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  • Christine Chumbler
    Muluzi, Chakuamba Trade Barbs The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) November 4, 2002 Posted to the web November 4, 2002 By Christopher Jimu Malawi Congress Party
    Message 1 of 1046 , Nov 5, 2002
      Muluzi, Chakuamba Trade Barbs

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      November 4, 2002
      Posted to the web November 4, 2002

      By Christopher Jimu

      Malawi Congress Party President, Gwanda Chakuamba, has lashed out at
      President Bakili Muluzi for interfering in internal matters of the
      main
      opposition party and advising it on policies that have nothing to do
      with him.

      Reacting to a speech made by President Muluzi two weeks ago at a
      public
      rally, that the MCP has old guards in its leadership and hence need to
      change leaders to accommodate young blood, Chakuamba said Muluzi
      has lost direction and should concentrate on solving problems dodging
      his
      UDF Party.

      Chakuamba told The Chronicle last Thursday that there is no-one who
      can
      dictate to him to step down.

      'Muluzi has no right to dictate to me and my Vice whether to step down
      or
      not. When we were being elected President Muluzi had no hand in it. We
      (Tembo, Chakuamba) did not even ask for Muluzi's permission to become
      President.

      'Each and every party has its constitution and follows that
      constitution. If
      Muluzi feels that he wants to dictate to us matters concerning our
      party
      then he is going overboard. MCP has its constitution where it is
      clearly
      stated that leaders are elected or removed through a convention,'
      Chakuamba explained.

      Muluzi, addressing a rally in Mangochi on October 27, said the MCP
      should
      get rid of both Chakuamba and Tembo as they have nothing to offer as
      the
      country's main opposition party.

      'These two were there as MP's in the 60s and are still there today.
      Why
      can't they leave the stage this time around?' he queried.

      Muluzi accused the two MCP leaders of being power hungry and not ready
      to let the younger leaders take over from them.

      'There are many youngsters in the MCP capable of assuming leadership.
      Its high time both Chakuamba and Tembo left the party's leadership in
      the
      hands of youthful politicians. Don't just cling on to power,' he said.

      Muluzi described the actions of the two leaders as undemocratic and
      contrary to the belief of the party's founding father, Kamuzu Banda.

      'Dr. Banda advised them to leave the party to the young blood and yet
      we
      still see the same old folks in the party's driving seats,' he said,
      asking the
      young politicians in the party to wake up instead of just being idle.

      Muluzi also accused Tembo and Chakuamba of using intimidation to
      advance their political ambitions.

      'If they are tired, its better to leave the party honourably other
      than
      maintaining their positions by threatening young ones in the party. We
      don't
      have to live with intimidation as if we are in the one party regime,'
      he said.

      But a Chancellor College Political Scientist, Edge Kanyongolo said it
      is
      strange for a leader of a rival party to choose leaders for another
      party.

      'It is bizarre for a President of a different party to act as advisor
      for another
      party. By saying that Tembo and Chakuamba should step down, it shows
      that the president is afraid of the two. It is clear that he would love
      to see
      less formidable personalities whom he would deal with easily,'
      Kanyongolo
      said.

      Muluzi has been attacking Chakuamba since he took over power in 1994
      saying that the MCP President practices primitive politics by opposing
      every government proposal and decision.

      Muluzi and Tembo worked together when the Open Term Bill was tabled
      and defeated in Parliament on July 4 this year.

      During his rallies, Bakili Muluzi has been telling people that John
      Tembo
      was the right candidate for presidency in the MCP, because despite
      being
      from the opposition, he was able to work with government.

      However, after a surprise U-turn by since John Tembo announced that he
      will not vote for a third term bill in parliament in order to allow
      the
      incumbent an extension in office, Muluzi has included him on the list
      of his
      enemies.

      *****

      Muluzi Attacks Christians

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      November 4, 2002
      Posted to the web November 4, 2002

      By Christopher Jimu

      President Bakili Muluzi last Friday praised Moslem sheikhs for taking
      a
      leading role in the fight against HIV/Aids but at the same time
      accused
      Christians of concentrating on the third term issue.

      Speaking during the opening of the Ijitmah at Dedza Boma, Muluzi said
      a
      lot of religious groups have forgotten their roles and are only
      interested in
      the third term issue.

      'These days what we are hearing is all about the third term issue. You
      go
      here it's third term, there its third term and over there third term
      no!....no!..no!....this is not on. We should take a leaf from these
      sheiks and
      I once again congratulate you for concentrating on the AIDS issue and
      not
      politics,' Muluzi said.

      The president also said that no matter how rich or influential one can
      be
      one day he will die and meet God.

      'God will not be interested with our worldly positions. He will just
      look at our
      works. He has the biggest computers where he records our daily deeds
      and we should all fear God,' the president advised.

      In a prayer said by one of the sheikhs at the ceremony, the sheikh
      prayed
      to God to give strength and wisdom to president Bakili Muluzi, so that
      he
      should continue ruling the country.

      The president then challenged people who are saying that he is trying
      to
      Islamise the country and told them that he was elected by all
      Malawians
      not Muslims only.

      'The people that are saying that I am trying to Islamise the country
      must
      realise that I was not elected to this post by Muslims. I was elected
      by all
      Malawians,' he said.

      But Executive President of Pastor's Voice Association and Fraternity
      wondered why Muluzi was concerned with Christian's stand on the third
      issue and branded Muluzi's sentiments as unreasonable.

      'Muluzi is trying to win support from the Muslim society that is why he
      was
      congratulating the sheiks and castigating Christians. He is lying by
      saying
      that Churches are only talking of the third term issue. What he is
      saying is
      rubbish,' charged Thaulo Phiri.

      He also alleged that he knows that most of the thugs who disrupted the
      FDC march in Blantyre were Moslems.

      'The president is confused and he has lost direction. Christians will
      always
      talk against the third term issue because it is bad,' Thaulo asserted.

      Non Governmental Organisations (NGO's) and opposition parties have
      been accused by the UDF for using the church to advance their
      political
      ideologies.

      Recently a delegation of church leaders from the Church of Central
      African
      Presbyterian had an audience with the president at Sanjika palace.

      Reports indicate that the church leaders called upon Muluzi to drop
      the
      Third Term bid and stick to the constitution provisions as amended by
      the
      consent of all Malawians during the transition period.

      *****

      Muluzi's K0.5 M Donation To Lucius Angers Udf
      Officials

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      November 4, 2002
      Posted to the web November 4, 2002

      By Christopher Jimu

      UDF Party officials have cried foul over the recent donation of
      K500,000
      from President Bakili Muluzi to singer Lucius Banda. They are accusing
      the president of practising double standards and being segregative
      when
      assisting people in his party.

      According to sources, Muluzi made the donation three weeks ago after
      the
      musician had complained to him that his car was impounded by the MRA
      for not being cleared properly with the Tax body.

      'We are very disappointed with what the President has done. There are
      so
      many people who are doing a lot for the party and yet they are not
      being
      rewarded. Does this mean that only Lucius is the only person doing a
      wonderful job?' a constituency official from Lilongwe rural asked.

      He added that people like Lucius were the ones castigating the party
      in
      their songs before and only changed heart when he was picked by the
      president on a trip to the Vatican in Rome. 'It is strange that some
      individuals in the UDF Party are being given preferential treatment by
      the
      president himself. This is demoralising a lot of party officials and
      many
      have relaxed in their discharge of duties.' However Lucius Banda told
      The
      Chronicle in a telephone interview that he never received the said
      amount
      of money from President Muluzi.

      The singer explained that what he got from the UDF was payment for the
      show he had at the UDF Dinner Dance dubbed *Yellow Nite' which took
      place at Lilongwe Hotel.

      'So these people are translating K50,000 into K500,000? What is the
      problem with some people in this country?' said Lucious.

      He said that some people with ill motives were just bent on tarnishing
      his
      image for their own selfish goals.

      The Balaka based singer shot to stardom in 1992 after releasing his
      debut
      album Son of a Poor Man which talked about ills of the MCP regime.

      However, the Zembani Music leader has recently been associating with
      the
      ruling UDF prompting commentators to allege that he has been bought by
      the ruling UDF.

      He was recently awarded a medal by President Muluzi during a rally in
      Balaka for assisting the UDF in its endeavours.

      *****

      Lilongwe Vendors Lash At City Assembly

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      November 4, 2002
      Posted to the web November 4, 2002

      Wezie Nyirongo

      Lilongwe Vendors have lashed out at the City Assembly for not paying
      back for the goods they confiscated between October and November last
      year during the clean-up campaign.

      Vendors who stormed The Chronicle offices last week led by the
      Lilongwe
      Vendors Association chairman, Grant Phiri, said the city assembly
      promised to pay back the goods they confiscated in two weeks time and
      recover the damaged goods by a monetary compensation.

      The vendors said the promise was made during a meeting held at the
      Lilongwe Town Hall when the Assembly sought a compromise with
      vendors to leave their usual place along the Malangalanga road and
      settle
      behind Bottom Hospital premises.

      Phiri said each time the association go to the City Assembly to claim
      their
      compensation the Director of planning and development for the City
      Assembly Dalitso Mpoola tells them the issue is still under
      discussion.

      'We're surprised because when we remind him to consider our
      compensation or give back our goods he simply says the issue is still
      under discussion,' he said.

      'They (City Assembly) told us to put in writing our claim on the
      damaged
      goods but nothing has happened so far. Its a great loss because a lot
      of
      goods were lost and damaged in the process of the operation they
      carried
      out using the police,' said one of the vendors whose goods he said
      were
      confiscated.

      The vendors also accused Mpoola for interfering on the issue of
      vendors
      visiting the site of the new flea market.

      'There is a committee of vendors responsible for inspecting the
      progress
      of the flea market but unfortunately Mpoola restricts us from entering
      the
      premises,' said Haswell Mphizi the secretary of the vendors committee.

      In an interview with Mpoola he said after the clean up campaign the
      assembly processed the claims of the vendors who had their wares
      damaged during the campaign and that they were compensated.

      'After the clean-up campaign it came into to the knowledge of the
      assembly that some properties were damaged and the assembly resolved
      the issue and compensated those who submitted their claims at that
      time,'
      Mpoola said.

      He said that the vendors that are still claiming for compensation have
      no
      authentic claims.

      'Those who say they haven't been compensated do not have authentic
      claims.

      If they feel strongly about being compesated, then they should give us
      their
      claims. But it seems 99 percent of the claims are false,' he said.

      However, Phiri said he was not aware that some vendors were
      compensated and said that as chairman of the vendors, had no knowledge
      of cases of compensation.

      'I am not aware of any vendors that were compensated. If indeed, it is
      true
      that some vendors were compensated without my knowledge as the
      chairman for the vendors association that means that somehow,
      somewhere there was some sort of corruption,' Phiri said.

      On the issue of restricting vendors committee from visiting the new
      flea
      market Mpoola said there is no need for them to visit the place since
      the
      committee already agreed and accepted the design and the contractors
      are following what they agreed upon.

      'The contractor and the vendors already agreed on the site, design and
      plan of the market, so why do they suspect something unusual may
      happen.

      'However, the door is open and there is an opportunity to approach us
      and
      discuss,' he said.

      However, vendors also accused the Mayor Charles Chimdzeka for not
      maintaining good relationship with vendors in the city of Lilongwe
      compared to the mayor of the city of Blantyre who visit them often.

      'We envy our fellow vendors in Blantyre who from time to time have
      talks
      with their mayor and express their problems to their mayor, unlike our
      mayor who can't even spend a minute with us to appreciate our
      concerns,' they said.

      *****

      EU Funds Construction Of Dwambazi Bridge

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      November 4, 2002
      Posted to the web November 4, 2002

      Wezie Nyirongo

      Government says it appreciates the good gesture by the European Union
      (EU) who are funding the construction of the new Dwambazi bridge
      across
      the Dwambazi river which was destroyed by severe floods in April 1999.

      National Roads Authority Chief Executive Officer, Daulphin Makako,
      said
      during the visit of the head of delegation for European Commission,
      Wiepke van der Goot's, to the site of the new bridge project which is
      funded by the European Development Fund and supervised by National
      Roads Authority of Malawi.

      'The Government of Malawi appreciates the gesture by the European
      Union for funding the project which had problems of funding after it
      got
      washed away in 1999,' Makako said.

      Government failed to reconstruct the bridge immediately after it was
      washed away because of lack of funds. He said the bridge is expected
      to
      be opened for traffic by March 2003 and will have a guarantee of 100.

      Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works, Paul Maulidi, said the
      construction of the bridge has come at the right time when local
      people
      lack employment and the contractors have employed 300 locals as
      labourers and in a way alleviate poverty in the area.

      Maulidi said, 'The government is grateful that most of the labourers
      are
      local people surrounding the area of construction, this is in line to
      government's goal of alleviating poverty in the country.' He also
      commended the contractors for reaching out to the labourers with
      messages on HIV/AIDS and for allowing them to live with their wives at
      the
      site so that they shouldn't sleep around with other women.

      Wiekpe van der Goot said EU was concerned with the washed away
      bridge because it links the North and the Southern part of Malawi.

      'If the bridge was to be delayed there would be no connection, no link
      to
      economic activities from the Southern and Northern part of Malawi,' he
      said.

      Goot also said, 'I recommend the move taken by contractors on the
      deliberate policy of HIV/AIDS in the area.' The Construction project
      costs
      close to MK 300 million under the Group 5 construction (UK) Limited
      and
      AFRICON Limited as the supervising Consultant.

      The proposed bridge crosses the Dwambazi river at a point
      approximately
      1.2 km upstream of the position of the old bridge, and is within 5 km
      of the
      lake.

      The bridge is situated 40km North of the village of Dwangwa,
      approximately midway between Nkhotakota and Nkhatabay.

      *****

      Police To Improve Road Checks

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      November 4, 2002
      Posted to the web November 4, 2002

      By Arnold Mnelemba

      In process of improving road check services Police revealed that they
      will
      come up with strategies in order to develop minimum standards for
      professional service delivery. Deputy Commissioner of the police,
      responsible for Community Policing Services Willie Chingalu said this
      at
      the official opening of Stakeholders meeting on police road check.

      Chingalu said that the main focus of the exercise was on effective and
      professional service delivery of Police check points in Malawi.

      'The focus has been on three levels which include what the police
      checks
      have achieved, not achieved and what is expected of Police Checks
      Services,' Chingalu said He said that the information used was
      collected
      from opinion survey conducted by the Malawi Police Training School in
      Limbe 'The objectives were to present some of the shortfalls of
      service
      delivery at the police checks services, to plan for best Police Checks
      practice and service delivery, enhance partnership with other
      stakeholders
      in police checks services, and develop minimum standards at all police
      checks in Malawi,' he said Chingalu said that according to the survey
      it
      shows that about 75% of the interviewees recognised the positive
      impact
      or achievements made by police checks.

      He said that other achievements which were observed by the
      interviewees
      included; recovery of stolen property especially vehicles,
      identifying,
      arresting and repatriating unlawful immigrants, reduction of road
      accidents
      caused by overloading, overspeeding and unroadworthy vehicles,
      reducing
      deforestation through seizing of firewood and charcoal, reduction of
      crime
      rate through arresting perpetrators in different crimes, reduced
      smuggling
      and Drug trafficking, proliferation of small arms is being checked and
      government funds has been easily been accessed through Malawi
      Revenue Authority.

      He pointed out that there are more things which the police road
      checking
      services are failing.

      'Most of the interviewees expressed that shortfalls at the police
      checkpoints cut across areas of discipline, professionalism,
      resources,
      infrastructure and management,' said chingalu.

      Chingalu said that the public expect civic education on aims and
      objectives
      of road checks, roles and responsibilities of road users, increased
      number
      of service providers at the checkpoints per shift in order to reduce
      delays,
      well trained discplined service providers, enough equipment provided
      to
      the service providers at the checkpoints and well constructed all
      weather
      infrastructure for static permanent checkpoints.

      'Frequent supervision, institution of snap road checks corrupt free
      services, Training of all stakeholders on road check management
      including
      Malawi Revenue Authority, Forest Department, Immigration, transporters,
      National Roads Authority and Road Traffic commission, are also needed.

      *****

      Be Self Reliant, Farmers Told

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      November 4, 2002
      Posted to the web November 4, 2002

      Wezie Nyirongo

      Farmers have been advised to secure their produce for consumption and
      be self reliant by producing their own food and avoid looking up to
      government for relief food aid.

      Director of planning and development for the district commissioner's
      office
      in Lilongwe, Edwin Msewa, emphasised on the need for effective use of
      treadle pumps for increased production to promote food security in the
      country.

      'Farmers should opt for treadle pumps, if they are to produce their
      own
      food and increase production, rather than looking forward to
      government
      for relief in time of food crisis,' Msewa said at a field day organised
      by the
      EU public works programme at Kambewa village T/A Malili in Lilongwe
      west.

      The field day whose theme was *Treadle Pump Device To combat Food
      Insecurity and Poverty' drew farmers from different farming clubs,
      traditional leaders, political leaders and agricultural Extension
      workers.

      Msewa said since the introduction of the use of treadle pumps farmers
      can
      grow and yield three times a year. He said this will ensure increased
      food
      production in the country.

      He then encouraged extension agricultural advisors to extend guiding
      farmers in order to increase production.

      European Union Public Works Programme manager Adrian encouraged
      farmers to promote togetherness to address the problem of hunger in
      the
      country.

      'Togetherness will encourage farmers to address the problem of hunger
      in
      the country,' he said.

      He also assured farmers that the programme will try to revisit the
      price for
      treadle pumps to facilitate the access of the pumps to farmers by
      offering
      a lower price and increase the payment period for them.

      Traditional authority Malili advised farmers to avoid deforestation in
      order to
      prevent rivers from drying up and encourage afforestation to maintain
      water for irrigation in the gardens.

      'I am concerned with deforrestation in my area. Farmers should take
      the
      task of afforestation in areas where the environment is destroyed,'
      Malili
      said.

      Malili appealed to government to introduce the irrigation policy in
      several
      areas and not only where ministers come from saying, 'When government
      introduce a policy on irrigation they shouldn't target areas where
      ministers
      come from.' Member of parliament for the area honourable George Lowe
      said it is time for farmers to quarrel over rivers for irrigation and
      not for
      gardens 'We have known how rivers are useful, if we are quarrelling due
      to
      gardens this time we'll quarrel over rivers,' Lowe said.

      The objectives of the field day was to let people see a treadle pump as
      a
      simple, manually operated device and appreciate its output, know how
      public works programme supports the use of the Treadle pump and give
      chance to both farmers and stakeholders to discuss the problems and
      achievements.

      *****

      Sanjika Hides Shanil's Illness The Chronicle
      Exclusive

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      November 4, 2002
      Posted to the web November 4, 2002

      By Martines Namingha

      The first lady, Shanil Muluzi was recently rushed to Queen Elizabeth
      Central Hospital's ward 2B at night for treatment before being quickly
      flown
      to South Africa The Chronicle has learnt.

      Information sourced by The Chronicle from Queen Elizabeth cen tral
      hospital indicate that the first lady was brought to the hospital
      unconscious.

      The hospital director, Dr. Idani refused to be drawn to comment on the
      story and told The Chronicle that he was not aware of the incident.

      'I am not aware of that. In fact I was in Lilongwe on the dates that
      you are
      mentioning,' he said.

      However, a hospital source in ward 2B confirmed that the first lady
      was
      admitted in the ward but refused to give more details on the condition
      of
      the first lady.

      'It is true that the first lady was admitted in this ward, but it is
      unethical for
      me to give you the details, besides this is a very sensitive issue,'
      said the
      source.

      Investigations by The Chronicle led to different versions of the
      illness of the
      first lady but none could be verified by state house officials.

      Soon after the first lady returned from South Africa, the first couple
      organised a shopping trip to People's Supermarket, where all shoppers
      were asked to take groceries on the account of the first couple.

      Information sourced by The Chronicle contradicts media reports to the
      effect that the first couple were just passing by the shopping centre.

      Muluzi told journalists present in the supermarket that the first
      couple
      decided to visit the shop after noting a different name on the shop
      that
      used to be occupied by Kandodo.

      However, investigations by The Chronicle indicate that the trip was
      arranged, because all media houses in Blantyre were called by Sanjika
      palace press office and asked to assign reporters to cover the first
      couple's shopping spree.

      The president also directed his press secretary, Willie Zingani to tell
      all the
      journalists that were present to pick groceries ranging from washing
      powder, margarine, rice, sugar and milk on the first couple's account.

      'It was bizarre to have the president's press office call us around
      4:30 pm
      and asked for a reporter to cover the presidential shopping,' said a
      journalist from one of the media houses present at the shop, adding,
      'The
      president has gone on numerous shopping sprees but our newspaper has
      never been invited to cover them.' Journalists from media houses in
      Blantyre told The Chronicle that the press office called them and told
      them
      not to risk pursuing the story on the illness of the first lady.

      'We were called by the presidential press secretary who warned us
      against pursuing the story. We were told not to risk writing the
      story,' said
      one reporter.

      Also present at the Supermarket was the chief executive of Press
      Corporation, Mathews Chikaonda, who is normally not present at the
      supermarket.

      *****

      Mugabe gets 20% salary increase
      Harare
      05 November
      2002 12:28

      President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has been given a
      20% salary
      increase, his second pay rise this year, a newspaper
      reported on Tuesday.

      Government ministers and lawmakers from Mugabe's
      ruling Zimbabwe
      African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), as
      well as parliamentarians
      from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
      (MDC) will also
      receive pay increases, the paper said.

      The paper quoted a government notice published last
      week announcing that
      Mugabe's annual salary would be increased to
      1,6-million Zimbabwe dollars
      ($29 000) from 1,3-million dollars ($23 000).

      Mugabe, who received a pay increase in February,
      will have the latest salary
      increment backdated to July, the paper added.
      Zimbabwe is in the middle of
      its worst economic crisis with inflation close to
      140%. Around 80% of
      Zimbabweans live in poverty. - Sapa-AFP
    • Christine Chumbler
      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
      Message 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006

        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

        Andrew Lungu

         

        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

        Harare, Zimbabwe

        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.

        Opposition protests

        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.

        Crackdown

        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

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