Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs,1 September

from The New Humanitarian
Published on 01 Sep 2000
MALAWI: Editor suspended
The editor of Malawi's official daily newspaper, 'Daily Times' was this week suspended for underplaying an article on President Bakili Muluzi, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said.

According to MISA, Rankin Nyekanyeka was suspended after using a story on Malawi police to serve in Kosovo as the front page lead. This upset the paper's editor-in-chief, Mike Kamwendo, who said the function at which Muluzi opened a factory in the commercial capital, Blantyre was more important than the police story.

MISA condemned the action, saying it will muzzle the free flow of information and editorial independence. It added that the action will intimidate journalists at the paper from carrying out their duties freely.

MALAWI: DRC envoy meets Muluzi

A special envoy of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Laurent Kabila on Thursday briefed Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi on the ongoing efforts to end his country's two-year-old civil war, news reports said.

Augustine Katumba, governor of DRC's Katanga province, told reporters after meeting with Muluzi that Kabila had sent him to brief regional leaders about efforts to bring peace to the war-torn country. "I brought a special message from Kabila to Muluzi," he said, without elaborating.

Katumba described the talks as "positive". The envoy met with Muluzi - who is also the vice-chairman of the 14-member Southern African Development Community - shortly before the Malawian leader left for New York to attend the United Nations Millennium summit.

ANGOLA: Government launches magazine

The Angolan Foreign Ministry on Thursday launched 'Diplomatico', an information and analysis monthly magazine that aims at disseminating news about Angola's foreign policy.

News reports said initially, the magazine will be available at no cost and its first July issue - published in Portuguese - features Angola's reasons for not attending the recent Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in Togo.

The magazine's future editions, added the reports, could be in English and Portuguese. The magazine has been distributed to Angolan embassies, foreign missions accredited to Angola, public institutions, the news media and general readers.

ZIMBABWE: Fuel prices increase

Zimbabwe on Thursday increased fuel prices by between 40 and 100 percent, the second increase in two months as the country reels from serious fuel shortages because of foreign currency shortages.

Media reports said diesel prices were increased by 54 percent, leaded fuel by 40 percent and paraffin by 100 percent.

The state-run oil procurement agency, National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) said the changes were necessitated by the recent devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar and escalating international oil prices.

ZIMBABWE: Aircraft may be impounded

Air Zimbabwe may have several aircraft impounded by overseas creditors who are owed about US $4 million while the airline is now technically insolvent to about US $1.5 billion, media reports said.

According to the reports, a team investigating the airline's operations has blamed the problem on the current management team's failure to work together as well as splits in Air Zimbabwe's board due to different backgrounds and corporate exposure.

The committee also reportedly stated that the airline was surviving due mainly to sales of advance tickets and bank overdrafts, and has recommended a full inquiry into the procurement of goods and services and spare parts at the carrier.

SWAZILAND: Agreement to accept Rwandan prisoners

Swaziland has agreed to open its prisons for genocide convicts from Rwanda, a move that will ease pressure on the United Nations to find suitable prisons for the prisoners.

Media reports said Swaziland's Foreign Affairs Minister Albert Shabangu and UN Assistant Secretary-General Agwu Ukiwe Okali signed the agreement in Swaziland's capital, Mbabane on Wednesday.

Jails in Rwanda have been crammed with awaiting-trial prisoners since the 1994 genocide and thousands of suspects are expected to be tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The tribunal - which has so far laid charges against 43 accused - wants the perpetrators of the genocide to be imprisoned outside Rwanda to prevent families of victims from exacting revenge.

Shabangu reportedly said: "We feel that this is an African problem and would like to participate in the healing process." He added that although Swaziland's prisons are already overcrowded, the additional inmates would not cause the country too many problems.


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