Sunday, April 20, 2014

Forged Bank Deposit Slip by Malawi Electoral Commission Staff


PRESS RELEASE


(for Immediate release 18/04/2014)


The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) would like to express its utter disappointment with the act by unscrupulous individuals or bodies
that are peddling bank deposit slips with forged information about the Commission’s staff.


The Commission has been availed with bank deposit slip that has been provided to the media indicating details that it was made by a MEC staff member into a bank account for a political party.


This matter has been referred to the Fiscal Police who are investigating and treating the issue as a criminal matter. The
Commission is confident that the Police will do a professional job to bring the culprits to book.


The Commission finds this act not only defamatory but also malicious and being orchestrated by individuals or groups that are bent towards denting the image of the Commission as we prepare for the Tripartite Elections on May 20, 2014.


All electoral stakeholders are being assured of the highest commitment by the Commission to hold credible elections to the
satisfaction of all stakeholders.




Willie Kalonga,
Chief Elections Officer


POSTPONEMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN KANDEU AND LISANJALA WARDS


PRESS RELEASE

In pursuance of Section 39 of the Local Government Elections Act no. 24 of 1996 the Malawi Electoral Commission is informing all
stakeholders that Local Government Elections in the following wards have been stopped because of death of candidates:

. Kandeu Ward in Ntcheu North East where a United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate died;

. Lisanjala Ward in Machinga Likwenu in where a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate died.


The Commission will conduct by-elections in the two wards after the May 20, 2014 elections.


Candidates who were duly nominated for the cancelled polls will need to notify the Commission in writing of their intention to contest again when the Commission issues a notice to hold by-elections.


Dated at Blantyre this 19th day of April, 2014.


Willie Kalonga
Chief Elections Officer

Friday, April 18, 2014

Atupele Muluzi's Links To Blood Money From General Omar Al Bashir: A Threat To Democracy And Peace In Malawi And The Region


For Immediate Release


The Forum for National Development (FND) has been compelled as peace loving and national development conscious to come out in the open to question the purported alliance that has been cemented between the United Democratic Front (UDF) Presidential candidate, Mr. Atupele Muluzi, and the Sudanese Head of State General Omar Al Bashir who is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Holland as discussed in the media.



This alliance is creating fear since General Al Bashir does not harbour noble's intentions and his interest by funding and bankrolling Muluzi may be aimed at spreading elements of terrorism as the USA noted in Sudan.


We are concerned that General Al Bashir is trying to create a base in Malawi. He is an international pariah after his involvement in the massacre of innocent people in Darfur and he is wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity.


We are calling on the public and the world at large that Malawi's peace and hard won freedom is at stake with millions of blood money being pumped in through Omar Al Bashir's cousin brother in South Africa.


Furthermore, we are appealing on Malawians to maintain the peaceful coexistence that has existed from time immemorial and we are fearful of the potential the alliance is risking the country's dignity for the sake of personal glory and vanity.


We are appealing on other notables players like the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Human Right Consultative Committee (HRCC), Public Affairs Committee and Faith Based Organizations to join the hands and fight General Omar Al Bashir's direct involvement in internal affairs of our country and elsewhere.


General Omar Al Bashir is a Persona non grata. Malawi as a nation is playing a meaningful role in the global village and should resist his infiltration of money, political and terrorism influence.


We call upon political parties and individuals aspiring leadership positions to desist from getting financing from sources that are linked to terrorism and
criminals against humanity that brings disrepute to Malawi as we are aware that every funding agency or individuals has special interest in doing so and we can only question the motive of such funding to a country like Malawi as it will do much harm in long run than doing good


Signed

Bright Kampaundi, CHAIRPERSON


Fryson Chodzi, NATIONAL COORDINATOR

Fr. Benito Kamoto Dies

18 April 2014

Death Announcement: FR BENITO KAMOTO


The Catholic Secretariat of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi regrets to announce the death of FR BENITO KAMOTO , a priest of the ARCHDIOCESE OF BLANTYRE. He died during the night of the 17of April 2014.


While waiting for announcement of the arrangements for the burial, indications
are that he will be laid to rest on Easter Monday, 21 of April 2014, preceded by a
requiem Mass on the same day at Limbe Cathedral.


COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT - ECM

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tereza Mirovicova Continues Artistic Mission



Czech-born artist, Tereza Mirovicova, is an irony: The world to which she has acquainted herself since 2005- the small locality of Chadzunda on the outskirts of Blantyre City- remains smaller and static, but there has never been any lack of motion in her artistic world.


And, because of no lack of motion in her artistic world, it can as well be said that, through her music compositions, film acting, and philanthropic work, the artistic motions she has made as she passes through the static locality of Chadzunda everyday have changed not only herself and the lives of community members, but Malawi’s arts scene, too.


Yet, this is not what Mirovicova anticipated in 2002, when, while working as a secretary for a company based in Czech Republic’s capital city, Prague, she came across a newspaper advert in one of the newspapers, DNES (Today) inviting those interested to work as Development Aid from People to People (Dapp) Volunteers in 2002.


“I immediately applied because I wanted to experience something different,” she reminisces.


However, this does not mean she found herself into music and film acting on the local scene by accident. She says she fell in love with music while aged eight, a time that coincided with the peak of communism in her native land- a development that meant citizens were not allowed to listen to Western music.


“However, I found an old Western music tape with songs from the 50s and 60s. I so liked the music that I started dancing to it. In fact, songs of the 60s remain my main weakness, “she says.


She is also thrilled by the music of Czech musicians Raduza and Karel Gott.



Reborn

As happens with all things in life, her tenure as a Dapp volunteer had to come to an end, and this happened in 2003. But Mirovicova vowed to come back, and did just that in 2005. Since then, she has made it a point to spend the bulk of her time in Malawi and spend some three months in her native land.


Indeed, from a philanthropist to musician known for her Chichewa lyrics, she has evolved into so many things.


“I am a film producer, costume designer. I like to cook. I am a poet and likes writing poetry about dogs. I am the director of the Malawian Non-Governmental Organisation boNGO Worldwide, which specialises in creative designing of educational models for primary schools under the The Happy Classroom Project,” Mirovicova says.


And, considering the way she has been hopping between creating poetic sounds out of shapeless words, acting, designing costumes, and creative live creatures on, otherwise, lifeless classroom walls, it is clear that the lanky artist has turned the corner, and cut her teeth in the local arts industry.


It is a personal revolution that started when she featured in the local film, Zione, an HIV and Aids film revolving around a girl who ventures into commercial sex work in what may best be described as a case of fatal love because her intents are selfless: To support her poverty-stricken family.


“The second (film) I featured in is ‘The Last Fishing Boat’ and the third one is ‘B’ella’, which comes out this month. I acted in B’ella and also produced it,” Mirovicova says.


She is yet to act in a supporting role.






Learning curve

Playing these roles has helped the multi-talented artist understand the country’s arts sector. And, from her view as a participant in the goings-on, she observes thus:


“There are many talented and readily-available actors in Malawi, and Malawians seem to love acting and theatre. There are beautiful locations in the country and, additionally, the world hasn’t seen Malawian films and, so, is curious to see them,” she says.


Mirovicova is also wise to acknowledge that the playground is replete with challenges, too.


Observes Mirovicova: “Some of the challenges include unprofessionalism among some of the professionals I have worked with (and) the cinematic story telling is challenged by a lack of tech-equipment.”


Despite these challenges, Mirovicova sees opportunities for film makers.


“We, filmmakers, don’t always have to get funds from donors. There are corporate companies that we can, with proper marketing, partner with. Film might be a good investment. Look at Nolywood!”


She says, for instance, that B’ella was shot on a shoe-string budget, thanks to Agrofert Foundation and Karel Janecek from her native Czech Republic.


Mirovicova says success of the film industry also depends on good working relations between filmmakers and regulatory bodies such as the Censorship Board.


“(After all) they are a regulatory body for film and entertainment. It’s prudent to have a good working relationship between the board and filmmakers. It helps filmmakers het a rating (classification) for their films,” Mirovicova says.


This is an observation Chief Censoring Officer at the Censorship Board, Humphrey Mpondaminga, agrees with.


“As Censorship Board, we value such initiatives (as film previewing) because, apart from doing our official job of classifying movies, the previews offer us the opportunity to make suggestions to local film-makers so that they come up with movies with a Malawian traditional touch. When you watch a movie from South Africa you don’t even need to be told that it is from South Africa because film-makers from there know their country’s signature,” Mpondaminga observes, adding:


“Actually, we can add value to their productions in terms of coming up with high quality pictures that will sell Malawi’s culture and tourism to the international community. A movie does not only tell the story but also tells the scenery of a particular country through the pictures.”


He says the board encourages filmmakers to involve it from script writing to shooting of the movie “because, when they bring to us an already finished product and we tell them to remove some scenes or words, they always complain that they spent a lot of money on production”.





Artistic roots

Come what may, Mirovicova’s increased roles in filmmaking will surely not distract her from the musical journey she started because, just like she felt when she first came across that Western music tape at the age of eight, Malawi music so thrilled her that she decided not just to be part of the audience, but the composer as well.


Some of her songs include Chikondi, which is a celebration of love between two people of different cultures; Chimphongo - a track inspired by Tom Jones’ ‘She’s a lady’, which depicts a young lady’s pride and joy in her new found love; ‘Bwera Apa’; Titsate Mwambo; ‘Simuzasiabe’; Ku Ghetto, among others.


The singer, whose favourite Malawian musician is Ndirande-based singer and guitarist, Muhanya, also likes Malawi’s oldest sounds, ‘Bambo a Tereza’.


“My message to Malawians is that they should value their culture; culture gives people a sense of what they are. Lastly, let me say that we are all one. I just want Malawians to treat me as one of them, not (as) a white lady. We are all equal,” Tereza says.


Indeed, this message resonates with her songs. In them, humanity furnishes the beat while love provides the theme.


Press Statement on Presidential Debates 2014



For Immediate release, 17 April, 2014



The multi-stakeholder Taskforce on Malawi Presidential Debates, chaired by the National Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA), will hold a Presidential Debate for all 12 aspiring presidential candidates on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. The debate will take place at the Bingu International Conference Centre, (BICC), from 6:00 to 9:00 pm and broadcast live on radio, television and internet.




Second and third presidential debates are also scheduled for April 29 and May 6 in Lilongwe and Blantyre respectively, and will include those political parties fielding parliamentary candidates in 10 percent of constituencies across the country.




The Taskforce has received confirmation from most political parties that their candidates will participate and is finalizing the engagement process in readiness for the April 22 debate to have representation of all candidates.




Among other key decisions, all the debates will combine Chichewa and English and will be restricted to invited guests only and moderated by a well-respected, knowledgeable Malawian with a neutral stand and very conversant with Malawian politics. The Taskforce has been endorsed by the Malawi Electoral Commission.




The debates have been organised to inspire issues based elections and enable candidates to market their ideas and policies to the electorate. In addition, the debates aim to (1) motivate candidates to focus on real policy issues, and articulate their position on matters that are important to Malawians, thereby providing a basis for holding the winning candidate accountable after the elections; (2) provide voters with a rare opportunity to compare presidential contenders side by side; (3) help to promote political tolerance among candidates and (4) provide an opportunity for political rivals to show that despite their differences they can treat each other with mutual respect even when they disagree on issues which would in turn promote political coexistence before and after the elections.



Funding for the debates has been provided by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) with the National Democratic Institute providing technical assistance made possible by support from UKAID.



####

The debates taskforce was formed in July in response to interests by respective organizations to host presidential debates. Members include Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), National Initiative For Civic Education (NICE), National Democratic Institute (NDI), Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN), Mtendere Support Network (MESN), Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), NGO-Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN), The National Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA) and Young Politicians Union of Malawi (YPU).

Launch of Phase Two of Voters’ Roll Inspection



The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is informing all registered voters, political parties, civil society organisations and the general public that the second phase of voter verification will start on Easter Monday, 21 April, 2014 and end on Friday, 25 April, 2014.


This second phase will cover Mulanje, Machinga, Mangochi, Balaka,Salima NKhotakota, and all districts in the Northern Region. Centres will be opening from 8AM to 4PM including lunch hour.


The Commission is encouraging all registered voters in these districts who might be unable verify their details during weekdays to take advantage of the Easter Monday holiday to verify their details.


During the verification period, registered voters who lost their certificates should also go to the centres where they registered to get duplicate certificates which will enable them vote easily on May 20, 2014.


The Commission is also urging the public to report deaths of their relatives so that they should be removed from the voters’ register.


They should bring the voter certificate of the deceased and a death certificate, a letter from a traditional leader or religious leader as evidence.


The Commission will also process transfers for people who have moved away from the centres where they initially registered and they will be unable to go that centre on the polling day. These voters should go with their voter certificate to the centre where they wish to vote at and ask to be transferred to that centre. Without a voter
certificate, a transfer will not be processed.


For more information contact the Commission on email
ceo@mec.org.mw


Signed this 16Th day of April, 2014 at Blantyre.


Willie Kalonga

Chief Elections Officer


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Meeting with MBC Board on campaign broadcasting


PRESS RELEASE


The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) met with the board of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on Friday April 4, 2014 at the Commission’s head office in Blantyre.
The meeting was held to discuss various concerns and published reports of unfair coverage of contesting political parties in the 20 May 2014 elections.


It was observed that MBC has been giving prominence to the ruling party while at the same time marginalizing the opposition political parties.


During the meeting, both parties observed and accepted that the performance of the public broadcaster in ensuring equitable coverage has not been up to standard in many aspects.


It was agreed by both parties that MBC has not complied with the provisions of its broadcasting licence, the Communications Act and the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act of ensuring equitable access to the political parties.


The Commission unreservedly condemned the unprofessional conduct of MBC over the two weeks of the campaign and demanded radical changes that would lead to equitable coverage of all contesting political parties.


In response the board committed to undertake IMMEDIATE changes and reforms which shall include but not limited to:

.Giving a right to reply on all stories and campaign messages broadcast on radio and television.

. Stop rebroadcasting presidential rallies where the President was campaigning.

.Give equal airtime for political parties to campaign where the State President has been covered live campaigning.



The MBC board assured the Commission of immediate structural changes in its coverage of political parties and challenged MEC, political parties, civil society organisations, electoral stakeholders and the public to observe its performance for seven days effective Friday, April 4, 2014.


The Commission is, therefore, urging everyone who may have a complaint against MBC in the period up to Friday, April 18, 2014 to immediately lodge it with the Commission through the following address:


The Chief Elections Officer,
Malawi Electoral Commission,
Private Bag 113,
Blantyre
Email: ceo@mec.org.mw



The Commission will also agree with the board on other areas of reform which shall be communicated to the public soon.


Signed this 4th day of April, 2014 at Blantyre.


Willie Kalonga
Chief Elections Officer

Resumption of Inspection of Voters Roll


PUBLIC NOTICE


Resumption of Inspection of Voters Roll



The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is informing all registered voters, political parties, civil society organisations and the general public that it has worked on the inconsistencies that were discovered in the voters roll and it is now ready to resume the exercise.


The first phase of the exercise will start from Wednesday, April 9 to Sunday, April 13, 2014 in the following councils:

.Nsanje
. Chikhwawa
. Blantyre City
. Blantyre District
. Mwanza
. Neno
; Chiradzulu
. Phalombe
. Thyolo
. Luchenza
. Zomba City and
. Zomba district


During this inspection exercise, all registered voters are urged to go to the centres where they registered to inspect how their registration details are appearing in the voters’ roll.


Registered voters who lost their certificates should also go to the centres where they registered to get duplicate certificates which will enable them vote easily on May 20, 2014.


The Commission is also urging the public to report deaths of their relatives so that they should be removed from the voters’ register.


They should bring the voter certificate of the deceased and a death certificate, a letter from a traditional leader or religious leader as evidence.


The Commission will also process transfers for people who have moved away from the centres where they registered and they will be unable to go that centre on the polling day. These should go with their voter certificate to the centre where they wish to vote at and ask to be transferred to that centre.


The voter inspection exercise will be conducted in phases to enable the Commission to place adequate teams in all wards with photographic equipment to attend to queries and issues that may arise.


Subsequent phases will be announced shortly.

For more information contact the Commission on email ceo@mec.org.mw .



Signed this 4th day of April, 2014 at Blantyre.


Willie Kalonga
Chief Elections Office

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

THE FORUM FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE TALKS POLITICS, RELIGION



The Director of the Forum for Peace and Justice (FPJ) wishes to condemn a development by certain political parties which use words like 'Azimayi a Chisilamu abwere kutsogolo kuno adzavine (Moslem women should come in front and dance) at their rallies. They are reminded that Islam as a religion does not condone or tolerate any form of dancing hence such words are nonstarter and impermissible. However, if
some women or men dressing Islamically or in hijab(for women) opt to dance at these political rallies, they should do so independent of Islam or as individuals. As such, they should be identified by names of their groups not being generalized as Moslem women or Moslem men.


In a related development, the Executive Director of Forum for Peace and Justice is also sending a strong warning to some religious leaders who are moving up and down in mosques and churches telling their members on whom to vote for in the forthcoming general elections. What they should know is that religion is an entity that accommodates members of different political orientations. As such, they should not
be using mosques and churches as venues to campaign for candidates of their choices.


In the same vein, political violence or any form of violence is totally regrettable, primitive and unacceptable in the modern Malawi. As such, there should not be a repeat of what happened at Goliati in Thyolo few weeks ago. We are urging all stakeholders to advocate for violence-free-campaigns as we are fast moving towards the General Elections in May.



Sheikh Ali Makalani
Executive Director

Saturday, March 29, 2014

SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY DR. JOYCE BANDA PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI, and THE PEOPLE’S PARTY ON THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE PEOPLE’S PARTY 2014 TRIPARTITE ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN ON SATURDAY, 29TH MARCH, 2014 CIVO STADIUM, LILONGWE


SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY DR. JOYCE BANDA PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI, and THE PEOPLE’S PARTY ON THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE PEOPLE’S PARTY 2014 TRIPARTITE ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN ON SATURDAY, 29TH MARCH, 2014 CIVO STADIUM, LILONGWE

.Your Excellency Chief Justice Richard Banda, SC, (Retired);

. Rt. Hon. Sosten Gwengwe, Peoples Party Presidential Running mate and Minister of Industry and Trade;

. The Rt Honourable Khumbo Hastings Kachali, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, and Vice President of the People’s Party, North;

.Hon. Uladi Mussa, Vice President of the People’s Party, Centre and Minister of Home Affairs;


. Hon. Brown Mpinganjira, Vice President of the People’s Party, South AND Minister of Information and Civic Education;

. Hon. Paul Maulidi, Acting Secretary General;


. Hon.Irene Chikuni, Chairperson of the Campaign Launch Organising Committee;

. Members of the National Executive Committee of the People’s Party;


. Members of the Diplomatic Corps here present;


. Distinguished Delegates,Ladies and Gentlemen.





Today is a great day for me as I stand before you all to preside over the official launch of the People’s Party Campaign for
the May 2014 Tripartite Elections.


Two years ago, we began a journey to eradicate poverty through economic growth and wealth creation. We sought to see Malawians enjoy their freedom, dignity and sense of pride; and maximise their capacity to realise their social, political and economic empowerment.


Over the past two years, the Peoples Party Government has worked together with all Malawians to fight poverty and unemployment and reduce inequality.


Despite the negative global economic situation and emerging challenges that we faced, we have been able to heal our country from pain and despair. Today we have a population driven by hope.


We inherited an economy that was in crisis. Today we have turned around that economy. Indeed, in the short time I have been President, we have taken decisive action to heal the country, recover the economy, and build a strong foundation for growth.


With confidence, we can say with joy that:


It has been two years since our people spent hours on queues looking for fuel;

It has been two years since our people and businesses struggled to access foreign exchange;

It has been two years since bad laws were repealed and since then our people started enjoying their freedoms and civil liberties;

It has been two years since the media started operating freely without Government harassment; and since our people started exercising their rights and enjoy their freedoms including demonstrations without Government killing them;


It has been two years since punitive tax measures on private sector were removed and businesses started increasing their
production capacity from 30 per cent to over 75 percent;

It has been two years since tobacco buyers returned to the Auction Floors and our tobacco farmers started enjoying good production and prices;


It has been two years since we are witnessing the increase from 281 megawatts to 352 megawatts of electricity generated and the rolling out of Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP 7) to 81 Trading Centres across the country;


It has been two years since we have seen availability of maize in ADMARC (Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation) markets across the country at reasonable prices and our people no longer fight for madeya (maize husks);


It has been two years after devaluation of the Kwacha and now we are witnessing inflation rates coming down; and the Kwacha regaining strength;


Indeed it has been two years since God placed me in the transit lounge to prepare Malawi to receive the blessings of the
next 50 years. To God be the glory.




My fellow Malawians

Our country has once again become a better place to live and do business in.

We have made tremendous progress in the past 2 years.


The journey to recover our economy has been difficulty but rewarding. All of us have sacrificed and endured for this progress.

And today what is it that we see?


Today, we see the economy is looking good.


Today, the crops in the field are looking good.


Today, our currency is stabilising.


Today, our foreign exchange reserves are looking good at 3 months import cover.


Today, inflation and interest rates are going down.


Today, efforts to stop corruption have been like never before. We have taken very far reaching measures in dealing with fraud and corruption in Government including engaging foreign forensic auditors. This audit will cover the period from 2005 up to 2013.
These successes we have registered represent the foundation of a transformation agenda that the People’s Party is proposing to implement in the next five years.


We cannot have a better time to take off than now. Today, we seek to mobilise and unite all Malawians around this common vision of a Transformation Agenda. The agenda that seeks to improve the lives of all Malawians through economic growth,
wealth creation and political empowerment.


It is unacceptable to me as the President of Malawi, as it should be to all Malawians, that we have children continuing to suffer from malnutrition.


Or that they yearn to learn, but have to sit under trees rather than proper classrooms. It is unacceptable that a mother should die while giving birth because the nearest health center is far away. Or that thousands die of diseases that we have answers for.


It is unacceptable that the youth who represent the future of our world have few opportunities to realize their potential. Or that they are not guaranteed a society where they can mobilise themselves into financial citizens. It is unacceptable that farmers and other workers continue to toil to make the best of what they have but do not get the fruits of their labour due to lack of modernization, a supportive policy environment and access to markets; and that they are buried under global tariffs
and taxes.


For decades, I have fought these issues in Malawi and in the world as an activist and through my work at the grassroots.
I have experienced the struggles of the poor and the suffering of our people. I have championed the advancement of
the oppressed and marginalized, fought for the rights of women, youth and children, campaigned for the betterment of the rural and urban poor.


My fellow Malawians The Peoples Party Manifesto contains our plans for addressing the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.


We have, therefore, put Integrated Rural Transformation as the central focus of our plans for the next five years.
Our priorities during this term remain rural development, agriculture and food security, education, health, infrastructure
development, women empowerment,youth and vocational training, the creation of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods, reforming public service and the fight against crime and corruption.


We are also continuing to expand access to housing and basic services and building integrated human settlements.


The Peoples Party is decided to continue deepening a democratic governance and building a capable state and create conditions for
the promotion of patriotism, social solidarity and social mobilisation.


The Integrated Rural Transformation will be anchored by Mudzi Transformation Initiative as the flagship programme to
modernize rural areas and fight poverty.


We recognize that unless the majority of our citizens become active economic citizens, as a nation we will not easily
overcome poverty. In this regard, the main focus of the Peoples Party Government is to transform Malawi’s rural communities into vibrant hubs of agri-business and industrial activities and translate the country’s youth into a demographic dividend. In this regard, we seek to:


.Continue building decent houses for our people particularly those in rural areas and the urban poor.

. Distribute more cows to more than one million families in five years;

. Provide more fertilizer and seeds to our people through the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme

. Provide more fertilizer to our people through the Farm input Loan Programme;

. Provide potable clean water across the country;


. Build assets of households;

. Support rural farmers, farming clubs and cooperatives to access loans, grow cash crops, and access to markets;

. Support roads, health and education infrastructure development in rural communities;

. Support the development of cottage industries;

. Provide special housing schemes for serving low grade civil servants, for example, health workers, teachers, community and extension workers, police men and women; and

. Implement the Malawi Social Action Fund.


My fellow Malawians
The Peoples Party is offering a transformation that expands access to social services that meet minimum standards of quality of life regardless of location; that reduces inequality; and that accelerates progress towards an all inclusive community and
national development.


Therefore this is a transformation agenda that will get rid of a hoe as an implement of choice;

that will get rid of grass thatched house;

that will get rid of drinking contaminated water.



Through this transformation, we seek to Increase agricultural production and food security though:

.Reorganising the Ministry of Agriculture;


. Creating a Malawi Agriculture Transformation Authority to drive change in the agriculture sector;

. Establishing Agriculture Investment Bank to provide more loans to farmers;

. Establishing new co-operatives and farming clubs;

. Increasing livestock production;

. Expanding irrigation farming and intensify two crops a year;

. Supporting and improve tobacco farming;

. Building more silos in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu.


Indeed, this agenda seeks to decentralize tobacco marketing and licensing systems to districts in order to ensure broad-based
participation by our rural tobacco farmers.


My fellow Malawians
This is a transformational agenda that prioritises animal and fish farming through innovative programmes like Malawi Fish for All
Initiative.


Yes, through this Manifesto, the People’s Party has embraced a holistic approach to improving quality of and access to education.
The People’s Party Government is committed to improving education facilities and infrastructure, teacher’s development, provision of adequate teaching and learning materials, improving conditions of services for teachers among others.


To demonstrate this commitment, the People’s Party promises to:

 Transform the University of Malawi Colleges into fully fledged Universities as one of the strategies to expand access and improving efficiency of operations;


 Construct six Teacher Training Colleges and convert Domasi College of Education into a fully fledged Domasi University of
Education to address the supply of teachers;

 Strengthen the school inspectorate at primary and secondary levels to ensure that education standards and quality match the overall transformation agenda;


 Build 4 vocational and technical colleges to expand access to skills development for our youth.

 The People’s Party is proposing trans-formative strategies in reforming our health sector, and our economy in general.


In the Infrastructure sector, the People’s Party Government aims at implementing programmes for developing a modern and
effective roads network:


• Connect every district headquarters and regulated border post to a bituminized road Network;

• Accelerate and improve routine road maintenance and upgrading by building technical and institutional capacity at all levels
and providing graders in all districts;

• Design a master roadwork plan that should serve the country for the next 50 years;

• Expand the city road network by building more dual carriage highways including the road from Mchinji Round-about to Airport
Turn off;

• Upgrade all major bridges and construct new ones to replace those that have outlived their lifespan;

• Install street lights in all the major cities and district headquarters and ensure that they are functional;

• Provide other modes of transport including city buses, especially to Capital Hill and rural areas, to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated public transport system.


The Peoples Party is offering new hope to our youth; to our women; to our people with disabilities and to our elderly. The Peoples Party is saying that you are the people and therefore the owners of the Party. You are the backbone of the Party’s existence and success.


The PEOPLE’S PARTY Government is committed to improving the plight of most vulnerable members of our communities. In
this regard, through our manifesto we seek to:

Scale up Public Works Programme, School Feeding, Bursary Programmes and Food Aid;


Fast track the finalization of the social support policy to provide the framework for innovation in the provision of social
protection interventions;

• Enhance and promote regular transfers to the most vulnerable and the ultra-poor households;

• Promote longer term, skills oriented and asset enhancing social protection interventions;

• Implement coherent and progressive social support interventions to maximize synergies;

• Improve and scale up the Social Cash Transfer programmes to all 28 districts;

• Support people affected by natural disasters or shocks so that they do not descend into destitution.


My fellow Malawians
This vision requires us to agree on what we must do to realize our destiny.

Most of all, we want a Government that is of the people; respects the people; and serves the people. We want a Government that
guarantees the freedom, dignity, and pride of every Malawian.


We want a Government that is motivated, efficient and able to deliver on its mandate.



My fellow Malawians

I am committed to continue to champion the cause of the rural and urban poor.

I am committed to continue champion the cause of women and youth.

I am committed to continue champion the cause of the workers, the people with disability and the elderly. I am committed
to continue champion the cause of the business community. Yes, I am committed to continue champion the cause of students.


Indeed, I am committed to rural transformation as the centre-piece of our transformational agenda.


This is in response to the fact that life in rural Malawi is a continuous struggle and the rural folks are looking for a leadership and a government that can change their life circumstances forever.


I want to call upon all our people: men and women, young and old; rich and poor to see what I see because I am indeed seeing prosperity upon our land. Now it demands of us to make a better Malawi possible.



A Malawi that becomes the hope of our people and the continent. A Malawi that is a centre of excellence for doing
business. A Malawi that participates in leadership of global affairs.


A Malawi that is efficient and skilful. Yes, a healthy Malawi. In this regard, the choices we make today are critical in
determining the future we desire to have.


I have full confidence in the people of Malawi. We all share the same dream of a better future for our country, our
families, and our children. This Manifesto says what the People’s Party Government, under my leadership, intends to do in order to achieve that objective. I ask of you for your support.


It is Possible to transform Malawi. Nzotheka!


It is possible for the People’s Party to win this
election! Nzotheka!


A better Malawi is possible. Nzotheka!


With these remarks, I declare the People’s Party Campaign for the May 2014 Tripartite Elections launched.

I thank you

Friday, March 28, 2014

HIV as a chronic disease: Dealing with Lifelong Treatment in Africa

Press release Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp – for immediate release (ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands, aussi disponible en Fran├žais)





(ANTWERP, 27/3/2014) Since 2004, the number of patients on antiretroviral drugs increased 24-fold in Sub-Saharan Africa to 6.9 million*. HIV has become a chronic disease which demands lifelong strict adherence to treatment. However, health systems in Southern Africa are not equipped to keep an unprecedented large number of patients in lifelong treatment. Alternatives are therefore urgently needed. Freya Rasschaert, researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, explored innovative solutions that take into account the needs of patients and the local reality. Rasschaert will receive a doctorate on Friday (March 28) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel for her research in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.




In these countries, HIV care services were decentralised to peripheral health centres to facilitate access to lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, these peripheral centres are usually not equipped or adapted to deal with the additional work pressure and the number of additional patients. Malawi and Ethiopia are two examples of how this problem can be addressed delegating tasks to lower health cadres and creating new functions dedicated to HIV care, without compromising the quality of the care. However, strengthening health systems only is not enough to improve access to ART and retention in care: "As long as a patient is sick, a health centre remains the most indicated place for treatment. However, you can't expect a fit HIV patient on ART to travel for two to three hours ever month just to fetch his or her pills. Furthermore, all peripheral health centres will be overcrowded and saturated within a short amount of time,” says Rasschaert.




According to Rasschaert, treatment models of other chronic diseases, with the emphasis on 'self-management', can be applied to HIV care. Health care providers then no longer carry the main responsibility, but are essentially involved in teaching the necessary skills and knowledge to help patients cope with their disease themselves and to accompany them during this process. "This way people with HIV actively participate in the care of their chronic illness. At the same time, it reduces the work pressure in the health centres, providing more time for the health staff to care for the acutely ill."




Most of the chronic care models in developed countries can count on the support of strong health systems and multidisciplinary teams, which is rarely the case in countries with limited resources. That is why other support mechanisms, such as ‘peer support’ and social engagement, are so important. The community-based treatment model in Tete, Mozambique, is a good example of how patients can play an active role in their own care and the care of fellow patients. Groups formed by patients stable on ART ensure monthly access to antiretroviral drugs through a rotating drug collection system. They also offer support in therapy adherence and provide a protected environment in which patients can freely discuss their daily problems and challenges.




"HIV patients and their communities can play an important role in keeping people in treatment, but that's no excuse not to tackle the health system’s problems. Stronger health systems and innovative patient-centered care should go hand in hand in lifelong HIV care," concludes Rasschaert.



Rasschaert made use of literature studies, analysis of routine data, retrospective cohort analyses and qualitative research methods to come to her conclusions.



END

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Malawi’s Missed Opportunity For Electoral Reforms Threatens To Undermine 2014 polls- Report

MEDIA RELEASE





Blantyre, March 27 2014- As Malawi gears up to go to what many are calling the closest electoral race in its history, a new report entitled: “Malawi- Political Participation and Democracy,” has pointed to the missed opportunity for electoral reforms in the country.



It states that the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system does not appear to be serving Malawi well. And ‘losers’ have ended up being crowned ‘winners’ in general elections. Currently Malawi’s electoral rules states that any person vying for political office is deemed the winner based on a simple majority.




In essence, one can be a winner of an election without a mandate, as was the case in 1994 with former president Mulizi, who received only 47% of the vote. Ten years later this trend was repeated by late Bingu wa Mutharika, who garnered only 36% of the vote, yet still went on to be president, (although in 2009 Mutharika had 66% of the vote). In essence 64% of electorates rejected him, but because of the FPTP system, he ended up being at the helm of government.



“The people of Malawi spoke up in 2006, during the constitutional conference, and decided that an overhaul of its electoral systems was needed. Almost seven years and two elections later, their wishes have not come to pass. Priority must now be placed on reforms and whoever ends up at the helm after May 20th elections, must commit to fulfilling these aspirations and focus on meaningful reform of the electoral system so that good governance and democracy can be consolidated,” said Ozias Tungwarara, manager in the Africa Regional Office of the Open Society Foundation.



Participants at the constitutional conference had stated specifically that there has to be a 50 plus one majority for any candidate to be declared winner. This meant that if any candidate could not amass the required more 50% of the votes then a second round of balloting would be held. This recommendation was never been implemented, and was ignored by most politicians because it served their interests.



The report also warns of the lack of public confidence in the Malawi Electoral Commission, due to the dominance of the executive, which controls the appointments and dismissals of the Commissioners. MEC’s track record of managing elections is also highlighted, whereby irregularities and logistical problems continue to undermine its credibility.



The debate for an overhaul of the voters’ roll remains unresolved, which could magnify the current perception that the MEC is unable to provide a level political playing field for opposition candidates. The report calls for all candidates to focus on calling for the creation of a new voters’ roll as a priority for future elections in Malawi. It also asks the MEC to work closely with the National Registration Bureau in its future projections on registration and confirmation of the voters’ roll, once reforms have been enacted.



The report also raises concern over the politics of ethnicity and regionalism, which it states are glaring realities in Malawi. As far back as 1994, the three dominant parties: AFORD; MCP and UDF have retained sizable and consistent margins in North, Central and Southern areas of the country, respectively. And it calls for a code of conduct established by law for political parties, which should be enforced by the MEC.





The 323 page study also praises Malawi’s democratic credentials, and urges law makers to focus on far reaching reforms and harmonize laws that relate to local government and local government elections, the constitutional amendment act of 2012 and the national Decentralization Policy, with a view to creating a clear legal and policy framework for local governance in Malawi. The study authored by Wiseman Chirwa, focuses on nine thematic areas: Malawi’s constitutional framework; equal citizenship; policy processes; elections; political parties; the legislature; local government; traditional authorities; and development assistance. It makes recommendations for urgent reforms in all thematic areas, and states that another opportunity for demonstration of political will for political transformation in Malawi should not be lost after the general elections in May.



###END##






Background:


The studies on Political Participation and Democracy have been conducted and launched in Benin, DRC, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Senegal Sierra Leone Swaziland, South Africa and Zambia. Kenya is soon to be published. This forms part of a series of reports that also assesses governance in the Justice Sector and Public Service Delivery in Education in the respective countries.



Who:




AfriMAP, the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project, is an initiative of the Open Society Foundations, and works with national civil society organizations to conduct systematic audits of government performance in three areas: the justice sector and the rule of law; political participation and democracy; and effective delivery of public services. The project also assesses the African Peer Review Mechanism and roles of Public broadcasters in Africa.

www.afrimap.org




OSISA, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is a regional Foundation that is part of a global network of the Open Society Foundations. Established in 1997, and based in Johannesburg, OSISA’s vision is the realization of a vibrant Southern African society in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate democratically in all spheres of life. In pursuit of this vision, OSISA’s mission is to initiate and undertake advocacy work (and support initiatives by others) that seek to establish the ideals of open society in the region.

www.osisa.org




MHRRC, Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre works with civil society organizations to effectively support the developing democracy in the country. MHRRC contributes towards the consolidation of channels of free expression and other rights for the citizens by working with and building the capacity of NGOs and CSOs working on human rights.

http://www.humanrights.mw



For more Information please contact:



In Malawi:

Ozias Tungwarara

Email: oziast@osisa.org

Mobile: +265 998 792 312




In South Africa:

Jeggan Grey-Johnson

Email: jeggangj@osisa.org

Tel: +27836200578

MOZAMBIQUE GENERAL ELECTIONS VOTER REGISTRATION IN MALAWI

PRESS RELEASE






The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation would like to inform the General Public that the Government of the Republic of Mozambique through its High Commission in Lilongwe sought the approval of the Malawi Government to conduct a voter registration exercise in the country from 16th March to 14th April, 2014 targeting Mozambican nationals. The exercise is being undertaken in respect of the General Elections scheduled to take place in October, 2014. The targeted areas for the exercise are Lilongwe, Blantyre, Salima, Dedza, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Mzuzu and Chikwawa districts.



The General Public is further informed that the voter registration exercise for Mozambican citizens in the diaspora is a normal practice taking place in many countries where Mozambique has diplomatic representation.



Any inquiries regarding the voter registration of the Mozambican nationals should be made to Mozambique High Commission, Lilongwe or alternatively Mozambique Consulate, Blantyre or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lilongwe.











Issued by:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,

Capital Hill,

P.O. Box 30315,

LILONGWE 3.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Suspension of Voters Roll Inspection


PRESS RELEASE



The Malawi Electoral Commission sincerely regrets to advise that due to logistical challenges and inadequacies in the preliminary voters’roll, it has decided to suspend the voters’ roll inspection exercise.


This means all centres that had been opened will be closed. The Commission will soon announce when the exercise will resume.


All stakeholders are being assured of the highest commitment by the Commission to hold a credible Tripartite Election on 20th May 2014.


Signed this 25th day of March, 2014 at Blantyre.


Willie Kalonga
Chief Elections Officer

Monday, March 24, 2014

Malawi Law Society Says: Political Violence Threatens The People of Malawi’s Right to Rule





The Malawi Law Society (MLS) has noted with great concern and outrage the senseless violence that occurred at Goliati Trading centre in Thyolo that claimed the lives of a civilian and a Police Officer and the other incidences of political violence that have occurred and the continued blame game which is raging on which is not only exacerbating the situation but also threatens the holding of free and fair elections in this country. MLS condemns in no uncertain terms those involved in perpetuating this political violence, such barbaric behaviour cannot be tolerated in a democratic dispensation such as ours. When we opted to become a democracy we gave the right to rule to the people of Malawi and they exercise this right by electing their preferred political leaders .The people’s right to govern themselves is therefore being threatened and challenged by this barbaric political violence.



Our politicians should not underestimate the effect of political violence on the development of our country. Political violence breeds political instability and this in turn affect a number of developmental issues including investor confidence and respect for human rights, we only need to look at some of our neighbours to realise the impact of political instability on the citizenry.



The MLS calls upon leaders of different political parties to take responsibility for their supporters and make sure that whoever instigates violence should face disciplinary action or even expulsion from the party. We also urge the different political leaders to come up with various means to create employment and business opportunities for our youths and desist from using them as tools for political violence. We also call upon the Malawi Police Service to vigorously investigate the incidents and bring to book all culprits involved regardless of party affiliation.


Felisah Kilembe,
MLS General Secretary



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Shadows

Yesterday, it was them chasing the shadows; now, the shadows have fled. There is nothing to chase anymore. The wind, may be. The wind that blows after five years. How things change!

Death Announcement of Fr. Mattias Chiwanda




18th March 2014



Death Announcement


The Catholic Secretariat of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi regrets to announce the death of Fr. Mattias George Chiwanda a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Chikwawa. Fr. Chiwanda passed on at Kalemba Hospital in Nsanje District in the evening having been sick for a short time.


Fr. Mattias George Chiwanda
was born on 12th July 1969 and hailed from Sorgin Village, T/A Mbenje in Bangula Parish in Chikwawa District. He was ordained priest on 16th July 1995 at Chikwawa Cathedral and served in the following parishes and institutions: Nsanje Parish, Misomali Parish, Nsanje Spirituality Centre, Mzimu Woyera Seminary and Ngabu Parish.


Burial Mass will be on, 20th March 2014, at Chikwawa Cathedral Cemetery starting from 9.30am. Right Reverend Peter Musikuwa will preside over the Requiem Mass.


May the Soul of Reverend. Fr. Mattias George Chiwanda Rest in Eternal Peace.



Rev. Fr. George Buleya
SECRETARY GENERAL


“AN OUTRIGHT CONDEMNATION”

MALAWI CATHOLIC COMMISSION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE (CCJP)

MEDIA STATEMENT

ON EMERGING POLITICAL VIOLENCE - 18TH MARCH 2014.



“AN OUTRIGHT CONDEMNATION”




PREAMBLE


The Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, an institution mandated by the Catholic bishops to ensure works for and promotion of a just and peace Malawian society is hereby condemning categorically the acts of violence that have resurfaced in this immediate past as evidenced by the fracas and subsequent loss of life in Thyolo-Goliati over the weekend and the beating in a private hotel (but on an open place) of an opposition politician in Blantyre on Monday night, due to apparently politically motivated reasons. CCJP emphatically states that no one must lose his or her life or get disfigured due to violence emanating from political rallies. The right to life and safety supersedes the right to political association and assembly as such; no amount of political differences and verbal provocation should lead to any acts of violence and sudden deaths or wounding of any person.


OUR SERIOUS CALL TO ALL


We, the Justice and Peace Commission, therefore, call upon all political leaders, their supporters, the state security functionaries, traditional leaders and the general citizenry to remember always to work for peace and calm at all times; and that during these hyped- elections times, all must ensure safety and security of all that come to listen to campaign issues that seek to ensure an informed citizenry that will make its choice of leaders on May 20, 2014 based on their assessment of the leaders that have successfully won their hearts not by intimidation, nor coercion. We also call on the youths to refuse to be abused by political leaders to perpetrate violence.



ISSUES THAT MALAWIANS MUST REMEMBER

With this important basis, we therefore remind fellow Malawians the following:

The laws of Malawi allow for plural politics meaning different political parties will always exist and operate in Malawi. The same laws do not allow political parties’ ownership of some geographical zones or territories. Freedom of assembly is agreed and acknowledged for all without political discrimination.


The laws of Malawi allow political parties to conduct political meetings anywhere and anytime as far as notices to right authorities are given so that they do not book more than one party at a given venue.



The Malawi Electoral Commission has encouraged Malawians- just like CSOs and FBOs including the academia have an issue-based campaign- so that political players do not exploit people’s ignorance by telling them non-essential issues like name calling, bad-mouthing, there will be no inflammatory vocabulary; how good or bad another leader is looking, who is appropriate or inappropriate to be or not to be a leader in Malawi.


But that political campaigns should offer alternative views on policy and developmental issues; as such, there will be no Malawian youths must not be used by political leaders to incite political violence. The youths have a role in Malawi and this is in development and leadership strides of our country. The current violence reminds us of the nasty situation in 1999 when Alick Makina died during fracas between NDA AND UDF, in 2004, innocent Epifania Bonjesi IN 1999, on 20th July, 2011 20 lives were lost. We regret that the youths whore are being used in these acts are ending up being victims of their own acts.



In view of this, we call upon the youths to desist from being used by barbaric politicians. We are a nation that maintains social values of respect for others, peaceful co-existence, settlement of our differences, communal dialogue and our social cohesion as the warm heart of Africa should not be sacrificed by political bigotry and sycophancy. We need to love our political parties, yes, but we need not be zealots and blind loyalists even at the expense of our brothers or sisters’ life.



Ours therefore is a call to Malawi Electoral Commission to make sure that measures are put in place and reinforced to allow parties to comply with best standards of conducting their political rallies. We also appeal for justice in all such cases since we believe in the saying “where there is no justice, there is no peace”


OUR APPEAL



We call upon all leaders of political parties to condemn any acts of violence and to continue encouraging their supporters to remain peaceful.
We call upon Malawi Electoral Commission to find ways of disciplining parties in a very tangible way including disqualifying potential candidates, if indeed proven to having perpetrated political violence.


As our Catholic Bishops reminded us in “Strengthening the Vision of Our Destiny” December 1st, 2013 pastoral letter that “The forthcoming tripartite elections provide us with the best opportunity for strengthening the vision of our destiny. Essentially this entails conducting elections that are free, fair and credible and electing leaders that have the desire, commitment and capability of turning our country around. It also entails that the electorate can get out of chronic object poverty by electing leaders who can enable them to do so”.


Furthermore, our Bishops recently reminded us that “When we began the journey towards our independence, we dreamt of ushering in a new era…we envisioned a country emancipated politically and economically. Peace is one of the values we envisioned as clearly expressed in the National Anthem: ‘O God bless our land of Malawi, keep it a land of peace’…” (Strengthening our destiny, 1st December 2013, p. 3)


We conclude by emphatically saying that we need an environment of peace, calm and freedom to campaign, articulate real issues, to participate in these campaigns without fear, favour and prejudices.


God Bless Malawi.




SIGNED ON BEHALF OF CCJP BY: Chris Chisoni- National Secretary, today: 18th March 2014.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

CONDEMNATION OF VIOLENCE AT PRESIDENT JOYCE BANDA’S RALLY IN THYOLO

PRESS STATEMENT

18TH March 2014





Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) has learnt with great shock about the violence that erupted at President Joyce Banda’s mass rally in Thyolo on Sunday, March 16 2014. The political violence resulted in the death of two people, a civilian and a police officer. This is uncalled for and very unfortunate. MESN sends its sympathies to the bereaved families.



MESN condemns violence in the run up to the May 20 tripartite elections as that has the potential of scaring away voters to participate in the electoral processes that would help them make informed choices of their leaders. MESN asks political party leaders to urge their supporters to avoid violence at any cost. MESN urges political parties to advance issue based campaign. Malawi is known to be a peaceful nation and as such MESN condemns any leader or party that would want to turn it into a battle-ground . MESN calls upon leaders of all political parties to desist from using the youth to attack their opponents in the name of political campaign.



We also urge leaders of political parties to desist from using hate speech when addressing their supporters. Hate speech is a recipe for violence. Malawians are tired of political leaders who promote hate speech. Malawians want clean politicians who will bring hope to their suffering and pain. At 50 now, the country has not benefitted anything from hate speech and violence; instead, innocent lives have been lost. MESN asks law enforcers to do their work professionally and bring to justice perpetrators of violence without fear or bias.



MESN calls upon all electoral stakeholders to ensure that the playing field is leveled so that Malawians are given the opportunity to freely participate in the forthcoming elections.



Steve Duwa

Chairperson

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Court Finds One Guilty for Corruption



In September, 2010, the Anti-Corruption Bureau received a complaint alleging that Mr. Peter Mtamula from Chalemera Village an off shoot of Dzikolatha village bribed STA Ndakwera in Chikwawa district with K6,500.00 so that STA Ndakwera should rule in favour of him in a land dispute with Mrs. Melesita Lawrence Notesi.


The Anti-Corruption Bureau instituted an investigation where it was established that Mr. Mtamula Bribed the Chief who in turn reported the matter to Nchalo Police Station. Nchalo Police referred the matter to the Bureau.


The Anti-Corruption Bureau took Peter Mtamula to Nchalo Magistrate’s Court. He was charged with one count of corrupt transaction with public officers contrary to Section 24 (2) of the Corrupt Practices Act.


On 12th March, 2014, the Nchalo Magistrate’s Court found Peter Mtamula guilty of the count convicted him accordingly. He was sentenced to twenty four months imprisonment with hard labour. The sentence was suspended to twelve months on mitigation that the convict is old (70 years) and not in good health most of the times.


The Bureau commends STA Ndakwera for ensuring that justice is not prevented by corruption and calls upon all to follow the good example shown by STA Ndakwera by reporting the corrupt to Police or the Anti-Corruption Bureau.




EGRITA M. NDALA
SENIOR PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
FOR: DIRECTOR GENERAL


Friday, March 14, 2014

Mining in Malawi: From A Curse to Development Tool


To count, or not to count, That is the issue.


And Paramount Chief Kyungu often opts not to count the awards community members have received as a token of appreciation from miners there.


“I strongly feel that thee is more that mining companies can do to neighbouring communities than is currently the case. Things like promoting quality education and access to good health,” says Kyungu.


This disappointment means he fights the nudge to count the benefits, afraid that, if he does (count), he may not be able to psych himself into the anxiety that will fall over him.


And Kyungu is not the only one affected. His subjects have often teamed up with civil society organisations to call for more benefits from mining activities taking place in Karonga, arguing that good corporate citizenship cannot be limited to the construction of a health centre.


“Of course, we know that mining companies are not the government but, at least, they should go beyond employing people from neighbouring villages, constructing tarred roads or health centres; I know of countries where community members around mines get scholarships and other things,” says Michael Nseteka, a Karonga-based businessman.




Doing more
As if buying into the community members’ line of thinking, a coalition of civil society organisations in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has ganged up against mining companies in a bid to end what it calls “inequalities” between worth accumulated by the companies and the poverty prevalent in areas surrounding mines.


The coalition, trading under the banner The Sadc Basic Income Grant Coalition (Sadc Big), argues that Sadc countries including Malawi can afford to give their citizens a monthly financial package and calls for the institution of a cash transfer system based on universal coverage.


It says the Malawi Government can afford to give every citizen US$15 (K6, 255) monthly, but points out that “inconsiderate” decisions to give incentives to mining.
“The Sadc Big campaign believes that due to desired secondary multiplier potentials, the amount of the Basic Income Grant is important and should be no less than US$15 (K6,255) per person per month. The delivery mechanism would go through public institutions, supporting financial inclusion,” reads part of the document.


Apart from imploring governments to provide funds to individual citizens, the coalition is also fighting for the establishment of a Sadc-wide Basic Income Grant in a move it says is aimed at reducing “severe destitution”.


It says a Basic Income Grant would help restore human dignity, decrease poverty and reduce inequality, and urges leaders not to politicize the initiative.


At a meeting held in South Africa on November 19, and attended by 19 organisations working in the Sadc region, civil society leaders said governments should hasten the process to stem wide-spread poverty in the region.


Malawi was represented by The Africa Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (Anppcan-Malawi) and the Centre for Social Concern. Other organisations included the Southern African Trade Union and Coordination Council, Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, World Vision South Africa , Mozambique Platform for Social Protection, Southern Africa Green Revolutionary Council, Lesotho Platform for Social Protection, Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa, LifeLine Southern Africa, among others.


Anppcan-Malawi Chapter country director, Kenwilliams Mhango, said the coalition was of the consensus that the Malawi Government could afford to give its citizens US$15 (K6, 255) a month, citing the proliferation of mining companies in the country.


“It was discussed at the Johannesburg meeting in November that Malawi has been losing out in terms of financial resources from the mining sector. One of the reasons was that the Government of Malawi grants so many concessions and people’s economic well-being suffers,” says Mhango said, adding:


“We conducted a survey in three districts in the Northern Region, and discovered that there are over 45 mining companies that operate there. The national cake is, surely, not being shared equally. With the sharp, worsening and disproportional distribution of the national cake come problems such as unemployment, very low income, corruption, collapse of confidence in the political system and the economy at large.”


Mhango says Malawi can learn from countries that have social protection programmes and save its citizens from severe poverty. Some African countries already implement social protection programmes.


For example, Botswana runs a universal old-age pension, Lesotho implements a non-contributory old-age scheme, Liberia offers old-age assistance, Mauritius has a universal old-age pension, Namibia has old-age pension, South Africa has old-age pension child support grant and child support grant, care dependency grant and disability grant.


The other countries include Mozambique, which has a minimum income for school attendance, among others.




Creating a win-win situation

Mining Minister John Bande says Malawi was on a learning curve, and has since learned from experience and would ensure mining agreements signed with foreign and local prospectus create a win-win situation in a bid to increase the sector’s contribution towards economic development.


Responding to a questionnaire on why the government is taking time to finalise discussions with Globe Metals of Australia, Mining Minister John Bande said discussions between the government and the investor were at an advanced stage.


“We want to safeguard the interest of Malawians now by making sure that agreements we make create a win-win situation,” says Bande, adding:


“The mineral resources belong to Malawians and we, the Joyce Banda administration, are just custodians with a responsibility to ensure that Malawians understand and benefit from mining deals.”


Bande says, in a bid to ensure that Malawians benefit from the mineral resources, the government had instituted a nationwide geo-physical exploration exercise, with such companies as Nu-energy had already joined government by starting airborne geophysical exploration in selected areas of the Southern Region.


The Geo-physical Mapping exercise is a World Bank-supported initiative, and is part of the Mining Governance and Growth Support Project.



He says the government is in a drive to generate more income through mining, adding that efforts are being made to create an enabling environment. He cites the launch of the Mines and Minerals Policy in April last year, and review of the Mines and Minerals.



“We realise that, in the past, about 30 percent of our income used to come from precious stones but, somehow, the dynamics changed somewhere along the way. However, we have seen that the mining sector is now contributing 10 percent to the national economy, up from 3 percent before Paladin Africa Limited started uranium mining operations at Kayerekera in Karonga district,” says Bande.


Information sourced from the World Bank website indicates that bank’s Board of Directors approved a $25million (K10.450, 000, 000) credit to support the Malawi Government improve management and governance of its nascent mining sector on March 31, 2011.


“In the next few years, minerals would become one of Malawi’s main sources of foreign direct investment and generate up to 25 percent of export earnings, hence the need for efficiency and transparency in this sector,” the website quotes Sandra Bloemenkamp, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi, as saying.


In her ‘State of the Nation’ address, President Joyce Banda indicated that the mining sector continued to grow steadily and its contribution to the GDP grew from 3 percent in 2009 to 10 percent in 2012, resulting in a substantial increase in exports.


She also said the government had launched an airborne geophysical mineral exploration programme to be carried out by Nu-energy Gas of Australia in the districts of Chikhwawa and Nsanje.


"Government will continue to implement the Mining Growth and Governance Support Project with financial support from the World Bank and European Union; introduce training courses in mining in our institutions of higher learning,” says Banda her address.


While is clear, though, is that, as the sector grows, so will the community frustrations.







Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MISA MALAWI STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF MEDIA LEGEND TITO BANDA



12th March, 2014

For Immediate Release


The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and the entire media fraternity in the country is shocked with the untimely death of veteran writer and media trainer, Mr Tito Banda.


Banda, who hailed from Chigude Village, T.A. Kampingo Sibande, Mzimba, passed on at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.


He was until his death a lecturer in language and literature at Mzuzu University.


Tito, as he is fondly called in the media fraternity, will be remembered as a man who trained and mentored many media practitioners in Malawi and a man who emphasised on the need for journalists to adhere to ethics and professionalism.


It is undisputable that Tito helped in shaping the media in Malawi through initiatives such as KZT school of Journalism and Pen Point School of Journalism.


MISA Malawi Chapter will miss Tito for his contribution towards the establishment of the chapter. The deceased will also be remembered as a great resource person who was until his death active in steering MISA Malawi as an organization that promotes media freedom and freedom of expression.


Tito's life remains a source of inspiration to many journalists. His death, only reminds us to carry on his good work in promoting media freedom.


His legacy in Malawian media development and literature will remain memorable as an ethno-writer; a lecturer; award winner; a founder of Pen Point School of Journalism; and a mentor.


MISA Malawi Chapter joins the media fraternity, Mzuzu University and the rest of Malawians in mourning the demise of this great son of Malawi and extends the most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and friends.


However, MISA Malawi and the entire media fraternity will continue to celebrate Tito's life through his achievements in media development in Malawi which include:

Authoring of many Malawian literature including his three novels:
Sekani's Solution in 1980, Bitter Disapproval in 1987 The Luke Charm in 2011;

Lecturing at Malawi School of Journalism (MIJ) and until his lecture at Mzuzu University - department of languages and literature;

2012 First Merchant Bank/ Malawi Writers Union Short story award winner;

Founder and lecture of Pen Point school of Journalism - One of the earliest journalism schools;

A mentor of many upcoming and excellent journalists in Malawi Tito also authored Overlooked and Sublime: An introductory poetic genre escapes political incorporation; and Old nyaviyuyu performance: Seven Tales from northern Malawi as told by master performer of oral narrative in 2008 later translated to Tumbuka as Vidokoni vya Nyaviyuyu in 2001.

May the soul of our beloved mentor, teacher and source of inspiration, Tito Banda, rest in eternal peace.


Signed
Anthony Kasunda
MISA MALAWI CHAIRPERSON