Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Police detain two over Chafukira's death

By Raphael Tenthani

A magistrates' court in the Malawi's administrative capital,Lilongwe, Tuesday allowed the continued detention of two people who were allegedly in the company of Ishmael Chafulira, the youthful protege-turned-bitter critic of main opposition Malawi Congress Party(MCP) president John Tembo, at the time of his mysterious death in South Africa last Sunday.

A police investogator Nector Chafikana applied for the continued detention of Rachael Chimenya, the 24-year-old woman who was allegedly with the legislator when he died, and Alex Matola, who allegedly broke the news about his mysterious death to his wife.

Police have, however, clarified that the two are not yet suspectsand therefore they have not been charged with anything.

"They are just assisting us in the investigations," said an affidavit sworn-in by Chafikana.

According to family members and police, Chafulira, 43, went to South Africa to buy personal vehicles but collapsed and died in a lodge in the town of Messina Sunday night.

Matola texted Chafukira's wife,Joyce, about the legislator's sudden death but had no details. Later reports monitored on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC),confirmed by Messina police, said Chafukira was in the company of Chimenya.

Three autopsies have since been conducted on Chafukira's body but the initial one conducted by a South African hospital showed no clear cause of death. Another one has since been ordered but who results will not be published until after at least six weeks.

Meanwhile, a Malawian pathologist Charles Dzamalala of the Malawi College of Medicine also conducted an autopsy on the body of the legislator but, again, the results are yet to be published.

Chafukira came to national prominence when he challenged the veteran opposition leader, Tembo, to resign blaming him for the MCP miserable loss to President Bingu wa Mutharika, candidate for the ruling Democratic progressive Party (DPP), during the May 19 polls.

The MCP had 60 Members of Parliament prior to the May polls but Malawi oldest political party only managed to retain 26 and Chafukira, backed by a group of the party's Young Turks, blamed the poor showing on Tembo.

"We have faired badly because of Tembo's divisive politics," said Chafukira, then MCP spokesman, who had just retained his Lilongwe North-West Constituency. "Tembo has to go to pave way to new blood."

Tembo, backed by a group of veteran loyalists, chastised Chafukira for rebelling against the party leadership.

He was immidiately suspended and later sacked from his position as party spokesman.
He was eventually expelled from the party.

Undetered Chafukira, joined by a growing number of disgruntled MCP politicians - including veteran politician Betson Majoni - who is the MCP deputy Secretary General, formed a task force on MCP leadership change chaired by former MCP MP Boniface Kadzamira.

At the time of his mysterious death the taskforce was going around the MCP strong hold of the central region to drum up support for the rebellion to unseat Tembo.

At his emotion-filled funeral outside the capital, Lilongwe, last Sunday, speaker-after-speaker called for a thorough investigation into the young politicia's death, suspecting foul play.

"If you are a witch or a wizard who has caused this death," said Majoni, "whether you are within or outside the MCP you will be found out."

Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhitho has since vowed to investigate the death "should there be suspected foul play".

Tembo has since welcomed the probe, saying the MCP "is equally keen to know what killed Chafukira since we worked with him before we differed on political views"-Associated Press.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Press's MK25 million donation condemned

Professor Mathews Chikaonda, Press Corporation Chief Executive Officer whose MK25 million donation to a commercial hospital is being questioned.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Professor Mathews Chikaonda, the Chief Executive Officer for one of Malawi’s leading conglomerate organizations, Press Corporations Limited has come under serious scrutiny following a donation of MK25 million worth dialysis machine to a lucrative healthy facility, the Mwaiwathu Private Hospital.

Mwaiwathu Private Hospital is situated in the commercial city, Blantyre and because of its higher service charges; the facility only offers help to patients who can be described as of ‘higher status’ by Malawian standards.

Chikaonda, made the donation to Mwaiwathu Private Hospital at the end of August on the pretext of ‘corporate social responsibility’ to the Malawi public.

However, Mwaiwathu Hospital is high class private hospital not accessed by an ordinary local Malawian.

Sources in the Press Corporation have disclosed that using his powers as CEO for the conglomerate, Chikaonda coxed some of the organization’s subsidiaries to contribute towards this multi-million Kwacha donation.

The companies that contributed to the MK25 million donation are National Bank of Malawi Limited, MK10 million, Limbe Leaf Malawi Limited MK6 million, Telecom Networks Malawi Limited MK4 million and the mother body Press Corporations Limited MK5million.

By virtual of his position as CEO for Press Corporation, Chikaonda is board chairperson for all the above mentioned companies.

Malawi Digest has also established that Press Corporations Limited is one of the majority shareholders for Mwaiwathu Private Hospital and that Professor Mathews Chikaonda is one of its directors.

As one of the directors for the hospital, Chikaonda has financial benefits from the hospital and an economist interviewed by Malawi Digest suggests that the Press Corporation CEO would make everything possible to make sure that business is viable at the commercial medical facility, hence the donation.

Making the donation at the hospital premises in Blantyre, Chikaonda said that the availability of the dialysis machine at the hospital would save the country’s forex reserves as many people are sent outside the country to seek medical help due to absence of the dialysis machine.

It is a fact that only well to do people go outside Malawi to seek medical help unless sponsored.

Malawi has only one dialysis machine at the Kamuzu Central Hospital in the administrative capital, Lilongwe and a lot of people have suggested if a similar facility was made available at the country’s biggest referral hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Central in Blantyre, would help many Malawians who suffering and dying in silence due to lack of the facility.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi Digest on Monday afternoon, two prominent Malawian economists questioned the underlying principle for Press Corporation to donate such huge sums of money to a commercial business entity that does not serve interests of a local poor Malawian.

“If this donation was made to a free public facility like the Queens, this would have gone a long way in serving the poor Malawian who is dying in silence due to lack of the machines in the country,” said one economist who did not want to be mentioned.

He said Press Corporation and the other three organizations involved in the donation have no proper basis for such a huge donation to a commercial hospital where there is also suspicion of conflict of interest.

“It may be concluded that Professor Chikaonda influenced the other companies to donate to Mwaiwathu for his personal gains as he is also one of the directors for the hospital,” he said.

The other economist concurred that apart from serving what he described as ‘people with status’ in Malawian society, Mwaiwathu Hospital also serves patients from southern Africa.

“So what is there for a Malawian if the hospital also serves patients from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia among many other counties on commercial basis,” he wondered.

According to information gathered by Malawi Digest after a Google search on the internet, the Medical Aid Society of Malawi (Masm) who are also shareholders in Mwaiwathu Hospital, they describe the facility as the most expensive in Malawi.

“State-of-the-art Mwaiwathu Hospital is probably one of the country’s most expensive hospitals. Yet over half the patients at the hospital do not pay for consultation and only have to pay 20 percent or less of the rest of bill,” says Masm in a marketing message for its services on its website after the search.

Another search engine provides the following information for Mwaiwathu Hospital: “The 64-bed Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre provides some of the best medical treatment in the country, but is too expensive for all but the wealthiest businessmen and highest ranking government officials.”

With all these attributes from information gathered through a search on the internet, it is not known why Professor Mathews Chikaonda opted to spend MK25 million on Mwaiwathu Private Hospital and not a public hospital like Queen Elizabeth Central where the facility is open to the poor local Malawian.

Meanwhile, Malawi Digest understands that Press Corporation Limited operates under a Press Trust Deed, the Press Trust.

The company’s website explains the following: “Press Trust is a trust governed by the trustees, who determine the form and quantum of contributions Press Trust will make towards the development and betterment of Malawi. The object of the Press Trust is to act on behalf of the citizens of Malawi.”

It is not known if in making the MK25 donation to a commercial entity like Mwaiwathu Private Hospital, Professor Mathews Chikaonda considered the role of the Press Trust in Malawi and if this private hospital follows in that category-Malawi Digest.

Chafukira family seek state intervention

The late Ishmael Chafukira being sworn-in as a Member of Parliament for Lilongwe North West in June this year. He was in his second term as MP. Pic by Malawi Digest.

The death of the Member of Parliament for Lilongwe North West Ishmael Chafukira remains mysterious as the cause of his death remains unknown and his family has since asked for the intervention of the state.

The family has since asked the Malawi Government to carry out more investigations and bring to light on what led to his death.

Speaking on Sunday during burial ceremony, a member of the family, Group Village Headman Matekwe observed that there was more to his death, and that they were puzzled on why the cause of his death remains unknown.

“As a family, we are asking government to do more and unearth what caused the death of our son. As of now, we are totally confused,” he said.

Matekwe said the untimely death of their son and Member of Parliament has robbed them of development for the area.

He said the constituency had trust in the work of their parliamentarian as he was development conscious.

“We don’t know of what can be our next move as he has left us destitutes,” said Matekwe.

Echoing what Matekwe said, a Member of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Taskforce, Boniface Kadzamila said Chafukira’s death will have an adverse impact on the operation of the task force which is propagating change in the MCP.

“Chafukira was instrumental in our activities as a taskforce and had a better vision to bring back the MCP to glory, which it had during the time of Kamuzu,” he said.

Kadzamila, therefore, asked well wishers and members of MCP to assist in achieving the dream Chafukira had by standing for the truth.

In his remarks, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Henry Chimunthu Banda, said the death of Chafukira has a lot of unanswered questions as it was till not known what caused his death.

He observed that Malawi trusts South Africa as having high class physicians but to tell Malawians that they failed to detect the cause of Chafukira’s death, was worrisome.

‘‘From what we got, the postmortem that was carried out at Messina Hospital in South Africa revealed that he had no infection which could have led to his death. However, we requested for a detailed examination and the body was taken to another hospital where we are still waiting for the results,” said Chimunthu Banda.

He further said that when the body arrived on Saturday at Kamuzu International Airport, it was first taken to Kamuzu Central Hospital for another postmortem of which the results will be known in few weeks time.

Delivering a message of condolence from Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, Chimunthu Banda said the President was saddened by Chafukira’s untimely death.

He said the President described Chafukira a member of parliament who was objective and constructive during debates in the National Assembly.

Born in 1966, Chafukira is survived by a wife and two children. Before joining politics in 2003, he worked for Ministry of Education and other organisations including Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and Malawi National Library Services after graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Arts at Chancellor College.

Chafukira died on October 20 at hotel Messina in South Africa under mysterious circumstances where he went to buy a vehicle.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani IV laid to rest

The late Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani IV in his military and traditional Ngoni attire. Pic by Malawi Digest.

The body of late Paramount chief for Maseko Ngoni’s in Malawi, Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani IV has been laid to rest at his Lizulu Headquarters in the central region district of Ntcheu.

The late Inkosi Gomani was buried on Saturday following Ngoni traditional, military and religious rites.

He has since been replaced by his first born son Willard Mswati Kanjedza who is only 13 years old.

The Form 2 secondary school pupil is expected to take full control of the throne after the completion of his education.

Meanwhile, his aunt, Mary Malinki a sister to the deceased Paramount Chief will act in his place until when Mswati is mature and finished his education to take over the responsibility.

Delivering a message of condolence on behalf of Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda said that government has lost a chief who had a vision of revitalizing the Ngoni culture and traditions among the Maseko Ngonis.

He said the death of Inkosi Gomani IV was regrettable considering that he was development conscious and a unifying factor amongst the Maseko Ngonis.

Banda said that among other things the late Gomani IV enhanced peace, unity and order among his subjects in Ntcheu and the country as a whole.

“The late Inkosi ya Makosi had special interest to revitalize and conserve the Ngoni culture and principles, a thing which President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika supported and appreciated most,” he said.

Also speaking during the burial ceremony, the Commander of the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) General Marco Chidziko said the death of Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani IV was equally of great concern to the MDF considering that he served the organization in various capacities up rising through the ladder to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel which he said is no mean achievement in the army.

“The deceased was a hard working, obedient and honest officer,” said Chidziko.

Born Alex Kanjedza in 1961, after completing his primary education at Mzamazi in Ntcheu district the late Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani IV went to Mtendere Secondary School in Dedza.

He joined the Malawi Defence Force in 1982 and retired in January 2008. He was installed Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani IV in June the same year by Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika to succeed his late father.

The late Paramount Chief died on Sunday on his way to Ntcheu District Hospital where prior to his death was treated of diabetes as an out patient.

A cross section of people including cabinet ministers, senior government officials, military and police officers and traditional leaders including Inkosi Ya Makosi Mbelwa of Mzimba paid their last respects to the late Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani IV.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dr Mutharika's speech at the UN Assembly


Mr. President
Secretary General

I wish to add my voice to those who have spoken before me on the need for "Effective Responses on Global Crises: Strengthening Multilateralism and Dialogue among Civilizations for International Peace, Security and Development".

I believe there is no longer an excuse for reluctance of world leaders to move closer together and to stimulate the debate on how multilateralism and dialogue could be strengthened.

We need to strengthen collaboration so that the international community responds effectively to global challenges such as climate change, the financial and economic crisis, food and energy crises, armed conflicts, terrorism and above all poverty reduction.

Mr. President

The first agenda in multilateralism is to reach a global consensus on reforming the multilateral institutions including the United Nations, to ensure equitable and geographical representation of both developed and developing countries.

It is imperative that developing nations have an effective voice on matters that concern them. Therefore, the United Nations should promote dialogue that ensures inclusiveness, transparency and accountability that are needed to attain genuine global peace, security and development.

The Security Council must be made flexible to allow Africa, Asia, Latin America and Middle East countries to have fair representation in this world body.

The continued monopoly of this body by the Super Powers is no longer justifiable.

Developing nations cannot continue to be silent spectators in matters that affect them. Every sovereign nation is an integral part of the global village.

Gone are the days when conflicts, wars and economic crises in Africa, South East Asia, Middle East and Latin America were the concerns of only the peoples and governments in these areas.

The second agenda for multilateral dialogue is to attain world food security.

Food shortages threaten the foundations of democracy and good governance.

The United Nations cannot sustain a world system where huge populations permanently live with hunger and starvation.

This world body must find a formula whereby the world can produce enough food for all at affordable prices.

I believe that it is possible under the auspices of the United Nations to achieve global food security.

Malawi, Mr. President has a well organized agricultural development strategy and can contribute to the UN efforts in this matter. Malawi has within a short period of time transformed from being a food deficit and hungry nation to a food surplus nation.

Malawi now produces enough food for all the people and we are able to export to the neighbouring countries.

The factor behind the success story is that Malawi allocated large budgetary resources and heavy investment in the agricultural sector. We also successfully introduced Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme that enables the poor and low income households to buy fertilizer, seeds and chemicals at a heavily subsidized.cost.

As a result poor smallholder farmers became more productive. At the same time there are visible signs of improvements in the standard people particularly those in rural areas.

Mr. President

The third agenda for multilateral dialogue is to manage climate change.

Malawi is happy that this matter will be fully discussed at the Copenhagen conference later this year.

At the national level Malawi is responding to the challenge of climate change through intensive irrigation farming and moving away from heavy dependence on rain fed agricultural system.

The Government has introduced the "GREEN BELT" programme that will irrigate up to one million hectares of land for small, medium and large scale fanning by harnessing water sources from the rivers and lakes to provide extensive irrigation.

We shall grow a large range of food crops such as rice, wheat, maize, beans and lentils as our way to contribute towards the solution to world food crises.

Mr. President

The threat of climate change is real. I believe that the price for complacency will be much higher if we fail to act today.

For Africa and other developing countries we need to adequately address the issue of deforestation, environmental degradation and agriculture productivity.

We need to act now.

Let me conclude by stating that we also need a global dialogue on democracy, good governance, human rights, the rule of law and the fight against terrorism in all its manifestations.

We also need new understanding on how developing nations can cope with the shocks of the global financial crises and escalating fuel prices.

I believe that working together, all nations of the world, rich or poor, powerful and powerless, we can strengthen multilateralism and dialogue for lasting international peace, security and development.

We live in one world. We have the same destiny.

Thank you.

Both picture and statement obtained from the UN Assembly website.

'Excited' journalists warned on Chafukira

SO HELP ME GOD: The late youthful and smartly dressed Ishmael Chafukira being sworn-in as Member of Parliament for Lilongwe North West in June this year. Pic exclusively by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

A leading human rights lawyer in Malawi has cautioned journalists over their overzealous reporting on the death of former Member of Parliament Ishmael Chafukira saying others may be taken to task when the dust settles.

The prominent lawyer who was speaking in his personal capacity to Malawi Digest was reacting to media reports both local and international on how the former opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson died on Sunday night.

Chafukira, who was campaigning for the resignation of MCP president John Zenus Ungapake Tembo, died mysteriously at South African hotel in the border town of Messina on Sunday night.

Both Malawi and South African investigators including highly trained doctors are probing into events that led to the death of this prominent youthful politician.

Preliminary results on the autopsy done on Chafukira’s body have yielded no results that would have led to the legislator’s death. Medical experts have described this development as very unusual.

Following Ishmael Chafukira’s death on Sunday, both the local and international media have been awash with reports that the deceased MP died in the company of a female traveller.

Some media organisations have gone further to conclude that the lady was Chafukira’s ‘lover’ and others described her as ‘girlfriend’.

Former president Bakili Muluzi’s agent based in Canada, Tom Likambale has been writing on internet discussion forums that Chafukira died of a sexually related disease popularly known in Malawi as Chitayo.

Likambale is not a medical doctor but a Law school student drop-out.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Malawi Digest on Friday afternoon, the prominent Malawi human rights lawyer cautioned overzealous journalists who are concluding matters on the death of Chafukira.

For example, the lawyer said that just because a woman was found to have been together Chafukira when he died, that alone does not say that the two were lovers.

“How can one conclude that she was a girlfriend or lover without having the evidence that the two shared intimacy?” he said.

The lawyer gave an example of former late President of the Republic of Malawi Ngwazi Dr H.Kamuzu Banda and former official hostess Mama Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira who for over 20 years spent time together without being husband and wife or proven to be lovers.

“Kamuzu and Mama were very close, travelled together to many countries world wide and slept in the same house but no body proved that these two were lovers or husband and wife,” he said.

The lawyer therefore cautioned against this form of journalism saying other media organisations may be forced to pay dearly when the dust for the funeral settles.

On the same wave length, the lawyer also warned against writing reports that are going to hurt the Chafukira family even more after losing their dearest relative.

“How can we read reports that Chafukira’s second wife was chased away from the funeral house in Area 25C only to have the same woman coming out in Friday’s The Nation newspaper saying she was not chased?” wondered the lawyer.

He asked journalists to report responsibly to avoid huge lawsuits that may cripple media organisations in future.

Malawi Digest has since established that the second wife is currently in Area 25C at Chafukira’s main house mourning her dear husband.

As a result of this irresponsible kind of reporting by some media organisations, the Chafukira family has stopped speaking to the media. They are only speaking to a selected few.

The lawyer also cautioned the media against rushing into conclusions on what killed Chafukira saying this is an exceptional case.

“If investigators said that they found nothing that killed Chafukira, this is an extraordinary case. Let Malawians wait and hear the real reason for his death which we hope may be found later,” he said.

The 43-year old opposition Malawi Congress Party legislator was in South Africa on private business and died mysteriously on his way back to Malawi.

South African investigators have since handed over his remains to Malawian authorities and his body if all goes according to Malawi National Assembly plans is expected back home in Malawi this weekend-Malawi Digest.

Malawi promoting women & children

By Gospel Mwalwanda in New York, NY, USA

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika on Wednesday reaffirmed his government’s total commitment to promoting women and children’s health.

Dr Mutharika said the greatest challenge his county and the African continent faced was to ensure safe motherhood and survival of the child when it was born, adding that a child was a present from God.

“Its arrival should be a pleasant experience. It should not be a death penalty for the mother. I think that is the premise on which we really need to start,” he said.

Dr Mutharika was speaking at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, NY, USA, at a high level meeting of the Task Force on Innovative Financing.

The meeting was convened by British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the Malawian leader was one of the invited Heads of States and Government who addressed the higher level gathering.

Other leaders from developing countries who spoke at the function highlighting what their countries were doing to promote maternal and child health included Ghana’s President John Atta Mills, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi.

Dr Mutharika said on the part of Malawi, the country had made a lot of progress in the provision of health services to its citizens with particular focus on reducing maternal and child mortality.

He said Malawi was providing free health services free of charge at all government-owned hospitals, and that in addition, in 2004 the country signed an agreement with church-owned health facilities to remove user fees for women and children when they were treated in those hospitals.

Dr Mutharika said: “Malawi has also reduced child mortality from 133 for every 1,000 birth to 122 for every 1,000 births respectively. We have substantially reduced maternal mortality from 984 per 100000 to 807 in every 100, 000 births in less than four years.”

Each year, more than half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth in developing countries, and some nine million children die before their fifth birthday, including nearly four million deaths from preventable and treatable illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhea.

It is expected that by 2015, an additional 234 million births will be taking place facilities that provide care for both normal and complicated births, and that there will be 276 additional women receiving quality antenatal care visits.

It is expected that by 2015 an additional 234 million women and newborn babies will be expected to receive quality postnatal care, and that there will be an additional 2.5 million health care professional and one million additional community health workers towards the World Health Organization’s target of at least 2.3 health workers per 1, 000 of population.

“In the next five years, my government will build on this progress and recommit itself to improve health services to prevent at least 20,000 children from dying each year,” Dr Mutharika said.

He said the Malawi government also committed itself to reduce maternal deaths by 2000 women each year, and would continue to provide access to free health services to an estimated 860 000 additional Malawians including 80000 expectant mothers.

Each year, more than half a million women worldwide die in pregnancy or childbirth and some nine million children die before their fifth birthday, including nearly four million deaths from preventable and treatable illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhoea.

“My government will continue to provide universal access to antiretroviral [ARV drugs] to 363, 000 people living with HIV free of charge but also increase the prevention of mother to child transmission for those who are pregnant but are found to HIV positive,” Dr Mutharika said.

An estimated one million people in Malawi are living with HIV, the virus that causes Aids which has claimed lives of more than half a million people since the first Aids case was detected in 1985.

However, the free ART programme has significantly reduced Aids-related deaths.

The Malawian leader told the gathering his government would increase human resources to ensure that they have adequate knowledge to deal with cases, particularly at the village.

He said the biggest challenge the country had at the moment was the long distance women had to travel to go to an antenatal clinic, “in some cases as far away as 12 to 15 km away…these are the challenges we are facing. We are increasing the number of clinics with maternity facilities.”

“We will also ensure that we have a continuous supply of drugs and equipment as well as the supply of long lasting insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets essential drugs. To date, Malawi has distributed more than six million bed nets, especially to mothers and children.”

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, who is in New York to attend the 64th UN General Assembly and addressed the assembly on Thursday, said his government would expand the service agreement to make sure that every health facility in Malawi was accessible to women.

“Malawi will join the international health partnership in preparing for the second phase of the sector wide approach. We believe we have the chance to implement the Millennium Development Goal in this regard. We need support to meet this goal.”

Prime Minister Brown and World Bank President Robert Zoellick co-chaired the meeting which marks the culmination of a year’s work by the Taskforce on Innovative Financing for Health Systems which Brown and Zoellick launched last year.

The meeting highlighted the need for stronger, better financed health systems and a better access to health services for women and children-Mana/Malawi Digest.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chafukira’s death puzzle doctors

The late Ishmael Chafukira. His death still puzzling some of the highly trained medical experts in South Africa. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

The death of former opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Ishmael Chafukira has surprised medical experts and investigators who have failed to conclude what exactly killed the Lilongwe North West legislator, Malawi Digest understands.

Post-mortem results for medical examinations concluded on Wednesday by the highly trained experts revealed nothing.

This has been confirmed by Martin Nyengo, a close friend to Chafukira who witnessed the whole operation undertaken by medical doctors at a Pretoria medical facility.

“The doctors have found nothing that could have led to the death of Chafukira. They found completely nothing on the tests that they conducted,” he said in a telephone interview from Johannesburg.

Nyengo said that the late MPs death has left the experts wondering what could have led to his early departure.

“The tests on the late Chafukira took a good four hours but the results showed nothing, leaving the doctors more confused,” he said.

He said a highly trained Nigerian doctor involved in the exercise said he was surprised that they failed to find reason for death, which he said is very rare.

“They have since taken some samples that are going for further tests whose results are expected to be out in six weeks time,” he said.

Chafukira’s wife Joyce told Malawi Digest soon after being told that the doctors found nothing that may have led to her husband’s death that she is equally surprised.

“I and the rest of the family are interest to know what exactly killed my husband,” she said at her Area 25 C house.

Joyce Chafukira who is a teacher by profession at Chiuzimbi Primary School said in as far as she knows her husband he was in good health when he left Malawi.

“His health history shows that he had no any health problems like high blood pressure, low blood pressure or any heart diseases that may have led to his surprise death,” she said.

She was however, hopeful that the final result of the tests conducted by the doctors to come later on, my reveal what killed the former MP.

Many Malawians including human rights activists have expressed shock and disappointment at the death of Ishmael Chafukira who was leading a democratic fight against MCP president John Tembo.

One of the leading human rights NGOs in Malawi, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has linked Chafukira’s death to the opposition MCP of John Tembo.

CHRR said in a statement that they are not surprised with Chafukira’s sudden death as Malawians still have fond memories of the dark past for the MCP.

The late Ishmael Chafukira died suddenly on Sunday night at a South African hotel in the border town of Messina.

He had gone to South Africa on personal business to purchase vehicles for his family.

Former Malawi president Bakili Muluzi has repeatedly told Malawians that Malawi Congress Party leader, John Tembo is a murder, killer and serious manipulator who normally hides from atrocities engineered by him-Malawi Digest.

Minister says new NB hospital on pace

Malawi's Minister of Health Professor Moses Chirambo says that the Nkhatabay hospital should be attributed to the wise leadership of Bingu wa Mutharika. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Chifundo Gama

The construction of the ultra modern hospital in the northern region lake side district of Nkhatabay is said to be a good footing, Malawi Digest understands.

Minister of Health Professor Moses Chirambo disclosed this in an interview with Malawi Digest on the sidelines of a function in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

The minister said that clearance and levelling at the construction side for the new Nkhatabay District Hospital has been completed.

“What remains is now is the start for the main construction works after the clearing stage,” he said.

The Minister disclosed that the Bingu wa Mutharika led administration decided to construct a new hospital in Nkhatabay in order to ease overcrowding at the existing health facility,”

“The current Nkhatabay District Hospital building is very small and old to service the high population of the district and huge demand for medical services in the area,” he said.

The Minister disclosed that Nkhatabay district has a population of nearly 240,000 and that as a result this huge population cannot be served from a facility that was built in 1959 targeting a smaller population at that particular time.

Professor Chirambo said that the construction of the new district hospital in Nkhatabay can only be attributed to the wise, dynamic and visionary leadership of Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika who came up with the idea.

According to Ministry of Health officials, the new Nkhatabay District Hospital is expected to ease space problems and improve on the healthy delivery services in the district.

The hospital is expected to cost the Malawi government nearly MK10.7 billion and the project is expected to be completed in two years-Malawi Digest.

Malawi in week-long tourism campaign

Malawi's Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Anna Namathanga Kachikho whose ministry is doing alot in order to market Malawi to the outside world. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Mary Chikoja

Malawi, also well known as the Warm Heart of Africa has embarked on a week-long tourism campaign week in a bid to create public awareness on places of tourism interests in the country.

The tourism week being celebrated under the theme; “Need for developing culture” kicke-off with a familiarisation tour for journalists in some of the country’s major tourism and cultural destinations that included mountains, beaches, hotels and the country’s huge mass of water, Lake Malawi.

The journalists were accompanied by the Director of Tourism in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Isaac Katopola who said this year government has opted to campaign for the upholding of culture as research has shown that Malawians mainly consider nature tourism.

“It’s high time that apart from taking nature as an important part tourism, that we also realise that upholding culture is also an important aspect of tourism hence the highlighting of culture in this year’s tourism week,” said Katopola.

Katopola added that this year’s celebrations are done in diversity and nature is used as a driving force.

As part of culture, senior rock artist, John Chilachila told journalists who visited Mphunzi Mountain in Dedza that the writings (found on the rocks in the mountain) were used as a means of communication amongst the Akafula people who lived in the mountains.

Akafula (very short, dark and hairy people) used to write on rocks so as to notify one another about life aspects and behaviour change especially in women,” he explained to the excited journalists.

Chilachila also disclosed that Akafula, also well known in Malawi as a Mwandionela Pati? (Where did you see me?), as a result of their short height, they wrote on the rocks to communicate young girls on how to behave after reaching maturity age and to pregnant women on how to behave and live during their status.

In a bid to promote culture, journalists also visited the first arc bridge in central Africa.

The arch bridge on Diaphwe river was constructed in 1920 and acts as a boundary between the central region district of Dedza and Malawi’s administrative capital, Lilongwe.

As part of the campaign, journalists also visited Lake Malawi where they also saw Lake Malawi National Park.

Lake Malawi is habitat to over 500 different species of fish than any other lake in the world like. The most special one of all is the Mbuna fish.

The pride of Malawi, Lake Malawi has also the popular Chambo fish which is one of the best species of fish in the whole world.

Some of Malawi’s main tourism destination places for accommodation include Ku Chawe Inn, Sunbird Mount Soche, Nkopola Lodge, Boadzulu Holiday Resort, Nyika National Park, Lengwe National Park and Majete Game Reserve.

The other tourism attraction centres include the Mulanje Mountain which is the highest in central Africa, the Zomba mountain, Nyika plateau and the Shire river among many other attractive places-Malawi Digest.

MCC hails Dr Mutharika administration

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika always making Malawians proud wherever he goes. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Gospel Mwalwanda in New York, USA

Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika on Tuesday held discussions with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Darius Mans.

Speaking to journalists after the audience at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, USA, Mans said he discussed with the president progress Malawi had made about eligibility for compact funding over the years “and where we stand” on completing preparations for funding by the MCC.

He said some years ago, Malawi was not eligible for compact funding and as a result “we agreed on what he called threshold programme to improve the country’s performance eligibility criteria.”

Thanks to progress that Malawi made and government’s overall reform programme, Malawi’s performance on the indicator improved, he said.

“As a result of improvement, in December 2007, the board of directors approved Malawi to be eligible for full compact funding and that is what we are working on,” said Mans, who was Director with the World Bank Institute (WBI) responsible for its programmes in WBI’s 45 focus countries worldwide before joining MCC.

“We have been working very diligently in cooperating with the government on its plans that have been developed through consultation in Malawi which prioritize, among other things, the energy sector.

“We had an opportunity to speak with the president about the progress made in preparing those investments for funding by the MCC,” said Mans, who was accompanied by Jerry Dutkewych, MCC Director, Country Relations, Department of Development.

The MCC is a United States government corporation based in Washington designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the word.

Mans said programmes that had been proposed to the MCC for funding included investments and rehabilitation of some of the existing capacity as well as attracting private partnership off the grid for producing energy.

“This is a very important investment programme that has been proposed to us because we recognize the importance of energy for household and also for the development of the private sector in Malawi.

At a business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) forum on Monday at the same venue, Mans expressed happiness to partner with Malawi in the country’s development endeavors.

“In Malawi, MCC finds a capable partner,” Mans told the forum which President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika also attended. He praised the president for fighting corruption, money laundering and bringing the rule of law.

He said: “This is not common, yet Malawi does it.”

Mans, however, said the lack of reliable electricity in the country was a major concern, adding his corporation was looking into how it could render assistance to alleviate the problem.

“We had good discussions about the work that has been done and work that remains. It is our intention to complete preparations as quickly as possible. There is some technical work that is still underway to complete detailed designs, feasibility studies for some of the projects- Mana/Malawi Digest.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Inkosi Gomani's burial moved to Saturday

The late Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani IV and Malawi President His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika during the departed chief's installation ceremony in 2008. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Mana/Malawi Digest

The burial for Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani IV of Ntcheu has been moved from Thursday to Saturday this week, officials have confirmed.

A senior Maseko Ngoni official, Leonard Chikadya made the announcement on Tuesday at the Malawi College of Medicine in the commercial city, Blantyre when the body of the departed chief was being transferred to his Lizulu headquarters.

Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani IV passed away on Sunday night at Ntcheu District Hospital. The dead body was then transferred to College of Medicine for embalming.

“The family has decided to change the burial day from Thursday to Saturday this week to allow more people attend,” said Chikadya who is also Chief Executive Officer for Blantyre Newspapers Limited.

Hundreds of mourners led by Malawi Vice President Joyce Banda paid their last respects to the remains of Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani V before they were taken to Lizulu.

Giving her eulogy, on behalf of President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika who is away attending the United Nations General Assembly in the New York, United States, Vice President Banda described the death of Inkosi Ya Makosi a great loss not only to the Ngoni Maseko fraternity but also Malawians in general and the country’s leadership in particular.

Joyce Banda explained that a short period the deceased was on the throne many development projects have been initiated most of which he had a hand in them. She therefore expressed her sadness with his demise saying the country has lost an individual who had the welfare of his clan at heart and development oriented.

The Vice President said the message from the Malawi State President was that of advice that clan members remain united during this time of sorrow and grief and allow God to take charge of the situation up until burial and beyond.

Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V who was installed on June 21, 2008 served in the Army and rose up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

He is survived by a wife and four children-Mana/Malawi Digest.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chafukira’s body under medical inquiry

Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda says the late Chafukira was a great asset to the country's Parliament. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

A high powered team of medical experts, has descended upon the South African border town of Messina where they are conducting a detailed analysts on how opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) parliamentarian for Lilongwe North West, Ishmael Chafukira died mysteriously on Sunday, Malawi Digest understands.

An official working in the Malawi High Commission in South Africa confirmed in a telephone interview from Messina on Tuesday morning.

The official, who was part of the Malawi High Commission staff that went to confirm the death of Chafukira in Messina, said South African immigration officials, doctors and police investigators are working around the clock to piece together information on how the sudden death occurred.

“So far, they have visited the hotel where Chafukira died from this unknown ill-ness and now investigators have given a chance to pathologists and other medical experts to examine the body of the late honourable parliamentarian,” said the official.

The official who did not want to be named because he had not sought permission from Malawi High Commissioner to South Africa Agrina Mussa to speak to Malawi Digest said that at this moment he cannot disclose anything on the findings.

“Everything remains sketchy at the moment and we will have to wait until a final conclusion on the whole story either today, Tuesday or the latest Wednesday after a proper post-mortem is done,” he said.

The official’s version of the story has been confirmed by the Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda who said the body of the late Chafukira would not be brought to Malawi until after a proper post-mortem is done.

“We have requested medical experts in South Africa in collaboration with the police to institute an inquiry on how our honourable Member of Parliament died so sudden away from home,” he told Malawi Digest on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaker Chimunthu Banda heaped praises on the late Ishmael Chafukira saying his demise is a great loss to the Malawi nation.

“He was one of the most hard-working parliamentarians who contributed positively to the deliberations in the National Assembly for the good will of the country,” he said.

Ishmael Chafukira died at a time when he was fighting for a leadership change in the Malawi Congress Party under the famous John Zenus Ungapake Tembo also well known as Puludzu.

Tembo has always boosted that whoever dares him, always disappears and he always triumphs, hence his newly found name, Puludzu.

Former president of Malawi Bakili Muluzi has repeatedly told Malawians that John Tembo is a murderer, man with blood in his hands, a killer and a serious manipulator.

The late Ishmael Fillimon Chafukira has died soon after just being re-elected as opposition MCP parliamentarian for Lilongwe North West in the May 19th General Elections.

According to information gathered by Malawi Digest when it visited the late Chafukira's residence on Monday morning, his wife Joyce Chafukira said her late husband joined politics in 2003 and got elected to Parliament in 2004.

Before that, Chafukira worked as a secondary school teacher and at the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

The late Chafukira who was 43 years old had a Bachelors of Education degree from the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba– Malawi Digest.

Malawi State President bemoans lack of port

Malawi President His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Gospel Mwalwanda

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika on Friday said he was determined to bring the Shire-Zambezi Waterway project to fruition because it is very expensive to do business without access to sea.

Dr Mutharika was speaking in Miami, Florida, US, at the 12th annual US-Africa Trade and Investment Conference (AfriCANDO) 2009 organised by the Foundation for Democracy in Africa (FDA).

Addressing the conference, whose theme was ‘Smart, Appropriate and Resource Efficient Technologies for Rural Communities.’ Dr Mutharika said the biggest challenge for Malawi; a landlocked country is how to trade with the world because of lack of access to the sea.

When he took office in 2004, Mutharika initiated the Shire-Zambezi Waterway Project to ease transportation of goods to reduce transport costs.

Before he went to the US, Dr Mutharika visited Brazil where he met the country’s President Inacioa Luiz Lula da Silva.

Meanwhile, President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has arrived in the New York city when he is expected to attend the United Nations (UN) General Assembly later on this week.

On Sunday, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika met the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon where the two leaders held closed-door discussions-MANA/Malawi Digest.

Dr Mutharika invites Brazilians to Malawi

Malawi's Industry and Trade Minister Eunice Kazembe, MP. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Dalitso Chikwembani

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika on Thursday courted the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo in Brazil to invest in Malawi.

Dr Mutharika held talks with the Federation at the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs in the Brazilian commercial capital, Sao Paul.

The Federation comprises of various industries in Brazil, including agribusiness, car manufacturing and hydro power.

Industry and Trade Minister Eunice Kazembe told journalists after the talks that Dr Mutharika outlined investment opportunities in Malawi such as the green belt irrigation project and the Nsanje world inland port.

“He also talked about pharmaceuticals, bearing in mind that a Brazilian company is already in pharmaceutical production in Mozambique, producing ARVs,” she said.

Mutharika was in Brazi for a three-day state visit at the invitation of Brazilian president Inacioa Luiz Lula da Silva.

During the visit, Dr Mutharika held belateral talks with President da Silva and witnessed the signing of an agreement of cooperation between the two countries and visited a number of government institutions where he was briefed on their operations and history.

Mutharika left Brazil for Miami in the United States of America on Thursday where he was expected to receive a leadership award before proceeding to New York for the United Nations General Assembly-Mana/Malawi Digest.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Inkosi Gomani IV's burial is Thursday

The late Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani IV and His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika at a public function. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

As Malawians are still trying to come to terms with the mysterious death of Malawi Congress Party parliamentarian Ishmael Chafukira, the nation has been robbed-off yet another important personality. Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani IV of Ntcheu is dead.

He died from some undisclosed ill-ness Sunday night at Ntcheu District Hospital.

Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani, is the paramount chief for all Ngoni people from the central region district of Ntcheu in Malawi.

Ntcheu District Commissioner, Macloud Kadam’manja confirmed to Malawi Digest Monday morning that the chief died on Sunday night.

“The Inkosi has not been well for sometime but doctors are yet to disclose what he died of,” said the District Commissioner.

According to Kadam'manja, the late Inkosi Gomani IV was born on 15th October, 1951.

He was installed as Paramount Chief Gomani IV on 21st June, 2008 by Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika at a colourful ceremony at his chieftaincy headquarters in Ntcheu.

Before being installed as Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani IV, the respected Ngoni leader was a lieutenant colonel in the Malawi Defence Forces before he retired in 2008.

He is survived by a wife and four children.

Meanwhile, family sources have disclosed to Malawi Digest that Inkosi Ya Makosi Gomani is expected to be interred on Thursday this week at his headquarters, Nzamani Village in Lizulu, Ntcheu.

The body of the late Inkosi Gomani IV has since been transfered from Ntcheu District Hospital to the College of Medicine in the commercial city, Blantyre where it is being kept in a mortuary-Malawi Digest.

Tembo blamed for Chafukira's early death

GONE TOO SOON, the late Ishmael Chafukira in the last parliamentary sitting. His death is being blamed on John Tembo. Pic exclusively by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Ishmael Chafukira, the former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson who fought MCP leader, John Zenus Ungapakepo Tembo like a gallant solder, has died, Malawi Digest can disclose.

A reporter for the Malawi Digest has just visited the house of the deceased in the administrative capital, Lilongwe where friends and relatives are gathering to mourn the untimely death of this distinguished legislator.

Almost all the people mourning the death of Chafukira at his Area 25 (c) house are shouting the name of John Tembo, blaming him for the deceased MP’s early departure.

Family members have confirmed to Malawi Digest that Chafukira, the Lilongwe North West parliamentarian died in South Africa last night.

“Details on what killed my husband are still sketchy but I spoke to him last evening and he did not complain of anything,” the sobbing Mrs Joyce Chafukira told Malawi Digest at the family’s Area 25 residence.

She disclosed her husband left Malawi last week for Durban, South Africa to buy motor vehicles and that he was in very good and sound health before receiving the news of his sudden death mid-night last night.

According to Mrs Chafukira, the MP left Malawi for the trip together with a friend, George Mituka.

Information gathered by Malawi Digest indicates that Mituka left Chafukira in South Africa on Sunday rushing home to report for duties on Tuesday.

Mituka is currently reported to be driving home with one of the motor vehicles bought by Chafukira.

Malawi Digest is at the moment not able to reach Mituka on his mobile numbers as he is in transit.

An uncle to the late Chafukira that we found at the residence in Area 25 told Malawi Digest, they only got a text from a Malawian resident South Africa announcing the MP’s death.

“We got a text from a person called Alex who said South African Police contacted him telling him about Chafukira’s death but as a family are yet to get a proper medical report,” said the uncle.

The family said that Alex was contacted by the South African police after a mobile phone found in the late Chafukira’s pockets showed his number as the last person contacted by Chafukira before his sudden and mysterious death.

The uncle, who refused to have his name disclosed, said as a family, they would like to get to the bottom of the death of Chafukira.

“As a politician, the entire nation knows that he was involved in a bitter row with the MCP leader John Tembo, so we want government through the Police to conduct a proper investigation into his sudden death,” he said.

This is the second time that a Malawi Congress Party legislator has died under mysterious circumstances in South Africa.

About two years ago, former shadow Finance Minister and MCP legislator Raspicious Dzanjalimodzi died at a South African clinic after travelling to the rainbow nation for some family business.

Senior MCP officials confirmed to Malawi Digest that Dzanjalimodzi was tipped to replace John Tembo as presidential candidate for the 2009 presidential elections.

Dzanjalimodzi died before this mission of unseating Tembo was accomplished.

Following the May 19th elections, Ishmael Chafukira has been in the forefront of campaigning for leadership change in the MCP, saying Tembo has outlived his leadership time.

Chafukira openly spoke in the last parliamentary session against the Tembo leadership and was one of the people that was being favoured to take over the reigns of the party and that of Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

Member of Parliament for Lilongwe Msozi North Geoffrey Kamanya who fought alongside Chafukira has on several occasions made it known to the public that all people opposing John Tembo have their lives under serious threat.

“Fellow MPs are being beaten up, we are having our property damaged by Tembo thugs and we know some of us my not complete this parliamentary term for opposing Tembo. Even if we are killed, our blood will fight for the freedom of people in the Malawi Congress Party,” Kamanya told the last parliamentary sitting.

Two weeks ago, thugs sent by John Tembo damaged a Mitsubishi Pajero BQ 712 belonging to Lilongwe Msozi North MP Geoffrey Kamanya and caused injury to several people during a press conference are Kalikuti Hotel in Lilongwe.

The vehicle used in the fracas was VW Combi, registration number DZ 376 and both Tembo and the Police confirmed the car was owned by the MCP leader.

The vehicle was at that time being driven by Tembo’s personal aide, Jeffrey Kamata.

Ishmael Chafukira was one of the leaders for a grouping of senior MCP officials called, the MCP Task Force on Leadership Change that has been calling for leading change in the country’s oldest political party-Malawi Digest.

Warning to Nyasatimes

We continue to note with great concern that Nyasatimes continues behave irresponsibly by stealing from our site, pictures and stories before putting the same on their site.

The pictures are taken without our consent and knowledge and the stories are paraphrased before they are published on their site.

We find this behaviour uncalled for and unprofessional on the part of Nyasatimes.

We would like to state categorically that we are not in any partnership with Nyasatimes and that their picking of our pictures and stories without any consent is therefore deemed illegal and unprofessional.

We have no intention of engaging ourselves in a media war with Nyasatimes but just humbly requesting them to keep away from this uncalled for and unprofessional conduct.

Reputable media organisations world over do seek consent from fellow media organisations if they want to use their pictures and stories where a proper consent is granted and normally proper acknowledgement is expected after publishing the copied material including pictures.

However, Nyasatimes have ignored this most civilised behaviour and turned themselves into champions of copy cuts.

We have previously warned Nyasatimes, who seem not wish Malawi well almost all the time but they don't seem to listen.

We hope for once, Nyasatimes will listen and stop using Malawi Digest as their photo gallery agency and news agency to get stories.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Tembo bought vehicle for May's swearing-in

A Toyota Quantum look alike of John Tembo's preferred vehicle for his dreamed presidential inauguration. Pic from internet sites.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Losing presidential candidate in the May 19th General Elections, John Zenus Ungapake Tembo of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) bought a vehicle in May that was to be used for his swearing-in as President of the Republic of Malawi, Malawi Digest can reveal.

Tembo commonly known in Malawi as JZU is reported to have invested heavily in his impending swearing-in function that was planned for Monday, May 25th 2009 at the Civo Stadium in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

Lilongwe was chosen for the inauguration ceremony as it was seen as the central point for the central region. Prior to the May General Elections, the MCP had a majority of its supporters from the central region of the country.

The vehicle in question, a Toyota Quantum was personally imported by Tembo from Japan and arrived in Malawi a week before the May 19th Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Contrary to Tembo’s dreams, JZU as some people call him, lost miserably to Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party(DPP).

In the elections, Tembo was supported by another failed Malawian politician, Bakili Muluzi of the opposition UDF.

Muluzi was stopped by the courts from raping the Malawi Constitution to seek another third term of office.

Malawi Digest investigations have uncovered that the vehicle was imported into Malawi by Hon. JZU Tembo and the details on the bill of entry in our possession gives the importer’s address as Post Office Box 30530, Lilongwe.

Our investigations reveal that the vehicle was a Toyota Quantum, light silver in colour, engine number 2kb1901287 and engine capacity 2491 cc manufactured in Japan.

Details gathered by Malawi Digest indicate that the vehicle arrived in Malawi through Malawi Revenue Authority Border post at Dedza on 10th May, 2009, seven days before the Presidential and Parliamentary polls.

Upon entry into Malawi, the vehicle was taken over by a customs clearing agency, Stage Freight Limited of P.O. Box 1776, Lilongwe.

Stage Freight Limited is a registered company of former customs officer, the late Simtchaya Chisale. The company is now being run by his widowed wife and her children.

Upon entry, the vehicle was given transit documents by MRA officials. The document numbered D225.

At Dedza, Stage Freight put forward MK2, 051,747.54 as a bond for the vehicle to be allowed entry into Malawi.

The vehicle was driven from Dedza MRA border post to Lilongwe where Tembo is reported to have visited the company’s bond premises in the administrative capital on 11th May 2009 to have an impression of his inauguration vehicle.

Because of the urgency of the matter and following John Tembo’s orders, the vehicle was cleared Stage Freight Limited at MRA Lilongwe office on 12th May, 2009.

Documents in our possession indicate that MRA billed Tembo through an invoice addressed to Hon. JZU Tembo of Area 10, Lundu Street, House Number 10/440, Capital City, Lilongwe 3.

According to the information that we have gathered, John Tembo commonly known to Malawians as Puludzu cleared the vehicle after paying MK 618, 268.50 in custom duties through bill of entry document number 5061 dated 12th May, 2009.

The information says that a committee of political big-wigs in the opposition MCP and United Democratic Front (UDF) was put together and worked around the clock planning for the swearing-in ceremony.

The team was led by MCP Secretary General Chris Daza and UDF director of research Humphrey Mvula. Among others, members of the organising committee included MPs Belekanyama, Dzoole Mwale, business men Ufulu and Lekani Loga from the MCP and Kennedy Makwangwala, Friday Jumbe, Clement Stambuli and Hophmalley Makande from coalition parteners, UDF.

Ufulu and Lekani Loga are sons to former education official, John Loga who is currently married a Catholic nun. The nun was removed by Loga from a convent at Providence in Chisitu Mulanje where she worked as headmistress for Providence Secondary School.

As for Lekani Loga, he is one of the most trusted boys to John Zenus Ungapake Tembo. Although this has been the case, Lekani has twice failed to win a parliamentary seat under MCP in his home village of Ntcheu.

As preparations were getting underway, two weeks before the polls, the MCP/UDF Alliance running mate, Brown James Mpinganjira also travelled to South Africa to shop for an executive attire that included a suit, shirt, necktie, shoes and dinner suit for his inauguration ceremony as Vice President of the country.

Tembo’s suit, was purchased by his wife Mrs Ruth Tembo in South Africa. She landed back in Malawi three days before the May 19th polls.

Tembo’s wife is from Lesotho and is originally called Ruth Mamaria Ntsekhe.

The two got married at the Evangelical Church in Maseru, Lesotho on Saturday 13th September, 1969.

Meanwhile, weeks before the elections, staff at Tembo’s residence in Area 10 has confirmed all senior party officials were describing Mrs Tembo as the country’s First Lady-Malawi Digest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mutharika impresses USA based foundation

Malawi President His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika inspecting a Presidential Guard of Honour at Brasilia International Airport in Brazil. Pic by Dalitso Chikwembani, Malawi News Agency.

By Gospel Mwalwanda
In New York, USA

The Foundation for Democracy in Africa (FDA) says it is eager to learn President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika’s strategies for fighting hunger and increasing Malawi’s economic growth.

FDA president Fred Oladeinde said this on Wednesday in a press statement ahead of the 12th annual US-Africa Trade and Investment Conference (AfriCANDO) 2009 in the USA starting Friday.

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika is scheduled to attend the conference whose theme is ‘Smart Appropriate and Resource Efficient Technologies for Rural Communities’.

At the conference, Ngwazi Dr Mutharika is expected to be awarded the Medal of Glory, FDA’s highest honour which is presented to leaders who have dedicated their professional lives to the promotion of democratic principles of liberty, freedom and development in Africa.

Oladeinde said Mutharika has proven track record in using smart, appropriate and resource-efficient technologies to advance rural community development.

Meanwhile, President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and his entourage have arrived in Miami for the conference after a successful three day trip to Brazil.

Whilst in Brazil, the Malawi government and the Brazilians signed a number of trade agreements.

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika was in Brazil, at the invitation of the country’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The Malawian leader told journalists on his departure at Kamuzu International Airport that he has been good friends with President da Silva for a long time-Mana/Malawi Digest.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

UDF linked to church squabbles, 3 dead

In black and white, the letter from Emeritus Bernard Malango revealing the UDF clandistine activities in the Anglican Church. Feel free to contact Malawi Digest editor on for a more clearer copy.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

The former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) of former president of the Republic of Malawi Bakili Muluzi has been linked to the squabbles in one of Malawi’s leading religious organisations, the Anglican Church, Malawi Digest can reveal.

The UDF whose national chairman is Bakili Muluzi is reported to have been oiling the church wrangles through financial support that was channelled through Emeritus Archbishop Dr Bernard Malango.

The UDF promoted disagreements have resulted in the death of at least three people two of which two are the church’s senior members of the clergy.

These squabbles have been taking place in the Anglican Church’s Diocese of Lake Malawi following the death of Bishop Nathaniel Nyanja. The diocese has now been without a bishop for over 5 years.

The UDF is reported to be favouring Fr. Henry M’baya to take over the leadership of the diocese as bishop whilst the majority of the church's faithful are supporting the installation of British national, Rev. Fr Nicholas Henderson. Henderson is currently based in the United Kingdom.

The majority of the church members feel the UDF supported candidacy of Fr M’baya is of unsound faith as one several occasions the priest is reported to have been seen womanising and drinking heavily.

Malawi Digest has obtained indisputable evidence that the UDF has been funding the squabbles that have resulted in the loss of three lives.

Those that have died under unexplained circumstances in the course of the wrangle are Rev. Fr Rodney Hunter a British national, Rev. Fr. Cannon Bernard Mkonkholo and a member of the church, a Mr Mlotha.

Apart from verbal information that Malawi Digest has obtained from some senior clergy members of the church, we have in our possession a letter purportedly written by Emeritus Archbishop Bernard Malango.

In the letter dated 15th February 2006 Emeritus Archbishop Bernard Malango is issuing instructions to one Rev. Fr. Dennis M. Kayamba of St Mathews Church, P.O. Box 133 Nkhotakota.

When the letter was being authored by Emeritus Archbishop Malango in 2006, the UDF were no longer in power and their national chairman who has also been mentioned in the letter was also out of job as president of the country.

It is not clearly known why the UDF were so much interested in having Fr.Henry M’baya as bishop for Diocese of Lake Malawi.

In the letter Archbishop Malango, who was then head of the church in Zambia, Botwana, Zambia and Malawi is passing on a message from the UDF national chairman.

“I have been advised by the national chairman of the United Democratic Front that the people who should work in tandem with you in Nkhotakota should be only members of the UDF,” says Malango in the first paragraph of the letter which is under the letter head, The Church of the Province of Central Africa.

In the letter, Archbishop Malango explains why they should make Fr. M’baya bishop of the diocese.

“As you remember, our prerequisite is to make Fr. Henry M’baya be the boss of the diocese. This will not give us a headache since he is already a UDF plant,” writes Malango in the middle and second paragraph of the letter.

In the letter, Archbishop Malango has good news for the pro-UDF members of the Anglican Church.

“On this juncture, advise Fr. Frank of Mtunthama to convince members of the church who are pro-UDF and tell him that the cheque I mentioned has just arrived,” concludes Archbishop Malango in the letter.

Our sources in the church have disclosed that in the last paragraph, Malango was apparently referring to Fr Frank Dzamtenge who is another pro-UDF clergy member of the Anglican Church.

The letter has been dully signed by The Most Reverend Dr Bernard Malango.

Emeritus Archbishop Malango has his signature on the letter. The signature has been preceded with a cross sign normally used by bishops and senior members of the clergy.

The scanned copy of the letter has been put on top of this website.

Those that cannot see clearly this letter, are free to contact the Malawi Digest editor at to get a bigger form of the same document for better and easy reading.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Malawi Digest will in the next few days bring you an in-depth of the Anglican Church Diocese of Lake Malawi wrangle that has resulted in the death of three people. Keep on watching this site-Malawi Digest.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ngwazi Mutharika goes to Brazil, USA, holiday

His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika inspecting a Presidential Guard of Honour. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has left the country for Brasilia, Brazil for a three-day state visit.

Ngwazi Dr Mutharika left the country through Kamuzu International Airport in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

He was seen off at the airport by a mammoth crowd led by the country’s Vice President Madame Joyce Banda, cabinet ministers, senior government officials and senior members of the diplomatic community among many others.

Speaking to journalists soon after inspecting the Presidential Guard of Honour, the Malawian leader said he was on a state tour of Brazil at the invitation of that country’s head of state, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“We have been long time friends and he invited me to visit his country,” said the Ngwazi.

Dr Mutharika said that whilst in Brazil, he is expected to discuss with his counterpart a number of issues including bilateral relations between the two countries, agriculture, communication and manufacturing among many others issues.

“Our friends in Brazil are more advanced in the manufacturing industry and Malawi expects to benefit a lot from this country,” he said.

The State President disclosed that on his trip, he will travel to Miami, United States on Friday the 13th of September where he is expected to receive his Medal of Glory award from the Democracy Foundation for Africa.

On this honour, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika had something to say: “I am being honoured for doing a lot in Malawi. At least some people outside Malawi are able to see and appreciate what we are doing.”

The President then said that from Miami, he will travel to New York for this year’s United Nations General Assembly where among many other issues, heads of states will discuss global issues including, food security, international security, monetary matters, global warming and climate change.

Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika then disclosed that from the UN General Assembly where he will stay from the 20th to the 27th, he will leave New York and proceed on leave for two weeks.

“I am disclosing this deliberately because sometimes you press men keep on asking me why I have delayed returning home. I am therefore going on leave after New York,” said the President who was in a jovial mood.

Dr Mutharika said that after the May 19th Presidential and Parliamentary polls he needed a rest.

“I deserve a holiday, I have worked very hard for you I think you can afford to give me a holiday for two weeks,” he said.

This will be Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika’s first international trip to the United States after winning the May Presidential and Parliamentary elections will a landslide victory that people have dubbed Tsunami-Malawi Digest.

Minister threatens company closure

Malawi's Labour Minister Yunnusu Mussa says that employers should treat Malawians with respect. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Malawi’s Minister of Labour Yunnusu Mussa has warned Exclusive Fashions Limited, a clothing manufacturing company to improve on a number of issues of national concern or face closure.

The minister, who was accompanied by his deputy John Bande, said this on Monday during an impromptu visit to the company’s premises in the commercial city, Blantyre.

Speaking to Malawi Digest soon after touring the company, Mussa said that he together with his second in command were shocked and disappointed with what he saw at the organisation premises.

He said apart from ill-treating employees, Exclusive Fashions Limited is operating in the most unhygienic conditions ever seen in Malawi’s working environment.

“Imagine over 200 employees both male and female are sharing one toilet,” said the minister.

The eloquent minister who is also legislator for Zomba Central Constituency said that employees at the company were working in the most dehumanising manner.

“We have been told apart from being castigated by some of the company supervisors, corporal punishment is applied on the local employees which is contrary to the country’s labour laws,” said Mussa.

According to the minister, the company employees complained of meagre salaries which the minister said is pegged at MK750 every two weeks translating into K1, 500.00 a month.

“I have given the company three weeks to either improve on these inexcusable working conditions or face closure,” he said.

The minister specifically issued a warning to six foreign supervisors found at the factory but have no proper documentation to work in the country to stop ill-treating Malawian employees.

“These six that we have discovered are of Pakistan origins are doing work kind of work that Malawians would have easily done. To make matters worse, they ill-treat the local employees, castigating them as well as in some situations beating them up,” said the minister.

The minister said that the Bingu wa Mutharika government will not tolerate any foreigner who will come into the country to abuse and ill-treat the natives.

“What we have done at Exclusive Fashions should be a stern warning to all employers in Malawi,” he said.

The Labour Minister’s warning to Exclusive Fashions comes barely a week after President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika sent packing four senior tobacco buying company officials for defying government authority.

The four were discovered to be in the lead for the provision of poor tobacco prices at the auction floors.

Tobacco is Malawi’s main foreign exchange earner-Malawi Digest.

Dr Ligoya the Reserve Bank Governor speaks

By Aubrey Mchulu

Economist Perks Ligoya, appointed Reserve Bank Governor on Monday, has described his new role as “a special call to national duty” and said he will work with the existing team to consolidate the economic gains the country has made in recent years.

“It’s not a one man’s job. I will not work as an island and it’s not like I will revolutionise one thing or another,” said Ligoya who, before his appointment by President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, was treasury economic advisor in the Ministry of Finance.

Ligoya has succeeded Victor Mbewe who resigned from the position on July 14 this year. Ligoya is taking the mantle at a time when the country is facing an acute foreign exchange shortage that is crippling operations of most companies.

Asked to explain how he plans to improve the situation, Ligoya said: “I will do everything that will not depart from the vision of the country.”

He said he will serve the State President to maintain low inflation rates, stable currency, high economic growth rates and food security.

Ligoya thanked Mutharika for the appointment which he dedicated to his colleagues in government machinery.

Ligoya is no stranger to the central bank as his first job after graduating with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Economics) from Chancellor College, was with RBM from 1981 to 1999 where he was an economist.

The new governor holds four university degrees, including a doctorate in economic policy management obtained in France in 1998. He also holds a Master of Science in International Economics and a Master of Philosophy in Monetary Economics, both from France’s University of Grenoble.

As treasury economic advisor, Ligoya advised the Ministry of Finance on matters related to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, low interest loan offered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and led all meetings with the IMF.

Ligoya has previously worked as senior economist at the IMF’s Malawi office in Lilongwe, national programme facilitator for the W.K Kellog Foundation in Malawi and is also a trustee of the Southern African Trust, a multi-donor funded initiative that provides project grants to promote dialogue and policy changes to end poverty in the Sadc region- The Nation, Tuesday September 15, 2009.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dr Ligoya is new Reserve Bank governor

New Malawi Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Perks Ligoya.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Malawi President His Excellency Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has this Monday evening appointed Dr Perks Ligoya as the new Governor for the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

Dr Ligoya, takes over from Victor Mbewe who had his contact terminated about two months ago on mutual understanding.

According to a brief background obtained by Malawi Digest, Dr Ligoya is a macro economist having worked the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the International Monetary Fund and the Budget and Finance Committee of the Malawi National Assembly.

Dr Ligoya, has previously also served as the President of the Economics Association of Malawi.

He also served as economic advisor to Malawi’s Minister of Finance.

Dr Ligoya also worked as Director of Finance in Treasury-Malawi Digest.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

JZU Tembo sponsored opposition violence

JZU Tembo, he has enough reason to get more worried as he is being asked to account for MK250 million as well as being asked to pack his bags and go. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

Beleaguered opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader John Zenus Ungapake Tembo has conceded he sponsored acts of violence that happened at a hotel in Malawi’s administrative capital, Lilongwe.

The acts of violence resulted in the damaging of a Mitsubishi Pajero BQ712 vehicle belonging to Lilongwe Msozi North MP, Geoffrey Kamanya and injury of several people attending an opposition function.

The incidences happened on Thursday at Kalikuti Hotel where the opposition MCP Task Force on Leadership Change addressed a press conference detailing reasons for the removal of Tembo as leader for the opposition party.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Malawi Digest, JZU as Tembo is commonly known in the country accepted a vehicle used in the violence belonged to him.

“It is very difficult to for me to say I was not part of the violence sponsors, when the vehicle ferrying the perpetrators belongs to me,” he said.

He said though admitting the use of his vehicle in the violence, Tembo pushed the blame on his personal aide, Jeffrey Kamata for planning of the fracas.

“Though my vehicle was used, the planning and execution of the violence was done by Kamata. He is the right person to answer on this and not me,” he said.

When contacted by Malawi Digest on Saturday evening, Kamata said there was no news on the story.

“This is an internal MCP matter, brother fighting against brother, so what? Hon Tembo’s vehicle was used by me at Kalikuti Hotel so what’s the news there?” said Kamata before hanging the phone on this reporter.

According to Malawi Police who were called in to quell tension at Kalikuti Hotel on Thursday, preliminary investigations have shown that hooligans who smashed a vehicle belong to Lilongwe legislator Kamanya, was a VW Combi registration number DZ 367.

The Police, Tembo, Kamanya and Kamata have all confirmed that DZ 367 belongs to the MCP leader.

This is the first time that Tembo has come out in the open to agree he sponsored something sinister.

John Tembo, is believed to the man behind the killing of hundreds of Malawians during the one party rule and former president of Malawi the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

He is believed to have ordered the killing of three cabinet ministers and an MP during the dictatorial rule under MCP.

Although he was arrested and taken to court by the Bakili Muluzi regime, a court acquitted him case technicalities.

Details of the incident say that hooligans travelling in the VW Combi threw stones from outside the perimeter wall aiming at the MP’s vehicle and other people within the hotel premises.

After the violence incidences, the VW Combi then entered the hotel premises where Tembo’s aide Kamata said he wanted to attend the press conference.

He was however, removed by Police as his behaviour was seen as an act of provocation more especially after the acts of violence.

The press conference was addressed by MCP deputy secretary general Betson Majoni, former Youth Minister Professor Kamangadazi Chambalo, MPs Geoffrey Kamanya, Ishmael Chafukira, Jolly Kalelo, Ephraim Kayembe, former MPs Boniface Kadzamira, George Zulu, Kizito Ngwembe, district and constituency officials from Mchinji, Kasungu, Dowa, Lilongwe and Nkhotakota among many other party leaders.

The opposition leaders have since asked John Tembo to account for nearly MK250 million he personally handled as party finances.

The group has since asked Tembo, also known as Pulitzer to resign from his position to pave way for new blood in the party-Malawi Digest.