood on their heads
                          because they can't afford electricity, the jingles go on and on and on,"
                          says Zimbabwe writer Cathy Buckle in her weekly commentary.

                          In several suburbs of the capital, streetlamps and house lights flicker
                          off at 6pm at night -- to be restored three hours later.

                          There are also cuts scheduled for three hours in the mornings.

                          "It's every night," moans one elderly resident of the relatively
                          well-heeled Avondale suburb, near Harare's main hospital.

                          "It was Thursday, Friday and then again at half-past six on Saturday,"
                          she complains. She adds that she keeps her bath "half full" to be ready
                          for water cuts -- usually advertised in the state-run Herald newspaper
                          and on public radio.

                          In June some suburbs had no water for almost three weeks. The
                          authorities blamed pump failures at the ageing Morton Jaffray water
                          plant, as well as a lack of crucial aluminium sulphate used to treat the

                          A so-called "water demand management system" was brought in. This meant
                          cutting off supplies to other suburbs for 24-hour periods.

                          Harare's opposition-led city council says it does not have the funds to
                          maintain infrastructure. But efforts to hike rates have been blocked by
                          Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who has also dismissed
                          Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) mayor Elias Mudzuri.

                          A member of President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, Chombo last month
                          declared previously approved increases "unjustified" and ordered a

                          The Harare city council has only held two meetings in the past six
                          months, says Jameson Gadzirai of the Combined Harare Residents'
                          Association, leaving residents concerned that civic governance is being
                          frustrated by party politics.

                          "What the residents are feeling now is that council decisions are not
                          being implemented because of a broader agenda being pushed by the [local
                          government] ministry," Gadzirai says.

                          There are other concerns. Public hospitals in the city are faring
                          badly. The privately owned Standard reported this month that corpses at
                          Harare's Central hospital are being rolled down the stairs from wards to
                          the mortuary because there is no money to repair the lifts.

                          Health delivery has been one of the biggest casualties of Zimbabwe's
                          four-year old economic downturn. Cases of kwashiorkor -- a sometimes
                          fatal illness usually associated with times of war and famine -- have

                          At least 621 were treated last year in the city's clinics, according to
                          a report by the council's director of health, Lovemore Mbengeranwa.

                          Price hikes too are a worry. Although inflation rates have fallen, from
                          more than 600% at the end of last year to just less than 400%, prices of
                          foodstuffs and many basic goods continue to rise.

                          Faced with an outcry, the country's energetic Reserve Bank Governor
                          Gideon Gono last week said that "the thinking that prices ought to come
                          down because inflation is coming down is fallacious", the state-run
                          Ziana agency reported.

                          Gono told the conference that prices should still be going up by about
                          6%. But his figures do not square with prices on shop shelves: bread has
                          more than doubled in two months from about Z$1 200 a loaf to Z$2 900.

                          Meanwhile fuel queues resurfaced last week. A wearying fact of life for
                          many Zimbabwean drivers over the past three years, the queues seemed to
                          have disappeared after the authorities removed price controls.

                          State radio said last week's queues were due to "logistical" problems
                          in fuel distribution. -- Sapa-AFP
                        • Christine Chumbler
                          Malawian leader to boot out MPs Malawi s newly-elected president has ordered parliament to move to a bombed-out sports complex so he can make it his official
                          Message 12 of 26 , Jul 22 6:06 AM
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                            Malawian leader to boot out MPs

                            Malawi's newly-elected president has ordered parliament to move to a
                            bombed-out sports complex so he can make it his official residence.
                            Bingu wa Mutharika said he wanted to move from his Blantyre residence
                            to the capital, Lilongwe, as part of attempts to streamline government

                            But the opposition said the decision ran against his promises to cut
                            government expenditure.

                            Parliament has 300 rooms and its own school and supermarket.

                            New State House was originally built as a presidential palace at a cost
                            of $100m by a former president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, but he only
                            stayed in the house for 90 days.

                            Parliament moved into the site in 1995.

                            "The president needs enough room," said Ken Zikhale Ng'oma the
                            president's chief of staff.


                            But Catherine Chisala, spokesperson for the Peoples Progressive
                            Movement, said they were unimpressed.

                            "It will be very expensive to renovate the Kamuzi Institute for Sports
                            into a habitable place and the New State House into a presidential
                            palace," she said.

                            The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Malawi says that President Mutharika's
                            predecessor, Bakili Muluzi, who was criticised for excessive
                            over-expenditure, refused to occupy New State House, calling it an
                            "obscene extravagance".

                            The site of the proposed parliament was bombed by the army when it was
                            occupied by paramilitaries loyal to President Banda when he lost power
                            in 1993.

                            The Malawi Young Pioneers, as they were called, were suspected of
                            storing their arms in the building.

                            The sports complex remains in disrepair.


                            Malawi: Media Involved in Aids Information Dissemination

                            UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

                            July 21, 2004
                            Posted to the web July 21, 2004


                            Malawi's National AIDS Commission (NAC) and local media houses are
                            currently discussing how journalists can help implement the country's
                            national HIV/AIDS policy.

                            Launched earlier this year by former President Bakili Muluzi, the
                            policy aims to engage key institutions, like the media, in planning,
                            coordinating and ensuring common standards in response to the AIDS

                            Rita Chilolgozi, resident advisor of the policy project, said the main
                            aim of the NAC was to disseminate the HIV/AIDS policy.

                            "We need to use the media as a tool to help the people of Malawi
                            understand the issues. Writing documents that no one sees just isn't
                            enough. The media must be used as a channel through which to pass on the
                            message," a local newspaper, The Chronicle, quoted Chilolgozi as
                          • Christine Chumbler
                            Development-Malawi: Rapid Urbanisation Looks Irreversible Inter Press Service (Johannesburg) July 27, 2004 Posted to the web July 27, 2004 Frank Phiri Blantyre
                            Message 13 of 26 , Jul 29 6:45 AM
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                              Development-Malawi: Rapid Urbanisation Looks Irreversible

                              Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

                              July 27, 2004
                              Posted to the web July 27, 2004

                              Frank Phiri

                              Every morning, residents of Malawi's sprawling commercial hub, Blantyre
                              wake up to deafening noises as hundreds of thousands of people pour into
                              the city to try to make a living.

                              During peak hours, roads from townships leading to the city's main
                              streets become clogged with traffic that range from minibuses, trucks,
                              bicycles and a sea of pedestrians.

                              Road accidents are common and vary from five to ten a day in the city,
                              according to the police.

                              Back in the 1980s, peak hours in Blantyre hardly resulted in traffic
                              jams unless, of course, if the convoy of the late dictator Hastings
                              Kamuzu Banda was passing-by and roads had to be cordoned off by order.

                              Now Blantyre's landscapes are changing. The latest United Nations
                              Centre for Human Settlement (UNCHS) study on urbanisation shows that the
                              city of Blantyre and other trading centres in the northern and central
                              regions of Malawi are becoming noisier, thanks to rapid urbanisation.

                              The study, which was released this month, says Malawi, a tiny,
                              landlocked and impoverished southern African nation of about 13 million
                              has emerged as the fastest urbanising country in the world with an urban
                              population growth of 6.3 percent, compared to 0.5 percent in rural

                              According to the study, three million people now live in urban areas
                              compared to 260,000 in 1966, something which represents a 25-percent

                              The study, which has tipped Malawi to score highly in urbanisation in
                              the next 15 years, concurs with an earlier study by the UK Department
                              for International Development (DFID) that 44 percent, or more than 5
                              million people would live in towns by 2015.

                              It says three-quarters of Malawi's population lives in the main urban
                              centres of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba.

                              The findings of the two studies prompted Malawian authorities and civil
                              society Tuesday to convene a meeting in the administrative capital,
                              Lilongwe to debate how to meet the challenges of urbanisation in the
                              next 15 years.

                              The stakeholders, meeting under the theme "Malawi is World Champion in
                              Urban Population Growth", admitted that urbanisation was the main
                              contributing factor to land and housing shortages, congestion, squatter
                              settlements, crime, HIV/AIDS infection and unemployment.

                              Malawi's economy depends on agriculture and shortages of land have in
                              recent years contributed to perennial food shortages, which refuse to
                              ease. In 2002, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation
                              (FAO) and other aid agencies estimated that more than three million
                              Malawians needed emergency food. This year, the agencies have projected
                              that more than one million people will starve if food aid is not

                              Economists fear that the need to import the staple maize this year
                              could cause depreciation of kwacha as the country's foreign exchange
                              cover is low. Donors are withholding aid, citing fiscal indiscipline by

                              Apart from food insecurity, HIV/AIDS infection has emerged as the most
                              appalling crisis to hit the urban areas. Malawi's HIV infection
                              prevalence hovers at 14.7 percent, according to the latest UN Joint
                              Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) report.

                              Of the one million people infected, the Malawi National AIDs Commission
                              (NAC) estimates that 25 percent, or 250,000, are in urban areas compared
                              to 13 percent in the rural areas.

                              The commission estimates that AIDS has created about 600,000 orphans.
                              As a result, orphanages are now overwhelmed.

                              "Most of the orphans end up on the streets as beggars and grow up into
                              thugs," says Bertha Bonongwe of Chisomo Care Group, an orphanage at
                              Ndala Village in the outskirts of Blantyre.

                              City officials say urbanisation is also leading to squatter
                              settlements, which cause congestion and sanitation breakdowns. According
                              to UNCHS, 71 percent of residents in Blantyre live in squalid and
                              unplanned settlements.

                              City officials blame utility companies for providing installations in
                              areas that are not fully developed.

                              "Installations such as water and electricity in underdeveloped places
                              attract people to go and settle in such areas," says Sophie Kalimba, the
                              chief executive of Blantyre City Assembly.

                              Masauko Ngwaluko, spokesperson for the Lilongwe Water Board, says
                              vandalism of plastic water pipes has been on a steady increase in recent
                              years. The pipes are used for making teapots and other domestic
                              appliances, which are on high demand in the city.

                              "We're losing about K650,000 (6,000 United States dollars) every month
                              to repair vandalised installations," he says, adding that such
                              disruptions were leading to failure by the board to provide
                              uninterrupted services to residents.

                              The country's sole power utility, the Electricity Supply Corporation of
                              Malawi (Escom), is also feeling the pinch of urbanization. Its
                              installations, such as transformers, are targeted by residents who
                              extract the oil for unknown use, it says.

                              Critics say Malawi has become poorer in the past 10 years of
                              re-introducing multiparty democracy. Before 1994, Malawi had been a
                              one-party state for more than 30 years under Banda. Over 65 percent of
                              the population now lives below the poverty line of one dollar a day,
                              according to the World Bank.

                              In April, a study by Khwima Nthara, an economist with Deloitte and
                              Touche firm revealed that Malawi's Gross National Income - that is
                              earned by individuals in a country - has fallen from 220 dollars in 1997
                              to 160 dollars now.

                              Economists and UN agencies believe poverty is the main driving force
                              behind the rural-urban migration in Malawi. "The influx of people from
                              rural areas is directly linked to increasingly harsh conditions many
                              families are facing in outlying areas of Malawi," says the UNCHS study.

                              To address the problems faced by the urban poor, the Secondary Centres
                              Development Project (SCDP) - a German funded project - is servicing
                              unplanned housing sites with access to clean water, drainages, roads and
                              processing land ownership certificates.

                              Charles Mkula, the projects' communication officer, says SCDP has
                              processed 8,900 title deeds for the poorest households in urban areas.

                              "Due to urbanisation, poverty is increasing in urban households with
                              homeless migrants living in slums not fit for human habitation," Mkula
                              told IPS.

                              Like it or hate it, rapid urbanisation looks irreversible in Malawi.

                              "Evidence shows urbanisation cannot be stopped whether by law, policy
                              or development projects targeting the poor. The best thing to do would
                              be to let public investment follow the people," argues Mtafu Zeleza
                              Manda of the Malawi Institute of Physical Planners (MIPP), which pools
                              the country's engineers, architects, and planners.


                              Malawi clerics caught canoodling

                              By Raphael Tenthani
                              BBC correspondent in Blantyre

                              A Catholic priest and nun have been arrested in Malawi for making love
                              in an airport car park.
                              The 43-year-old priest and 26-year-old nun were caught "in the act" in
                              a tinted saloon car parked at Lilongwe International Airport.

                              "It was a bizarre spectacle, the public alerted airport police after
                              noticing the car shaking in a funny way," police spokesman Kelvin Maigwa
                              told the BBC.

                              The pair is due before a magistrate in the capital, Lilongwe, on

                              Abandoning pastoral duties

                              When the police arrived, catching them in the act, the two were
                              promptly arrested and charged with indecent behaviour in a public place,
                              Mr Maigwa said.

                              They were detained overnight at a police station near the airport.

                              The charge is a misdemeanour and, if convicted, the pair may get away
                              with a small fine.

                              The two were first noticed by eye-witnesses as they parked the car and
                              wound up the tinted windows.

                              "We thought they could be rushing for a plane that was about to take
                              off but we were surprised that they never got out of the car," said a
                              taxi driver.

                              After being arrested, the nun was allowed to put on her habit, Mr
                              Maigwa said.

                              The priest was dressed in civilian clothes, he said.


                              Zambia cracks down on hackers

                              Dickson Jere | Lusaka, Zambia

                              29 July 2004 13:58

                              Zambia's government is to present a tough Bill on cyber crime to
                              Parliament on Friday that will see convicted hackers and other offenders
                              face harsh sentences ranging from 15 to 25 years in jail.

                              The Computer Misuse and Crimes Bill enjoys strong backing from bankers
                              and the Computer Society of Zambia, a group of professionals promoting
                              computer use, who say hacking into dormant accounts has become a problem
                              in this poor Southern African country.

                              "We feel this law will help to deal with the increasing number of
                              electronic frauds and hacking especially in the financial sector," said
                              Milner Makuni, president of the Computer Society of Zambia.

                              The most famous cyber offence in Zambia was committed by a young
                              computer wizard who hacked the State House website and replaced the
                              picture of then president Frederick Chiluba with a cartoon.

                              He was arrested and charged with defaming the head of state but the
                              case failed to succeed because there was no law in Zambia that deals
                              with cyber crimes.

                              "The Bill, once passed, will help to deal with high-tech cyber crimes
                              that our current legal system cannot address," said Bob Samakai, a
                              Ministry of Communication permanent secretary.

                              But some cyber experts worry that the measure is likely to be abused by
                              the authorities to curb access to the internet.

                              "It is difficult to regulate the use of computers and internet because
                              we are dealing with a world wide web," said Brenda Zulu, a renowned
                              cyber journalist who specialises in online reporting.

                              She said the country should first develop a policy on information
                              communication technology (ICT) before rushing to enact legislation on

                              Currently, the Zambian government is seeking public input in its draft
                              ICT policy, which is yet to be adopted.

                              "This law is very vague and not necessary for Zambia at the moment,"
                              said Lloyd Himambo, an editor of Zambia's online newspaper The

                              He said regulating the use of computers will be a difficult undertaking
                              and wondered how such a law will be enforced in Zambia, a country where
                              computers are a preserve of the rich.

                              About one in 1 000 Zambians owns a computer, according to unofficial

                              The Computer Society of Zambia agrees that enforcing such a law will be
                              difficult, but pledged to help train police officers to understand cyber

                              "I think what people should be fighting for is to upgrade their
                              security features on their websites to deal with hacking but not to
                              criminalise it," said Zulu, adding that hacking a site can be done
                              outside Zambia, making it difficult to track the offenders.

                              A senior Zambian lawyer who has studied the Bill said it is an "import
                              of the British Act" and lacks local input.

                              "I think this law is very advanced for the Zambian society and
                              government should not rush it through Parliament before reaching
                              consensus," he said, on condition of anonymity. -- Sapa-AFP
                            • Christine Chumbler
                              Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt UN Integrated Regional Information Networks September 20, 2004 Posted to the web September 20, 2004 Johannesburg Malawi s
                              Message 14 of 26 , Sep 21, 2004
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                                Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt

                                UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

                                September 20, 2004
                                Posted to the web September 20, 2004


                                Malawi's winter harvest should ordinarily ease the country's existing
                                food shortage, but there is concern that the new crop could be affected
                                by poor summer rains.

                                The cultivation of winter crops starts soon after the main summer crop
                                has been harvested, usually around July, and takes place in areas where
                                there is residual moisture after the end of the rainy season, or farmers
                                have access to irrigation facilities.

                                Due to a poor summer harvest it is estimated that up to 1.6 million
                                people will require food assistance up to March 2005, but aid agencies
                                have noted that a bumper winter harvest could narrow the existing food

                                "In the past few years, the government of Malawi has been encouraging
                                winter crop production through various means, and this has resulted in a
                                steady production increase," the Famine Early Warning Systems Network
                                (FEWS NET) said in its latest country report.

                                However, the 2003/04 rainfall "was significantly worse than that of
                                2002/03, especially in the winter maize producing areas", FEWS NET
                                noted. "This poor rainfall would have resulted in relatively less
                                residual moisture and water availability, necessary preconditions for
                                winter crop production. The general expectation is that winter crop
                                production should be lower than last season, especially in the southern
                                region, which was the most hit by the dry spells and shortness of the
                                rainfall season."

                                The National Statistics Office (NSO) has forecast a winter maize
                                harvest of around 225,000 mt, slightly higher than the previous year's
                                224,000 mt. However, FEWS NET said the NSO forecast was questionable,
                                given the poor rainfall this year.

                                "Although the coming winter harvest - around October to December -
                                would help improve the aggregate national food availability situation,
                                the improvements for smallholders in the southern region will be
                                short-lived, and a majority of the households will continue to rely on
                                the markets for food," FEWS NET commented.

                                But the rising cost of staples has limited household access to food.
                                "Prices have already started to rise, consistent with predictions of a
                                worse than normal [harvest] year ... continued prices increases will
                                adversely affect households' ability to purchase food," the report

                                It will take an estimated 56,000 mt to 83,000 mt of emergency food aid
                                to assist the rising number of households in need until the next
                                harvest, FEWS NET forecast.


                                Zimbabwe court drops paper case

                                A Zimbabwean court has dropped charges against four directors of the
                                banned Daily News newspaper.
                                The privately-owned paper was shut down a year ago by police under the
                                country's tough media laws.

                                The magistrate said there was insufficient evidence to show they had
                                published the paper illegally.

                                But the publication will stay off the news-stands pending a decision by
                                the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the media legislation.

                                Zimbabwean and international rights groups have condemned the law,
                                which compels all journalists and newspapers to be accredited by a
                                government-appointed media commission.

                                Magistrate Lillian Kudya said the state failed to prove the paper
                                intentionally violated the law, as the paper had won court cases
                                granting the paper a licence, AFP news agency reported.

                                "We are free. We knew justice was going to prevail," said Samuel Nkomo,
                                the paper's chief executive after the ruling.

                                Launched five years ago, the Daily News was the country's sole
                                privately-owned daily paper and was a persistent critic of President
                                Robert Mugabe's government.
                              • scottgeibel
                                Well that s not good news... let s hope that the colorful Autumn leaves and Spring flowers brighten the moods of Malawi s disappointed farmers. ... existing
                                Message 15 of 26 , Sep 22, 2004
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                                  Well that's not good news... let's hope that the colorful Autumn
                                  leaves and Spring flowers brighten the moods of Malawi's disappointed

                                  "Christine Chumbler" <cchumble@d...> wrote:

                                  > Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt
                                  > UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
                                  > September 20, 2004
                                  > Posted to the web September 20, 2004
                                  > Johannesburg
                                  > Malawi's winter harvest should ordinarily ease the country's
                                  > food shortage, but there is concern that the new crop could be
                                  > by poor summer rains.
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