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  • Christine Chumbler
    Malawi: Mutharika Acts On Corruption Promise UN Integrated Regional Information Networks August 2, 2004 Posted to the web August 2, 2004 Lilongwe Malawian
    Message 1 of 1046 , Aug 3, 2004
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      Malawi: Mutharika Acts On Corruption Promise

      UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

      August 2, 2004
      Posted to the web August 2, 2004


      Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika's administration has made its first arrest for fraud and corruption after coming into office in May this year.

      The deputy research director of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), Humphreys Mvula, was arrested on Friday in the commercial capital, Blantyre. The newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP,) Ismael Wadi, told reporters that Mvula was facing charges of corruption, fraud and tax evasion.

      Mvula, chief executive of the state-run Shire Bus Line, Malawi's biggest bus company, is being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau after allegations of dubious purchases of a new fleet of buses and spare parts.

      Wa Mutharika had promised in June to "strengthen the Anti-Corruption Bureau" and that "no politician, no minister, no public servant will escape if he/she is found to be corrupt".

      The IMF, the European Union, the World Bank, and the governments of Britain and Denmark suspended budgetary support to Malawi following concerns about over-expenditure and corruption by former president Bakili Muluzi's government.

      Mvula is a close aide to Muluzi, who is still chairman of the ruling party.

      However, analyst Rafiq Hajat cautioned that the government "should be no hurry to arrest people. I was surprised to hear from the DPP that Mvula would not be released on bail soon, for fear of jeopardising the evidence. Then my question is: why did they arrest him if they do not have enough evidence?"

      Hajat said the government should be applauded for implementing what it promised, but "it should not do what the Zambian president did to [former Zambian president Frederick] Chiluba" - five years after Chiluba's arrest for alleged corruption, the Levy Mwanawasa administration was still unable to bring evidence against the former Zambian president.

      Chiluba has been charged with the theft of tens of millions of US dollars during his 10 years in office and has been on trial since December last year.

      Political analyst Nixon Khembo pointed out that "Mvula is not just an ordinary Malawian. He is a senior member of the UDF party, and Mutharika is sending a message to all UDF that no one will be spared if found to be corrupt."


      Agreement With Malawi On Nacala Corridor

      Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

      July 31, 2004
      Posted to the web August 2, 2004


      The Nacala Corridor Development Company (SDCN) and the Malawian government on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding in Maputo, under which Malawian public and private interests will have a 16.75 per cent stake in the SDCN.

      The Malawian demand for shares had held up the leasing out of the Nacala port and rail system to SDCN for more than four years.

      An agreement in principle handing over management of the Nacala Corridor to SDCN was signed on 28 January 2000 by the chairman of Mozambique's publicly-owned ports and rail company, CFM, Rui Fonseca, and SDCN chairman, former defence minister Alberto Chipande.

      SDCN is a consortium, which is 67 per cent owned by four foreign concerns, Rennies of South Africa, Tertir of Portugal, and Edlows Resources and the Railroad Development Corporation, both of the United States. The remaining 33 per cent is held by several Mozambican companies, mostly based in the northern provinces of Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.

      But the lease on the Malawian system did not take effect, because the Malawians, as the main users of the system, demanded a share.

      The financial arrangements for the lease were to include American funding - 32 million dollars from OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation). But OPIC made this sum conditional on the Malawian government signing a contract on the use of the Nacala Corridor.

      The Malawians, however, refused to sign until they were given shares in SDCN.

      Tough negotiations culminated in Friday's agreement, signed by Smart Katawala, representing the SDCN shareholders, and by the Malawian Minister of Public Works and Transport. Under this agreement, the Malawians obtain 16.75 per cent of the shares, and can appoint a member of the SDCN board.

      Nacala, reputedly the best deep water port on the east African coast, is the natural outlet to the sea for Malawi. It should handle the bulk of Malawi's foreign trade, although in the past it has faced unfair competition from heavily subsidised road haulage companies, carrying Malawian exports and imports to the South African ports.


      Malawi: The Warm Heart of Africa

      Central Africana Limited (Blantyre, Malawi)

      August 2, 2004
      Posted to the web August 2, 2004

      Frank Johnstone and Sandy Ferrar

      Malawi: The Warm Heart of Africa, By Frank Johnstone and Sandy Ferrar. Central Africana Limited, Distributed by African Books Collective, Ltd. ©2002. $49.95 cloth. Website: www.africanbookscollective.com. For U.S. distribution, please contact www.msupress.msu.edu.

      A lovely display book of warm, descriptive text and visually stunning photographs, Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa will delight and entrance both those who know Malawi's beauty, and those who wish to discover it.

      Photographs of wildlife, the great Lake of Malawi, mountains, villages and cities show the reader many different faces of this southern African country. Ferrar's graceful words reveal both sentiment and knowledge:

      "At the height of the dry season, Vwaza is a landscape drawn in pastels, grey and fawn and Napes yellow on the textured paper of a smoke-hazed sky. The central African plateau is enlivened with hills, each outlined in a scaffolding of leafless flat-topped tress, like delicate cobwebs. These are brachystegia glaucescens, the beautiful misnamed mountain-acacia. Their graceful limbs become rich with the spring flush, tinting the hills copper and bronze and royal crimson." (p. 34).

      This book is also available at amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com.

      Summary by Susan Stephen, AllAfrica.com.


      Mugabe law will curb church and charities

      02 August 2004 00:00

      The Zimbabwean government has drawn up legislation to curtail the activities of charities, church groups and other non-governmental organisations.

      Announcing the draft legislation, President Robert Mugabe said non-governmental organisations "must work for the betterment of our country and not against it ... We cannot allow them to be conduits or instruments of foreign interference in our national affairs."

      Civic leaders have denounced the bill, expected to be tabled in parliament within weeks, as an attempt to strangle all independent, critical voices in Zimbabwe in the run-up to parliamentary elections in March next year. The bill would make it difficult for independent bodies to speak out against state torture and other human rights abuses, the prevalence of hunger and vote rigging, they warned.

      "It's very threatening," said a community leader, Rutendo Hadebe. "Obviously it is all about the elections. Before the last elections the government passed legislation to restrict the press. Now civic organisations are the next stumbling block so the government is taking measures against us."

      The bill forbids local organisations from receiving foreign funding and requires them to register with the government, which can ban them. The bill also prevents foreign organisations from operating if they intend to work in the areas of governance and human rights.

      Amnesty International said: "The government will use this new bill to silence critical voices and further restrict the right to freedom of expression. It is a clear attempt to suppress dissenting views as parliamentary elections draw closer."

      Iden Wetherell, chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum, said: "This bill is part of a wider campaign by government to close down democratic space in the country."

      This week the Zimbabwe Election Support Network urged the government to carry out new and transparent voter registration. It said the voters' roll was so riddled with dead voters, multiple entries and "ghost" voters that it could not be used in free and fair polls.

      On Sunday, Zimbabwe's main opposition party accused police of harassing its leader to hinder his political activities before the elections. Police on Saturday searched the northern Harare home of the Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, looking for weapons. None was found, said an opposition spokesperson, William Bango. - Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004


      Govt fee cuts bankrupt Zim private schools

      Angus Shaw | Harare, Zimbabwe

      02 August 2004 16:14

      Government-ordered fee cuts are bankrupting Zimbabwe private schools, once among the region's best, officials at one non-profit institution said on Monday.

      Eaglesvale School, which teaches 1 000 students in western Harare, filed for provisional liquidation on Monday.

      The nearly century-old school will be forced to close for good unless it can raise Z$1-billion ($245 000) in the coming weeks, school officials said.

      "We are living on a knife edge," school board chairperson Deon Theron said.

      Police and education authorities briefly shut down 45 private schools in May, including Eaglesvale, in a dispute over children's fees.

      The Education Ministry alleged the schools, which cater mainly to the nation's ruling and wealthy elite, raised their fees without government approval, and ordered them to cut back costs.

      Private schools argue they were forced to impose the increases to meet escalating costs due to Zimbabwe's spiralling inflation and soaring land tax, power and water costs.

      Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980, with acute shortages of gasoline, food and key imports.

      The often violent redistribution of white-owned farms to black Zimbabweans, coupled with erratic rains, has crippled the agriculture-based economy. Inflation is approaching 390%, the highest rate in the world.

      Eaglesvale, which began in 1911 as an orphanage for the children of early white settlers, was forced to halve its fees to about Z$1,3-million ($245) per child for a 12-week term, Theron said.

      The government suggested the school cut costs by reducing the number of teachers and enlarging the size of its classes, which average 30 pupils, compared with about 60 in state schools.

      "That wasn't really an option. We would need to build bigger classrooms," Theron said.

      Parents also demanded that the school not "drop standards", he said.

      Theron denied government claims that private schools give preferential treatment to white children. Nearly 80% of Eaglesvale's pupils are black.

      "What is also sad is that we are one of the few privately run schools that take children with learning difficulties," Theron said. -- Sapa-AP
    • 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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