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  • Christine Chumbler
    Malawi bans Big Brother Africa Big Brother Africa has been taken off the air in Malawi after the country s parliament condemned it as immoral . It voted to
    Message 1 of 26 , Aug 6, 2003
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      Malawi bans Big Brother Africa

      Big Brother Africa has been taken off the air in Malawi after the
      country's parliament condemned it as "immoral".

      It voted to ban the pan-African reality series from its public TV
      station because of concerns about its sexual content.

      Taylor Nothale, chairman of the parliamentary committee on the media,
      said he had received a number of complaints, particularly from parents.

      He said most Malawians felt the show might encourage young people to
      engage in immoral behaviour.

      "People are subjected to horrible pictures which are corrupting the
      morals of our children," Mr Nothale said.

      Opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba said: "We want the government to
      stop that nonsense on TV."

      Most of the southern African country's 10.6 million people are deeply
      conservative Christians. It also has a Muslim minority.

      Malawi has become the third African nation to condemn the series
      following concerns raised by religious and political leaders in Zambia
      and Namibia.

      They have complained that some of the footage broadcast is too

      State-run Television Malawi has been broadcasting highlights of the
      South Africa-based show every evening.

      It originally featured 12 contestants, each from a different African
      country, locked together inside the Big Brother house.

      As with the western-style format, they are voted off one by one.
      Malawi's representative, Zein Dudah, was removed a month ago.

      Apart from the condemnation over sexual content, the show has been
      praised for bridging cultural gaps and exploding some of the myths
      contestants share about fellow Africans.

      Show producer Carl Fischer said: "If (the show) didn't generate any
      controversy, the project would be a failure."

      Rich Malawians will still be able to watch the show on satellite


      Cheap malaria drug approved

      A cheap drug to combat malaria is to be launched by GlaxoSmithKline.
      The drug could help to save millions of lives each year in some of the
      world's poorest countries.

      According to GSK, a course of treatment with Lapdap will cost just 18
      pence (29 US cents) for an adult and 9 pence for a child.

      This is much cheaper than many existing drugs, some of which can cost
      as much as £33 per course.

      Major killer

      Malaria affects around 300 million people around the world each year.

      Nine out of 10 cases occur in Africa. The disease claims the lives of
      at least one million people annually, according to the World Health
      Organization (WHO).

      Many of these lives could be saved if more affordable drugs were

      This latest drug, which combines two existing anti-malaria compounds,
      has been developed by GSK in collaboration with the WHO and scientists
      in the UK.

      The $5m development costs were shared between GSK, the WHO and the UK
      Department for International Development.

      Trials have shown that it is more effective than some existing
      treatments and can also help people who are resistant to some older

      It has now been approved for use by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare
      products Regulatory Agency.

      GSK said the drug would be made available in sub-Saharan Africa as soon
      as possible.

      In a statement, the company said: "GlaxoSmithKline plans to make Lapdap
      available at preferential prices across sub-Saharan Africa as soon as
      local approval has been granted."

      Professor Peter Winstanley, director of the Wellcome Trust Tropical
      Centre at the University of Liverpool which led the development work,
      welcomed the drug's approval.

      "Lapdap can help us meet the urgent need for an affordable anti-malaria
      treatment for use in Africa," he said.
    • Christine Chumbler
      BBC has a photo gallery of a man living with AIDS in Malawi http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/04/africa_aids_in_malawi/html/1.stm *****
      Message 2 of 26 , Jul 15, 2004
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        BBC has a photo gallery of a man living with AIDS in Malawi



        Sunshine City goes dark

        Ryan Truscott | Harare, Zimbabwe

        15 July 2004 12:59

        Living in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, is getting harder as weary
        residents battle with frequent power cuts, water shortages and the
        ever-rising prices of basic goods.

        Harare once boasted the nickname "Sunshine City" but in the depths of a
        Zimbabwean winter, it's looking less and less that way for all
        residents, regardless of their income levels.

        Last week the state-run power utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
        Authority (Zesa), announced it is introducing power cuts at peak periods
        due to increased demand from the cold weather and Zimbabwe's inability
        to find additional sources for power imports from outside the country.

        Zimbabwe imports 30% of its power, much of it from neighbouring South
        Africa, but has in the recent past reportedly had problems settling its

        Coinciding with the power cuts, Zesa has started broadcasting
        advertisements every half hour on state radio, proclaiming "Zesa: Power
        to the people."

        "While we sit in the dark with candles waiting for the power to come
        back on and women stream out of the bush with firewood on their heads
        because they can't afford electricity, the jingles go on and on and on,"
        says Zimbabwe writer Cathy Buckle in her weekly commentary.

        In several suburbs of the capital, streetlamps and house lights flicker
        off at 6pm at night -- to be restored three hours later.

        There are also cuts scheduled for three hours in the mornings.

        "It's every night," moans one elderly resident of the relatively
        well-heeled Avondale suburb, near Harare's main hospital.

        "It was Thursday, Friday and then again at half-past six on Saturday,"
        she complains. She adds that she keeps her bath "half full" to be ready
        for water cuts -- usually advertised in the state-run Herald newspaper
        and on public radio.

        In June some suburbs had no water for almost three weeks. The
        authorities blamed pump failures at the ageing Morton Jaffray water
        plant, as well as a lack of crucial aluminium sulphate used to treat the

        A so-called "water demand management system" was brought in. This meant
        cutting off supplies to other suburbs for 24-hour periods.

        Harare's opposition-led city council says it does not have the funds to
        maintain infrastructure. But efforts to hike rates have been blocked by
        Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who has also dismissed
        Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) mayor Elias Mudzuri.

        A member of President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, Chombo last month
        declared previously approved increases "unjustified" and ordered a

        The Harare city council has only held two meetings in the past six
        months, says Jameson Gadzirai of the Combined Harare Residents'
        Association, leaving residents concerned that civic governance is being
        frustrated by party politics.

        "What the residents are feeling now is that council decisions are not
        being implemented because of a broader agenda being pushed by the [local
        government] ministry," Gadzirai says.

        There are other concerns. Public hospitals in the city are faring
        badly. The privately owned Standard reported this month that corpses at
        Harare's Central hospital are being rolled down the stairs from wards to
        the mortuary because there is no money to repair the lifts.

        Health delivery has been one of the biggest casualties of Zimbabwe's
        four-year old economic downturn. Cases of kwashiorkor -- a sometimes
        fatal illness usually associated with times of war and famine -- have

        At least 621 were treated last year in the city's clinics, according to
        a report by the council's director of health, Lovemore Mbengeranwa.

        Price hikes too are a worry. Although inflation rates have fallen, from
        more than 600% at the end of last year to just less than 400%, prices of
        foodstuffs and many basic goods continue to rise.

        Faced with an outcry, the country's energetic Reserve Bank Governor
        Gideon Gono last week said that "the thinking that prices ought to come
        down because inflation is coming down is fallacious", the state-run
        Ziana agency reported.

        Gono told the conference that prices should still be going up by about
        6%. But his figures do not square with prices on shop shelves: bread has
        more than doubled in two months from about Z$1 200 a loaf to Z$2 900.

        Meanwhile fuel queues resurfaced last week. A wearying fact of life for
        many Zimbabwean drivers over the past three years, the queues seemed to
        have disappeared after the authorities removed price controls.

        State radio said last week's queues were due to "logistical" problems
        in fuel distribution. -- Sapa-AFP
      • Christine Chumbler
        Malawian leader to boot out MPs Malawi s newly-elected president has ordered parliament to move to a bombed-out sports complex so he can make it his official
        Message 3 of 26 , Jul 22, 2004
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          Malawian leader to boot out MPs

          Malawi's newly-elected president has ordered parliament to move to a
          bombed-out sports complex so he can make it his official residence.
          Bingu wa Mutharika said he wanted to move from his Blantyre residence
          to the capital, Lilongwe, as part of attempts to streamline government

          But the opposition said the decision ran against his promises to cut
          government expenditure.

          Parliament has 300 rooms and its own school and supermarket.

          New State House was originally built as a presidential palace at a cost
          of $100m by a former president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, but he only
          stayed in the house for 90 days.

          Parliament moved into the site in 1995.

          "The president needs enough room," said Ken Zikhale Ng'oma the
          president's chief of staff.


          But Catherine Chisala, spokesperson for the Peoples Progressive
          Movement, said they were unimpressed.

          "It will be very expensive to renovate the Kamuzi Institute for Sports
          into a habitable place and the New State House into a presidential
          palace," she said.

          The BBC's Raphael Tenthani in Malawi says that President Mutharika's
          predecessor, Bakili Muluzi, who was criticised for excessive
          over-expenditure, refused to occupy New State House, calling it an
          "obscene extravagance".

          The site of the proposed parliament was bombed by the army when it was
          occupied by paramilitaries loyal to President Banda when he lost power
          in 1993.

          The Malawi Young Pioneers, as they were called, were suspected of
          storing their arms in the building.

          The sports complex remains in disrepair.


          Malawi: Media Involved in Aids Information Dissemination

          UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

          July 21, 2004
          Posted to the web July 21, 2004


          Malawi's National AIDS Commission (NAC) and local media houses are
          currently discussing how journalists can help implement the country's
          national HIV/AIDS policy.

          Launched earlier this year by former President Bakili Muluzi, the
          policy aims to engage key institutions, like the media, in planning,
          coordinating and ensuring common standards in response to the AIDS

          Rita Chilolgozi, resident advisor of the policy project, said the main
          aim of the NAC was to disseminate the HIV/AIDS policy.

          "We need to use the media as a tool to help the people of Malawi
          understand the issues. Writing documents that no one sees just isn't
          enough. The media must be used as a channel through which to pass on the
          message," a local newspaper, The Chronicle, quoted Chilolgozi as
        • Christine Chumbler
          Development-Malawi: Rapid Urbanisation Looks Irreversible Inter Press Service (Johannesburg) July 27, 2004 Posted to the web July 27, 2004 Frank Phiri Blantyre
          Message 4 of 26 , Jul 29, 2004
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            Development-Malawi: Rapid Urbanisation Looks Irreversible

            Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

            July 27, 2004
            Posted to the web July 27, 2004

            Frank Phiri

            Every morning, residents of Malawi's sprawling commercial hub, Blantyre
            wake up to deafening noises as hundreds of thousands of people pour into
            the city to try to make a living.

            During peak hours, roads from townships leading to the city's main
            streets become clogged with traffic that range from minibuses, trucks,
            bicycles and a sea of pedestrians.

            Road accidents are common and vary from five to ten a day in the city,
            according to the police.

            Back in the 1980s, peak hours in Blantyre hardly resulted in traffic
            jams unless, of course, if the convoy of the late dictator Hastings
            Kamuzu Banda was passing-by and roads had to be cordoned off by order.

            Now Blantyre's landscapes are changing. The latest United Nations
            Centre for Human Settlement (UNCHS) study on urbanisation shows that the
            city of Blantyre and other trading centres in the northern and central
            regions of Malawi are becoming noisier, thanks to rapid urbanisation.

            The study, which was released this month, says Malawi, a tiny,
            landlocked and impoverished southern African nation of about 13 million
            has emerged as the fastest urbanising country in the world with an urban
            population growth of 6.3 percent, compared to 0.5 percent in rural

            According to the study, three million people now live in urban areas
            compared to 260,000 in 1966, something which represents a 25-percent

            The study, which has tipped Malawi to score highly in urbanisation in
            the next 15 years, concurs with an earlier study by the UK Department
            for International Development (DFID) that 44 percent, or more than 5
            million people would live in towns by 2015.

            It says three-quarters of Malawi's population lives in the main urban
            centres of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba.

            The findings of the two studies prompted Malawian authorities and civil
            society Tuesday to convene a meeting in the administrative capital,
            Lilongwe to debate how to meet the challenges of urbanisation in the
            next 15 years.

            The stakeholders, meeting under the theme "Malawi is World Champion in
            Urban Population Growth", admitted that urbanisation was the main
            contributing factor to land and housing shortages, congestion, squatter
            settlements, crime, HIV/AIDS infection and unemployment.

            Malawi's economy depends on agriculture and shortages of land have in
            recent years contributed to perennial food shortages, which refuse to
            ease. In 2002, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation
            (FAO) and other aid agencies estimated that more than three million
            Malawians needed emergency food. This year, the agencies have projected
            that more than one million people will starve if food aid is not

            Economists fear that the need to import the staple maize this year
            could cause depreciation of kwacha as the country's foreign exchange
            cover is low. Donors are withholding aid, citing fiscal indiscipline by

            Apart from food insecurity, HIV/AIDS infection has emerged as the most
            appalling crisis to hit the urban areas. Malawi's HIV infection
            prevalence hovers at 14.7 percent, according to the latest UN Joint
            Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) report.

            Of the one million people infected, the Malawi National AIDs Commission
            (NAC) estimates that 25 percent, or 250,000, are in urban areas compared
            to 13 percent in the rural areas.

            The commission estimates that AIDS has created about 600,000 orphans.
            As a result, orphanages are now overwhelmed.

            "Most of the orphans end up on the streets as beggars and grow up into
            thugs," says Bertha Bonongwe of Chisomo Care Group, an orphanage at
            Ndala Village in the outskirts of Blantyre.

            City officials say urbanisation is also leading to squatter
            settlements, which cause congestion and sanitation breakdowns. According
            to UNCHS, 71 percent of residents in Blantyre live in squalid and
            unplanned settlements.

            City officials blame utility companies for providing installations in
            areas that are not fully developed.

            "Installations such as water and electricity in underdeveloped places
            attract people to go and settle in such areas," says Sophie Kalimba, the
            chief executive of Blantyre City Assembly.

            Masauko Ngwaluko, spokesperson for the Lilongwe Water Board, says
            vandalism of plastic water pipes has been on a steady increase in recent
            years. The pipes are used for making teapots and other domestic
            appliances, which are on high demand in the city.

            "We're losing about K650,000 (6,000 United States dollars) every month
            to repair vandalised installations," he says, adding that such
            disruptions were leading to failure by the board to provide
            uninterrupted services to residents.

            The country's sole power utility, the Electricity Supply Corporation of
            Malawi (Escom), is also feeling the pinch of urbanization. Its
            installations, such as transformers, are targeted by residents who
            extract the oil for unknown use, it says.

            Critics say Malawi has become poorer in the past 10 years of
            re-introducing multiparty democracy. Before 1994, Malawi had been a
            one-party state for more than 30 years under Banda. Over 65 percent of
            the population now lives below the poverty line of one dollar a day,
            according to the World Bank.

            In April, a study by Khwima Nthara, an economist with Deloitte and
            Touche firm revealed that Malawi's Gross National Income - that is
            earned by individuals in a country - has fallen from 220 dollars in 1997
            to 160 dollars now.

            Economists and UN agencies believe poverty is the main driving force
            behind the rural-urban migration in Malawi. "The influx of people from
            rural areas is directly linked to increasingly harsh conditions many
            families are facing in outlying areas of Malawi," says the UNCHS study.

            To address the problems faced by the urban poor, the Secondary Centres
            Development Project (SCDP) - a German funded project - is servicing
            unplanned housing sites with access to clean water, drainages, roads and
            processing land ownership certificates.

            Charles Mkula, the projects' communication officer, says SCDP has
            processed 8,900 title deeds for the poorest households in urban areas.

            "Due to urbanisation, poverty is increasing in urban households with
            homeless migrants living in slums not fit for human habitation," Mkula
            told IPS.

            Like it or hate it, rapid urbanisation looks irreversible in Malawi.

            "Evidence shows urbanisation cannot be stopped whether by law, policy
            or development projects targeting the poor. The best thing to do would
            be to let public investment follow the people," argues Mtafu Zeleza
            Manda of the Malawi Institute of Physical Planners (MIPP), which pools
            the country's engineers, architects, and planners.


            Malawi clerics caught canoodling

            By Raphael Tenthani
            BBC correspondent in Blantyre

            A Catholic priest and nun have been arrested in Malawi for making love
            in an airport car park.
            The 43-year-old priest and 26-year-old nun were caught "in the act" in
            a tinted saloon car parked at Lilongwe International Airport.

            "It was a bizarre spectacle, the public alerted airport police after
            noticing the car shaking in a funny way," police spokesman Kelvin Maigwa
            told the BBC.

            The pair is due before a magistrate in the capital, Lilongwe, on

            Abandoning pastoral duties

            When the police arrived, catching them in the act, the two were
            promptly arrested and charged with indecent behaviour in a public place,
            Mr Maigwa said.

            They were detained overnight at a police station near the airport.

            The charge is a misdemeanour and, if convicted, the pair may get away
            with a small fine.

            The two were first noticed by eye-witnesses as they parked the car and
            wound up the tinted windows.

            "We thought they could be rushing for a plane that was about to take
            off but we were surprised that they never got out of the car," said a
            taxi driver.

            After being arrested, the nun was allowed to put on her habit, Mr
            Maigwa said.

            The priest was dressed in civilian clothes, he said.


            Zambia cracks down on hackers

            Dickson Jere | Lusaka, Zambia

            29 July 2004 13:58

            Zambia's government is to present a tough Bill on cyber crime to
            Parliament on Friday that will see convicted hackers and other offenders
            face harsh sentences ranging from 15 to 25 years in jail.

            The Computer Misuse and Crimes Bill enjoys strong backing from bankers
            and the Computer Society of Zambia, a group of professionals promoting
            computer use, who say hacking into dormant accounts has become a problem
            in this poor Southern African country.

            "We feel this law will help to deal with the increasing number of
            electronic frauds and hacking especially in the financial sector," said
            Milner Makuni, president of the Computer Society of Zambia.

            The most famous cyber offence in Zambia was committed by a young
            computer wizard who hacked the State House website and replaced the
            picture of then president Frederick Chiluba with a cartoon.

            He was arrested and charged with defaming the head of state but the
            case failed to succeed because there was no law in Zambia that deals
            with cyber crimes.

            "The Bill, once passed, will help to deal with high-tech cyber crimes
            that our current legal system cannot address," said Bob Samakai, a
            Ministry of Communication permanent secretary.

            But some cyber experts worry that the measure is likely to be abused by
            the authorities to curb access to the internet.

            "It is difficult to regulate the use of computers and internet because
            we are dealing with a world wide web," said Brenda Zulu, a renowned
            cyber journalist who specialises in online reporting.

            She said the country should first develop a policy on information
            communication technology (ICT) before rushing to enact legislation on

            Currently, the Zambian government is seeking public input in its draft
            ICT policy, which is yet to be adopted.

            "This law is very vague and not necessary for Zambia at the moment,"
            said Lloyd Himambo, an editor of Zambia's online newspaper The

            He said regulating the use of computers will be a difficult undertaking
            and wondered how such a law will be enforced in Zambia, a country where
            computers are a preserve of the rich.

            About one in 1 000 Zambians owns a computer, according to unofficial

            The Computer Society of Zambia agrees that enforcing such a law will be
            difficult, but pledged to help train police officers to understand cyber

            "I think what people should be fighting for is to upgrade their
            security features on their websites to deal with hacking but not to
            criminalise it," said Zulu, adding that hacking a site can be done
            outside Zambia, making it difficult to track the offenders.

            A senior Zambian lawyer who has studied the Bill said it is an "import
            of the British Act" and lacks local input.

            "I think this law is very advanced for the Zambian society and
            government should not rush it through Parliament before reaching
            consensus," he said, on condition of anonymity. -- Sapa-AFP
          • Christine Chumbler
            Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt UN Integrated Regional Information Networks September 20, 2004 Posted to the web September 20, 2004 Johannesburg Malawi s
            Message 5 of 26 , Sep 21, 2004
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              Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt

              UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

              September 20, 2004
              Posted to the web September 20, 2004


              Malawi's winter harvest should ordinarily ease the country's existing
              food shortage, but there is concern that the new crop could be affected
              by poor summer rains.

              The cultivation of winter crops starts soon after the main summer crop
              has been harvested, usually around July, and takes place in areas where
              there is residual moisture after the end of the rainy season, or farmers
              have access to irrigation facilities.

              Due to a poor summer harvest it is estimated that up to 1.6 million
              people will require food assistance up to March 2005, but aid agencies
              have noted that a bumper winter harvest could narrow the existing food

              "In the past few years, the government of Malawi has been encouraging
              winter crop production through various means, and this has resulted in a
              steady production increase," the Famine Early Warning Systems Network
              (FEWS NET) said in its latest country report.

              However, the 2003/04 rainfall "was significantly worse than that of
              2002/03, especially in the winter maize producing areas", FEWS NET
              noted. "This poor rainfall would have resulted in relatively less
              residual moisture and water availability, necessary preconditions for
              winter crop production. The general expectation is that winter crop
              production should be lower than last season, especially in the southern
              region, which was the most hit by the dry spells and shortness of the
              rainfall season."

              The National Statistics Office (NSO) has forecast a winter maize
              harvest of around 225,000 mt, slightly higher than the previous year's
              224,000 mt. However, FEWS NET said the NSO forecast was questionable,
              given the poor rainfall this year.

              "Although the coming winter harvest - around October to December -
              would help improve the aggregate national food availability situation,
              the improvements for smallholders in the southern region will be
              short-lived, and a majority of the households will continue to rely on
              the markets for food," FEWS NET commented.

              But the rising cost of staples has limited household access to food.
              "Prices have already started to rise, consistent with predictions of a
              worse than normal [harvest] year ... continued prices increases will
              adversely affect households' ability to purchase food," the report

              It will take an estimated 56,000 mt to 83,000 mt of emergency food aid
              to assist the rising number of households in need until the next
              harvest, FEWS NET forecast.


              Zimbabwe court drops paper case

              A Zimbabwean court has dropped charges against four directors of the
              banned Daily News newspaper.
              The privately-owned paper was shut down a year ago by police under the
              country's tough media laws.

              The magistrate said there was insufficient evidence to show they had
              published the paper illegally.

              But the publication will stay off the news-stands pending a decision by
              the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the media legislation.

              Zimbabwean and international rights groups have condemned the law,
              which compels all journalists and newspapers to be accredited by a
              government-appointed media commission.

              Magistrate Lillian Kudya said the state failed to prove the paper
              intentionally violated the law, as the paper had won court cases
              granting the paper a licence, AFP news agency reported.

              "We are free. We knew justice was going to prevail," said Samuel Nkomo,
              the paper's chief executive after the ruling.

              Launched five years ago, the Daily News was the country's sole
              privately-owned daily paper and was a persistent critic of President
              Robert Mugabe's government.
            • scottgeibel
              Well that s not good news... let s hope that the colorful Autumn leaves and Spring flowers brighten the moods of Malawi s disappointed farmers. ... existing
              Message 6 of 26 , Sep 22, 2004
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                Well that's not good news... let's hope that the colorful Autumn
                leaves and Spring flowers brighten the moods of Malawi's disappointed

                "Christine Chumbler" <cchumble@d...> wrote:

                > Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt
                > UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
                > September 20, 2004
                > Posted to the web September 20, 2004
                > Johannesburg
                > Malawi's winter harvest should ordinarily ease the country's
                > food shortage, but there is concern that the new crop could be
                > by poor summer rains.
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