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  • Christine Chumbler
    Community Radio Station in License Dispute International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto) July 14, 2003 Posted to the web July 16, 2003
    Message 1 of 1046 , Jul 18, 2003
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      Community Radio Station in License Dispute

      International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)

      July 14, 2003
      Posted to the web July 16, 2003

      Toronto

      The Malawi Media Women Association (Mamwa) and the community of the
      Dzimwe area are in a clash over the license to operate the UNESCO-funded
      Dzimwe Community Radio Station, inside sources told the Malawi chapter
      of Media Institute of Southern Africa, NAMISA.

      NAMISA has learnt that the community, led by Messrs Pelekamoyo, Cassim
      Chigwenembe and Fred Chizule, applied for a licence to operate the
      station, claiming that Mamwa's mandate had expired. UNESCO's terms of
      reference indicate that Mamwa is supposed to train the community in
      running the radio station in order to take it over.

      The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) called in the
      two wrangling parties and UNESCO to discuss the matter. Meanwhile, MACRA
      is to table the licensing issue before its board that is expected to
      make a binding decision.

      NAMISA was unable to get comments from MACRA and the concerned
      parties.

      BACKGROUND

      Dzimwe Community Radio covers issues on women, girls, and the
      environment. It began operating in November 1998.

      *****

      No Presidency Ambition, Says Malawi Finance Minister



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      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      July 17, 2003
      Posted to the web July 17, 2003

      Dickson Kashoti
      Blantyre

      Minister of Finance, Friday Jumbe, has said he has no political
      ambitions bordering on being Presidential Candidate, saying as part of
      the National Executive Committee of the UDF, he endorsed the choice of
      Bingu wa Mutharika and Cassim Chilumpha as Presidential Candidate and
      running mate, respectively.

      Jumbe was reacting to events linking his name to some political
      machination and to the alleged resignation of the Minister of Special
      Duties in the President's Office, Hon. Patrick Mbewe.

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      In a statement issued recently, Jumbe says that as an individual, he
      has not harboured political ambitions, saying he has only been in active
      and practising politics for only 18 months having been appointed
      Minister of Finance by President Dr. Bakili Muluzi.

      "I hail from a technical background as an economist and business
      manager. I have been made a politician by Dr. Bakili Muluzi and the UDF.
      I therefore owe my allegiance to the President."

      "At my youthful age, I have yet to gain adequate experience as a
      Minister as well as a platform politician. One year is too short a
      period to claim mastery of the science and art of politics, especially
      as it relates to the high office of the Presidency," said Jumbe.

      He said besides, he was consulted as an individual and as part of the
      National Executive in the nomination of the proposed Presidential
      Candidate and his running mate.

      "I made my views known at that time and I am now part of the collective
      decision made by the National Executive of the UDF and I will support
      both the Presidential Candidate, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika and his running
      mate, Dr. Cassim Chilumpha. I have a lot of faith and trust in the two
      well accomplished gentlemen, and with everybody's support. I believe
      they will be able to harness the synergy that exists within the Party
      and within the country," says Jumbe.

      He said he is not in a hurry to ascend into any higher office than the
      one he holds nor does he form part of any section that may be in
      opposition of the decision by the National Executive of the UDF.

      He therefore appealed to the media to cross check facts, especially
      when they relate to such critical and emotive issues.

      He said it was wrong and unethical to sow seeds of discord and disunity
      where it is not warranting, saying "some of us do not want to be part of
      any bickering nor any rumour mongering avenues."

      Jumbe also disputed any link between the alleged resignation of
      Honourable Mbewe as being anything to do with the wrongly perceived
      notion that he would like to be a Presidential Candidate.

      "I have never harboured that ambition nor have I gone out to campaign,
      let alone have I ever organized any political meeting. If anything,
      since my appointment as minister I have concentrated on technical issues
      relating to the economy of Malawi; and I will continue to do so in an
      effort to achieve economic stability in the country," he says.

      He says that he will remain a very loyal and dedicated Minister of
      President Dr. Muluzi and will continue to serve the Government, the UDF
      and the people of Malawi diligently.

      "Any attempts by anyone to disorient this present focus is
      ill-conceived and will not gain ground," he says.

      He says the media should not speculate and where there was doubt he
      needed to be consulted.

      *****

      Blantyre Parliamentarian Criticizes Malawi Housing Corporation

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      July 17, 2003
      Posted to the web July 17, 2003

      Paul Kang'ombe
      Blantyre

      Member of Parliament for Blantyre City South, Elwyn Maluwa, has accused
      the Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) of not consulting it's tenants when
      increasing house rents.

      Maluwa says that his constituents have on several occasions complained
      to him that they are surprised at how MHC increases their house rents
      and that they are not consulted.

      The parliamentarian also complains that the housing corporation does
      not give adequate notice to its tenants when it is increasing house
      rents.

      "MHC increases house rents without any consultations. It is very unfair
      since most of the tenants are not well to do," he said.

      Maluwa says it is high time that the government should advise MHC to
      consider tenants, who have stayed in MHC houses for many years to
      mortgage them.

      "Some tenants have occupied the houses for more than 20 years and the
      rents they have been paying is equivalent to the cost of a house," said
      Maluwa.

      In an interview with The Malawi Standard, Maluwa observed that
      alternatively MHC should sell the houses to those tenants who have
      occupied the houses for over 20 years at very affordable prices.

      *****

      Government to Revamp Parastatals

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      July 17, 2003
      Posted to the web July 17, 2003

      By Brian Ligomeka
      Blantyre, Malawi

      Finance Minister Friday Jumbe says in a bid to improve the performance
      of some statutory companies, government ought to overhaul board
      committees in a process, which would result in dead wood and unqualified
      members being replaced by well qualified and experienced members.

      Jumbe told The Malawi Standard that the choice of board members of the
      country's parastals would now depend on relevant educational
      qualifications and skills of the members to the Boards.

      In the past, some observers complained that some board members were not
      contributing anything to the performance of the Statutory bodies; and if
      anything some board members were only interested in financial and
      material gains they received by being board members.

      The Finance Minister said the implementation of the new system comes in
      the wake of past experiences, which he said had revealed that some
      parastatals were failing to make profits due to inefficiencies of some
      board members.

      "Most of them have very little knowledge of the operations of the
      institution they are serving and yet are required to make critical
      policy operation decisions," he said.

      He added: "The selection of board members for the parastatals will be
      carefully done this time around so that only those that have relevant
      education qualifications and skills sit on the boards."

      Jumbe in his budget statement observed that in the 2002/2003 financial
      year, many parastatals made losses. He said that besides the general
      macro-instability mainly created by the lack of adequate donor aid
      in-flows, some board members contributed to the poor performance of
      statutory corporations.

      He however singled out Air Malawi, ESCOM, Malawi Telecommunications
      Limited (MTL) and Southern Region Water Board as statutory corporations
      that had made profit in the year.

      Jumbe also disclosed that government had formulated a Dividend Policy,
      with a view to get returns on its investment in the parastatals.
      Government would be getting a percentage share of the companies' annual
      profits.

      "I am pleased to report that already a number of our parastatals have
      remitted dividends to government and these are ESCOM, MTL, MACRA,
      Blantyre Water Board and Dairiboard," he told Parliament in his budget
      statement.

      *****

      Mugabe's exit plan takes shape

      Rapule Tabane and David Masunda | Johannesburg

      18 July 2003 11:15

      The December congress of Zimbabwe’s ruling party is likely to take a
      crucial first step towards President Robert Mugabe’s exit from power,
      the Mail & Guardian has learned.

      Well-placed sources in Zimbabwe said Mugabe was expected to step down
      at the Zanu-PF conference. This would occur in time for a crucial
      Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, which African leaders do not
      want dominated by another divisive debate on Zimbabwe.

      In addition, Zimbabwe’s churches have emerged as key facilitators in
      tentative initial contacts between Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement
      for Democratic Change (MDC).

      In a significant sign, the country’s state media have begun writing
      openly about a successor to Mugabe, urging senior party leaders to state
      their interest in the top job to fend off a potentially damaging
      succession battle.

      The election of a new leader at the Zanu-PF congress could pave the way
      for a change of president by June next year — a pledge made by
      President Thabo Mbeki in his meeting with United States President George
      W Bush last week.

      The June 2004 exit was first publicised at the World Economic Forum
      meeting in Durban last month. Despite protestations to the contrary, the
      M&G this week confirmed with high-level political actors in Zimbabwe and
      South Africa that Zanu-PF and the MDC are in “talks about talks” —
      preliminary dealings to set the conditions and framework for substantive
      negotiations.

      Confusion about whether or not the two parties were conducting
      negotiations arose last week after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai lashed
      out at Mbeki for suggesting talks were ongoing.

      Tsvangirai later climbed down after party spokesperson Paul Themba
      Nyathi confirmed talks were in progress. Hardliners on both sides are
      being excluded as the moderates take centre stage to break the
      Zimbabwean stalemate.

      The secrecy of the talks created uncertainty and insecurity among party
      members on both sides, who feared being left out of the process.

      South African government officials said it was not politic to reveal
      the names of those involved in the talks, because of their delicate
      nature.

      “We can’t lie about an important matter like this. There are talks,
      but they are very complex because some people may oppose them,” said a
      senior government official.

      “You must remember that even when South Africa was negotiating its
      transition, there were elements on all sides who tried to sabotage them.
      We feel confident that the president’s one-year deadline for change,
      which he set at the World Economic Forum in Durban last month, is
      achievable.”

      Bush stunned many when he endorsed Mbeki as an honest broker in the
      Zimbabwean crisis, after the US had been publicly critical before his
      arrival in South Africa.

      Zimbabwean commentators say Mbeki would not have made the concrete
      pledge, complete with an exit date, if Mugabe had not personally given
      his word to leave by then.

      But yesterday, in what seemed to be a damage-control exercise, Mbeki
      denied his message to Bush. “There is no such thing. I don’t know
      where that comes from,” he said in Pretoria.

      Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who, with Mbeki, has been the most
      prominent mediator, also wants rapid movement on Zimbabwe so that the
      Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, in December
      is not swamped by the issue.

      South African Council of Churches secretary general Dr Molefe Tsele,
      who has visited Zimbabwe with Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane,
      said their counterpart, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, was providing
      shuttle diplomacy between the parties.

      “Messages have been sent from one group to the other, but not
      everybody has seen the urgency to negotiate,” Tsele said.

      The M&G understands influential Catholic Bishop Father Fidelis Mukonori
      last week met Tsvangirai after consulting with Zanu-PF. Mukonori is said
      to have Mugabe’s ear.

      Since Archbishop Ndungane’s visit, during which both parties agreed
      to cooperate with him, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Heads of
      Christian Denominations have in the past two months met a Zanu-PF
      delegation that included spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira and former
      permanent secretary of foreign affairs Willard Chiwewe, as well as MDC
      leaders including Tsvangirai, his deputy, Gibson Sibanda, and general
      secretary Welshman Ncube.

      The negotiations are said to have progressed. It is expected that the
      parties will announce details of terms for substantive talks in the next
      few weeks.
      Zanu-PF supporters say Bush’s endorsement of Mbeki will have the
      effect of sending the MDC back to the negotiations. While it maintains a
      facade of radical rhetoric, pressure from the US and Britain to talk
      turkey is expected to lead the party to seek a negotiated settlement.

      In Zimbabwe, the state-owned media, which do not move an inch on major
      political issues without a government nod, have started interviewing
      senior Zanu-PF officials about Mugabe’s successor, indicating that the
      Zimbabwean leader is finally preparing to step down.

      The government’s flagship, the Herald newspaper, has for the past
      four weeks carried lengthy interviews with senior Zanu-PF leaders,
      gently urging them to declare whether they are interested in the top job
      once Mugabe leaves office.

      In one interview, Didymus Mutasa, a Zanu-PF stalwart and secretary for
      its foreign affairs portfolio, surprised readers by saying he was more
      interested in the vice-president’s job — if it became vacant.

      Zimbabwe has two vice-presidents, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, both
      appointed to balance regional concerns. Muzenda, a close confidant of
      Mugabe since the 1970s liberation war, is from the strong Masvingo
      province, while Msika, who replaced Joshua Nkomo, represents the
      interests of the country’s restive Ndebele and Nguni groups.

      But both Muzenda and Msika are older than Mugabe, who is 79 years old.
      Muzenda says he wants to quit, but will only do so when Mugabe is ready
      to leave office, raising the possibility of a generation change in
      Zanu-PF.

      Msika, however, does not believe he is too old to pretend to the
      throne. Of the four senior Zanu-PF leaders interviewed to date, only he
      has openly said he is ready to succeed Mugabe.

      Dumisa Dabengwa, the former Zapu heavyweight, said he would consider
      “the offer" to become Zimbabwe’s next president only when Mugabe
      had left office.

      Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s blue-eyed boy and long considered his
      preferred successor, said he was not interested in the post because he
      was intelligent enough “to know that there was no vacancy".

      Mugabe has himself urged Zanu-PF to begin the succession debate.
      While the debate will be thorny, inter-party negotiations are likely to
      be even more daunting.

      The MDC has listed three main demands: that Mugabe leaves office; that
      a transitional authority is put in place to introduce constitutional
      reforms to allow
      for democracy; and that free and fair elections be held under a new
      electoral system and international supervision. The MDC also wants
      treason charges against Tsvangirai dropped.

      Zanu-PF has demanded that the MDC recognise Mugabe as a legitimately
      elected leader. It also wants the MDC to drop its court challenge to the
      outcome of the 2000 general election. This was won by Zanu-PF, but was
      widely condemned by observers for not being free and fair.

      University of Zimbabwe development studies Professor Brian Rafto-polous
      confirmed that “low-level” attempts to bring the parties together
      appeared to have succeeded, but had not yet brought the major
      adversaries face to face.

      “The US has asked Mbeki to work on this issue. But it is important
      that there is progress, because with Mugabe you are never sure. He could
      change his mind any time,” Raftopolous said.

      *****

      Zimbabwe bakers fined for hikes

      The Zimbabwe Government has fined four leading bakeries who doubled the
      cost of bread, breaking strict price controls.
      The companies were fined a total of 20 million Zimbabwe dollars, about
      $25,000 after this week's price hikes.

      In a bid to fight rampant inflation, the price of a loaf of bread is
      set by law at Z$250 but bakers say this is below the cost of production
      and on Monday, they started charging up to Z$1,000 for a loaf.

      This is the latest sign of Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

      There are shortages of many basic commodities, including bread, sugar,
      petrol and even banknotes.

      A manager at one of the companies told BBC News Online that they would
      appeal against the fines.

      "It's ridiculous. It's not possible to trade at the gazetted price," he
      said.

      The price of grain was recently increased by 1200% by the state-owned
      Grain Marketing Board.

      This led to an eightfold increase in the price millers charged bakers
      for flour.

      Annual inflation is currently running at 365%, according to official
      figures.

      Cash shortage

      Police spokesperson Inspector Cecilia Churu told the state-owned Herald
      newspaper that supermarkets had also been fined for breaking price
      controls.

      "The ongoing crackdown was effected following an outcry from
      consumers," she said.

      Banks are restricting withdrawals of banknotes because of the
      shortages.

      The highest denomination note, Z$500, does not even buy a bottle of
      beer.

      Critics of President Robert Mugabe accuse him of ruining the economy,
      which used to be among the most successful in Africa.

      The government blames the economic problems on a plot by western
      countries opposed to its land reform policy.

      Aid

      Meanwhile, the Herald is reporting that the government is appealing to
      international donors for more food aid.

      Much of Southern Africa is recovering after bad droughts last year, but
      Zimbabwe is still being hard hit with millions still needing food aid.

      The UN food agency requires a formal request from the government before
      aid can be provided.
    • Christine Chumbler
      ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17 The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by
      Message 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006
      • 0 Attachment

        ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        *****

        Chihana operated on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Mughogho is now in charge of the party.

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

        *****

        Pillane proposes presidential age limit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        *****

        Mussa hails new driving licence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        *****

        UDF demands investigation on Kasambara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        *****

        Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land

        The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

        May 18, 2006

        Posted to the web May 19, 2006

        Andrew Lungu

         

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.

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

         

        *****

        Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests

        Harare, Zimbabwe

        22 May 2006 11:51

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

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

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

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

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

        Opposition protests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Crackdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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