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    US$6 Billion Needed to Eradicate Poverty Malawi Standard (Blantyre) May 19, 2003 Posted to the web May 19, 2003 Brian Ligomeka Blantyre Malawi s Finance
    Message 1 of 1046 , May 20, 2003
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      US$6 Billion Needed to Eradicate Poverty

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 19, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003

      Brian Ligomeka

      Malawi's Finance Minister Friday Jumbe says the government needs US$ 6
      billion in order to eradicate poverty by half, thereby joining
      countries, which are ranked as middle-income nations.

      Speaking at a debate whose theme was: Can Malawi achieve economic
      growth without budgetary support? Jumbe said emphatically that it is
      impossible for Malawi to get out of the poverty trap without donor

      "Malawi cannot achieve economic growth without budgetary support from
      the donors," explained Jumbe at the debate organised by the Economists
      Association of Malawi (ECAMA) in Blantyre.

      He said that it is not possible for Malawi to raise US$6 billion on its
      own to be used for the eradication of poverty.

      He pointed out that at present donors fund 80 percent of development
      expenditure through grants and loans while at the same time pumping
      funds to finance 40 percent of recurrent budget.

      Jumbe explained that this trend is not only unique to Malawi, but to
      all poor countries all over the world.

      "Honestly speaking, we need donor support in order to make strides in
      poverty eradication. Even at the Montreal Meeting where the Millenium
      Goal was set, it was a consensus of all those present that poor
      countries need massive resources from donors to get out of the poverty
      trap," observed Jumbe.

      Describing poverty as an evil monster, Jumbe observed that Malawi is
      facing the daunting task of combating poverty because many donors are
      withholding aid and budgetary support to the country. He openly admitted
      that Malawi is facing tough economic crisis, compounded by a number of
      factors including macro-economic instability and the hunger crisis.

      Jumbe said that many donors are reluctant to pump their funds into the
      country because of the current macro-economic instability; which is
      characterised by among other factors high interest rates, high inflation
      rate, closure of companies and other related problems.

      The Finance Minister urged donors to appreciate and understand the
      domestic problems.

      "It is high time that donors should look at our development programmes
      rather than imposing theirs.

      They must allow us to articulate our programmes," appealed Jumbe.

      He expressed optimism that donors would in the distant future begin
      disbursing aid to Malawi because fiscal discipline is now on track.

      "In the 2003/04 budget, we did not overspend. Our budget was only
      affected by the hunger situation in the country, which forced us to
      borrow US$80 million to import maize. Unfortunately, donors never
      honoured some of the pledges they made . Donors never gave us the K9
      billion they promised," said Jumbe.

      IMF Resident Representative, Gilmand Bergashaw, who attended the
      debate, said the Fund with-held their financial support to the country
      because in 2002, the country was dogged with the problem of
      over-expenditure; and the whole year was spent on trying to put fiscal


      Congress Party President Cannot Stand in 2004

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 19, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003

      Dickson Kashoti & Brian Ligomeka

      Political scientists and legal experts in the country have described as
      a political miscalculation the decision by the Malawi Congress Party
      (MCP) to elect John Tembo as its President, when it is quite clear that
      he is not eligible to stand for the 2004 elections following his
      conviction on contempt of court charges.

      A Chancellor College political analyst and law lecturer, Ngeyi
      Kanyongolo, says she does not understand why delegates at the recent MCP
      convention some of whom, are aware of Tembo's conviction elected him as
      their party president.

      She described the MCP decision to elect John Tembo as its President, as
      a gamble charging that the country's laws are clear that he is not
      eligible to stand for the 2004 elections following his conviction on
      contempt of court charges.

      Kanyongolo, who is also the deputy chairperson of the Law Society of
      Malawi stressed that it was a gamble for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP)
      to elect Tembo when he is barred by law to seek for a public office.

      "It is really a big gamble. I would think they would go for the
      judicial review but as of now, Honourable Tembo cannot seek a public
      office," she said in an interview.

      She described the election of Tembo at an MCP convention in Blantyre as
      a tricky situation.

      "I know that politics is a gamble...but the future of MCP is a gamble
      as of now until the courts rule otherwise. He might have been elected
      because of his popularity but it is really a big gamble for the MCP,"
      she said.

      Hetherwick Ntaba, former Treasurer General of the MCP who also stood
      for the party's presidential election described as a mistake the
      election of Tembo as the party's president.

      "Although I am an interested party, it was a mistake to elect Tembo. He
      is a convict therefore he cannot seek any political office, " said
      Ntaba. He added, Tembo should wait for seven years to elapse otherwise
      the electorate would question our democratic credentials and intergrity
      as to why we are entrusting the office of the party president to a

      Ntaba explained that even if Tembo were to be allowed to stand as a
      Presidential Candidate, his candidature would create a lot of problems,
      that would lead to eventual defeat of the party.

      "When we are talking of John Tembo, we should be mindful that we are
      talking about a man whose track record is associated with the atrocities
      the party committed when it was in power," Ntaba hinted.

      And commenting on the same, Dean of Law at Chancellor College, Dr Edge
      Kanyongolo said the Constitution bars Tembo to qualify as a presidential
      candidate following his conviction.

      "Somebody who has been convicted of any offence of dishonesty or moral
      turpitude seven years before an election cannot stand as a presidential
      candidate," Dr Kanyongolo said.

      Added Kanyongolo, "In my opinion, Tembo's case falls under the moral
      turpitude. But let's wait and see if the courts would rule otherwise."

      Tembo and Kainja were slapped with a K200,000 fine each or one year in
      jail because they held a convention in Lilongwe on June 22, 2002 in
      defiance of a court injunction, Justice Maxon Mkandawire, granted to
      former MCP President Gwanda Chakuamba stopping them.

      Another party official, Nkhotakota District MCP Chair, Kampanje Banda,
      was also slapped with a K200, 000 fine or one year jail term on the same
      charges of contempt of court.

      One renowned Blantrye based lawyer said that he doubts very much if the
      court would rule in favour of Tembo. That would imply the court opening
      up for citizens of this country to disregard the rule of law by being
      defiant to its orders.

      "In lay man's language, I would say a contempt of court is a case
      whereby an individual or groups of individual insults and undermines the
      court and its authority. Can the court favour somebody who insults and
      undermines authority?" argued the lawyer.

      "Our laws have no patience with dishonest and irresponsible persons and
      deals with them accordingly," he said adding: "to argue that Tembo's
      conviction does not involve dishonesty or moral turpitude is a kind of
      argument, which lacks cogency and substance.

      "This is because a conviction of contempt of court is very serious
      given our new democratic and constitutional order. By ignoring the court
      injunction Tembo and his colleagues placed themselves above the law and
      that is a threat to democracy and the independence of the judiciary.

      "The question is how many court injunctions would he disobey if he were
      elected head of state?"

      Commenting on the issue, University of Malawi political science
      lecturer Nixon Khembo concurred with other analysts that the election of
      Tembo as MCP president has thrown the party into a cobweb of leadership
      quagmire. "Because it is still not clear if he would be allowed to stand
      as a candidate in the Presidential election. Obviously people should
      brace for more political shockwaves, when the party will decide to elect
      a Presidential candidate and running mate," said Khembo.

      He pointed out that he is a threat to the prospects of the opposition
      forming an electoral alliance. "Tembo is a politician who is known for
      opposing the idea of parties forming electoral alliance and his election
      as a leader of the main opposition party means prospects of the
      opposition forming an alliance would be slim."

      Khembo said this has certainly created an added advantage to the United
      Democratic Front (UDF) to win the 2004 polls.

      "Above that, MCP is now divided into three factions with one belonging
      to Tembo, another to Chakuamba and another one belonging to Hetherwick
      Ntaba. This is demonstrated by the fact that the convention failed to
      elect the national executive committee, due to intra-party violence,
      which disrupted the convention."

      Misheki Suwedi, 43, a resident of Zingwangwa Township in Blantyre told
      the Malawi Standard that by electing John Tembo, the MCP has
      demonstrated to the world that it is still a party of darkness.

      "I remember John Tembo as a henchman of Dr Kamuzu Banda who vigorously
      resisted the democratisation process. I remember vividly his statements:
      abongololo, agang'a, matipate ndi nkhondo. How can John Tembo today use
      the same tongue to talk about the principles and tenets of democracy
      that was introduced by the people he described as abongololo and
      agang'a?" wondered Suwedi.

      Suwedi said Tembo would never rule the country as President because
      members of the public associate him with the atrocities the party
      committed during 31 years of power since he was Dr. Banda's "Prime

      "To me, the name Tembo reminds me of the deaths of Aaron Gadama, Twaibu
      Sangala, Dick Matenje, David Chiwanga and many others who were murdered
      during the one party dictatorship. To me Tembo smells of blood and of
      bad will. Tell me of a village that can hide scars of MCP atrocities?"
      queried Suwedi.


      Congress Party Presidents Named in Convention Violence

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 19, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003

      Staff Reporter

      Police have named supporters of MCP President John Tembo and his deputy
      Gwanda Chakuamba as allegedly behind the ugly and gluesome scenes at the
      MCP convention where a number of delegates were seriously injured after
      being hacked with axes and panga knives.

      Fifteen of them, one with a seriously fractured foot and another with a
      broken artificial leg and crutches, were quickly ferried to Queen
      Elizabeth Central Hospital where some of them have since been

      Police Spokesman, George Chikowi, said seven people who confessed to be
      supporters of the two leaders were arrested and locked away at the
      Blantyre Police Station.

      "Investigations are still going on," said Chikowi. He however disclosed
      that the remanded suspects will be brought before court as soon as
      possible. He declined to mention names of the remandees; saying this
      would jeorpadise their investigations.

      The arrest comes days after President Muluzi ordered the police to
      investigate the causes of the violence at the MCP convention and bring
      to book everyone involved. He gave the order last week when he addressed
      a mammoth rally at Katoto Freedom Park in Muluzi.

      Muluzi said the "barbaric" acts, which broke out immediately after
      Tembo was declared winner of the presidential race, confirmed that the
      MCP had not changed despite Malawi being a democratic country for almost
      a decade.

      MCP Regional Chairman for the South, Steve Ching'ang'a, a Chakuamba
      loyalist, accused former Treasurer General Hetherwick Ntaba and his
      loyalist Nicholas Dausi of sponsoring the macabre act.

      He alleged that thugs sponsored by the duo were caught terrorising
      delegates on the eve of the convention.

      But Ntaba trashed the accusations saying they were part of an
      orchestrated campaign presided over by Chakuamba to whip up hatred of
      the party supporters against him.

      He challenged Ching'ang'a to pass the information he had to the

      Dausi also parried Ching'ang'a's allegations by counter-accusation that
      his regional boss turned away the police who could have provided
      security at the convention.

      He also claimed that Ching'ang'a set aside about K30,000 from the
      convention budget, which he distributed to "thugs" for causing anarchy
      at the convention.

      But at a meeting he addressed in Lilongwe, Tembo claimed the violence
      was caused by "bad losers". He did not give out the names of the "bad

      Chakuamba and Ntaba lost to Tembo by 275 and 31 votes. Tembo got away
      with 377 votes.

      Chakuamba insists he has nothing to say on the issue.

      Analysts say it is a pity that the MCP continues to demonstrate that it
      is a political grouping that has not changed its tactics and behaviour
      in democratic Malawi. The party still believes and thrives on
      intimidation and political violence.

      The analysts cite the barbaric acts of violence unleashed by MCP thugs
      who disrupted the party's convention at Motel Paradise in Blantyre.

      Delegates to the convention, drawn from all parts of the country had to
      flee the convention hall, as party hoodlums armed with panga knives,
      axes, clubs and other crude hand weapons assaulted and attacked anyone
      they found in the hall. The brutal acts reminded the delegates and the
      entire nation MCP's record of barbarism and atrocities.

      Malawians remember that during the one party era even leaders like
      Gwanda Chakuamba had all the audacity to beat up traditional leaders.
      Malawians also recall that Chief Chikumbu was ordered to walk on foot
      from an MCP Convention in Nkhatabay to his home village.

      The revelation that the hoodlums who are now in police custody have
      disclosed that they were allegedly hired by Gwanda Chakuamba and John
      Tembo to disrupt the convention illustrates that MCP promotes violence.


      National Democratic Alliance Pressure Group Fails to Register

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 19, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003

      Dickson Kashoti

      National Democratic Alliance (NDA) vice president responsible for
      Political Affairs Viva Nyimba was this week at pains to explain why his
      pressure group is failing to register.

      When asked, Nyimba only said: "We will register soon but I will not
      give you the reasons why we are not registering. It is an internal

      However, one of the local daily newspapers quoted Nyimba as saying that
      the pressure group could not register because it was still fighting for
      the Third Term issue.

      He said the NDA was suspicious that the ruling United Democratic Front
      might re-table the Bill in parliament.

      But UDF deputy publicity secretary, Ken Lipenga, said the ruling party
      has no intention to re-table the Bill, saying the party executive
      committee through a consultative process has already nominated Bingu Wa
      Mutharika as a presidential candidate for the party and his running mate
      Cassim Chilumpha. He said

      President Bakili Muluzi has said that he has no intention to run for a
      third term of office.

      Attorney General Peter Fachi said fighting the Third Term Bill was not
      reason enough to stop NDA from registering as a party, saying a
      political group must have several agenda other than just one cause as is
      the case with NDA.

      "What is in their Constitution? What is in their manifesto? It's not
      making sense for them not to register as a party because of the Third
      Term Bill. Of course, it is their constitutional right to fight the
      Third Term Bill if they feel so, but I thought they were interested to
      go into government as well," he said.

      A Chancellor College political scientist, Boniface Dulani, described
      NDA's decision as inconsistent. "Even if they turn into a political
      party, they can always form a pressure group to fight the Third Term
      Bill if it resurfaces in Parliament and forming a pressure group does
      not need complicated legal procedures," he said.

      Nyimba said he was surprised that the Electoral Commission has not yet
      released an electoral calendar for the 2004 presidential and
      parliamentary elections.

      But the Electoral Commission Spokesman, Fegus Lipenga, said it was
      already announced that the elections would be held in May 2004 and
      parties have already started gearing up for the elections.

      Hetherwick Ntaba, former Treasurer General of the Malawi Congress Party
      (MCP) said it was surprising that NDA was failing to register on the
      pretext of fighting the so called Third Term Bill in Parliament.

      "The issue is internal. It is an internal matter in the NDA but the
      purpose of a political movement goes beyond one specific issue. A
      political party depends on many issues.

      "We in the MCP have been fighting the Third Term Bill as a political
      party. We have been fighting the Bill both inside and outside
      Parliament. It is therefore surprising that the NDA says it cannot
      register because of the so called Third Term issue," he said.

      On allegations that the Electoral Commission has not yet released the
      elections calendar, Ntaba said it was a known fact that the elections
      will be held in May 2004.

      "The MCP held a convention to elect its leadership in readiness for the
      elections. I therefore don't really understand what the NDA is really
      talking about," Ntaba, who lost the MCP Party Presidential election to
      John Tembo said.

      He therefore asked the NDA to come out in the open to say why it is not
      registering for the sake of its supporters.

      Some observers have said that the NDA pressure group is failing to
      register because of financial problems. The observer also said that the
      pressure group is failing to become a national party with all required
      relevant party structures.

      "Just imagine although the pressure group held a national convention ,
      but until now it is failing to hold regional conventions in the Central
      and Northern regions. If it is failing to hold regional conventions when
      will it hold district and then constituency conventions?" asked Peter
      Masaka of Ndirande Township in Blantyre.

      Masaka says the NDA might have already sensed the harsh reality of
      truth - that even if it becomes a political party it does not stand a
      chance of winning the 2004 elections," said Masaka.


      Information Minister Scores Journalistic Coup

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 17, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003

      Dickson Kashoti

      Malawi's Information Minister, Bernard Chisale, Wednesday evening
      scored what professional scribers described as a journalistic coup when
      he hosted a cocktail party for journalists, the first ever to be hosted
      by a Minister of Information.

      Kabula Press Club, President Felix Mponda, whose club organised the
      party on behalf of the Ministry of Information, admitted Chisale was the
      first sitting Information Minister to host such a festive gathering for
      journalists in the country.

      "If I am not mistaken, the first minister of information was Brown
      Mpinganjira when the UDF came to power in 1994. He never did this. Then
      came Clement Stambuli, Kalyoma Phumisa. Probably they had plans (to host
      a cocktail party for journalists) but it never happened," said Mponda.

      Taking his turn, Chisale, full of humour and wit said he was not
      minister for life.

      "You are journalists today, tomorrow you are no longer. I am minister
      today tomorrow I am no longer.

      You remember what happened to the Iraqi Minister of Information,"
      Chisale said to the applause and laughing of journalists who patronised
      the cocktail party at Shire Highlands Hotel in Blantyre.

      Chisale advised journalists to be professional, saying they should
      always strive to verify and confirm stories before they are published if
      they were to have readers' confidence.

      "Let us not be used by politicians. If we allow that, we will be used
      and dumped. Nobody will then be interested in us any longer.

      We are the fourth estate after the legislature, therefore we are very
      important," he said.

      He said his office was ever ready to answer any questions from
      journalists on behalf of government.

      He warned that as the election year approaches, more publications will
      emerge on the market to save various political interests and warned
      journalists to observe journalistic ethics all the time.

      In an interview later, Chisale said he had an audience with the Chinese
      and British embassy officials who assured him that funds would be
      identified for various workshops for journalists to hone their skills
      for political reporting just before the elections.

      He said he has already asked the Vice Chancellor of the University of
      Malawi, Professor David Rubadiri, for the University to draw a calendar
      of workshops tailored for the elections with funding from the Chinese
      and British governments.

      Pilirani Semu-Banda, a senior reporter with the Nation newspaper
      described Chisale as a minister of action, saying he has already shown
      that he is capable of delivering.

      "He is quite brilliant. He is not a journalist by profession by he
      speaks like a journalist. He is a good minister," said Semu-Banda, an
      award-winning journalist herself.

      Rodrick Mulonya, the deputy director in the Ministry of Information
      said Chisale has lined up training programmes for journalists both
      inside and outside the country.

      He said the minister is committed to improving journalistic standards
      in the country.

      Mulonya said Chisale is interested in interacting with journalists to
      hear their problems and help out if possible.

      "He will be visiting your newsroom very soon.

      He will also be visiting all newsrooms in the country including The
      Chronicle newspaper," said Mulonya.

      Chisale, who was Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Parks before the
      April cabinet reshuffle, has replaced Phumisa.


      New Zomba Central Hospital Underway

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 17, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003

      By Tusekele Mwanyongo
      Blantyre, Malawi

      The Minister of Health and Population says the construction of the new
      300-bed Zomba Central Hospital is in good progress.

      Speaking after inspecting construction work last week, Mwawa said he
      was satisfied with the way the contractors were building new

      "It's difficult to work when patients are around. You have to control
      your noise and other disturbances that come with construction work,"
      Mwawa said.

      The Zomba Central Hospital is being built to replace the old building
      that was built in the 1940s.

      According to Mwawa, the new hospital is estimated to cost over K500
      million. The Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the
      Republic of Malawi are jointly funding the project.

      Mwawa said that the new hospital is part of the UDF's government
      commitment to provide improved health services for the people of this

      He said it is only health citizens that can effectively contribute to
      the social and economic development of this country.

      In a related development, the government is currently re-modelling
      Chitipa District Hospital while construction of Chiradzulu, Thyolo and
      Nkhotakota Hospitals is under way to an estimated cost of K2 billion.

      Muluzi announced last year that government secured about K1 billion for
      a "wide range of construction activities in Mchinji, Salima, Nkhotakota,
      Ntchisi, and Phalombe."

      He also announced on his return from an official visit to Libya
      recently that Libya would this year start construction of a 300-bed
      district hospital at Kameza in Blantyre.


      Mzuzu Environmental Activists in Anti-Poverty War

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 19, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003

      George Mhango

      As one way of reducing poverty in the country, the Mzuzu Environmental
      Education Centre has embarked on a campaign to educate the community
      around Mzuzu on bee and guinea fowl farming.

      Parks and wildlife Officer, Obedi Mkandawire, told The Malawi Standard
      that the Centre has decided to assist government to fight poverty in the
      country by teaching, identifying funds for farmers and encouraging the
      community to practice bee and guinea fowl farming because honey and
      guinea fowl eggs are on high demand.

      "This is not only the government's job, we are also concerned as an
      environmental centre to address food security and reduce poverty in our
      homes. For instance, honey has 180 food substances and guinea fowl is a
      good protein food," he said.

      Mkandawire said that bees and guinea fowl farming is very important to
      human beings as they bring income and food.

      He also said that apart from educating people about guinea fowl and bee
      keeping, the centre also teaches the community on the dangers of

      "As an information centre, we are part of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

      That is why we decided to engage ourselves discussing and teaching the
      public about this epidemic. We even go into various companies to
      sensitize the workers about this deadly disease," he said.

      Mkandawire further stated that the Mzuzu Environmental Education Centre
      forms part of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Education
      and Extension Unit, which encourages wildlife conservation and

      Mzuzu Environmental Education Centre creates public and political
      awareness and understanding of the need for wildlife protection,
      conservation, management and sustainable utilization of wildlife

      He said the Department of National Parks and Wildlife recognizes that
      increased awareness and understanding on environment is vital in
      changing people's behaviour in respect of wildlife conservation issues.

      The parks and wildlife officer said before the centre was declared a
      protected area, the land was being used for cultivating cassava, bananas
      and maize.

      He said the government is rehabilitating the forest to return the area
      to its natural vegetation type.

      The environmental centre, which is open to people was established by
      the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in 1985 and is situated in
      30 hectares of miombo and uppaca (masuku) woodland in Mzimba.

      As you walk through the centre ground and woodland, you will notice the
      rich and varied animal and bird life. Amongst them are shallow's loerie,
      pygmy kingfishers, boems, flycatchers, baboons, monkeys, bushpigs and
      elephant shrews.

      The centre offers a variety of activities, which include lectures,
      educational visits to protected areas and annual conservation club
      workshops to encourage wildlife clubs in schools.


      Nurses Ask Government to Arrest Brain Drain

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 19, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003
      Paul Kang'ombe

      The National Association of Nurses in Malawi has urged the government
      to consider improving nurses' working conditions and perks to check
      against the brain drain that has hit the public health sector.

      Making the appeal, the association's president, Dorothy Ngoma, said
      nurses and other medical practitioners migrate to Europe, the United
      States of America and South Africa to look for greener pastures.

      "Nurses work under very difficult circumstances in Malawi, for instance
      they handle patients without protection. As a result, they end up
      catching diseases," she explained. Ngoma said the brain drain in the
      public health sector has created pressure on the few nurses that are
      practicing in government hospitals.

      "The brain drain of nurses is a burden to practising nurses. Imagine
      one nurse attending to 150 patients yet she has only two hands," she

      She disclosed that about 80 percent of the admitted patients in
      hospitals suffer from HIV/AIDS related diseases.

      "We are dying because we operate without adequate resources to protect
      ourselves when discharging our duties," Ngoma said.

      Ngoma appealed to the government to consider revisiting nurses working
      conditions and incentives to check against the brain drain.

      According to Ngoma, nurses are offered attractive packages in Europe,
      the USA and South Africa as compared to nurses practicing locally.


      Muluzi Advises Chiefs to Spearhead Development

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      May 19, 2003
      Posted to the web May 19, 2003

      Dickson Kashoti

      President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi has advised four newly promoted
      chiefs in Lilongwe to know government development plans if they are to
      spearhead development in their respective areas.

      Speaking in Lilongwe on Sunday when he elevated Khongoni, Chadza and
      Mazengera to senior chiefs and Njewa to Chief, Muluzi said it was
      important that the chiefs master government initiated development
      programmes like the Malawi Action Social Fund (MASAF).

      "You must take special interest in government development programmes.
      Always be part of the planners of development activities in your
      respective areas," he said.

      The president also reminded the chiefs that they were custodians of

      "I always say that I was born and brought up in a village. It saddens
      me that there is an erosion of culture in the country. We are Malawians,
      not whites. I am not saying we should be primitive, no, but we should
      preserve our culture," he said.

      President Muluzi said he was impressed with the way the elevation
      ceremony was organized, saying it was purely on Chewa tradition and

      "A country without culture is like a tree without roots continue with
      the traditions," he said.

      He said his government always holds chieftaincy in high esteem and
      respects the role they play. He urged people to respect chiefs by
      saying, "Democracy does not guarantee us to despise chiefs. We need to
      respect chiefs. It is therefore sad that some people do not really
      understand democracy. They think democracy is calling each other names.
      They think democracy means using foul languages on those in authority.

      "In England the Queen is respected. The British respect the royal
      family. One cannot just wake up and call the Queen all sorts of names.
      He/she would be arrested. The law would take its course," he said.

      Muluzi further he does not want Malawians to stop following their good
      tradition because of democracy. Even the 1994 UDF manifesto clearly says
      that government would respect chiefs in sharp contrast to Dr Kamuzu
      Banda's era when youth league members of the Malawi Congress Party would
      harass chiefs any how.

      "This will never happen as long as the UDF is in power. This government
      will do whatever is possible to assist chiefs in their needs. Be it
      providing them with good houses and transport," he said. He however
      acknowleged that resources would be the problem and it would be
      necessary to identify funds.

      Speaking about the role and duties of chiefs, he advised them not take
      or receive bribes when presiding over cases because corruption is evil
      and it is against the laws of the country.

      The president asked the chiefs to be always calm, have good manners and
      display exemplary behaviour to their subjects.

      "As chiefs, you must desist from bad behavior and bad conduct. You have
      a position to protect. You must always behave as chiefs," he said.

      President Muluzi also advised the chiefs to preach peace in their
      areas, saying tribalism has no place in democratic Malawi.

      "You have people of different political affiliations and different
      religions in your respective areas. Keep them together without
      favouring. We don't want wars because Malawi cannot afford war; and
      after all, Africa is a poor continent. We should use our resources for
      development activities such as building schools, hospitals and
      constructing roads, not war," he said.

      Muluzi repeated his pledge that he would preach peace and unity at all
      times. The occasion was also graced by the Chewa chief of Zambia,
      Kalonga Gawa Undi. The headquarters of Chewa chiefs known as Mkaika is
      at Katete in Zambia.

      According to the powers given to President Muluzi in chiefs Act chapter
      22:03, the President installed chief Khongoni who looks after Section 1
      of Lilongwe district to senior chief. Chief Chadza who governs Section 6
      of Lilongwe district was also installed senior chief. Chief Mazengera of
      Section 4 was likewise installed senior chief.

      Sub Chief Njewa who used to look after Sub section 8A that has been
      changed to Section 13 was installed Chief during the colourful ceremony
      that took place at Chilobwe headquarters of Senior Chief Khongoni. -0-
      Malawi Standard
    • Christine Chumbler
      ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17 The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by
      Message 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006
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        ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract

        by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17

        The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by government to look for another contractor instead of China Hunan Construction to construct of the long awaited Karonga/Chitipa road.

        China Hunan from Mainland China won the bid which was approved by the ADB but government later wanted to award the contract to a Portuguese firm, Mota Engil, the second lowest bidder, claiming China Hunan's bid was unrealistically low and that the company had very little experience in Africa.

        Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe confirmed on Sunday the ADB rejected the proposal at a meeting held between the bank and Malawi government in Tunisia last week.

        The Malawi government wanted the Tunisia meeting to authorise it to get another contractor for the road, said Gondwe.

        "They did not allow us to look for another contractor because of their regulations. But we are about to get another alternative for Karonga/Chitipa and I would be surprised if it does not start before end June," said Gondwe.

        The minister explained that the bank insisted that regardless of the unrealistic cost estimates, China Hunan should be allowed to go ahead with the construction.

        But Gondwe could not give further details about the alternatives, arguing there are still a few loose ends to tighten up before disclosing it.

        The problem with China Hunan, according to Gondwe, is that it would require more money to meet the total cost of the project.

        This paper reported last week that government met Taiwanese representatives where they offered to fund the road if the ADB continued to reject its favoured contractor, Mota Engil.

        Gondwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports on the Taiwanese offer, saying government was looking at a number of ways to handle the issue.

        According to Gondwe, the China Hunan's bid was 24 percent lower than the consulting engineers' estimates of K7.9 billion and 34 percent below the second lowest bidder.

        President Bingu wa Mutharika laid a foundation stone for the construction of the road this year ahead of a crucial byelection in Chitipa in December last year.

        The President's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the Chitipa Wenya constituency by-election that fell vacant following the collapse and subsequent death of Speaker of Parliament Rodwell Munyenyembe who belonged to the UDF.

        Last week, police and the District Commissioner (DC) for Chitipa stopped a rally that was aimed at soliciting people's views about development projects in the district.

        The meeting, which was reportedly organised by Concerned Citizens of Chitipa, was among other things also supposed to tackle the controversial Karonga/Chitipa road.

        The project failed to start off in 2000 when a contract for an initial loan of US$17 million and US$15 million from the Taiwanese government was signed, with some quarters claiming the Bakili Muluzi administration diverted the money to another road.


        Chihana operated on

        by Edwin Nyirongo, 22 May 2006 - 06:32:31

        Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Chakufwa Chihana, who is in South Africa receiving treatment, had a brain operation on Friday at Garden City Clinic, family and party officials confirmed on Sunday.

        Aford national chairman Chipimpha Mughogho said he was told by the family members that Chihana had a successful operation on Friday and was put in an intensive care unit.

        Mughogho said Chihana, who initially complained of headache, was found with a brain tumour which South African doctors removed.

        Mzimba West MP Loveness Gondwe said Aford boss condition was stable.

        "Hon. Chihana had a major operation and after that he was put in the intensive care unit but his condition is stable. I do not know where he was operated on but it had something to do with the skull," she said.

        Deputy Information Minister John Bande referred the matter to the Health Minister Hetherwick Ntaba who was reported to be in Geneva, Switzerland.

        Aford publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda said when Chihana's situation got worse, the family alerted the Office of the President and Cabinet who took him to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.

        "The doctors at Mwaiwathu advised that he should be sent to South Africa and they even identified the doctor for him," he said.

        He said the costs are being met by the Malawi government, contradicting his earlier statement that his boss covered the cost.

        Mughogho is now in charge of the party.

        Gondwe will be a busy person when Parliament starts meeting on June 6 as she is the only Aford MP remaining.


        Pillane proposes presidential age limit

        by Emmanuel Muwamba , 22 May 2006 - 06:34:13

        A member of the DPP National Governing Council Abdul Pillane on Saturday urged members of political parties and the civil society to put an upper age limit in the Constitution for presidential candidates.

        Pillane was addressing members of political parties and civil society in Liwonde during a two-day follow up workshop to the National Conference on the Review of Constitution held in March in Lilongwe.

        "My view is that (an upper) age limit should be at 75. We have to give a chance to younger people to lead because in circumstance, when you age you become forgetful especially when sickly," said Pillane. "Overall, chances should be given to young people."

        But UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, whose party members agitated for the age limit during presentations, played the issue down.

        "I feel there is no logic to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates. If someone is 90 or 80 I don't know how that can influence the electorate not to vote for someone who is younger, I don't see any logic behind that," said Makwangwala.

        MCP participants at the workshop also vehemently objected to the proposal.

        MCP vice president Nicholas Dausi in an interview said: "There is no constitution in Africa which stipulates an upper age limit. So it would be strange in Malawi to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates."

        MDP President Kamlepo Kalua also opposed the need to have an upper age limit.

        "If we have personalities in mind that we want to discriminate against then it is unfortunate. The constitution we want to build is a guiding document for future generations and it should not bar certain individuals on the basis of grudges," he said.

        The Malawi Law Constitution Issues Paper of March 2006 says several submissions that were received put an upper presidential age limit in the Constitution.

        "It is argued that it is common sense that mental knowledge faculties tend to fail with age. As regards what the actual age limit should be the submissions are far from being agreed. The range is from 60 years to 80 years," read submissions in the Issues Paper.

        On whether MPs should double as ministers, Kalua said this should be the case.

        Makwangwala also said it is not right for MPs to serve as ministers because the Legislature, another arm of government, is reduced while the Executive branch is beefed up from another arm of government.

        "There is no separation of powers when MPs double as ministers," said Makwangwala.

        But Pillane said there is no problem for MPs to work as ministers as well, saying MPs are elected by the President.

        "One can serve both posts. There have been no problems before for people to double," said Pillane.

        The Centre for Multiparty Democracy funded the workshop through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.

        The objective was to come up with a collective position on the Issues Paper which will be presented to the Special Law Commission that will be constituted soon.


        Mussa hails new driving licence

        by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:58:52

        Transport and Public Works Minister Henry Mussa last week said the design of the Malawi-Sadc driving licence would guard against forgery and ensure that only skilled and legitimate drivers of particular vehicles are licensed.

        Mussa was speaking at the official launch of the licences in Lilongwe where he announced that traffic police would from July enforce speed limits and sober driving using Breathalysers which his ministry is in the process of procuring.

        The minister said financial constraints are the reason for the delay in procuring the equipment but assured that by July they would be available.

        "With the new equipment, the days of those who believe in the thrill of drink and driving are numbered," warned Mussa.

        Mussa added that with the new licence, government is optimistic that the country's roads would be safe.

        Acting Director of Road Traffic James Chirwa said the features that distinguish the new from the old licences are the Malawi national flag and a ghost image of the driver's photograph, among others.

        Those with old licences, according to Chirwa, are expected to get the new ones after the expiry of the former.


        UDF demands investigation on Kasambara

        by Rabecca Theu, 22 May 2006 - 06:30:46

        The United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked government to investigate Ralph Kasambara on allegations of abuse of office while he was attorney general.

        UDF publicity secretary Sam Mpasu told the press Sunday that the party is neither amused or saddened by the removal of the former AG but asked government to institute investigations on Kasambara.

        "Beyond the removal of the Attorney General, we now urge President Mutharika to institute investigation against Mr Kasambara into allegations that have made rounds in the public domain during the recent past. These include: Mrs Helen Singh and SS Rent-a-Car; SGS and ITS saga; ...........the use of Malawi Police Service in the arrest of three Chronicle journalists and the handling of Mrs Rubina Kawonga," said Mpasu.

        Mpasu also accused Kasambara of awarding government contracts to Lawson and Company where he was a senior partner.

        "We urge government to thoroughly investigate the former AG. We also ask government to cautiously select the new AG ," said Mpasu, who was accompanied by the party's Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala, leader of the party in Parliament George Mtafu, chief whip Leonard Mangulama and a member of the executive Hophmally Makande.

        But Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati said UDF should give offer its advice to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).

        "They should advise bodies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau to conduct the investigations and why are they saying this now? Is it because Kasambara has been fired? This is not a personal issue. If they have other pressing issues they should just say so. These arguments should have come up earlier on when the said cases were happening," she said.

        Kasambara asked UDF to proceed with the mission of urging government to investigate him.

        "They can do their job. Everyone has a right to lobby for anything they want in the country. UDF has a right to do that, let them go ahead," he said.

        Kasambara was relieved of his duties as AG by the President last week. Government has not given reasons behind the removal.


        Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land

        The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

        May 18, 2006

        Posted to the web May 19, 2006

        Andrew Lungu


        MALAWIANS who have encroached on both the 'no-man's' and part of the Zambian land at the Mwami border in Eastern Province have plucked out some beacons that were used in the demarcation of the border.

        The Malawians are now using the beacons as stools in their newly-established villages on Zambian land.

        Eastern Province Minister, Boniface Nkhata, said in Chipata yesterday that if the situation was not controlled urgently, Zambia would lose huge tracts of land to Malawians migrating into Zambian in large numbers.

        A check at the Zambia-Malawi border showed a number of beacons had been vandalised and new structures constructed on the 'no man's' land and a large portion of Zambian land.

        Mr Nkhata said the trend extended to many parts of the province bordering the two countries.

        "A large portion of Zambian land has been taken up by the Malawians starting from the Chama boundary up to the Mwami border.

        "The weighbridge at the Mwami border was initially in Zambia from the time both countries gained independence from Britain, but now the bridge is on Malawian soil," Mr Nkhata said.

        The minister, who is former Chama District Commissioner, said there was similar encroachment in Lundazi and Chama districts where Zambia shares a boundary with Malawi.

        He said a Malawian farmer identified as Mr Mfune had cultivated 71.5 hectares on Zambian land and employed about 265 Malawian workers.

        "Khombe Farm in Chama district in Kanyerere's area, along the Muyombe road which leads to Northern Province where this Malawian farmer has cultivated a vast land is on the Zambian territory," he said.

        Workers on the farm admitted that they were farming on Zambian soil but could not go back to Malawi because the land in that country was inadequate for cultivation.

        Mr Nkhata appealed to the ministry of Lands to urgently release money for the demarcation of the Zambia-Malawi border to avoid further land disputes between the two countries.

        Meanwhile, the Immigration Department in Livingstone has arrested a couple and another man, all Zimbabweans, for working in Zambia without permits.

        They were arrested at Gwembe village yesterday where they worked for Into Africa, a tour operating company that provides bush dinners and breakfast.

        According to the Immigration Department in Livingstone, the trio entered Zambia through the Victoria Falls border as visitors but decided to work for the company illegally.

        Last week, immigration officers arrested 10 Zimbabwean traders and six Ethiopians for entering and staying in Zambia illegally.

        The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.

        The Ethiopians were arrested at Konje Guest House when they ran out of money to proceed to Botswana.



        Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests

        Harare, Zimbabwe

        22 May 2006 11:51

        Zimbabwe's biggest labour federation on Saturday threatened to call massive demonstrations against the government over poor salaries and worsening living conditions for workers in the country.

        The threats are ratcheting up pressure against President Robert Mugabe's government after similar threats by the biggest opposition party in the country, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), about two months ago.

        Speaking at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) conference on Saturday, the labour body's president, Lovemore Matombo, said the powerful union wants the government to award workers salaries that match the country's ever-rising inflation.

        "I can assure you we will stage massive demonstrations to force them [employers] to award workers minimum salaries that tally with the poverty datum line," said Matombo.

        Matombo did not say when exactly the ZCTU would order workers to strike.

        Opposition protests

        Meanwhile, the MDC on Sunday said it will push ahead with plans for anti-government protests, saying victory in a key by-election at the weekend was a "sign the electorate supported its policies", including democratic mass resistance.

        A spokesperson of the main faction of the splintered MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said victory over Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and a rival MDC faction in a Saturday by-election in Harare's Budiriro constituency is a sign Zimbabweans still have confidence in party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his policies.

        Tsvangirai, the founding leader of the MDC, heads the main rump of the opposition party whose candidate, Emmanuel Chisvuure, polled 7 949 votes to win the Budiriro House of Assembly seat.

        Gabriel Chaibva of the other faction of the MDC, led by prominent academic Arthur Mutambara, garnered 504 votes while Zanu-PF's Jeremiah Bvirindi polled 3 961 votes.

        "This election showed that the electorate still has confidence in the MDC [Tsvangirai-led] leadership and its policies," Chamisa told independent news service ZimOnline.

        He added: "We will now move to consolidate our position * we still believe in mass protests. Until we have attained our goals we see no reason why we should abandon [plans for protests]."

        Tsvangirai has threatened to call mass protests this winter against Mugabe and his government. He says the mass protests, whose date he is still to name, are meant to force Mugabe to relinquish power to a government of national unity to be tasked to write a new and democratic Constitution that would ensure free and fair elections held under international supervision.

        Mugabe and his government, who had hoped for victory in Budiriro to show they were recapturing urban support from a splintered MDC, have not taken idly the opposition's threats to call mass protests, with the veteran president warning Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he ever attempted to instigate a Ukraine-style popular revolt in Zimbabwe.


        In a fresh crackdown against dissension, the police last week arrested several church and civic leaders for organising public prayers and marches to mark last year's controversial home-demolition exercise by the government.

        The police also banned the marches and prayers, fearing they could easily turn into mass protests against Mugabe and his government.

        However, the marches went ahead in the second-largest city of Bulawayo after organisers had obtained a court order barring the police from stopping the march.

        Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police and the military to crush street protests, worsening hunger and poverty are fanning public anger that Tsvangirai -- with proper planning and organisation -- could easily manipulate.

        Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe six-year old economic crisis that has seen inflation breaching the 1 000% barrier. Last year, the World Bank said Zimbabwe's economic crisis was unprecedented for a country not at war.

        The MDC and major Western governments blame Mugabe for wrecking the country's economy, which was one of the strongest in Africa at independence from Britain 26 years ago.

        Mugabe denies the charge blaming the crisis on sabotage by Britain and her allies after he seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks six years ago.

        The Harare authorities recently hiked salaries for civil servants, with the lowest-paid soldier now earning about Z$27-million while the lowest-paid school teacher now takes home about Z$33-million.

        But the salaries are still way below the poverty datum line, which the government's Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says now stands at a staggering Z$42-million a month for an average family of six.

        The Zimbabwe government often accuses the ZCTU, a strong ally of the MDC, of pushing a political agenda to remove Mugabe from power.

        Meanwhile, Matombo and Lucia Matibenga retained their posts as president and first vice-president respectively during the ZCTU congress that ended on Saturday. -- ZimOnline

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