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  • Christine Chumbler
    Pressure on for arrest of Chiluba Pressure is mounting for the government in Zambia to have former President Frederick Chiluba arrested and prosecuted for
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 3, 2002
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      Pressure on for arrest of
      Chiluba

      Pressure is mounting for the government in
      Zambia to have former President Frederick
      Chiluba arrested and prosecuted for corruption.

      The Oasis Forum, a body representing religious,
      legal and civil society organisations, says the
      special national assembly convened by the
      incumbent President, Levy Mwanawasa, should
      lift Mr Chiluba's immunity, which he enjoys as a
      former head of state.

      Meanwhile, police say
      they will soon be
      carrying out arrests in
      connection with an
      alleged plot which Mr
      Mwanawasa said he had
      uncovered to overthrow
      him.

      The announcement of the alleged coup comes
      as the ruling Movement for Multiparty
      Democracy (MMD) is facing serious internal
      divisions, with one faction supporting President
      Mwanawasa, and the other loyal to Frederick
      Chiluba.

      Mr Mwanawasa has angered supporters of Mr
      Chiluba by calling for an investigation into
      corruption charges against former leaders in Mr
      Chiluba's government.

      'Illegal funds'

      A spokesperson for the Oasis Forum, Reverend
      Japhet Ndlovu, told journalists Zambians
      wanted their money back from the previous
      regime.

      The BBC's Bivan
      Saluseki in Lusaka
      says that the Forum,
      which fought Mr
      Chiluba's bid for an
      unconstitutional third
      term of office, seems
      determined.

      The Forum also says
      the chief justice
      should also be
      investigated over
      allegations made in a
      private newspaper
      that he and Mr Chiluba's aide received money
      obtained illegally.

      The Post Newspaper has published bank
      statements showing the chief justice and
      others as recipients of monies which could not
      be accounted for.

      Last Sunday, a combined team of the
      Anti-Corruption Commission, the Drug
      Enforcement Commission and the police force
      arrested a man believed to be one of Mr
      Chiluba's associates.

      Recently, the former intelligence chief, Xavier
      Chungu, was arrested for abuse of office.

      He is out on bail, but will be appearing in court
      this month.

      The allegations against Mr Chiluba come as
      police say they will ensure the alleged coup
      plotters mentioned by President Mwanawasa
      last week will face justice.

      "We are not sitting back. We have intensified
      our investigations and we will soon catch up
      with those planning to overthrow the
      government," the chief of police, Francis
      Musonda, told the Zambia Daily Mail
      newspaper.

      Warning

      Mr Mwanawasa has said that some people
      were planning to kill him because of his
      determination to fight corruption in the
      country.

      He did not identify the people he suspects of
      planning a coup, but he said the security
      forces were now watching them closely.

      "The nation should not be surprised that I will
      ask my officers to arrest a few people and
      prosecute them in court on charges of
      treason," he was quoted as saying by a
      Zambian newspaper, The Post.

      Mr Mwanawasa came to power with 29% of
      the vote in last December's election.

      Opposition parties alleged massive fraud and
      took the case to court.

      *****

      Report shows how Bob rigged the vote
      Harare
      03 July
      2002 13:48

      Some 17,2% of ballots cast in Zimbabwe's March 9-11
      presidential election
      were "directly problematic," the Human Rights Forum
      of local and
      international rights groups said on Wednesday.

      "Of 3 062 303 votes accounted for by the ESC
      (Electoral Supervisory
      Commission), at least 526 479 (17,2%) were directly
      problematic," the
      forum said in a new report.

      President Robert Mugabe was declared the winner of
      the election with
      56,2% of the votes, against 41,9% for opposition
      leader Morgan Tsvangirai of
      the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      "Many results changed even after they had been
      verified and announced.
      The total prejudice to Morgan Tsvangirai on these
      post-verification changes
      alone was 50 729 votes," the report said.

      "Over half of all polling booths at some stage
      lacked opposition observers. In
      four of the 120 constituencies, opposition electoral
      agents were banned from
      verifying the counting of votes. In another five,
      MDC agents were allowed to
      be present for only part of the time," the report
      said.

      Tsvangirai has refused to accept Mugabe's victory,
      and the MDC has
      launched a court challenge to his win. - AFP
    • Christine Chumbler
      Hoping for a Better Harvest UN Integrated Regional Information Networks October 23, 2002 Posted to the web October 23, 2002 Johannesburg Crop diversification,
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 23, 2002
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        Hoping for a Better Harvest

        UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
        October 23, 2002
        Posted to the web October 23, 2002

        Johannesburg

        Crop diversification, irrigation and the expansion of a free farm
        input
        scheme for Malawi's subsistence producers are among the measures
        being introduced by the government to boost food output next year.

        "We have embarked on a civic education campaign to teach our people to
        diversify their eating habits and move away from a total dependence on
        maize to tubers for example, and other foods like rice," Commissioner
        for
        Disaster Preparedness Relief and Rehabilitation Lucius Chikuni told
        IRIN.

        He said the government was using social welfare workers in rural
        communities to spread the word on the value of drought-resistant crops
        like cassava over the staple maize, which is sensitive to climatic
        conditions. Most of Malawi's rice, produced along the shores of Lake
        Malawi, is exported to Zambia and Zimbabwe rather than consumed
        locally. Cassava is traditionally eaten in the northern region, but has
        not
        been effectively marketed in the rest of the country.

        Food security in Malawi has been undermined by two poor
        drought-related
        seasons which has left more than 3.3 million in need of aid until next
        year's
        harvest in April/May.

        Although Malawi has an irrigation potential of 800,000 hectares, only
        56,000 hectares have been developed, and of those just 8,000 are in
        the
        hands of small-scale producers as opposed to commercial estate owners.
        "The problem is the poverty factor, our people cannot raise the capital
        for
        irrigation," said Chikuni. "But unless we do something about improving
        irrigation we will not get out of the problem [of low food yields]."

        To that end the government has joined the UN's Food and Agriculture
        Organisation in a project to provide 200,000 treadle pumps to poor
        rural
        families. "It will take US $240 million to address the current food
        crisis. To
        buy 200,000 treadle pumps requires only US $80 million. It's a
        sensible
        investment to make," Chikuni said.

        The government had introduced a free agricultural "starter pack"
        scheme
        in 1998/1999 for rural households, which was scaled down under donor
        pressure to more effectively target the poorest farmers. In response to
        the
        current food crisis, the government intends to pay for the expansion of
        the
        programme to reach an extra one million farm families from the current
        donor-funded two million.

        The starter packs contain enough fertiliser, maize seed and beans to
        cover a modest 0.1 hectares. But according to Chikuni, the expansion
        of
        the programme would allow Malawi to hit a production level of 2.3
        million
        mt of maize which it last achieved in 1999/2000. Domestic food
        consumption needs are 1.8 million mt.

        "We have to run the starter packs for three years to allow people to
        recover from the impact of the famine following two successive bad
        seasons. People need to build up surpluses to earn enough money to pay
        for their own inputs. We certainly don't wish to continue endlessly
        with it,"
        explained Chikuni.

        *****

        Malawi's Government Sets Up Special Loan Scheme

        Business Day (Johannesburg)
        October 23, 2002
        Posted to the web October 23, 2002

        Thom Khanje
        Johannesburg

        UNDER pressure from the public for selling most privatised stateowned
        companies to foreigners, the Malawi government this week launched a
        new initiative aimed at helping more local citizens acquire shares in
        privatised entities.

        The government, which started a donor-prescribed privatisation
        programme in 1996 amid public resentment, has established a collective
        investment scheme called National Investment Trust Limited (NITL)
        through which only Malawians will be offered loans to buy shares in
        state
        owned enterprises.

        The scheme opened a public offer for 40-million shares worth R10m on
        Monday. The offer will run through to November 29 this year, after
        which it
        will be listed on the country's infant stock exchange, which has only
        eight
        listed companies.

        "The initial shareholders will be Malawians but investors will have the
        right
        to sale their shares to other people later," said Jimmy Lipunga,
        Malawi
        Privatisation Commission finance director.

        He said a special loan scheme has been set up, with funds raised from
        previous privatisations, to offer concessional loans to any interested
        Malawian with a formal job or a registered business.

        The loans will attract an interest of 10% in an economy with
        commercial
        lending rates of about 50%. Through the initiative, government will
        reserve
        between 15 to 25% shares in some privatised companies for sale to
        citizens only.

        The scheme has shares in two blue chip commercial banks, a building
        society, a sugar company and several small firms.

        Privatisation was instituted because the state was unable to
        recapitalise
        state-owned enterprises due to budget deficits.

        Malawi accepted International Monetary and World Bank lending
        conditions
        and launched the privatisation programme.

        *****

        Zimbabwe police arrest the nude 'ghost'
        thief
        Harare
        19 October
        2002 11:28

        A thief who disguised himself as a ghost using ash
        and grease and robbed
        foreigners at a prime tourist site in southern
        Zimbabwe has been arrested,
        the Herald newspaper reported Saturday.

        The thief, who worked naked, his body daubed with
        ash, took goods and
        money worth 20-million Zimbabwe dollars ($360 000)
        over a four-year period
        from tourists to the Great Zimbabwe monument, an
        ancient stone-walled
        citadel.

        "Some tourists even formulated theories that the
        'ghost' was the godfather of
        the monuments, angry with the constant visit of
        foreigners," the paper said.

        Police ended the bogus bogeyman's lucrative spree
        last week when they
        raided his home in Masvingo, 292 kilometres south of
        Harare, the Herald
        reported. - Sapa-AFP
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