Monday, January 25, 2010

Parliament meets Tuesday in Lilongwe

Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

The Malawi National Assembly starts meeting in the country’s administrative capital, Lilongwe on Tuesday.

State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika is expected to officially open this new session of Parliament following the prorogation of the previous one.

During the official opening, the State President will perform the State opening of the 42nd Session of Parliament at exactly 10:00am.

Under the Malawi Constitution, the State President has powers to prorogue parliament, meaning all the business from the previous session automatically falls-off.

According to Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu-Banda, State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika prorogued Parliament in December 2010.

The Speaker says that as a result, the new session starting on Tuesday will start afresh with no business being carried forward from the previous session.

According to information gathered from the Speaker’s officer at Mbelwa building in the heart of Lilongwe, featuring high on the new Parliamentary session will be a mid-year review on the national budget.

The 192 strong house will start business in welcoming two newly elected Members of Parliament in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s Fredrick Kamwangala of Lilongwe North West and Donnex Mpuzeni of the opposition UDF in Machinga South East.

The two newly elected legislators won by-elections held in the two areas on January 12, 2010.

Kamwangala replaces the late Ishmael Chafukira who died last year under mysterious circumstances whilst Mpuzeni replaces Rev. Wilson Ndomondo of the opposition UDF party.

Ndomondo was thrown out of the National Assembly after cheating the Malawi Electoral Commission by contesting in the May 19th general elections when he was a convict.

The Malawi Constitution does not allow convicts to seek a public office unless after seven years when seeking a Parliamentary seat.

Meanwhile, Parliament is also expected to observe a minute of silent for two legislators who lost their lives during the recess period.

These fallen MPs are Hastings Petros Chitsamba of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party for Dowa South East and Ajinga Hilalie Hassan of the opposition UDF from Mangochi-Malombe-Malawi Digest.

Another UDF MP in the spotlight for fake MSCE

Mbaya, his future as Member of Parliament now hangs in balance. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Maxwell Ng’ambi

When the Malawi National Assembly starts meeting in the administrative capital, Lilongwe tomorrow, Tuesday, the Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda is expected to act on a petition from some constituents of Mangochi East who are asking him to grant authority to the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) to investigate their Member of Parliament (MP) Abubakar Mbaya over allegations that he has been contesting as MP using his brother’s Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE).

In an e-mail response to a Weekend Nation questionnaire, National Assembly spokesman Ian Mwenye said: “The office of the Speaker will act on the petition and issues that have been raised as per procedures and practices that are followed when handling petitions.”

The people claim their research shows that the MSCE with examination number 112/082, which Mbaya allegedly presented to the Electoral Commission in 1994, belongs to Anaki Wisiki Mbaya who is the MP’s brother.

In the letter dated January 4, 2010, the petitioners whose names and signatures are about one thousand, say they have written Chimunthu-Banda because Maneb executive director is on record that he can only act on authority from the Speaker.

The people of Mangochi East, do hereby petition your office to investigate Hon. Abubakar Mbaya for obtaining a post as Member of Parliament of Mangochi East constituency during the 1994, 1999 and 2004 general elections with false pretence,” reads the petition which was received and duly signed for by the Speaker’s secretary Grace Mpagaja on January 5, 2010.

The petitioners, from Traditional Authority (T/A) Katuli, say that Mbaya has served in that capacity after presenting false information about his person at the District Commissioners office that he does not have both Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) and Junior Certificate (JC).

In November last year the constituents, in the letter to Maneb, alleged that Mbaya has never uttered a word since entering Parliament 15 years ago.

The constituents calling themselves ‘People of Mangochi East constituency’ asked Maneb to verify Mbaya’s MSCE because they are suspicious of its authenticity.

But Mbaya last week hit back, arguing the petitioners are being sponsored by people he competed against in the May 19 elections but lost.

“Malawi is a democratic country and if indeed I was a non performer they could have voted me out. This is my fourth time to be MP in Mangochi East constituency. Can a non performer with four times?” wondered Mbaya.

Mbaya said he is ready to be investigated, saying he has committed no crime.

On concerns that he does not contribute to debate in Parliament, Mbaya said the Hansards will show his record.

Mbaya’s brother Anaki accused accused the MP’s political opponents of ‘causing the trouble’.

“If he used my certificate, he should have been known as Anaki and not Abubakar. It is not true that my brother used my certificate,” Anaki said.

Maneb executive director Mathews Matemba confirmed receiving the letter from ‘the People of Mangochi East constituency’, requesting his office to investigate Mbaya over an MSCE.

In the earlier petition, the constituents claimed the MP does not present their development needs in Parliament because he is not educated to MSCE level as he claimed in 1994.

In May 2009 elections Mbaya got 10291 votes out of 20275 who voted in the constituency.

He beat five of his competitors with Paison Omar Kaisi on second position getting 3,265 votes.

Former opposition UDF Balaka North MP Lucious Banda was convicted in 2006 for presenting a fake MSCE to a person employed in public service-Weekend Nation.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Malawi government triumphs in quota case

Malawi's Education Minister Dr George Chaponda is happy that his Ministry can now impelement the newly introduced Equitable Access to University Education System. Pic by Malawi Digest.

The High Court in Blantyre has ruled that the country’s two public universities, University of Malawi and the University of Mzuzu can proceed to implement the Equitable Access to University Education system.

Two people, Innocent Longwe and Winfred Mkochi applied to the High Court for a judicial review on the Malawi Government’s newly introduced Equitable Access to University Education system.

In his ruling, Judge Joseph Manyungwa agreed with the arguments advanced by the respondents, the University of Malawi (Unima) in the case.

Unima’s prayer in the case was for the court to discharge leave for judicial review and the stay order obtained by the applicants which restrained the university from implementing the new system.

Some of the grounds the respondent (Unima) presented were that the applicants Innocent Longwe and Winfred Mkochi did not file their application within the stated period of three months; they lacked sufficient interest in the matter, suppressed material facts and abused court process.

Justice Manyunga therefore stated that the applicants were guilty of delay as observed by Unima.

“The applicants are guilty of failing to file an application for judicial review within three months,” he said.

On suppression of materials, the judge said the applicants did not indicate that in 2008 they made similar applications, which shows suppression of material facts.

“The second applicant was aware that the case was withdrawn in 2008, but he did not disclose that information while first applicant could have made inquiries, can we say the two did not speak to each other?” Manyungwa questioned.

Justice Manyungwa concluded his ruling by discharging leave for judicial review and the stay order.

“I discharge the order for leave for judicial review and the order of stay” stated Manyungwa in a ruling that took almost three hours.

Manyungwa who kept on taking sips of water apologised for the delays by the court to deliver ruling on the matter.

He was, however, quick to say that it was not his intention as he was outside the country on official duty.

The University of Malawi was represented in the case by David Kanyenda, George Makiyi from Banda, Makinyi and Kanyenda Associates and Rosemary Kanyuka from the Attorney General Chambers whilst the applicants were represented by Happy Mwagomba.

Meanwhile, the University of Malawi has this evening released results of entrance examinations based on the freed Equitable Access to University Education System.

According to University of Malawi Registrar Benedicto Okomaatani Malunga, 1,152 students have passed the entry examinations out of the 5,600 students who sat for the examinations last year.

European clubs keen on Flames stars

Flames coach Kinnah Phiri says that some top European clubs have shown interest in Malawian players. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Frank Malemia

Malawi national football team coach Kinnah Phiri has disclosed that some overseas clubs has shown interest to sign some of Malawi’s top players for their superb performance at the on-going Nations Cup tournament in Angola.

Phiri was speaking to journalists in the commercial city, Blantyre soon after landing from Angola.

The Malawi Flames were on Monday booted out of the tournament after failing against Mali by 3-1.

However, coach Kinnah Phiri has some words of encouragement to the nation.

“Much as we would have loved to stay in the tournament longer, there are blessings that have come along following our participation in this tournament,” he said.

The Flames mentor disclosed that some agents for some well known European clubs approached the Malawi delegation showing interest to sign on some outstanding players.

“These agents will be visiting Malawi anytime soon after the tournament in Angola,” he said.

The coach however refused to disclose the European clubs interested in Malawian players saying doing so would jeopardise chances that have already been secured.

“I will not even mention the names of the players these clubs have shown interest in,” he said.

Malawi were at this year’s Nations Cup tournament in Angola after a 26 year recess. The Flames last reached the finals of the Nations Cup in 1984 in Ivory Coast.

At this year’s tournament, the Flames were in the same group with Mali, Algeria and the hosts Angola.

The Flames beat Algeria 3-0 in their opening match before failing to the hosts 2-0 and the finally losing to Mali 3-1.

The Flames only needed a point to proceed into the last eight of the competition-Malawi Digest.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dr Mutharika to wed Callista Chimombo

Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika to get married very soon. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

The Malawi State House has announced here that State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika is set to marry former Member of Parliament and cabinet minister Callista Chapola Chimombo, Malawi Digest can disclose.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday made available to Malawi Digest, the State House says that President Mutharika is expected to marry Chimombo on 1st May, 2010.

However, before the official marriage itself, the two will have their traditional custom engagement on 14th February, 2010.

14th February is the world’s Valentines Day where people commemorate love with their loved ones.

The official statement discloses that both Dr Mutharika and Miss Callista Chapola Chimombo are a widower and widow respectively.

State House says that both Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and Chimombo are devout Roman Catholics.

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika is a 76-year-old widower following the death of his beloved wife, Madam Ethel Mutharika on 28th May, 2007.

Following her death, a month-long mourning period was declared in this southern African country and the deceased First Lady was laid to rest on June 9th, 2007 at the Mutharikas privately owned property, Ndata Farm in the State President’s home village district of Thyolo, southern Malawi.

Callista Chapola Chimombo is also a widow and between 2004 and 2009 served as Member of Parliament for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party as well as the country’s Tourism and Wildlife Minister. She hails from Zomba.

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika’s marriage to Chimombo comes a few months after another high level presidential wedding in December 2009.

In December, Dr Mutharika’s last born daughter Duwa, got happily married to Zimbabwean Tonderai Mubaira-Malawi Digest.

Malawi Flames back home after CAN 2010

The Malawi national football team, the Flames have arrived back home after their exit from on the on-going Nations Cup tournament in Angola.

They arrived back home through the Chileka International Airport in the commercial city, Blantyre.

The smartly dressed Flames were welcomed by hundreds of people who gave them a warm reception following their reasonable performance at the competition.

When the South African Airways flight landed at Chileka at around 12:00 noon, hundreds of people were heard blowing their trumpets (vuvulezas), cheering and clapping their hands for their beloved team.

Senior football and government officials came to welcome the team.

Flames coach Kinnah Phiri told waiting journalists that he was pleased that his team had achieve a feet-that had been very difficult to accomplish in the past.

“We went to the Nations Cup after 25- years and not only as participants but also managed to get ourselves noticed by thrashing the World Cup bound, Algeria 3-0,” he said.

The coach said that he learnt a lot from the competition.

“Football is a continuous learning process and we have learnt new tricks that can be used for better improvement of the game in the country,” said Phiri.

The Flames landed on the same plane with Sports and Youth Development Minister Dr Lucious Kanyumba who flew to Angola to give the team, moral support.

The team was also accompanied to Angola with Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamirandu Manda, Chief Executive Officer Charles Nyirenda and leader of delegation Pikao Ngalamila.

Malawi Flames were in Group A of the tournament with Mali, Algeria and the hosts Angola.

The Flames won their opening match against Algeria before going on to lose to the hosts Angola 2-0 and Mali 3-1.

Angola and Algeria have proceeded to the last eight of the competition with the hosts facing Ghana and Algeria meeting Ivory Coast in the quarter finals-Malawi Digest.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Drugs said to endanger malaria patients lives

By Our Reporter

Medical personnel in Malawi have been warned against continued use of ineffective drugs, which would facilitate the development of a malaria parasite to be resistant to the present malaria drugs.

Associate Director for Malawi Liverpool Trust, Victor Mwapasa said that the use of Arinate that is common in most private hospitals in the country is dangerous, since the drug contains Fansidar which is ineffective and Artesunate that does not treat all malaria parasites.

“I have noted that most private hospitals are using a drug called Arinate to treat patients with malaria. This is very bad and dangerous practice because Arinate contains Fansidar and Artesunate.

“Fansidar is an ineffective drug whilst Artesunate is effective but is unlikely to knock all malaria causing parasites.

“So treating a patient with Arinate is like treating them with Artesunate only,” Mwapasa explained.

He said the danger of using one effective drug against malaria is that malaria parasites will develop resistance to Artesunate, which is a similar drug to Artemether contained in Lumefantrine-Artemether (LA) and the same drug in Amodiaquine-Artesunate (AA).

Mwapasa said government recommends the use of LA and AA because each of these drugs has a combination of two effective malaria drugs which deals with a lot of malaria parasite leaving little chance for development of resistant parasite.

He therefore warned that if the use of Arinate is not stopped by the Medical Council or the Pharmacy Medicine and Poisons Board, malaria parasites resistant to Arinate, LA and AA will develop quickly and the country will have no effective drugs to treat malaria.

Malaria a disease caused by Plasmodium Faliparum in 1993 developed a resistance to Chloroquine that had been used for along time.

The resistance is said to have developed as a lot of people could not take the full dose that used to take three days.

Consequently, this government stopped the use of the drug and introduced Fansidar as the first line treatment for malaria.

However by the year 2000 it was noted that there was an increase of under-five children who had developed resistance to Fansidar hence the introduction of LA and AA.

Mwapasa explained that when this decision was made it was still unclear whether LA and AA were safe to use in pregnant women, as such most of the times a lot of medical personnel are usually cautious when treating pregnant women as the unborn baby may be harmed from it.

Malaria accounts for over 40 percent of out patients department consultations in public health facilities in the country and 40 percent of hospital deaths in children is also attributed to the same disease.

However Mwapasa said that right now government and malaria experts in the country feel that incidences of malaria are going down because of the increased use of insecticide-treated nets and the use of LA and AA drugs-Malawi Digest.

Mulli exchanges fire with armed robbers

By Anthony Kasunda

In an action movie style, Blantyre business magnate Leston Mulli of Mulli Brothers on Sunday jumped out of his vehicle, crawled into a nearby Sable Farming Forest and spread bullets from his two handguns, setting on fire three-tonne lorry loaded with over MK3.5 million worth of property robbers had stolen from his Mapanga residence.

Mulli, in the company of police officers Limbe and Mapanga Police Unit on Sunday evening told one of Malawi’s dailies, The Nation that he had gone to the house around 5pm to check on the progress of renovations, only to discover that there were over 20 thieves boarding a Mitsubishi Hunter registration number MJ 3591.

“When I hooted at the gate, we heard a gunshot and when the guard checked over the wall, he saw a group of robbers who had just loaded a three-tonne lorry with assorted property.

“They started fleeing in the lorry as they kept on firing in the air and I chased them. When we reached Sable Farming Forest, the lorry got stuck in the mud and they started firing at me,” he said.

Mulli said fearing that he might be hit, he jumped out of his Land Cruiser pick-up to hide in the bush.

“We exchanged fire until the robbers ran out of ammunition and they started running away into the bush. I kept on firing at them and one bullet landed on their car’s fuel tank, setting the vehicle on fire,” he narrated.

The businessman said the driver of the vehicle and his assistant were apprehended and handed over to police.

He said the robbers stole steel beams, vehicle engines, radiators and assorted motor vehicle accessories. He also said the property got burnt when the vehicle caught fire.

Owner of the vehicle, Juma Kalanje, confirmed that some people had hired the lorry.

“The driver told me that he had been hired to go to Makhetha but I did not know the purpose of the hire,” said Kalanje from Limbe Police Station.

Limbe Police spokesperson Chifundo Chibwezo said they arrested Wilson Sakwata, 18, Manase Simon, 35, Wilson Dinyero, 30, in connection with the robbery.

“The three were arrested on allegations of theft from Mulli Brothers workshop in Mapanga and they will appear in court very soon,” said Chibwezo-The Nation.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flames fail to sail through at Nations Cup

Mali's second goal came from a free-kick taken by Seydou Keita. Pic by AFP.

By Dave Lee

Malawi is tonight in a state of shock and disbelief following the national football team, the Flames failure to climb the last hurdle to find themselves in the quarter finals of the on-going 2010 Nations Cup tournament in Angola.

A MK1 million win pledge from business empire, Mulli Brothers Limited and many others including a MK200, 000.00 cash for each player for a win was not enough to see the Flames through into the last eight of the competition.

Standing in the way of the Flames were the Eagles of Mali, who themselves have also been booted out of the competition.

Mali's two quick goals and a late third were enough to sink Malawi - but not enough to ensure qualification.

Instead, Angola and Algeria go through after their 0-0 draw in Group A's other game.

Frederic Kanoute put the Eagles ahead after just 40 seconds, and Seydou Keita struck with a fine free-kick moments later.

Malawi's Russell Mwafulirwa pulled one back, but Mamadou Bagayoko made it 3-1 with five minutes left.

Mwafulirwa will be left wondering what could have been as he sensationally missed the chance to make it level mid-way through the second half - his downwards header bouncing over the open goal.

The draw in Group A's other game means Angola win the group with five points, Algeria and Mali finish level on four points and Malawi are bottom on three.

Under tournament regulations the head-to-head record between Algeria and Mali was used to decide who advances, rather than goal difference.

As news of the goalless draw filtered to the players in the stadium, Mali were unhappy with the outcome of the group.

"This is really disappointing," said Bagayoko after the game.

"They changed the rules this year and we are out despite finishing ahead of Algeria [on goal difference].

"It's a pity because we have a really talented bunch of players. We had the weapons to do something at this African Nations Cup."

Mali took this game by the scruff of the neck early on.

A bizarrely calm clearance from goalkeeper Swadick Sanudi fell neatly to an alert Kanoute who fired the ball straight back to make it 1-0 within just 40 seconds.

The tournament's quickest goal was followed by arguably its best two minutes later.

Seydou Keita hit a magnificent free-kick which flew over the wall, over the goalkeeper, and into the top left corner.

Admirably, Malawi began to get a grip on the game - certainly not looking like a side rocked by two early goals.

A good turn and shot from Joseph Kamwendo forced a solid save from Mahamadou Sidibe in the 24th minute, and Wadabwa could have scored two minutes later when he nudged a free header just over.

In the second half, Malawi adopted a more aggressive shape to chase the lead.

The pressure paid dividends when Mwafulirwa provided the final boot of a penalty area scramble to bring it to 2-1.

Mali should have been given a penalty 63 minutes in - Keita mercilessly taken down in the box but the referee played on.

In a moment that may haunt Mwafulirwa for months, he met Joseph Kamwendo's cross from the left flank.

Rising well and above the ball, Mwafulirwa seemed to do everything right - only to see his header managed to hop over the bar.

Mwafulirwa almost made up for it with another header - this time on target - forced a good close-range save from Sidibe, only for the linesman to rule it offside anyway.

It was of little importance, however, as Mali went 3-1 up with five minutes remaining.

Mamadou Bagayoko met Modibo Maiga's cross to head the ball, and the match, safely home.

Malawi can take pride in a campaign which saw them beat World Cup-qualifiers Algeria 3-0 in their opening game.

"We came as underdogs but the players fought in this tournament," coach Kinnah Phiri said.

"In football we must accept defeat. We learned a lot throughout."

Mali: Sidibe, Berthe, Abdallaye Maiga (Sow 50), Diamoutene, Tamboura, El Hadj Traore (Diallo 60), Fane, Mohamed Sissoko, Keita, Kanoute (Modibo Maiga 81), Bagayoko.

Subs Not Used: Diakite, Diarra, Ndiaye, Samassa, Soumare, Abdou Traore, Bakaye Traore, Yatabare, Oumar Sissoko.

Goals: Kanoute 1, Keita 3, Bagayoko 85.

Malawi: Sanudi, Mponda, Kafoteka (Chiukepo 52), Sangala, Chavula, Mwakasungula, Wadabwa (Nyondo 48), Kamwendo, Banda, Kanyenda (Ngambi 71), Mwafulirwa.

Subs Not Used: Nthala, Mgangira, Kamanga, Ngwira, Victor Nyirenda, Zakazaka, Msowoya, Harry Nyirenda, Swini.

Booked: Mponda, Banda.
Goals: Mwafulirwa 58.
Att: 21,000
Ref: Rajin Seechurn (Mauritius)-BBC

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mulli Brothers offers Flames MK1 million

Malawi Flames to share MK1 million from Mulli Brothers Limited on Monday evening if they qualify into the quarter finals. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Malawi’s entirely locally owned flourishing company, Mulli Brothers Limited has offered the national football side, the Flames MK1 million if the team qualifies into the quarter-finals of the ongoing Nations Cup tournament in Angola, Malawi Digest understand.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Malawi Digest on Sunday afternoon, Mulli Brothers Limited Managing Director Leston Ted Mulli said that his company has put on the table MK1 million.

“They will get the whole MK1 million and share it amongst themselves once the Flames qualify into the quarter finals,” said Mulli.

He said his company decided to make this huge pledge as a way of trying to motivate the players in order to go far in the competition.

“As a fully owned Malawian company, Mulli Brothers Limited has a social responsibility to pay back to the Malawian public through national causes like the Flames survival at this tournament in Angola,” he said.

Mulli, who was recently linked to a possible sponsorship to Malawi’s top football club, Big Bullets appealed to individuals and companies to emulate the good example set by his organisation.

“The Flames who are in Angola need our help and the time is now. If they get through, all Malawians will walk tall,” he said.

This is the second time that Mulli Brothers will be donating to the Flames within a month.

After qualifying for Angola 2010, Mulli Brothers Limited also donated MK1.5 million towards the Flames.

With three points already in their bag, the Flames are only a few steps away from the last group of eight.

However, standing in their way are the Eagles from Mali.

When the two teams meet in their final Group match in the enclave of Cabinda on Monday the Flames will have to aim at a win and nothing else if they are to be assured of a quarter final place

In their opening match, the Malawi Flames beat northern Africa giants Algeria by 0-3-Malawi Digest.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

USA praises Malawi for religious freedom

Malawi State President Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has earned praise from the Barack Obama administration for respecting and promoting religious freedom in Malawi. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Deogratias Mmana

United States Department of State says Malawi generally respected freedom of religion between July 2008 to June 2009.

In a 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom-Malawi, released on January 5 2010 and available on, the department says Malawi enjoyed freedom although there were complaints from minor religious groups regarding limited employment and educational opportunities.

The report says Rastafarian leaders continued to ask government to allow long hair in public schools although there is no official ban for such hair in the country’s schools.

“Although there is no law relating to hair length, some schools prohibit long hair as part of their dress code. Rastafarian leaders provided the Ministry of Justice with a list of schools that enforced the ban, but the Ministry took no action,” says the report.

Despite these developments, the report says “There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees, [nor] were there reports of forced religious conversion.”

It adds that there were no documented cases of social abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

Deputy Minister of Information and Civic Education Kingsley Namakhwa welcomed the report saying Malawi is a God-fearing nation and that people have freedom of worship.

“As for the other reservations, they are individual cases which cannot reflect Malawi as a whole. Let relevant authorities address such problems,” Namakhwa said on Wednesday.

The US government discusses religious freedom with the Malawi government as part of its policy of promoting human rights.

During the reporting period, the US embassy promoted religious tolerance through grants, meetings, exchange programmes, and the distribution of reading materials.

According to the report, Chrisians comprise of 80 per cent of the country’s population. Among the Christian groups, the largest are the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP), with smaller numbers of Anglicans, Baptists, evangelicals, and Seventh-day Adventists.

It says Muslims constitute approximately 13 per cent of the population. There are also Hindus, Baha’is, and small numbers of Rastafarians and Jews-Weekend Nation.

BIZARRE! Man ordains himself Catholic priest

Despite not being ordained a priest by a bishop like these decons taking their last vows into priesthood, 'Fr Robert' of Dowa went on to offer high mass as a trickster. Pic exclusively by Malawi Digest.

By Eliah Nthara

A man who decided to ordain himself and later transformed into a Roman Catholic priest in the central region district of Dowa is currently behind bars serving a stiffer prison sentence.

The Mponela Second Grade Magistrate’s Court sentenced the 28-year-old man to three years imprisonment with hard labour for impersonation.

The court recently heard that Emmanuel Robert, dressed as a Roman Catholic priest, went to Simbi Catholic Church which is under Madisi Parish where he conducted prayers.

Mponela Police spokesperson Kondwani Kandiado said after the prayers, 'Fr Robert' collected the church offering of the day.

'Fr Robert' also told the church’s choir that it was nominated to sing at an ordination of a priest in Mangochi Diocese; hence, each member was told to contribute MK600 to buy uniform in preparation for the trip.

Kandiado said the man went further to ask the congregation to contribute towards the trip, something that raised people’s suspicions.

The matter was reported to Madisi Parish Priest Father Zikomankhani who said he did not know ‘Fr Robert.’

Kandiado said the man was handed over to Mponela Police where he confessed that he was not a priest.

In court, Police prosecutor Patrick Chipote told the court that the accused deserved a stiff penalty for denting the image of the Catholic Church.

'Fr Robert' comes from Galikavi Village, Traditional Authority Lukwa in the central religion’s tobacco growing district of Kasungu-The Nation/Malawi Digest.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chinese envoy salutes Prof Peter Mutharika

Professor Peter Mutharika has enough reason to smile after gaining international praise from a world super power like the Peoples Republic of China. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Dickson Kashoti

The Chinese ambassador to Malawi Lin Songtian has commended Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika for successfully leading a high level four member cabinet delegation that led to the present relationship between Malawi and China two years ago 14th January.

Songtian said this on Thursday at a luncheon reception organised to mark the second anniversary to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Malawi.

The function was held at the Sunbird Capital hotel in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

“On December 28th, 2007 H.E. Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, the State President of Malawi, made a wise and resolute decision to sever the so called ‘diplomatic relations’ with the Taiwan authority, and normalised diplomatic relations between our two countries, which drafted a new chapter of China-Malawi friendship and opened the gate for the mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation between our two countries,” Songtian said.

He therefore praised Professor Peter Mutharika for successfully leading the delegation that included former Minister of Transport and Public Works Henry Mussa, former Minister in the Office of President and Cabinet Davies Katsonga, former Minister of Energy and Mines Henry Chimunthu Banda and former Minister of Economic Planning and Development Ken Lipenga.

Professor Peter Mutharika and Henry Mussa were both present when Songtian said this during a reception held at lunch hour at this hotel in Lilongwe.

During the time Malawi and China established these diplomatic relations, Professor Peter Mutharika served as Chief Advisor to the State President on Constitutional, Legal and International Affairs.

In his remarks, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Augustine Mtendere described China as a true friend.

Mtendere cited the construction of the Karonga-Chitipa road, the new Parliament building, the five star hotel and international conference centre as key development projects which Malawians are happy for.

According to the Chinese ambassador, within the two years over 435 officials including 11 ministers, five deputies, the Chief Justice and Commander of the Malawi Defence Forces have visited the country.

He also disclosed that so far, 57 Malawian students have been granted scholarships to study in the Peoples Republic of China-Daily Times/Malawi Digest.

Malawi commemorates Chilembwe Day

The late Reverend John Chilembwe's face is now found on all of Malawi's local currency including the highest denomination of MK500.

By Lucy Liponda

Today, the 15th of January is Chilembwe Day. The day was specifically set aside for the country to celebrate the life and martyrdom of Reverend John Chilembwe.

Following the setting aside of this day, Malawians go on a national holiday.

In observing Chilembwe Day, the nation, also holds prayers led by Chilembwe’s own found Christian church, the Providence Industrial Mission (PIM).

Apart from observing a national holiday in honour of Malawi’s early freedom fighter, John Chilembwe also has his face on the local currency, the Malawi Kwacha.

According to information gathered by Malawi Digest, John Chilembwe started plotting to rise against the then Nyasaland Government in or around 1914 from his headquarters in the southern region mountainous district of Chiradzulu.

Although some spies had sent to the Nyasaland Government information that Chilembwe was plotting a rise against the government, the former British colonial masters failed to find tangible evidence to prove these allegations against Chilembwe.

After receiving this information, the colonial masters then through the office of District Commissioner in Chiradzulu opened every letter addressed to John Chilembwe but still they failed to see any tresses of the said uprising.

Chilembwe had long been complaining to government about people living on European estates who were forced to work without pay (thangata).

He challenged the colonial masters to stop oppressing the locals.

He made several efforts to rise against the Nyasaland government and all this came to a climax on 23 January, 1915 when he led a war against in the colonists.

Chilembwe staged the uprising when he led a group of about 200 followers in attacking local plantations that he considered too oppressive for the local man.

The freedom fighter and his team also killed several male Europeans working on these plantations.

However, the uprising failed to gain enough local support a development that forced John Chilembwe to flee the country before he was killed on 3rd February, 1915.

In fact many Malawians believe that John Chilembwe’s courageous acts and rebellion against the white rule acted as a springboard for people like Malawi’s first President the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda and his others to continue the fight and successful freed Malawi from the colonial rule.

John Chilembwe, is founder of the Providence Industrial Church whose headquarters is Chiradzulu, southern Malawi-Malawi Digest.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Angola manage to contain Malawi Flames

Manucho (left) and Flavio Angola's two goal scorers celebrate one of their goals. Pic by AFP.

Africa Cup of Nations hosts Angola bounced back in style after their disappointing opening draw to overwhelm Malawi with a 2-0 victory in Luanda.

Goals by strikers Manucho and Flavio early in the second half were enough to give Angola their first win in Group A, following Sunday's 4-4 draw with Mali.

Angola bossed the game and limited Malawi to just a couple of chances.
But the victory may have come at a cost as goalscorer Flavio and winger Gilberto both came off with injuries.

The result still puts them top of Group A, however, and sets up a showdown with Algeria, whose own hopes of qualifying were revived by an earlier 1-0 victory against Mali.

The Angolans played with a high tempo from the start and created plenty of opportunities in the first half with several penetrating crosses, but no decisive final touch.

Flavio and Manucho linked up well in the opening half hour, during which their team enjoyed most of the possession and chances.

In the seventh minute, Flavio found Manucho with a deft cross and the big striker hit a good volley straight at Malawi goalkeeper Swanick Sanudi who very nearly palmed it into his own net.

And Manucho should have opened the scoring on 33 minutes when he was put clean through only to see his near-post shot stopped by a fine save from Sanudi.

Malawi had to wait until the 34th minute for their first chance, when left back Moses Chavula broke forward on the left, but striker Esau Kanyenda couldn't get any purchase on his effort in the six yard box.

Minutes later, the Flames had their best opportunity, when Chavula got to the byline to cross to Peter Wadabwa, who flicked a deft backheel goalwards that was well gathered by Angolan keeper Carlos Fernandes.

In first-half injury time, winger Stelvio whipped in a beautifully-weighted cross for Flavio from the right who headed narrowly over.

The pressure inevitably told within the first three minutes of the second half, however, from a beautifully-worked Angolan move.

The influential Djalma overlapped cleverly on the left, swapped to his right foot and whipped in another stinging cross for Flavio to power a header home for his third goal of the tournament.

The opener raised the noise to fever pitch inside the 11 November Stadium, and five minutes later Manucho almost took the roof off the brand-new arena when he doubled the lead.

The Vallodolid striker punished sloppy defending by Peter Mponda by dispossessing the defender on the edge of the box to burst into the area and hammer past a rooted Sanudi.

But the high tempo took its toll on the home side as Flavio followed Gilberto to the sideline, as he was stretchered off with a suspected recurrence of a hamstring injury in the 60th minute.

The striker was replaced by crowd favourite and former Young African Player of the Year Mantorras, who received a huge ovation when he took the field.

And the 27-year-old nearly sent the home fans into raptures when he blazed narrowly over from a free kick minutes later.

Malawi struggled to find a way back into the game and had to wait until the 70th minute before they ventured properly into the Angolan box, with two unproductive corners.

The home side managed to close out the game this time, to the huge relief of their fans, who celebrated wildly at the final whistle.

One major concern for the organisers, however, will be the pitch, which continued to cut up and cause problems for both sides.

The 11 November Stadium is due to host one of the tournament's semi-finals and the final-BBC

Malawi President back from Mozambique

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika shakes hands with Army Commander Marko Chiziko upon arrival at KIA. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda

Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika is back in the country from the neighbouring Maputo, Mozambique where he attended the inauguration of his counterpart, Almando Emilio Guebuza.

His plane landed on Thursday afternoon at the Kamuzu International Airport in the administrative capital Lilongwe where thousands upon thousands of people welcomed the Malawian leader.

Senior government officials including Vice President Joyce Banda and his brother who is also Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika were at KIA to give the State President a befitting arrival.

Speaking about his trip to Mozambique, the State President said that he was impressed and pleased with the way the inauguration ceremony was organised.

Information gathered by Malawi Digest indicate that at least 7 current serving heads of state from within the southern Africa region including Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika.

The function was also attended by at least four retired former heads of state.

Guebuza, was being sworn in for a second term in office after a landslide victory in October last year. It is reported Frelimo won the election by a 75 per cent majority.

The opposition Renamo of Alfonso Dlakama has been protesting the outcome of the election citing massive irregularities however the ruling party and government have dismissed these allegations-Malawi Digest.

Mungomo named State House spokesperson

By Lucy Liponda

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has appointed Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) radio presenter Albert Mungomo as State House press officer, Malawi Digest understands.

The appointment of Mungomo is with immediate effect.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Malawi Digest last night soon after an announcement of his appointment was made Mungomo described his new job as a call to duty.

“I feel greatly honoured, privileged that it pleased the State President to appoint me in this capacity, it’s a new call for me to national duty,” said the eloquent Mungomo.

Mungomo, is one of the best announcers at MBC with some juicy sense of humour said that his main task would be to build a close working relationship with the media in Malawi.

With his appointment into State House as Press Officer, a lot of MBC listeners with miss on radio the voice of the man who is popularly known in Malawi as ‘Mr Blantyre’.

He was popular as one of the good presenters for the morning breakfast programme on MBC named, ‘Mwadzuka Bwanji’.

“There must be a good rapport between the State House and almost all media houses in the country,” he said.

On whether he was expecting to be appointed Mutharika’s spokesperson, Mungomo described it as a big surprise.

“I never expected this. It came to me as a shock that the State President decided to give me this pleasant surprise for the New Year by giving me this important job. It’s a great honour for me,” he said.

Albert Mungomo, replaces Mutharika’s longest serving Press Officer Chikumbutso Mtumodzi who is now Director of Information in the Ministry of Information and Civic Education-Malawi Digest.

Dr Mutharika flies to Mozambique

By Frank Malemia

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has this morning left the country for the neighbouring Mozambique where he is to attend the inauguration of that country’s President Almando Emilio Guebuza.

Guebuza will be sworn in for his second term of office after his landslide victory in recent Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Dr Mutharika, flew out of Malawi through the Kamuzu International Airport in the Presidential Jet.

He was seen off at the airport by Vice President Joyce Banda, Chief Secretary Bright Msaka, Police Inspector Peter Mukhitho, Army Commander Marko Chidziko, the president’s brother and Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika and many other senior cabinet ministers, members of Parliament and other senior government officials.

The State President inspected the Presidential guard of honour before speaking to members of the press who swarmed the airport to hear about the president’s trip to Mozambique.

“Malawi and Mozambique are long time neighbours and in African culture, neighbours are supposed to be together in times of sorrow and happiness,” he said.

Dr Mutharika disclosed that after President Guebuza’s attendance of his inaugural ceremony at Kamuzu Stadium in May last year, it was only natural and proper to attend a similar function for his Mozambican counterpart.

He said the people from the two countries have a lot in common.

“Be it culture, language and geographical positions, we have a lot in common, the ruling DPP had an election landslide victory here so had Frelimo done in Mozambique so we have a lot in common,” he said.

The ruling Frelimo party won the recent elections with 75 per cent of the vote.

Frelimo, started ruling Mozambique from independence in 1975 and has had three Presidents in the late Samora Marchel, Joachium Chissano and the incumbent Almando Guebuza.

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika is expected back home in Malawi later on today-Malawi Digest.

Burial for Chitsamba DPP MP takes place

Gone too soon, the youthful late Hastings Chitsamba RIP. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Burial for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party legislator Hastings Patros Chitsamba has taken place in his home village of Dowa.

The burial of the fallen MP took place on Wednesday at his ancestral home, Mtimaukanena Village in Traditional Authority Mkukula in the central region district of Dowa.

The 36-year old Chitsamba, died on Monday evening in a road accident that happened on the M1.

His Toyota Prado, registration number BQ 1374 is reported to have lost control at around 11 pm on Monday near the Walkers Filling Station at Biwi.

The vehicle, according Central Region Police spokesperson John Namalenga is said to have swerved before it overturned several times.

“Two other passengers who were with the honourable MP in the vehicle sustained various injuries but the MP died afterwards in hospital as a result of the impact in the accident,” said Namalenga.

Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda described the death of the youthful MP as a blow to the National Assembly.

“He was one of the new breed of MPs in the house who have been contributing positively to deliberations in the House,” said Chimunthu Banda.

He described his death as great loss to the nation.

The late Dowa South East legislator was elected as Member of Parliament for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in the May 19th Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

The late Chitsamba has left behind a wife and three children, a boy and a two girls-Malawi Digest.

Ruling DPP MP wins late Chafukira’s seat

By Emmanuel Sobilika

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has overwhelmingly won the Lilongwe North West with Fredrick Kamwangala as it’s new Member of Parliament.

Kamwangala, beat three other contestants in Zelesi Gomani independent, Robert Bondo of the opposition Malawi Congress Party of John Tembo and Selemani Jeremiah.

According to election results released by independent Malawi Electoral Commission, Kamwangala got 11, 558 votes with Gomani following way behind with 2,952, Bondo in third position with 2, 758 and Jeremiah in forth position with 653 votes.

The opposition UDF party chickened out of this contest as they failed to have a candidate in this by-election.

This is a sweetie victory for the ruling DPP after the death of late Ishmael Chafukira who died under mysterious circumstances in South Africa late last year.

This was Bondo’s second loss in a Parliamentary election within a period of 10 months.

He lost in his own seat in the May 19th election before John Tembo of the MCP decided to impose him on the people in Lilongwe North West in these 12th January by-elections.

In a related development, the opposition United Democratic Front of Friday Jumbe has returned the Machinga South East seat in by-elections held on the same day.

According the Malawi Electoral Commission, the seat has been won by Donnex Mpuzeni of UDF with 8,796 followed by Heston Beston Mleme of the ruling DPP with 7,043 votes, Monfort Misunje independent 2, 594, Yohane Khomoli 965 and Adamu Chikapa came last with 712.

The Machinga South East seat fell vacant after the previous MP Reverend Wilson Ndomondo was thrown out of Parliament for contesting in an election when he was a convict-Malawi Digest.

Zambia, a true friend indeed

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika this week received on behalf of earth quake victims relief items and a cash donation of US$20,000.00 from the Republic Of Zambia.

The northern region of Malawi has experiencied a series of earth tremors that have displaced thousands of people mainly in the lake side district of Karonga.

The pictures above show State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika receiving a cheque for the cash donation and some of the relief items from the Zambian High Commissioner to Malawi at a function held at the New State House in administrative capital, Lilongwe.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tough Flames punishes Algeria in 2010 CAN

Flames players celebrate one of their three goals against Algeria. Pic by Rebecca Blackwell-Associated Press.

Malawi making their first Cup appearance for 26 years and only their second overall, stunned England's World Cup group opponents Algeria 3-0 in their opening Group A match.

Russel Mwafulirwa gave the outsiders a 17th-minute lead when he took advantage of slapstick defending and Elvis Kafoteka headed a second before the break in a near-deserted November 11 Stadium.

Davi Banda scored early in the second half to complete Malawi's first ever win at the tournament and send them top of Group A, ahead of the hosts Angola and Mali whose tournament opener ended in a 4-4 draw yesterday.

Malawi, who took one point from three games on their debut appearance in 1984 when their results included a 3-0 defeat by Algeria, were not expected to do much better this time around with an apparently lightweight squad.

But with nine Europe-based players in their starting line-up and the game kicking off in mid-afternoon, Algeria struggled in the stifling heat and made life even more difficult for themselves by gifting Malawi the opener.

The goalkeeper, Faouzi Chaouchi, and the Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra collided as they tried to clear a pass that was played into the Algeria penalty box and the ball ran to Mwafulirwa who put the ball into an empty net.

Algeria's best chance came shortly afterwards when Rafik Saifi broke clear of the offside trap but lobbed the ball over the bar. Malawi increased their lead in the 36th minute when Moses Chavula crossed from the left and Kafoteka headed home.

Three minutes after the break, the dangerous Mwafulirwa drilled a shot against the post but the Algeria defence failed to clear and the ball fell to Banda who scored with a low shot-The Guardian (UK).

Malawi! Malawi!Flames humble giant Algeria

By Emmanuel Sobilika

There are wild celebrations in all of Malawi’s main urban centers following Malawi national football team’s sweet victory against Algeria in the Angolan capital, Luanda this afternoon.

The Flames humbled their opponents in their opening Group A encounter 0-3 and are now on top of their group ahead of the hosts Angola, Mali and the bottom team, Algeria.

The African champions, Egypt who played the Flames in a friendly international two weeks ago, appealed to the southern Africa nation to beat their northern Africa archrivals.

In the last two international friendlies the Flames have played against Egypt and Ghana, the Malawians held the two African giants to a draw.

Malawi now play the hosts Angola on Thursday-Malawi Digest.