- This BBC page has a list of links to organizations accepting donations
for the Southern Africa famine. It's mostly geared towards people in
the UK, but there is info for potential contributers from other
Chiluba defamation case
Two opposition politicians and two journalists
have been acquitted of defaming Zambia's
former President, Frederick Chiluba.
The charges were dropped a day after current
President Levy Mwanawasa urged parliament
to lift Mr Chiluba's immunity, so he can be
prosecuted for alleged corruption.
Mr Mwanawasa provided
details of more than
$50m which he said had
gone missing during Mr
Chiluba's time in office.
He became president
last December and was
initially seen in some quarters as Mr Chiluba's
protege but the two camps have recently split.
As the anti-corruption probe widens, Zambia's
Ambassador to the United States, Atan
Shansonga, has been arrested, reports the
French news agency, AFP, quoting a
spokesperson for the Anti Corruption
He was reportedly arrested hours after being
named in some of the documents presented by
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Katele Kalumba
resigned amidst allegations of corruption.
While many Zambians have welcomed Mr
Mwanawasa's move, the BBC's Penny Dale says
there was a small, vocal group of Chiluba
supporters outside court.
Opposition politicians, Edith Nawakwi and Dipak
Patel, and journalists, Fred Mmembe and Bivan
Saluseki, were arrested last year after The
Post newspaper published an article referring
to Mr Chiluba as "a thief" while he was still in
The judge on Friday said that he did not want
a "tug-of-war" with parliament, now that the
issue was before MPs.
says that parliament is
expected to debate
lifting Mr Chiluba's
immunity when it
Mr Chiluba has not yet
made any public
comment on the
welcomed the move against the former
"Yesterday's revelations by President
Mwanawasa... call for firm action against the
culprits," thundered an editorial in the
government-owned Times of Zambia
"When a government undertakes a job like the
one President Levy Mwanawasa's
administration has to deal with a tandem of
thieves that has looted national coffers, it
deserves our support," added the
privately-owned Post newspaper, which is
normally critical of the government.
Mr Mwanawasa's allegations against Mr Chiluba
and his aides include:
$47m was "not accounted for" during the
privatisation of Roan Antelope Mining
$20.5m was allegedly paid for weapons
which never arrived
Several millions were allegedly paid to his
family and cronies from a special bank
Zimbabwe Threatens to Seize Property
The Associated Press
Friday, July 12, 2002; 6:28 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe ––
Zimbabwe's government has
threatened to seize British property
in retaliation for British efforts to
freeze the ruling party's assets
abroad, state media reported
Meanwhile, the government of
President Robert Mugabe has set
an Oct. 31 deadline for media
organizations to obtain licenses under strict new
rules governing the press, the
privately owned Independent newspaper reported.
The government has said all journalists in Zimbabwe
must pay for expensive
state licenses. Critics call the move a threat to
press freedom. Twenty four
independent journalists have been charged with
publishing false reports under
a media bill that became law in March.
On Wednesday, the British government said it had
frozen $117,511 in assets
belonging to Mugabe's party under sanctions imposed
by the European Union
against the Zimbabwean leader and his top aides.
In an interview in the state-run Herald newspaper,
Jonathan Moyo said British property here could fall
to a similar fate.
"Somebody should remind them there are real British
assets in Zimbabwe,
including British donations to non-governmental
organizations and other
groups that are bent on causing havoc for the
ordinary people," he was
quoted as saying.
Many of those organizations are working to alleviate
the nation's food crisis,
which threatens about 6 million people, but the
government accuses them of
channeling funds illegally to the opposition.
Ruling party officials denied the party had any
assets in Britain anyway.
"They should not use phantom assets to dare us to
take real action here,"
Moyo was quoted as saying.
Zimbabwe and Britain, the former colonial ruler,
have been in conflict since
Mugabe began his plans two years ago to seize
Britain has also protested politically motivated
attacks against the opposition
and a breakdown of law and order across the
Despite the tensions, Britain has given tens of
millions of dollars for famine
relief. The British charity Oxfam announced plans on
Friday to supply 11,000
tons of food a month.
Key Zimbabwe media
Andrew Meldrum says he has a strong case
A Zimbabwean judge has dismissed an attempt
to get controversial charges dropped against
an American journalist.
The case is seen as a test of a tough new
media law passed days after President Robert
Mugabe's contested re-election in March.
Andrew Meldrum, who
writes for Britain's
had hoped that his
case, brought under the
new law, would be
thrown out of court on
But the judge ruled that the state had
established a case and so the trial should
Mr Meldrum faces two years in jail if convicted
of "publishing falsehoods" and "abuse of
Journalists in Zimbabwe say that the new law
is part of a government campaign to muzzle
the private media.
"The state has established a prima facie case
and the accused must go on his defence," said
Magistrate Godfrey Macheyo.
His trial was adjourned
more than three weeks
ago after the
Mr Meldrum's lawyer,
asked for all charges
to be dropped, saying
that the evidence was
not sufficient to find
The issue at stake is
whether an article published in the Guardian
can fall under the jurisdiction of Zimbabwean
law or whether the internet version available in
Zimbabwe is sufficient to secure a conviction.
The case surrounds a report written by Mr
Meldrum which was based on an article
originally published by Zimbabwe's main
independent newspaper, The Daily News.
The story alleged that supporters of President
Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF Party had
beheaded a woman in a rural area for
supporting the opposition.
The Daily News later withdrew the story as
being unsubstantiated and issued an apology.
Two Zimbabwean journalists from the paper
were also arrested over the article.
Mr Meldrum's lawyer argued that he could not
held responsible if the facts were wrong,
because the police refused to comment when
he tried to check with them.
Most state officials refuse to speak to
journalists from the private and foreign media.
Thirteen other journalists who have been
charged under the controversial Zimbabwean
media law are anxiously awaiting the result of
this test case.
Mr Meldrum remains positive, saying he has a
very strong case and he believes he has not
broken any laws.
SA Sesame Street to get
The South African version of the popular
children's TV series Sesame Street will soon
get its first HIV-positive muppet.
The cheerful female character, who as yet has
no name or form, will join the Takalani Sesame
show for its third season on 30 September,
Reuters news agency reported.
Joel Schneider, a senior
adviser to the Sesame
Street Workshop, said
the character would be
a "good role model" for
the pre-school children
the programme aims at.
However, its messages
would be "appropriate" - without explicit
mention of sex.
South Africa already has one children's show
featuring an HIV-positive character, but this
will be the first for three to seven-year-olds.
Mr Schneider said that the character would be
exported to some of the eight other countries
that air the programme, including possibly the
Mr Schneider made the announcement at the
International Aids Conference in Barcelona.
"This character will be fully part of the
community," he said.
"She will have high self-esteem. Women are
often stigmatised about HIV and we are
providing a good role model as to how to deal
with one's situation and how to interact with
He added: "We will be very careful to fashion
our messages so they are appropriate to the
"What do I do when I cut my finger? What do I
do when you cut your finger? That sort of
The show is likely to have an acute resonance
in South Africa, where one in nine people are
infected with HIV.
In some parts of South Africa, 40% of women
of child-bearing age are HIV-positive.
A report at the conference revealed that
because of Aids there would be about 20
million orphans in the continent by the end of
the decade - almost 6% of Africa's children.
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