- Man Utd help Malawi street kids
Malawi's football-loving street children have a good reason to cheer.
Manchester United have donated two full replica strips for a street
children's football team in the capital, Blantyre.
The donation was in response to an on-air challenge by BBC Radio Five
Whilst reporting live from Malawi on the food crisis in the country,
Radio Five Live presenter Rajesh Mirchandani challenged Manchester
United to donate a complete team strip to Chisomo FC, a team of street
children from Chisomo children's club in the country's largest city,
The club responded by donating two sets of shirts, shorts and socks,
plus a goalkeeper's strip and two footballs, which have now arrived in
The club was formed to enable children to leave the streets by helping
to rebuild their self-confidence.
"The street children we met are crazy about football - to them it's so
much more than just a game - it helps them cope with their troubles,"
says Rajesh Mirchandani.
Chisomo FC is Malawi's only street children's football team.
When the team first entered Blantyre under-14's league, the other teams
were not used to playing football with street children.
The street children were social outcasts and played without football
boots and strips unlike many other teams.
Last year Chisomo FC finished ninth in the Blantyre district league -
their first season - out of a total of 20 teams.
Last season's highlight was winning a local tournament where they
outplayed some of Blantyre's strongest teams.
"Football helps the children to have fun, to realise they have talents
and to learn discipline. To play for Chisomo the children have to work
hard at school or at the apprenticeships they are doing," says Chisomo
FC coach Macdonald Nkhutabasa.
Chisomo Children's Club, supported by Christian relief and development
agency Tearfund, works with some of Malawi's most vulnerable children.
Many of them are forced into a life on the streets by poverty and
Since 1998, the club has worked to enable hundreds of children to
return to school or start apprenticeships in skills such as carpentry
and metal work.
Many of these children have also been reunited with families.
The Plight of Women Beggars On the Streets
The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)
June 8, 2003
Posted to the web June 8, 2003
One often wonders how a woman who is blind or has a physical disability
and lives and survives by begging in the streets will make her situation
worse by becoming pregnant and having a string of children to provide
Most of these women offer sex to men in exchange for some of the things
that they may need. They often get raped in the process of trying to
One blind woman who makes her living by begging, Ndole Mussa, who is
popularly known as amayi a Chifundo (Chifundo's mother) said that she
was made pregnant by a watchman at a shop where she used to spend her
'All the watchmen were chasing beggers from the shop varandas that they
were guarding but this particular watchman let me and another woman
begger spend the night in the shelter of the shop,' said Mussa.
She went on to say that the watchman later told her that if she wanted
to continue to spend the night at the shop that he was gaurding she must
have sex with him.
'When I refused, he called his friend and the two of them forced me to
have sex with them,' said Mussa, She went on to say that when she
discovered that she was pregnant she tried to find the men that had
raped her but they were no longer where they used to be.
'Moreover, being blind, I only knew them by voice, therefore it was
difficult for me to trace them,' said Mussa adding that she had heard
later that the father to her child had also slept with other women
'It was not just me who was raped by this partcular watchman, there
were others who had been raped by him,' said Mussa She said in the rainy
season things get tough because they need shelter.
This is also the time that the watchmen take advantage of them knowing
how desparate they are for shelter from the rain. .
Mussa said that this was not the only time that she was raped by
watchmen or other people who move around at night.
'One night I was raped by 6 people who I think were a gang of thiefs,'
As if raping her was not enough of a nightmare, the men tore her cloths
leaving her almost naked.
'That was the only set of cloths that I had and lucky for me, the
following morning a woman took pity on me and gave me a dress,' said
She said that she has no doubts that she has been infected by HIV/AIDS
because of the number of men that she has slept with.
'I have been raped numerous times by countless men and I'm sure I have
AIDS - but there is nothing that I can do about it,' she said.
Another disabled woman who is also a beggar, Mary Zimange, said that
although she has never been raped by these watchmen, she offers them sex
in exchange for food or money.
'There are times when things get tough that we can go for two days
without having anything to eat, so it is during these times that I have
no choice but to offer sex to watchmen, or other men who are also on the
streets so that I can have something to eat,' she declares.
She says she has been on the streets of Lilongwe for the past 10 years
and is mother of a 4 year old son. She goes futher to say that she has
had sex with many men. Asked whether these men were using condoms she
simply asked 'Why?' saying that most men that she sleeps with never
mentioned the use of a condom.
Asked if she was not concerned about becoming infected with HIV and
contracting AIDS she says: 'Ndilibe nazo ntchito, ndi chimodzimodzi
munthu wakufa, (I don't care, I am as good as a dead person).' She said
that when she discovered that she was pregnant the man who had made her
pregnant refused responsiblity.
'When I told him that I was pregnant he said that he was not the one
who was responsible. From that time until today, I never seen him
again,' said Zimange.
She has slept with other men in order to provide food for herself and
'I need money to survive and when things get tough and people are not
giving us money, I have to find other ways to survive.'
A noticeable number of women who are on the streets begging are either
nursing infants or are pregnant. The fathers of these children do not
want to take responsibilty for the children.
Zimbabwe's 'self defeating repression'
11 June 2003 09:24
For the fourth time in five days, the United States on Tuesday
pilloried Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government for its
crackdown on the opposition, calling it "self-defeating repression."
The State Department, which on Monday accused Harare of escalating a
campaign of "intimidation and suppression," renewed its calls for a
dialogue between the government and its foes and again demanded the
immediate release of detained opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
"We deplore the government of Zimbabwe's harassment and provocation of
the political opposition," deputy department spokesperson Philip Reeker
"This is a time when dialogue between the government and opposition is
urgently needed, and the government should immediately cease its assault
on the opposition and pursue such a dialogue," he told reporters.
eo longer where they used
Since Thursday, the State Department has steadily stepped up its
criticism of Harare as the government cracked down anew on the
Reeker said the Mugabe government's pursuit of ruinous economic and
social policies alone were responsible for the devastating crises in
Zimbabwe and dismissed a treason charge against Tsvangirai as
"The violence and coercion that have been propagated by the Mugabe
regime threatens Zimbabwe and have inflicted ... overwhelming hardship
on the people," he said, adding that the situation would likely get
worse unless Mugabe and his aides agreed to a dialogue with the
"Their continued recalcitrance in the face of the situation there
represents really a self-defeating repression of the opposition and
stands in the way of a process forward to improve life for Zimbabweans
and to put the country back on the course of democracy and stability and
prosperity," Reeker said.
The spokesperson was unmoved by reports that one of Tsvangirai's top
deputies, Welshman Ncube, who was detained by authorities on Monday
three days after his boss, had been freed.
"We think they should both be released and these spurious charges
dropped," Reeker said.
The charges against Tsvangirai stem from his Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party's call for mass protests against Mugabe's government
which it blames the government for the severe economic and social
hardships gripping the country, including food, fuel and money
Mugabe has accused Tsvangirai of inciting his supporters to overthrow
the government although the MDC insists the strikes and streets marches
it encouraged last week were intended only to show public anger at the
Hundreds of opposition supporters, activists and officials were
arrested or assaulted by state agents during the week of mass action.
Mugabe has defended the use of force against the demonstrators, saying
it was necessary to preserve national security.
Tsvangirai appeared in Harare's high court on Wednesday, handcuffed,
shackled and in prison uniform, for a hearing on his application for
bail. The court accepted a defence request for Tsvangirai to attend in
civilian dress, and the hearing was briefly suspended to allow the
opposition chief to change. - Sapa-AFP
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