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National Summit on Africa

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  • Luz Huntington
    Christine, Do you have any insight or insider info on the National Summit of Africa that s happening in Feb? I am really interested in attending but the
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 11, 2000
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      Christine,
      Do you have any insight or insider info on the National Summit of Africa
      that's happening in Feb? I am really interested in attending but the
      registration fee is pretty steep. Any details or endorsements you might be
      able to share (since you are in the thick of it in DC) would be appreciated.

      Thanks Luz


      >From: "Christine Chumbler" <cchumble@...>
      >Reply-To: ujeni@onelist.com
      >To: ujeni@onelist.com, smilstein@...
      >Subject: [ujeni] news
      >Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 13:35:20 -0500
      >
      >Rights-Malawi: Legislators Hesitant to Declare Assets
      >
      >LILONGWE, (Jan. 7) IPS - By the Dec. 31 deadline, only ten of Malawi's 193
      >members of parliament had declared their assets as required by the
      >country's
      >new constitution.
      >
      >Malawi promulgated a new constitution in May 1995, a year after embracing
      >multi-party democracy, which requires that legislators declare their
      >assets,
      >liabilities and business interest as a way of promoting transparency and
      >accountability.
      >
      >Apart from their own property, the legislators are also required to
      >disclose
      >assets or liabilities of their spouses, children and relatives.
      >
      >Clerk of Parliament, Roosevelt Gondwe, says declaration forms were
      >circulated
      >on Nov. 12 to all the 193 legislators, elected during the country's second
      >multi-party elections in June. But by the Dec. 31 deadline, only ten
      >members had
      >declared their assets.
      >
      >According to Gondwe, parliament cannot enforce compliance because the
      >constitution does not provide any penalties against those who fail to meet
      >the
      >deadline. "The constitution just says they should declare their assets,
      >full stop,"
      >he says.
      >
      >Most members of the first multi-party parliament, elected in May 1994 after
      >30
      >years of one party rule, did not declare their assets either. Although some
      >of
      >them cited problems in evaluating the real value of their property, others
      >felt they
      >were not compelled -- a feeling shared by many of their colleagues.
      >
      >Several rights groups including the Civil Liberties Committee have
      >described the
      >failure to declare the assets as "unfortunate and worrying," while the
      >Malawi
      >Debt Relief Network says failure to implement the provision would undermine
      >the country's young democracy.
      >
      >"This provision must be mandatory," says Victor Ndovi, chairperson of the
      >Debt
      >Relief Network. "It is one of the best ways of showing our commitment to
      >fight
      >corruption, and effectively control political and economic excesses."
      >
      >Transparency International (TI), an international non-governmental
      >organization
      >(NGO) that fights corrupt practices, last year ranked Malawi 12th among 18
      >African countries that appeared on its 1998 corruption perceptions index
      >(CPI)
      >of 85 countries surveyed worldwide.
      >
      >In the 14-member Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Malawi
      >was rated third after Tanzania and Zambia, followed by Zimbabwe, Mauritius
      >and South Africa. According to TI, Botswana is the least corrupt in Africa.
      >
      >"We can have a lofty constitution, very strict on corruption, but if we can
      >not
      >implement the provisions, then we are nowhere. We must move away from
      >intention to action," says Ndovi, whose organization has been advocating
      >accountability, pragmatic planning of the economy and strong commitment to
      >fighting corruption.
      >
      >In his New Year's (2000) message, President Bakili Muluzi said HIV/AIDS,
      >poverty and corruption were some of the critical challenges facing the
      >small
      >landlocked country.
      >
      >"Corruption is evil," said Muluzi who is serving his second and last term
      >of office.
      >"We must refrain from corrupt practices. I will not defend anyone, even a
      >cabinet minister, convicted of corrupt practices."
      >
      >During his first term of office that span from May 1994 to May 1999, one of
      >his
      >ministers was taken to court and lost his job, while several others were
      >investigated by the anti-corruption bureau, for alleged corrupt practices.
      >
      >"It was not easy to convict many of them because we did not know what they
      >had prior to their appointments as ministers or chairmen of statutory
      >corporations," says one Lilongwe-based lawyer. "This is why it is
      >imperative for
      >them to declare assets, and this should be a requirement for one to be
      >sworn-in
      >as a member of parliament."
      >
      >Political commentators, however, doubt if the legislators can commit
      >themselves
      >to a deadline, and enact legal penalties for defaulters.
      >
      >"Their behavior, in recent times, has been very questionable. You have the
      >impression that they are in parliament not to advance the wishes and
      >aspirations
      >of the electorate, but to satisfy their own egos," says Andrew Bonde,
      >former
      >director of a local charity.
      >
      >During their last siting in December, the legislators put an unprecedented
      >interruptions to proceedings. They refused to handle government business
      >until
      >their demands for a 50-percent increment were met. Average monthly salary
      >and
      >allowances for legislators in Malawi amount to 17,500 kwacha (about $400
      >U.S.).
      >
      >The demand, which was met by government, was criticized by economists and
      >development experts who described it as "inflationary" for a country that
      >was
      >already grappling with an ailing economy, and whose inflation rate in
      >December
      >was pegged at 35 percent -- nine points above the target set by the
      >country's
      >central bank.
      >
      >*****
      >
      >For those of you who didn't continue your Newsweek subscription
      >post-service, they have an extensive cover story on AIDS in Africa this
      >week.
      >
      >http://newsweek.com/nw-srv/printed/us/in/a4880-2000jan9.htm

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    • Christine Chumbler
      Luz (and anyone else who might be interested), Unfortunately, no inside scoop here. I don t have too many details about the summit, except that it sounds like
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 12, 2000
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        Luz (and anyone else who might be interested),

        Unfortunately, no inside scoop here. I don't have too many details about the summit, except that it sounds like it's going to be a big hoohaw. I'll be attending, since USAID will have a large display booth that I'll be helping to run. I'm sure you probably saw this on their website also (http://www.africasummit.org/), but would you be able to volunteer? Sounds like if you work only 6 hours, you'd get a free ride. Could be interesting. That's what I'd suggest. Good luck, and maybe I'll see you there!

        c

        >>> "Luz Huntington" <luzhunt@...> 1/11/00 7:18 PM >>>
        From: "Luz Huntington" <luzhunt@...>

        Christine,
        Do you have any insight or insider info on the National Summit of Africa
        that's happening in Feb? I am really interested in attending but the
        registration fee is pretty steep. Any details or endorsements you might be
        able to share (since you are in the thick of it in DC) would be appreciated.

        Thanks Luz
      • Christine Chumbler
        I should have also added that us DC folks could find ways to house any of you beyond the Beltway types interested in attending.
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 12, 2000
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          I should have also added that us DC folks could find ways to house any of you beyond the Beltway types interested in attending.
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