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/ 15 June 2007

Malawi govt faces collapse after court ruling

Malawi’s Supreme Court granted powers on Friday to the speaker of Parliament to fire defecting MPs in a move likely to lead to the collapse of President Bingu wa Mutharika’s minority government. Chief Justice Leonard Unyolo determined that the speaker could use a controversial constitutional provision to expel any lawmaker who had changed party affiliation.

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/ 20 March 2007

Malawi suffers as politicians feud

The African adage that ”when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers” is currently particularly apt in Malawian politics. The fall-out and subsequent power struggle between the country’s two foremost leaders — President Bingu wa Mutharika and his predecessor, Bakili Muluzi — have detrimentally affected one specific group of people: poverty stricken citizens.

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/ 22 February 2007

Life gets tougher in Malawi

Grace Kafere is tired. She has been on her feet for close to five hours, bending over as she moves up and down in a forest gathering twigs and branches to sell as firewood. The 45-year-old single mother of five lost her job as an administrative assistant three years ago when the firm where she was working was restructured. She has been unable to secure another job since then.

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/ 19 February 2007

Malawi’s army steps in to help save forests

Malawi, which has the highest deforestation rate in Southern Africa, has roped in its army to save the trees, environmental officials said on Monday. The Natural Resources Ministry over the weekend inked a deal with the Malawi army for soldiers to be deployed to protect 16 of the country’s prime forest reserves and step up reforestation.

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/ 8 February 2007

Malawi vice-president refuses treason plea

Malawi’s Vice-President, Cassim Chilumpha, on Thursday refused for a second time to enter a plea to charges of plotting to kill President Bingu wa Mutharika through South African hit men. Lawyers representing Chilumpha told the Malawi High Court that the charge sheet by the state was defective and should not be admitted in court.

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/ 8 January 2007

Malawi floods leave hundreds homeless

Two people have been killed and hundreds more left homeless after flash floods swept through large parts of southern Malawi, local officials said on Monday. Major roads in the districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje were also rendered impassable as a result of incessant rain since the new year, but the full impact of the floods was still unknown as areas had been completely cut off.

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/ 15 December 2006

Southern Africa mulls circumcision to battle Aids

Southern Africa, the epicentre of the Aids epidemic, on Thursday agreed to look at male circumcision to fight the pandemic in the wake of reports that it could halve the risk of males contracting HIV. The Southern African Development Community said it will develop an HIV-prevention strategy that will be released early next year.

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/ 13 December 2006

SADC debates Aids-prevention strategies

Southern African nations on Tuesday mulled ways to rope high-risk groups into the fight against HIV/Aids in the world’s worst-affected region as they started a three-day meeting in Malawi. The meeting will hammer out a ”comprehensive strategy on how to accelerate prevention”, said a Southern African Development Community official.

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/ 26 October 2006

End Madonna adoption challenge, says baby’s father

The father of the African baby Madonna wants to mother appealed for an end to legal challenge to her adoption bid, fearing the singer could react by sending the boy back to his impoverished homeland. Speaking on the eve of a hearing in Malawi’s administrative capital, Lilongwe, Yohane Banda said the case should be dropped ”for the sake of my child’s future and health”.

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/ 23 October 2006

Father of Madonna orphan has second thoughts

The biological father of 13-month-old ”Baby David” said on Sunday that he was misled into agreeing to give up his son to American pop diva Madonna, injecting new controversy and confusion into the adoption saga. Yohane Banda said that authorities had not made it clear to him that he was giving up his only son ”for good”.

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/ 17 October 2006

Court agrees to hear case against Madonna adoption

A Malawian court agreed on Tuesday to hear arguments by a coalition of local rights groups seeking to block ”Queen of Pop” Madonna’s fast-track adoption of a 13-month boy from the poor African country. ”The court wants to hear our locus standi and why we should be appointed guardians of the child,” Justin Dzodzi, chairperson of the Human Rights Consultative Committee, said.

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/ 10 August 2006

Malawi corruption: President demands prosecutor resign

Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika on Thursday demanded the resignation of a top prosecutor for withdrawing corruption charges against the nation’s former president. Director of Public Prosecutions Ishmael Wadi last week unconditionally dropped all 42 counts of corruption, fraud and abuse of office filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau against former president Bakili Muluzi.

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/ 28 July 2006

Malawi’s top anti-graft official suspended

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has suspended the head of the national graft-fighting agency just hours after the Southern African nation’s previous president was charged with stealing aid money. Wa Mutharika suspended Gustave Kaliwo, the head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau on ”disciplinary grounds”, a brief statement by the president’s office said.

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/ 27 July 2006

Former Malawian president arrested for fraud

Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi was arrested on Thursday on fraud and corruption charges amid questions about millions of dollars in donor funds that allegedly ended up in his personal account. A team from the state Anti-Corruption Bureau took Muluzi to their office in the commercial capital, Blantyre, for over an hour of questioning before releasing him, his lawyers said.

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/ 15 May 2006

Malawi’s vice-president under house arrest

A Malawian court on Monday put Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha under house arrest for allegedly plotting to kill President Bingu wa Mutharika by hiring South African hitmen. Chilumpha will be ”confined to his official residence and will not leave his house without authority from the president” until the treason trial finishes, said high court judge Charles Mkandawire.

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/ 11 May 2006

Mausoleum to Banda stirs mixed feelings

A mausoleum to Malawi’s founding president and one of Africa’s most repressive leaders, Kamuzu Banda, will be inaugurated on Sunday, stirring mixed emotions over the dictator’s legacy in the impoverished Southern African nation. Banda, popularly known as ”Ngwazi” or conqueror, died in South Africa in 1997 at the age of 99 and was one of Africa’s most controversial leaders.

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/ 8 May 2006

Ten released in Malawi over treason plot

Ten opposition leaders and businessmen detained last week in Malawi in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate President Bingu wa Mutharika have been released due to lack of evidence, police said on Monday. ”Police have not found sufficient evidence to prosecute them,” police spokesperson Willie Mwaluka told Agence France-Presse.

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/ 4 May 2006

Mugabe hits out at critics

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday opened a road named after him in Malawi, accusing those who criticise his human rights record of "speaking for their white masters". Cheered on amid heavy security, Mugabe unveiled a plaque to open the newly constructed road between Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre and the Mozambican border.

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/ 4 May 2006

Mugabe: ‘Let bygones be bygones’

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has called for bygones to be bygones between black and white in his country, saying the two sides have to live together. The 82-year-old veteran, scheduled on Thursday to open a road named after him in Malawi, said late on Wednesday that black and white ”cannot avoid each other”.