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The Weekend nation April 16, 2011

In the Weekend Nation today Mabvuto Banda writes a leaked diplomatic telegram sent from the British High Commission in Lilongwe to London has spoken on the leadership of Preisdent Bingu wa Mutharika and raised fears that political tension in likely to rise in 2014 when he steps down.

A diplomatic telegram is a term given to a confidential text message exchanged between a diplomatic mission and a foreign mission and the foreign ministry of its parent country. In the US, it is called a cable.

“President Mutharika is becoming ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism. In a public speech on 6 March, he called for his supporters to go to the streets to fight his critics to bring discipline in this country…” reads the telegram written by Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, the High Commissioner.

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Elsewhere in the Weekend Nation Phillip Pemba writes Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is paying back K120 million from the World Bank following miss-procurement of water pipes and fittings at Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) for the National Water Development Project (NWDP) under the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development, weekend Nation reveals.

In a response to Weekend Nation questionnaire, NWDP programme manager Professor Zachary Kasomekera on Thursday confirmed LWB is refunding the money on World Bank because it flouted some procedures in the agreement government signed with the bank.

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Deogratias Mmana else writes Registrar General Geoffrey Nkhata says he has received complaints from Maravi People’s Party and People’s Progressive Movement challenging the registration of Vice-President’s People’s Party because it has stolen their name and symbol, respectively.

When lawyer for the VP, Paul Maulidi, presented papers for registration on April 4 2011, Malavi People’s Party (MPP) argued that the new party has used part of its name, People’s Party, while progressive People’s Movement (PPM) said the party has stolen its symbol of the clasped hand.

The two parties indicated that they would contest the name and symbol at the registrar of political parties.

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Deogratias Mmana elsewhere in the Weekend Nation also writes some clergy that attended a day-long seminar in Balaka last week have alleged that the Presidential Aide on Religious Affairs, Rev Billy Gama, issued threats to the clergy, warning them that government will deal with those seen to be critical of government.

But Rev Gama said no threats were issued at the seminar and that participants were free to give their views democratically.

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Frank Namangale also writes the Council of the University of Malawi (Unima) on Thursday filed a notice of appeal at the Malawi Supreme Court in Blantyre against a Wednesday’s High Court ruling that supported lecturers’ boycott of classes.

The High Court ruled that the lecturers cannot be forced back in lecture rooms “infested with spies” and clearly stated they were not on strike because they were performing other duties.

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In Business Chikondi Chiyembekeza writes small-scale business operators say running business is getting tougher in Malawi due to shortages of foreign currency and fuel.

The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) argue that the slow down in economic activity in recent times has resulted in the loss of business opportunities which will take some time to recover.

Malawi has for the past months now been facing the shortage of foreign currency, a development that has resulted in erratic supply of fuel, a critical product in business activities.

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In sport the Malawi National Council of Sports has rejected Football Association of Malawi (FAM) request to consider doubling Flames allowances which are almost 22 times lower than some neighbouring countries.

Currently Flames players get K30,000 each for a win and half the amount for a draw. They also get K1,000 daily local training allowance and $50 (about K7,500) external daily allowances.

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