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  • Christine Chumbler
    Tembo s Son to Be Recalled The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) December 2, 2002 Posted to the web December 2, 2002 Christopher Jimu Lilongwe Government is
    Message 1 of 1046 , Dec 3, 2002
      Tembo's Son to Be Recalled

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      December 2, 2002
      Posted to the web December 2, 2002

      Christopher Jimu

      Government is planning to recall John Tembo Junior from the Japanese
      Embassy where he is working as a Trade Attache following disagreements
      that have erupted between his father and President Bakili Muluzi The
      Chronicle has established.

      According to sources Tembo has already been notified of the government
      decision and will be coming back this month end.

      'A decision has already been made. Muluzi is no longer happy with John
      Tembo Senior following his role in thwarting his third term bid. When
      son returns home for the christmas holiday that will be it. He will not
      allowed to go back to resume his duties in Tokyo because the President
      has been enraged by the actions of his father,' said the source.

      Another person who is close to the Tembo family told The Chronicle
      John Jnr was supposed to return last month but surprisingly he was told
      come in December to avoid creating suspicion among Malawians.

      'The very same day Tembo made a u-turn it is the day Muluzi instructed
      people at Foreign Affairs to start looking for his son's replacement at
      embassy. What Tembo Snr has done has created a big rift between the
      two politicians,' said the source.

      However John Tembo expressed surprise when contacted on the issue
      saying that he has not heard any reports of government planning to fire
      son from the embassy.

      'I have heard nothing of that sort. If they are planning to recall him
      that is
      news to me,' said Tembo.

      Efforts to talk to External Affairs Principle Secretary Bernard Sande
      futile as he was reportedly out of office everytime this reporter
      phoned his

      President Bakili Muluzi has for the past three months intensified his
      campaign against the leader of opposition following his stance against
      third term issue.

      Early this month Muluzi told a rally a at Masintha ground in Kawale
      that he
      assisted Tembo with T/shirts and other uniforms for MCP supporters.

      Said Muluzi,'Tembo and Chakuamba should resign. What the two are
      doing by clinging to party presidencey is going against the whims of
      late Kamuzu.

      Infact had it been not for me the MCP would have been a finished party.
      you see men and women wearing MCP uniforms just know it is my money.
      I gave Tembo money to buy those uniforms,' Muluzi explained.

      UDF Central Region governmor Uladi Mussa thanked Muluzi at a another
      rally at Njewa for buying uniforms for the MCP supporters. Said
      you see MCP supporters wearing uniforms just know it s the president
      who provided such materials,' he said.

      Muluzi had for the past two years been praising Tembo that he is the
      person who practices good politics in the whole MCP.

      But since Tembo made his dramatic U-turn against the 3rd term bid he
      has drawn Muluzi wrath.


      Muluzi Imports K79 Million Vehicle

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      December 2, 2002
      Posted to the web December 2, 2002

      Joseph Ganthu

      To the surprise and astonishment of many Malawians afflicted with dire
      hunger and poverty, State President Bakili Muluzi has brought into the
      country a very expensive German made car, a Daimler at a landed price
      K79 million from his personal funds, The Chronicle has learnt. He did
      pay duty for it to the Malawi Revenue Authority.

      The luxury vehicle's first appearance to the public was when the
      visited the newly opened People's Super Market after his wife Patricia
      Shanil had just arrived from South Africa after her undisclosed
      illness. It is
      said that the President paid the bills for almost everyone at the

      The President of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP),
      Gwanda Chakuamba questioned the source of such big monies and asked
      why he, as Head of State decided to buy such an expensive vehicle at a
      time when Malawians are reeling from poverty and hunger.

      'Where is he getting all this money from? And what he should know is
      he will be asked to explain in 2004 just how he has accumulated such
      wealth within such a short period,' charged the MCP president adding
      Muluzi must be aware that he is not dealing with children.

      The Presidential Press Secretary Willie Zingani confirmed Muluzi
      bought the vehicle but refused to divulge its price. He then concluded
      The Chronicle agenda was to tarnish the image of the Malawi
      As to why Muluzi imported the vehicle duty free, the Malawi Revenue
      Authority (MRA) spokesperson Kitty Chimseu said it was normal because,
      as Head of State he had special previleges to import some of his
      things like a car duty free as provided for by the laws of Malawi.

      Making a comment on the development, Alliance For Democracy
      (AFORD) member of Parliament for Karonga North-West, Greene Lulilo
      Mwamo-ndwe said what Muluzi has done was a clear testimony that he
      has no concern for his people, especially at this time when Malawians
      dying of hunger.

      'This man is a lot worse that Idi Amin. How can a leader buy a very
      expensive vehicle when Malawians are starving and the country's
      economy is in a shambles!' said Mwamondwe adding that these are some
      of the clues exposing poor governance which has forced donors to cut
      their financial assistance to Malawi. He said the economy, hospitals
      and all
      social amenities have eroded and some have collapsed.

      Malawi would be a lot better if Muluzi was out of office, said
      and added that demonstrations against Muluzi on this would be an
      encouraging idea. He said even a child can identify the president's

      But a businessman, James Chimwala had a different view saying that as
      Head of State, it is appropriate for Muluzi to buy a vehicle which is
      expensive and unique.

      'In fact, a nation must have such ambitious leaders to portray a good
      image of themselves. Our leaders can not be expected to use common
      cars,' he said.

      Currently an IMF team has advised governemnt to stop spending on
      presidential trips and control ghost workers for them to start
      receiving aid.


      Malawi Has a New Party

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      December 2, 2002
      Posted to the web December 2, 2002

      Wezie Nyirongo

      Malawi has a new political party. It is Pamodzi Freedom Party (PFP),
      23rd political party to be registered in the country.

      The party has come into existence in order to control the political
      scene in
      the country since Malawians have been confused with the conflicts
      occurring in the ruling party UDF and the opposition MCP and AFORD

      The party which registered on 21st October, declares that there is no
      political party in the country because those so called three political
      represented in parliament are in the verge of collapse.

      According to PFP interim Publicity secretary Louis Chinkhunda the party
      composed of Malawians who are determined to pursue a serious political
      career in Malawi.

      Notable key personalities in the new party include the interim
      president Dr.
      Rainsford Chigadula Ndiwo who is a business consultant, Mr. Chiwaula
      the vice president who is a transport consultant, Mrs. Elizabeth
      Kamtumbiza the secretary general, Mr. Ngumuya the director of foreign
      affairs, Mr. Rodrick Makono the legal advisor and Mr. Godfrey Dziwe as
      director of defence and security.

      'As far as UDF is concerned there are serious cracks because most
      cabinet ministers are behind the pressure group NDA and also confusion
      with the allegedly expulsion of the likes of Manduwa and Sonke. So
      was need for the new party to be born to save and unite Malawians,'

      'AFORD is also nearly collapsed since the president Chakufwa Chihana
      has abandoned his members and decided to work with the president of
      ruling UDF party. Those are the things which hinder Malawians to have
      room to pursue their political careers,' he added.

      PFP says it is determined to rule in 2004 and will strive to bring
      democracy, quality education, quality health services, food security,
      justice, peace and improved wealth at household level and tranquillity
      to all
      Malawians for many years to come.

      'We will strive to create a democratic Malawi, fight tribal and
      conflicts across the regions, maintain political stability, economic
      development and remove corruption, insecurity and hunger. Chinkhunda
      said during the MCP regime the UDF leaders failed to come up with
      strategies to curb disunity in the country and the PFP have introduced
      good formulae in order to promote unity.

      'The past MCP regime and the ruling UDF have totally failed to promote
      unity in the country therefore we have come up with a formula through
      research to remove tribalism, disunity in the regional boundaries
      was put in place by the colonial power to divide and rule in Malawi.'
      He said
      there has been perpetual disunity in the country which no one has tried
      solve. 'Our party has worked up a formula to change the attitude of
      Malawians by creating a new set up of provinces which will mix the
      districts in such a way that they don't put one group of tribes

      'We'll not use regions any more, instead provinces will be introduced
      like in
      Mozambique and Zambia. There will be seven provinces comprising of a
      number of small districts together for proper administration and
      management.' Additionally, he said government functioning will be
      decentralised within a province and each province will have a cabinet
      minister taking control of every aspect of development.

      The PFP says it will have a total of 20 cabinet ministers in with
      representing each province. The other 13 will run government ministries
      the capital hill.

      Asked on the party's view of democracy in the country which is said to
      enjoyed by most Malawians as it is alleged by the president,
      said Malawi is not yet free since democracy is just practised on paper
      not in practice.

      'Malawi is not yet free. Democracy is just on paper but not in
      terms and we are still in the one party system.

      On the amendment of the constitution he said when PFP comes into
      power in 2004 the senate will come back so that there should be no
      interference with the constitution to suit individual interests. Every
      one will
      uphold the rule of law all the times.

      Chinkhunda lashed out at the MAFUNDE party saying they are political
      failures since their agenda is just based on opposing the controversial
      term bill. Therefore at the end of time the party will die a natural
      since they don't have a convincing agenda.

      On Agriculture, the party says it will encourage growing crops like
      twice or thrice in dambos to promote food security in the country.

      Pamodzi Freedom Party (PFP) will hold its first convention in January
      year where elections will be held.


      Govt. Recalls Ncozana

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      December 2, 2002
      Posted to the web December 2, 2002

      Staff Reporter

      Malawi government has recalled its ambassador to Germany, Reverend
      Samuel Ncozana, following reports of mismanagement of a contract that
      involved the Malawi Embassy move from Bonn to Berlin.

      A source from the Malawi Embassy in Germany told The Chronicle that
      Ncozana is due in Malawi in February 2003.

      The source said the decision to move the offices from Bonn to Berlin
      initiated by the son of the Agriculture Minister, who is the deputy
      ambassador, Thoko Banda.

      'The loan of MK222 million was negotiated by Thoko Banda. He is also
      one that identified the contractors. Reverend Ncozana was just made to
      endorse it,' said our source.

      The source said parliament was supposed to approve the loan because it
      was in excess of MK80 million.

      'If a diplomatic office would like to acquire a loan in excess of MK80
      parliament must approve the loan. The loan must go through Parliament,
      Ministry of Justice as well as Treasury. This was not the case,' said

      The source said Ncozana has been victimized, because he is paying for
      the sin of his deputy. The source said there is quite a mess at the
      Embassy in Germany.

      'The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Germany is constantly writing to our
      embassy letters reminding us of loans by our officers. The deputy
      ambassador hired a Mercedes Benz and used it until the bill reached
      US$10,000. He changed garages to avoid paying back the loan and later
      dumped the car.

      'When the owners of the car tried to recover their money through his
      he closed his account with Commerz Bank which had sufficient money,'
      said the source.

      The source also claimed that the files on the academic background of
      Thoko Banda in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are missing.

      He said his appointment the post as deputy ambassador was political.
      'The post of deputy ambassador is P3, according to the government
      scales. This is a very senior position, but there are no records of
      deputy ambassador's qualifications in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs'

      'The embassy is full of political appointees, another is the daughter
      another prominent cabinet minister, Brenda Thomson-Surtee. She is a
      councillor, and according to government grades she is P5,' said the
      source adding, 'with this kind of appointments, how do we expect our
      embassies to perform?' When The Chronicle published a story about the
      loan two weeks ago a person who refused to identify himself. only
      that he was calling from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said embassies
      get loans without the approval of parliament.

      'All diplomatic offices are under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The
      is under the civil service and the head of the civil service is the
      to President and Cabinet (SPC). So it is not true that some officials
      at the
      Ministry of Foreign Affairs were against the acquisition of the loan.

      'How could that be, because the loan was approved by the head of the
      service,' said the caller who refused to identify himself.

      He also insisted that the loan that the Malawi embassy in Germany
      acquired did not have to go through parliament, as long as it had the
      approval of the secretary to OPC.

      Efforts to talk to the principle secretary in the Ministry of Foreign
      proved futile. Sande has been reported out of the office for the whole
      When we contacted him on his cellphone, he told us that he was in a
      meeting and that we contact him after an hour.

      At the designated time, the phone was switched off.


      Finance Minister to Announce New Economic

      Malawi Insider (Blantyre)
      November 28, 2002
      Posted to the web November 30, 2002

      Brian Ligomeka
      Blantyre, Malawi

      Malawi's Finance Minister Friday Jumbe has said government is working
      tirelessly to contain pressures on the economy including adequate
      of pro-poor ministries and control of over expenditure, which have
      the country's economic performance.

      Jumbe said the government is doing all it can to contain economic
      pressure. He explained that expenditures are being closely monitored.

      "We are right now on course; our expenditures as of October are as per
      budget and I don't see events changing to a situation where
      would be more. We are carefully monitoring these expenditures," he
      disclosing that he would next week announce measures to arrest any
      fiscal indiscipline.

      He said that government is also working on shortfalls pointed out by
      International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, which recently visited Malawi.
      observed that there were some shortfalls in the manner the economy has
      been managed in the first quarter of the 2002/03 fiscal year.

      He said problems identified by the IMF team had already been identified
      the government, which was working to address them, noting most of the
      problems arose because of the current food crisis.

      The Minister said discussions with the IMF team centred most on the
      implementation of the 2002/2003 Budget.

      "As you recall the IMF was in the country in February this year and
      time we discussed the reduction of certain budgetary items. That we
      and when they came in June they were very happy with the progress; and
      in fact the outcome of June figures confirmed that we lived within the
      budget outline," he said.

      He added: "We agreed on the budget for the year 2002/2003 and this
      was to review the performance of the first quarter of the year covering
      period from July to September. During that visit again they were happy
      out-turn and that revenues were above budget and that we managed to
      contain the overall expenditure.

      Jumbe said a few areas of concern included certain budgetary items
      were spent above budget.

      "They observed that the pro-poor expenditures were not fully funded in
      first quarter and the pro-poor expenditure ministries include
      Health, and Agriculture, Water, Police and Local and Government," he

      The minister said the IMF team found that there was over expenditure
      wages and salaries that exceeded the budget limits.

      He said one of the reasons for this was that the major ministries of
      Education and Health had recruited retired teachers and medical
      personnel who were not budgeted for.

      "Secondly, there seems to be evidence of ghost workers who are still
      the Ministry of Education. Thirdly, government spent slightly more in
      Defence because some senior army officers were retiring in the first
      quarter and they had to be given their terminal dues," Jumbe said.

      The minister also explained that there was evidence of allowance
      where officers were over-claiming allowances, and that sometimes,
      allowances were paid several times than once, and these have created
      economic pressure.

      The minister said that measures are being put in place to contain
      economic shortfalls. He cited over expenditure as the main problem and
      hinted his ministry has devised a mechanism to address the problem so
      that ministries and departments spend within their limits.


      Malawi's Lakeshore Land Policy Unveiled

      Malawi Insider (Blantyre)
      November 28, 2002
      Posted to the web November 30, 2002

      Paul Kang'ombe
      Blantyre, Malawi

      Foreigners illegally in possession of land along Lake Malawi's shore
      thereby displacing Malawians risk eviction and their structures
      following an early government intervention.

      Minister of Lands Physical Planning and Survey, Thengo Maloya,
      told a news conference in Blantyre that the government has revived a
      shore watchdog body known as Lake Shore Development Committee that
      had been inactive for about seven years. The major function of the
      watchdog body is to protect interests of indigenous Malawians who were
      displaced by foreigners who constructed cottages along the lake shore

      "There is uneconomic use of prime land
      by cottage developers [foreigners], living
      much of the land idle. Some cottages
      have been linked with environmental
      pollution through discharge of untreated
      sewage into water bodies, and seepage
      from septic tanks," he said.

      The minister said that on October 18,
      2002 the government approved the revival
      of the committee, which has been
      dormant since 1995. In addition,
      government has extended the Land
      (Development of Lake Shore Plots) (Control) Order.

      He said the new government Order now covers all lake shore areas and
      major water bodies, which include lakes Malombe, Chirwa, Chiuta and
      Shire River. The order also covers the exploration of the lake shore
      as a catalyst for tourism attraction.

      "The overall objective of the Lake Shore Development Committee is to
      promote economic, orderly and efficient development along the shores
      Lake Malawi and the shores of the other major water bodies of Malawi,
      to protect the interests of indigenous Malawians against arbitrary
      displacement and disruption of their water-related activities," he

      Maloya said that the Lake Shore Development Committee, will regulate
      development activities along the entire lakeshore of Lake Malawi and
      shores of other major water bodies of the country.

      The committee, according to Maloya, will also stop illegal
      along the lake shores and river banks, facilitate the promotion of
      along the lake shores and main river banks of Malawi, in particular
      Shire River.

      The committee would also protect indigenous villagers against land
      encroachers and illegal developers, protect fishing grounds thereby,
      promoting orderly fisheries development in the lakes and other major
      bodies and enhance environmental quality by promoting sound and
      sustainable environmental management, he said.

      He noted that prior to 1987, there was rampant development along the
      shores of Lake Malawi especially along lake shore areas in Mangochi by
      non-Malawian developers who acquired the land illegally.

      The minister blamed some traditional leaders along the lakeshore areas
      whom he said sell land to foreigners for personal gains at the expense
      poor villagers.

      Maloya, therefore urged Malawians along the lake shores to seek
      from his office before any developer would be allocated a piece of

      Maloya observed that indigenous Malawians are blocked to get to water
      fronts by brick and barbed wire fences that were constructed around
      cottages denying the indigenous owners of the land to use the beaches.

      Cottage development proliferation has a negative effect on the overall
      tourism industry in general since accrued benefits are not easily
      taxed, the
      minister said.

      He said in some instances, foreign visitors transact and effect
      outside this country whereby visitors only come here for

      In this way, he said, government loses foreign exchange as opposed to
      hotel industry, which is taxable and is a major source of employment


      Property Grabbing Escalates in Wake of HIV/Aids

      UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
      November 29, 2002
      Posted to the web November 29, 2002


      The family names of some people featured in this article
      have been withheld at their request

      As more and more people die of AIDS, traditional practices of
      are becoming a source of grief and subsequent hardship for many
      Malawian widows.

      Shortly before he died in 1999, Florence's husband said she and the
      children should remain in their home in the capital Lilongwe. "But when
      husband died, his relatives came and said I should sell the house and
      return home to the village," recalled Florence, who is 35.

      She did as the relatives instructed, only to be dispossessed of
      she and her husband had owned. "My husband's relatives met us on the
      road, stopped the truck [carrying her possessions] and diverted it to
      village. Here they took everything off the truck and demanded that I
      them the money I had collected from my late husband's employer.

      "A week later, a family meeting was convened and all the household
      and money were distributed to my husband's relatives. I went back to
      village with nothing," she said. Since then, Florence said, she has
      struggled to survive without a regular source of income.

      Last August, Florence began feeling weak, and made her way to the AIDS
      Information and Counselling Centre (MAICC) in the small town of
      five kilometres from her home in the central Dowa district of Malawi.
      she was diagnosed HIV positive.

      Susana, a counsellor at MAICC since 1995, says Florence's case is not
      uncommon. "Most of the women I counsel have problems with
      inheritance," Susana explained. "I've never heard of a man having such
      problems. The inheritance issue is a big problem in the villages."

      According to Seodi White, Malawi National Coordinator of the Women and
      Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) research trust, property grabbing is
      However, White said the law also states that, in the absence of a
      will, the property of the deceased should be divided between family
      relatives. As a result, the practice of property grabbing continues.

      The AIDS epidemic has exacerbated the problem, said White. "When
      HIV-positive people started getting sick, we found that relatives
      taking away their property. The HIV-positive people believed they
      to be treated like that just because they didn't know their rights."

      Like many rural Malawians, Florence's husband did not write a will
      he died. Not that Florence thinks a will would have helped her: "Even
      if a
      will had been written, they [the relatives] wouldn't have followed it.
      in-laws changed when my husband died. During the nine years we were
      married, they were good people. I was surprised to see them change so
      much when he died."

      Such attitudes are rooted in Malawi's patriarchal society, White
      "Women are not seen as being able to buy property ... Culturally, in
      when a woman gets married, she is not related to her husband.
      when the husband dies, the wife is expected to go back to her family,
      leaving the property to her husband's relatives."

      Added White: "It's very rare for the relatives of a [deceased or dying]
      wife to
      come and take away property from a husband." This only happens if
      was evidence that the wife had bought the property, she explained, but
      such evidence was seldom required when the relatives of a dead husband
      remove property.

      In light of the recent upsurge in property grabbing, WLSA has extended
      outreach work to include community-based AIDS organisations such as

      Recently, about 40 counsellors, carers, volunteers and clients, were
      gathered in a semi-built hall behind MAICC's small office, a stone's
      from the main road from Lilongwe to the northern city of Mzuzu. They
      intently as WLSA staff members explain the legalities of inheritance,
      the participants' subsequent questions highlighted how far removed the
      law was from day-to-day practice.

      "What happens when there is more than one wife, who qualifies for
      inheritance then? You can't split a bicycle three ways!" one
      asked. "What happens if the husband writes the will in secret and
      things that he didn't buy?" another wanted to know.

      However, the main stumbling block appears to be the law's prerequisite
      paperwork. Many people are buried before a death certificate can be
      issued, as the relevant government offices are often far from rural
      some of the MAICC clients pointed out.

      The same goes for magistrates' courts, where inheritance claims are
      processed. And even when a widow manages to find her way to the right
      authority, corrupt officials sometimes demand bribes, another
      explained, to nods of agreement from other clients. Or else
      relatives of the deceased use their influence to block a widow's

      The WLSA staff do their best to offer practical solutions to the myriad
      problems raised by the group, but White later admitted that sometimes
      there was little she and her colleagues could do besides make people
      aware of their rights. Nonetheless, White continued, many traditional
      leaders are supportive of widow's rights, and therefore WLSA is
      advocating for traditional leaders to be granted greater
      powers, something government appears reluctant to do.

      Property grabbing affects not only rural women. Beauty, a middle-aged
      Malawian professional, moved to South Africa with her husband and
      children in the early 1990s in search of new employment opportunities.
      husband died of AIDS in 2000.

      "By the time my husband died, there was R3 [30 US cents] in our bank
      account [the rest of the money having gone on the husband's medical
      treatment]. But his relatives phoned time and again to tell me to sell
      house and to bring the body back to Malawi. They weren't thinking of
      three kids and me, and the fact that we would be left with nothing.
      was still 15 years left on the house bond .... but all they knew was
      that my
      husband had a good job, and therefore they wanted what was due to

      Beauty stood her ground and remained in Johannesburg. "If I had been
      Malawi, I would have lost everything. Instead, we buried my husband in
      South Africa. His relatives didn't come to the funeral - they said
      couldn't afford it!"

      Not all widows suffer in the way that Beauty and Florence have. Mary,
      47, a
      widow with six children and two grandchildren, works as a volunteer at
      MAICC. The grandchildren were orphaned when Mary's daughter died in
      1997, a year after Mary's husband passed away.

      "Before my husband died, he told his relatives that all the property he
      was for me and the children. At the same time, he gave some cattle and
      some money to his relatives," Mary explained. "As a result, we kept

      The same went for Mary's daughter who, according to Mary, took all the
      household possessions to her late husband's relatives, and discussed
      with them how the property should be divided.

      "They resolved that my daughter and the children should keep the
      property," Mary said. "By approaching and consulting with her
      relatives, she was showing them that she did not intend to sever ties
      them ... However, inheritance can be dicey. You never know how people
      will react. The best thing for anyone to do to is to write a will."
    • 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.


        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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