- Malawi saves the nation by saving the chambo Blantyre 10 October 2003 07:42 Alarmed by the dwindling numbers of a rare species of fish, locally known asMessage 1 of 1046 , Oct 10, 2003View SourceMalawi saves the nation by saving the chambo
10 October 2003 07:42
Alarmed by the dwindling numbers of a rare species of fish, locally
known as chambo, the Malawi government has formulated a 10-year plan to
restore the fish in Lake Malawi, and its largest outlet, Shire River.
Lake Malawi is Africa's third largest fresh water lake.
In a statement on Thursday, Malawi's minister of natural resources and
environmental affairs, Uladi Mussa, said the plan aims at restoring
depleted fish stocks to maximum sustainable yields.
The Malawi Fisheries Department said their goal was to meet the
country's international obligations to restore chambo to its 1980 level
Chambo, a delicacy in Malawi, is a species of the tilapia family. Mussa
attributed the depletion of the fish in Lake Malawi and Shire River to
over-fishing by an ever-increasing number of fishermen.
Mussa, who represents the lakeshore and fishing district of Salima in
parliament, said: "The fishery is riddled with the use of illegal gear,
such as small meshed nets, that catch small and not fully grown-up
"The destruction of aquatic vegetation beds and breeding grounds, which
exposes young chambo to predation and to fishermen's nets, is another
Mussa said the species had suffered a violation of their closed
"Fishermen have been illegally catching fish during the breeding
season, resulting in loss of eggs and young fish."
Malawi's fishing industry is an important source of food, income and
Statistics from the Malawi Fisheries Department indicate that 14% of
lakeshore communities survive through fishing, fish processing,
marketing, boat and gear sales and repair, and allied industries.
The 2002 Malawi State of the Environment Report, recently presented to
parliament, stated that fish played a key role in food security.
It said Malawi's fishing industry used to contribute as much as 70% of
protein in rural and urban areas.
Overall, the industry contributes 4% to the country's gross national
product, it stated.
Fish consumption, the report stated, averaged 14kg per person per year
in the mid-1970s, but today it was less than 6kg per person each year
due to an increase in human population and the decreasing numbers of
fish in Lake Malawi.
The initiative to revive the stock involves the commitment made by
Malawi at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development held in
Johannesburg last year, Mussa said.
"The Fisheries Department intends by 2004 to prevent, deter and
eliminate illegal fishing.
"By 2010 the department will apply the ecosystem approach to
sustainable development of fisheries. It is hoped that by 2015 all
depleted fish stocks will be restored to maximum sustainable yields."
The countries bordering Lake Malawi -- Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania
--are signatories to the Southern African Development Community's
protocol on fisheries.
Under agreement, parties commit themselves to maintain a proper balance
between resource development for a higher standard of living for their
people, conservation, and enhancement of the environment to promote
Tropical biologists said the lake contains more freshwater species than
most lakes in Europe and North America. To reverse the dwindling
fortunes of chambo, the government has launched a campaign, called
Nation, Save the Chambo, to save the
species, Mussa said.
"The campaign also aims to attract foreign and domestic funding to
restore stocks to the pre-1990 levels," he said. - Sapa-IPS
Church Groups Confront Archaic Marital Traditions
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African Church Information Service
September 29, 2003
Posted to the web September 29, 2003
Church groups in Malawi have protested that despite many programmes to
sensitise people on child rights as provided for in the Republican
Constitution, there is still rampant abuse of the rights of the girl
child and women.
The Roman Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and the
Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP),
have mounted campaigns to rid traditions that enslave young girls and
women into unwanted sexual and marriage relationships.
A social audit report conducted by the CCJP of the Mzuzu diocese in
northern Malawi, gathered from parish committees, indicated that despite
the fact that many Malawians were now relatively aware of their
constitutional, human and civil rights, rights activists had not reached
most remote corners of the country due to limited resources.
"We have therefore lined up projects to penetrate the far away places
because abusers were taking advantage of the ignorance of their
victims," says Fr Charles Chinula, chairman of the Mzuzu diocese of
In some northern districts of Malawi, like Chitipa and Karonga, it was
discovered through surveys conducted by the churches that a traditional
practice called kupimbira, where parents force their daughters as young
as 12 years to marry well-to-do older men, had resurfaced after it was
abandoned decades ago.
Some parents give away their daughters after failing to repay loans,
which saw one rich man in his late sixties, in Karonga, acquiring 14
young girls through the practice. Girls who resist such traditional
marriages are threatened with death or magical curse referred to as
Another practice is elopement, locally known as kusomphola. It is
accepted among the Nyakyusa and Ngonde tribes of northern Malawi. Here,
parents of the boy eagerly repay, with cattle or money, the offended
parents of the seduced girl.
There is also Kuhara (called chokolo in other regions), where a man can
inherit the wife of a deceased brother to take care of her and her
children. Church activists say this cannot be tolerated in the present
Northern Malawi CCJP parish committees are pressing their secretariat
to lobby government to include in the constitution, a section that
provides for security of marriages.
"We cannot watch people continue enslaving young girls in the rural
settings for monetary gains through these bad cultures," asserted George
Chizeka, a local CCJP member.
Traditionalists say kupimbira resurrected because of rising poverty,
especially the famine crisis that inflicted Malawi in the past few years
due to erratic weather conditions.
Loaning off of daughters was first brought to light by women of the
Livingstonia CCAP Church women's guild, who provoked action by the
Livingstonia synod is the seat of the CCAP Church in northern Malawi.
The synod's Church and Society Programme director, Moses Mkandawire,
said his organisation had already started conducting civic education in
the affected areas.
"We are also putting up posters depicting the dangers of the practices
in the face of HIV/AIDS pandemic," he said.
The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), a body mandated by the
constitution to protect and investigate human rights violations, which
carried out its own survey, have thrown weight behind the churches'
MHRC Executive Secretary, Emiliana Tembo, said although the areas
concerned were the remotest parts of the country, where few people read
newspapers or owned radios to access rights issues, they were determined
to reach them and save the innocent young girls and women who could be
suffering in silence.i
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"After our civic education strategy, we will start taking legal action
against any perpetrators," said Tembo.
Zimbabwe food shortages scare
Some 3.8m Zimbabweans need food aid
Zimbabwe has imported less than a third of the grain it will need to
meet its requirements up to the end of March, a United States-based
monitoring agency says.
In its latest monthly report, the Famine Early Warning System Network
(FEWS) says grain from last year's harvest is running out for most rural
households, and food is selling at prices that are rising beyond the
reach of most people.
FEWS said that high inflation and a shortage of cash were making it
difficult for people to get food in urban areas.
President Robert Mugabe blames Zimbabwe's economic crisis on years of
drought and a plot by western countries to bring down his government
because of his land reform programme.
His critics say the seizure of most white-owned farm land has decimated
agricultural production and caused the food shortages.
In July, the government of Zimbabwe appealed for more than 700,000
tonnes of imported maize.
FEWS added that if current shortages of items such as fuel, fertiliser
and seed persisted, Zimbabwe would only be able to produce two-thirds of
the country's staple food, maize, that it needed in the next
Some 3.8 million Zimbabweans need food aid to survive; by the end of
the year, it is predicted that that number will rise to 5.5 million.
The United Nations predicts that more than five million Zimbabweans,
about a third of the population, will need food aid this year because of
a combination of bad weather, economic mismanagement and the
government's land redistribution policy.
- 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 byMessage 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006View Source
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