Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

news

Expand Messages
  • Christine Chumbler
    Veterans lose out in Malawi reshuffle President Bakili Muluzi Muluzi shunned critics of his third term bid The president of Malawi, Bakili Muluzi, has
    Message 1 of 1046 , Apr 11, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Veterans lose out in Malawi reshuffle

      President Bakili Muluzi
      Muluzi shunned critics of his third term bid

      The president of Malawi, Bakili Muluzi, has announced a new cabinet a
      week after sacking the whole of the previous administration.

      Several opposition politicians have been included in the new cabinet
      which has been described by officials as a government of national
      unity.

      It includes Chakufwa Chihana of the Alliance for Democracy party, who
      has been named as the country's second vice-president and has supported
      Mr Muluzi's failed attempt to stay in power for an unconstitutional
      third term in office.

      Some veteran politicians in the former cabinet, including the
      agriculture minister, Aleke Banda, were not re-appointed.

      Mr Banda had openly declared that he wanted to succeed the president
      when he retires at the end of his official two five year terms next
      year, when elections are due.

      Supporters retained

      Others who lost their jobs in Mr Muluzi's 46-member cabinet are former
      Sports Minister and BBC reporter, Moses Dossi, former Justice Minister
      and Attorney General Henry Dama Phoya and former deputy agriculture
      minister Samuel Kaphuka.

      The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre says the new cabinet includes
      many figures who have given their support to the economic planning
      minister, Bingu wa Mutharika, who has been appointed by the ruling
      United Democratic Front as Mr Muluzi's successor in next year's
      presidential election.

      Mr Muluzi has publicly endorsed Mr Mutharika's appointment.

      Bingu wa Mutharika
      Supporters of Mutharika got new posts

      One of the founder members of the ruling UDF to have also lost his job
      is Harry Thompson the former environment minister, who has been a
      cabinet member for some seven years.

      Ambition unshattered

      He told the BBC's Network Africa programme that he found the manner of
      his sacking rather humiliating.

      "Let's put it this way, this is the first time I have been dismissed
      from any job", he told the programme.

      Mr Thompson, who had also expressed an interest in the presidency said
      he would use the next few days to assess his future in the party,
      insisting at the same time, that his presidential ambitions have not
      been shattered.

      "I would look at the mood in the country, you can't just go shouting, I
      want to be a president," he added.

      *****

      Mozambique's economy grows by eight percent
      Maputo
      11 April 2003 09:07
      Mozambique's economy grew by eight percent in 2002, despite a severe
      drought that ravaged southern and central districts of the country,
      President Joaquim Chissano said on Thursday.

      "Despite the effect of drought, our economy performed well throughout
      the year with a growth of eight percent," Chissano said during a
      televised state of the nation address.

      And Mozambique's national currency, the metical, only depreciated by
      3,2% against the US dollar, the head of state pointed out. Last year's
      inflation figure was in the region of nine percent, he added.

      The growth figure for 2002 represents a slowdown from 2001, when the
      southern African country's economy grew by 12%.

      But Chissano was upbeat over what he referred to as Mozambique's
      healthy political, social and economic situation despite the drought
      that has affected five other countries in the region.

      He added that the economy had registered significant gains since severe
      floods hit Mozambique in 2000 and 2001 and caused damage totalling
      hundreds of millions of dollars.

      Mozambique has received a lot of praise for its swift economic recovery
      following the end of civil war in 1992.

      The country has averaged economic growth of 10% per annum over the last
      decade since the launch of an economic structural adjustment programme.
      - Sapa-AFP

      *****

      Healing the scars of abuse in Maputo
      Lina Mucanse | Maputo
      11 April 2003 09:10
      Visibly traumatised, Antonio Manuel (10) goes to Mahele primary school,
      a remote part of Maputo province, where the Mozambican capital, Maputo,
      is situated.

      Manuel, a shy boy, uses both his hands to hold a pencil as he writes in
      the exercise book.

      This is because his fingers, on both hands, are joined together by a
      deliberate act of accident. At four, Manuel sustained severe injuries
      when his stepmother placed his hands on top of a hot stove.

      "I do not know why auntie (as he calls his stepmother) did this to me,"
      he says, holding up his disfigured fingers. Neighbours say it was a form
      of punishment: the boy had stolen food that was kept for his bother. It
      was to teach him a lesson, not to steal again.

      No legal action has been taken against his stepmother. And, Manuel's
      fingers are disfigured for life.

      Julia Andre, nine, works for a family in Massingir, Mozambique's
      southern province of Gaza. Her mother has given her to a family as
      payment for R250 (around $32)that she owes them. Andre performs all
      kinds of chores her new "masters" ask her to do. Her father moved to
      neighbouring South Africa, after abandoning the family.

      Elsewhere, Rui Fernando, who does not know his age, but appears to be
      around 12, lives at his aunt's house. He has never been to school,
      unlike his cousins who are almost the same age as he.

      Fernando s daily tasks consist of herding cattle and goats of the
      family. In exchange, he gets shelter and meals.

      "My greatest dream is to go to school and learn. If I could go to
      school, I would like to be a truck driver," he says.

      Child abuse, vicious as it may seem, is tolerated in the Mozambican
      society, especially in rural areas.

      It is also common in cities, where the number of street children
      continues to climb daily. Most of the children have chosen to abandon
      the comfort of their homes in exchange for a relatively free, but
      dangerous life on the street.

      Melita (13) chats with her peers in one of the main streets in Maputo,
      smoking the most common brand of tobacco, Palmar. She is "married" to a
      15-year-old boy, who, like her, lives rough on the street.

      The UN Children's Fund (Unicef) estimates the number of street children
      in Mozambique at more than 5 000. Almost 70% of Mozambique's population
      live in absolute poverty and the number of street children is growing.

      "I live in the street since I was nine. My father and stepmother used
      to abuse me and give me food only if everybody had eaten. My mother
      knows about my condition but there is nothing she can do because she is
      married to another man, who is not my father", says Melita.

      Isac Cossa (14) from Manica province, central Mozambique, now lives in
      Maputo.

      "I'm used to street life. I have been in it for a long time. I fled
      from Manica as a result of mistreatment by my relatives," he says.

      Some of the children say they are glad to be on the street: they only
      fear police raids, which are frequent.

      "But if you give them money, they release you without any harm," says
      Cossa.

      Rede da Crianca, a Maputo-based non-governmental organisation, has
      launched a project to assist street children, most of who are
      traumatised, after years of abuse.

      "We provide material and psychological assistance and help the
      reintegration of the children in their own families whenever possible,"
      says a source at the organisation.

      "We also locate families willing to adopt the children and take up
      their education." Rede Crianca is a network of humanitarian and
      religious groups dealing with "child in a difficult situation".

      Mozambique, with a population of 18 million, is prone to drought and
      floods. About 141 000 children, aged between five months and five years,
      and 71 000 pregnant women in 22 districts affected by drought, are being
      supplied with soya as a food supplement, to reduce levels of
      malnutrition.

      Unicef's Viviane Van Steirteghem says the programme, which costs
      1,5-million US Dollars, will last for six months.

      "While hunger is nothing new in Mozambique and people have found ways
      to respond to it, things have been made more difficult by the HIV/Aids
      epidemic, that is claiming the lives of food producers at household
      level," she says. - Sapa-IPS

      *****

      Famine takes hold in southern Zimbabwe
      Johannesburg
      11 April 2003 08:30
      The food security situation in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South province
      is "critical", the latest report by the UN Relief and Recovery Unit
      (RRU) has warned.

      A UN inter-agency team carried out a rapid assessment between 24 and 29
      March, to determine the potential gaps in the present humanitarian
      response and the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in
      the province, which lies in the southwest of the country, bordering
      South Africa.

      "The mission found that the food security situation has worsened... and
      the conditions for the people have become critical. This situation is
      mainly due to rain failure, resulting in water shortages, crop failure
      and livestock deaths," the Zimbabwe-based RRU said.

      Although the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and NGOs had made various
      interventions, these did "not cover all households who may now be
      described as vulnerable".

      The report added that resources made available by public works
      programmes were insufficient and distributions by the state grain
      monopoly, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), were irregular.

      The latest report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fews
      Net) said "although GMB imports account for almost three times the
      volume of food aid imports, GMB food is hardly visible in the communal
      areas".

      "Food aid is catering for up to 70% of the rural population, while GMB
      food supplies have stopped altogether in most rural areas," Fews Net
      charged.

      Meanwhile, the UN mission "noted with concern the sharp decline in
      water availability for both humans and livestock throughout the
      province. A significant number of dams have dried up, or will dry up
      well before the next rainy season. In addition, a substantial proportion
      of borehole pumps in the province are not functioning due to poor
      maintenance systems, lack of spare parts, or both," the RRU said.

      Health services had already been "severely strained as a result of the
      prevailing economic hardship". The current drought would only worsen the
      situation, especially for the rural population, placing further
      constraints on resources.

      According to health officials in Matabeleland South, cases of severe
      malnutrition were on the rise.

      "In addition, it was found that populations will be more susceptible to
      water-related diseases, due to the severe shortage of safe water for
      domestic consumption and the lack of adequate sanitation disposal
      methods. As a result of the higher risk of waterborne and epidemic-prone
      diseases, there is a need to step up disease surveillance," the unit
      warned.

      A set of recommendations would be completed soon for distribution to
      stakeholders.

      The RRU also reported that "in what would be its largest effort to
      date, preliminary figures indicate WFP distributed over 57 000 mt of
      corn soya blend, maize meal, pulses and vegetable oil to 4,7-million
      people in 49 districts during the month of March -- the height of the
      lean season".

      During April, the plan is to provide 50 000 mt of cereals to
      4,6-million people.

      "Complementary food aid pipelines such as those implemented by C-SAFE,
      Save the Children (UK) and German Agro-Action are expected to meet the
      needs of an additional 900,000 beneficiaries in April," the unit added.

      However, WFP faced a shortage of pulses and vegetable oil and would not
      be able to distribute these commodities in April. WFP distribution
      figures would drop significantly as of May, which coincides with the end
      of the maize harvest.

      "This year's maize crop is still being harvested. There are
      contradicting reports about the size of the harvest and the government
      of Zimbabwe's final figures will not be available for several weeks yet.
      Those figures, along with reports from the Zimbabwe Vulnerability
      Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), and the findings of the [Food and
      Agriculture Organisation] FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment
      Mission, will form the basis of any future appeal to donors," the RRU
      noted.

      More positively, FEWS NET said that the cereal gap for the 2003/04
      consumptive year was forecast to be 561 180 mt, much reduced from last
      year's gap of 1,4-million mt.

      The RRU noted that donors have been asked to fund the extension of the
      current emergency operation. "Unfortunately, any immediately forthcoming
      donor contributions would not be expected to arrive in the country
      before July," the unit said.

      Fews Net raised concern that "urban areas and newly resettled areas
      continue to be excluded from large-scale food aid programmes, despite
      evidence of a deteriorating food security situation in these areas".

      However, the RRU reported that the a pilot urban intervention programme
      initiated by WFP in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, had recently been
      replicated at two municipal clinics in the capital Harare.

      As with the project in Bulawayo, Help Germany was implementing the
      programme in conjunction with the city of Harare's Health Department,
      with food from WFP and additional funding by the British development
      fund, DFID (Department For International Development).

      "Children who visit these clinics and exhibit weight loss, or whose
      weight is stagnant, receive a monthly ration of 10 kg of corn soya blend
      (CSB) and 1 litre of vegetable oil. The fortified CSB helps the children
      rapidly regain weight. WFP will evaluate the pilot intervention sometime
      in June and, depending on the findings, may expand the programme," the
      RRU said.

      In relation to household vulnerability, the year-on-year inflation rate
      for the month of February 2003 gained 12,8% points on the January
      figure, reaching a record high of 220,9%, Fews Net pointed out.

      "Food inflation accounts for 79% of this latest increase," it said. -
      Irin

      *****

      Mugabe opponent freed
      MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi
      MDC supporters tried to stop police arresting Nyathi
      Zimbabwean police have released the chief opposition spokesman, Paul
      Themba Nyathi, four days after he was detained.

      A lawyer for Mr Nyathi - who is the information officer of the Movement
      for Democratic Change (MDC) - said the High Court had ordered his
      release after police failed to charge him or to explain his continued
      detention.

      Earlier in the week, police said Mr Nyathi would be prosecuted for his
      participation in organising an anti-government strike last month.

      He was detained on Monday, as another senior MDC leader was released on
      bail.

      Some 600 MDC activists have been arrested since the strike - many say
      they were tortured.

      Conditions

      Mr Nyathi said he had been "illegally detained" beyond the stipulated
      48-hour period.

      He said he had been kept in dirty, cramped and unhygienic conditions.

      Two MDC lawmakers were still in custody late Thursday, the AFP news
      agency quoted their lawyer as saying.

      The men - Jealous Sansole and David Mpala - who represent the country's
      western Matabeleland province, were arrested on Wednesday.

      MDC activist James Munetsi shows his injuries
      They dragged me and my wife out of the house and beat me up in front of
      my two-year-old son
      Chris

      Accounts of torture
      "I haven't been able to locate them," lawyer Lucas Nkomo told the AFP.

      State television reported on Thursday that the two had been found in
      possession of papers "undermining the authority of the government".

      The arrests of Sansole and Mpala bring to six the number of opposition
      deputies arrested since the strike.

      They include MDC Vice President Gibson Sibanda who has been freed on
      bail of 1m Zimbabwe dollars ($1,200) after eight days in custody.

      He was barred from leaving the country, meaning that the MDC's top
      three leaders are all unable to leave Zimbabwe.

      Leader Morgan Tsvangirai and secretary general Welshman Ncube had to
      surrender their passports after being charged with treason ahead of last
      year's controversial presidential election.

      The MDC says it is still to decide on what action to take after
      President Robert Mugabe ignored a 31 March deadline for him to stop
      persecuting political opponents.

      Last week, Mr Nyathi told BBC News Online that the MDC was carefully
      considering the "risks" of embarking on more anti-government protests.

      "We don't want to draw our people into an ambush," he said.

      *****

      Talking up Zimbabwe
      A man in Zimbabwe has started his attempt to enter the record books by
      talking in public non-stop for 36 hours.

      Jonah Mungoshi uttered the first of what will be many words in his
      attempt on the Guinness Book of Records title for the World's Longest
      Public Talk at 0900 GMT in the capital, Harare, on Friday.

      Jonah Mungoshi
      Mungoshi has a lot to say

      The current record stands at 26 hours and Mr Mungoshi told the BBC: "I
      would like to break the record emphatically so that it will take some
      time before someone comes over and thrashes my record".

      The 36-year-old, who works as a marketing manager for a bank, is no
      stranger to competitive chat.

      He finished third at a World Public Speaking Championship in Texas,
      USA.

      " I feel that I have a lot to say. My cup is really full. So I try to
      find a way of attracting the audience in a dramatic way," he told the
      Network Africa programme.

      Weighty topics

      Indeed, he will need all the verbal skills at his disposal if Mr
      Mungoshi is to keep an audience awake as he talks his way through 18
      academic topics.

      Among the subjects he aims to cover are:

      * Finances and the young

      * Achieving extraordinary success

      * Speed marketing

      * Thought management.

      * Leadership.

      Hero within

      Mr Mungoshi says he feels deeply that if Africa is to transform itself
      from its current poor economic situation, then Africans need to look
      closely at themselves.

      Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of the region, is facing serious
      economic problems, but Mr Mungoshi said he would not be talking about
      that, or the controversial political situation in his country

      "People who imagine that the answer to our problems lies in politics
      are mistaken," he explained.

      He insisted that transform of society must begin with individual action
      which would then be translated into the wider society. "This is the way
      we can shape our destiny," he added.

      Great orators

      The Zimbabwean admits he is no Martin Luther King or Kwame Nkrumah but
      says he will give it his best shot.

      "I'll speak from my head. I will have notes to guide me. I have done my
      research. I feel passionate, have conviction." he told the programme.

      He has also, he admitted, been training in the gym for the last three
      months before the competition.

      "There is an ambulance on stand-by should there be a need to be rushed
      to the hospital," Mr Mungoshi joked. But when asked about his toilet
      arrangements during the period, he declined to elaborate in caser anyone
      would find it "disgusting".
    • 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
      • 0 Attachment

        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

      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.