Malawi News Online (40) - 1/26/98

Malawi News Online (40) - 1/26/98


Edition #40 26 January 1998

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Both Banda's Chayamba Trust, that he established from some of his investments and properties, and his will, have come under fire from Banda's relatives who suspect the two may have been a result of behind-the-scenes manipulation.

Referring to the trust, Banda's longtime business advisor, accountant Farouk Sacraine, has said it was established by Banda himself with him, lawyer Gustav Kaliwo and Malawi Congress Party vice president John Tembo as trustees. Sacraine said the Trust, which comprises the office blocks Chayamba House and Chibisa House, and the Blantyre Print and Publishing Company, is meant to generate funds for its beneficiaries: Kamuzu Academy, Malawi Congress Party and Banda family members.

The family protested in writing when the Trust was being formed last year, according to lawyer for the family, Khuze Kapeta. At that time they wrote to the Registrar General asking that the registration of the Trust be put on hold until the family verified everything with Banda himself, according to Chipwaila Nkhata, Banda's great nephew.

Nkhata said that family never got a chance to discuss this with Banda, adding that the family was not aware that the Trust had actually been formed. He also said that the family considered it unfair that no member of Banda's family was among the trustees and that they would insist that at least two members were included.

Banda's relatives question the will on the basis of his health at the time it was being prepared and on some of its contents. Nkhata said he found it extremely strange that Banda would write such a long document. "There is a feeling that there was a will prior to that which somehow got lost," said Nkhata.

The principal will was signed on December 3, 1993, two months after Banda had undergone brain surgery in South Africa while its codicil was signed on May 16, 1995. This was the same month that a neurologist and a geriatrician examined him and found him to be too old and frail and having severe memory problems as well as severe hearing and visual impairment. On the basis of their report, the High Court exempted Banda from physically attending trial on a murder charge. Along with Tembo and other MCP officials, Banda was charged with murdering four politicians in 1983. They were all acquitted.

Banda's nephew, Fred Kadzombo, described the will as fake when it was read at Nguru ya Nawambe residence in Kasungu on January 6. He wondered why Cecilia Kadzamira, Banda's long time confidante, who was addressed in the will as Banda's secretary got what he felt was a lion's share. Sacraine, however, has disputed claims that Kadzamira has received the lion's share of Banda's property. He said the instructions in the will were that Banda's property be made into a business enterprise fund (trust) whose capital should remain intact for 80 years. The trustees for the fund are Kadzamira and the National Bank of Malawi.

Sacraine said he read the will in Kasungu on January 6 following a verbal instruction from Banda at the time the principal will was signed. Sacraine said that at that time when he witnessed Banda's signature Banda had said that 'if and when the time comes to read the will and you are around, you should read the will'.

Sacraine said the net income from the fund is to be shared among the beneficiaries as follows: 17 percent to the maintenance of the house at Mtunthama and 20 percent to the Chikoko Bay one. After that, 40 percent of the surplus goes to Kadzamira and 30 percent each to Banda's grand nieces Kupingani and Chendawaka.

Sacraine said the will provides that in the event that the Mtunthama and Chikoko Bay houses, ownership of which was being contested, do not revert to him because of this, then the 17 percent maintenance for Mtunthama is to be shared equally between its intended beneficiaries - Chendawaka and Kupingani - and the 20 percent for Chikoko Bay House between Dzanjalimodzi and Edwin Banda, the intended beneficiaries. Sacraine said this means that from the Fund's net income, 10 percent goes to Dzanjalimodzi, 10 percent to Edwin Banda, 27.4 percent each to Chendawaka and Kupingani, and 25.2 percent to Kadzamira.

Sacraine also disputed claims that Kadzamira gets most of Banda's estates, saying the estates, Nguru ya Nawambe House and Banda's other properties including money abroad, if there is any, would go into the Trust. He also said there may be a possibility of converting the Kasungu House into a private museum, referring to a provision in the principal will which was changed in the codicil. He disputed claims that the will states that the house will be sold and that 40 percent of the proceeds be given to Kadzamira and 30 percent each to Chendawaka and Kupingani.

In the will, all Banda's shares in Blantyre Print and Publishing Company are given to Kadzamira, but the company is already part of Chayamba Trust and Kadzamira is not among its beneficiaries.Here, according to Sacraine, Chayamba Trust does not specify what percent of its net income goes to each beneficiary. "However, as professionals, should we continue to be trustees, we will ensure that no party gets more than the other," he said.

Another of the family members gave her reaction to the will. Jane Dzanjalimodzi, Banda's great niece, said she was surprised the will was first made available to a newspaper before family members were given a copy. She also wondered why she was listed in the will as Mrs. Dzanjalimodzi when Banda called her by other names. Her opinion was: "We might be wasting time thinking it is Banda's will,when it isn't."



Flash floods hit the Phalombe District of southern Malawi, killing one person and leaving 1,000 others homeless in the area's five villages. The displaced families have been given shelter in primary school classrooms and Catholic churches. One person has died as a result so far.

The floods, which also destroyed property, followed an eight-hour downpour on Mulanje Mountain and swept through the town of Phalombe early on January 19, witnesses said. Flood waters swept away a bridge, cutting off Phalombe from the neighbouring district of Mulanje to the south. Phalombe suffered the worst flood disaster in memory in 1991 when 500 people died and thousands more were displaced. The town, at the foot of Mulanje Mountain - Central Africa's highest peak at 3,000ft. (914 metres) - has been embroiled in controversy ever since the 1991 floods.

Town planners have told government that the settlement could not be developed further because of its susceptibility to flash floods. Planners suggested relocating the town. However, the town's businessmen have up to now opposed this idea.


The Malawi government has said three houses which the late Kamuzu Banda indicated in his will as part of his estate actually belong to government.

Lands and Valuation minister, Peter Fachi, said the three houses, Mtunthama in the capital, Lilongwe, Mudi in Blantyre and Chikoko Bay in the lakeshore district of Mangochi, south Malawi, are government property. Fachi said the High Court ruled in 1994 after a protracted court wrangle over the ownership of the houses that they belonged to government.

In his will, Banda directed that the three houses be sold and the proceeds be shared among his longtime confidante, Cecilia Kadzamiara, four of his grand nieces and one great nephew.


President Bakili Muluzi on January 17 replaced Army chief General Kelvin Simwaka and Police boss Patrick Chikapa. Brigadier Joseph Chimbayo, promoted to Lieutenant General, becomes the new Army commander while Brigadier Marko Maziko, now Major General, is deputy commander.

Simwaka and his deputy Lt. General Gibson Mautanga, will shortly be assigned to other duties, according to secretary to the president and cabinet, Alfred Upindi. According to Upindi, Chikapa is also lined up for other assignments.

In the police service, Chikapa's deputy Kennedy Chirambo takes over as Inspector General and his replacement is yet to be appointed.


The Malawi government has refuted statements that it intends to establish diplomatic relations with mainland China.

Information minister, Sam Mpasu, arriving in Lilongwe 22 January after a two-week tour to Beijing, said that statements to the effect that he had assured the Beijing government of the Malawi government's commitment to setting up relations with that country were false. Mpasu had told president Bakili Muluzi that he had been misquoted by the press in China on the issue.

Mpasu's remarks came hot on the heels of a statement made by another Malawian minister - of education, Brown Mpinganjira - who is currently in the Republic of China. Mpinganjira told RoC's president Lee Teng-Hui on January 21 that Malawi had no intention of setting up ties with Beijing. Statements to that effect and allegedly made by his information counterpart were false, said Mpinganjira.

Malawi has full diplomatic ties with the Republic of China.


Nearly a year after it was set up, Malawi's Anti-Corruption Bureau has still failed to complete investigating its first case.The Bureau's Director, Gilton Chiwaula, says out of the 3,100 cases he has authorized a probe into 139 reports for possible prosecution. He said 236 cases had been referred to other government institutions.

The bureau was set up by the government under an act of parliament to attempt to stem the country's fast-growing and openly corrupt practices. Eradication of corruption featured high in the party's political campaign preceding the 1994 general elections, which led to the defeat of the late Kamuzu Banda.

The alarming rise of corruption in Malawi's public and private sectors has led observers to express fears the country could be next on the list to follow the routes of Nigeria and Kenya.


The late and former president Hastings Kamuzu Banda,who slapped a veil of secrecy on his real age, was born in 1896, family members have now disclosed.

The state-owned Malawi News Agency reported that at a thanksgiving service last Sunday at the Chilanga Church of Central Africa Presbyterian mission in Kasungu, Banda's home district, a family member and church elder, Elia Katola Phiri dismissed the year 1906 given in official biographies as Banda's year of birth. Katola, who is also member of parliament for Kasungu central said the age distortion had been created by one of Banda's relations, Hannock Msokera Phiri.

"For reasons best known to himself, Kamuzu did not like his history to be written while he was alive, but what I am giving you now is the true history of the late Kamuzu," Katola told the gathering which included MCP president Gwanda Chakuamba, his vice, John Tembo, Alliance for Democracy president Chakufwa Chihana and Banda's life long confidante, Cecilia Kadzamira.

Kamuzu was born Kamnkhwala Banda at Mphonongo village, Kausngu in 1896, he said and that due to the high illiteracy of the time, memorable events were used to reckon years. Kamnkhwala was born in the year of the Mwase-Chibisa war which was fought in 1896 between whites and the people in and around Kasungu. He said doctors at Garden City Clinic in Johannesburg in South Africa, where Banda died last November, were close to the truth when they said Banda was born in 1898.

Katola backed his claim of 1896 saying Kamuzu moved from his patrilineal home in Chief Chilowamatambe to the matrilineal home at Chiwengo after his parents decided that Mtunthama, where the Kamuzu Academy is built, could not offer the best education for him. He studied briefly at Chikondwa, near Chiphaso Parish, before moving to Chilanga mission in 1908 when he was 12. To remember his brief stay at Chikondwa, he instructed the government to build Chayamba secondary school, said Katola.

He said that in 1910, Dr. Prentice baptized Kamuzu as Akim Kamnkhwala Mtunthama Banda. His church card at Chilanga mission was No 2591. "The register at Chilanga Mission titled Nyasaland Synod, on page 18, inscribed the name Akim Kamnkhwala Mtunthama Banda."He said the register also indicated that Kamuzu left Nyasaland for Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in 1917 when he was 21 and not 13 as Msokera put it.

Katola said while he was abroad Kamuzu changed his name from Akim Kamnkhwala Mtunthama Banda to Hastings Kamuzu Banda, but gave no reason for the change.


The opposition Malawi Congress Party has said it holds government responsible for the recent army raid on one of the country's privately-owned newspapers, The Daily Times. During the raid on January 16 at the newspaper's premises in Blantyre, the soldiers, in full combat gear, smashed a computer and a digital camera. "It was a terrible and nasty experience," Assistant Editor Rankin Nyekanyeka said in an interview. The ten soldiers who stormed the newspaper plant did not harm anyone, however, apart from slapping one or two journalists, Nyekanyeka said.

The daily apparently displeased the army after it published an item on January 6 describing the upsurge of AIDS-related deaths in the Malawi Army. The first indication of trouble came last week from Defence Minister Joseph Kubwalo, a former photo-journalist himself, who warned that his ministry would not tolerate publication of news items on the army based on 'speculation'. Then two days later President Bakili Muluzi, through his press secretary Alaudin Osman, said he would 'act' against the Daily Times and its sister weekly publication, Malawi News for allegedly vilifying him.

Muluzi's press secretary Alaudin Osman said the two papers' relentless attacks on his policies and on his conduct as Malawi's leader were promoting abuse of democracy in the country.

MCP treasurer general Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba said the raid was clearly on the instigation of Kubwalo's remarks as well as Muluzi's warning to the newspapers that he would act against the two publications.Ntaba said the story by freelance journalist, Kaulanda Nkosi, was based on the findings of a World Bank survey on the status of the scourge in the Malawi army.

The incident left the staff shaken and temporarily disrupted production of the daily which failed to appear on time on the streets.


The opposition warned January 19 that time is running out for President Bakili Muluzi's government saying it has no chance of winning the 1999 general elections.

They were reacting to remarks made by Muluzi on January 17 in Karonga, North Malawi, where he alleged that the opposition in the country were scared of and that was why they were forming an alliance. Muluzi further said the alliance that the opposition were intending to form was a sure way of destroying democracy in the country.But president of the People's Democratic Party, Rolf Patel, once Muluzi's blue-eyed boy, said Muluzi's remarks were the kicks of a dying horse. He said Muluzi could only be retained in office through dictatorial methods.

Muluzi on January 17 also accused the opposition Malawi Congress party of stifling democracy and the growth of opposition parties by bringing them under its wings with the ultimate aim of driving the country back to the notorious era of one party rule. Patel, however, rejected this strongly saying on the contrary it is Muluzi who is trying to bring back dictatorship by corrupting parliament and the judiciary, both of which are supposed to be independent bodies.

Dan Msowoya, publicity chief for the Alliance for Democracy said Muluzi was living in a fools paradise if he thinks he will be retained in next year's elections. "He should look back at what he has achieved during the past three years and will realize he has failed to deliver," said Msowoya.

MCP publicity secretary James Chimera wondered whether Muluzi has forgotten that he rode the crest of popularity and was propelled to power in 1994 through the force of the Common Electoral Group, a loose coalition of several small parties that teamed up with UDF in the run up to the elections. Chimera said Muluzi's remarks showed that he was afraid of the opposition which could easily unseat the UDF if it worked as one coordinated group.

Malawians go to the polls mid-next year to elect a president and members of parliament. Opposition parties have said they want to map out a working relationship with each other so as to approach the general elections as one united force.


Malawians may have to brace themselves for tougher times if they are to continue having milk in their tea or coffee.

As the battle continues between the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) and the Master Bakers Association over the price of bread which went up by over 40 percent some two weeks ago, the new management of Malawi Dairy Industries Limited, Dairiboard Limited, which last week acquired controlling shares in Malawi Dairy Industries, has raised the price of milk and all other dairy and fruit products by an average of 36 percent with effect from January 19.MDI last raised prices of some of its products in September last year.

A notice from the company to wholesalers and retail outlets says the 500 ml whole milk packet has been adjusted from K5.30 (US$ 1 = MK21.50) to a staggering K7.20. A similar packet of chambiko (sour milk) has moved to K7.75 from K5.80. Natural yoghurt that was selling at K5.71 is now K8.35.Fruit juices have not been spared from the price hikes. A 250ml bottle which was going at K6.46 is now K8.20, while the 500ml bottle is now at K13.10 from K10.63. Margarine - 500g - is now K33.50 from K28.55, with 250g now selling K19.60, an increase of K4.02 over the previous price. A one little bottle of fruit juice has gone up by K5.53.

Meanwhile, Southern Bottlers, sole manufacturers and distributors of soft drinks and bottled beer in the country, have also raised prices for their products. Soft drinks which were selling at K4.20 per bottle will now be K5.00. The lowest price for a bottle of Carlsberg beer is now K9.50.

The price hikes comes hot on the heels of the continuing fall of the kwacha.

10.ZIMBABWE FIRM GETS MAJOR STAKE IN MALAWI DAIRY INDUSTRIES Dairiboard Zimbabwe Limited has acquired a major stake in Malawi's Dairy Industries Limited, Blantyre plant. The Zimbabwean firm has purchased all 60 per cent of the shares floated for all in the on-going privatization of state-owned enterprises.

Government retains the remaining 40 per cent shares in the company. MDI's three plants in Blantyre, the administrative capital Lilongwe, and in Mzuzu, the northern city, were privatized piecemeal.

So far there have been no firm bidders for the Lilongwe dairy plant, Capital Dairy Industries or the Mzuzu plant according to executive director of the Privatization Commission, Dye Mawindo. Mawindo said in an interview that Dairiboard outbid five other foreign and local firms at US$1.3 million (K24,635,000). He said the company has promised to immediately provide US$400,000 (MK8 million) to upgrade the plant. Mawindo said under the new management, only two senior members of staff will not have their contracts renewed but disclosed no reasons.

He also said government will later offload the remaining 40 per cent stake it still holds in Dairiboard to local Malawians and urged them to take advantage of such opportunities to buy shares in the companies. He dismissed criticism from local investors that the commission was sidelining them in favour of foreign bidders in auctioning state-owned entities.


Nurses at the country's biggest referral hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central, in Blantyre, have for the third day running this week vowed not to wear uniforms until authorities issue them with new ones.

The nurses who have been working out of uniform since Monday say they have not been provided with new uniforms for the past three years. As a result, most of them have had to buy uniforms so that they can look professional, using personal money which they say they can ill-afford.They expressed the sentiment that they wonder how the government expects them to continue buying their own uniforms from their meagre salaries.Hospital administrator, Daisy Mbalame, has refused to speak on the issue.

However nurses on duty at the hospital 17 January, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that although they were not in their uniforms, they were performing their duties normally. "This is not a boycott for duties. Patients are not affected by our action in any way," said one of the nurses. Another nurse expressed hope that the government would respond to their grievance as the nurses have now been asked to submit the sizes of their uniforms so that these could be tailored for them.

According to regulations of the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi, to which all practising nurses and midwives in Malawi belong, it is a breach of the profession's ethics to dress in civilian attire while on duty.


Some 34 Asians have been deported from Malawi in a crackdown on illegal immigrants. Chief Immigration Officer, Martin Mononga, says the 34 already netted are from India and Pakistan. Another 15, mainly from neighbouring African states, are to be repatriated soon.

At least 100 foreigners without proper residence documents have been rounded up since the joint military and police operation began three months ago.The deportees are from Burundi, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Mononga said those being sent out of the country have been involved in a number of offences, including illegal entry, over-staying their visas and engaging in employment without job permits.

Malawians have in recent months called on the Muluzi government to clamp down on illegal immigrants.


Two members of parliament from neighbouring constituencies in the Lower Shire, south Malawi, have died within a space of five days.

Charles Masiyamphoka, 39, opposition Malawi Congress Party member of parliament for Nsanje South West, died on January 6 at his home after a long illness. He is survived by a wife and three children. He was first elected to parliament in 1992 under the one party MCP government and retained his seat during the 1994 general elections.

Augustino Taulo, 50, ruling United Democratic Front MP for Chikwawa West died on January 10 also after a long illness. Taulo, who was a retired primary school teacher until 1994 when he was elected to parliament, is survived by nine children.

The deaths of the two MPs brings to 21 the number of cabinet ministers and MPs who have died since the first multi-party government was ushered in, in 1994. Of these 19 were MPs, while two were cabinet ministers and non-MPs.


Five people were killed in mob justice on January 5 alone in the capital, Lilongwe, police have announced.Police spokesman, Oliver Soko, said in a statement on January 10 that the killing of the five people demonstrates an escalation of what the police say are criminal acts against sometimes innocent suspects.

Soko said one of the victims, Kawina Missi, 26, was assaulted and set on fire after he was alleged to have broken into someone's house at Phwetekele, a slum in Lilongwe. Two unidentified people were chopped to death by villagers at Mzinga village near the capital. The two were allegedly caught as they tried to rob and snatch bicycles and maize flour from women who were coming from a maize mill.

Soko said the other two, who were also unidentified, were killed at Chalendewa on the outskirts of Lilongwe after they allegedly raped a woman whom they threatened to stab to death if she resisted them. The two were later seized and killed by a mob of people.Soko said police condemned the acts and said mob justice was illegal and could never be justified.

Many Malawians have taken the law into their own hands since the advent of multi-partyism because the police release suspects often before justice is done. The law requires that the police should not hold a suspect for more than 48 hours without placing a charge against the person.


From: (Africa_news Network) Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 08:00:28 +0100 Subject: MALAWI NEWS ONLINE #40 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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