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  • Christine Chumbler
    Maize Committee Useless - MCP The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) January 13, 2003 Posted to the web January 13, 2003 Wezie Nyirongo Lilongwe Malawi Congress
    Message 1 of 1046 , Jan 14, 2003
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      Maize Committee Useless - MCP

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      January 13, 2003
      Posted to the web January 13, 2003

      Wezie Nyirongo
      Lilongwe

      Malawi Congress party (MCP) Publicity secretary Nicholas Dausi has
      condemned the formation of an overseer committee to monitor on the
      distribution of maize and other food items saying its just a useless
      committee and a waste of government funds, resources and energy.

      President Bakili Muluzi recently announced the formation of an
      overseer
      committee on the distribution of maize and other food items chaired by
      UDF member of parliament for Chiradzulu east Henry Mussa.

      Dausi said the committee is just useless since so far UDF has formed
      so
      many committees but didn't work out and flopped on the way.

      He cited an example of an inquiry which was formed in 1996 to
      investigate
      on the prisoners which were suffocated to death but the report is not
      yet
      out.

      'There was also a vision 2020 committee led by Anthony Mawaya and just
      ended up in vain, also a certain committee to control the financial
      status in
      the country didn't work out as a result our currency is still going
      down,' said
      Dausi.

      He further challenged that the whole vision 2020 committee was a
      failure
      and the recent maize committee is also useless and will achieve
      nothing
      at the end of the day.

      'This maize was fraudulently sold and the established committee is
      just
      creating some problems since there will be more expenditures for
      travelling around and that means using government money,' he said.

      However, some members of parliament have questioned the inclusion of
      some MCP and Aford MP's in the maize distribution overseeing committee
      questioning the criteria used to appoint them into the committee by
      the
      state president.

      The MCP members of parliament are Lilongwe north, Kashon
      Chakhwantha and Lilongwe Msodzi south, Dzoole Mwale while from Aford
      are Khwauli Msiska MP for Karonga Nyungwe and Wallace Chiume MP for
      Nkhatabay north.

      It is alleged that the mentioned MP's have been appointed into the
      committee following their good gesture in voting for 'yes' during the
      open
      term bill which flopped in parliament last year.

      'We know why these four MP's have been included in the committee and
      the truth about it is that its an appreciation for the good gesture for
      voting in
      favour of the open term bill. Khwauli deserves the honour since he is
      the
      one who introduced the bill in parliament and other followed suit in
      voting in
      favour,' said a member of parliament on condition of anonymity.

      Dausi when asked to comment on the move he said he sees no problem
      in the MCP MP's who are in the committee.

      'We have no problem in the inclusion of the MCP MP's in the committee,
      however the fact is that committee is useless and a waste of money,'
      he
      said.

      On the other hand Aford publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda said Aford
      also welcomes the idea of the formation of the committee as well as
      the
      inclusion of the two MP's who in his words say they are bearing high
      ranks
      in the party.

      'We welcome the idea of the committee since its 100 percent clear and
      that we have been included because Aford supports every good move
      government makes of national interest. Hunger is a matter of national
      interest that's why we are interested,' said Nyirenda.

      'If government decided to let Aford be part of the committee that's
      good
      since we are there to support and help the government and we have
      nothing to hide,' he said.

      Nyirenda further said Aford has nothing to hide since they are doing
      these
      things for the good will of the country. And said they see no problem
      in their
      selection of Khwauli Msiska for he holds a high rank in Aford as the
      Chairperson of the presidential council and Wallace Chiume as the
      acting
      secretary general.

      *****

      Muluzi Funding Fake 'NDA' - BJ

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      January 13, 2003
      Posted to the web January 13, 2003

      Christopher Jimu
      Lilongwe

      Leader of the genuine National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Brown
      Mpinganjira has revealed that President Bakili Muluzi is personally
      funding
      the NDA copycats to de-stabilise his pressure group after noticing the
      political gains his group has made over the past two years.

      He told The Chronicle in an interview last Thursday that Muluzi is now
      scared that NDA might form the next government.

      He alleged that Muluzi has committed a lot of atrocities and fears that
      he
      might be probed and prosecuted if the UDF is voted out of power.

      'We know what Muluzi is up to. He has managed to de-stabilise the MCP,
      he has managed to confuse the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) and
      now he wants to confound the NDA. But he will not succeed, since we
      are
      aware of his underhand dealings,' Mpinganjira said.

      The former UDF strongman said Muluzi is funding the copycats through
      Minister of Water Development, Dumbo Lemani, who was also funding
      The Sun newspaper, published by the three.

      'It is not a secret, Muluzi is the one who was funding The Sun
      newspapers
      because he has the financial muscle and he is the one funding the same
      individuals of the bogus NDA through his closest allies,' Mpinganjira
      declared.

      But Lemani, in response told The Chronicle that he is in no way
      associated
      with the bogus NDA which Chiumia and his friends have formed.

      'I have better things to do other than supporting an opposition party
      which
      is challenging President Muluzi,' he said.

      Asked to comment on allegations that he is often seen in the company
      of
      the three, including having lunch together at Superior Hotel two weeks
      ago,
      Lemani refused to confirm or deny but asked this reporter if it is
      wrong to
      be in the company of journalists.

      'Is it wrong to be in the same group with reporters? I talk to every
      reporter
      including yourself, so if I had lunch with the three there is no
      problem,' said
      Lemani.

      The deputy publicity secretary of UDF, Ken Lipenga said the UDF
      deplore
      the move by the three copycats and described their act as cheap
      politics.

      Lipenga also said it is wrong to say that Dumbo Lemani was the one who
      funded the three copycats.

      'It is unfair to say that Dumbo Lemani is the one who funded the
      three,
      without giving concrete evidence. We know that this is the work of
      some
      politicians in the opposition and that their aim is to bring divisions
      in the
      UDF. I would like to assure them, that it will not work,' said
      Lipenga.
      *NDA' President Thom Chiumia said his party is not being funded by
      anybody.

      'The funds we are using came from the newspaper we have been
      producing. We had so many adverts and our sales were very impressive,'
      Chiumia said.

      However, investigations disclosed that the three former journalists owe
      a
      few individuals huge sums of money which they are failing to settle.

      'Those three are gangsters and are capable of doing anything to you in
      retaliation if they discovered that I granted an interview to The
      Chronicle, so
      I better not have my name quoted. They owe me and others I know a lot
      of
      money,' said the source.

      Meanwhile the High Court in Blantyre has stopped the three copycats
      from
      using the name until an application to the Registrar of Political
      Parties ist since they are doing t
      heard.

      Political observers say the three are lying to the nation in their
      declaration
      that they intend to contest in the forthcoming elections.

      'Thom Chiumia and his two colleagues are minors. There is no one among
      the three, who can contest for the post of president, because they are
      below the age limit of 35 as required by the country's Constitution,'
      said a
      political scientist.

      Chapter VIII of the Constitution, section 80, subsection 6 states,
      'Notwithstanding any provision of this Constitution to the contrary, a
      person
      shall only be qualified for nomination for election as President or
      First Vice
      President, or for appointment as First Vice President or Second Vice
      President if that person- (a) is a citizen of Malawi by birth or
      descent; and
      (b) has attained the age of thirty five years.' 'These boys do not meet
      the
      criteria (b) and will not meet it come next year.

      'This only shows that the registration of fake *NDA' is a plot
      contrived,
      hatched and funded by the UDF from the highest level,' said our
      source.

      *****

      Tip the Police

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      January 13, 2003
      Posted to the web January 13, 2003

      Joseph Ganthu
      Lilongwe

      Members of the Lilongwe Community Police Have Observed That to
      Combat Crime in the Area It is a Responsibility of Every Resident to
      Tip
      the Police About Criminals Living in Their Respective Communities.

      The idea transpired at a recent meeting held in the district. However
      the
      local community pointed out that while people are willing to give
      information
      to the police there was a need for confidentiality within the police
      service.

      Members were also requested to be soft handed with their resources
      like
      transport whenever there is a need. They were advised to make
      follow-ups
      on any reports submitted to the police.

      Police officers were asked to be professional and transparent in their
      operation to build confidence in the community. It was noted that
      police
      officers should play a role in educating the general public on crime
      prevention.

      Elections for the district's executive committee were held at the same
      meeting. Reverend Emmanuel Chimkwita was elected to the position of
      chairman, Mrs. Kwapata vice chairman, Mrs. Patridge secretary, Miss
      Mtawali vice secretary, H. Raza Treasurer and Salima vice treasurer.

      In an interview with the Coordinator for Lilongwe Community Policing,
      Sub
      Inspector Alex Simenti said the committee which is composed of the
      business community, NGOs, politicians, police officers, religious
      leaders
      and the press will be monitoring all activities in the district.

      The committee which is split into sub committees like Conflict
      Resolution,
      Victory Support Unit, Youth and Schools Outreach and others will be
      submitting monthly reports to the regional office.

      Since the Malawi Police Service adopted Community Based Policing as a
      way of policing, considerable progress has been made in the police
      service in meeting the needs and expectations of diverse communities
      such as improvement of roadblock service delivery.

      Among other standards police officers are requested to avoid
      corruption,
      allow road users to open their own luggage in order to avoid
      allegations,
      strike a balance between their duties and human rights, exercise
      courtesy
      when approaching road users.

      *****

      Chakuamba: The Next Target .... After Finishing
      John Tembo Off!!

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
      January 13, 2003
      Posted to the web January 13, 2003

      Joseph Ganthu
      Lilongwe

      President Bakili Muluzi in his ambitions to completely destroy the
      main
      opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) through court cases after
      finishing MCP Vice President John Tembo is now targeting the party
      President Gwanda Chakuamba, say political analysts.

      The United Democratic Front (UDF) wants to use a case in which
      Chakuamba and two other opposition leaders have been ordered to pay
      K2.6 million in costs for losing a case in which they were challenging
      the
      1999 presidential elections. The other leaders are Malawi Democratic
      Party President Kamlepo Kalua and Congress for National Unity
      President
      Bishop Daniel Mnkhumbwe After having dealt with MCP vice president
      Tembo political analysts observe that the UDF wants Chakuamba to be
      declared bankrupt so that he cannot take part in the 2004 presidential
      race.

      In an interview with The Chronicle the Attorney General Henry Phoya
      said
      the Constitution is quite clear that someone declared bankrupt cannot
      stand as a presidential candidate.

      He pointed out that this can only be done if the sheriffs fail to
      recover the
      required amount through assets seized. He said right now the issue has
      not yet reached that stage. Phoya said Chakuamba and two other
      opposition leaders risk being declared bankrupt if they fail to settle
      the
      costs.

      Unfortunately for Muluzi Chakuamba remains solvent. In an interview he
      told The Chronicle that he will not be declared bankrupt because he
      has
      the means to settle the costs and assured MCP followers that they
      should
      not be shaken by Muluzi's political propaganda.

      'No one can declare me bankrupt and even Muluzi is not supposed to
      comment on matters that are in court,' said Chakuamba adding that the
      state president must not use the case as a campaign tool.

      Commenting on such moves by the ruling party, the Treasurer General of
      MCP Hetherwick Ntaba said the party's president has assured them that
      they should not be worried about the developments.

      The MCP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said the MCP is fully aware that
      UDF is baying for Chakuamba's blood saying they are using the case as
      a
      political weapon.

      He said it takes a long process for one to be declared bankrupt and
      that
      after all, payment can be negotiated with the courts through
      instalments.

      *****

      In your dreams, says Mugabe
      Harare

      14
      January 2003 16:01

      Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday made
      his first public
      reaction to British press reports of alleged plans
      to force him out of office,
      under a scheme involving his close political
      aides.

      "I am not used to answering questions about
      nightmares which are dreamt
      in Britain at Number 10 Downing Street. I only
      heard about that in the paper,
      there is no truth in it," Mugabe said in response
      to a question at a news
      conference here.

      Britain's Times newspaper reported on Monday that a
      scheme had been
      hatched by senior officials in Mugabe's ruling
      Zimbabwe African National
      Union (Zanu-PF) to guarantee him immunity from
      prosecution for alleged
      human rights abuses in return for his resignation
      and exile abroad.

      "Only a few months ago, the people elected me to
      serve them and it will be
      absolutely counter-revolutionary and foolhardy for
      me to step down," said
      Mugabe who is visiting for a ceremony to honour the
      founding president of
      Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda for his role in the
      liberation struggle against British
      rule.

      The Times said under the plan, a government of
      national unity would be
      created after Mugabe's departure and organise
      elections at the end of a
      two-year transition period.

      Both Mugabe's party and the opposition Movement for
      Democratic Change
      (MDC), which was also reportedly part of the plot,
      distanced themselves
      from the scheme.

      Zanu-PF described the alleged plan as "wishful
      thinking and mischief" on
      the part of Britain, the former colonial power in
      Zimbabwe. - Sapa-AFP

      *****

      Albinos hit by
      Zimbabwe's race divide

      By Lewis Machipisa
      BBC, Harare

      At a time when race
      relations are strained
      in Zimbabwe, one
      group of people is
      finding itself shunned
      by both whites and
      blacks.

      These are the more
      than 15,000 blacks
      with albinism, a
      hereditary condition
      that causes lack of
      pigmentation and
      leaves their skin white.

      But now, besides being
      treated like lepers, albino women have
      increasingly been the victims of rape - a
      practice fuelled by myths that if an HIV
      infected man sleeps with an albino woman, he
      will be cured.

      Outcasts

      Treated like outcasts from birth, albinos are
      shunned by society and unable to find jobs,
      according to Felicity Mwamuka, the welfare
      officer of the Zimbabwe Albino Association.

      Albino women have great difficulty finding
      husbands because people believe that an
      albino women will have albino children, she
      says.

      "Most albino women are single parents."

      "There is this traditional belief that if you sleep
      with an albino woman, you are cured of HIV,''
      she says.

      For Albino women who drop out of school at a
      young age selling vegetables at a street corner
      appears an easy option.

      But even that is not easy, as people will not
      buy from albinos.

      Children

      Albino children also have trouble fitting in at
      school.

      Gertrude Sumairi and
      her husband are both
      black, but 10 years
      ago, they had an
      albino child. "At first
      people laughed and I
      was shy to walk with
      my son. I had to stay
      in the house," she
      says. While Gertrude's
      husband accepted
      their son, many
      fathers of children
      with albinism suspect
      their partners of being
      unfaithful, resulting in divorce.

      In the worst cases, people with albinism are
      regarded as a curse from God or a sign that
      ancestors are unhappy.

      Appeal

      To erase the stigma associated with albinism,
      the Zimbabwe Albino Association (Zimas) is
      trying to educate people about the condition. The

      Members of Zimbabwe's Albino community say
      they have received little support for their
      trust, set up in 1996.

      When a donor sends aid, the association has
      difficulty obtaining it because of the high
      customs duties charged on imports into
      Zimbabwe.

      To start with, the association wants the
      government to declare albinism a disability.

      Albinos have problems with their eyes and
      many albino children drop out of school since
      their parents cannot afford to buy spectacles
      for them.

      According to Zimas, life expectancy for albinos
      is 43 years compared to 57 years for darker
      Zimbabweans.

      This is largely because of the high rates of skin
      cancer among albinos because of their
      sensitive skins.

      Zimas also urges the government to cut duty
      on sun screen, so more albinos can afford it.
    • 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
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        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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