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  • Christine Chumbler
    What Manifestos Say On HIV And Aids By Wezie Nyirongo The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) April 26, 2004 Posted to the web April 26, 2004 Lilongwe It would seem
    Message 1 of 1046 , Apr 27 6:23 AM
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      What Manifestos Say On HIV And Aids By Wezie Nyirongo

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      April 26, 2004
      Posted to the web April 26, 2004

      Lilongwe

      It would seem that Malawi stands a good chance of addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic if the manifestos of political parties are anything to go by. It is apparent that the next government has to really establish political will to implement the programmes as stipulated in different party manifestos in readiness for the May 18 polls.

      Most parties have indicated a strong interest in paying particular attention to HIV/AIDS programmes such as expanding the distribution of free antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to HIV/AIDS patients and encourage the establishment of more Voluntary and Testing Centres (VCT) in all districts of the country.


      The United Democratic Front (UDF) manifesto says since they already began the establishment of the distribution of ARV drugs to patients and free Niverapine for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of the virus, the next UDF government intends to make ARVs more widely available and to develop an infrastructure for the dispersal of HIV drugs.

      'The next UDF government will ensure equitable access to all available HIV/AIDS services and medication in order to prolong and preserve the lives of infected Malawians,' states the UDF manifesto.

      During the past 10 years, the government opened a special Lighthouse clinic for the integrated care and management of the HIV/AIDS patients and established a National Government and Faith Communities task force on HIV/AIDS.

      The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) notes that the statistics for HIV infection are particularly high and alarming in the country which has impacted on the country's socio-economic progress since the epidemic is more serious in the active reproductive age groups.

      Since the pandemic continues to plague the national health system and to frustrate economic productivity, an MCP government intends to introduce HIV/AIDS education at all appropriate levels of the education system and also to support international efforts to research on and eradicate HIV/AIDS.

      'MCP will also introduce legislation to; protect HIV/AIDS patients in work places from unfair treatment, vigorously support HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns and support initiatives such as home based care for HIV/AIDS patients as well as working with organisations such as National Association for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi (NAPHAM),' says their manifesto.

      In addition MCP says it will systematically co-ordinate the activities of organisations involved in the prevention of the epidemic and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

      National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has also got something to offer on HIV/AIDS. It says the party is deeply concerned with the increased prevalence rate in which Malawi is now rated among the world's 15 poorest countries with he highest prevalence rate.

      'NDA views the HIV/AIDS epidermic with deep concern and regards it as a tragedy that threatens the socio-economic development and the security of Malawi. We shall create a political environment that will be conducive to ensuring that the spread of HIV infection is prevented,'says the NDA manifesto.

      It adds: 'We shall ensure that the impact of HIV on the fabric and socio economic development of Malawi is mitigated, work closely with partnership without traditional/religious barriers in its efforts to sensitise Malawians of the risks that attend circumcision, ear piercing, tattooing and the need for such practices to be undertaken with due safety.' NDA says it will promote and encourage monogamous marriages and fidelity, discourage traditional leaders from making baseless claims about HIV/AIDS cures and religious leaders from making unfounded claims of miracles on HIV/AIDS cures.

      It further says it would encourage People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to disclose their sero status to their sexual partners while employment shall not be predicted upon results of HIV testing.

      NDA observes that information available shows that by the year 2003 about 641,000 citizens of Malawi had died from AIDS related complications and an approximate number of 900,000 Malawians were infected with HIV. 87,000 died of HIV related complications in the year thus contributing to Malawi population of 840,000 orphans.

      Statistics also show that almost 23 percent and 12.4 percent of adults living in urban and rural areas were HIV positive and those infected with AIDS are approximately 760,000 adults, 58 percent of then being women and 14.4 percent of the population aged 15-49.

      Although there is a strong realisation by political players of all elk, there still remains a perception that there is a distinct want so far as political will is concerned. Apart from the health factor, HIV/AIDS continues to be a development problem that threatens the viability of the state.

      *****

      Mixed Bag On Presidential Hopefuls

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      April 26, 2004
      Posted to the web April 26, 2004

      Lilongwe

      - Gwanda Chakuamba: Trusted to handle the nation's Education, Culture & Tourism as well as Agriculture and fisheries

      - Justin Malewezi: Entrusted with handling issues relating to Health and HIV/AIDS and Women and Youth


      - Brown Mpinganjira: The best placed to look after Foreign Affairs and International relations

      - Bingu wa Mutharika: Well qualified to strategise on Finance and the Economy, Industry, Commerce and bring Job Security to the nation

      A Poll carried out by The Chronicle has revealed a mixed bag of findings with no Presidential candidate showing greater than average talent or skills to outstrip the others across the needs of the nation. Of the five candidates only four have received a measure of success in specific areas of expertise.

      On the Economic front, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, presidential candidate of the UDF/AFORD/NCD Alliance is seen by the more than 3,000 respondents as being the better qualified to swing the economy back in line after almost 5 years in decline. Overall he scored Brown Mpinganjira, the National Democratic Alliance presidential candidate is seen to have strengths in Foreign Affairs and international relations. He also came in the top 3 as regards people's appreciation of his cognitive skills and his social awareness. He is seen to be the most intelligent and resourceful of the presidential candidates.

      Justine Malewezi on the other hand also scores high on issues of ethics and tolerance. The poll showed him to be best suited in dealing with the issue of HIV and AIDS in the nation. He is seen by voters as being caring, likable and fair in his dealings.

      He is also seen to be in tune with the needs of women and youth and other issues relating to the health of the nation.

      Although John Tenbo does not feature in the top four he often is mentioned as knowing enough about the economy to be of benefit to the nation. Mention has been made of his vast experience with Press Corporation and the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

      Gwanda Chakuamba is seen to have the safest pair of hands of all the presidential candidates, scoring the best in most categories. He is seen as being likable, having strong leadership qualities, is honest and upholds high moral values.

      The president of the Republican Party who is also the Mgwirizano presidential candidate is seen as the best custodian for the nation's agriculture and fisheries as well as education, culture and tourism.

      Chakuamba is viewed as the most mature of the politicians who would refuse to be diverted from a set national path. Comment received shows that many Malawians believe that he would steadfastly observe the rule of law and not be turned by financial gain.

      Although corruption as a topic was not mentioned in the poll, Chakuamba leads the race as a person who refuses to allow corruption in his life with Malewezi following close behind on integrity.

      The poll carried out by The Chronicle has clearly shown that the people of Malawi are becoming more demanding of their leadership. Gone are the days when leaders could dictate to followers as to whom they should vote for.

      The findings also indicate that this contest will be one that is about issues rather than party affiliation alone. Indications are that many feel a more broader based, all party government will best serve the needs and aspirations of the people rather than the narrow winner take all situation that encourages political, patronage and exclusion.

      *****

      Mgwirizano Lacks Transparency

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      April 26, 2004
      Posted to the web April 26, 2004

      Levison Mwase
      Lilongwe

      Scores of Malawians have accused the Mgwirizano Coalition of lacking in transparency because of the failure, at this late hour for them to make public the coalition's manifesto and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes the relationship of the parties.

      Most Malawians interviewed by The Chronicle expressed concern that while other parties who are contesting in the May 18 general elections have publicised their manifestos, Mgwirizano has given flimsy reasons for not making their manifesto public.

      'The people in Mgwirizano are taking us for granted. It is only less than four weeks to the polling day but they haven't released their manifesto. How do they expect us to take them seriously when they can't tell the nation what they,as a coalition will do once voted into office," said Chifundo Phiri, a Kawale resident.

      Steve Jere calling from Mzimba said by failing to release their manifesto, Mgwirizano is only showing their lack of organisation and transparency.

      'Its either they make their manifesto public or else some of us will think that they have no serious agenda for the nation other than getting into government," said Jere.

      Amos Chirwa calling from Nkhatabay said the Coalition risks losing some of it's support should it continue to keep their MOU and manifesto under wraps.

      'At this election time manifestos are very important because they contain programmes that a party contesting has in stock for the nation. Failing to release the manifesto is like saying they don't have any agenda or development programmes for the nation," said.

      However Mgwirizano spokesperson Kholiwe Mkandawire insisted that the opposition grouping is not hiding their manifesto.

      She said the Coalition manifesto,compiled from manifestos of the seven parties that make up the Coalition, is ready and that the public can access it's contents at any Republican Party office.

      'It is not that we are hiding the manifesto. The only problem is that it is a very thick document which can not easily be photocopied for handing out to the public. We have given copies of the manifesto to the donor community, and those Malawians who want to see it should contact our offices," she said.

      However Roosevelt Mawaya from Zomba said that Mgwirizano should strive to make available the manifesto to the public regardless of its thickness.

      'Why are they failing to simplify it just like what Justin Malewezi did.

      This is the lack of seriousness that worries some of us. How do they expect Malawians to vote them into government with the way they are handling the MOU and manifesto issue," he queried.

      In an opinion poll carried out by The Chronicle recently the Mgwirizano Coalition topped other parties contesting in the May 18 generals.

      Out of 2,844 Malawians who responded to the poll 38% said they would vote for Mgwirizano Coalition while 19% said they would vote for the UDF/AFORD/NCD alliance. 16% said they would vote for the MCP, 14% for the NDA while 13% said they would vote for Independent candidate Justin Malewezi.

      *****

      NDA Veep Snubs Muluzi

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      April 26, 2004
      Posted to the web April 26, 2004

      Ishmael Chiyuni
      Lilongwe

      National Democratic Alliance (NDA) running mate Clara Mary Makungwa disclosed last week that she rejected an invitation from President Bakili Muluzi to a private meeting at his BCA Hill house in Blantyre.

      Makungwa who is also NDA Second Vice President made the revelation at a rally she addressed at Ndirande Community ground last weekend.

      She said the UDF National Chairman sent people to inform her that he wanted to meet her for a discussion. Makungwa said the people sent by Muluzi did not mention the exact subject of discussion.

      'I rejected the invitation because one, it had no agenda. I also told Muluzi's people that my boss is Brown Mpinganjira and there was no way I could entertain the invitation knowing full well who Muluzi is," she said at the rally without mentioning names of the people Muluzi is alleged to have sent to her.

      ' A cock does not crow in someone's khola. What will I do in UDF. Does Muluzi think I am a fool to dump my party at the eleventh hour. I will not be taken in by Muluzi's money," she said.

      Makungwa said no amount of money can force her to dump NDA and join UDF saying she has shouldered a core responsibility of rescuing Malawians from the hardships they are facing under the UDF government.

      The NDA running mate further said the wounds of torture UDF inflicted on her are still fresh, such that she can not associate with the ruling party ever again.

      Efforts to talk to UDF proved futile as Deputy Publicity Secretary Mary Kaphwereza Banda was reported locked in meetings.

      The party's Publicity Secretary Ken Lipenga could not be reached either.

      Muluzi is well known for his attempts at splitting the opposition by offering one side hefty sums of money to win their support.

      MCP President John Tembo supported the Open Term Bill that intended to extend Muluzi term of office after the Head Of State gave Tembo money to buy MCP party cloth and also paid water as well as electricity bills.

      AFORD President Chakufwa Chihana also dragged some of his party MPs into supporting both the Open Term and Third Term Bills after allegedly being offered huge sums of money.

      Chihana, who is now State Second Vice President, has transformed himself into a staunch supporter of Muluzi and the ruling party while some of AFORD's MPs are enjoying the glory of being cabinet ministers.

      More recently, former MCP Publicity Secretary Hetherwick Ntaba who resigned from the party is said to have formed his own NCD party with financial assistance from Muluzi. Attempts for him to join the Mgwirizano failed after partners suspected that he was a spy sent by Muluzi. He has since taken his party and joined the UDF/AFORD Alliance where he has been appointed cabinet minister.

      *****

      The Chronicle Weekly Digest From Local Newspapers

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      April 26, 2004
      Posted to the web April 26, 2004

      Wezie Nyirongo
      Lilongwe

      PAC VOWS TO SUPPORT

      NDA Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has vowed that it will support the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in a bid to sue the two public broadcasters MBC and TVM for failing to give equal news coverage to all political parties contesting in the May 18 polls.


      PAC earlier sued MBC and TVM in March and has announced that it would withdraw the case and instead support the NDA which also sued the two public broadcasters.

      The withdrawal, according to PAC Chairman Bonface Tamani follows a similar incident in 1998 when Civil Liberties Committee (CILIC) sued the defunct tabloid National Agenda which was used to attack personalities and after it won the case the government appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that the organisation was not mandated to drag the latter to court.

      CSTU TO MEET PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

      Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) has invited all presidential candidates to a meeting to be held in Blantyre where the candidates are expected to brief the union on what they have in store for the public servants in readiness for the forthcoming elections.

      CSTU general secretary Pontius Kalichero said they are expected to meet all the five presidential candidates so that they explain how they are going to improve civil servants' low salaries, the poor working conditions, confused housing scheme and what they termed the *inhumane' pension package.

      The presidential candidates have already met Malawi Congress of Trade Unions, the mother body of the CSTU, Blantyre CCAP Synod and are also expected to meet the Roman Catholic clergy for a similar mission.

      KATENGA KAUNDA NO MORE

      Former UDF Secretary General, Reid Willie Katenga Kaunda died on Wednesday at Blantyre Adventist Hospital after a battle with diabetes and high blood pressure for the past 30 years.

      Kaunda who was one of President Muluzi closest advisors in the last 10 years was buried on Saturday at his home village in Nkhata-Bay district.

      Kaunda had served in various position in government and politics between the year 1952 and 1992. He once worked as the deputy secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet during the former regime of Dr. Kamuzu Banda.

      He is survived by a wife and three children.

      MALAWI POVERTY ESCALATING

      Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) says Malawi risks hitting the bottom of the world poverty datum line if the economy does not improve in the next few years.

      During a meeting held in Mzuzu recently they indicated that the economy of the country has been declining badly since 1991 and the situation is likely to lead to a disaster if the situation is not improved dramatically.

      MEJN official Mpire Kamanga said Malawi ranked the 24th of the world's poorest countries in 1991 and dropped to position 18 in 1998. Now Malawi is at position 12.

      Kamanga said Malawi would then be the poorest country in the world and as it gets poorer the gap between the rich and the poor has become very wide in the recent past.

      MRA RISKS MISSING TARGET

      Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) faces the daunting task of collecting a staggering K8.8 billion plus in three months or it will miss the set target of K36.1 billion for the 2003/04 financial year which ends on June 30.

      MRA commissioner general Ernest Mtingwi said in Blantyre that the total revenue figures for the first nine months of the fiscal year indicated that K27.3 billion has been collected.

      In December 2003, MRA collected K2.9 billion which it described as a record.

      This figure in collection of revenue beat the target of K2.6 billion for the month while in January 2004 it collected K3.6 billion against the set target of k3.3 billion.

      BRITAIN DENIES SUPPORTING BINGU

      Britain has refuted allegations that it was supporting and endorsed the UDF presidential candidate Bingu wa Mutharika.

      The refutal follows a story which appeared in the UDF news of 8-15 April 2004 which quoted President Muluzi as saying the British government had endorsed Mutharika in its appeal for a good and decent manager to create lasting economic wealth for Malawi.

      Second secretary responsible for political and press/public affairs Christopher Wraight dismissed the claim saying the position is very clear that the British Government does not endorse a presidential or parliamentary candidate and does not hold an opinion on any of the candidates in regard to the coming elections. This, the British say is a matter for Malawians themselves.

      SIKU FACES SUIT FOR K33 TAX EVASION

      Siku Transport is suspected to have defraud government of K33 million in surtax through false invoice declarations. Reports in the local media say that managing director of the Limbe based company A Suleman risks arrest should his company fail to pay K33,400,38 plus penalties likely to be imposed by MRA within seven days from Monday last week.

      MRA Chief Legal Counsel Emilias Dokali is quoted as confirming the alleged evasion of taxes and said he has already written to the company notifying them of the MRA's intention to prosecute.

      He said through the fake invoices Siku was able to pay MRA far less tax than it was supposed to pay using original invoices. Reports say that the MRA uncovered the development through an informer.

      CHANCO STUDENTS RELEASED

      About 46 Chancellor College students who were arrested recently following violence at the university have been released but the institution remains closed.

      According to College principal Francis Moto the college was forced to close indefinitely following the violence and general disorder which erupted during the protest by education students over the extension of their academic year to 2005.

      The college was last closed under similar circumstances in 2001 when third year student Fanikiso Phiri was killed by police during demonstration by the college students over the rise of maize prices.

      DO NOT HARASS REPORTERS

      National Media Institute for Southern Africa (NAMISA) has condemned harassment of journalist by ruling UDF officials.

      The condemnation follows a development where three reports from Nation newspaper, Chichewa editor for Weekend Nation and Capital FM reporters were detained at UDF national headquarters in Limbe by unidentified UDF officials when they wanted to interview supporters of former deputy mayor for Blantyre city Anna Kachikho.

      The reporters namely, James Kamanga, Illiyasi Itimu and Steve Bombeya were locked up in a room for interrogation and were released 30 minutes later. An unidentified official snatched Kamanga's camera and Itimu's tape recorder in the process.

      The supports converged at the venue to seek clarification from Blantyre Mayor John Chikakwiya over what is alleged to be a forced withdrawal of his deputy at the Assembly, Anna Kachikho from the parliamentary race as a UDF candidate.
    • 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.

        Crackdown

        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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