- Donors Won't Punish Lilongwe
Daily Times (Blantyre)
July 11, 2002
Posted to the web July 11, 2002
BRITAIN said yesterday bilateral donors in the European Union (EU) will
not punish Malawi as a result of slippages in agreed programmes but will
help pull it out of its economic problems.
Norman Ling, British High Commissioner to Malawi, said yesterday that
Denmark's position in the EU as the economic bloc's president will not
influence any harsh decisions on Malawi.
'In my own view, I don't think that any nation in the EU will punish
Malawi for whatever reason but I must admit that there is a degree of
frustration among the donors because some programmes continue to be off
track,' he said.
Ling said because of continued non-committal in governance and
accountability most donors were for a while not willing to continue
giving aid to Malawi.
'You cannot keep pouring money into a country where there is
mismanagement,' he said.
He also said tax-payers in the country require returns in most of their
investment, and government should create an environment conducive to
genuine private sector growth and not hostility.
He said the prevailing high interest rates arising from goverment's
continued domestic borrowing signalled that Treasury needs to do a lot
'It's a great concern that government does not live within the budget
measures, its increased domestic borrowing has created a lot of pressure
on the local market,' he said.
Ling also said the 2002/03 budget will mark a fresh start for donors
that government will stick to its own figures because it has also
realised the need to cut off unnecessary expenditure.
The Danish government pulled out its aid from Malawi last year, citing
financial imprudence and bad governance as its major concerns.
Britain Says Aid to Lilongwe Not Lost
Daily Times (Blantyre)
July 11, 2002
Posted to the web July 11, 2002
BRITISH budgetary aid to Malawi may not be lost but it will remain
suspended until the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completes an
economic assessment in October this year.
The country's High Commissioner to Malawi, Norman Ling, said in
Blantyre yesterday frozen balance of payment (BOP) support, suspended
towards the end of last year, may resume if findings of the IMF mission
in October show that has met agreed targets.
'Malawi has not lost and will not lose our aid. It will, meanwhile, be
channelled somewhere in development programmes,' said Ling.
He also said the British government was working on economic assesment
and recommendations on budgetary support drawn by the IMF, which is
required by an agreement between Malawi and Britain.
'In the agreement concerning the balance of payments, we agreed that
for Malawi to receive the money for budget support, then it has to be on
track with the IMF, which is not the present case,' he said.
Ling was, however, quick to point out the British government also makes
its own assesments and does not entirely rely on the IMF assesment.
He also said in the Common Approach to Budgetary Support (CABS), under
the European Union (EU), Britain could release its budgetary support
even if the IMF does not resume aid.
'But we want to see real evidence in action that Malawi Government is
seriously tackling its budget deficit,' he said.
Ling said Britain injected at least £55 million (K7 billion) into
development programmes in the country last year in main areas of
interest, such as education, health, sustainable livelihood and
The government's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PGRF) programme
with the IMF, launched in 2000, has been dogged by a series of
expenditure over-runs and financial imprudence on the government's
Out of US$55 million (K4.2 billion) budgetary support from the IMF's
PGRF over three years, government has only received US$8 million (K608
million) because of the slippages in implementation of the IMF
programme, while Britain is yet to release £12.5 million (K1.4 billion)
and the EU delayed its funding.
Girma Begashaw, IMF resident representative, said last week it was
possible and expected that some donors may disburse aid before the IMF
Executive Board concludes the review of the PRGF programme in October
this year, saying the donors have their own decisions to make on aid to
Thursday, 11 July, 2002, 06:02 GMT 07:02 UK
New appeal to avert Africa
By Alastair Leithead
The World Food Programme (WFP) is to renew its call
for aid in southern Africa, as famine continues to
threaten the lives of millions.
Donations amounting to $30m have already been
received since the WFP appealed for a million tonnes
of food aid to help combat shortages across the
The United Nations agency has warned that 13 million
people in southern Africa will need supplies of food
over the next nine months, and it is asking again for
$500m to help avert disaster.
Some donations have
already been received.
The head of the WFP,
James Morris, describes
the situation as "the most
severe crisis in the world".
The WFP believes the
window of opportunity for
donations to make an
impact is closing, as the
crisis is expected to
deepen in September.
The call for more
donations coincides with a
warning from the World
It says 300,000 people
could die of hunger before
the end of the year in six
African countries - the
worst affected being Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Erratic rainfall has been blamed for the food
shortages, but political instability and government
mismanagement has no doubt contributed to the
Theft, prostitution seen as famine grips
Theft, prostitution and child labour are some of the
communities in Zimbabwe are using to cope with the
effects of drought and
food shortages, according to a recent United Nations
A humanitarian situation report published this week
by the UN relief and
recovery unit in Harare and the Famine Early Warning
(Fewsnet) cited a UN report which identified several
that people are resorting to, to ensure personal
"Stealing is one of the coping strategies by people
in both rural and urban
areas," said the report, adding that the thieves'
main targets are grain and
Hunger has also forced villagers to poach wild
animals, particularly in newly
resettled farms, while others take to prostitution.
"Prostitution has generally increased in urban areas
and growth points (rural
service centres)," said the report.
A drought, the worst in a decade in southern Africa,
coupled with two years
of controversial government-led land reforms have
plunged Zimbabwe into an
increasingly dire humanitarian situation, experts
Young children who should be going to school are
forced to work either as
traders or in illegal gold-panning activities in
rivers to try to make ends meet
for their families.
"Young children in both rural and urban areas are
being used as part of the
survival system. They are sent selling a variety of
goods," said the report.
The report said some Zimbabweans have been "seeking
relief from food
insecurity and economic stress beyond their
borders", with many leaving the
country to do menial jobs in neighbouring countries
or further afield.
"Remittances from relatives working outside the
country form an important
aspect of the survival strategies," it said.
An estimated 7,8-million people, including
5,4-million children are faced with
hunger in Zimbabwe.
Kenzo Oshima, UN under-secretary general for
humanitarian affairs, last
month described Zimbabwe's food crisis as "very
In April Mugabe declared a state of emergency,
opening the doors for
international aid to a country which has
traditionally been a regional
Zimbabwe needs to import a total of 1,8-million tons
of food to survive until
the next harvest in 2003.
Six other African nations -- Angola, Lesotho,
Swaziland and Zambia -- face serious hunger problems
combinations of bad weather, poor policy and
On July 1, the UN World Food Programme launched an
appeal to provide
emergency food to the affected southern African
needs comprise 45% of the total regional appeal. -
Britain freezes Mugabe's assets
Britain has frozen 76 000 pounds in assets belonging
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF Party, the
government said on
The $118 000 dollars (119 000 euros) were seized
under sanctions imposed
by the European Union on Mugabe and his senior
allies after international
outrage at rigged elections in March.
Junior foreign office minister Denis MacShane said
that by freezing assets,
the financial markets of the EU and Switzerland had
been put "off limits."
It had also helped signal the "increasing isolation"
of the Zanu-PF elite, he
The EU imposed sanctions on the Mugabe regime in
February, following then t
expulsion from Zimbabwe of the head of its team of
observers monitoring the
run-up to presidential elections a month later.
All 15 member states imposed a travel ban on Mugabe
and about 20 of his
close political associates. It was also agreed that
their assets in EU
countries would be frozen.
Following the poll, EU leaders agreed to pursue
further "targeted" sanctions
aimed at the veteran leader and his closest allies,
while allowing the
continued flow of humanitarian aid into Zimbabwe,
which is suffering its
worst food shortages in many years.
ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract
by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17
The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by government to look for another contractor instead of China Hunan Construction to construct of the long awaited Karonga/Chitipa road.
China Hunan from Mainland China won the bid which was approved by the ADB but government later wanted to award the contract to a Portuguese firm, Mota Engil, the second lowest bidder, claiming China Hunan's bid was unrealistically low and that the company had very little experience in Africa.
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe confirmed on Sunday the ADB rejected the proposal at a meeting held between the bank and Malawi government in Tunisia last week.
The Malawi government wanted the Tunisia meeting to authorise it to get another contractor for the road, said Gondwe.
"They did not allow us to look for another contractor because of their regulations. But we are about to get another alternative for Karonga/Chitipa and I would be surprised if it does not start before end June," said Gondwe.
The minister explained that the bank insisted that regardless of the unrealistic cost estimates, China Hunan should be allowed to go ahead with the construction.
But Gondwe could not give further details about the alternatives, arguing there are still a few loose ends to tighten up before disclosing it.
The problem with China Hunan, according to Gondwe, is that it would require more money to meet the total cost of the project.
This paper reported last week that government met Taiwanese representatives where they offered to fund the road if the ADB continued to reject its favoured contractor, Mota Engil.
Gondwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports on the Taiwanese offer, saying government was looking at a number of ways to handle the issue.
According to Gondwe, the China Hunan's bid was 24 percent lower than the consulting engineers' estimates of K7.9 billion and 34 percent below the second lowest bidder.
President Bingu wa Mutharika laid a foundation stone for the construction of the road this year ahead of a crucial byelection in Chitipa in December last year.
The President's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the Chitipa Wenya constituency by-election that fell vacant following the collapse and subsequent death of Speaker of Parliament Rodwell Munyenyembe who belonged to the UDF.
Last week, police and the District Commissioner (DC) for Chitipa stopped a rally that was aimed at soliciting people's views about development projects in the district.
The meeting, which was reportedly organised by Concerned Citizens of Chitipa, was among other things also supposed to tackle the controversial Karonga/Chitipa road.
The project failed to start off in 2000 when a contract for an initial loan of US$17 million and US$15 million from the Taiwanese government was signed, with some quarters claiming the Bakili Muluzi administration diverted the money to another road.
Chihana operated on
by Edwin Nyirongo, 22 May 2006 - 06:32:31
Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Chakufwa Chihana, who is in South Africa receiving treatment, had a brain operation on Friday at Garden City Clinic, family and party officials confirmed on Sunday.
Aford national chairman Chipimpha Mughogho said he was told by the family members that Chihana had a successful operation on Friday and was put in an intensive care unit.
Mughogho said Chihana, who initially complained of headache, was found with a brain tumour which South African doctors removed.
Mzimba West MP Loveness Gondwe said Aford boss condition was stable.
"Hon. Chihana had a major operation and after that he was put in the intensive care unit but his condition is stable. I do not know where he was operated on but it had something to do with the skull," she said.
Deputy Information Minister John Bande referred the matter to the Health Minister Hetherwick Ntaba who was reported to be in Geneva, Switzerland.
Aford publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda said when Chihana's situation got worse, the family alerted the Office of the President and Cabinet who took him to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.
"The doctors at Mwaiwathu advised that he should be sent to South Africa and they even identified the doctor for him," he said.
He said the costs are being met by the Malawi government, contradicting his earlier statement that his boss covered the cost.
Mughogho is now in charge of the party.
Gondwe will be a busy person when Parliament starts meeting on June 6 as she is the only Aford MP remaining.
Pillane proposes presidential age limit
by Emmanuel Muwamba , 22 May 2006 - 06:34:13
A member of the DPP National Governing Council Abdul Pillane on Saturday urged members of political parties and the civil society to put an upper age limit in the Constitution for presidential candidates.
Pillane was addressing members of political parties and civil society in Liwonde during a two-day follow up workshop to the National Conference on the Review of Constitution held in March in Lilongwe.
"My view is that (an upper) age limit should be at 75. We have to give a chance to younger people to lead because in circumstance, when you age you become forgetful especially when sickly," said Pillane. "Overall, chances should be given to young people."
But UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, whose party members agitated for the age limit during presentations, played the issue down.
"I feel there is no logic to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates. If someone is 90 or 80 I don't know how that can influence the electorate not to vote for someone who is younger, I don't see any logic behind that," said Makwangwala.
MCP participants at the workshop also vehemently objected to the proposal.
MCP vice president Nicholas Dausi in an interview said: "There is no constitution in Africa which stipulates an upper age limit. So it would be strange in Malawi to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates."
MDP President Kamlepo Kalua also opposed the need to have an upper age limit.
"If we have personalities in mind that we want to discriminate against then it is unfortunate. The constitution we want to build is a guiding document for future generations and it should not bar certain individuals on the basis of grudges," he said.
The Malawi Law Constitution Issues Paper of March 2006 says several submissions that were received put an upper presidential age limit in the Constitution.
"It is argued that it is common sense that mental knowledge faculties tend to fail with age. As regards what the actual age limit should be the submissions are far from being agreed. The range is from 60 years to 80 years," read submissions in the Issues Paper.
On whether MPs should double as ministers, Kalua said this should be the case.
Makwangwala also said it is not right for MPs to serve as ministers because the Legislature, another arm of government, is reduced while the Executive branch is beefed up from another arm of government.
"There is no separation of powers when MPs double as ministers," said Makwangwala.
But Pillane said there is no problem for MPs to work as ministers as well, saying MPs are elected by the President.
"One can serve both posts. There have been no problems before for people to double," said Pillane.
The Centre for Multiparty Democracy funded the workshop through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.
The objective was to come up with a collective position on the Issues Paper which will be presented to the Special Law Commission that will be constituted soon.
Mussa hails new driving licence
by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:58:52
Transport and Public Works Minister Henry Mussa last week said the design of the Malawi-Sadc driving licence would guard against forgery and ensure that only skilled and legitimate drivers of particular vehicles are licensed.
Mussa was speaking at the official launch of the licences in Lilongwe where he announced that traffic police would from July enforce speed limits and sober driving using Breathalysers which his ministry is in the process of procuring.
The minister said financial constraints are the reason for the delay in procuring the equipment but assured that by July they would be available.
"With the new equipment, the days of those who believe in the thrill of drink and driving are numbered," warned Mussa.
Mussa added that with the new licence, government is optimistic that the country's roads would be safe.
Acting Director of Road Traffic James Chirwa said the features that distinguish the new from the old licences are the Malawi national flag and a ghost image of the driver's photograph, among others.
Those with old licences, according to Chirwa, are expected to get the new ones after the expiry of the former.
UDF demands investigation on Kasambara
by Rabecca Theu, 22 May 2006 - 06:30:46
The United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked government to investigate Ralph Kasambara on allegations of abuse of office while he was attorney general.
UDF publicity secretary Sam Mpasu told the press Sunday that the party is neither amused or saddened by the removal of the former AG but asked government to institute investigations on Kasambara.
"Beyond the removal of the Attorney General, we now urge President Mutharika to institute investigation against Mr Kasambara into allegations that have made rounds in the public domain during the recent past. These include: Mrs Helen Singh and SS Rent-a-Car; SGS and ITS saga; ...........the use of Malawi Police Service in the arrest of three Chronicle journalists and the handling of Mrs Rubina Kawonga," said Mpasu.
Mpasu also accused Kasambara of awarding government contracts to Lawson and Company where he was a senior partner.
"We urge government to thoroughly investigate the former AG. We also ask government to cautiously select the new AG ," said Mpasu, who was accompanied by the party's Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala, leader of the party in Parliament George Mtafu, chief whip Leonard Mangulama and a member of the executive Hophmally Makande.
But Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati said UDF should give offer its advice to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).
"They should advise bodies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau to conduct the investigations and why are they saying this now? Is it because Kasambara has been fired? This is not a personal issue. If they have other pressing issues they should just say so. These arguments should have come up earlier on when the said cases were happening," she said.
Kasambara asked UDF to proceed with the mission of urging government to investigate him.
"They can do their job. Everyone has a right to lobby for anything they want in the country. UDF has a right to do that, let them go ahead," he said.
Kasambara was relieved of his duties as AG by the President last week. Government has not given reasons behind the removal.
Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
May 18, 2006
Posted to the web May 19, 2006
MALAWIANS who have encroached on both the 'no-man's' and part of the Zambian land at the Mwami border in Eastern Province have plucked out some beacons that were used in the demarcation of the border.
The Malawians are now using the beacons as stools in their newly-established villages on Zambian land.
Eastern Province Minister, Boniface Nkhata, said in Chipata yesterday that if the situation was not controlled urgently, Zambia would lose huge tracts of land to Malawians migrating into Zambian in large numbers.
A check at the Zambia-Malawi border showed a number of beacons had been vandalised and new structures constructed on the 'no man's' land and a large portion of Zambian land.
Mr Nkhata said the trend extended to many parts of the province bordering the two countries.
"A large portion of Zambian land has been taken up by the Malawians starting from the Chama boundary up to the Mwami border.
"The weighbridge at the Mwami border was initially in Zambia from the time both countries gained independence from Britain, but now the bridge is on Malawian soil," Mr Nkhata said.
The minister, who is former Chama District Commissioner, said there was similar encroachment in Lundazi and Chama districts where Zambia shares a boundary with Malawi.
He said a Malawian farmer identified as Mr Mfune had cultivated 71.5 hectares on Zambian land and employed about 265 Malawian workers.
"Khombe Farm in Chama district in Kanyerere's area, along the Muyombe road which leads to Northern Province where this Malawian farmer has cultivated a vast land is on the Zambian territory," he said.
Workers on the farm admitted that they were farming on Zambian soil but could not go back to Malawi because the land in that country was inadequate for cultivation.
Mr Nkhata appealed to the ministry of Lands to urgently release money for the demarcation of the Zambia-Malawi border to avoid further land disputes between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department in Livingstone has arrested a couple and another man, all Zimbabweans, for working in Zambia without permits.
They were arrested at Gwembe village yesterday where they worked for Into Africa, a tour operating company that provides bush dinners and breakfast.
According to the Immigration Department in Livingstone, the trio entered Zambia through the Victoria Falls border as visitors but decided to work for the company illegally.
Last week, immigration officers arrested 10 Zimbabwean traders and six Ethiopians for entering and staying in Zambia illegally.
The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.
The Ethiopians were arrested at Konje Guest House when they ran out of money to proceed to Botswana.
Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests
22 May 2006 11:51
Zimbabwe's biggest labour federation on Saturday threatened to call massive demonstrations against the government over poor salaries and worsening living conditions for workers in the country.
The threats are ratcheting up pressure against President Robert Mugabe's government after similar threats by the biggest opposition party in the country, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), about two months ago.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) conference on Saturday, the labour body's president, Lovemore Matombo, said the powerful union wants the government to award workers salaries that match the country's ever-rising inflation.
"I can assure you we will stage massive demonstrations to force them [employers] to award workers minimum salaries that tally with the poverty datum line," said Matombo.
Matombo did not say when exactly the ZCTU would order workers to strike.
Meanwhile, the MDC on Sunday said it will push ahead with plans for anti-government protests, saying victory in a key by-election at the weekend was a "sign the electorate supported its policies", including democratic mass resistance.
A spokesperson of the main faction of the splintered MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said victory over Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and a rival MDC faction in a Saturday by-election in Harare's Budiriro constituency is a sign Zimbabweans still have confidence in party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his policies.
Tsvangirai, the founding leader of the MDC, heads the main rump of the opposition party whose candidate, Emmanuel Chisvuure, polled 7 949 votes to win the Budiriro House of Assembly seat.
Gabriel Chaibva of the other faction of the MDC, led by prominent academic Arthur Mutambara, garnered 504 votes while Zanu-PF's Jeremiah Bvirindi polled 3 961 votes.
"This election showed that the electorate still has confidence in the MDC [Tsvangirai-led] leadership and its policies," Chamisa told independent news service ZimOnline.
He added: "We will now move to consolidate our position * we still believe in mass protests. Until we have attained our goals we see no reason why we should abandon [plans for protests]."
Tsvangirai has threatened to call mass protests this winter against Mugabe and his government. He says the mass protests, whose date he is still to name, are meant to force Mugabe to relinquish power to a government of national unity to be tasked to write a new and democratic Constitution that would ensure free and fair elections held under international supervision.
Mugabe and his government, who had hoped for victory in Budiriro to show they were recapturing urban support from a splintered MDC, have not taken idly the opposition's threats to call mass protests, with the veteran president warning Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he ever attempted to instigate a Ukraine-style popular revolt in Zimbabwe.
In a fresh crackdown against dissension, the police last week arrested several church and civic leaders for organising public prayers and marches to mark last year's controversial home-demolition exercise by the government.
The police also banned the marches and prayers, fearing they could easily turn into mass protests against Mugabe and his government.
However, the marches went ahead in the second-largest city of Bulawayo after organisers had obtained a court order barring the police from stopping the march.
Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police and the military to crush street protests, worsening hunger and poverty are fanning public anger that Tsvangirai -- with proper planning and organisation -- could easily manipulate.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe six-year old economic crisis that has seen inflation breaching the 1 000% barrier. Last year, the World Bank said Zimbabwe's economic crisis was unprecedented for a country not at war.
The MDC and major Western governments blame Mugabe for wrecking the country's economy, which was one of the strongest in Africa at independence from Britain 26 years ago.
Mugabe denies the charge blaming the crisis on sabotage by Britain and her allies after he seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks six years ago.
The Harare authorities recently hiked salaries for civil servants, with the lowest-paid soldier now earning about Z$27-million while the lowest-paid school teacher now takes home about Z$33-million.
But the salaries are still way below the poverty datum line, which the government's Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says now stands at a staggering Z$42-million a month for an average family of six.
The Zimbabwe government often accuses the ZCTU, a strong ally of the MDC, of pushing a political agenda to remove Mugabe from power.
Meanwhile, Matombo and Lucia Matibenga retained their posts as president and first vice-president respectively during the ZCTU congress that ended on Saturday. -- ZimOnline