- Glimmer of Hope for Embattled African Lake
World Resources Institute (Washington, DC)
April 1, 2005
Posted to the web April 1, 2005
Unsustainable utilization practices on Lake Chiuta - which is shared by
the two Southern African states of Malawi and Mozambique - and the poor
state of policing and control of fishing activities have led to
conservation conflicts which are rocking the management of the African
A glimmer of hope, however, appears more evident as a result of
continued consultations by authorities among communities that derive
benefits from lake that lies on the frontier of the two countries.
The local conflicts have arisen from differences over the management of
the Lake by fisheries authorities from the two neighboring countries.
While Malawi is implementing conservation efforts to ensure sustainable
fisheries management, the Mozambique side is relatively unchecked. The
scenario has created fears that the lake resources will be subjected to
over-exploitation, resulting in reduced fish stocks in the long run.
While Malawi and Mozambique share Lake Chiuta, the fishing policies and
regulations for the two countries are different and the two countries
have different enforcement capacities. This has been another source of
conflict as there have been contentions on such issues as fish species,
fish sizes to catch, close seasons, demarcated fish sanctuaries, net
gear size and type as well as methods of fishing.
"Since the advent of colonial rule, fisheries management in Malawi has
been based on a centralized approach," said Friday Njaya, Divisional
Fisheries Manager for Southern Malawi. "Management decisions have been
made with little or no consultation with the user community. Biological
consideration informed much of the policy, legislative and resource
Starting in 1994, however, there has been renewed interest in the
involvement of local communities in fisheries management through
participation. One outcome of the Lake Chiuta crisis has been the
formation of community based fisheries management committee such as
Beach Village Committee (BVC) and Fisheries Association (FA), among
These communal groups have been formed in all the three major lake
areas of Malawi. This follows the recent passing of a new Fisheries
Management Act that provides for the establishment of co-management
initiatives and, through a decentralization policy, allocates activities
to be done at district level. The fisheries co-management program has
been a model example where local communities involved in the management
of fisheries resources can help change the situation for the better.
According to Transborder Dialogue, the official newsletter of the
Southern Africa Network for Transboundary Natural Resources Management
(TBNRM), the countries sharing the lake have their own policies and
regulations governing the use and management of fisheries resources in
Lake Chiuta. Fishermen have therefore tended to take advantage of the
side where regulations are regarded "weak."
"Before the collaborative management approach," said Village chief
Asibu Saute Ngokwe, "communities were being undermined when it came to
discussing issues in their localities. Organization came to implement
activities without consulting the village leaders. What they did not
realize is that as leaders we can resolve our problems. All we want is
to be given a chance to choose our own destiny."
A recent community dialogue between Malawi and Mozambique that was
convened by the Malawi Fisheries department has demonstrated that
community involvement is helpful in deriving solutions to natural
resources management. The dialogue was aimed at developing a common
approach to resolving the conflict and identifying community level
institutions that will implement and monitor agreed strategies. The
communities recognized the different fishing practices used in both
countries, including the use of different types of nets.
After years of tension over fishing practices and access to resources
along the lake, local fisherman from the two sides have agreed on
strategies for their respective countries that promise to deliver a
common approach to fisheries management in Lake Chiuta.
Only through transborder local dialogues have these two communities
begun to resolve this issue and wait for further discussions at policy
and ministerial levels. Because local communities have been intimately
involved in the identification of problems and the development of
solutions, this network will act as a case study in addressing further
border disputes in southern Africa.
Observers back Mugabe party's win
Southern African observers have endorsed the parliamentary election in
Zimbabwe, which was won by President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF
The Southern African Development Community said the vote reflected the
will of the people, but other monitors said it was neither free nor
The outcome gives Zanu-PF a two-thirds parliamentary majority that
enables Mr Mugabe to amend the constitution.
The opposition claimed the poll was rigged and called for fresh
The US has led international criticism of Thursday's ballot.
But correspondents say President Mugabe will be concerned only with
Sadc observers said the poll was "peaceful, transparent, credible and
well managed", although they expressed concern at the opposition's lack
of access to state-owned media.
African Union observers were cautious. Delegation chief Kwadwo
Afari-Gyano said the vote was "technically competent and transparent"
but noted serious problems with the electoral roll.
Many of the observers which were critical of previous elections were
not invited back for this poll.
Zanu-PF won 78 of the 120 contested seats and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) picked up 41 seats.
Under Zimbabwean law, Mr Mugabe has the power to appoint another 30 MPs
in the 150-seat chamber, giving Zanu-PF a two-thirds majority.
He said in an interview that he many now increase the size of
parliament from 150 MPs to more than 200.
The MDC has dismissed the poll as a fraud, citing evidence of ballot
stuffing and highlighting flaws in the electoral system.
The party is questioning more than a quarter of the results.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai called for a new ballot under a new
"As long as we run elections under the same set of conditions, there is
no way that elections will be free and fair," spokesman William Bango
Mr Tsvangirai's spokesman said the leader would pursue a programme of
He said the party would not mount a legal challenge because it had
proved futile in the previous poll - but the MDC had not ruled out mass
action and protests.
Zanu-PF has rejected the opposition's accusations of a flawed vote.
"These were the most free and fair elections in the world," Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the BBC.
In 2000, Zanu-PF won a majority of seats but fell short of a two-thirds
majority which allows the constitution to be changed.
Mr Mugabe has long said he wanted to amend the constitution to
establish a second parliamentary chamber.
Critics accuse him of wanting to pack the chamber with his own
supporters to extend his influence after he retires.
Mugabe plans to scrap dual elections
Johannesburg, South Africa
04 April 2005 08:20
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe plans to scrap holding separate
presidential and parliamentary elections, he said in an interview with
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) television on Sunday
"I've never believed it was a better system to have a presidential
election on its own and a parliamentary election on its own," he said
following his victory in that country's parliamentary election on
The main opposition party has slammed the elections as being
"If the president is not good even after one term, they can vote
against [him or her]," he said.
He also plans to introduce more MPs and a two-tier system.
"At the moment, it's 150 [MPs] but I think we can bring it up to about
200 and also have a two-tier system, a Lower House and an Upper House,"
Mugabe told the SABC the changes will be along the lines of the draft
Constitution rejected in January 2000.
He attributed his Zanu-PF party's victory to its age and revolutionary
nature, as well as to the commitment of its members.
"We are a much older, much more revolutionary party. We have definite
principles which we follow and that guide us. We have a membership that
is permanent and committed to us," Mugabe said.
He said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is based
purely on opposition.
"You can't just be negative," he said.
The MDC is still finding "its own ground, if it will find it at all",
Asked about his plans for national reconciliation, Mugabe encouraged
debate between his party and the MDC.
In Parliament, as well as outside, the members of the two parties are
free to debate and discuss.
"Should they [the MDC] have any ideas they believe in sincerely ...
that will help us to move forward constructively and economically
improve the lot of our people, fine, they will be very welcome to bring
those ideas to us," he said.
Turning to the country's economic situation, Mugabe said that because
of the drought, Zimbabwe will need to import maize once again.
"We have the money to do so," he said.
Asked how he plans to turn his country's sagging economy around, Mugabe
said that foreign currency must be made available to the mining sector.
The "corruption and dirt" in the financial sector -- some of it harking
back to colonial days -- will have to be looked at "very sternly and
He hopes to have inflation back to double digits by the end of 2005.
Asked how he plans to improve his relations with the European Union,
and those countries that had imposed embargoes against Zimbabwe, Mugabe
told the SABC that he has not offended anyone.
"We are more sinned against than sinning ... We have been put into the
dark by Mr Blair [British Prime Minister Tony Blair], for his own
reasons. It's a very unfair act, indeed, to us," he said.
To the rest of the world he said that Zimbabwe is what it is.
"We can't change. We can't agree to become puppets either," he added.
Asked by the SABC about his country's media laws, which require
journalists to register with the government, Mugabe said they are "good
"I don't think our system would prevent a genuine journalist from
becoming registered. Let people register, but don't deny them
registration. I don't see any reason why we must deny them, unless, they
are proved to be bitter enemies of the party."
Mugabe described Pope John Paul II as a virtuous man whose preachings
on peace need to be heeded worldwide.
He was "a very virtuous man, a virtuous leader of the Catholic Church,
and we do hope that all that he has preached about will continue to be
heeded by communities throughout the world".
Small nations such as Zimbabwe fear "the bullies of this world", and
Mugabe expressed the hope that big nations will heed the pope's lessons
on peace. -- Sapa
ADB firm on Karonga-Chitipa road contract
by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:09:17
The African Development Bank (ADB) has again rejected a proposal by government to look for another contractor instead of China Hunan Construction to construct of the long awaited Karonga/Chitipa road.
China Hunan from Mainland China won the bid which was approved by the ADB but government later wanted to award the contract to a Portuguese firm, Mota Engil, the second lowest bidder, claiming China Hunan's bid was unrealistically low and that the company had very little experience in Africa.
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe confirmed on Sunday the ADB rejected the proposal at a meeting held between the bank and Malawi government in Tunisia last week.
The Malawi government wanted the Tunisia meeting to authorise it to get another contractor for the road, said Gondwe.
"They did not allow us to look for another contractor because of their regulations. But we are about to get another alternative for Karonga/Chitipa and I would be surprised if it does not start before end June," said Gondwe.
The minister explained that the bank insisted that regardless of the unrealistic cost estimates, China Hunan should be allowed to go ahead with the construction.
But Gondwe could not give further details about the alternatives, arguing there are still a few loose ends to tighten up before disclosing it.
The problem with China Hunan, according to Gondwe, is that it would require more money to meet the total cost of the project.
This paper reported last week that government met Taiwanese representatives where they offered to fund the road if the ADB continued to reject its favoured contractor, Mota Engil.
Gondwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports on the Taiwanese offer, saying government was looking at a number of ways to handle the issue.
According to Gondwe, the China Hunan's bid was 24 percent lower than the consulting engineers' estimates of K7.9 billion and 34 percent below the second lowest bidder.
President Bingu wa Mutharika laid a foundation stone for the construction of the road this year ahead of a crucial byelection in Chitipa in December last year.
The President's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the Chitipa Wenya constituency by-election that fell vacant following the collapse and subsequent death of Speaker of Parliament Rodwell Munyenyembe who belonged to the UDF.
Last week, police and the District Commissioner (DC) for Chitipa stopped a rally that was aimed at soliciting people's views about development projects in the district.
The meeting, which was reportedly organised by Concerned Citizens of Chitipa, was among other things also supposed to tackle the controversial Karonga/Chitipa road.
The project failed to start off in 2000 when a contract for an initial loan of US$17 million and US$15 million from the Taiwanese government was signed, with some quarters claiming the Bakili Muluzi administration diverted the money to another road.
Chihana operated on
by Edwin Nyirongo, 22 May 2006 - 06:32:31
Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Chakufwa Chihana, who is in South Africa receiving treatment, had a brain operation on Friday at Garden City Clinic, family and party officials confirmed on Sunday.
Aford national chairman Chipimpha Mughogho said he was told by the family members that Chihana had a successful operation on Friday and was put in an intensive care unit.
Mughogho said Chihana, who initially complained of headache, was found with a brain tumour which South African doctors removed.
Mzimba West MP Loveness Gondwe said Aford boss condition was stable.
"Hon. Chihana had a major operation and after that he was put in the intensive care unit but his condition is stable. I do not know where he was operated on but it had something to do with the skull," she said.
Deputy Information Minister John Bande referred the matter to the Health Minister Hetherwick Ntaba who was reported to be in Geneva, Switzerland.
Aford publicity secretary Norman Nyirenda said when Chihana's situation got worse, the family alerted the Office of the President and Cabinet who took him to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.
"The doctors at Mwaiwathu advised that he should be sent to South Africa and they even identified the doctor for him," he said.
He said the costs are being met by the Malawi government, contradicting his earlier statement that his boss covered the cost.
Mughogho is now in charge of the party.
Gondwe will be a busy person when Parliament starts meeting on June 6 as she is the only Aford MP remaining.
Pillane proposes presidential age limit
by Emmanuel Muwamba , 22 May 2006 - 06:34:13
A member of the DPP National Governing Council Abdul Pillane on Saturday urged members of political parties and the civil society to put an upper age limit in the Constitution for presidential candidates.
Pillane was addressing members of political parties and civil society in Liwonde during a two-day follow up workshop to the National Conference on the Review of Constitution held in March in Lilongwe.
"My view is that (an upper) age limit should be at 75. We have to give a chance to younger people to lead because in circumstance, when you age you become forgetful especially when sickly," said Pillane. "Overall, chances should be given to young people."
But UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala, whose party members agitated for the age limit during presentations, played the issue down.
"I feel there is no logic to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates. If someone is 90 or 80 I don't know how that can influence the electorate not to vote for someone who is younger, I don't see any logic behind that," said Makwangwala.
MCP participants at the workshop also vehemently objected to the proposal.
MCP vice president Nicholas Dausi in an interview said: "There is no constitution in Africa which stipulates an upper age limit. So it would be strange in Malawi to have an upper age limit for presidential candidates."
MDP President Kamlepo Kalua also opposed the need to have an upper age limit.
"If we have personalities in mind that we want to discriminate against then it is unfortunate. The constitution we want to build is a guiding document for future generations and it should not bar certain individuals on the basis of grudges," he said.
The Malawi Law Constitution Issues Paper of March 2006 says several submissions that were received put an upper presidential age limit in the Constitution.
"It is argued that it is common sense that mental knowledge faculties tend to fail with age. As regards what the actual age limit should be the submissions are far from being agreed. The range is from 60 years to 80 years," read submissions in the Issues Paper.
On whether MPs should double as ministers, Kalua said this should be the case.
Makwangwala also said it is not right for MPs to serve as ministers because the Legislature, another arm of government, is reduced while the Executive branch is beefed up from another arm of government.
"There is no separation of powers when MPs double as ministers," said Makwangwala.
But Pillane said there is no problem for MPs to work as ministers as well, saying MPs are elected by the President.
"One can serve both posts. There have been no problems before for people to double," said Pillane.
The Centre for Multiparty Democracy funded the workshop through the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.
The objective was to come up with a collective position on the Issues Paper which will be presented to the Special Law Commission that will be constituted soon.
Mussa hails new driving licence
by Zainah Liwanda, 22 May 2006 - 06:58:52
Transport and Public Works Minister Henry Mussa last week said the design of the Malawi-Sadc driving licence would guard against forgery and ensure that only skilled and legitimate drivers of particular vehicles are licensed.
Mussa was speaking at the official launch of the licences in Lilongwe where he announced that traffic police would from July enforce speed limits and sober driving using Breathalysers which his ministry is in the process of procuring.
The minister said financial constraints are the reason for the delay in procuring the equipment but assured that by July they would be available.
"With the new equipment, the days of those who believe in the thrill of drink and driving are numbered," warned Mussa.
Mussa added that with the new licence, government is optimistic that the country's roads would be safe.
Acting Director of Road Traffic James Chirwa said the features that distinguish the new from the old licences are the Malawi national flag and a ghost image of the driver's photograph, among others.
Those with old licences, according to Chirwa, are expected to get the new ones after the expiry of the former.
UDF demands investigation on Kasambara
by Rabecca Theu, 22 May 2006 - 06:30:46
The United Democratic Front (UDF) has asked government to investigate Ralph Kasambara on allegations of abuse of office while he was attorney general.
UDF publicity secretary Sam Mpasu told the press Sunday that the party is neither amused or saddened by the removal of the former AG but asked government to institute investigations on Kasambara.
"Beyond the removal of the Attorney General, we now urge President Mutharika to institute investigation against Mr Kasambara into allegations that have made rounds in the public domain during the recent past. These include: Mrs Helen Singh and SS Rent-a-Car; SGS and ITS saga; ...........the use of Malawi Police Service in the arrest of three Chronicle journalists and the handling of Mrs Rubina Kawonga," said Mpasu.
Mpasu also accused Kasambara of awarding government contracts to Lawson and Company where he was a senior partner.
"We urge government to thoroughly investigate the former AG. We also ask government to cautiously select the new AG ," said Mpasu, who was accompanied by the party's Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala, leader of the party in Parliament George Mtafu, chief whip Leonard Mangulama and a member of the executive Hophmally Makande.
But Minister of Information Patricia Kaliati said UDF should give offer its advice to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).
"They should advise bodies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau to conduct the investigations and why are they saying this now? Is it because Kasambara has been fired? This is not a personal issue. If they have other pressing issues they should just say so. These arguments should have come up earlier on when the said cases were happening," she said.
Kasambara asked UDF to proceed with the mission of urging government to investigate him.
"They can do their job. Everyone has a right to lobby for anything they want in the country. UDF has a right to do that, let them go ahead," he said.
Kasambara was relieved of his duties as AG by the President last week. Government has not given reasons behind the removal.
Zambia: Malawians Grab Zambian Land
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
May 18, 2006
Posted to the web May 19, 2006
MALAWIANS who have encroached on both the 'no-man's' and part of the Zambian land at the Mwami border in Eastern Province have plucked out some beacons that were used in the demarcation of the border.
The Malawians are now using the beacons as stools in their newly-established villages on Zambian land.
Eastern Province Minister, Boniface Nkhata, said in Chipata yesterday that if the situation was not controlled urgently, Zambia would lose huge tracts of land to Malawians migrating into Zambian in large numbers.
A check at the Zambia-Malawi border showed a number of beacons had been vandalised and new structures constructed on the 'no man's' land and a large portion of Zambian land.
Mr Nkhata said the trend extended to many parts of the province bordering the two countries.
"A large portion of Zambian land has been taken up by the Malawians starting from the Chama boundary up to the Mwami border.
"The weighbridge at the Mwami border was initially in Zambia from the time both countries gained independence from Britain, but now the bridge is on Malawian soil," Mr Nkhata said.
The minister, who is former Chama District Commissioner, said there was similar encroachment in Lundazi and Chama districts where Zambia shares a boundary with Malawi.
He said a Malawian farmer identified as Mr Mfune had cultivated 71.5 hectares on Zambian land and employed about 265 Malawian workers.
"Khombe Farm in Chama district in Kanyerere's area, along the Muyombe road which leads to Northern Province where this Malawian farmer has cultivated a vast land is on the Zambian territory," he said.
Workers on the farm admitted that they were farming on Zambian soil but could not go back to Malawi because the land in that country was inadequate for cultivation.
Mr Nkhata appealed to the ministry of Lands to urgently release money for the demarcation of the Zambia-Malawi border to avoid further land disputes between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department in Livingstone has arrested a couple and another man, all Zimbabweans, for working in Zambia without permits.
They were arrested at Gwembe village yesterday where they worked for Into Africa, a tour operating company that provides bush dinners and breakfast.
According to the Immigration Department in Livingstone, the trio entered Zambia through the Victoria Falls border as visitors but decided to work for the company illegally.
Last week, immigration officers arrested 10 Zimbabwean traders and six Ethiopians for entering and staying in Zambia illegally.
The Zimbabwean traders were warned and cautioned and later released.
The Ethiopians were arrested at Konje Guest House when they ran out of money to proceed to Botswana.
Zim unions, MDC still plan anti-govt protests
22 May 2006 11:51
Zimbabwe's biggest labour federation on Saturday threatened to call massive demonstrations against the government over poor salaries and worsening living conditions for workers in the country.
The threats are ratcheting up pressure against President Robert Mugabe's government after similar threats by the biggest opposition party in the country, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), about two months ago.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) conference on Saturday, the labour body's president, Lovemore Matombo, said the powerful union wants the government to award workers salaries that match the country's ever-rising inflation.
"I can assure you we will stage massive demonstrations to force them [employers] to award workers minimum salaries that tally with the poverty datum line," said Matombo.
Matombo did not say when exactly the ZCTU would order workers to strike.
Meanwhile, the MDC on Sunday said it will push ahead with plans for anti-government protests, saying victory in a key by-election at the weekend was a "sign the electorate supported its policies", including democratic mass resistance.
A spokesperson of the main faction of the splintered MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said victory over Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and a rival MDC faction in a Saturday by-election in Harare's Budiriro constituency is a sign Zimbabweans still have confidence in party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his policies.
Tsvangirai, the founding leader of the MDC, heads the main rump of the opposition party whose candidate, Emmanuel Chisvuure, polled 7 949 votes to win the Budiriro House of Assembly seat.
Gabriel Chaibva of the other faction of the MDC, led by prominent academic Arthur Mutambara, garnered 504 votes while Zanu-PF's Jeremiah Bvirindi polled 3 961 votes.
"This election showed that the electorate still has confidence in the MDC [Tsvangirai-led] leadership and its policies," Chamisa told independent news service ZimOnline.
He added: "We will now move to consolidate our position * we still believe in mass protests. Until we have attained our goals we see no reason why we should abandon [plans for protests]."
Tsvangirai has threatened to call mass protests this winter against Mugabe and his government. He says the mass protests, whose date he is still to name, are meant to force Mugabe to relinquish power to a government of national unity to be tasked to write a new and democratic Constitution that would ensure free and fair elections held under international supervision.
Mugabe and his government, who had hoped for victory in Budiriro to show they were recapturing urban support from a splintered MDC, have not taken idly the opposition's threats to call mass protests, with the veteran president warning Tsvangirai he would be "dicing with death" if he ever attempted to instigate a Ukraine-style popular revolt in Zimbabwe.
In a fresh crackdown against dissension, the police last week arrested several church and civic leaders for organising public prayers and marches to mark last year's controversial home-demolition exercise by the government.
The police also banned the marches and prayers, fearing they could easily turn into mass protests against Mugabe and his government.
However, the marches went ahead in the second-largest city of Bulawayo after organisers had obtained a court order barring the police from stopping the march.
Political analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police and the military to crush street protests, worsening hunger and poverty are fanning public anger that Tsvangirai -- with proper planning and organisation -- could easily manipulate.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe six-year old economic crisis that has seen inflation breaching the 1 000% barrier. Last year, the World Bank said Zimbabwe's economic crisis was unprecedented for a country not at war.
The MDC and major Western governments blame Mugabe for wrecking the country's economy, which was one of the strongest in Africa at independence from Britain 26 years ago.
Mugabe denies the charge blaming the crisis on sabotage by Britain and her allies after he seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks six years ago.
The Harare authorities recently hiked salaries for civil servants, with the lowest-paid soldier now earning about Z$27-million while the lowest-paid school teacher now takes home about Z$33-million.
But the salaries are still way below the poverty datum line, which the government's Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says now stands at a staggering Z$42-million a month for an average family of six.
The Zimbabwe government often accuses the ZCTU, a strong ally of the MDC, of pushing a political agenda to remove Mugabe from power.
Meanwhile, Matombo and Lucia Matibenga retained their posts as president and first vice-president respectively during the ZCTU congress that ended on Saturday. -- ZimOnline