- Condom Demand Slacks
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
April 25, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003
Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM), a leading reproductive health service
non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the country registered a slack in
condom demand by 8.3 percent and a dramatic increase in sexual
transmitted infection (STI) clients by 70 percent last year.
According to BLM 2002 annual report, about 5,114,200 condoms were
distributed in 2001 while 4,685,100 condoms were distributed in the year
2000 representing an 8.3 percent decrease.
Banja La Mtsogolo Marketing Officer, Rick Chikwekwe, attributed the
slack in condom distribution to competition by several players on the
He brushed aside suggestions that most people especially the youths
shun using condoms hence the drop in demand for condoms.
"Although BLM did not carry out a research to establish the cause for
the drop in demand for condoms, we believe that there are a number of
factors contributing to it, like for instance, there are several condom
providers like Population Services International, the government and may
be people prefer using imported condoms for a difference," he
Chikwekwe noted that BLM does not put much emphasis on advertising
condoms, as is the case with some condom providers.
He however insisted that the only way to establish the truth as to why
there has been a drop in demand for condoms is through research.
BLM also registered a dramatic increase in STI clientele at its clinics
by 70 percent. The NGO recorded 51,907 STI clients in 2001 and 88,270
clients last year.
Chikwekwe said the number of STI clients has increased not because
people are shunning using condoms but because of the new programme BLM
has for prisons.
"BLM is undertaking a special programme in 22 prisons in the country
funded by the Department for International Development (DFDI).
We have treated about 22,000 prisoners so far," he disclosed.
He however was quick to say the number does not only reflect the
prevalence of STIs because the prisoners were also treated of other
ailments as well.
"We would count a prisoner who has come for an STI treatment as one and
if the same prisoner came to be treated of other ailments we could count
him as two, that is why the figures have increased," he said.
BLM has also recorded a 49.9 percent increase in its clientele from
335,489 to 503,022 clients in 2002.
About 136,373 people were assisted with family planning methods last
year at BLM clinics. 94,257 family planning clients were recorded the
previous year, representing an increase of 44.6 percent.
The family planning leaders also made headway by registering 25,242 new
clients last year representing an increase of 77.8 percent from14.19
percent recorded in 2001.
BLM recorded 299,773 Couple Year of Protection (CYP), a measure of the
success of a family planning programme, compared to 126,240 in 2001.
President Says Resignation of UDF Vice President is No Surprise
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
April 25, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003
State President Dr Bakili Muluzi says that he is not surprised with the
resignation of the United Democratic Front (UDF) First Vice President
Aleke Banda saying he has done that before while seeking a higher office
of the Vice President.
However, the President said Banda's resignation would not affect the
popularity and strength of the ruling party.
Speaking at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre on departure for
Libya on Sunday, Muluzi said the UDF is intact and strong and continues
to enjoy popularity at the grassroots level.
Muluzi said he was not surprised with the recent resignation of Banda,
after he failed to be selected and proposed as UDF Presidential
Candidate for next year's general elections.
"It's not the first time that Aleke Banda has resigned from UDF. He
also resigned in 1994 when I appointed Right Honourable Justin Malewezi
as a Vice President," he said.
Muluzi disclosed that Banda got bitter with the appointment of Malewezi
because Banda himself wanted the position of Vice President.
Muluzi explained that Banda rescinded his decision to resign from the
party after he had delegated the late Collins Chizumila, Katenga Kaunda,
Phillip Banda and few others to discuss with Aleke to understand and
appreciate the situation.
He stressed that the resignation of Banda was his democratic right,
which would not affect the ruling party in anyway. He assured all
Malawians that even after the resignation, the UDF party is still going
Muluzi said that the strength of the UDF is not dependent on singular
persons and personalities that may claim to have been part of the start
up process to the formation of the party.
"The UDF is not I, Bakili Muluzi, nor is it the Vice President Justin
Malewezi. It is the people in the rural areas, residents in the
townships across the country, students, vendors, men and women that own
this political party," said Muluzi, adding: "the base of the UDF is also
in branch, area, district and regional committees. These people work
tirelessly for the party for no pay and no reward, at times under
difficult and trying conditions".
Commenting on the failure of Aleke Banda to make it as the UDF
Presidential Candidate for next year's elections, President Muluzi said
it would have been political suicide for the UDF to elect a person who
failed to be elected as a Member of Parliament in the general elections
of 1994 and 1999 respectively.
"There are also reports that during the one party era Aleke Banda
failed during Parliamentary elections for so many years.
So how could the National Executive Committee entrust such a person
with such known track record to lead the UDF party in Presidential
polls. That wouldn't have been wise," he said.
Muluzi also dismissed allegations by the former UDF First Vice
President that he was not chosen as UDF candidate because he was from
the northern region of the country.
The President said that he has been preaching unity and has always
condemned regionalism as well as tribalism in the country.
And to show his commitment to ensure that there is unity and regional
or tribal tolerance he recently appointed ministers from the Alliance
for Democracy (Aford) a political party that has its strong base in the
He also appointed Aleke as cabinet minister even after he had failed to
win a parliamentary seat.
Aleke Banda has resigned from the UDF after he failed to secure even a
single vote at a joint UDF national executive committee and cabinet
Muluzi for Peace, Unity And Development
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
April 25, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003
By Tusekele Mwanyongo
President Bakili Muluzi has expressed delight at the manner his Libyan
counterpart, Colonel Muammar Qadaffi and his people welcomed him and his
Muluzi said the trip, which was a follow-up to Qadaffi's visit to
Malawi last year, was very successful and fruitful.
The President said that he is happy that the Libyan government has
taken practical steps in fulfilling the pledge of building a state of
the art hospital in the outskirts of Blantyre city.
The President told journalists that he is not pleased that some
patients sleep on the floor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital because the
population has grown.
There is need for a new hospital. Hence during the historic visit of
Colonel Muammar Qadaffi to Malawi, President Muluzi requested the Libyan
leader to consider constructing a new hospital for the people of
Blantyre, which he obliged.
"We discussed with the Libyan government officials on the
implementation of Qadaffi's promise to build a 300-bed hospital at
Kameza in Blantyre and low cost houses for people in the cities of
Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu and rural areas," he said.
He disclosed that Libya has already sent 4, 000 metric tonnes of maize
in response to the international appeal that government made because of
last year's food shortage problem. Muluzi also said the Libyan
government has identified contractors to come to Malawi to finalize the
necessary arrangements for the construction of the new hospital.
On the low cost housing scheme, President Dr. Bakili Muluzi, said 70,
000 families require houses in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu and that is
why he took with him to Libya the Chief Executive of the Malawi Housing
Corporation. As a result, a team from Libya will be coming to Malawi to
assess the country's needs.
The Libyan government has also pledged to work with ADMARC on a tobacco
processing plant for smallholder farmers. It is for this reason that the
Chief Executive of ADMARC joined him on the trip to Libya.
President Muluzi believes that this would provide an additional
facility to farmers since they are already other processing plants;
which are however congested during tobacco processing season.
Muluzi trip to Libya is a fruit of a good diplomatic relationship,
which flourishes between the two countries. Malawi and Libya established
a Joint Permanent Commission of Co-operation in 1998 and diplomatic
relations in 1999.
Stressing the need for Malawians to remain united, peaceful and
tolerant, the President said that his appointment of Aford's members
into cabinet signalled his commitment to national unity.
He said there is nothing wrong to appoint people from other parties
into the cabinet.
He gave the example of the unity that prevailed in Zimbabwe because
Joshua Mkomo's ZAPU and Gabriel Mugabe's ZANU finally agreed to work
together in government.
He emphasised, "In this country I would like to see unity. If there is
anybody questioning unity what do they want? - Disunity... I am for
I am for peace. I am for tolerance and for development. If we work
together there will be development." He said this is exactly what he has
encouraged people of this country.
The President said, Malawi should think like a nation, a nation that
should always move forward. He therefore told the nation that it has to
ignore the so-called Aford rebels who are purportedly opposed to the
appointment of Aford ministers.
Information Minister Warns Against Sensational Reporting
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
April 25, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003
Sensationalism in news reporting breeds anarchy, hatred and
lawlessness, Malawi's newly appointed Information Minister, Bernard
Chisale, has warned media practitioners.
The minister urged the scribes to stick to their journalistic code of
conduct, ethics and professionalism when discharging their duties.
"I would like to emphasise the importance of sticking to your code of
conduct, ethics and professionalism. Sensationalism breeds anarchy,
hatred and lawlessness," he said.
Chisale further advised the media to use friendly statements, words and
He said government expects the media not to report negative issues only
but also positive achievements it has made during the past nine years.
"I would like to thank the media for the good work, which you are doing
in informing Malawians and other stakeholders on issues affecting this
count ry," he said.
Chisale noted that his ministry is aware of the myriad challenges,
which is affecting the media like luck of training opportunities, skills
and equipment, among others.
" My ministry will work in partnership with the media fraternity in
order to resolve some of the problems, which affect your profession," he
Be Familiar With ICT Or Risk Your Job
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
April 25, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) has
advised senior executives and managers in both the public and private
sector to develop a keen interest in the use of information
communication technology (ICT).
Second Vice President of the Southern Region MCCI, Dumisani Chisala,
gave the advice recently at the opening of an ICT exhibition organised
by the Chamber held at Chichiri Conference Centre hall.
"Senior executive and managers must be familiar with information
technology or risk loosing their jobs to young people who are conversant
with the modern technology," he warned.
He said information communication technology plays a pivotal role in
the modern world as evidenced in the proliferation of Short Message
Service (SMS) and E-mails.
"ICT expands the global market, shortens the distance and enables
people access to products from any part of the world through the
electronic commerce," he noted.
Speaking at the same function, Acting Principal Secretary in the
Ministry of Information, George Mwale who was the guest of honour, said
since Malawi would like to become an export oriented economy, government
will do everything possible in promoting information communication
technology to enable free flow of trade information.
He said government recognises the importance of Information
communication technology in removing trade barriers.
"Government is committed to improving ICT that is why it removed duty
on computers," he said.
He thanked the MCCCI for organising the exhibition.
The MCCCI organised an ICT fair from 10 to 12 April following a
successful two-day conference attended by leading stakeholders in the
The aim of the fair was to encourage the use of IT as a business
The expo brought together players in ICT, service providers, hardware
and soft ware merchants.
However some exhibitors complained that the exhibition was poorly
patronised due to poor publicity.
Business Machines Limited sales executive, Winford Chitaukali, said the
fair was poorly patronised with little or no buyer.
"Very few people patronised the exhibition. This is a computer age and
had it been that the exhibition was well publicised it would have
attracted a lot of buyers but look, only a very few buyers came," he
He suggested that MCCCI should have started publicising one month ahead
of the exhibition using both electronic, print media, banners to attract
Chief executives and financial controllers and even the general public
to patronise it.
National Bank of Malawi public relations officer, Margret Magola, also
attributed the low patronage to poor publicity.
"I think the organisers undermined advertising, they would have applied
a door to door advertising strategy," she said.
She said that would have attracted both ICT vendors and users even the
Magola however said the expo gave an opportunity to National Bank of
Malawi clients to know about some new products the bank is offering and
she expects more prospective customers to come forth for the new
"Some people were not aware of some of our products like the Gold Card,
which comprises money card, smart card, cheque guarantee card and Auto
Teller Machine Card," she explained.
She said with a Gold Card merchants do not have to carry huge amounts
of money hence reducing risks of being robbed.
Malawi Telecommunications Limited chief assistant engineer, Alfred
Nkhata, said to The Malawi Standard that the exhibition had given
patrons an opportunity to know more about VSAT, the digital high-speed
network, especially the Internet service providers (ISP).
Nkhata disclosed that MTL intends to install a new system of 250
VSAT gives access to all Internet users in Malawi to have access to
information beyond the boarders of Malawi and the rest of the world.
Opposition Congress Party Convention Shifts Venue
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
April 25, 2003
Posted to the web April 28, 2003
The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is considering changing
the venue of the party's convention from its scheduled venue in Zomba to
MCP Director of Legal Affairs, Jodder Kanjere, has disclosed to The
Malawi Standard that senior party officials met in the capital, Lilongwe
on Easter Sunday to consider change of venue for the convention.
It is said that the executive committee met again on Easter Monday in
the same capital city where the decision was endorsed.
He told The Malawi Standard in an interview that the party was not
responsible for the change of venue.
"Actualy, it is the Chancellor College people who asked us to consider
changing the venue because of regular power failures. They said the
College could not cope with this," he said.
Kanjere further said that officials at the College told them regular
power cuts were affecting operations at the College and that it would
have been very difficult to provide food and accommodation services to
the MCP delegates as the kitchen and hostels would also be affected.
The Director of Legal Affairs could not disclose where the convention
would be shifted to.
"MCP is a national party, so it may be moved to any part of the
country," said Kanjere.
However, some officials suggested the move was to weaken the strength
of Treasurer General Hetherwick Ntaba who is reported to be commanding a
lot of support in the Southern Region.
But Kanjere dismissed these claims saying changing of venues does not
in anyway affect a candidate's popularity.
"That's not true because whether you move a person from the Central to
the South or the vice versa, it will remain the same and one would
always vote for a candidate of one's choice," he said.
The convention is a three-horse race between MCP President Gwanda
Chakuamba, his vice John Tembo and the Treasurer General Hetherwick
But Chakuamba and Tembo are reported to have teamed up to fight
Hetherick Ntaba so that he fails in his bid to win the MCP presidency.
Two weeks ago, Ntaba was amongst the people that Gwanda Chakuamba
paraded at a political rally in Salima as one of his challengers whom
people should not support.
At the rally, Ntaba and others were warned against openly campaigning
for the MCP presidency. He was however, not given an opportunity to
In an interview with The Malawi Standard, Ntaba dismissed the claims
made by Chakuamba.
He said the allegations were made against him because Chakuamba and
Tembo have lost popularity within the MCP and its supporters.
Zimbabwe strikers return to work
Shops, banks and factories have reopened in Zimbabwe after a three-day
national strike called by the main labour movement.
The strike shut down most businesses and was hailed as a huge success
by the Zimbabwe's Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
It said that 90% of its members had stayed at home in protest at the
decision of Robert Mugabe's government to triple the price of petrol.
The government announced a rise in the minimum wage to compensate for
the fuel rises.
Some 26 people arrested in the capital, Harare, during a raid on the
offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been
The MDC - which supported the strike and is planning its own mass
protests - said the police raid was part of a campaign of government
In March, the MDC organised a wide scale two-day strike in protest
against what it described as President Mugabe's oppressive rule.
Many shops, businesses and factories across Zimbabwe shut down during
week's strike - which the government had declared illegal.
Lovemore Macomb, head of the ZCTU, said that the strike could resume
next week if the government did not reverse its the fuel price rise.
The economy is in desperate trouble with inflation running at more than
200%, soaring unemployment and shortages of fuel and foreign currency.
The ZCTU argues that for many workers it will now cost almost as much
to get to work as they earn in a day.
The organisation's deputy secretary general, Colleen GIGO, told the BBC
the strike was "largely an economic protest" rather than a political
"It has been a bread-and-butter campaign... every person who has the
effect of the fuel increases would realise that it is unreasonable," he
The government said the 200% rise in petrol prices was necessary to
help pay for fuel imports which have become scarce since shipments from
Libya stopped last year.
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