- Malawi Changes Food Aid Policy
The Associated Press
Friday, September 6, 2002; 8:39 PM
BLANTYRE, Malawi –– Malawi
said any genetically modified food
aid sent to the country must be processed before
The announcement thos week echoed concerns by other
countries threatened by looming famine about
accepting food that has been
President Bakili Muluzi said he was concerned that
if the grain wasn't milled
first it might cross-pollinate with native crops,
causing "genetic pollution."
A severe food shortage is threatening more than 3
million people in Malawi.
About 10 million others in the region also face
Citing potential health risks, Zambia has rejected
any food aid that may have
been genetically modified. Mozambique and Zimbabwe
have policies dictating
that any genetically modified grain has to be milled
Researchers splice bacteria genes that produce
natural insecticides, drought
resistance and other commercial properties into
crops like corn and soy.
Farmers in the United States, the main food
assistance donor, grow
genetically modified crops extensively.
Malawi to shut biggest
Malawi has said it will shut down the country's
largest textile factory, putting more than 2,000
people out of work, after plans for privatisation
The government has decided to stop
subsidising the factory because of heavy
financial losses, the Commerce and Industry
Minister Peter Kaleso said.
Only last month Mr Kaleso said that the
government was looking for a strategic partner
for the state-owned David Whitehead and
Sons (DWS) factory and he was predicting a
The closure comes even though Malawi has
seen textile exports surge since it signed the
African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa)
treaty with the US in September 2001.
In the last year the industry's yearly growth
rate was reported to be 120%.
DWS is the main source of cotton yarn, fabrics
and African prints exported from Malawi
according to the local Confederation of
Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The company hit financial difficulties in the
early 1990s when the government ended its
monopoly status - in-line with International
Monetary Fund and World Bank policies - and
liberalised the textile market.
The resulting imports of second-hand clothes
from the Far East virtually destroyed domestic
production in Malawi, as in many other African
DWS was one of the companies that launched
Malawi's privatisation programme but like many
others has now been shut down after failing to
find a buyer.
In a letter of intent to secure poverty
reduction funding, Malawi promised to liquidate
DWS in July 2002.
DWS is 51% owned by the Malawi Government
and 49% by the state owned Admarc
Investments Holding Company.
The government has set aside about 140m
kwacha ($2m; *1.3m) to compensate workers.
Zambia allows GM aid
Zambia has allowed the World Food Programme
to start distributing genetically modified (GM)
food aid to refugees.
James Morris, the UN agency's executive
director, told the BBC that GM foods were
being used to feed about 130,000 refugees
from Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo.
But the Zambian
Government is continuing to
resist the UN agency's calls
to distribute GM aid to
nearly 2.5 million of its own
people on the grounds that it
Mr Morris, who is touring
the famine-stricken region, confirmed that
neighbouring Zimbabwe had, in contrast,
approved GM aid for its people.
"Zimbabwe has said that they have taken a
cabinet decision to accept commodities which
have a GM component," he said.
Saying he believed that the US-produced GM
corn would probably be milled before being
allowed to enter the country, he added that
he had had a "good conversation" about
bringing in non-GM wheat.
Mr Morris said Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa - who recently described GM grain
as "poison" - had decided to send a team of
scientists to the US and the EU on a GM
The WFP executive director said famine could
be averted in southern Africa if GM grain was
accepted and warned of the daunting
prospects for Zambia if it continued to refuse
"Without being able to use
biotech GM commodities,
it will be nearly impossible
for us to meet the needs
of the people of Zambia,"
Zambia's minister for
explained his country's
continuing doubts in
an interview for the
including Europe, are
still reluctant, cautious, about the acceptance
of GM organisms," said Mundia Sikatana.
Zambian producers could find their exports to
Europe blocked if their crops were found to be
growing alongside GM grains, he argued.
Spectre of famine haunts Zimbabwe
Ravi Nessman | Nhwali, Zimbabwe
The girls giggle nervously as they talk about their
hunger. Their grades have
plummeted. They fall asleep in class from
exhaustion. Often, when they
have nothing at all to eat, they don't even bother
coming to school.
"Sometimes it's better to stay home than to come and
Litsoanelo Moyo, a 19-year-old student at Nhwali
secondary school, said on
Zimbabwe's worst food crisis in a decade has begun
to take its toll on the
village of Nhwali, 700 kilometres southwest of
Many now eat only one small meal a day. The poorest
are forced to beg for
a handful of corn meal from their neighbors. Child
malnutrition has more than
doubled to eight percent.
And teachers and students at the local schools worry
about the damage
this is doing to the education system.
At the beginning of the year, the school enrolled
450 students. More than 50
have dropped out because their families have stolen
across the border to
South Africa, they were forced to help scavenge for
food or their parents no
longer could afford the 1 280 Zimbabwean dollars
(about $2) in school fees,
said Soneni Dube, the deputy headmaster.
Of the remaining students, about 50 are absent on
any given day, up from
one or two in normal times. Those that come are
often too hungry to study.
One girl fainted in the middle of a class. Teachers
gave her some food, but
she dropped out a few days later.
The schoolgirls talk of their dreams - of being
nurses, a journalist, a
But they are more fixated on their hunger.
"I used to be fat," laughs Itumeleng Mdlongwa, a
petite 17-year-old girl.
It is noon on a weekend day and they have walked
between two and 10
kilometres to school to hold a study group on the
history of Europe's
colonisation of Africa. Not one of them has anything
more in her stomach
than black tea.
The girls used to eat two hearty meals a day of
meat, corn mash and
vegetables and a small lunch. Now, when they are
lucky, they get two small
meals of corn mash and the rabe or spinach they grow
in small gardens in
their yards. When the government trucks selling corn
don't come for a while
- and they haven't been to Nhwali for months - they
get only one meal,
sometimes just vegetables.
Their grades have plunged.
Nontokoza Moyo (16) passed six subjects last term.
Now she is
only passing three. "When I'm reading, I sleep," she
said. "We don't
normally concentrate much these days."
Dube is worried that his teachers are at risk of
falling through the cracks in
the shaky food delivery system. They are too wealthy
to get food aid and are
not official residents of any of the cluster of
nearby villages, so never make it
onto the lists to buy scarce government grain.
"Even if we have the money, we don't have the grain
to buy," he said.
"Morale is very low. Very, very low."
An estimated six million of Zimbabwe's 12,5-million
people are threatened
by a hunger crisis caused by a terrible drought and
the government's chaotic
land reform program, which has badly wounded its
economy, according to the World Food Program.
Nearly seven million people in five other countries
in southern Africa are also
at risk of starvation. There are no accurate figures
for hunger-related deaths.
WFP head James Morris, who is touring the region to
inspect the crisis,
appealed on Friday for donor nations to increase
their contributions to help
head off a potential disaster in the region.
The agency, which is currently delivering 10 000
metric tons a month to
Zimbabweans, hopes to increase that to 55 000 tons.
They predict the
situation will get much worse in the coming months.
Meanwhile, human rights groups accuse the
government, which sells corn
at the fixed price of 555 Zimbabwean dollars (less
than $1) for a 50 kilogram
bag, of refusing to sell grain to opposition
supporters and making only
sporadic deliveries to opposition strongholds.
The government denies its land reform policies are
to blame for food
shortages, saying drought is the sole cause. It also
denies allegations that
it is denying the opposition food.
When Morris arrived in Nhwali to inspect the
distribution of WFP corn, an
unprecedented seven government trucks filled with
bags of corn for sale
rolled up, the first time since July that even one
truck has arrived to feed the
9 000 people in the area, deep in opposition
Janet Siziba, a 73-year-old widow, waits in line
with money she has
borrowed from a kind neighbor to buy corn to feed
herself, her grandson, his
wife and their two children.
She and her grandson used to feed the family off the
harvest from their tiny
field and the earnings they made by making bricks
for neighbors. But their
field produced nothing this year, and no one has
money to pay them for
So she begs door to door for small handfuls of grain
and watches fearfully as
her one and four-year-old great grandchildren grow
Siziba says she has not even bothered to plow her
tiny field for the
upcoming planting season, which frightens aid
workers who hope the crisis
will end with the next harvest.
"Where will I get the money to get the seed," she
said. - Sapa-AP
Zimbabwe farmers flee
Dozens of white farmers in Zimbabwe have
been leaving their properties after receiving a
new government ultimatum to get off their
One eyewitness counted more than 100
farmers' lorries piled high with furniture and
household goods leaving the fertile area
north-west of the capital, Harare.
Justice for Agriculture
(JAG), a farmers' lobby
group, says the authorities
told scores of farmers to
leave on Sunday or face
arrest for resisting the land
JAG is advising them to stay put and take the
eviction orders to court, saying the deadline
has been imposed by local administrators not
the central government.
But a BBC correspondent in neighbouring South
Africa says it seems many white farmers are
taking these latest threats seriously and are
leaving with whatever they can take.
Farming officials in
Zimbabwe say most of the
farmers facing the
deadline have decided to
One official in the
town of Banket told
the BBC that about 50
farmers in his area had
been told to leave and
warned that their
possessions would be
seized if they stayed.
A Zimbabwean police spokesman has told the
BBC that any farmer who stays on his land in
violation of the law will be punished.
'Stay your ground'
JAG's chairman, David Connelly, told the BBC
that at least two farmers were being "held
hostage" in their homes on Sunday.
In one case, an army major accompanied by
other men dressed in civilian clothes was
insisting he had been issued the farm by the
But the farmer was
"completely within the
laws of Zimbabwe",
said Mr Connelly.
"The government is
trying to intimidate
farmers off their land
obviously realise that
in the courts they are
not going to have too
much success," Mr
Most farmers affected
by the new deadline
are believed to have
had previous eviction
orders overturned in
court last month.
Robert Mugabe said
time was running out
for white farmers
resisting land redistribution.
"Those do not deserve to be in Zimbabwe
and we shall take steps to ensure that
they are not entitled to our land," he told
supporters after returning from the world
summit in Johannesburg.
The United Nations says the turbulent land
reform programme has worsened food
shortages in Zimbabwe, where six million
people are threatened with starvation.
But Mr Mugabe denies this, saying that
most white farmers concentrate on
commercial crops for export.
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