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  • Christine Chumbler
    Malawi Scraps Duty Free Entry On Local Products The Herald (Harare) December 30, 2003 Posted to the web December 30, 2003 Harare MALAWI has revoked provisions
    Message 1 of 1046 , Dec 31, 2003
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      Malawi Scraps Duty Free Entry On Local Products

      The Herald (Harare)

      December 30, 2003
      Posted to the web December 30, 2003


      MALAWI has revoked provisions of a bilateral trade agreement with Zimbabwe allowing duty free entry of goods and will now charge a 20 percent excise duty on local products entering its market.

      The Ministry of Industry and International Trade, said in a statement yesterday it was notified of the move by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa early this month.

      "Exporters with goods destined for Malawi should take note of this change, so that they are not unduly surprised when their goods land into that country," the ministry said.

      "The ministry is in communication with Comesa on the subject matter and will soon make another statement once additional information and the list of the other products have been provided."

      The ministry said one of the goods on which the 20 percent excise duty would be charged was cooking oil.

      The move by Malawi is contrary to provisions of Comesa that allow reciprocal duty free entry of goods in member countries.

      Comesa launched its free trade area in 2000 that was expected to be fully attained next year to make it easier for trade among member countries.

      Some of the countries that have joined the Free Trade Area include Djibouti, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Sudan and Zambia.

      Malawi and Zambia have been complaining that Zimbabwean businesspeople were dumping cheap goods on their markets, pushing their local people out of business.

      Apart from the Comesa arrangement, Zimbabwean companies have been enjoying provisions of a bilateral agreement signed with Malawi in 1995 under which they exported goods duty free to that country.

      The agreement was amended in 2000, but still retained the element of allowing reciprocal exportation of duty free goods provided there was at least 25 percent local content.

      Trade imbalance that was titled in favour of Zimbabwe had been a major concern to the Malawian business community.

      Malawi has been one of Zimbabwe's major export markets in the region apart from South Africa because of the trade agreement that accorded preferential status to local goods destined for that country.

      Trade between the two countries dates back to 1986 when the first preferential agreement was signed to improve trade and enhance market access for respective products.


      Even elephants flee the Mugabe regime

      29 December 2003 08:13

      Hundreds of wild elephants are the latest refugees from violence and disorder in Robert Mugabe's crisis-torn Zimbabwe. The animals are fleeing the country by wading across the Zambezi river to escape being shot or trapped by so-called "war veterans" and illegal hunters.

      Game wardens in Zambia say record numbers of elephants are crossing the Zambezi, which forms the border between the two countries, to avoid being poached by armed gangs in Zimbabwe.

      "Elephants are quite intelligent and can communicate. They know they are safer on this side of the river," said one game warden.

      The exodus is an indication of the devastation facing wildlife in Zimbabwe, where animals are said to be at risk of indiscriminate slaughter in reserves and former privately owned game parks.

      With the breakdown of law and order, animals of all kinds are reportedly being poached on a massive scale for ivory and even for food.

      At Mosi-o-Tunya National Park, on the Zambian side of the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls, elephants are crossing the river daily. Wildlife experts say the movement is much larger than the normal seasonal emigration and is causing a serious problem for Zambian authorities. There are so many elephants trapped in a small area that serious damage is being caused to the environment.

      About 200 elephants are thought to be living in the small national park, close to the city of Livingstone, an area more used to a population of about 50. The elephants are stripping the bush of foliage and knocking down trees, and there are conflicts between the wild elephants and farmers. Elephants killed two local villagers in the park this year.

      Marianthy Noble, Zambia representative of the United Kingdom-based David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, said: "Lawlessness in Zimbabwe is definitely a factor in driving more elephants into Zambia and causing a problem here. If an elephant is shot, others will leave the area for safety. Elephants can communicate over up to seven miles [11,2km] -- and they never forget.

      "Until recently Zimbabwe had an excellent record for wildlife conservation and some of the best game parks in the world. But with land redistribution, some of the best game parks have been settled or invaded by people with no experience of wildlife management at all. Game is being systematically wiped out by local people shooting and setting snares. It's lawlessness."

      According to reports, game hunters from South Africa are taking advantage of the breakdown in law and order to buy hunting licences in the former conservancies, allowing them to shoot anything that moves. In other cases, villagers are reported to be killing wildlife "for fun".

      Zimbabweans living on the Zambia side of the border are cagey about discussing wildlife in Zimbabwe for fear of repercussions for relatives and business associates still inside the country. However, Andy, a white Zimbabwean working for a Zambia safari lodge, said: "Everybody knows there is illegal hunting in Zimbabwe on a massive scale. Wildlife is being wiped out. That is why the elephants are coming across.

      "In some areas, there are so many snares set that animals caught in them are just being left to rot. National parks are issuing illegal hunting licences without knowing how much game there is."

      Another safari lodge employee near Victoria Falls said: "There are certainly more elephants arriving. From time to time, we have heard shooting at night from the Zimbabwe side. There is only one explanation -- poaching."

      The head of the Zambian Wildlife Authority (Zawa), Hapenga Kabeta, said he has been assured that Zimbabwean wildlife authorities are implementing "appropriate wildlife management" and providing good leadership in conservation issues. He blamed the exodus on drought and overpopulation.

      He said reports on the internet that up to 80% of Zimbabwe's wild elephants have been slaughtered are without foundation. However, he acknowledged there may be a problem on Zimbabwe's private game parks, where land redistribution means new owners "may not have the skills" and wildlife could be at risk.

      Experts acknowledge that the influx of elephants into the tiny Mosi-o-Tunya park presents a problem for Zambian authorities. The park is hemmed in by houses and farms and smallholders have blamed the elephants for damage to fruit trees and property.

      Simasiku Pumulo, who farms 200 hectares of maize, millet, vegetables and fruit in the Sinde cooperative on the edge of Livingstone, said wild elephants regularly visited his land to eat what they could find.

      "Sometimes they come at night and break down the trees just across from the front door. It is terrifying, you cannot go out," he said.

      "The elephants destroy the maize and dig up vegetables ... If you plant five acres of maize, the elephants usually eat four of them. To put so much work into growing food for the elephants is very annoying -- I believe they should be culled."

      Park authorities are considering how to solve the problem without resorting to a cull, which would be unpopular with wildlife experts and tourists. Under present Zambian law, elephants cannot be shot -- although the government will reintroduce hunting next year.

      One possible solution is to open up an elephant "corridor" to encourage the animals to migrate almost 200km north to a larger national park at Kafue, where elephants are in short supply. -- Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003


      Zimbabwe 'repossesses' black land

      About 400 farms distributed to black Zimbabweans under the controversial land reform exercise have been repossessed, a state newspaper says.
      The farms had been taken by people who already owned land and would be given to "deserving people", a minister says.

      Critics say the seizure of white-owned farms has ruined Zimbabwe's economy and been tainted by corruption.

      President Robert Mugabe says he is righting a colonial wrong and blames drought for Zimbabwe's food crisis.

      'Significant progress'

      But in July, he admitted that top officials had been given more than one farm in contravention of the "One man, one farm" policy and ordered them to return the additional properties.

      The Herald newspaper did not name those whose farms, covering 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres), had been repossessed.

      "We have made significant progress and the land recovered would now be available for redistribution to deserving people," it quoted John Nkomo, Special Affairs Minister and head of the land reform implementation committee, as saying.

      Just 600 of the 4,000 white farmers in 2000 remain on their land after the often violent land seizures, farming officials say.

      Before the land reform programme was speeded up three years ago, white farmers owned 70% of Zimbabwe's best land.
    • Christine Chumbler
      ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17 The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by
      Message 1046 of 1046 , May 22, 2006
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        ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Chihana operated on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Mughogho is now in charge of the party.

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


        Pillane proposes presidential age limit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Mussa hails new driving licence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        UDF demands investigation on Kasambara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land

        The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

        May 18, 2006

        Posted to the web May 19, 2006

        Andrew Lungu


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.

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



        Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests

        Harare, Zimbabwe

        22 May 2006 11:51

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

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

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

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

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

        Opposition protests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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