- Alliance for Democracy Pledges Alliance With the Ruling UDF
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
By Paul Kang'ombe
Alliance for Democracy (Aford) President Chakufwa Chihana has said his
party will continue working with the United Democratic Front and has
since endorsed Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika as the UDF-Aford alliance proposed
Presidential Candidate in the 2004 presidential elections.
Aford leader, Chakufwa Chihana, told people in Chitipa recently that
his party would support Mutharika in his presidential bid. This was when
President Bakili Muluzi elevated chiefs in Chitipa.
"I now endorse Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika as presidential candidate in
2004. I will support you and I will continue supporting you because of
the unity President Bakili Muluzi has created," He said.
He said it is the political wish of Aford and UDF leadership to create
one united Malawi, hence Chihana's return into government.
Chihana said that he was not too far when the UDF national executive
committee endorsed Muntharika as the presidential candidate.
The Aford leader said he hopes that Mutharika would continue with
development programmes, which the UDF led government embarked on since
Chihana said that there is no other political party that Aford can
align itself with apart from UDF.
He recalled the suffering that he went through in the hands of the MCP
when he was thrown into Dzaleka Detention Camp.
"I salute Dr. Muluzi. He is a gallant man, who has courage and love for
people. He has performed wonders during nine years he has been in power.
He has brought political stability in this country. People no longer
kill each other in this country as was the case during the MCP regime,"
Responding to Chihana's remarks, President Muluzi assured Malawians
that the UDF-Aford alliance is unbreakable.
Muluzi urged people of Chitipa not to be misled by confused
politicians, who have no national development agenda.
"We want clean politics that would promote peace, love, unity and
development," he said.
Muluzi explained that the unity of the two political parties does not
mean that Chihana has joined the UDF as speculated by some confused
"I will not allow Honourable Chihana to join UDF. We want multiparty
politics in the country," he said, adding that the cooperation of
political parties to form government of the national unity is not a new
phenomenon in many countries worldwide.
National Democratic Alliance Leader Brown Mpinganjira Lies On UK Meet
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
Oxford University in the United Kingdom has categorically denied
reports that the institution convened a conference to discuss the status
of democracy in Malawi where National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leader
Brown Mpinganjira claimed was the guest of honour.
Responding to a questionnaire from The Malawi Standard through
electronic mail, the Oxford Press Office said it has no record or
information on the said conference.
The Press Office said the said conference did not take place at the
University campus as Mpinganjira claimed.
"We have no record or information within this office. You could try
African Studies Centre at St. Antony's College. 01 865 28470 or 01 865
284 700. Regards. Nicola."
We have also contacted the African Studies Centre at St Antony's
College and, they have said that they have not hosted a conference to
review the status of democracy in Malawi," reads the e-mail message in
According to an e-mail message from St Antony's College, 62 Woodstock,
Oxford, OX2 6JF (a constituent college of Oxford University), their
department of African Studies has not organized any conference on
"The African Studies Centre has not organized any conference to review:
'The Status of Democracy in Malawi.' Maybe try to contact African
Studies Centres of other colleges in United Kingdom," reads the e-mail
message from the African Centre of St Antony's College.
The College further observed that the recent conferences, which took
place at their African campus include: Muslims in Europe Post 9/11;
Afghanistan's Problems; Post-Conflict and the Way Forward and Are
Corporations a Threat to Democracy. According to the list of
conferences, which the college hosted recently, there is nothing on
Oxford University's and St. Antony's College denial of having hosted a
conference on Malawi democracy, contradicts what Mpinganjira said at a
press conference on his arrival from the United Kingdom.
Similarly, the Malawi High Commission in London, Counsellor Elias
Edison Chijota, who was deputy in the absence of Malawi High
Commissioner Bright Msaka, also said their office was not aware that
Oxford University had organized any conference on Malawi. They did not
receive any invitation at all.
Chijota was even very surprised that Mpinganjira told the Malawi public
that "Malawi High Commission staff in London were invited to attend but
nobody turned up."
"As far as this office knows there wasn't such a conference.
How could we go to a conference that never was and whose invitation we
never received?" wondered Chijota.
Mpinganjira claimed last week that during his recent trip to United
Kingdom, he was privileged to present a keynote address at a conference
organized by the Oxford University, whose theme was: 'The Status of
Democracy in Malawi: What Has Gone Wrong?' He claimed that the
conference took place at Oxford University campus on Saturday July 18,
2003. He alleged that the conference observed that the standard of
democracy in Malawi is deteriorating.
When quizzed by The Malawi Standard if Mpinganjira really addressed a
conference at Oxford University as he claimed, NDA publicity secretary,
Salule Masangwi, said in an interview that he has no information as to
where exactly the conference took place.
"I don't have the details with me now. I will issue a press statement
when I get the information," he explained.
Masangwi said Mpinganjira has been busy attending Parliamentary
sessions, since he returned to Malawi.
Frantic efforts to talk to Mpinganjira through his mobile phone proved
The NDA leader said he visited the United Kingdom to market his newly
registered party and solicit some funding for his party but close family
members say, Mpinganjira took the opportunity to visit his son,
Chipiliro, who was arrested by the British police over traffic
One political analyst said, "In fact Mpinganjira is full of pretence
He makes people see in him what he really is not. The Malawi public may
remember that this is not the first time that Mpinganjira has tried to
gain political mileage through creation of sensational stories like this
one. What value would be the issue of Malawi democracy to Oxford
University? What has seriously gone wrong? How would the University wish
to talk to an opposition leader when there are several researchers on
the ground who can present a balanced view on democracy in Malawi? After
all he is one of the wrong persons in the Malawi democracy," further
quipped the political analyst, a die hard Tembo supporter.
In November last year he told the media that he went to the United
Kingdom to lobby the House of Commons members of parliament to intervene
in the proposed Third Term Bill.
Investigations however revealed that he had gone to the United Kingdom
to attend a graduation ceremony of his son, Brian Chipiliro
(Mpinganjira). At that time Chipiliro was receiving his first degree in
During his November 2002 visit to the United Kingdom, the British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) grilled him on why he cheated the entire
world that he would be arrested in Malawi, yet he was never arrested
when he returned to Malawi.
UDF Presidential Candidate Appeals for More British Aid
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
The Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Dr Bingu wa
Mutharika, has appealed for more aid from the United Kingdom because
Malawi needs more donor assistance to achieve its social and economic
The Minister made the appeal during his five-day visit to the United
Kingdom at the invitation of the International Development Committee
(IDC) of the House of Commons.
In an interview, Dr wa Mutharika said he also had discussions with Mr.
Graham Stegman, who is the Director for Africa in the Department for
International Development (DFID) at the DFID headquarters in London on
various development issues.
The Minister said both the members of IDC and the Director of DFID
expressed satisfaction with the efforts that the Government of Malawi is
making to promote economic growth and social development in the country
through the Malawi Economic Growth Strategy.
"They agreed that indeed there is now more recognition amongst
international development partners to place much emphasis on promoting
high and sustainable economic growth as the basis for sustainable
"They, therefore, indicated Her Majesty's Government's willingness to
continue to work with and assist Malawi in her development endeavours,"
In his presentations to both the IDC of the House of Commons and the
Director of DFID, Mutharika thanked the United Kingdom for high levels
of development assistance it renders to Malawi.
He said the British Government is the largest development assistance
donor to this country and this assistance comes through a number of
agencies, including DFID.
He cited some of the major projects that have benefited from British
aid, which include the reform of the Malawi Police Service, the
provision of assistance to institutions and initiatives such as the
Malawi Law Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman and the
"The United Kingdom has also participated in debt relief programmes
that support Malawi under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
Initiative," he said.
The Minister briefed the members of the IDC and the Director of DFID on
the initiatives that the Government of Malawi is undertaking to promote
social and economic development.
The initiatives, he said, include the Malawi Economic Growth Strategy
that provides a new window of opportunity for the Government, the
private sector and the donor community, to combine their efforts to
promote sustainable economic growth of at least by six percent per annum
by developing high potential sectors of the economy, which include
tourism, mining, agro-processing and cotton-textile-garments chain.
Other initiatives, he said is changing public expenditure policy from
managing public expenditure and consumption to promoting economic
production and income generation; resuscitating the Public Sector
Investment Programme (PSIP) aimed at creating an enabling environment
for foreign direct investment to flow into Malawi by prioritising
investment in roads, water, energy, telecommunications networks, health,
education, science and technology, which are essential prerequisites for
increasing industrial production, manufacturing and trade.
As regards the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round
Table, Mutharika urged the International Development Committee of the
House of Commons to lobby with other industrial countries to, among
others, open their markets for agricultural and processed goods
including textiles and garments from poor developing countries like
Malawi by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers.
He said rich countries should also allow developing governments to
provide subsidies to poor farmers in their countries in order to
increase their participation in global markets for agricultural
Mutharika emphasized that subsidies are very vital for Malawi to
improve its domestic capacity to produce high quality export products
required in European and North American markets through adding value to
our major products.
Gold and Ceramic Clay Exploitation Restarts
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
Malawi's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs says
it has embarked on a project that aims to restart small-scale
exploitation of alluvial Gold found in the Lisungwe river valley, which
borders Ntcheu and Balaka districts.
Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs, Martha
Nasho, said this at Lisungwe when she officially opened a weeklong Gold
panning training for 10 prospective miners from Lisungwe in Ntcheu.
Nasho said historically, Lisungwe was the main gold mining area in the
country, carried out by some people such as Mr Dangaliro and Breeze
since the 1930s.
"However, since the demise of these pioneers, gold panning has died a
natural death. The people who were mining gold were earning a living out
of the business.
My Ministry would like to empower the people of this area with skills
that will enable them earn a living and reduce their poverty," she
Nasho explained that the training of the gold-panning artisans had been
financed under her Ministry's HIPC resources, with a view to impart
mining skills and promote small-scale mining in Malawi.
"We don't want foreigners to come here and start mining this gold at
the expense of the people of this area. We want you people from this
area to mine gold and sell it to the Lisungwe Mineral Resources Limited
and make money for your livelihoods," she said.
She said the mining of gold would also help in reducing the problem of
charcoal burning for sale, which is rampant in the area due to poverty
among community members.
The Deputy Minister then asked the participants to impart skills gained
during the training, to their family members and friends, so that many
people acquire similar skills and mine more of the precious stone in the
According to Director of Mines, Grain Malunga, the area has a potential
to produce a minimum of 100 ounces per month. One ounce sells at about
US $350 (approximately K32, 000) on the international market.
Malunga however said they had not yet established possible quantity
deposits of gold in the area but said the reserves would take a long
time to fully exhaust.
"This gold is being found in small streams in Lisungwe valley and shows
that it is just coming from elsewhere. However, we are trying to
establish the actual source of the gold and depending on the quantities
we will find, we could invite larger scale miners to come and exploit,"
The Operations Director for Lisungwe Mineral Resources, who was also
conducting the training, Stuart Grand, said after the training, his
company would give mining tools such as picks, shovels and pans, so that
the artisans could immediately start mining on their own.
The area struck a historic production in 1938 when a foreign mining
company mined £20,000 (about K3 million) worth of Gold from Manondo.
In a related development, the Ministry has embarked on the exploitation
of ceramic clay deposits in Linthipe in Dedza, estimated at about 14
million metric tonnes.
During a recent visit to Linthipe Industrial Minerals Research Station,
Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs, Uladi Mussa,
said his Ministry would strive to train many Malawians in ceramic ware
production, as one way of economically empowering them.
"Once they are trained in the production of ceramics, they will still
be using our equipment to produce; and we will help them in marketing
the ceramic products, which are cheaper as compared to those we
currently buy from outside the country.
"We will also help them in finding other ceramic producing companies to
come to this area, which will in the end employ rural people," he said.
Mussa said Malawi had a number of mineral resources that would be used
to produce other products currently being imported from outside the
country. The local minerals had not been exploited due to lack of
He said the Ministry, through its Geological Surveys Department, was
using funds from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative,
to boost the mining industry, including the mining of clay for ceramic
The funds would support the project till the year 2003.
"We bought machines worth about K3 million, for producing these
ceramics here at Linthipe. The same equipment is being used to train
rural communities so that they can later become self-reliant," Mussa
Mussa called for collaboration between the Geological Surveys staff and
the communities in the ceramics production, so that government achieves
its goal of empowering communities with necessary skills in ceramic
Linthipe area has about 14 million tonnes of clay deposits, according
to Chief Geologist, John Nkhoma.
Among others, the place produces bobbins (insulators for ESCOM power
lines), cups, plates and decorations.
These, according to officials from the Ministry, were some of the
efforts aimed at promoting the mining sector in the country, which
contributes about 1.7 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product
Preserve Malawi's Cultural Value
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
Malawian President Bakili Muluzi has asked chiefs in the country to
encourage their subjects to continue preserving Malawi's cultural values
in order to give the nation its distinct identity.
The President made the remarks on Wednesday at Ngerenge in Chief
Mwakaboko's area in Karonga where he officially elevated Sub-T/A
Mwakaboko to the status a full Chief and and installed Chief Kilipula.
Muluzi said that it is important that Malawians respect chiefs, as they
form the basis of the country's culture and as custodians of the
"This is an important day in the history of chieftaincy in this country
as we witness the official elevation of the chiefs," he said, observing
that chieftainships have been in the country long before colonialists
came to Malawi.
The President said this is why his government has taken a deliberate
policy to respect chiefs and all traditional leaders. He said that
chiefs have demanding responsibilities, which include settlement of
disputes and spearheading development projects in their respective
Muluzi said the chiefs compliment government's effort to reduce
"It is for this reason that government takes keen interest in issues
affecting our chiefs," he said, adding that his presence at the ceremony
is a manifestation of the importance he attaches to chiefs.
The President then reiterated the need for unity among Malawians to
spearhead development throughout the country.
Resist Corruption, Says President Muluzi
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
President Bakili Muluzi has advised traditional leaders to exercise
impartiality and desist from acts of corruption when discharging their
Muluzi made the appeal in Chitipa on Monday this week when he elevated
Traditional Authority Kameme and Mwaulambya.
He advised the traditional leaders to judge their subjects fairly
He said traditional leaders must be exemplary in their behaviour and
encourage their subjects to fully participate in development work.
The president said it is the duty of traditional leaders to promote
peace, love, unity and development among Malawians.
Muluzi assured the two chiefs of government's support.
Muluzi donated 100 metric tonnes of maize, beans, salt, chairs and
desks. He vowed to continue assisting the poor contrary to his critics
who are accusing him of his generosity.
"I am not getting the maize from the silos. I was given 4000 metric
tonnes by well wishers to assist the poor," he disclosed.
Speaking at the same ceremony, United Democratic Front presidential
candidate, Bingu Wa Mutharika, expressed the importance of traditional
leaders in Malawi.
Mutharika recalled that traditional leaders were responsible for the
administration of their people before the British colonized Malawi.
He condemned the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) for barring the
traditional leaders from taking part in development work during its
thirty-one year old rule.
Resolve Malawi-Tanzania Border Now
Business Times (Dar es Salaam)
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
IT would not come as a surprise to hear that Malawi has banned
Tanzanians from fishing on Lake Nyasa.
After independence from British rule in the early 1960s, the country
that was once known as 'Nyasaland' changed its name to Malawi, and the
new Government unilaterally decided that what has always been known as
Lake Nyasa should become 'Lake Malawi!'
Since then, Malawians have considered Lake Nyasa as wholly belonging to
them. For its part, Tanzania has never seen the need to pursue the
matter to its logical conclusion. That is perhaps Mistake Number One.
The border between the two countries is marred by complexity. This
makes Malawians feel they are entitled to the entire resources of the
lake, including fishing.
Documents at the National Museum of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam indicate
that, in 1962, some members of Parliament enquired whether Tanganyikans
were legally entitled to fishing in Lake Nyasa.
According to Paper No. 11 of the National Museums of Tanzania, Chief
Mhaiki, MP, raised the question in the National Assembly on June 11,
1962 "whether Tanganyika, as far as its boundary with Nyasaland (now
Malawi) is concerned, was bound by the Peace Treaty between England and
Germany of 1919."
If so, Mhaiki asked, what "steps did the Government intend to take to
remove the disadvantages affecting the people living on the shore of
The then prime minister, Rashidi Kawawa, in his written reply to the
question stated: 'No part of the Lake Nyasa fell within the boundaries
of German East Africa and, accordingly, no part of the lake is within
the boundaries of Tanganyika!'
Definitely, the statement was counterproductive as far as fishing and
navigation on Lake Nyasa are concerned. However, it is understood that
Kawawa subsequently gave the indication that he knew and emphasised that
"the boundary between the two countries was of great economic, political
and social importance to Tanzania."
According to records at the National Museums, in 1967 the Government
took up the matter again, by adopting a position which differed from
that of 1962.
The Government wrote to Malawi as follows: 'Tanzania has no claim over
the waters of Lake Nyasa beyond a line running through the medium of the
lake, and it is this line alone which is recognised by the Government of
Tanzania as both the legal and just delineation between Malawi and
Records show that, on January 12, 1967, the Malawi foreign ministry
confirmed the reception of the note, stating that the matter raised in
it would 'receive the consideration of the Malawi Government and a
further reply would follow.'
In spite of all these efforts, however, solution to the problem is
still not in sight. Tanzanians continue to fish on Lake Nyasa simply
because of the friendly relations that exist between the two countries.
"If Malawi gets a tyrant, Tanzanians will be the losers. They will not
be able to fish on the lake any more. They are at a disadvantage.
International law favours Malawi more than Tanzania," says Ebehard
Haule, a resident of Liuli, a town on the shore of Lake Nyasa.
Malawian Artists Outdo Mafikizilo
Malawi Standard (Blantyre)
August 1, 2003
Posted to the web August 1, 2003
Local musicians proved that they could compete internationally when
music fans in the country gave them thumbs up during a show organized by
Southern Bottlers (Sobo).
Music lovers openly said at the end of the show that the local artists
performed far better than the visiting Mafikizolo crew from South
Although the local bands were merely supposed to curtain-raise the show
during the Fanta Music Mega party at Chichiri Stadium, the local
musicians instead won the hearts of many fans.
Ben Michael, with his band, the Zigzagers sent fans wild, when he
The revelers danced and sang along the lyrics, while the dread locked
artist-performed wonders on stage.
Upcoming musician Sally Nyundo played a Chichewa/French version of Ras
Amadya Nzimbe, which he recorded in France.
The young musician displayed both stage and dancing antics he learnt
from France. While in France, Sally performed with international reggae
stars like Israel Vibration, T Rat, Taguuna and Bustier among others.
Billy Kaunda and Armageddon band dished out Awalange, a song that stole
hearts of many patrons, who had no choice but to sing a long with the
Lucius Banda, Wendy Harawa and Zembani band also performed a number of
songs during the show.
Patrons expected Mafikizolo to perform live, using musical instruments
but they didn't instead they only danced music played from their master
One could tell that Mafikizolo failed to entertain the patrons as they
expected. The outfit danced their first three songs but the fans
The few patrons danced to Mafikizolo's anthem Nahambanawe a number that
has enjoyed frequent air plays in most radio station in the country.
Radio FM 101 Disc Jockey Sister Fire observed that the show was a clear
testimony that Malawians like the local artists and their music.
She further observed that the turn up was not satisfactory as compared
to local artists' shows that attract huge fans.
Sister Fire said Malawians expected more vibes and instruments from
Mafikizolo but they were let down, when they found themselves listening
to audiotapes in the stadium.
"There are some local artists, who have no name but when they stage a
live show performance they command huge fans," she explained.
Yona Ntonga of Ndirande Township noted that the increase in the sale of
cassettes and compact discs is a clear manifestation that Malawians love
their artist and music.
"Statistics made available by the Copy right Society of Malawi
(Cosoma), Music Association of Malawi indicates that the local music
industry has grown tremendously since 1994. Imaging one local musician
selling up to 150, 000 copies alone. Isn't that an indication that the
citizens have learnt to appreciate the local talent?" he asked.
Kennedy Nkoma of Lilongwe said Malawians are now supporting the local
artists than before and that there has been an improvement in the
standard and performance of local music by the local artists.
"The support that we render to our musicians has fostered development
in the industry and some local artists like Wambali Mkandawire have won
international recognition because they are held in high esteem by
Malawians." He explained.
Mugabe targets farm greed
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is reported to have ordered senior
ruling party officials to conform to his "one man, one farm" policy
under his land reform programme.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that he wanted any extra
farms to be relinquished within two weeks.
The controversial land reform programme has seen most of Zimbabwe's
4,500 white farmers evicted from their land, but farm productivity has
also declined rapidly.
Aid agencies say this has contributed to food shortages leaving several
million Zimbabweans in need of food aid.
"President Mugabe said he would not allow people to have more than one
farm," ruling party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira told the Herald after a
Zanu-PF leadership meeting on Wednesday evening.
"He advised those with multiple farms to choose one and give up the
rest to the government for resettlement," he said.
President Mugabe's fast-track programme to acquire white-owned
commercial farms and redistribute them to landless black Zimbabweans
began in 2000.
However, the controversial plan has been hit by violence, lengthy legal
battles and criticism that ruling party members were acquiring most of
the prime farms.
A Presidential Land Review Committee was appointed earlier this year to
look into the implementation of the scheme. Their report is expected to
be ready by mid-August.
But leaks have appeared in the press, accusing senior politicians of
grabbing the best farms for themselves and even evicting landless
peasants, who were supposed to be the main beneficiaries.
A spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change dismissed
the move as a gimmick.
And an official of the white-dominated Commercial Farmers' Union in
Harare predicted that President Mugabe would run into difficulty with
ruling party stalwarts if he now forced them to relinquish their farms.
President Mugabe has repeatedly said the government was committed to a
"one man, one farm" policy, including white farmers.
However many whites have been evicted from their only properties.
Zimbabwe is mired in a deep economic crisis, with annual inflation
running at 365%, according to official figures.
His critics 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.
Zimbabwe churchmen led by 'foreign masters'
31 July 2003 14:19
A bid by Zimbabwe's churches to start negotiations between President
Robert Mugabe and the opposition was in jeopardy on Thursday after a top
government minister denounced some of the religious leaders as
opposition "activists" under the control of "foreign masters".
Less than a week after Mugabe met three Christian leaders, Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted as saying Anglican Bishop
Sebastian Bakare, the head of the Protestant Zimbabwe Council of
Churches, and Bishop Trevor Manhanga, the president of the Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe, a church umbrella body, were "not honest
"Their interest is out of self-interest," Chinamasa told the daily
Herald. "They are MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) activists wearing
Manhanga, the spokesperson for the mediation group, could not be
reached for comment.
The third member of the group was Bishop Patrick Mutume, of the
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference.
The mediation effort comes against the backdrop of growing
international pressure for the two sides to begin talks to end the
country's crisis. The move followed a meeting earlier in July between
South African President Thabo Mbeki and United States President George
Bush at which both urged for "urgent action" on Zimbabwe.
The religious leaders met Mugabe last Friday for two hours, and on
Monday held talks with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Both sides were
asked to submit written outlines of their positions on the proposed
talks in the next few days.
The trio said this week they would travel to South Africa and Nigeria
to brief Mbeki and Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo on their
Both presidents have spearheaded efforts to get the two sides to the
Chinamasa told the Herald that the fact that the bishops were "going to
engage other outside players proved they were carrying [the] mediation
on behalf of their foreign masters".
He said Bakare and Manhanga could not be expected to be impartial
because they were "MDC members who had in the past used different
platforms to denounce the government and the ruling party".
It was unclear why Chinamasa did not include Mutume in his
denunciation. In April, the Catholic bishops' conference warned that the
government's "frightening abuses" would "surely destroy our society". -
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