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  • Christine Chumbler
    Malawi vendors clash with police Raphael Tenthani BBC, Blantyre Malawi s commercial capital, Blantyre was the scene of running battles between the police and
    Message 1 of 1046 , Mar 19, 2003
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      Malawi vendors clash with police
      Raphael Tenthani
      BBC, Blantyre



      Malawi's commercial capital, Blantyre was the scene
      of
      running battles between the police and streets
      vendors
      protesting the destruction of their stalls on
      Wednesday
      morning.

      For four hours, the main road linking Blantyre city
      centre and the
      city's international airport was inaccessible after
      angry street
      vendors used boulders, huge rocks, tree stumps and
      general
      debris to block it.

      Traffic leaving the city for the
      airport or for the central region,
      including the capital, Lilongwe,
      was forced to use the longer
      route through townships.

      Trouble begun last night when
      Blantyre City Mayor John
      Chikakwiya led a team of city
      workers under para-military
      police guard to demolish
      temporary stalls erected by the
      vendors along the roadside.

      Rioting started as early as 0800 local time (0600 GMT)
      when the
      angry vendors mobilised themselves to hit back at the
      city fathers
      after seeing their livelihood go up in flames.

      Armed police officers fired in the air to restore
      order.

      In the fracas, at least one vendor was arrested.

      Death-trap

      Blantyre Police Station Officer-in-Charge, Senior
      Superintendent
      Gondwe, mediated in the stand-off between the vendors
      and the
      uncompromising city authorities.

      Officer Gondwe told them they had to move to their
      designated
      market because the spot they had erected their stalls
      on was
      dangerous.

      He said if a truck missed the road on a busy day
      several vendors,
      including their customers, would be crushed to death.


      But the fear of death did not move the vendors.

      One by one they told the police chief they made no
      money in the
      designated market as it was located far from the heart
      of town
      and from potential customers.

      After much negotiations between Senior Superintendent
      Gondwe
      and the city fathers, a compromise was reached to
      allow the
      vendors to re-erect their stalls a bit further from
      the main road.

      *****

      Malawi, Zambia Share Common Health
      Problems--Chituwo

      The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
      March 18, 2003
      Posted to the web March 18, 2003

      Times Reporter

      ZAMBIA and Malawi experience common health problems, Health Minister
      Brian Chituwo told visiting Malawian health deputy minister Elizabeth
      Lamba and her delegation yesterday.

      Dr Chituwo said in a speech read for him by his deputy, Rosemary
      Chipampe in Lusaka said that the problems needed to be shared among
      experts for sustainable solutions to be found.

      He said in the Zambian scenario, three
      diseases, namely the deadly HIV/AIDS, malaria
      and Tuberclosis (TB) continued to pause a
      great challenge to the health sector.

      He said Zambia would be greatful to learn how
      the Malawian Government was handling the
      three diseases especially the HIV/AIDS
      scourge.

      Dr Chituwo said this during a courtesy call on
      him by a Malawian delegation of health officials at the ministry.

      He said though the pandemic had ravaged a big part of Zambia's most
      productive population, Government had adopted stringent measures to
      control the scourge.

      Dr Chituwo cited the multi-sectoral approach to the disease that
      Government had embarked and the initiation of a separate budget line
      for
      its control and prevention, among other measures.

      "In the face of the numerous health problems, our sector, like any
      other
      sector in other underdeveloped countries, depends on co-operating
      partners financial support," he said.

      Mrs Lamba said Malawi was eager to learn how Zambia had succeeded in
      implementing its health reforms.

      "We started the reforms on the year when Zambia started hers, that was
      as far back as 10 years ago. This therefore creates a good platform for
      my
      country to learn in that field,"she said.

      She said Malawi would, from time to time, come and consult Zambia on
      the exercise to ensure it worked well in that country.

      *****

      National Strike Cripples Zimbabwe Economy

      By ANGUS SHAW
      The Associated Press
      Wednesday, March 19, 2003; 7:07 AM

      A national strike called to protest Zimbabwe's
      increasingly authoritarian government shut
      down businesses and disrupted transportation
      services across the country for a second day
      Wednesday.

      After violence in Harare a day earlier, police
      reinforcements were deployed in Bulawayo, the
      second largest city, where shops and banks
      were closed, state radio reported. Factory
      owners in Harare reported fewer workers
      showing up at their jobs Wednesday.

      "Those who have made it say the buses are
      harder to get today. Some have walked to
      work," said Amos Chimedza, a furniture
      factory supervisor in the Southerton industrial
      district.

      He said with about 60 percent absenteeism,
      many businesses sent workers home and
      closed their gates.

      "We can't operate like this. It's as quiet as a
      Sunday around here," said Chimedza.

      The government has yet to comment on the strike
      action.

      The two-day strike, which began Tuesday, and a
      series of demonstrations in outlying townships were
      called by the main opposition Movement for
      Democratic Change to protest alleged government
      repression and acute shortages of food and
      gasoline.

      In clandestinely distributed flyers, the opposition
      called for peaceful protests carried out with "utmost
      discipline".

      "People must demand change through action if we are
      to survive in these trying times," the flyers said.

      Two buses and a truck were torched by rioters in
      Harare Tuesday, police said. Officers fired tear gas in
      eastern Harare, where gangs of youths hurled stones
      at passing cars and attempted to block streets
      surrounding a bus station.

      A van of the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. was
      damaged in a stoning attack and a bakery truck
      was intercepted and looted.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said detectives
      were investigating what he described as
      "ringleaders who are paying youths to participate in
      illegal activities."

      Army units were deployed in some neighborhoods of
      Harare. They imposed an informal curfew in one
      district, telling people to keep off the streets.

      The response to the call for "mass action" was the
      largest since President Robert Mugabe was
      re-elected last year. The election was denounced by
      the opposition after international observers
      reported intimidation and vote rigging.

      The opposition hoped the action would paralyze the
      economy and force Mugabe to step down ahead
      of new internationally supervised elections, said
      spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi

      Instability began to spread in Zimbabwe three years
      ago after the government launched an often violent
      campaign to confiscate 95 percent of white-owned
      farmland as part of its land reform program.

      *****

      IMF admits policy failures
      The International Monetary
      Fund has admitted that forcing
      developing countries to open
      their markets to foreign
      investors could increase the
      risk of financial crises.

      "The process of capital account
      liberalization appears to have been
      accompanied in some cases by
      increased vulnerability to crises," the
      IMF said in a report.

      It also said there was little evidence its policies
      encouraged economic
      growth in poor countries.

      "If financial integration has a positive effect on
      growth, there is as yet
      no clear and robust empirical proof that the effect is
      quantitatively
      significant," the report said.

      The report, which was prepared by the IMF's chief
      economist Kenneth
      Rogoff, described the findings as "sobering".

      It went on to warn that countries should be cautious
      about integrating
      with the global economy and should try to achieve a
      balance by creating
      strong domestic financial institutions.

      "The evidence presented in this paper suggests that
      financial integration
      should be approached cautiously, with good
      institutions and
      macroeconomic frameworks viewed as important," it
      said.

      Policies under fire

      Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia are among the
      countries that
      have followed the IMF's advice to open up to foreign
      investment in
      exchange for hundreds of billions of dollars in loans.


      As soon as there was even a whiff of economic trouble,
      foreign
      speculators pulled their capital out, plunging the
      countries into
      recession.

      The report also said only a small group of developing
      countries had
      attracted the "lion's share" of capital investment.

      The US is the largest shareholder in the IMF and has
      been instrumental
      in shaping its free market policies.

      The IMF has been heavily criticised for its policies,
      not least by the Nobel
      Prize winning former chief economist of the World
      Bank, Joseph Stiglitz.
    • 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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