- Picture Grim On HIV/Aids in MDF - Army Report The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) March 31, 2003 Posted to the web March 31, 2003 Our Reporter Lilongwe BetweenMessage 1 of 1046 , Apr 1, 2003View SourcePicture Grim On HIV/Aids in MDF - Army Report
The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
March 31, 2003
Posted to the web March 31, 2003
Between 25% to 50% of men and women in the Malawi Defense Force may
die of Aids by the year 2005 a Panos/Unaids Report of 2000 says
This was revealed last Thursday during the launch of results from a
factors contributing to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Malawi
Forces which took place at Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe.
According to the report, the Malawi Defence Force has experienced a
decline in human resources because of the high incidence of AIDS.
'It is very important for the Malawi Defence Force to attain and
established size of the army so that it may execute its tasks
efficiently in time
of war, conflicts and disasters. The major factor for the decrease in
may be attributed to the HIV/AIDS epidemic,' reads part of the report.
According to unpublished information, the current strength of the
Defence Force is barely 60% of its required strength of service
The report further reveals that at any given time there are army
members who contract the virus through other sexual partners when
far from there accustomed communities or their families for long
'Just last year from January 2002 to December 2002, 105 service
have retired and 131 service members have died mainly due to HIV/AIDS
related diseases. Soldiers who have died have left over 500 children
whom a quarter may be infected by the HIV. The Malawi Defence Force is
still experiencing ever increasing numbers of service members dying
many are bedridden, possibly due to HIV/AIDS related illnesses.'
during the launch of the study, Minister of Defence Rodwell
said: 'In the limelight of my concern over the decline in number of
soldiers, I am impressed, that the results arising from this study
nothing. It is an open secret that while HIV/AIDS has made alarming
across the country, the military, per se has already suffered
just like many institutions in terms of dwindling manpower.'
added that the decline of the army workforce is mainly through service
members who are terminally ill or those who work more slowly as a
illness and those who die and are not replaced.
However Munyenyembe hinted that the army's recent commitment in
the Malawi Defence Force AIDS policy is a step in the right direction.
Army Commander, General Joseph Chimbayo said that soldiers are a
special risk group whose personnel sometimes operate in very hostile
environment in pursuit of the national agenda which, in the course
them to increased sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
Among the factors that predispose soldiers to AIDS, according to
are that they feel invincible, have ready cash stacked in their wallets
not carry condoms. They are additionally under extreme peer pressure
have sex and act aggressively and they place the 'conquest' syndrome
important to them.
However Chimbayo told The Chronicle in a separate interview that the
is determined to fight the HIV/AIDS issue head on by sensitizing the
members on the dangers they face. He indicated that the launch of the
Study of Factors Contributing to the Prevalance of HIV/AIDS in the MDF
one of the initial steps to address the pandemic that has decimated the
The study was conducted by Brigadier Chirwa with Lieutenant Colonel
Gondwe and Ms Ngwata.
Muluzi Warns Lilongwe Mayor
The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
March 31, 2003
Posted to the web March 31, 2003
President Bakili Muluzi has told the Lilongwe City Assembly Mayor
Chimdzeka to declare which party he belongs to or resign from his seat
continues to challenge his direct orders.
The President's statement comes at a time when the Lilongwe City
is locked in a feud over the renewal of Chief Executive Donton
According to sources at the City Assembly Muluzi asked the mayor to
declare which party he belongs to because he has always been
presidential directives to renew the contract of the Chief Executive.
'The mayor received a very strong letter from President Muluzi asking
leave the party if he continued to challenge Presidential directives,'
The source said that following Muluzi's threats the mayor relented and
organised a quick meeting with his councilors where he asked all the
councilors to toe the UDF party line.
However before convening the meeting the mayor wrote each and every
councilor informing them about the new development and asked them to
the government line by accepting Donton Mkandawire as their CE.
Part of the letter to the councilors dated March 2003 according to The
Times reads: 'Please join me to implement government's directive that
Professor Donton Mkandawire's contract has been renewed. I therefore
all members of the Assembly to drop their differences on this issue and
together.' Asked to comment on the issue the Mayor said that he had to
the government line but refused that he had been put under pressure by
'That matter is now a closed chapter. All the councilors have agreed to
with Donton Mkandawire said Chimdzeka.
Chimdzeka has led his councilors and assembly staff in a revolt
beleaguered Chief Executive since 2001 because he said Mkandawire's
attitude was not appropriately respectful of his office as he tended to
down on all the councilors, believing he was more educated as he was a
Muluzi's Choice Rejected Again!
The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
March 31, 2003
Posted to the web March 31, 2003
The choice of Bingu wa Mutharika as his presidential successor has
a lot of turmoil in the United Democratic Front (UDF) which now
tear the party apart. President Bakili Muluzi's own position in the
shaky as, more and more he is seen to be out of step with the
his own leadership in UDF.
Just a week after being rejected by the UDF Southern Region governors,
Central Region governors unanimously agreed to challenge the
nomination of Mutharika should Muluzi insists that he be the next UDF
According to reports reaching The Chronicle
the UDF held a meeting at the Capital City Motel
where the name of Bingu was again
This was confirmed by UDF Central Region
Governor Uladi Mussa to The Chronicle after he
chaired the meeting, but he declined to shed
more light on what transpired.
'The meeting took place but I cannot divulge
what transpired because it was held in camera,' Mussa said.
But according to our source, UDF President Bakili Muluzi directed
Region Governor Davis Kapito to attend the meeting and inform the
leaders that he has indeed seen it fit to nominate Bingu wa Mutharika
the next UDF President.
'Kapito and Mussa told us that Muluzi has directed that Mutharika
the next UDF President but we rejected his choice. There is no way one
impose a president on us. That is why we rejected the choice of
one of the District governors who attended the meeting told The
'What Muluzi is doing by imposing Bingu on us will tear the party
Muluzi should know that he is there (President) because of the people.
should not turn himself into a dictator and start dictating every
activity in the
party. If he is not careful this will be the end of the UDF. We are
unanimously reject Bingu and that will surely embarrass Muluzi,' said
Kapito could not be reached for comment as he was attending a meeting,
according to his driver who answered his cell phone.
Just last week another meeting which took place in Blantyre convened
UDF Regional Governor for the South and attended by 28 District
Committees, rejected wa Mutharika as Muluzi's successor.
Zomba District governor Mawu Lumwira told a local daily that the
have wa Mutharika, former president for United Party and Deputy
Governor and now Minister of Economic Planning and Development to lead
the party to polls came as a shock.
'It has come as a kind of a shock because all of us were for the third
President Muluzi and anyway, wa Mutharika is not popular enough to win
elections for us,' he declared.
In another development The Chronicle has been reliably informed that
senior UDF ministers including Harry Thomson, Aleke Banda, Justin
Malewezi and Sam Mpasu had written a memorandum to Muluzi which they
all signed outlining their own position on the rejection of the
choice of leader for their party. They sought an audience with the head
their party to explain their position further.
This audience was denied. In their memo they spelt out their concerns
warning the President that they would break ranks with him (Muluzi) if
insists on the choice of wa Mutharika as the next UDF president.
In a matter relating to the forthcoming UDF National Conference The
Chronicle has information that Paul Maulidi, the current Deputy
General of the party had invited five urban district governors and
committee members of urban districts through a certain Mr. Ching'amba
meet with him. The meeting was said to have been held and Maulidi then
gave each member K1,000 to vote for him as Secretary General of the
The meeting is said to have unanimously rejected his overtures.
The ruling UDF has been thrown into a succession feud and faces a
leadership crisis since Muluzi declared that he was not going to be
stand again as President of the UDF in the next polls after several
to amend the Republican Constitution failed. The general feeling from
political analysts is that the vacuum that is being caused is as a
result of the
lack of forthrightness on the part of aspirants. The silence from
contenders bodes ill of the UDF party as fear and intimidation
determine the lack of progress, the uncertainty as well as the
potential candidates have.
Mutharika, who comes from Thyolo and is viewed as a suitable challenger
Muluzi to National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leader Brown Mpinganjira,
the 1999 elections when he contested on the UP ticket.
He is on record as saying that the assertions that he wants to become
President are contrary to his mission for the country.
'My mission in government is to end poverty and bring the economy back
track,' Mutharika said at a Press Conference he addressed in Blantyre
As we were going to press, a UDF National Executive Committee meeting
was taking place in Blantyre called for by the party where the issue
Muluzi's choice is bound to feature highly on the agenda.
YDS, Police Disrupt NDA Rally
The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
March 31, 2003
Posted to the web March 31, 2003
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) President Brown Mpinganjira failed
address a rally at Ntchilichili in Kasungu last Saturday after the
militant United Democratic Front (UDF) Young Democrats together with
Police chased away thousands of people who were waiting for the NDA
President to address them.
According to an eye witness, Maxwell Njala who is also NDA Central
organising secretary the notorious YDs were overheard shouting earlier
the day that the NDA cannot hold a rally in Kasungu.
'We were very surprised because we had already asked permission from
Police to hold our rally and they had given us a go-ahead. So when we
Sam Zimba, Kananji, Ayamu and Alex coming to where we had erected our
podium we knew that there was going to be a fight,' Njala said.
He said that the NDA had written to the Police three days earlier
them about the rally and they had been given a go ahead.
But on the day of the rally YDs were seen patrolling streets in
stopping people going towards the venue of the rally.
However after seeing that people were still flocking to the venue of
the YDs decided to confront NDA officials who were already at the venue
According to Njala, the NDA officials who were beaten were Steve
who is District Committee member for Kasungu, Tony Dimbani member of
National Executive Committee and Wellingtone Yabwalo shadow MP for
Zimba, a survivor of a recent car crash in Rumphi where one YD died on
mission to disrupt another NDA rally was the one who led the attack.it
The three officials were chased away from Kasungu Hospital by the same
thugs when they had gone there to seek medical attention.
As if that was not enough the Police, Njala alleges joined the YDs
pm in chasing away people from attending the rally.
'They were about eleven police officers who were fully armed and they
us to disperse from the venue. However some of our officials managed
convince them that the rally will be violence free. One of the officers
refused to mention his name asked us to go on and they then left,'
Njala said that the Police returned an hour later, this time with
canisters and live ammunition and started shooting into the air while
teargass canisters towards the multitude of unsuspecting people.
'It was *free for all' as people scampered in all directions gasping
Some people were injured but luckily enough no one was killed,' Njala
But Police Public Relations Officer George Chikowi distanced the Police
Njala's assertions that they were also involved in disrupting the NDA
'The Police are very professional. There is no way they can involve
themselves in acts of violence like the ones being mentioned. That is
speculation,' Chikowi defended.
The Police has, on several occasions been accused for not arresting
notorious UDF YDs who have, for the past nine years taken the law into
own hands and have instilled fear in people in opposition parties.
Just last week President Bakili Muluzi condemned the continued acts of
violence perpetrated by Young Democrats directing Henry Moyo, the
Director of Youth and Personal Advisor to the President to rein in his
and stop them from performing their continued acts of terrorism
Election Fever Grips Parties in the Centre ... As 18 May,
2004 Date is Set By the Electoral Commission
The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
March 31, 2003
Posted to the web March 31, 2003
Christopher Jimu Minister Without Portfolio Uladi Mussa who is also the
Central Region Governor has declared total war against the Malawi
Congress Party (MCP) saying his party is happy with the gains made by
ruling UDF in the centre since he became the Party's Regional Governor
Mussa was reacting to speeches by MCP MPs who were saying that his
stands no chance in the forthcoming elections because it has lost
Several MCP MPs over the weekend addressed
rallies in their constituencies and, according to
reports, their speeches dwelt mainly on how the
MCP is going to bounce back into government
'The speeches made in the rallies I attended
last week dwelt much on how we are going to
get back power from the UDF in the next
election,' said Mayi Chikuni, a Women's League
member who stays in Kawale.
But UDF regional governor Uladi Mussa told The Chronicle that his party
now ready to win seats which are in opposition hands come next year's
'The UDF is still strong in the centre we have managed to make strong
and I am very optimistic that the party will win the next General
retain power,' said Mussa.
He explained that contrary to claims by the opposition that his party
popularity, the opposite is the truth.
'Our rallies are well patronised these days, a thing that was not
achieve when I just became regional governor. There were squabbles in
party (central region) which I have settled amicably and now we are
strategising on how we can take all the seats in the centre,' said
He revealed that the UDF has penetrated most of the parts in the
Region because of the good working relationship that is there between
UDF supporters in villages and those holding senior party positions.
That is the secret of the party . Our policy is to respect the masses
rural areas, and the trick has done us wonders. We are now able to go
areas in the centre to hold rallies without any problem,' said Mussa.
But Lilongwe South East member of Parliament Hetherwick Ntaba vowed
there is no way his seat can be taken away from him by any UDF MP in
'I have all the confidence that come 2004, I will still be an MP for my
fact, I have always won with big percentages against UDF candidates.
is no way the constant growth in my percentage of the votes cast can
reversed,' said Ntaba.
Meanwhile the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is also preparing the
ground work for the 2004 elections. Reports indicate that the party
already identified individuals to contest as MPs in all districts in
According to NDA Central Region Secretary, Maxwell Njala his party has
already identified individuals who will contest as members of
the forthcoming elections.
'Even if we go to the polls today the NDA will have enough people to
as MPs in all constituencies in the central region,' Njala boasted.
Zimbabwe opposition triumph
The opposition Movement for
Democratic Change has
comfortably retained two
parliamentary seats in the
Zimbabwean capital after
by-elections at the weekend.
President Robert Mugabe's party
had been desperate to win a
seat in Harare, which has long
been an opposition stronghold .
The weekend polls were described as largely peaceful
diplomats and the police, but marked by strong
of voter intimidation and ballot fixing.
State radio said the MDC won 12,548 votes in the
constituency, against 5,002 votes for the ruling
Zanu-PF. In the
Highlands constituency, the opposition won 8,759 votes
4,844 for Zanu-PF.
President Mugabe's party, with 95 seats, enjoys a
majority in the 150-strong parliament, but is five
seats short of a
constitution-changing two-thirds majority.
Earlier on Monday, a strong police presence was
State House and at roadblocks around the capital.
Tension has been rising ahead of a midnight deadline
the opposition to the government to meet its demands
human-rights abuses and democracy, or face peaceful
At lunchtime on Monday, MDC vice president Gibson
arrested by the police in Bulawayo, but has not yet
At the end of polling on Sunday evening, MDC leader
Tsvangirai issued a strong statement saying events had
"the countdown to the final reckoning".
And he said the country could
soon expect a "final push for
Two days of general strikes a
fortnight ago brought the capital
and other urban centres to a halt
in a huge show of support for the
A crackdown on MDC members
followed, with many people being
arrested, and there were
widespread reports of the
beating and torture of opposition
The run-up to the polls had already seen tensions
the anti-government strike last week.
Zanu-PF and the MDC exchanged allegations of violence
campaigning which human rights groups say left
On Friday, the European Union condemned
government-sponsored violence" against the opposition
It said the Zimbabwean people had a constitutional
protest peacefully and called on the government to
But during the voting, police said they had received
no reports of
violence and the election authorities insisted there
More Zimbabwe protests loom
The Zimbabwe Government has
not responded to Monday's
deadline to meet 15 opposition
demands or face "mass action".
Movement for Democratic Change
leaders are now deciding what their
next step would be, spokesman Paul
Themba Nyathi told BBC News
He said they were considering a
strike, marches in the city and a
boycott of ruling party business
interests but refused to give a timeframe for when the
decision would be
taken or when the protests would be called.
On Monday, MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda was
connection with organising general strikes a fortnight
Chief police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Mr
arrested for "attempting to subvert a constitutional
The MDC demands do not include
calls for President Robert Mugabe to
step down, or for new elections but
things such as depoliticising the
distribution of food aid and an end to
Mr Nyathi said the government's failure to respond to
demands, would illustrate to African leaders backing
Mr Mugabe, that
the government was not serious about political
He said the next step would have to be carefully
chosen because of the
"We don't want to draw our people into an ambush," he
Mr Nyathi said that Monday's victory
in two Harare by-elections would not
affect the MDC's plans.
African April Fools spoof Iraq war
Africa's newspapers are a
fruitful source of 1 April light
relief, even with the news
agenda dominated by the Middle
East. Indeed, many of today's
April Fools stories reflect
current concerns by playing on
an Iraqi link.
Fancy a job in Iraq?
The Kenyan Standard says
"lucrative" salaries are now on offer for Kenyans
willing to take up job
opportunities - including ground troops and medical
coroners - in the
The US authorities are also seeking applicants from
and Ethiopia, as residents of all three countries are
said be experienced
in working in desert conditions.
Suspicions about the spoof story are raised when it
notes that "due to
the short notice", anyone wishing to take up the
apply - by sending an SMS text message - before midday
An advertisement on a separate page gives details of
the jobs said to be
These include drivers ("previous navigation experience
in a desert is
advantageous"), cooks ("must have ample experience in
Arabic and Continental cuisine") and teachers
("knowledge of Arabic not
necessary but will have an added advantage").
The advert says successful applicants will need to
equip themselves with
a gas mask and a map of Iraq. They will be provided
with a one-way
ticket to Baghdad.
Saddam in Cape David, cease-fire in Iraq
Another Nairobi paper, the Kenya Times, sticks to the
Iraqi theme by
reporting that the war there is over.
This came after Saddam Hussein flew incognito to New
York and was
taken to Camp David where he agreed cease-fire terms
Bush. Saddam and his two sons have agreed to go into
exile in Jordan.
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National
Condoleezza Rice have tendered their resignations.
Following the conclusion of the deal, Jacques Chirac
President Bush as a statesman whose place in history
A Tanzanian Swahili-language daily, Nipashe, also
reports that the Iraqi
president has agreed to go into exile, but says he
will be living in South
Kenya's People newspaper reports that FIFA President
Sepp Blatter and
Brazilian legend Pele are arriving in Nairobi this
morning on a visit seen
as linked to Kenya's bid to host the African Nations
Cup tournament in
2006 and the World Cup in 2010.
The Kenyan government has also appointed "French
Michel Platini" to head a special task force to this
effect. "Plans are also
in the pipeline to have former French striker and
Manchester United skipper Eric Cantona head the youth
programme," the People says.
Blatter, Platini and Pele will all meet Kenyan
President Mwai Kibaki at his
official residence today. This afternoon, parliament
will debate a motion
to build three "ultra-modern" stadiums in the
Transports of delight
Kenya's Standard reports that underground rail links
are opening today
between the various outlets of a Nairobi restaurant
The manager of the Kengele's chain is quoted as saying
that, in a "first"
in the whole of Africa, patrons will be able to travel
conveniently" between the firm's six restaurants in
tunnels 20 feet below
South Africa's Star reports a blow to cyclists in
Gauteng Province (which
includes Johannesburg and Pretoria). They'll now have
to take a
compulsory exam, pass an eye test and pay a licence
fee. Those who
fail to carry their licences face a fine.
But there's even more alarming news for residents of
The Cape Times reports "shock findings" by an academic
the world famous landmark of Table Mountain, which
currently forms a
stunning background to the city, will be an island
within 30 years as sea
levels rise with global warming.
The famous Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela and
anti-apartheid activists were imprisoned) will be
and may become a centre for "world-class scuba
The paper says the "secret report", which had been
leaked to the Cape
Times, "has been kept under wraps for fear of creating
causing havoc with property prices".
It quoted a spokesman for Cape Town city council as
discussions were underway on whether it would be
better to link the new
island to the mainland by a tunnel or a bridge.
But the good news is that rising sea levels will also
create a change in
wave patterns, resulting in Hout Bay, Bellville and
becoming some of the world's "premier surfing spots".
- 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 byMessage 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006View Source
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