>From The Star newspaper, Malawi:
>Telecoms deal angers UNDP
>The United Nations Development Programme on June 17 lashed out at the Malawi
>Posts and Telecoms for granting a licence to a private US firm to operate an
>internet system in Malawi.
>UNDP Programme Officer, Brian Christensen, told The Star in an interview that
>his organisation was very displeased with the decision by the MPTC whose
>political head is Minister of Information, Broadcasting, Posts and
>Telecommunications, Brown Mpinganjira, for opting to set up the network on a
>commercial basis when the UNDP could have provided the service cheaply.
>Christensen said UNDP was already in the process of establishing a similar
>network with the MPTC which surprisingly announced last month it had gone into
>partnership with an American firm.
>He said this was not in line with a basic agreement the UNDP signed with
>government in 1994 for the establishment of the network whose preparatory
>arrangements were completed last year. He said after these initial
>the UNDP had now been waiting for the MPTC to grant it a licence to enable
>go ahead with the project.
>But the government has since then been mum on the issue, an indication that it
>was not interested in implementing the project in partnership with UNDP, said
>A well placed source in government who demanded anonymity, said UNDP responded
>to the development with a strong protest to the government which forced
>President Bakili Muluzi to dismiss former MPTC's chief executive, Steve Mijiga.
>Mijiga, who was chairman of the television project by virtue of his position as
>MPTC chief executive has been replaced by his deputy, Michael Makawa.
>No reason has been given for Mijiga's dismissal. But the pro-government Malawi
>Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) announced on June 17, Mijiga would be
>''Our idea is to get the stake holders in the sustainable development of Malawi
>to provide information through the internet,'' said Christensen.
>The internet system UNDP would have set up would have been aimed at the
>development of the country with a focus on the environmental issues.
>Christensen, however, said UNDP would soon be working out a plan to establish
>an internet system which would run without the use of MPTC facilities.
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