- Malawi Alert
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)
September 17, 2003
Posted to the web September 17, 2003
On Tuesdsay, September 16 2003, Police in Blantyre arrested Frank
Namangale, a reporter working with the Daily Times newspaper, on charges
of publishing false information likely to cause fear and alarm to the
public. Namangale was released on bail later the same day.
Police publicist George Chikowi told the Malawi Chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (Namisa) that Namangale was arrested
following his September 12 article, published in the Daily Times, in
which he alleged that the police arrested President Bakili Muluzi's son,
Evance Muluzi, his nephew and three others in connection with armed
robbery. The article quoted Senior Police Commissioner for the South
Often Thyolani as confirming the arrests and that some of the suspects
answered to the name Muluzi.
However, on Monday, September 15, the newspaper published a follow-up
story in which Chikowi said Evance was an adopted son to Muluzi's late
brother. He added that police recovered an AK 47 and two rounds of
ammunition from Evance.
Lawyer for Namangale, Chimwemwe Kalua, said his client was given
unconditional bail and ordered to report to police on Friday, September
Meanwhile, Namisa has condemned the arrest saying there was nothing in
the story that could cause "fear and alarm to the public".
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)
September 18, 2003
Posted to the web September 19, 2003
On Thursday, September 4 2003, the Malawi Communications Regulatory
Authority (Macra), threatened to shut down the privately owned Capital
Radio, accusing it of carrying out an Outside Broadcasting (OB) contrary
to provision of its licence.
Capital Radio has opened up to political parties to air their rallies
Macra's Director of Broadcasting James Chimera warned that if Macra
established that the licence did not allow the station to air live OBs,
the authority would withdraw the licence. "The Communications Act is
silent on outside broadcasting, but the conditions of licence do not
allow the radio to conduct outside broadcasting." Chimera said.
Chimera, however, admitted that the authority was in dilemma because
the Act did not empower it to take action against a radio station or
regulate its content. Macra is only authorized to regulate the format
Chimera defended the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation's (MBC) airing of
OBs saying that by virtue of it being a national broadcaster, the MBC
was mandated to do so.
Capital Radio Managing Director Al Osman noted that it would be against
principles of democracy to ban OBs, let alone withdraw the licence of a
radio station. "Whatever action they will take, we will see if it will
promote democracy or not. They are violating the principles of
democracy," said Osman.
Meanwhile, facing a tide of public opposition, Macra says it will
announce its decision on Capital Radio, later this month.
Macra has been at loggerheads with privately owned media houses.
Earlier this year Macra attempted to ban community radio stations from
airing news items, saying they were hijacking the role of MBC and
Television Malawi. The decision attracted an outcry. Macra has to date
not enforced the ban.
Zim's white farmers risk losing land pay-outs
22 September 2003 11:00
Zimbabwe's white farmers have been told by the government that they
must take the compensation package offered to them for their land or
risk getting nothing at all, the agriculture minister was quoted as
saying in a newspaper report on Monday.
Many white commercial farmers have not collected the money because they
are contesting the sums offered.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made was quoted in the state-run Herald as
saying that Z$8-billion-worth of compensation money would be disbursed
to new black farmers if the white farmers did not claim it.
"There is a fund sitting idle and the intended beneficiaries are holed
up somewhere in Australia, Canada, Britain or New Zealand," Made said.
He did not give a deadline for farmers to collect the money.
Under its controversial land reform programme launched in 2000, the
Zimbabwe government bought up white-owned farms for redistribution to
new black farmers.
The Zimbabwe government said it was paying for work done on the land,
and not for the land itself, which it says was stolen by 19th-century
But the white farmers' lobby, Justice for Agriculture, on Monday
dismissed the latest move by the government as a "mere propaganda
It said the figures being offered by the government to compensate
dispossessed white farmers for work done on their farms represented on
average 10% to 25% of their real value.
Justice for Agriculture vice-president John Worswick said that about
700 farmers had been summoned to the agriculture ministry to discuss
"Most farmers have walked away flabbergasted at how low the offers
are," he said.
"They [the government] have failed to raise the finance for land
reform. This is just another way of robbing Peter to pay Paul," he
According to a recent survey by the white-run Commercial Farmers'
Union, an estimated 485 commercial farmers out of about 3 300 operating
in 2000 have remained on their land. -- Sapa-AFP
Banned Zim paper gears up for battle
22 September 2003 07:32
Zimbabwe's outlawed independent daily newspaper, the Daily News, is
preparing to go to court to challenge the state media commission's
refusal to grant it a licence, a company official said on Sunday.
Daily News legal adviser Gugulethu Moyo said the paper's publishers
were preparing to take the Media and Information Commission to court.
"We're working on a number of applications," Moyo said, adding that she
hoped court papers appealing the commission's decision would be filed on
The commission denied the Daily News a licence late on Friday,
scuppering desperate attempts to get the paper back on the streets after
a week of legal wrangling.
Police shut down the paper more than a week ago after the Supreme Court
ruled it was operating illegally because it did not have a licence. The
paper quickly filed an application to register.
The closure of the Daily News has provoked strong criticism in
Zimbabwe, though there has been no sign of street protests.
"Let's not make them silence the media. Bring back the Daily News,"
urged press watchdog Media Institute of Southern Africa in press
advertisements on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge claimed, however, that the Daily News
wanted "to court martyrdom", the Sunday Mail reported. -- Sapa-AFP
Frail Zimbabwe Vice President Dies at 80
By ANGUS SHAW
The Associated Press
Saturday, September 20, 2003; 7:55 PM
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Vice President Simon Muzenda, a longtime loyal aide
of Zimbabwe's autocratic leader Robert Mugabe, died Saturday, state
radio reported. He was 80.
The report said Muzenda died at the main Parirenyatwa hospital in
Harare, but gave no cause of death. He had become increasingly frail in
the past year and all but withdrew from public life, rarely carrying out
his official duties as the more senior of two vice presidents.
Muzenda, a gruff, one-time carpenter, was one of the least educated
politicians in the ruling elite but was rewarded for his loyalty with
high office that brought him wealth and status.
He was frequently the target of ridicule over his humble origins and
often clumsy politicking.
During campaigning for parliamentary elections in 2000, Muzenda told
supporters of the ruling ZANU PF party in his home district in southern
Zimbabwe that the party was so popular there that "if we put a baboon as
a candidate, people will vote for it."
His campaign in parliamentary elections a decade earlier was marred by
police agents' shooting of an opposition candidate standing against him.
Muzenda was not implicated in the shooting.
Muzenda had been receiving medical treatment in China but returned home
in July, when he was admitted to the coronary care unit for the
critically ill at the hospital.
Though Muzenda's death left Mugabe without a trusted associate, it was
not expected to change the political landscape in the troubled southern
African country. Zimbabwe is in the middle of its worst economic and
political crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.
The radio quoted Mugabe mourning what he called "a great loss indeed to
Mugabe, 79, who led the nation to independence, has been under
increasing pressure to step down and was not expected to name a
successor to Muzenda anytime soon.
Born Oct. 28, 1922 in the Gutu district of southern Zimbabwe, Simon
Vengayi Muzenda was educated at a church mission school and later
obtained a diploma in carpentry in neighboring South Africa.
For his political activism against colonial rule, he spent most of the
decade 1962-72 in prison or under colonial restriction orders curtailing
He fled into exile in neighboring Zambia and then to Mozambique,
joining Mugabe in reorganizing the ZANU party and its guerrilla war
against the white government of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was then known.
After independence, Mugabe, then prime minister, appointed him deputy
prime minister and foreign minister. Mugabe became executive president
in 1987, naming Muzenda his first vice president.
Funeral arrangements were not announced.
Aids in Africa: More action, less talk
22 September 2003 11:39
HIV/Aids has finally reached the top of the African agenda, according
to a new UNAids report released on Sunday.
However, the increasing political attention the epidemic has received
has not translated into sufficient action, as total funding for HIV/Aids
is only half of what is needed, the report, titled Accelerating Action
against Aids in Africa, noted.
Speaking at a press conference at the 13th International Conference on
Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections being held in Nairobi from
September 21 to 26, the UNAids director of country and regional support,
Michel Sidibe, admitted that progress has been made in the continent's
fight against the disease during the past two years.
Resources have begun to flow -- UNAids estimates that about
$950-million was spent to fight HIV/Aids in sub-Saharan Africa last year
-- but although this is an increase of $400-million since 2000, more is
needed to implement and expand prevention and care programmes.
African leaders such as presidents Festus Mogae of Botswana and Yoweri
Museveni of Uganda have taken the lead in not only speaking out on
HIV/Aids, but in backing this up with action. Leaders in other countries
such as Kenya are now taking similar steps, the report said.
Behaviour change is slowly taking place and there has been a reduction
in HIV prevalence among young girls in Ethiopia and young people in
Zambia, Sidibe pointed out.
"They said behaviour change would not happen ... this is not true.
Prevention is working," he said. But all these "exciting developments"
were not enough, he added.
The report outlines three major challenges the continent has to grapple
Firstly, the scaling up of anti-retroviral treatment programmes is
crucial for an effective response. At the end of 2002, only 1% of the
4,1-million people who needed it in Africa were receiving treatment,
even though the demands for treatment have been growing louder through
Aids activism, the report found.
The increasing impact of the epidemic on African women can no longer be
ignored. The report called for additional focus on women in any response
against the epidemic.
But national coordinator for Rwanda of the Society of Women against
Aids in Africa, Rose Gahire, remained skeptical.
"Money is coming in to Africa but how much of this is reaching women?
Women and youth are still marginalised in government programmes," she
There has been "too much talk" about the plight of women in Africa, but
this still has to be translated into action, Gahire added.
Thirdly, the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa has highlighted the
complexity of the epidemic and the need to integrate HIV/Aids responses
with broader development initiatives.
The report is available at www.unaids.org. -- Irin
Gates gives £100m to wipe out malaria
22 September 2003 07:59
What do you do with your money if you are the richest man in the world?
Go to Africa and find a cure for a killer disease, Bill Gates decided on
The founder of Microsoft travelled to rural Mozambique to announce the
donation of £100-million to fight malaria, ushering in what some call a
new era of philanthropy.
He almost doubled what the rest of the world -- governments, the United
Nations and charities -- spend on a disease that kills a million people
every year, 90% of them in Africa.
Some of the money will accelerate research on new malaria prevention
and new drugs to fight drug-resistant strains of the disease. Most of it
will go into a quest for a vaccine that, if successful, could transform
"It is time to treat Africa's malaria epidemic like the crisis it is,"
Gates said. "It is unacceptable that 3 000 African children die every
day from a largely preventable and treatable disease."
The World Health Organisation and the government of Mozambique hailed
the donation as a humanitarian gesture that partly filled a huge gap in
funding for malaria research.
Malaria is a parasitic disease, transmitted by mosquitoes, of which the
most deadly, Plasmodium falciparum, is the most common in Africa. Inside
the body the parasite infects the liver and red blood cells, impairing
the blood flow to vital organs. In homes and clinics across the
continent the pale, shivering sufferers of the disease can be seen.
Perhaps it was a coincidence, but the announcement came just days after
Forbes magazine published a rich list topped for the 10th consecutive
year by Gates and his £28-billion fortune.
The 47-year-old chairperson and co-founder of the computer software
group is up £1,8-billion from last year because of the improvement in
the share price of dotcom stocks, keeping him in a plutocratic class of
After initial criticism that he was hoarding, Gates has promised to
give away all his wealth, bar a few million dollars for his two
children, before he dies.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which he runs with his wife,
overtook the London-based Welcome Foundation several years ago as the
world's biggest charitable foundation, with assets of £14-billion. It
has already spent more than £1,9-billion on various health projects in
Unlike many American foundations, the Gates one doles out a hefty
proportion of its assets and takes care to back worthy, useful causes,
said Stacey Palmer, editor of Chronicle of Philanthropy, a newspaper of
the non-profit world.
Its headquarters is an anonymous, unmarked two-story building in
Seattle with a staff of about 100 to manage a budget greater than the
GDP of many countries.
The foundation paid for dozens of journalists to accompany Gates for a
tightly managed media event. It was partly an attempt to polish their
image, but also a shrewd use of the media to highlight a neglected
issue, said Palmer.
"There's got to be an element of wanting good publicity, but Bill and
Melinda Gates come across as sincere," she said. In absolute terms,
their foundation had surpassed the likes of Rockefeller and Carnegie.
Gates is fascinated with biology and scientific advances such as
mapping the genome of the mosquito, believing that the insights can
benefit the poor and sick.
On Monday he will meet Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg to discuss
combating HIV/Aids, followed by a trip to Botswana on Tuesday to visit
Aids clinics and research projects. But malaria is his best chance to do
good, he believes, because the funding for the fight against it is so
Speaking at a malaria clinic in Manhica, a dusty village north of the
Mozambique's capital, Maputo, he said the money would be divided into
About £17-million will go over five years for research on a new
prevention strategy to use existing drugs to protect infants from the
disease; £24-million will go over five years to the Medicine for Malaria
venture, a Geneva-based public-private partnership to develop new drugs
to replace those to which mosquitoes have become resistant; and
£61-million will go over four years to the Seattle-based Malaria
Vaccine Initiative, which believes a vaccine is possible because some
people become naturally immune.
Some scientists say an effective vaccine may never materialise and that
the funds would be better spent on basic things such as
insecticide-treated nets and sprays to control mosquitoes. But Gates was
upbeat. Like polio and smallpox, malaria could be conquered, he said.
Sebastial Matusse (40), watching the Gates cavalcade as she queued
outside a clinic, could only hope he was right. Malaria has caused her
to have two miscarriages, claimed the lives of two infant children, and
was yesterday afflicting for the seventh time her son Sebastio, five,
who shivered in a blanket in her arms.
Two dozen mothers and children missed church to meet what clinic
officials told them was a white man who wanted to help.
Seated under a corrugated tin roof, they gazed at the couple sitting
cross-legged on the reed mats and tried to ignore the phalanx of TV
cameras and photographers.
Gates held Galia Machava, a four-month-old who was too busy playing
with the hem of her pink dress to appreciate the symbolism -- the
richest of the rich cradling the poorest of the poor. -- Guardian
Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
Africa bears brunt of mosquito-borne peril:
Every year between 300-million and 500-million people are infected with
malaria. One million die -- 90% of them in Africa.
Malaria kills 3 000 African children every day and is the leading cause
of death among children in Africa.
The disease is spreading so rapidly in Africa because of the growth in
resistance to standard anti-malaria drugs, such as chloroquine.
Malaria costs Africa an estimated £7,3-billion in lost GDP.
Strategies used to combat the disease include insecticide-treated nets,
drugs and sprays to control mosquitoes.
Current spending on local malaria control is £120-million a year. But
scientists say £900-million to £1,5-billion is needed.
Malaria consumes 40% of public health spending in Africa and accounts
for up to half of inpatient admissions and outpatient visits in the
Malaria is responsible for 24% of all hospital deaths and 44% of
outpatient hospital visits in Mozambique.
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