Monday, August 31, 2009

Judge Jane Ansah given another go

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Malawi President His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has approved that Judge Jane Ansah be retained as the country’s Attorney General for a second time.

Malawi Digest sources have confirmed that the first female Attorney General in the country has been given another three-year contract in the job.

Judge Ansah, confirmed herself in an interview with Malawi Digest on Sunday night that she was given another lease of life as the country’s top attorney.

“I can only confirm that I have been given another term, that’s all I can say for now,” she said.

A senior official in the Office of President and Cabinet also confirmed to Malawi Digest that Ansah had her contract renewed for another term last week.

“The renew follows her letter requesting the State President to have her time extended after the previous one expired in July,” said the source who did not want his name mentioned as he had not sought clearance from the Chief Secretary Bright Msaka.

As Attorney General in Malawi, Jane Ansah’s role is to play advisory role to the Malawi Government on all legal issues.

Jane Ansah, a lawyer by profession worked in the government as a lawyer in the State Advocate Chambers before she excelled further to become Judge.

She was appointed a High Court in 1997 before President Bingu wa Mutharika appointed her as the country’s Attorney General in 2006-Malawi Digest.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Medical experts support marriage at 16

Malawi's Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika. He has full support from experts and professionals from different fields. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Agnes Mizere

Medical Association of Malawi (Mam) says Parliament did not err when passing a bill to increase the marriage age from 15 to 16 with parental consent since the sex consent age has not changed and remains at 13 in the Penal Code.

The association has also appealed for the laws of Malawi to be completely reviewed as it does not make sense to have sex consent age lower than the marriage one.

Currently, the law allows girls to marry after 18 years and also allows them to marry with parental consent at between 16 and 18 years despite the age consent for sex remaining at 13.

According to Mam, maternal mortality rates involve childbirth and in Malawi one cannot get pregnant without having sex.

So as long as there are teenage pregnancies from 13 years and above, there would still be high maternal mortality.

However, Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) and other civil society organisations condemned Parliament for permitting girls to marry at 16 with parental guidance but were silent about the sex consent age.

In a statement, FPAM argued that early marriage was harmful since girls who marry at 16 are at risk of complications such as obstructed labour and obstetric fistula often due to prolonged labour.

But from the medical point of view, Mam, which includes gynaecologists, said it was not against marriages but early pregnancies so even if the marriage age was pushed to 21, the age consent for sex was below meaning that minors would still be having sex and unwanted pregnancies, which is one of the biggest contributors to high maternal morbidity and mortality.

Mam said the contraceptive prevalence rate at 33 percent means 67 percent of Malawians, mostly the youth, who are supposed to use contraceptives, are not using it.
In an interview, Mam Chairperson Edgar Kuchingale said the 16 to 18 ages makes logical sense as a law that could easily be applied not just on paper.

Actually, the law was preventing girls from giving themselves into marriage without the parent knowing such that as of now, if you marry a 16-year-old without parental consent, you are breaking the law.

He said Parliament did not err by emphasising 16 to 18 years as time for marriages with consent, meaning it was not free for all since parents have to agree to their daughters being married.

“I believe this law was changed after consultation with experts in the field taking into consideration the part of the world we are living in,” he said.

Kuchingale said those advocating for change could go back to the villages and sensitise people not to allow their daughters to be married at 16 or 18 because that was where the problem was.

More than 85 percent of Malawians live in rural areas.

“The fuss over the 16 years marriage age does not make a proper case and we are missing the boat, the law is very clear, especially in the grey area of 16 to 18-year-olds.We need to approach this matter with a sober mind. Changing the marriage age without changing the age of sexual consent doesn’t make any sense because young people will still be getting pregnant, a thing we do not want.

“What is causing women to die is pregnancy not marriage. Maternal mortality comes from pregnancies not marriages. People are not killed by their husbands, they are killed by sex,” said Kuchingale, who is also a gynaecologist and obstetrician.

Kuchingale argued that if the age of consent of marriage was higher than 16, it would also be difficult to enforce it making it a useless law when charging those having sex with minors.

For example, marrying at 16 should ideally mean that any adult sleeping with a minor under 16, should be charged with defilement or statutory rape.

He said the law needs to harmonise consent ages because other discrepancies include hospital treatment consent at 18, driver’s licence at 18, voting at 18, marriage age at 16 but sex at 13-The Sunday Times, August 30, 2009.

Muluzi's lawyer Assani okeys marriage at 16

Former Malawi Director of Public Prosecutions and former president Bakili Muluzi's leading lawyer says he sees no problems with girls and boys marrying at 16 and above. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

One of the leading lawyers for former Malawi president Bakili Muluzi, Fahad Assani has said that he is in full support of the amendment in the country’s marriage age that has now been put by Parliament at between 16 to 18 years.

Assani, who is also the country’s former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said in an interview with one of Malawi’s leading dailies, The Nation that he sees no problem in the amendment as responsibility for a child rests with parents or guardians.

“People should read that section carefully. What it means now is that girls even boys between the age of 16 and 18 will not be allowed to get married without consent of their parents or guardians.

“Previously, it was 15 to 18 years. This means if one is above 18, they can get married with no restrictions. The responsibility remains with parents not to facilitate the marriage of young girls to boys,” Assani.

Assani said he believed the law which requires getting consent from parents was framed to protect girls that are in school, but said consideration should also be made of girls of 16 years and above that dropped out of school but are ready for marriage.

Meanwhile another law academician Dr Msaiwale Chigawa of the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College has also come out in the open to support the amendment.

Chigawa, who is a Constitutional law expert but also participated in the National Constitutional Review Conference of 2006/07 said delegates settled for 16 years and above for people to enter into marriage with the consent of parents or guardians after considering realities on the ground in various cultural settings.

The law expert Chigawa said many Malawians enter into customary marriage and not the statutory one, arguing that in villages, girls marry at 16 or 17, hence it would be unrealistic to have a law that would prove difficult to enforce.

He said strong suggestions were made at the conference to push the age from 15 to 18, but they were defeated for the simple reason that this would be unrealistic.

Chigawa said the conference also reviewed leaving the minimum age at 15 as sanctioning marriage of young people.

Chigawa said they felt that the Constitution was contradicting itself as Section 23 (5) states that “for purposes of this section, children shall be persons under 16 years of age” while Section 22 (7) states that “for persons between the age of 15 and 18, marriage shall only be entered into with the consent of their parents or guardians.”

The Malawi National Assembly recently made an amendment on Section 22 (7) under Family and Marriage, which falls under Human Rights Chapter.

The amended bill, if Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika assents to it, shall read: “For persons between the age of 16 and 18 years, a marriage shall only be entered into with the consent of their parents or guardians.”-Malawi Digest.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Court says Tembo not leader of opposition

A worried looking opposition MCP leader John Tembo. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

The High Court in Malawi has reversed an earlier ruling made in the week that opposition Malawi Congress Party president John Tembo was Leader of Opposition.

The reverse of the earlier ruling, follows a successful appeal by the Malawi Government over the court's decision to have Tembo recognized as Malawi's interim Leader of Opposition.

Making the latest ruling on the appeal in the northern region city of Mzuzu late Friday, the Malawi High Court says that Tembo should not be recognized as Leader of Opposition until a judicial review on the matter is done.

John Tembo, applied to the High Court for a review on the matter after the Malawi National Assembly made moves in the chamber to change the voting procedures for the Leader of Opposition in the country.

In his ruling, Judge Dingiswayo Madise said that the government appeal on the matter was successful.

The Judge, also ruled in favour of the government that the case be moved from the Mzuzu High Court to Lilongwe as all the concerned parties on the matter were based in Lilongwe.

The Malawi Government had applied to have the case moved to the administrative capital, Lilongwe and not Mzuzu where the case was being held.

The Judge also ordered that there should be an inter-party hearing within seven days in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

Following the latest ruling, John Tembo the opposition MCP leader is back to square one where he will not receive benefits meant for the Leader of Opposition in Malawi.

In it's earlier ruling on Monday this week, the High Court in Mzuzu ordered that Tembo be recognised as interim leader of opposition and that he should be given all benefits for the Leader of Opposition until such a time when a decision on the matter is made in the courts.

John Tembo popularly known in Malawi as Puludzu is facing a tough challenge from his fellow opposition Malawi Congress Party legislators who want the veteran politician removed as leader because of failure in his leadership skills-Malawi Digest.

Chakuamba guilty for attacks on Lhomwes

The Lhomwe's top most traditional chief, Paramount Chief Mkhumba whose people Chakuamba ordered to be wiped out from Malawi. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Chifundo Gama

New Republican Party (NRP) has been found guilty by a court in Malawi for inciting acts of violence against the Lhomwe tribe in the country.

The Nkhotakota Magistrate Court sitting in central Malawi found the veteran politician guilty for proposing hatred towards tribal groups, the Mulhako Wa Alhomwe in particular.

Despite being found guilty in the case, First Grade Magistrate Fred Chilowetsa spared the 78-year old politician from conviction due to his old age.

In his ruling in the jam-packed court, Magistrate Chilowetsa said the state proved beyond reasonable doubt that Chakuamba uttered the said words.

During the hearing for the case, the court heard that on November 23 last year at Dwangwa in Nkhotakota, Gwanda Chakuamba uttered words at a political rally inciting people to beat up Lhomwe people because they were pompous and arrogant.

As part of evidence, the court was also shown newspaper cuttings for articles indicating that Chakuamba had a negative attitude towards the Lhomwe grouping, the Mulhako Wa Alhomwe.

Following these arguments in court, the Nkhotakota Magistrate had no option but found the politician guilty in the charges brought before the court.

He however spared him a conviction that would have seen Chakuamba serving a jail term.

Magistrate Chilowetsa however issued a stern warning to Chakuamba and all Malawians that the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi provides for freedom of cultural identity and association.

“Mulhako Wa Alhomwe members were only exercising their constitutional rights by establishing the grouping,” he said.

He further warned Chakumba and others to stop the tendency of attacking other tribes.

“The accused and others should stop this kind of behaviour and bear in mind that without culture, you can lose your integrity, identity and dignity,” said the Magistrate.

Speaking to journalists outside the court after the ruling, Chakuamba said he was happy with the ruling and thanked all people who stood by him throughout the case.

Gwanda Chakuamba, the NRP leader uttered words ordering the beating up of all Lhomwes in Malawi in November last year.

He was during that particular time in a political marriage of inconvenience with the opposition UDF leader, Bakili Muluzi.

However, after realising that the UDF was a sinking ship and that Muluzi was no cheating Malawians that he was eligible to stand for a third term, Chakumba dumped him and the UDF.

In a Weekend Nation exclusive interview last year following the establishment of Mulhako Wa Alhomwe in October, former President Bakili Muluzi said that he hated the organisation and that he was not happy that Senior Chief Mkhumba had been elevated by Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika to the position Paramount Chief for all Lhomwes in Malawi.

Muluzi said he preferred Traditional Authority Mabuka should have been made Paramount Chief instead.

Interestingly, during his 10 year rule in power, Muluzi never elevated Mabuka to the said position-Malawi Digest.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More people write support marriage age

Dear Editor,

I have no problem with 16 being the minimum marriage age for girls.

What Parliamentarians are trying to do is to ban any girl below the age of 16 from getting married.

So, where is the problem? I recently watched a TV documentary which compared Africans with people from continents.

In the documentary, it was revealed that an African woman is a workaholic.

Most men in Africa spend much of their time drinking beer, leaving women to work for them.

At 16, an African girl is already shouldering a huge responsibility: cooking, washing plates, caring for their sick mothers, fetching water from the well and others.

Some parents are dying of dying of HIV and Aids leaving behind orphans with no one to look after.

Of course, very few are lucky to be raised by their grandparents.

The problem is that we think Malawi is America.

Malawi is in Africa not America. So there is no need to copy western values.

Harry Mangulenje,

Blantyre-The Nation, Friday, August 28,2009.

Ministers told ‘no more double dealings’

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika signing a visitors book at MIM on Thursday where he opened the one day orientation workshop for Ministers. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

They were invited to Malawi Institute of Management in the administrative capital Lilongwe to have an orientation on their jobs, there, the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, took time to empty his chest.

On his speech on Thursday, the fired up Ngwazi Dr Mutharika said Malawians expected nothing but development for the next 5 years.

The State President said that he was not prepared to have in his cabinet ministers who would be double crossing the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for other political parties.

“I am not prepared to have ministers who have one foot in this government and another elsewhere,” warned the State President who did not mention any names of the suspected betrayers.

He further advised the ministers to remain loyal to the ruling party and his government.

“I need loyalty and nothing else, no more double dealing this time around, it’s not going to work,” he said.

The State President said that the DPP’s landslide victory in May this year showed that Malawians had confidence and hope in their government.

He appealed to the cabinet ministers to repay back Malawian voters with development works.

“We need to reciprocate what the people of Malawi did to us and the only way to thank them is through development,” he said.

The Malawian leader also condemned acts by some cabinet ministers who have already started working in preparation for the 2014 general elections.

“I am disappointed that some people have already started repositioning themselves in preparation for the 2014 general elections,” he said.

The President said that this was wrong because time for developing this country is being wasted.

“It is not wrong to strategically start repositioning yourself for the 2014 general elections however be reminded that we are only a few months into the first one year of the 5 years,” said the Ngwazi.

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika was re-elected into office in May this year together with his Democratic Progressive Party.

Both the President and the ruling party emerged from the elections with a landslide victory-Malawi Digest.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mutharika orders PSs' respect on cabinet

SINGING NATIONAL ANTHEM: Senior members of the Malawi cabinet singing the national anthem at the Malawi Institute of Management when President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika opened the one day orientation workshop. From Left, Local Government Minister Goodall Gondwe, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika and Finance Minister Ken Kandodo Banda. Pic exclusively by Malawi Digest.

By Mana Reporter

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu Wa Mutharika Thursday took a swipe at principal secretaries who were undermining cabinet members cautioning them to respect ministers and deputy ministers because they were his representatives in government ministries and departments.

“No PS no matter how big you are is above a minister or a deputy minister,” cautioned Mutharika at the Malawi Institute of Management in the administrative capital Lilongwe when he opened an orientation workshop for ministers and their deputies.

Dr Mutharika asked principal secretaries and all government employees to respect ministers and deputy ministers as they were representing the president in all the government ministries and departments.

“I am saying this because there are some principal secretaries who are big headed and they think that they are bigger than a minister. You are not bigger than the ministers and deputy ministers,” he said.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika revealed that there were some principal secretaries who were frustrating government operations by hiding information from their ministers and opting to pass such information to him through other means ways.

The State President, however, stressed that respect was reciprocal and therefore cautioned the cabinet to equally respect the officials in government ministries and departments adding: “We need these officials, they are our technicians.”

He therefore stressed the need for good working relationship in the government and offered himself to the ministers to seek help from him whenever they were having problems establishing good working relations in their ministries.

“What I need is harmony. You need the support of the experts and the experts need you as politicians,” he said.

Dr Mutharika also took time to warn cabinet members and government officials against engaging in corrupt practices in order to safeguard government integrity and sustain the trust that Malawians had bestowed on the country’s leadership.

“I am aware that some of you think of nothing but to get money that you are not entitled to,” disclosed the president cautioning the ministers to refrain from allowing contractors to be corrupted so that commissions should be given to ministers or to officials in the ministries.

Dr Mutharika said he would not hesitate to prosecute and fire any cabinet minister involved in corrupt practices.

“This time around I will prosecute and jail any minister or deputy minister, at the end of which I will fire you,” warned the president adding: “I am not going to move a corrupt minister from one ministry to another ministry as we used to do in the past.”-Malawi News Agency.

DPP's majority praised

By James Mandala

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP’s) majority has been praised by both University of Malawi’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Zimani Kadzamira and University Council’s chairman Professor Benson Kandowole.

Both were speaking at the College of Medicine in the commercial city Blantyre where President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika presided over the first congregation for the 2009 University of Malawi’s graduation.

In his speech during the ceremony, Professor Kadzamira said DPP won with a landslide victory because Malawians have all the faith and trust that government will be able to deliver as bills will no longer be pilled as was the case in the last 5 years when opposition was majority.

Kadzamira who is a nephew to the opposition Malawi Congress Party president John Tembo praised the Mutharika administration for listening to the cry of the University of Malawi and coming forward to respond to the institution’s needs.

Furthermore, the University of Malawi’s Council board chairperson Professor Benson Kandowole said Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika was able to deliver even when he had a minority government in the last 5 years.

Council chairman added that Malawi has never had a fast and fruitful parliamentary sitting as was the case this year where bills were passed easily for the interest of Malawians.

Kadzamira acknowledged Bingu for delivering beyond people’s expectations from 2004 to 2009.

In addition, Kadzamira said that the election results in May spoke a lot about what Malawians think on the administration of Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika.

“For 10 years, Malawians were tired of being deprived of developments works in their areas but instead heard jokes from the then president of Malawi Mr. Bakili Muluzi,” he said.

Following the ruling DPP’s landslide victory in May this year everybody in Malawi including opposition UDF officials are able to recognize that the DPP is unbeatable and now in majority after the sweet victory.

Meanwhile officials from the opposition UDF and MCP are dumping the sinking ships of their parties and now are joining the ruling DPP.

The latest is opposition UDF parliamentary candidate for Blantyre City Central Ernest Maganga who joined the DPP last month.

These praises are coming because the ruling DPP had to break regional and district partisan politics as people voted not because of their region or district of origin but because of Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika’s delivery in development works in the last 5 years.

The ruling DPP won in some constituencies that nobody expected them to win like in Zomba-Changalume where UDF seemed to be strong-Malawi Digest.

Companies urged to support the University

By Chifundo Gama

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu Wa Mutharika has urged Malawian companies to support University of Malawi (UNIMA) in research and science.

President Mutharika who is UNIMA’s chancellor said this on Wednesday when he presided over the 2009 graduation ceremony at the College of Medicine in Blantyre.

“As in other countries, companies rely on University institutions for their research and its findings and afterwards the implementation of the research findings is done by the companies and industries,” said Mutharika.

He added that Malawi must emulate such an example so that companies can depend on University graduates.

Bingu said that if companies co-operate with University students the problem of employing people that the companies did not train and training people who they will not employ will be rectified easily.

He said this can be achieved as the University will know what companies do and also students would know the life they will face after academics.

This year’s graduation was held under the heading, ‘The University A Centre Of Excellence For The Development Of Science And Technology’.

The president also said his door is open for any graduate who might need his help and they are ready to knock at his door whenever the opportunity arises.

Besides, Bingu told companies not to rely on internationally products like treadle pumps but to go for the ones being manufactured at the Polytechnic instead.The Polytechnic is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi.

As a scholar and economist, Bingu acknowledged Malawi ’s first president Ngwazi Dr. Kamuzu Banda for the vision he had in the education sector-Malawi Digest.

Dr Mutharika & cabinet declare assets

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and his cabinet have all declared their assets.

By Dickson Kashoti/Malawi Digest

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and his 42 Ministers have declared their assets, the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) has disclosed.

Clerk of Cabinet, Clement Chinthu Phiri said in an interview yesterday (Wednesday), Dr Mutharika and the cabinet declared their assets soon after being sworn-in.

"What we did was to write them soon after they were appointed. We wrote the Cabinet Ministers and the Deputy Ministers that it was a Constitutional requirement to declare assets, and all of them obliged," said Chinthu Phiri.

But he could not give details on how much Dr Mutharika and his key Ministers have declared, saying the Office of the Speaker was better placed to give details.

But Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda has always said the law does not allow him to give out the details.

Private radio station, Zodiak, has written the Speaker to press on him to release the information on the matter but the Speaker says that the law is silent.

The President, the Vice President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and senior government officials are required to declare their assets once they are appointed into the public offices for transparency and accountability.
The declaration on assets was a very hot issue under former president of Malawi Bakili Muluzi.

Despite the availability of this Constitution requirement for the President, his Deputy and his Ministers to declare their assets, Bakili Muluzi and his Ministers did not declare their assets and only did that after years in office.

It was later discovered, Muluzi and his Ministers had accumulated alot of worth within the period they were in office.

As a result of high level corruption, theft and fraud in government resources, Muluzi rose to become one of the richest Presidents in Africa as of 2004.

Some of his closest Ministers including Brown James Mpinganjira, Sam Mpasu, Clement Stambuli, George Ntafu, Cassim Chilumpha, Friday Jumbe and closest aides like Humphrey Mvula accumulated alot of unbelievable worth whose origins cannot be explained up to now.

Meanwhile, His Excellency the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika is this morning opening an orientation workshop for members of the cabinet.

The day long workshop is taking place at the Malawi Institute of Management in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

According to the Clerk to Cabinet Clement Chinthu Phiri, the Ministers are expected to be trained and reminded on cabinet operational procedures and many other issues related to their job.

"Issues of the National Budget, operational procedures and many others are what the ministers are going to be trained on and get reminded for those that are in the cabinet for a second term," said Phiri.

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, made Ministerial appointments on 15th June, 2009 following his May 19th election landslide victory.

The Ministers and their Deputies were sworn in on 18th June and today's workshop is the first orientation since their appointment.

The Malawi National Assembly also did conduct an orientation workshop at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe for all Members of Parliament soon after the newly elected MPs were sworn-in. The Daily Times, Tuesday, August 27, 2009/Malawi Digest.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika hails Dr Kamuzu Banda

The University of Malawi's Chancellor His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

Incumbent Malawi President and Chancellor of the University of Malawi His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has paid tribute to Malawi’s first Head of State, the late Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda for the important role he played in the area of education.

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika was speaking at the first congregation for the 2009 graduating students in the University of Malawi held at the Malawi College of Medicine campus in the commercial city Blantyre on Wednesday.

This was the first time in recent years that a graduation ceremony for University of Malawi students has been conducted in an outside arena and away from the University’s of Malawi’s Great Hall at Chancellor College in the former colonial capital of Zomba.

Speaking to the congregation before the leading the University of Malawi in the graduation ceremony, the Chancellor of the University acknowledged and paid tribute to the late Banda for the role he played in raising the country’s education standards.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika said that Dr Banda’s role in education cannot be undermined in anyway.

“Sometimes there are stories that we don’t say and there are songs that we don’t sing. Let us say and sing whenever it is necessary,” said the State President.

Dr Mutharika praised the late Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda for what he did for the people of Malawi in the area of education.

“Although Dr Banda was a medical doctor, he was such a visionary leader basing on his establishments in the institutions of higher learning,” said the President.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika condemned people who were trying to run away from the truth on what Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda did for Malawi in the area of education.

“It takes an evil mind not to recognise what the first Chancellor, the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda did for the people of this country,” he said.

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, mentioned the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine, the Polytechnic, Chancellor College, Bunda College of Agriculture, Kamuzu College of Nursing, Natural Resources College, the Staff Development Institute (formerly Mpemba Staff Training College) and the Kamuzu Academy as some of the establishments by the late Dr Kamuzu Banda.

“As a scholar myself, I take pride and recognise what the late Dr Banda did on Malawi’s education especially in the institutions of higher learning,” he said.

During the 10 year rule under the United Democratic Front leadership of former president Bakili Muluzi, the State President refused to recognise the fact that Malawi's first Head of State the late Dr Kamuzu Banda did alot of developments in this country.

Muluzi described the late Banda as a dictator who had no chance in Malawi's history books.

Infact, Muluzi removed all Kamuzu names attached to any developments and projects under taken by Kamuzu Banda during his time in power.

The removed names have since been reversed by the incumbent Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika.

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika who called his graduation speech at the College of Medicine complex, The University As Centre Of Excellence For The Development Of Science And Technology, appealed to Malawians especially institutions of higher learning to do more on research in order to have Malawi advanced in the areas of science and technology.

“It’s now time for the University to reposition itself and be able to adapt modern ways of science and technology,” said the President.

During the ceremony, the President also took time to thank Malawians for the May 19th landslide victory that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party achieved.

The President was making these comments in response to remarks made by the University of Malawi Council chairperson Professor Benson Kandowole, who on behalf of the entire University of Malawi offered heart felt congratulations to the State President following the ruling DPP landslide victory in May.

In his remarks, the University of Malawi’s Vice Chancellor Professor Zimani Kadzamira thanked Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika for listening and addressing the needs of the University.

He said unlike in the past when the government was not listening at all, that was no longer the case with the Bingu wa Mutharika administration.

According to Professor Kadzamira, this year the University is expected to confer degrees, diplomas and certificates to 1660 students out of which 33 percent are women.

Of the 1660, 106 are graduating with Masters Degrees and 6 of them with PhDs.

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika attended the first congregation of the graduation and the second one is expected to take place in two weeks time-Malawi Digest.

Analyst says Mutharika succession in process

Professor Peter Mutharika, one of the serious front-runners for the ruling DPP presidential candidacy in 2014. Although Professor Mutharika has not said anything himself on the presidential race, a survey by Malawi Digest indicates that many people are favouring him because of his higher education and professional qualifications, his sense of maturity, experience and a higher level in leadership skills. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Times Reporter

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika already started a selection process for his successor for 2014 when he is expected to retire, a Chancellor College political analyst has said.

Blessings Chinsinga was reacting to a statement from the State House restating Mutharika’s position that he will not seek a third term in office.

He said from his observation, Mutharika had already started the succession process by removing old guards from cabinet like former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Henry Phoya, former Economic Development and Planning Minister Ken Lipenga and former Transport Minister Henry Mussa.

He said the three well known politicians were originally United Democratic Front (UDF) heavyweights before they all followed Mutharika to form the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The UDF sponsored Mutharika to power in 2004, but he broke ranks with it, accusing the party of not supporting his fight against corruption.

Chinsinga said Mutharika was trying to bring in a new breed of politicians that had no links to UDF and these could form the basis selection of the ruling DPP presidential candidate come 2014.

He singled out the President’s brother Professor Peter Mutharika, Vice President Joyce Banda, Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda and Local Government Minister Goodall Gondwe as potential DPP presidential candidates for 2014.

In a statement issued on Sunday, State House Press Office Chikumbutso Mtuumodzi described as malicious and untrue internet reports that Mutharika intends to run for a third term of office in 2014.

Such media reports should be regarded as baseless and idle talk, Mtuumodzi said.

He said Mutharika made it clear upon his election in June 2004 when he took oath to protect and defend the Constitution and he would not renege on his promises.

“Dr Mutharika is a man of high integrity and everyone knows this,” Mtuumodzi said.

The internet reports which started circulating last month indicate that Mutharika had formed a taskforce to campaign for his third term bid.

The statement from the State House comes hot on the heels of calls from Chinsinga that the ruling DPP should start identifying a successor for 2014 to avoid leadership problems that dogged the opposition UDF in the run up to the May 19 general elections.

UDF went to the polls without a presidential candidate.

The ruling DPP is yet to hold a convention to elect the party hierarchy since its formation in 2005 expect for the endorsement of Mutharika as DPP presidential candidate earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Leston Mulli Managing Director of Mulli Brothers Limited has denied media reports of any links to the said taskforce, saying the reports were just aimed at tarnishing his image-The Daily Times, Wednesday, August 26, 2009.

Law Commission backs marriage age at 16

By Mike Chipalasa

The majority of Malawians in rural areas are comfortable with a proposal allowing children to marry below the age of 16 with consent from their parents, the Malawi Law Commission (MLC) has said.

MLC assistant chief law reform officer, Chizaso Nyirongo told a Parliamentary Legal Affairs committee meeting in Lilongwe on Tuesday that rural parents had no qualms with the new marriage age.

Nyirongo was answering a question from the committee’s chairperson, Henry Phoya, who wanted to know what preceded the discussion on marriage age, in view of the recent public outcry on the matter.

“Was the public involved in coming up with the 16 years age, it seems the public has been bombarded with this issue,” asked Phoya, former Justice Minister.

However, Nyirongo defended the age, arguing research results the law body conducted in 1998 (under the leadership of Bakili Muluzi) showed people in rural areas bought the proposal while urban dwellers had misgivings, a move which forced the law body to strike balance at 16.

He revealed rural people said their children were comfortable marrying even below 14 years, saying it was only the urban populace that wanted 18 years, “because they were knowledgeable of the international definition of the child being below 18.”

“The Malawi Law Commission consulted both urban and rural people. The view that 15 years was okay prevailed while the urban people said 18. To strike a balance, we came up with 16, because it is not near 14 and not near 18,” he said.

Section 23 (5) of the Constitution states: “For purposes of this section, children shall be persons under sixteen years age.”

Observed Nyirongo: “Our research showed that 16 years seems to be universal age of marriage, even in countries which ratified conventions of children being below 18.”

However, child rights bodies have condemned parliament’s decision to enact the proposal, arguing it would infringe on the girl child’s right to education.

Their worries were recently supported by both Health Minister Professor Moses Chirambo and his deputy Theresa Mwale, who condemned the move.

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has since promised more consultations on the matter- The Daily Times, Wednesday, August 26, 2009.

Prof Peter Mutharika stuns participants

Professor Peter Mutharika stunned delegates at an HRCC meeting because of his wider knowledge.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Malawi’s Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika has left participants at a Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) dialogue meeting stunned at his eloquence and wider knowledge on legal matters.

Professor Peter Mutharika, was the guest of honour at an HRCC Tuesday night event debating the abolition of the death penalty in Malawi.

The participants attending the meeting were over 60 Members of Parliament and over 40distinguished members of the civil society that included religious leaders, human rights activists and journalists.

In his 15 minute opening remarks before allowing debate to resume on the issue of death penalty, Professor Peter Mutharika eloquently lectured the over 100 people gathered in Capital Hotel’s Viphya Room on the different aspects of the death penalty.

Professor Mutharika who is younger brother to Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika gave references on the issue of death penalty drawing comparison from many other countries world wide where the issue of death penalty features highly.

Professor Mutharika who did not read from a prepared speech appealed to the legislators and civil society members in Malawi to take the issue seriously so that at the end of the day a good overall decision is made on the matter.

“I don’t want to express my personal views here but rather just to provoke a debate that will help us come up with a better decision at the end of everything,” he said.

Professor Mutharika who one of Malawi’s highly educated lawyers draw comparisons in the issue of death penalty in Malawi to many other countries world wide.

“I have debated on the issue of death penalty in many countries world wide including in the United States of America, United Kingdom, India, China among many others and today’s meeting is just like one of those that I have done elsewhere,” he said.

Professor Mutharika asked participants attending the meeting to think carefully on the issue of death penalty before coming up with a final decision.

Mutharika said gave an example of people in his own Kamoto Village in the mountainous tea growing district of Thyolo where one has just killed a neighbour because of anger as a result of a land dispute.

“Can this man in Kamoto Village be charged the same way with a serial killer and those that kill for commercial purposes?” Mutharika paused the question to the bewilderment of the distinguished crowd.

A lot of the people got astonished with Mutharika’s vast knowledge on legal matters and how he was able to make comprehensive legal presentations without any paper references.

Mutharika who is normally a man of short words but more actions spiced up his English provocative speech with some Chichewa.

Following his eloquet speech, it was therefore no surprise that his predecessor in the Justice Ministry Henry Phoya told the gathering in his capacity as chairperson for Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament that; "I attended a meeting in Italy, Rome when I was warning up your seat as Justice Minister."

Everybody is the hotel room on this Tuesday night was convinced that Professor Peter Mutharika is one of the many good sons of the land that have a potential of making it high.

Professor Peter Mutharika, returned to Malawi a few years ago and joined the development of this country serving the Malawi government as the Chief Advisor to the President on Constitutional, Legal and International Affairs.

Professor Peter Mutharika has since joined politics as Member of Parliament for Thyolo North East and Malawi’s Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister.

According to HRCC national coordinator Mavuto Bamusi, the organisation is trying to engage the public in a debate so that it’s able to come up with a better decision on the death penalty-Malawi Digest.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mutharika praised on good economic policies

His Excellency the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, praised for transforming Malawi economically. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By James Mandala

According to recent reports, Malawi is the second fastest growing economy for the year 2009 coming after the oil rich Qatar.

This is one of the best stories ever to have come out of Malawi which was in the past only known for bad reasons all because of poor leadership skills under failed former president Bakili Muluzi.

The recent news on Malawi’s economic successes has been attributed to the good economic policies that the highly educated and development minded President, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has done for the people of this southern African country.

On many occasions in the past, Malawi was seen as a world beggar and this mind set and behaviour were a brain child and encouraged by former president of Malawi Bakili Muluzi.

Amayi ndi abambo ine ndikakumana ndi mzungu sindimachita manyazi ndikumpempha, ine paliponse ndimapempha ndilibe manyazi. (Ladies and gentlemen when it comes to begging I have no match, I don’t feel ashamed to beg from a white man everywhere I go I beg),” Muluzi used to say on many occasions when he was in power.

However the coming in of President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika in 2004 has changed everything stopping Malawians from the begging culture to moving towards a self-reliance approach.

Instead of encouraging his people to beg, Ngwazi Dr Mutharika has been giving Malawians strategies on how to get rid of Muluzi’s begging culture in order to eradicate poverty.

Following this change in the mind set, lives of many Malawians have improved enormously since Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika came into power.

Malawi Digest has found out that there is a big improvement in living standards of people in Malawi because the incumbent State President, Ngwazi Dr wa Mutharika did not come into power to enrich himself or steal from poor Malawians through theft, corruption and fraud like his predecessor, Bakili Muluzi but rather to unite and develop the nation.

During the Muluzi regime, Malawians were getting poorer everyday as theft, fraud and corruption were the order of the day. These issues of mismanagement of government funds started right from the State House where Bakili Muluzi messed up the economy.

Malawi lost credibility internationally and that has only been restored recently after Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika came into power.

Following the economic transformation that Malawi has gone through under Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawians are able to feed themselves as a result of the food security available in the country.

Furthermore Malawi’s financial currency, the Kwacha has stabilised for a long time despite the world facing a financial crisis. The stabilisation of the Kwacha and the enabling environment for business is encouraging investors to come and put up their huge businesses thereby benefiting this southern African country.

The Kwacha’s stability now, comes as a big surprise to many local dwellers as they were used to the Malawi currency tumbling every now and then during the 10 year Bakili Muluzi rule.

As a clearly testimony that the country’s economy was not well managed, Bakili Muluzi introduced the country’s highest notes in a K200 note and K500 note. Both new notes had a face of Muluzi on them.

Between 1994 and 2004, Muluzi introduced several new bank notes banknotes a clear indication that all was not well economically.

However, that is no longer the case as from 2004 up until now, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has never introduced any new bank notes a sign that the economy is stable.

Many leaders world wide are busy contacting the Malawi leadership trying to tap the tricks on how the current regime has managed to stabilise the economy within a short space of time.

Malawi’s economy under Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika is worth emulating.

The economic signs shown under Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika are a clear testimony that the Malawi leader came into power for the sake of his love for the country and not to enrich himself as Muluzi did.

Under Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi ’s economic future looks bright as the State President focuses on the Green Belt initiative in agriculture and the now famous and Nsanje Inland Port in the southern tip most of Malawi.

These are the two key strategies that will help lift Malawi ’s food security and financial prospects to greater heights-Malawi Digest.

Mulli dismisses third term taskforce reports

Mulli Group of Companies Managing Director Leston Mulli

By Frank Namangale
Staff Reporter

Mulli Brothers Group of Companies director Leston Mulli has disassociated himself from media reports that he is leading a taskforce to drum up support for President Bingu wa Mutharika’s alleged third term bid.

State House press office on Sunday issued a statement that Mutharika will not backtrack on his promise to retire after serving his second term, amid persistent speculation that he intends to extend his term of office. The media reports also claimed a group of people attended taskforce meetings at Mulli’s house.

Mulli yesterday said he is aware of some reports linking him to the taskforce.

“I am a businessman and not a politician. (The reports have) for the past five years tried to dent the name of my company. I don’t deny that I support President Bingu wa Mutharika for his good economic policies, but to claim there is a taskforce strategising on the President’s third term headed by me is fabrication created out of malice and hatred.

“If the idea by those rumour mongers is just to create public debate, then they are getting it wrong because the President has been straight forward on the issue right from the campaign period. If other people attempted third term, let us not think Mutharika will do the same,” said Mulli.

Mutharika’s term ends in May 2014 but some media reports quoted unnamed sources as saying a committee was formed to lobby for a constitutional change for Mutharika to run for another term.

Former president Bakili Muluzi’s attempts for open terms were stopped by Parliament in 2003-The Nation, Tuesday August 25 2009.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Malawi more secure under Dr Mutharika

NEW BROOM: Newly appointed Inspector General of the Malawi Police Peter Mukhitho. He is reported to be doing very well is his job according to a Malawi Digest public survey. Pic exclusively by Malawi Digest.

By Chifundo Gama

Following Malawi President Ngwazi Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika ascended to the reigns of power in 2004, the nation has experienced a tremendous improvement in the operations of the Malawi Police Service (MPS).

During the former president Bakili Muluzi’s 10 year tenure of office, the Malawi Police Service had no powers at all but his yellow UDF party characterised by the famous young democrats who could beat up or even killed innocent Malawians.

“From 1999 to 2004 we were beaten anyhow and if you report the issue to the law enforcers like the Police nothing was transpiring as some government officials were telling the Police not to do anything as it involved the then president Bakili Muluzi,” said James Makawa.

Makawa added that policemen were being beaten by party youths and nothing could take place. A case in point is when young democrats led by former UDF director of youth Henry Moyo beat up politicians and police officers at Kasungu Police station in central Malawi.

But the coming in of His Excellency the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Bingu wa Mutharika has changed everything.

The President has been emphasizing on securing lives of Malawians for the country to be worth a living.

There is clear evidence for everybody to see because these days you don’t hear of people being beaten like was the case during Muluzi trial and era time.

“If you see a policeman these days you really know that they are part of securing the country as the State President wishes,” said Makawa.

A Blantyre resident, Makawa lamented that robbers that were terrorizing the country’s four cities, towns and main urban centres are being caught almost on daily and townships under Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika are better places to live in than ever before.

Malawi Digest has also found that the Malawi Police workforce is now operating effectively as the empowerment is from the first citizen himself than was the case under Bakili Muluzi.

Another man, Nganga Banda concurred with Makawa as he feels more secured now than during the Muluzi time.

“These days you are able to answer even a cell phone while in town a thing which was feared so much during Muluzi’s tenure. This is a good Malawi to live in with the incumbent President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika,” said Banda.

Banda added that during the Muluzi era, if one got delayed in town it was even scaring to hire a taxi because you could not know who is better to be with and even the taxi drivers were also scared to take people even during the day.

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika’s empowerment of the Police has manifested as some of the well known murderers and robbers like Clive Macholowe are now behind bars.

Macholowe is a close Bakili Muluzi associate and when he was about to leave office, Muluzi pardoned Macholowe from his 10 year jail term.

Unconfirmed reports say that Muluzi has been having a love relationship with Mrs Macholowe, mother to Clive.

In addition, people who were well known for corruption like Bakili Muluzi were going home smiling though the police knew about their clandestine activities but these days all culprits including Bakili Muluzi commonly described by Rev Father Masakauko of the Catholic Church in Malawi as the Chejumo are being brought to book.

“If you see traffic police these days you know that they are there for the security and welfare of the people and not to make money as was the case during Muluzi’s time”, said one minibus driver.

Furthermore, Bingu’s government is building new Police houses to improve the welfare of the police which could not happen during Bakili Muluzi era.

In recent months, the public has seen that Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has bought hundreds of brand new Toyota Landcruisers for the Police in order to minimise the problem of transport in the Malawi Police Service.

As a result, the Police are able to respond to cases of crime on time.

The recent appointment of a highly qualified Inspector General of Police in the name of Peter Mukhitho has also brought confidence amongst Malawians to feel more secured.

Following his appointment as the new Inspector General of Malawi Police, Mukhitho vowed to help Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika in making sure that the country is secure from any kinds of thefts and insecurity issues.

Mukhitho also promised to make Malawi Police officers more visible in public in case people need help from the Police-Malawi Digest.

Muluzi sponsored clergy lose Synod polls

The Blantyre Synod's St Michaels and All Angels church in the commercial city Blantyre. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

Malawi’s second largest Christian church, the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) this Monday afternoon has ushered into office three top officials through a tight vote amidst reports that former President Bakili Muluzi was sponsoring some of the candidates that have lost.

According to Malawi Digest sources, the opposition UDF national chairman Bakili Muluzi was sponsoring several reverends that were taking part in the polls.

The Muluzi sponsored reverends include Rev Andrew Maere and Rev. Rodney Bona.

The CCAP elections, were held on the second day of the church's bi-annual assembly being held at the multi-purpose hall in Malawi's commercial city, Blantyre.

Maere was standing in the elections to be returned as Deputy Secretary General for the Synod and Bona was seeking re-election into office as Moderator for the Synod.

Earlier in the afternoon, there was a heated debate before the polls were conducted as delegates could not agree on who was to take part in the vote and what type of voting should be used.

All journalists were not allowed into the voting hall but this reporter for Malawi Digest sneaked in and watched everything as events unfold.

After agreeing on the mode of voting and who to vote, delegates to the conference were allowed to go out for lunch before voting resumed an hour later.

First to go for voting was the Moderator’s position that saw Reverends Reynolds Mmangisa, Rodney Bona and Felix Chingota competing.

The post of Moderator who is the Synod's overall head, was convincingly won by Rev. Reynolds M'mangisa with 133 votes against 104 for Bona and 60 for Chingota.

The post of Deputy Moderator went to Rev Mercy Chilapula unopposed.

On the Deputy Secretary General’s position Reverends Chitsulo, Andrew Maere, Mathias Hauya, Gertrude Kapuma and Austin Chimenya competed.

After the polls, Rev Austin Chimenya emerged winner with 117 votes against Maere’s 93, Chitsulo got 29, Hauya 37 and Kapuma got 19.

The bi-annual general assembly is being attended by over 500 delegates from the United States of America, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The church's synods of Nkhoma and Livingstonia have also been invited to the assembly.

The loss in the elections by Rev. Andrew Maere and Rev. Rodney Bona is another denial by one of the Malawi's largest Christian churches to Bakili Muluzi’s infiltration.

Former president Muluzi likes using religious leaders for his political survival. Muluzi has been using the Islamic religion, some clerks in the CCAP church, some priests in the Roman Catholic Church and some members of the clergy in the Anglican church for his political survival.

According to sources, Bakili Muluzi was using the Blantyre Synod politically through former General Secretary for the Synod, Rev. Daniel Gunya and the just defeated Deputy General Secreatry Rev. Andrew Maere.

Gunya stood as an independent Parliamentary candidate in the May 19th polls. He stood as an independent after losing in the opposition UDF primaries. Gunya however failed to make it to Parliament in the main polls.

On Sunday night, Muluzi's agents were seen travelling from one point of accommodation to another trying to cox and bribe delegates to the bi-annual meeting in order to have his preferred candidates elected into these powerful positions-Malawi Digest.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

No third term for Ngwazi Dr Mutharika

NO THIRD TERM: Unlike his power hungry predecessor Bakili Muluzi, His Excellency the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika says he will not seek a third term of office. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Chifundo Kasambwe

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has dismissed reports that he intends to seek a third term of office when his Constitutional term of office comes to an end in 2014.

This reaction from the Presidency follows reports by Bakili Muluzi’s funded propaganda tools that have been spreading rumours that the Ngwazi is planning to stay on in power.

In a press statement issued this weekend, the State House in Malawi has denied suggestions that Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika would like to extend his time in office once it expires in 2014.

“The State President has no intention at all to extend his time of staying in office,” said the statement.

The State House also assured Malawians that Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has high respect for the country’s Constitution.

“The State President has openly said that he will respect the Malawi Constitution when his time of staying in office is over,” the statement added.

The State House has attributed these reports and rumours to people that do not wish Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika well.

“We call upon all Malawians not to listen to these reports as they are only aimed at tarnishing the image of His Excellency the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika,” the statement concluded.

Unlike his predecessor, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has led Malawi by respecting the country’s Constitution.

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has ruled Malawi from 2004 and the Malawi Constitution allows Presidents to serve for two 5-year terms of office.

Former president Bakili Muluzi who is funding these propaganda reports on his successor has on three occasions failed to rape the Malawi Constitution by seeking another third term of office.

Between 2000 and 2003, Muluzi twice failed to change the Malawi Constitution to suit his personal wishes for a third term of office.

The two bills to change the country’s Constitution were defeated in the National Assembly.

Following these embarrassing failures, Bakili Muluzi was forced into retirement in 2004.

However, two years later, this power hungry politician resurfaced again to seek another third term of office.

The High Court of Malawi also saved Malawi from Muluzi’s poor administration when it stopped him from contesting in the May 19th polls saying the Malawi Constitution does not allow former presidents to bounce back.

Bakili Muluzi, is currently in the United Kingdom where he is seeking asylum running away from a long list of legal battles ranging from corruption, theft, fraud and huge debts-Malawi Digest.

Atupele sued for MK2M bill ..Muluzi in trouble

By Emmanuel Muwamba
Staff Reporter

A Blantyre-based law firm has sued MP for Machinga North East Atupele Muluzi for allegedly failing to pay over MK2 million legal fees for electoral challenges by his colleagues who lost the May 19 polls.

According to records filed yesterday at the High Court in Blantyre, Atupele, son of former president Bakili Muluzi, on May 22 instructed Kalekeni Kaphale lawyers to file electoral petitions which were later discontinued.

“The plaintiff (Kalekeni Kaphale) commenced work on the matters but discontinued the same upon the defendant’s (Atupele) instructions given verbally on 29th May, 2009. The plaintiff invoiced the defendant for all work done upon his instructions to discontinue the work and the fees were in total of MK2 070 842.50,” reads the statement of claim attached to Writ of Summons in case number 1840 of 2009.

The law firm argues that Atupele has neglected or failed to pay the entire sum of over MK2 million, 30 days after issue of invoice on July 1.

“By reason of the defendant’s failure to pay the plaintiff’s fees, the plaintiff has suffered loss of income,” reads the court record.

The law firm is asking a one percent interest above the commercial bank base lending rate from July 1 to the date of payment. It is also asking Atupele to meet the cost of the court action.

The records indicate that Atupele instructed Kalekeni Kaphale Lawyers to handle petitions of 15 parliamentary aspirants.

They include Ettinor Koloviko (MK241 737), John Chikalimba (MK71 065), Trifonia Dafter (MK71 065), Jeanette Chikoko (MK233 000), Winston Chikalimba (MK71 065), Angela Zachepa (MK198 050), Sunganani Banda (MK272 665), Inna Mezalumo (MK250 475), Bertha Masiku (MK71 065) and Ronard Chanthunya (MK71 065). They were all UDF candidates.

Brown Mpinganjira (MK71 065), who stood as an independent after falling from grace with UDF, is also on the list.

Atupele, according to the records, also instructed the lawyers to file and handle petitions of Esther Mcheka Chilenje (MK73 065) and Kennedy Kachingwe (MK233 000).

In the Writ of Summons, Atupele has been given 14 days to respond by either satisfying the claim or acknowledging to the High Court, within the stated, his intention to contest the claim failing which judgement will be entered against him without further notice-The Nation, Thursday, August 20 2009.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bakili Muluzi goes into exile in the UK

Former president Bakili Muluzi currently seeking asylum in the UK. He is a man whose past one may not be proud of.

By Lucy Liponda

Former President of the Republic of Malawi Bakili Muluzi has gone into exile in the United Kingdom following a pile of high level cases that may see the former leader spend years in jail, Malawi Digest can reveal.

Muluzi has a chain of court cases running from fraud, corruption, abuse of office and debts among many other problems facing him.

Close family members have spoken of Muluzi’s intention to stay in the United Kingdom in order to get away from being prosecuted.

A close family member told Malawi Digest on Saturday afternoon that chances of Muluzi coming back after his medical attention are very slim.

“When he was going to the UK, he got all his basic things and those of us closer to him have been told he is not coming back to Malawi,” he said.

The family member revealed that had it not been for the Malawi government to stop him earlier from leaving, Muluzi would have disappeared a long time ago to the United Kingdom.

The member added, the latest request for extension of time for his stay in the UK is just part of his delaying tactics so that he finds a proper country to stay.

“He is currently negotiating with the British for asylum but that Queens government is not buying Muluzi’s reasons for asylum,” said our source who last spoke to Muluzi on Wednesday this week.

The member said that in their telephone conversation on the line from the United Kingdom, Muluzi appealed for prayers from family members so that his asylum application is approved.

Our source further disclosed that if the British refuse Muluzi to stay in their country, the former President has already been welcomes to stay in Libya, Morocco, United Arab Emirates and the Taiwan.

“All these countries have said he can go and stay there if he so wishes,” said our source.

The uncovering of these plans for asylum by Muluzi, come only a few days after the former leader applied for an extension of his stay in the United Kingdom.

Previously, Muluzi had told the courts in Malawi that he would stay in the UK for medical attention for a period of three months up until early September.

However in a twist of events, Muluzi through his lawyers Tamando Chokotho and Jai Banda applied to the High Court to have an extension of his stay in England up to December.

In an interview with Malawi Digest on Saturday afternoon an official in the British High Commission in Malawi said so far, the Malawi office has not heard anything on the application for asylum by Muluzi.

“If he is applying for asylum, he must be dealing with the Home Office and once the issue is in motion our office in Malawi will be informed accordingly,” said the British official who did not want to be named.

He said that whilst he appreciates that Muluzi has got a right to apply for asylum like any other individual wanting to stay in the UK, Muluzi is unlikely to be granted the asylum status he is looking for.

“This is a person who is running away from a high level corruption case and several other serious cases, the British government does not grant asylum status to anybody who is running away from prosecution,” said the British official.

Malawi Digest was unable to get a comment from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) as the numbers for its Director Alex Nampota could not be reached all Saturday afternoon until we went to bed.

Meanwhile, Malawi Digest understands that apart from his son Atupele Muluzi and his wife Patricia Muluzi, the rest of Muluzi’s closest family members especially children are all in the UK with their father.

His son Atupele Muluzi is mature enough and stays on his own whilst Patricia Muluzi was left behind as a proof to the courts that he was not running away.

Fears of Muluzi running away into exile were first disclosed to the Malawi High Court by ACB boss Alex Nampota who said he had come across information that Muluzi was trying to flee the country.

As a result of this development, through a High Court order, the ACB confiscated some of Muluzi’s property including his BCA Hill residence, 44 vehicles and managed to have all his accounts frozen

Muluzi is suspected to have stole MK1.7 billion meant for poor Malawian into his personal accounts.

Muluzi has always said that true these huge sums of money were found in his account but that the money belonged to him-Malawi Digest.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Malawi president puts teachers on check

His Excellency the State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika cutting a ribbon. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has issued a stern warning to all teachers in Malawi especially those that disregard their work ethics.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika issued the warning on Friday at Amalika in the southern region tea growing district of Thyolo.

The State President was speaking during the official inauguration ceremony of the international charity, the Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Amalika Teachers Training College.

In his speech, Ngwazi Dr Mutharika said that he was disappointed with reports of misbehaviour and neglect of duty by some teachers in the country.

The President said the uncalled acts by some teachers in Malawi included immoral behaviour, acts drunkenness and absenteeism.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika said that he had learnt with shock that some teachers and heads of education institutions were involving themselves in immoral acts by enticing young girls to have sex with them in exchange of better school results and grades.

“Some teachers have ended impregnating girls as young as 13 0r 14 years,” he said.

He wondered if these teachers do understand their role of imparting knowledge to the pupils and students.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika said that instead of having a lot of girls doing well in their studies, often times the girl child was dropping out of school due to these under aged and unplanned pregnancies.

At this point, the State President had a strong warning for the teachers who lure young into having sex with them saying apart from being prosecuted, they would also be sent to jail.

“I want to warn you that once found, I will have you prosecuted, sent to jail and afterwards lose your job because to have no morals to teach a pupil or a student,” he said.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika also appealed to parents to open up once they hear that their child has been molested by a teacher in order to bring to an end this uncalled for practice.

“You parents have a responsibility of stopping this misbehaviour by reporting all cases to government and the Police,” he said.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika also condemned acts of drunkenness and teacher absenteeism in school institutions saying this is bringing down the quality of education in Malawi.

The State President wondered why under-qualified teachers were allowed to teach in classes that are beyond their education qualifications.

“How can a person who has failed Junior Certificate be found teaching in Form Three at a private secondary school? This is most unfortunate for our education system,” he said.

The State President then ordered that school inspection be intensified so that so that under qualified teachers are filtered out.

“The problem is that under qualified teachers give force hopes to a pupil or student that with a certificate in their hands they have good knowledge of what they were learning when in fact they were being cheated,” said the Ngwazi.

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika also heaped praise on the international charity DAPP on government efforts to improve the standard of education in the country.

He said the teachers that would be graduating from the newly opened college would help reduce the shortage of teachers in the country.

Speaking earlier, Malawi’s Education Minister Dr George Chaponda said that there was need for other non-governmental organisations to help government in the improvement of the country’s education standards.

He recognised all efforts by organisations in establishing private colleges in order to help in the advancement of education in the country.

This is the second teacher training college opened by DAPP in Malawi.

The first one was opened in Chilangoma on the outskirts of the commercial city Blantyre.

The newly opened college was built with funds from the United States government and American Ambassador to Malawi Peter Bodde also spoke at the function.

According Maria Darsbo chairperson for Humana People to People, DAPP has identified land in the central region district of Dowa where another teacher training college construction will kick off shortly-Malawi Digest.

Ngwazi spits fire on Malawian products

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika having an impression of some of the products at this year's agricultural fair. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has appealed to Malawians from all walks of life to promote the buying of locally produced products if the country is to continue transforming economically.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika, was speaking at the Chichiri International Trade Fair Grounds in the commercial city, Blantyre on Thursday when he officially opened this year’s 6th Agricultural Trade Fair.

Speaking to the huge crowd that came to witness the opening of the fair, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika did not mince words on his disappointment.

“Am disappointed that whilst we are trying to change Malawi’s economy from a predominantly importing country to an exporting one, we are not doing enough to promote the buying of our locally produced products,” he said to the ululation and applause of the huge crowd.

The State President therefore had a directive to all government agencies in the country.

“I would like to advise and instruct government agencies that from today onwards, let’s us patronise locally produced products,” he said.

The President ordered other among many other products, from Thursday the country should not import treadle pumps that used in irrigation farming.

He said that local companies had shown that they can deliver best products.

“I don’t care if people will call this protectionism. The Americans, the British, the French, the Chinese, the Germans and many others protect their products, why not Malawi?” he said to the ululation of the mammoth crowd.

He said there was need to change the mind set of the people.

“We are not going anywhere unless we change our mind set on locally produced products,” he said.

Whilst he was promoting the buying of local products, he appealed to the local manufactures to also improve on their products.

“I don’t want to open a jar of locally produced honey only to see the honey mixed with feathers,” he warned.

On the Agriculture Trade Fair, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika appealed to the local farmers to march with time.

“There is need for our farmers to be innovative and adapt with modern technologies of farming,” he said.

At this point, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika attacked the exploitation of local farmers through unfair prices by buyers of crops like tobacco and cotton among many other crops.

“I appeal to you buyers to feed the farmer that is giving the product because what you are doing is killing the goose that is laying the golden egg,” he said.

President Bingu wa Mutharika said that he is going to get at all foreign companies that are exploiting local farmers through unfair prices.

“This cheating is not good and very soon, I will get at you,” he said.

He warned if these organisations are not ready to change they will face his wrath.

“You are within my range and if I want to shoot I don’t miss,” warned Mutharika.

Earlier, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika visited pavilions for the participants at this year’s agricultural fair where the President said he was moved by what he saw.

The Agricultural Trade Fair has become an annual event for Malawi and the three day event is the 6th to take place in Malawi.

This year’s theme, the role of agriculture in economic development-Malawi Digest.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pro Mutharika applauds female MPs

Malawi's Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika MP.

By Lucy Liponda

Malawi’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Professor Peter Mutharika has applauded the important role that women play in our daily lives.

Professor Mutharika was speaking on Thursday at the Malawi Sun Hotel in the commercial city Blantyre, when he opened a training workshop for female Members of Parliament on Parliamentary Procedures organised by the National Women’s Lobby Group (NAWOLG).

In his speech, Professor Mutharika said that he appreciates the good job that women Parliamentarians play in the enhancement of Malawi’s democracy.

Professor Mutharika said that apart from being wives and mothers in their families, women MPs are an important part of the country’s National Assembly.

He said the training workshop on Parliamentary procedures would help the female MPs to clearly understand their job.

“For you to be effective parliamentarians, you must clearly understand the functions of the legislature and you must learn the rules of the game- both the written and unwritten codes, procedures and mechanisms oh how to get things done in Parliament,” said Professor Mutharika who is also a highly qualified lawyer not only in Malawi but beyond the borders as well.

Professor Mutharika said therefore applauded NAWOLG for organising the training meeting which he said would help fill in the gaps left during the orientation workshop organised for all MPs by the National Assembly in June.

“After learning the rules at this workshop, you can seize opportunities to participate on key committees and positions and you can also make yourselves heard in discussions and debates and fully utilise your skills and abilities. Your experiences in a variety of Parliamentary roles will build up political capital which can be used to secure further advancement, to help change existing rules and structures and to assist new generations of women politicians,” he said to a round of applause of the female MPs.

The Executive Director for NAWOLG, Faustus Chirwa said during her remarks that she was very humbled to have Justice Minister Professor Mutharika opening the training workshop.

Chirwa said that the presence of Professor Mutharika at the meeting showed that the Bingu wa Mutharika led government was putting issues of women amongst its priority areas.

According to Professor Mutharika the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs ensures that the country is governed under the prescribed existing laws and that justice is administered and delivered fairly without fear, favour or discrimination at all levels in Malawi-Malawi Digest.