- Government Limits Price of Maize
Malawi Insider (Blantyre)
December 18, 2002
Posted to the web December 18, 2002
By a Correspondent
In an effort to reach millions of people who need food, Malawi
government has limited the price of maize to K17 per kilogramme.
Some international analysts who usually oppose the policy of subsidy
say the strategy is too expensive for the government's meager budget.
The government's plan to subsidize maize imports in order to cut the
market price by nearly 50 percent has brought criticism from some aid
The critics say only about one third of all Malawi consumers need the
subsidies. The rest, they say, can either afford market prices or are
already receiving free food from non-governmental groups.
Roger Yochelson is the USAID Mission Director for Malawi. "There
are three categories of consumers: at the low end are the poorest of
poor, with no money to buy maize," he said.
He explained that these are subsistence farmers with very little money
from last year's poor harvest.
He pointed out: "These farmers have sold their chickens, goats, and
bicycles and they do not have a lot of resources with which to barter
Those are the people we are targeting with humanitarian assistance.
That category I am not worried about - none of that maize will go to
anyone who does not need it. Then there is the middle third those who
have some money, some resources, and they are the ones who should
benefit from a subsidized scheme."
The most prominent critics of the cuts are five members of Britain's
International Development Committee in the House of Commons. The
critics made a parachute visit to Malawi recently.
Being people who are not fully aware of the harsh reality of the
situation on the ground, they say the World Bank should not have
provided an aid package to the Malawi government to help it
subsidize maize imports.
Contrary to their anti-patritiotic attitude and stance, the World Bank
has seen the need to provide aid and credit to Malawi to help it fight
Under the plan, the World Bank is providing a $50 million credit, part
of which will go toward buying the subsidized maize.
The British lawmakers say the government could have paid for a
limited subsidy from its own resources.
They say the subsidy for all Malawi consumers will cost $50 million
and add $29 million to Malawi's debt.
World Bank director for Malawi Dunstan Wai says the Bank does not
usually support subsidies, but an exception was made because
people were dying of hunger.
Other donors, including USAID's Roger Yochelson, are concerned that
some traders will buy the lower priced grain and sell it at higher
when maize again becomes scarce. "What happened last year is folks
with money filled up trucks with people who got off the truck half a
kilometer from the depot," said Roger Yochelson. "They stood in line,
picked up their one bag of maize, and collected it back to the truck.
The owner of the truck went back and sold it.
The second thing that was happening was that people of influence
would roll into the facility and say, 'I want 10,000 metric tonnes of
maize'. Some poor little fellow working in a rural area in a depot is
no position physically or politically to object and they empty the
at preferred rates.
The maize gets into the country, but it is not being targeted at the
people who cannot afford the high prices. There is no way to avoid
under the current scheme this year.
The World Bank and IMF have acceded to that and the government is
moving ahead with that."
Yochelson says the targeted subsidy would have been easy to
But Malawi's Minister of Agriculture, Aleke Banda, disagrees. "The
reason why we are for the generalized subsidy is that the vouchers
sound very good on paper, but they are very difficult to implement,"
said. "60 percent of our people are very poor, how do we decide who
gets the voucher and who pays the commercial price? In one village,
one area, that is the recipe for social tension. That is the major
why we said no, this will not work. "
He also denies that there are currently any people hoarding maize, or
that there were any attempts at stealing maize last year.
"Last year, we brought in 150,000 metric tonnes of maize from South
Africa and we sold it at a subsidized rate of 17 Kwacha per
kilogramme," said Banda.
He added: "Our depots were given instructions not to sell large
amounts to people, to try to ration it; secondly, the communities
themselves do the policing. If someone turns up with a pick up or
to buy maize, they will not allow them.
If someone with money would organize young people to buy bits and
pieces of maize, the community will find out something is going on.
There was no evidence last year of any hoarding of this maize sold at
the subsidized price, and we think this year it will be the same."
The World Bank's Dunston Wai says a high level taskforce that
includes donors and Malawi's Ministry of Agriculture is monitoring the
delivery of food. He says there have been no complaints about
Malawi-Mozambique Tobacco Dispute Over
Malawi Insider (Blantyre)
December 18, 2002
Posted to the web December 18, 2002
By Tusekele Mwanyongo
Agriculture Minister Aleke Banda has said that there will be no
repetition of the obstacles imposed during the last two years on the
processing of Mozambican tobacco in Malawi.
Banda told The Malawi Insider in an interview that the agreement he
has signed with his Mozambican counterpart, Helder Muteia, has
solved the problem definitively.
"We have good relations of cooperation with Mozambique", he said. "I
was in Maputo and we signed an agreement to regulate cross-border
trade, not only in tobacco, but also in other goods."
He added: "But it was certainly tobacco that created most problems."
Banda explained that it was necessary to bear in mind that both
Malawi and Mozambique are tobacco producing countries who do
business with international tobacco companies that act according to
their own rules.
The intention of both countries, Banda stressed, was to eliminate
problems, and this would involve the establishment of national
organisations of tobacco producers.
In 2001, the Malawian government banned the entry of foreign
This made it impossible for Mozambican producers to process their
tobacco in Malawi, until President Bakili Muluzi was persuaded to
intervene and reverse the ban.
This year the Malawi government imposed a surcharge of 10 per cent
on all foreign tobacco entering the country, a move which caused
outrage on the Mozambican side of the border, and was cancelled
after two weeks.
Asked about the hunger situation in Malawi, Banda confirmed that at
least 3.3 million Malawians are in need of food aid. He said that
government is doing all it could do to provide food aid to the most
Key to Malawi's relief operation is the Mozambican port of Nacala,
and the Nacala-Malawi railway.
It is hoped that the line will move 237,000 metric tonnes of grain to
Malawi over nine months.
David Whitehead Resumes Production
Malawi Insider (Blantyre)
December 18, 2002
Posted to the web December 18, 2002
By Paul Kang'ombe
David Whitehead and Sons Malawi Limited (DWS) has resumed
production while waiting for prospective strategic technical partners
probably from the Far East to resuscitate it into full scale
The company's Acting Chief Executive Evelyn Mwapasa confirmed in
an interview that DWS has temporarily re-employed about 260 of its
former employees to continue with textile production while waiting for
its privatization process to be completed.
"Yes, we've temporarily employed staff around that figure to keep
production going on," she explained.
She however disclosed that the company is producing small quantities
of textile for only the local market.
DWS, which was once the largest textile manufacturing company in
the country scaled down its production some five years ago due to
high machinery maintenance costs and a down turn in the textile
industries in the face of increasing pressure from cheap imports from
the far east.
Government through the Privatisation Commission attempted to
privatise the company in 1996 but no successful bidder was identified.
A report from the Privatization Commission reads in part: "DWS failed
to attract investors because of poor machinery. Attempts to
the company failed due to lack of adequate financial resources."
The company has some old machinery that was planted at the
inception of the company and has never been replaced by new ones;
this has frustrated the success of the privatization initiative.
"In July 2002, the Commission resumed its efforts to find a strategic
partner to invest in DWS. With the assistance of the consultants an
information memorandum was produced as a prelude to marketing
investment opportunity. The company was advertised on 19 August
2002 in both the local and international media," the report says.
The Commission targeted Far East textile manufacturers in its effort
find a strategic partner.
"Since major global textile manufacturers are based in the Far East,
the Commission made special efforts to target this region for
marketing. There are indications that at least one or two producers
from the Far East could submit a bid," reads privatisation newsletter.
Lilongwe City Assembly to Demolish Illegal
Malawi Insider (Blantyre)
December 18, 2002
Posted to the web December 18, 2002
By Professor Donton Mkandawire
Lilongwe City Assembly wishes to inform the general public that it has
received reports that there are some unauthorized people and groups
who are orchestrating Land allocation and distribution to other people
in need of plots in various areas of the city especially Area 25, Area
49, Area 44 and Area 50 (Chimoka, Ngomani and Mwatipha).
Individuals undertaking this malpractice are impersonating City
Assembly officials or agents.
The Lilongwe City Assembly is therefore advising the general public
that it has not delegated anyone or any committee in Area 25, Area
49, Area 44 or Area 50 (Chimoka, Mgona, Fumbe, Ngomani and
Mwatipha) to orchestrate land allocation to people in need of plots.
such, the general public is advised to desist from acquiring land or
plots from the people or groups reported to be distributing land in
The general public is further advised that Lilongwe City Assembly has
a Plot Allocation Committee in place (based at the Civic Offices, City
Centre) which is responsible for all plot allocation in Traditional
Housing Areas (THAs). All considerations for a plot in Traditional
Housing Areas (THAs) are processed through submission of
application forms obtainable from Civic Offices.
Lilongwe City Assembly is therefore warning that it will demolish
without notice all structures in the mentioned areas built or being
on urban land without City Assembly's approval.
Lilongwe City Assembly will not be held responsible for damages to
property resulting from such demolitions.
Alliance for Democracy President Lashes Out At
Malawi Insider (Blantyre)
December 18, 2002
Posted to the web December 18, 2002
By Tusekele Mwanyongo
Alliance for Democracy (Aford) President Chakufwa Chihana has
unreservedly dismissed what he calls a smear campaign targeted at
damaging his image and reputation by a few of his parliamentarians
who are opposed to his policy of supporting the government in its
Chihana said in an exclusive telephone interview with The Malawi
Insider from his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe that it is unfortunate
that a few misguided politicians, led by Karonga North-west MP
Greenwell Mwamondwe, are intent at trivializing politics in the
"It is unacceptable for just few selfish, short-sighted and
politicians to derail social economic development work in this
In all civilized democratic nations, every sensible opposition works
constructively and positively hand in hand with the government of the
day to enhance development and consolidate democratic gains," said
Chihana. The Aford czar said it is very unfortunate that some
politicians just believe in heaping negative criticisms against the
government. " This is having a negative impact on President Muluzi's
quest to consolidate the prevailing peace and stability in Malawi,"
Aford leader said.
Suspended Aford secretary general Dan Msowoya said recently he
feared Chihana was contemplating entering into an electoral alliance
with the ruling UDF ahead of the 2004 polls. Msowoya, who is also
regarded as a 'rebel', said Chihana is doing this alone without
consulting his colleagues in the party.
However, Chihana has parried Msowoya's assertions, calling them
unfortunate and lacking political maturity. He said there are no such
intentions within the leadership of Aford.
Chihana further explained that in a democracy there is nothing wrong
for various political parties to make alliances. He observed that he
heard from the grapevine that some opposition groups are planning to
form alliances ahead of 2004 elections.
"I find nothing wrong with the opposition working for a common goal
ahead of the polls in 2004," he said, adding that such is a
constitutional right the Muluzi administration has encouraged and is
one that everybody should enjoy.
"However, what is important is the fashion, the style with which to
execute such alliances and the anticipated objectives. You do not
cooperate with an intention to frustrate the other. That might be
counter-productive and you begin to scorn your own bedfellow at the
failure of your cooperation."
"What we in Aford are doing is to engage in a constructive dialogue
with the UDF government. We realize that through such a harmonious
approach, we will, together, be able to lift the country's populace out
dire poverty," he said.
Chihana said that making development a reality has been a pipe
dream for many years in countries where the politics of confrontation
practiced. He cited countries such as the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC), the Great Lakes region, Somalia and the Balkans, as
some places where economic development has taken place at a
snail's pace because of lack of peace and unity of all political
He said people's livelihood is enviable in countries like Botswana
where politics is second to all other important social and economic
matters. "The West has also seen horrendous times few hundred
years ago. But they have since realized the need to work harmoniously
without regard to their different political minds. They have thus
a tremendous economic transformation to an extent that they now
almost control the whole world.
"We have many social amenities and yet we go ahead despising each
other on a political platform or in newspapers. I won't dare to be
cheap," he said, declaring that he will continue working with
Muluzi on matters of national importance without fear of anyone.
Chihana said that it is important for the opposition to co-operate
the government. He pointed out that he does not regret his stance. He
said that the country has undergone tremendous transformation in
terms of the economy, human rights observers and other social
aspects since President Muluzi ousted "that unpredictable Dr. Banda
dynasty" in 1994.
"People should not pretend as if they don't have eyes to see or ears
hear. We must learn to be responsible enough by giving credit where it
is due. It has not been as easy, as some of us may think, to sustain
this country into such a peaceful political transition," he said.
Aford acting publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda concurred with his
president in a separate interview on Aford's partnership with the
He, however, made a clarification that his party is working with the
UDF-led government and not UDF as a party.
"I have noted a glaring misconception in the way Chihana and Aford's
detractors view our partnership. We are working with the government
and not UDF as a political party. I expected people who claim to have
gone to school to know this difference," Nyirenda said.
But Nyirenda reiterated an earlier declaration that if need be, Aford
would consult its bona fide members, preferably at a convention, to
consider working with UDF as a party at any time considered
He quickly added that this would also be subject to UDF's
endorsement of such an arrangement as well.
"We are two different political entities and thus we have two
political ideologies. Naturally, we would have to strike a balance to
work together. And that's no tall order I can assure you. It only
a mutual understanding and the realization of what we want to achieve
for this country at the end of the day," he said.
Charges over Zambian
By Penny Dale
Three members of Zambia's leading opposition
party have been charged with the murder
earlier this year of a freelance journalist.
All three say they are not guilty and are the
victims of political persecution.
The members of Anderson Mazoka's United
Party for National Development (UPND) are
accused of causing injuries during a scuffle
which resulted in the death of the journalist
three months later.
One of the three men is Anderson Mazoka's top
lieutenant, Tiens Kahenya, who holds the
position of UPND treasurer general.
The other two, who are ordinary party
members are Alec Tembo and Albert Chifita.
They are accused of causing the death of
Charles Lwiindi as a result of a fight between
them on 24 January this year.
The incident took place at Mr Mazoka's
Leopard's Hill home after party members
objected to the presence of Mr Lwiindi at what
was an internal party meeting, and assaulted
him in the process of ejecting him from the
Police spokesperson Brenda Muntemba told the
BBC that Lwiindi died three months later, on 27
April, as a result of the injuries he sustained
during that scuffle.
Lawyer Sakwiba Sikota, who is representing
the men and is also UPND's vice-president,
admitted to the BBC that the assault did take
place, but flatly denies the police's version of
He insists that the journalist's death was due
not to the assault, but to another, unrelated,
He says that medical notes show that Lwiindi
was hospitalised about a week before his
death with suspected malaria.
Mr Sikota also condemned the arrests as
political persecution and as an attempt by the
government to discredit the UPND by painting
a picture of it as a party of murderers.
The men will remain in custody until they are
brought before the courts for a remand hearing
which, according to Zambian law, should be on
Mugabe rival rejects
Zimbabwe's opposition leader has refused to
meet President Robert Mugabe to discuss the
political and economic crisis.
Morgan Tsvangirai says that an "unholy
alliance" of Britain, South Africa and Mr
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is trying to set up
such a meeting.
But Mr Tsvangirai insists
that Mr Mugabe must
resign as the first part
of any solution to
This must be followed by the establishment of
a transitional government to organise free and
fair elections, he said.
He also demanded that the authorities stop
using food aid as a political weapon.
Up to six million people - half of the population
- face starvation and western countries,
human rights groups and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) say
that MDC activists are being barred from
receiving food aid.
Former colonial power Britain and regional
strongman South Africa are key players in the
Mr Mugabe accuses Britain of plotting to oust
him, while the MDC wants South Africa to take
stronger action against the Zimbabwe
"I am reliably informed
that Mugabe is
prepared to meet with
me somewhere outside
the country to discuss
his problems," Mr
Tsvangirai told a
meeting of MDC MPs in
African plan will fail to
take off if it remains
predicated on the
desire to legitimise the
illegitimate Mugabe regime. We will never be
used to prop up this dying regime," he said.
A spokesman for the British Foreign Office
neither confirmed nor denied the claims that it
was trying to organise a meeting between the
bitter political rivals.
But he did tell BBC News Online that "dialogue
is the only way of getting a lasting solution"
and that this was what the Commonwealth
was currently attempting to pursue.
From Mr Tsvangirai's speech, it appears that
the plan would involve Mr Mugabe resigning
and being replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa,
the Speaker of Parliament.
On Tuesday, Mr Mnangagwa was warmly
received at the congress of South Africa's
ruling African National Congress.
"If Mugabe is to step
down today, nothing
will change as long as
the fundamentals that
brought this country
to where it is remain
"We are ready to
confront the Mugabe
stooge at home and
show him the way," Mr
spokesman George Charamba told the French
news agency, AFP, that the comments were a
"silly attempt to reposition the MDC".
Mr Mugabe accuses the MDC of being a front
for Britain and white farmers.
A spokesman for the South African High
Commission told AFP that he was not aware of
any plan to organise a meeting.
The MDC leader says that Mr Mugabe rigged
the March election and that opposition
activists continue to be attacked and tortured
for their political beliefs.
Mr Mugabe has previously said that he will not
leave power until he has finished his "land
revolution" of redistributing farms from whites
Just a few hundred white farmers now remain
on their land.
But the disruption to agriculture has worsened
the food shortages and contributed to the
Inflation is currently running at 175%, while
unemployment is also at a record high.
Zimbabweans are faced with a daily struggle to
obtain basic commodities such as petrol,
bread, sugar and the staple food, mealie meal.
ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract
by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17
The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by government to look for another contractor instead of China Hunan Construction to construct of the long awaited Karonga/Chitipa road.
China Hunan from Mainland China won the bid which was approved by the ADB but government later wanted to award the contract to a Portuguese firm, Mota Engil, the second lowest bidder, claiming China Hunan's bid was unrealistically low and that the company had very little experience in Africa.
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe confirmed on Sunday the ADB rejected the proposal at a meeting held between the bank and Malawi government in Tunisia last week.
The Malawi government wanted the Tunisia meeting to authorise it to get another contractor for the road, said Gondwe.
"They did not allow us to look for another contractor because of their regulations. But we are about to get another alternative for Karonga/Chitipa and I would be surprised if it does not start before end June," said Gondwe.
The minister explained that the bank insisted that regardless of the unrealistic cost estimates, China Hunan should be allowed to go ahead with the construction.
But Gondwe could not give further details about the alternatives, arguing there are still a few loose ends to tighten up before disclosing it.
The problem with China Hunan, according to Gondwe, is that it would require more money to meet the total cost of the project.
This paper reported last week that government met Taiwanese representatives where they offered to fund the road if the ADB continued to reject its favoured contractor, Mota Engil.
Gondwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports on the Taiwanese offer, saying government was looking at a number of ways to handle the issue.
According to Gondwe, the China Hunan's bid was 24 percent lower than the consulting engineers' estimates of K7.9 billion and 34 percent below the second lowest bidder.
President Bingu wa Mutharika laid a foundation stone for the construction of the road this year ahead of a crucial byelection in Chitipa in December last year.
The President's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the Chitipa Wenya constituency by-election that fell vacant following the collapse and subsequent death of Speaker of Parliament Rodwell Munyenyembe who belonged to the UDF.
Last week, police and the District Commissioner (DC) for Chitipa stopped a rally that was aimed at soliciting people's views about development projects in the district.
The meeting, which was reportedly organised by Concerned Citizens of Chitipa, was among other things also supposed to tackle the controversial Karonga/Chitipa road.
The project failed to start off in 2000 when a contract for an initial loan of US$17 million and US$15 million from the Taiwanese government was signed, with some quarters claiming the Bakili Muluzi administration diverted the money to another road.
Chihana operated on
by Edwin Nyirongo, 22 May 2006 - 06:32:31
Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Chakufwa Chihana, who is in South Africa receiving treatment, had a brain operation on Friday at Garden City Clinic, family and party officials confirmed on Sunday.
Aford national chairman Chipimpha Mughogho said he was told by the family members that Chihana had a successful operation on Friday and was put in an intensive care unit.
Mughogho said Chihana, who initially complained of headache, was found with a brain tumour which South African doctors removed.
Mzimba West MP Loveness Gondwe said Aford boss condition was stable.
"Hon. Chihana had a major operation and after that he was put in the intensive care unit but his condition is stable. I do not know where he was operated on but it had something to do with the skull," she said.
Deputy Information Minister John Bande referred the matter to the Health Minister Hetherwick Ntaba who was reported to be in Geneva, Switzerland.
Aford publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda said when Chihana's situation got worse, the family alerted the Office of the President and Cabinet who took him to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.
"The doctors at Mwaiwathu advised that he should be sent to South Africa and they even identified the doctor for him," he said.
He said the costs are being met by the Malawi government, contradicting his earlier statement that his boss covered the cost.
Mughogho is now in charge of the party.
Gondwe will be a busy person when Parliament starts meeting on June 6 as she is the only Aford MP remaining.
Pillane proposes presidential age limit
by Emmanuel Muwamba , 22 May 2006 - 06:34:13
A member of the DPP National Governing Council Abdul Pillane on Saturday urged members of political parties and the civil society to put an upper age limit in the Constitution for presidential candidates.
Pillane was addressing members of political parties and civil society in Liwonde during a two-day follow up workshop to the National Conference on the Review of Constitution held in March in Lilongwe.
"My view is that (an upper) age limit should be at 75. We have to give a chance to younger people to lead because in circumstance, when you age you become forgetful especially when sickly," said Pillane. "Overall, chances should be given to young people."
But UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, whose party members agitated for the age limit during presentations, played the issue down.
"I feel there is no logic to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates. If someone is 90 or 80 I don't know how that can influence the electorate not to vote for someone who is younger, I don't see any logic behind that," said Makwangwala.
MCP participants at the workshop also vehemently objected to the proposal.
MCP vice president Nicholas Dausi in an interview said: "There is no constitution in Africa which stipulates an upper age limit. So it would be strange in Malawi to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates."
MDP President Kamlepo Kalua also opposed the need to have an upper age limit.
"If we have personalities in mind that we want to discriminate against then it is unfortunate. The constitution we want to build is a guiding document for future generations and it should not bar certain individuals on the basis of grudges," he said.
The Malawi Law Constitution Issues Paper of March 2006 says several submissions that were received put an upper presidential age limit in the Constitution.
"It is argued that it is common sense that mental knowledge faculties tend to fail with age. As regards what the actual age limit should be the submissions are far from being agreed. The range is from 60 years to 80 years," read submissions in the Issues Paper.
On whether MPs should double as ministers, Kalua said this should be the case.
Makwangwala also said it is not right for MPs to serve as ministers because the Legislature, another arm of government, is reduced while the Executive branch is beefed up from another arm of government.
"There is no separation of powers when MPs double as ministers," said Makwangwala.
But Pillane said there is no problem for MPs to work as ministers as well, saying MPs are elected by the President.
"One can serve both posts. There have been no problems before for people to double," said Pillane.
The Centre for Multiparty Democracy funded the workshop through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.
The objective was to come up with a collective position on the Issues Paper which will be presented to the Special Law Commission that will be constituted soon.
Mussa hails new driving licence
by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:58:52
Transport and Public Works Minister Henry Mussa last week said the design of the Malawi-Sadc driving licence would guard against forgery and ensure that only skilled and legitimate drivers of particular vehicles are licensed.
Mussa was speaking at the official launch of the licences in Lilongwe where he announced that traffic police would from July enforce speed limits and sober driving using Breathalysers which his ministry is in the process of procuring.
The minister said financial constraints are the reason for the delay in procuring the equipment but assured that by July they would be available.
"With the new equipment, the days of those who believe in the thrill of drink and driving are numbered," warned Mussa.
Mussa added that with the new licence, government is optimistic that the country's roads would be safe.
Acting Director of Road Traffic James Chirwa said the features that distinguish the new from the old licences are the Malawi national flag and a ghost image of the driver's photograph, among others.
Those with old licences, according to Chirwa, are expected to get the new ones after the expiry of the former.
UDF demands investigation on Kasambara
by Rabecca Theu, 22 May 2006 - 06:30:46
The United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked government to investigate Ralph Kasambara on allegations of abuse of office while he was attorney general.
UDF publicity secretary Sam Mpasu told the press Sunday that the party is neither amused or saddened by the removal of the former AG but asked government to institute investigations on Kasambara.
"Beyond the removal of the Attorney General, we now urge President Mutharika to institute investigation against Mr Kasambara into allegations that have made rounds in the public domain during the recent past. These include: Mrs Helen Singh and SS Rent-a-Car; SGS and ITS saga; ...........the use of Malawi Police Service in the arrest of three Chronicle journalists and the handling of Mrs Rubina Kawonga," said Mpasu.
Mpasu also accused Kasambara of awarding government contracts to Lawson and Company where he was a senior partner.
"We urge government to thoroughly investigate the former AG. We also ask government to cautiously select the new AG ," said Mpasu, who was accompanied by the party's Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala, leader of the party in Parliament George Mtafu, chief whip Leonard Mangulama and a member of the executive Hophmally Makande.
But Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati said UDF should give offer its advice to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).
"They should advise bodies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau to conduct the investigations and why are they saying this now? Is it because Kasambara has been fired? This is not a personal issue. If they have other pressing issues they should just say so. These arguments should have come up earlier on when the said cases were happening," she said.
Kasambara asked UDF to proceed with the mission of urging government to investigate him.
"They can do their job. Everyone has a right to lobby for anything they want in the country. UDF has a right to do that, let them go ahead," he said.
Kasambara was relieved of his duties as AG by the President last week. Government has not given reasons behind the removal.
Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
May 18, 2006
Posted to the web May 19, 2006
MALAWIANS who have encroached on both the 'no-man's' and part of the Zambian land at the Mwami border in Eastern Province have plucked out some beacons that were used in the demarcation of the border.
The Malawians are now using the beacons as stools in their newly-established villages on Zambian land.
Eastern Province Minister, Boniface Nkhata, said in Chipata yesterday that if the situation was not controlled urgently, Zambia would lose huge tracts of land to Malawians migrating into Zambian in large numbers.
A check at the Zambia-Malawi border showed a number of beacons had been vandalised and new structures constructed on the 'no man's' land and a large portion of Zambian land.
Mr Nkhata said the trend extended to many parts of the province bordering the two countries.
"A large portion of Zambian land has been taken up by the Malawians starting from the Chama boundary up to the Mwami border.
"The weighbridge at the Mwami border was initially in Zambia from the time both countries gained independence from Britain, but now the bridge is on Malawian soil," Mr Nkhata said.
The minister, who is former Chama District Commissioner, said there was similar encroachment in Lundazi and Chama districts where Zambia shares a boundary with Malawi.
He said a Malawian farmer identified as Mr Mfune had cultivated 71.5 hectares on Zambian land and employed about 265 Malawian workers.
"Khombe Farm in Chama district in Kanyerere's area, along the Muyombe road which leads to Northern Province where this Malawian farmer has cultivated a vast land is on the Zambian territory," he said.
Workers on the farm admitted that they were farming on Zambian soil but could not go back to Malawi because the land in that country was inadequate for cultivation.
Mr Nkhata appealed to the ministry of Lands to urgently release money for the demarcation of the Zambia-Malawi border to avoid further land disputes between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department in Livingstone has arrested a couple and another man, all Zimbabweans, for working in Zambia without permits.
They were arrested at Gwembe village yesterday where they worked for Into Africa, a tour operating company that provides bush dinners and breakfast.
According to the Immigration Department in Livingstone, the trio entered Zambia through the Victoria Falls border as visitors but decided to work for the company illegally.
Last week, immigration officers arrested 10 Zimbabwean traders and six Ethiopians for entering and staying in Zambia illegally.
The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.
The Ethiopians were arrested at Konje Guest House when they ran out of money to proceed to Botswana.
Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests
22 May 2006 11:51
Zimbabwe's biggest labour federation on Saturday threatened to call massive demonstrations against the government over poor salaries and worsening living conditions for workers in the country.
The threats are ratcheting up pressure against President Robert Mugabe's government after similar threats by the biggest opposition party in the country, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), about two months ago.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) conference on Saturday, the labour body's president, Lovemore Matombo, said the powerful union wants the government to award workers salaries that match the country's ever-rising inflation.
"I can assure you we will stage massive demonstrations to force them [employers] to award workers minimum salaries that tally with the poverty datum line," said Matombo.
Matombo did not say when exactly the ZCTU would order workers to strike.
Meanwhile, the MDC on Sunday said it will push ahead with plans for anti-government protests, saying victory in a key by-election at the weekend was a "sign the electorate supported its policies", including democratic mass resistance.
A spokesperson of the main faction of the splintered MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said victory over Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and a rival MDC faction in a Saturday by-election in Harare's Budiriro constituency is a sign Zimbabweans still have confidence in party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his policies.
Tsvangirai, the founding leader of the MDC, heads the main rump of the opposition party whose candidate, Emmanuel Chisvuure, polled 7 949 votes to win the Budiriro House of Assembly seat.
Gabriel Chaibva of the other faction of the MDC, led by prominent academic Arthur Mutambara, garnered 504 votes while Zanu-PF's Jeremiah Bvirindi polled 3 961 votes.
"This election showed that the electorate still has confidence in the MDC [Tsvangirai-led] leadership and its policies," Chamisa told independent news service ZimOnline.
He added: "We will now move to consolidate our position * we still believe in mass protests. Until we have attained our goals we see no reason why we should abandon [plans for protests]."
Tsvangirai has threatened to call mass protests this winter against Mugabe and his government. He says the mass protests, whose date he is still to name, are meant to force Mugabe to relinquish power to a government of national unity to be tasked to write a new and democratic Constitution that would ensure free and fair elections held under international supervision.
Mugabe and his government, who had hoped for victory in Budiriro to show they were recapturing urban support from a splintered MDC, have not taken idly the opposition's threats to call mass protests, with the veteran president warning Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he ever attempted to instigate a Ukraine-style popular revolt in Zimbabwe.
In a fresh crackdown against dissension, the police last week arrested several church and civic leaders for organising public prayers and marches to mark last year's controversial home-demolition exercise by the government.
The police also banned the marches and prayers, fearing they could easily turn into mass protests against Mugabe and his government.
However, the marches went ahead in the second-largest city of Bulawayo after organisers had obtained a court order barring the police from stopping the march.
Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police and the military to crush street protests, worsening hunger and poverty are fanning public anger that Tsvangirai -- with proper planning and organisation -- could easily manipulate.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe six-year old economic crisis that has seen inflation breaching the 1 000% barrier. Last year, the World Bank said Zimbabwe's economic crisis was unprecedented for a country not at war.
The MDC and major Western governments blame Mugabe for wrecking the country's economy, which was one of the strongest in Africa at independence from Britain 26 years ago.
Mugabe denies the charge blaming the crisis on sabotage by Britain and her allies after he seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks six years ago.
The Harare authorities recently hiked salaries for civil servants, with the lowest-paid soldier now earning about Z$27-million while the lowest-paid school teacher now takes home about Z$33-million.
But the salaries are still way below the poverty datum line, which the government's Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says now stands at a staggering Z$42-million a month for an average family of six.
The Zimbabwe government often accuses the ZCTU, a strong ally of the MDC, of pushing a political agenda to remove Mugabe from power.
Meanwhile, Matombo and Lucia Matibenga retained their posts as president and first vice-president respectively during the ZCTU congress that ended on Saturday. -- ZimOnline