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  • Christine Chumbler
    [Note: is the Brian Bowler in this article who I think it is?] Muluzi Confuses Chikadza The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) February 3, 2004 Posted to the web
    Message 1 of 1046 , Feb 3, 2004
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      [Note: is the Brian Bowler in this article who I think it is?]

      Muluzi Confuses Chikadza

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 3, 2004
      Posted to the web February 3, 2004

      Christopher Jimu

      President Bakili Muluzi recently asked aspiring Member of Parliament of Lilongwe South East Constituency Brian Bowler and former MCP MP of the area Sebastian Chikadza to discuss who between them will contest in the area as an MP in the forthcoming elections for the ruling United Democratic (UDF) party.

      Speaking during a rally he addressed at Chilinde Primary School in the area of T/A Tsabango Muluzi who had just finished introducing Chikadza to the people was told that Brian Bowler is also contesting in the same constituency and forcing Muluzi to introduce Bowler as well. "I have just been told that a certain young man also wants to contest in this area," Muluzi said and paused, looked around and went on: "Where is Brian Bowler? Bowler can you stand up," Muluzi ordered.

      As soon as Bowler stood up, hundreds of young boys and women started chanting the name of Bowler until the president had to stop them.

      Muluzi reacted: "Eeeee! Mpira ulipo! (The game is on!) so discuss between the two of you and see who will stand, there is nothing I can do. You are all my children" Muluzi said.

      This came as a complete shock to Sebastian Chikadza who was being tipped to run on a UDF ticket without any competition.

      The Chronicle was informed that one of the reasons Chikadza left MCP to join UDF is that he was promised to go unopposed during primaries of the party to be held next month. "This is shocking, what the party and Chikadza agreed on is quite contrary to what is happening here. If Chikadza had known that he would compete against Bowler he could not have joined the UDF," a senior UDF official told The Chronicle.

      When contacted for comment Bowler said that it was good that the president recognised him and he will do his best to make sure that he wins in the primaries.

      Asked to comment on the issue, UDF Secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala said that Muluzi wants to create competition and by telling the two to discuss it - shows that he knows all the principles of democracy. "That is the power of democracy. I also urge the two to discuss and approach the primaries with a common understanding," Makwangwala advised.

      Sebastian Chikadza in his comment told The Chronicle that it was indeed rumoured that he would stand unopposed but the party has decided to hold primaries. "It was indeed rumoured that I would stand unopposed but those were just rumours. There will be primaries and everything will be sorted out at those primaries," Chikadza said.

      The ruling United Democratic Party will hold its primary elections on the January 29 in the Southern Region to elect prospective Members of Parliament who will represent it during the forthcoming general elections.


      US Government Health Representative Visits Malawi 'I Am Impressed' US Deputy Secretary of Health And Human Services - Allen

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 3, 2004
      Posted to the web February 3, 2004

      Pushpa Jamieson

      Claude Allen, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the United States (US) Bush administration recently visited the Malawi for 2 days.

      During his stay in the country, he was able to visited several hospitals and health centers which are currently involved in programmes that address and try to minimise the effects of HIV/AIDS.

      Alen visited Saint Gabriel's Mission Hospital and Community-Bases Nutrition Programme Nambumo in Dowa District , Consol Homes Orphans Care (CHOC) in Namitete , Lilongwe Central Hospital and The Lighthouse in Lilongwe. The organisations and hospitals visited are receiving support from the United States government and the Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) community in the United Sates.

      Allen said a programme that captured his interest was the programme run at St Gabriel's hospital on peer education for women ' What I was most interested in is they have a programme there - Peer education with women' He said he was impressed by how the women involved in the programme were able to talk about issues confronting them and their role in providing information on things like women's health issues and the role that they as women play in the community to educated other women and their husbands about HIV/AIDS.

      'What caught my attention was, they were able to look me in the eye, they were very healthy although they had been sick before and they had hope for their future' said Allen referring to the 11 women involved in the programme.

      At the community-based nutrition in Dowa, Allen was able to see the devastation of HIV/AIDS towards the next generation and the involvement of the community in taking care of orphaned children. ' What impressed me is the way the community is taking care of the children. They are not in an institution but are still in the community and being cared for by members of the community' Allen said.

      Refering to the research being carried out at The Lighthouse in Lilongwe, Allen said it was important that the research being carried out at the centre was designed to benefit the Malawian people. He said the research is designed to improve care and treatment of Malawians who have HIV/AIDS Allen was able to see first hand the services provided and conditions at the Lilongwe Central Hospital. 'I saw a system that is stretched to bursting at the seams. It is actually gone over the top. there is nothing more you can do to stretch the system' he said with concern.

      Allen's trip to Africa is a follow up to the visit made by the Secretary for HHS, Tommy Thompson when he visited several African countries with a large delegation of health care experts and businessmen. Secretary Thompson and his delegation were in Africa to assess needs and challenges that countries in Africa face in their health care systems and to explore the possibilities of working to wards supporting the countries.

      Allen said he was especially concerned about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women in Africa because not only are the women impacted, but the next and succeeding generations as the diseases is transmitted to children through the women. The United States is providing support to the health sector in Malawi in the form of funds, technical and personal assistance from the US government , Universities, Christian organisation and other community based organisations.


      CHRR Appeals for Restoration of Credibility in Electoral Process

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 3, 2004
      Posted to the web February 3, 2004

      Wezie Nyirongo

      The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has questioned the electoral monitoring body, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) over the contradicting statements on the location of Nankhaka registration centre made by the chief elections officer and the commission's spokes person.

      CHRR says the contradictions made by the MEC raises serious questions about the integrity and credibility of the commission.

      The MEC established a registration centre within the precincts of the Malawi Police headquarters which is contrary to the provisions of section 67 (2) of thea Parliamentary and presidential election Act which stipulates that no centre is supposed to exist in a military or police institution.

      In an interview with the local media, the Chief Elections Officer George Chimwaza said the centre was gazetted and there was confusion on the ground and in 1999 the centre was used inside the police headquarters but this year was supposed to be moved outside as per the amendment.

      Chimwaza said they communicated to the police following the anomaly which occurred when locating the centre. However, the MEC spokesperson Fergus Lipenga contradicted with Chimwaza saying there was no confusion and the centre was not illegal because it is there is a school within the police compound.

      'We at CHRR had been completely unsatisfied by the excuse initialli given by the Chief Elections officer, Mr George Chimwaza, namely that the centre had been advertently not moved within the police precincts following the enactment of section 67(2).

      'We find this kind of inadvertence totally irresponsible and unacceptable in view of the great importance which we expect eh electoral commission and its agent to be the first to attach to national elections,' reads part of the statement.

      The statement adds that the CHRR had reluctantly accepted the Chimwaza's honesty in admitting the error in the matter and that his office would take measures to rectify the situation.

      'But given the turn of events, where a senior official is also supposedly the designated spokesperson for the public contradicts the chief executive officer of the same body, CHRR feels obligated to express extreme concern and alarm. This contradiction raises serious questions about the integrity and credibility of the Commission,' it adds.

      CHRR says is shocked by the public display of lack of co-ordination within the commission saying with the nation will be asking which one of the two is really speaking for the commission the issue and which if the two statements represents actual position of the commission.

      National Democratic Party(NDA), one of the opposition parties raised the question on the location of Nankhaka registration centres.

      In another development, the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice(CCJP), a non governmental organisation also issued a statement recently on the irregularities in the registration exercise.

      CCJP highlighted irregularities which occurred in the some districts namely, Kasungu, Salima, Dowa, Nkhotakota, Mchinji, Salima and Notches where it deployed 1,500 monitors.

      In Kasungu, it has been noted that the UDF shadow MP for Kasungu west constituency was promising registrants from other constituencies to register in his area promising starter packs in exchange with their certificates.


      Jzu, Bj Disagree...as NDA/MCP Alliance Fails

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 3, 2004
      Posted to the web February 3, 2004

      Christopher Jimu

      Leader of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and President of the National Democratic Alliance NDA last week failed to agree on who should lead a proposed coalition between the two parties.

      Sources told The Chronicle that the two leaders met at Msamba Parish on January 27 and 28 with religious leaders where they were asked to explain why each one of them thinks he is best suited to lead the country.

      It is alleged that Tembo told the religious leaders that, coming from a large and oldest political party in Malawi he was the automatic candidate to lead the NDA/MCP Alliance. "Tembo told the religious leaders that there is no way that the MCP should be swallowed by a party that was started two years ago and as such BJ should be the one to be his running mate," the source said.

      It is also alleged that BJ told the caucus that he was best suited to lead this country because the MCP is no longer the biggest party since the departure of Chakuamba and Ntaba and as a result it cannot be given the presidential post of the Alliance.

      The source disclosed that even the facilitators of the meeting were of the view that Mpinganjira would be the one best suited to lead the MCP/NDA Alliance because Tembo voted yes for President Muluzi during the third tem bill.

      The Chronicle was informed that the meeting felt that Brown Mpinganjira if given the presidency would easily win the elections because he knows the weaknesses of the UDF and because he was an influential individual in the ruling party.

      Brown Mpinganjira confirmed to The Chronicle that the said meeting indeed took place but refused to comment on the outcome. "It is true I met John Tembo in the company of church leaders but it will be difficult for me to disclose what we discussed," Mpinganjira said.

      Asked what he will do if the two parties do not reach a compromise on the issue of leadership Mpinganjira said without elaborating,:"We have got several options on our table and we will see which one is better for us." When contacted for comment Tembo in a face to face interview told The Chronicle that discussions between the church and other political parties have been on going for a long time and it is not good for him to divulge whatever transpires during those meetings to the press. "When time is ripe I am going to issue a press release," said Tembo.

      Tembo also refused to confirm whether it was true that he met Mpinganjira at Msamba Parish to iron out differences that are derailing the discussions between his party and NDA.

      Asked if the MCP would go to polls alone if the discussions on the alliance hit a snag, Tembo said,"The MCP is the oldest party and one of the biggest parties in Malawi and it will not be something new if they go to the polls alone. In 1961 the MCP contested the first multi party elections on its own and managed to win convincingly. I even had a landslide victory against United Federal Party's Mwase in my constituency and we can achieve the same results if we stand alone." Another source very close to the St John's discussions told The Chronicle that Tembo is the one who asked for the presence of the church in the discussions between his party and NDA after the NDA approached him to form an alliance. "When the church leaders told him that he should be the running mate to BJ because he once supported Muluzi's third term bid Tembo told the church leaders that his party will stand alone," said the source.

      An MCP official who asked for anonymity said that the MCP will intensify their campaign in the central region because it is where they have a lot of support. "The UDF, NDA and Republican Party will share votes in the southern region and that is where we are banking our hopes that if we stand alone we can easily win the elections," said the official.

      The Malawi Congress Party and National Democratic Alliance are the only two parties that have not yet signed the Grand Alliance document raising speculations that the two parties want to form their own Alliance.


      'Bingu Is A Liar'...It Is An Insult To Say CCAP Is Supporting Him - Kawale

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 3, 2004
      Posted to the web February 3, 2004

      Wezie Nyirongo

      The Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) has strongly rejected the statement made by UDF/AFORD presidential candidate Bingu wa Mutharika claiming that the CCAP church is supporting his candidature for the May 18 general elections.

      Nkhoma Synod General Secretary Dr Winston Kawale discribed Bingus reamarks as an insult to the CCAP and demands that he apologises forthwith saying it is a total lie that the CCAP are supporting Bingu.

      'When did we say we want UDF and we are supporting Bingu wa Mutharika? This is a total lie and even the Blantyre and Livingstonia synods have refuted his statement,' said Kawale to a large gathering from all churches in the NKhoma Synod.

      'Bingu is a liar, there is no way as a church we are going to vote for UDF. We are saying NO to Bingu and he must apologise to the church,' added Kawale.

      Kawale said this to his congregation recently during a church service at Lilongwe CCAP church.

      Kawale was reacting to the news item which appeared in The Weekend Nations' Chichewa edition of 10th to 11th January 2004 where Bingu claimed that the CCAP church are supporting him and the UDF party.

      He said Bingu is a liar and there is no way the CCAP church are going to support and vote for him and the UDF party in the coming general elections.

      He argued that if the CCAP church was in support of Bingu and UDF they could have not issued a pastoral letter which highlighted important issues which the UDF are failing to fulfil. The Pastoral letter which was issued by the Nkhoma Synod, according to Kawale was recommended and welcomed by both Blantyre and Livingstonia synods.

      'If Bingu is saying we are supporting him and UDF, why did we issue a pastoral letter which condemned the UDF government. If the government was going in the right direction we would not have issued the letter, What is he trying say? questioned Kawale attracting cheers and agreement from the congregation which acknowledged that the UDF had failed to run the government.

      Reacting to calls by the ruling UDF that churches should not be involved in politics, Kawale said it is the responsibility of the church to look after the welfare of the people in the country. He added that the church was established by God and not politicians.

      He said the church will be there for a long time and will continue to speak out when things are not going well in the political arena.

      'We are involved in facilitating the opposition coalition to strengthen the opposition. In 1994 we voted for multi-party and we are not going to allow any party to weaken the opposition,' he explained in reference to the UDF party which he said is trying to weaken the opposition in the country by interfering into their coalition plans.

      'The church is older than the government. We have been there ever since that is why we are monitoring government policies.' Reverend Kantwera of Masintha CCAP agreed saying the church is involved in politics because it is the voice of the voiceless.

      Referring to the elections, Kawale urged Christians to register en masse and vote wisely for leaders who do not castigate others and those who will help better the lives of Malawians. 'If you do not register that means you are not going to vote and that means you are comfortable which the mess the UDF government has made'.

      He said leaders should be addressing issues and not castigate each other on medical grounds and told Christians not to vote into power parties whose leaders who are castigating others.

      'We are tired of leaders who instead of addressing issues they waste time castigating others. If you are tired and run out of ideas why not quit politics and let those who are normal to go ahead!' shouted Kawale.

      He then advised Christians not to sell their certificates even if they are threatened by politicians.

      The pastoral letter which the NKhoma CCAP issued recently condemned the UDF government of lack of good governance, poor economic policies, lack of food security, interference with judiciary and insecurity.

      UDF was also accused of misusing the media, practising immature politics, violation of human rights and of great concern, the deterioration of health services.


      Mangochi MP Accused of Diverting Muluzi Donation

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 3, 2004
      Posted to the web February 3, 2004

      Christopher Jimu

      Member of Parliament for Mangochi Northeast Constituency Ali Sikelo has come under heavy fire from his constituents who are accusing him of diverting food aid donated to the constituency by President Bakili Muluzi.

      Sikelo who recently complained to the UDF Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala of harassment allegedly perpetrated by supporters of his rival Alfred Mwechumu is said to have kept the Muluzi donation to use it for campaign purposes.

      In a telephone interview with The Chronicle from Mangochi, campaign Director for the area Nlomba Maliro reacting to an earlier article which appeared in The Chronicle, said that Sikelo is not wanted in the area because he does not assist his constituents. "The honourable MP has created his own problems. He hid much of the 100 tonnes of maize and rice donated by President Muluzi and that is why he has lost popularity in his constituency. He should not lie that we are going around in villages castigating his name. The fact is that he is not wanted here by chiefs, party officials and even ordinary people," Maliro told The Chronicle.

      Maliro disclosed that he was campaign director for Ali Sikelo in 1999 and helped him win the elections with ease.

      Said Nlomba,:"Sikelo should not accuse us for working with (Alfred) Mwechumu. We know he is disgruntled because Mwechumu is commanding large support. He has built a good house for his mother which is fitted with everything and yet the incumbent MP stays in a house which has no electricity. This is a reason why he is jealous of Mwechumu," alleged Nlomba.

      Asked if he at any time was asked by Mwechumu to attack and castigate Sikelo, Nlomba said,:"Mwechumu is a principled man. He has never at any point in time asked us to do this kind of thing. if indeed we were moving around with knives and beating up people then we could have been in Police custody now. Sikelo is a disgruntled man as I have already said." Sikelo hinted that if the UDF frustrates Mwechumu and allows Sikelo as the MP in the forthcoming elections then people in that area will either vote for an MCP or NDA candidate.

      Sikelo recently complained to the UDF Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala that supporters that Mwechumu's supporters were moving around the constituency armed with knifes and denouncing his name.

      In a letter dated December 29, 2003 sourced by The Chronicle Sikelo complained that District Committee officials are treating him as an alien and may frustrate his chances during the forthcoming primary elections.

      Part of the letter reads,:"We shall have to protect ourselves from the war declared by a few district members. We can't leave them going on doing things which at the end will confuse the people and harm us." When contacted for comment Mwechumu told The Chronicle that he is a man who does not believe in violence and will contest in the constituency because of pressure from people. "I never wanted to stand as an MP but people in my area are forcing me to stand," said Mwechumu.

      Sikelo refused to comment on the accusations levelled against him saying that the best people to answer on his behalf were his constituents. "I do not want to comment on that issue. If you want you can just go to Mangochi and ask my constituents and they will tell you whether I stole the food or not," said Sikelo. He refused to take any more questions from The Chronicle.UDF Secretary General Secretary Kenedy Makwangwala told The Chronicle lst week that the UDF will call for a round table conference to resolve the differences of the two factions.


      Kaomba Disappoints CCAP...Accuses Him of Being Used By Politicians

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 3, 2004
      Posted to the web February 3, 2004

      Maxwell Zingani II

      The Church of Central African Presbytarian,(CCAP) Nkhoma Synod has expressed its concern over the behaviour of Chief Kaomba.

      According to the secretary general of Nkhoma Synod, Doctor Reverend Winston Kawale, Chief Kaomba is behaving like a politician and not a chief.

      Kawale said that Kaomba wrote a letter to the Synod, in which he said the family of the late Hesting Banda was not happy with the way the memorial service for the former head of state on December 7 last year was conducted accusing the church of campaigning at the memorial service.

      'We were concerned with the contents of the letter, and we went to meet members of the late Banda for find out more. Only to be told that Kaomba wrote the letter on his own without consulting members of the family,' said Kawale.

      Kawale went on to say that they were told by members of the Banda family that they saw nothing wrong with the way the Synod conducted the memorial service.

      Kawale said Kaomba has lost direction as a chief, because he had on a number of occasions tried to mobilise the congregation at Mziza CCAP in Kasungu to remove the Synod's modarator Reverand Stonham Sande, who is stationed at Mziza CCAP manse and orphanage.

      'He talked to people about removing Sande, but the people refused to get involved in the wrangle, because they knew that Kaomba wanted to use them for his political gain,' said Kawale.

      He added that the Synod was not surprised when they were told that Kaomba wrote the letter on his own.

      'We knew that Kaomba was involved in politics, that is why he was accusing us of campaigning at Banda memorial service just because one of the pastors at this memorial service referred to the CCAP pastoral letter,' said Kawale.

      In a separate interview Sande told The Chronicle that he was having problems with Kaomba, because he (Kaomba) has on several occassions told people that Sande was the one who wrote the CCAP pastoral letter.' said Sande..

      'If people did not want me to stay on, they would have supported what Kaomba was saying that they should chase me away from the area,' said Sande.

      Sande alleged the Kaomba is being used by the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and went further to say that Kaomba is now behaving like a politician.

      'Kaomba is being used by the ruling party, and has forgotten his role as a chief is now a good politician,' said Sande.

      The CCAP Nkhoma Synod conducted the memorial service of the former head of state, late Banda at the request of the Banda family.
    • 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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