Monday, May 31, 2010

DPP 2014 presidential campaign turns nasty

Professor Peter Mutharika at one of his rallies in his home village of Thyolo East constituency. His popularity is reported to be giving sleepless nights to Vice President Joyce Banda and Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda.

By Lucy Liponda
Campaign for a successor to incumbent Malawi President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gone vicious with some of the aspiring candidates going a mile further to damage the reputation of other rival unconfirmed presidential aspirants.

Our sources have revealed that so far three camps have emerged in the ruling party and these are of incumbent country Vice President Joyce Banda, Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda and that of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Peter Mutharika.

Mutharika is a lawyer by training and younger brother to President Bingu wa Mutharika, the other competitor Joyce Banda is a long time women entrepreneurship campaigner whilst Chimunthu Banda is a trained secondary school teacher.

Peter Mutharika has a doctorate degree at international law, Joyce Banda has a first degree in women adolescence and Chimunthu Banda has a diploma in education.

Our informants in the ruling party disclose that the two Bandas though working in isolation are spending all their efforts in fighting the president’s brother who they feel has an upper hand in the competition.

“In fact they feel allowing a clean campaign to take place, they fear Peter Mutharika would walk away victorious,” said our source who is also a member of the ruling DPP’s National Governing Council.

The source disclosed that there was a lot of infighting which has just turned nasty with all sorts of stories being prepared to tarnish the image of the strong candidate, Peter Mutharika.

“You have heard of stories about his American citizenship, you have heard about these allegations of him being homosexual just because he is a widower, you have heard stories of him alleging he holds too much power in both government and the party and there will be a lot more stories to come all targeted at Professor Peter Mutharika,” he said.

Our source disclosed that all these campaigns being propagated by Vice President Joyce Banda and Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda are aimed at weakening Peter Mutharika who they think can relent the competition.

“There is a lot of underground work being carried out to weaken the young Mutharika but I don’t think this may yield anything at the end of the day because he is such a force to recon with both locally and internationally,” said the source.

A political scientist at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba has cautioned the ruling party’s aspiring presidential candidates to resist from conducting a malicious campaign saying the party stands to be the biggest loser at the end of the day.

“It is easier to smear mud on a vehicle but removing it it’s not that easy. The character assassination campaigns being propagated by Chimunthu Banda and Joyce Banda on Professor Peter Mutharika if proven may only play badly for the ruling party in the long run,” said the analyst who pleaded for anonymity.

When contacted for comment, Professor Peter Mutharika said that he is not aspiring for any other position apart from concentrating on his job as Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister and Member of Parliament for his Thyolo East constituency.

Vice President Joyce Banda’s spokesperson Ruth Govati refused to speak on her bosses political ambitions saying she only responds to issues related to her office as Vice President of the country.

Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda’s number could not be picked the five times we called his two mobile phone numbers.

DPP Secretary General Binton Kuntsaira said that his office has not sanctioned any campaign for presidential aspiring candidates in the ruling DPP saying 2014 is such a long way to go.

“Nobody is campaigning for the presidency in our party and if there are any then it’s not to my knowledge after all 2014 is too far,” he said.

President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika’s second 5 year term of office comes to and end in 2014 when he would have finished his constitutionally required 10 years in power-Malawi Digest.

Mutharika in Nice for France-Africa summit

President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika arriving at a Nice airport with his entourage. Pic by Adack Pafupi, Malawi News Agency.

By Adack Pafupi in Nice, France.

Malawi State President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika arrived in Nice-France on Sunday afternoon to attend the 25th France and Africa which begins on Monday.

The Malawian leader who is also chairperson for the continental grouping, the African Union left the country on Sunday morning using a presidential jet.

Accompanied by his wife, the First Lady Madame Callista Mutharika, the first couple and their delegation were welcomed at the Cote d’Azur Airport in Nice City by Head of Administration in Nice City, Falille Christophie and senior Malawia government officials who went ahead of the State President.

Ngwazi Professor Mutharika was then escorted to Sheraton Elysee Palace where the State President got a briefing from senior cabinet ministers on the trip and government officials led by the Chief Secretary Bright Msaka.

This morning, President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika had a breakfast meeting with the Word Bank President, Robert Zoellick.

The AU chairperson is also expected to have other working breakfast meetings with African of heads of state and government attending the summit.

President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika is in Nice, France to attend the France-Africa Summit an initiative by the French government.

The summit is expected to be opened by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Nice Acropolis Convention Centre, venue for the international conference-Malawi News Agency/Malawi Digest.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

President Mutharika pardons gay couple

State President Ngwazi Prof.Bingu wa Mutharika with the UN Secretary General BanKi-Moon in Malawi's presidential residence, the New State House in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

By Our Reporter

President Mutharika told a press conference Saturday soon after holding private talks with United Nations Secretary General Mr.Ban Ki-Moon, who was on a two day official visit to Malawi, that he has pardoned the gays purely on humanitarian grounds.

He said the two were wrong according to the country’s tradition, and that they also violated the country’s laws under which they were tried and convicted.

“I would like to take this advantage to make this announcement to the media. The issue of gays has caused a lot of stress to the nation and Government. What the two boys did, created a situation which was unheard of in this country,” he said.

The President said Tiwonge and Steven were not only wrong against tradition and culture, but were also wrong on religious grounds, saying religions in the country do not allow same sex marriages.

“What they did was wrong against our culture and tradition, and it was against our penal code under which they were tried and convicted. However, I would like to make this announcement that, with my powers as President of this country, the two have been pardoned on humanitarian grounds.” said Mutharika.

Mr. Ban Ki-moon hailed President Mutharika for making what he described as ‘a bold and courageous decision.’

“I know that each country has its laws and traditions which need to be respected, but it is a pity that some countries still have laws that discriminate against people with certain sexual orientations, and this is against international human rights,” he said.

Mr. Ban, who was expected to address members of parliament later Saturday afternoon, said he was going to propose a reform of Malawi’s laws that seem to be violating human rights.

However, President Mutharika insisted that the two have been pardoned solely on humanitarian grounds, and warned against similar acts of moral decay in the country.

The pardon has come amidst pressure from international and the donor community, condemning the arrest and sentencing of the couple.

The two conducted a public engagement ceremony in Blantyre in December last year, and were subsequently arrested, and convicted.

Malawian laws do not allow same sex marriages and the offence attracts a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

Marjorie Ngaunje battling for life

By Our Reporter

One of the workers at the rehabilitation centre who pleaded for anonymity said, there has been an improvement in her condition as compared to the time of her hospitalization.

Efforts to talk to Centre Director or any relative to her have proved futile since both sides refused to meet this reporter who visited the centre to ascertain the condition of the former legislator and minister.

Physiotherapist Reuben Kalavina who is helping Ngaunje with some physical exercises however confirmed the admission but maintained he could not divulge information on her condition.

“We respect every patient’s privacy, she has refused to talk to you so I can not comment much, but yes she is here and this is her third week in this hospital,” he said.

Our sources have disclosed that Ngaunje has been at the medical facility receiving medical attention for almost three weeks now.

Before the 2009 general elections, Ngaunje was one of the strongest cabinet ministers in President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika's cabinet.

She served as the country's Minister of Education and Health among many other portifolios in the Bingu-led administration.

Monday, May 24, 2010

NEWS!!! Prof. Peter Mutharika finds wife

Prof. Mutharika: I've finally found a woman to marry.

By Lucy Liponda

Malawi’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Professor Peter Mutharika has disclosed that he has found a lady that he is planning to marry very soon.

Mutharika, a younger brother to Malawi State President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika disclosed this in the administrative capital Lilongwe on Monday.

Professor Mutharika said that he has finally found love in a Malawian woman that he plans to wed very soon.

“Once preparations are done, I am going to disclose the name of the woman,” he said.

Professor Peter Mutharika disclosed this when he was commenting about the conviction and jailing of a guy couple last week to 14 years imprisonment for holding a marriage engagement although both of them are men.

“As Malawi’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, I condemn the behavior of the guys and I will personally lead by example when I get married to a woman that I have fallen in love with very shortly,” he disclosed.

When pressed further to give a hint on the woman, Professor Peter Mutharika only said; “She is a Malawian woman and once the preparations are complete, I will made her public.”

Professor Mutharika said that he is a widower who has three grown up children, two girls and a boy.

“I was married for 30 years and had three children with my dear wife. Unfortunately she died of cancer leaving me with the responsibility of raising the children as a single parent,” he said.

“It has been hard to live as a widower and now I have found a woman that I feel can make a good wife,” he said.

Professor Mutharika condemned the international donor community and some non governmental organizations for using the issue of guys as a condition of providing aid to Malawi.

“Malawi is a sovereign state whose Laws also need to be recognized and respected,” he said.

The Justice Minister also wondered why the condemnation is coming out now when the Law was actually done by the former colonial master, Britain.

“These Laws were left by the British in Malawi and no one has raised any objections up until now when this issue of the guy couple happened,” he said.

Last week, the Blantyre Magistrate Court sentence two men, Steve Monjeza, 26 and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, to 14 years imprisonment for holding a public marriage engagement although both of them are of the same sex.

According to Malawian Laws, same sex marriage is punishable to imprisonment with the maximum sentence pegged at 14 years which Monjeza and Chimbalanga got-Malawi Digest.

Bingu lambasts business community

By Caroline Kandiero

The State President Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday blasted the business community for not supporting the development of the Nsanje Inland Port Waterway project.

Mutharika was speaking during the official opening of the 22nd Malawi International Trade Fair (MITF) at the trade fair grounds in Blantyre.

The President wondered whether it was out of ignorance on the part of the business community that they do not want to support the project.

“I am disappointed with the business community in Malawi. Why are you not supporting the Nsanje Port? Whether it is because of ignorance I don’t know,” said Mutharika.

He further said the inland port will not benefit him but the country as a whole through various activities like tourism and trading.

“I want you to establish a big duty free shop at the port which will help generate forex for the country.

“I want you to make noise about the port. It is not for me, it is for you the private sector,” said Mutharika.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Chancellor Kaferapanjira in an interview said the business community has partly not been supportive.

“Things are moving at a slower pace but as the business community we are now working together with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development,” said Kaferapanjira.

He further said once the feasibility study report is out, the business community will continue to work hand in hand with government.

In a separate interview Mulli Group of Companies Managing Director Leston Mulli said it is the mindset of some individual businessmen that the inland port is a mare dream.

He said the port is possible and that it is important as the private sector to support the initiative.

“What the President said is true. We need to support government not only in the construction of the port but also in other developmental areas,” said Mulli.

He further said the business community can mainly come in through construction of infrastructure services.

“Apart from that as the business community we need to organize ourselves so that every now and then we should be having meetings with government so that we get to know where they (government) are having problems so that we can come in and assist,” said Mulli.

Completion of the Nsanje Inland Port would see reduced transport costs by almost 60 percent and also imports costs-The Daily Times.

Bingu deserves recognition-Japan

Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika said to be winning favours for more honours.

By Karen Msiska

Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Motoyoshi Noro says President Bingu wa Mutharika deserves recognition including considering him for a Nobel Prize as an acknowledgement of his achievements.

Noro says Mutharika has demonstrated that Malawi can transform from a dire state to one that provides the needed services.

He said this during Toyota Malawi’s official opening of its Mzuzu Branch on Saturday.

“Hastings Kamuzu Banda was christened the Father and Founder of the Malawi nation, Bingu wa Mutharika is the father of development in the country,” said Noro in a speech that was never short of humour.

“The talking point has been food security, the turning point for Malawi’s food security situation was undoubtedly the introduction of the input subsidy programme.”

He acknowledged that Malawi increased maize production to three million tones after introducing the programme and has kept it there for four consecutive years “because of the policy.”

The input subsidy programme, first implemented in 2005 and against wishes of the donor community, has been hailed the world over as Malawi’s turning point as regards food security.

The United Nations (UN) has also urged developing countries on a number of occasions to emulate Malawi’s example and turn around their own fortunes on food reliability.

“In the words of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) this really is the Malawi miracle,” he added.

“It is also encouraging to note that because of the subsidy programme, Malawi’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) rate has been above 8 percent compared to the 2.1 percent prior to the implement of the programme.

Noro extended his applause to the country’s economic growth of 9.7 percent in 2008 “which is said to be the second fastest growth rate in the world,” and for the inflation rate which has continued to remain under a single digit.

He also hailed Toyota Malawi’s Managing Director Rosemary Mkandawire for displaying that she was a good manager after noting that she was the only local managing director in seven African distributors entirely owned by Toyota Tsusho, Toyota Malawi’s parent company.

“This speaks volumes of Ms Rosemary Mkandawire. She is a force to reckoned with and that she is an excellent manager,” said Noro.

“I also rejoice for Ms Mkandawire for the fact that besides being the only local director, she is a female director in a male dominated industry. For me, Ms Mkanadawire is an epitome of the women empowerment.”

Meanwhile, Noro pledged that Japan would continue to assist Malawi’s socio-economic development through its Official Development Assistance (ODA), a gesture the country has extended since 1971.

Japan funded the upgrading of the Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre and will fund construction works on the South Rukuru Bridge in Rumphi, but Noro also revealed that his country will also fund the rehabilitation of Sena railway project “to support road, railway, embankment and river basin management.”

Toyota Tsusho has 23 distribution outlets across Africa-The Daily Times.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Professor Bingu, the President of Africa

Malawi State President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika was recently in the Peoples Republic of China where he attended the official opening ceremony of this year’s World Expo 2010 in the Chinese commercial capital, Shaghai.

Whilst in China, President Mutharika held a number of international meetings including closed door discussions with the Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The Malawian leader, who is also chairperson for the continental grouping, the African Union (AU) held discussions with ambassadors representing their respective countries to the Peoples Republic of China.

During his discussions with the ambassadors, President Mutharika sold his agenda as chairperson for AU to the country representatives.

In the picture, President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika (sitting) is seen surrounded by the ambassadors and some members of the Malawi cabinet, who accompanied the leader on this official trip. Pic by Samuel Makaka, Mana and text by Lucy Liponda, Malawi Digest.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mutharika calls for universities' practical

By Mike Chipalasa in Nairobi, Kenya

Malawi’s Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika has asked African universities to stop being mere centres of reading and thinking but apply knowledge through technological innovations.

He said promotion of innovations, especially in agriculture, was critical in order to develop African economies, which largely rely on trade exports from agricultural products.

Professor Mutharika made the appeal on Wednesday in Nakuru, over 200Km east of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, during the opening of a U$200,000 Rhizobium Inoculant (Biofix) laboratory factory, which will be producing fertilizers for legumes such as beans.

The Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister launched the factory on behalf of the African Union chairperson, President Bingu wa Mutharika, who is currently in China.

“I am grad that the University of Nairobi has taken the lead,” said Mutharika.

The Rhizobium Inoculant (Biofix) fertilizer project started in 2008 by Kenya’s leading private fertilizer company, the MEA Limited, in partnership with the University of Nairobi and the British Council.

“If Africa is to develop, it should move from resource-based economy to knowledge based economy. I want universities to take this lead just as the University of Nairobi has done,” added Mutharika.

The minister said he would send a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Malawi to study the legume fertilizers to ascertain how they could contribute to food security through beans production, which had reached deficit levels in Malawi, leading to imports.

Professor Mutharika, however, said Malawihad managed to achieve food security in the past four years through subsidy programme despite fierce opposition from leading institutions like the International Monetory Fund (IMF), World Bank and the European Union, whom he said were no clapping hands for the country’s achievement.

He thus asked the Kenyan authorities to be bold enough against outside pressure when executing programmes, which benefit ordinary people.

The minister also noted that following the successful implementation of the country’s subsidy programme, which registered 1.2 million metric tonnes last year, Malawi had started donating and exporting maize to food insecure countries.

“We are a food secure country but we are a beans deficit country. I promise to ask the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to come here and study legumes,” he said, responding to MEA Limited managing director Eustace Muriuki, who asked Malawi to adopt the technology.

In a separate interview, Professor Peter Mutharika said he would be asking universities in Malawi to come together and develop a similar technology.

“My message is that let’s work together to develop technology. I will be asking the University of Malawi as Bunda College, Mzuzu University and other institutions to come together.

“We can also take advantage of the Lilongwe University of Science and Technology as well as the University of Southern Malawi in Thyolo, which will open soon and will concentrate on sciences,” he said.

Muriuki said there was serious need for the development of technology in the agricultural sector if efforts to sustain food security records were to be meaningful.

He observed that although Malawi achieved food security in maize, the country needs to diversify and start growing beans to supplement its food security record.

He, however, observed that food security records in Africa require the development of initiatives as MEA Limited had done in coming up with cheap innovations to support agricultural activities.

“We are now moving from inorganic to organic fertilizers, this requires factorism,” Muriuki stated.

According to Muriuki, MEA Limited is the only company in Kenya which has moved farming scientifically from soil testing to fertilisers.

The company produces 400 sachets of Rhizobium Inoculant (Biofix) every week, costing U$2.5 per sachet and wants to upscale production to 1,000 sachets per week in the next few years.

The product is used in growing dry beans, cow peas, groundnuts, lucane, soya beans and other legumes to maximize production-Sunday Times.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kinnah aiming high wants Fifa's top 60

Flames coach Kinnah Phiri remains confident that his team can go far in the Fifa rankings.

By Gomezgani Zakazaka

The Malawi national football team, Flames coach Kinnah Phiri says he wants the Flames to be below 60 on the Fifa ranking by the end of this year.

Fifa is the world football governing body and regularly issues official rankings for national football teams in the world.

The Flames mentor said this ahead of Wednesday’s away international friendly match in Yemen.

He said the team has made a tremendous progress and there is need to safeguard the status and even improve it further.

Currently, Malawi is 82 on the Fifa rankings released last month after slipping one step.

The Yemen game will have a huge bearing on the rankings of this month and that is why we want a strong team and we’ll take it very seriously.

“A win against Yemen and then convincing results against Angola in the Chan competition will ensure that we get a good position in the next rankings to be released before the kickoff of the World Cup,” said Kinnah.

He said if the team managed to move 56 places up in two years, there are chances that it can rise even higher by December.

“Just two years ago, we were on position 138 and now we are 82. We are starting the qualifiers in September and there are more games coming up later in the year. If we win all of them, we should rise by many places. So that is my target to be in the 50s,” he said.

Flames midfielder Hellings Mwakasungula said Malawi’s improved standings will help the players in the coming transfer window to get better deals.

“We have failed to get good deals because of the rankings but if we keep on moving up then our players will be highly marketed,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Football Association of Malawi have announced that the Flames will depart for Middle East on Monday for the international friendly match against Yemen on Wednesday.

The Flames are expected to leave Malawi through Kamuzu International Airport and connect the for Yemen in Addis Ababa on the same Monday evening.

Fam says that the team is expected to arrive in Yemen just before midnight same Monday and the players will spend their time on Tuesday resting and feel on the weather in the country before their important international friendly with the hosts on Wednesday-Nation on Sunday.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nigerians lobby for vice-presidency

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan being congratulated after the swearing-in ceremony. Pic BBC World Service.

By BBC World Service

Nigerian groups are lobbying for the post of vice-president after Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as president following the death of Umara Yar'Adua.

Whoever is named vice-president could be a strong contender for presidential elections due in 2011, analysts say.

It remains unclear whether Mr Jonathan will seek to stand for the governing People's Democratic Party.

There is no deadline for him to name a new deputy but an announcement is expected within the coming days.

Many shops and business in Nigeria remain closed as the seven days of official mourning continue.

But the BBC's Caroline Duffield in the capital Abuja says politics ticks on - over the phone and in private meetings.


Nuhu Ribadu - former anti-corruption chief
Aliyu Gusau - newly appointed national security advisor
Alhaji Yayale Ahmed - cabinet secretary
Sule Lamido - governor of Jigawa state
David mark - president of the senate
Murtala Yar'Adua - late president's nephew

She says there are still no answers to the big questions about Nigeria's future.

The political deal that has traditionally ensured peace between north and south is coming under strain, our correspondent says.

The PDP has a tradition of alternating power between the mainly Muslim north and the largely Christian south.

Mr Jonathan is a southerner and Mr Yar'Adua died less than half-way through the north's "turn" of two presidential terms.

To maintain regional balance, Mr Jonathan would be expected to name a northerner as his deputy, which could put that person in a strong position to contest the elections due early in 2011 on behalf of the PDP.

However, there is strong speculation that Mr Jonathan may seek to defy political convention and stand himself.

Thousands at funeral

Tens of thousands of men shoved and pushed their way into the stadium in Katsina to pay their respects to Nigeria's later President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Chants of "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) began as his body - on a bamboo stretcher and wrapped in a Nigerian white and green flag - was carried in by military men.

Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida were among the mourners. Other dignitaries included Niger's interim prime minister. There was also a government delegation, but Mr Yar'Adua's deputy, newly sworn-in President Goodluck Jonathan, was not among them.

Security was tight during the prayers, which lasted about 30 minutes in the 40 degree heat; and the mood was sombre as the body was removed to the cemetery for a burial mainly attended by those close to the late president.

Mr Jonathan has been acting president since February and will serve out the rest of the current presidential term.

Mr Yar'Adua died on Wednesday in the capital Abuja.

Thousands attended the funeral in his home town of Katsina.

Mr Yar'Adua's election in 2007 marked the first transfer of power from one civilian president to another since Nigeria's independence in 1960.

He promised a string of reforms in Africa's most populous nation, including tackling corruption and reforming the inadequate energy sector and flawed electoral system.

Analysts say he made the most progress in tackling unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta by offering amnesties to rebels.

His long absence and the lack of detailed information about his health led to a political limbo in Nigeria, which was only filled when Mr Jonathan was named as acting president.

However, there was constant tension between supporters of Mr Yar'Adua and Mr Jonathan and in March the acting president dissolved the cabinet and later put his own team in place.

During Mr Yar'Adua's absence, Nigerian Nobel prize-winning author Wole Soyinka was involved in the campaign to resolve the power vacuum.

On Thursday he said Mr Yar'Adua's illness had been manipulated by politicians who had concealed the fact he was in a vegetative state while making arrangements for the forthcoming election.

He told the BBC the late president had been a victim of a macabre game over his succession and not been allowed to be ill in dignity-BBC World Service

Prof. Mutharika says Africa can export food

Malawi President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika greeting the African ambassadors after the meeting. Pic by Samuel Makaka.

By Samuel Makaka in Shanghai, China

Malawi State President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika has once again delivered an emotionally charged speech telling African ambassadors based in the Peoples Republic of China that they have a critical role to play so that Africa does not only become food sufficient but also a net exporter for the whole world.

The Malawian leader was speaking in the Chinese commercial capital, Shanghai, where he convened a meeting for all African ambassadors based in the country.

“Africa is not as poor as we are meant to believe. It is important that we change this mindset.

The industrial revolution in Europe is based on resources from Africa and these include food, timber, meat, cotton, coffee and many more raw materials. We have the resources, what we need is to develop scientists, industrialists and technology to transform our natural resources and create wealth,” Professor Mutharika told the ambassadors.

He explained that when he was elected chairperson for the African Union (AU) he made a proposal to fellow African heads of state and governments to make a resolution that within the next five years, Africa must be able to feed itself because most of the problems on the continent come from the fact that Africa has not been able to feed herself.

President Mutharika reminded the ambassadors that in the 60s, Africa was exporting food to the world but it was ill advised to diversify its products by venturing into other agricultural productions like coffee, tea, cotton. He said while Africa was busy producing these raw materials for western industries, food production stopped and Africa became a hungry continent.

He told the gathering that it is possible to turn this mindset around: “Africa can feed itself within the next 5 years.”

Professor Mutharika argued that if a tiny country like Malawi has been able to make it what can stop other countries in Africa to achieve the same.

He then disclosed that alongside food production, there are also other elements to be considered and he cited transport and communication, energy, and environmental impact studies and climate change amongst the important areas of focus.

“Food processing needs adequate energy, and we need good transport infrastructure to transport food from food sufficient areas to where it is needed, where there have been draughts for example. We need highways from one country to another so that one is able to drive from Harare to Nigeria without problems and our immigration rules need also to be simplified because we cannot talk of African Union when one can hardly travel from his country to the next neighbour because of tough immigration laws,” he explained.

He also told them that Africa needs to harness its power so that national grids are linked to regional grids and regional grids go into continental grid so that a man in Uganda can use electricity without knowing that the power is from Mozambique.

“We also need ICT so that we develop data banks to record who eats and produce what. If Malawi is able to easily produce rice but doesn’t need, it must produce abundantly and transport where it is needed,” he stressed to the ambassadors.

President Mutharika then appealed to the ambassadors to work together, fight for priorities as a continent and not as individual countries.

He called upon them to be proud Africans.

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation representative in China, Korea and Mongolia, Victoria Sekitoleko praised Malawians for electing a good and wise man in Ngwazi Professor Mutharika which she said is not often common in Africa.

“In Africa, it is not common that good men win elections, so Malawians must be praised for electing a good and wise man in the name of President Mutharika,” she told this reporter after the meeting.

During the meeting, Sekitoleko, an African appealed to President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika to encourage fellow African heads of state and government to see China as a true friend indeed and work along with it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Malawi on right path-Minister of Justice

Malawi's Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Professor Peter Mutharika is reported to be growing in popularity each day passing. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Muwamba

Malawi’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Professor Peter Mutharika has said the country has to move on the path of human rights, law and democracy.

Mutharika said this on Friday at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in the former colonial capital of Zomba when he delivered a lecture on the role of the Ministry of Justice.

He said it is the duty of his ministry to advise government on policy and the law, prepare bills before being presented to Cabinet and Parliament and defend the independence of the Judiciary.

Mutharika, however said the ministry does not have enough lawyers to effectively carry demanding tasks.

He disclosed that there are only 66 lawyers, which is inadequate considering the volume of work they have to handle.

“We don’t have enough resources to help everyone. We appeal to the legal profession to join us,” he said.

He said the ministry is also formulating a bill on the Wills and Inheritance.

“There will be no more property grabbing in Malawi,” he said.

Professor Mutharika’s address at Chancellor College marked the launch of public debates by the country’s state owned, Malawi Television (TVM).

According to the station’s Public Relations Officer Ruth Gama, the debates are aimed at allowing viewers and the public at large to interact with public figures in Malawi.

During the programme at Chancelor College which was beamed live on TVM and aired on the national broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation student’s from the university were allowed to ask questions relevant to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

The minister Professor Peter Mutharika, an internationally decorated lawyer and lecturer ably handled the questions in a moving way.

Each time the Professor articulated issues to do with the Law and his ministry, there was a round of applause from the students who swarmed the college’s famous Great Hall.

Professor Peter Mutharika, President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika’s younger brother is reported to be growing stronger politically, each day passing.

He is reported to be one of Malawi’s most popular politician at the moment.

Apart from Professor Peter Mutharika, there Professor Matthews Chikaonda and Deputy Minister in the Office of President and Cabinet, Nicholus Dausi spoke at the event-The Nation/additional reporting by Malawi Digest.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wedding of the year, Bingu & Callista 'I do'

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika recently officially wedded former cabinet Minister Madame Callista Chapola. The two were officially married before a huge crowd at the Civo Stadium in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

The marriage ceremony was presided over by the head of the Roman Catholic church in Malawi, His Grace Archbishop Tarcizious Ziyaye and all Malawian bishops.

In the picture, Dr Mutharika and the First Lady kneels before Archbishop Ziyaye in the course of the church service.

Call him Prof. Ngwazi Bingu wa Mutharika

President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and the First Lady Madame Callista at the East China University during the ceremony on Sunday.

By Samuel Makaka in Shanghai

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika said on Sunday that Malawi values the support it is receives from the Peoples Republic of China in human capacity building as many Malawian students are on Chinese sponsored academic scholarships, studying in Chinese Universities.

Dr Bingu wa Mutharika was speaking at East China Normal University in his acceptance speech after the institution conferred on him an honorary professorship in economics.

In accepting the honorary professorship title, the Malawian leader, joins his younger brother Professor Peter Mutharika.

The young Mutharika is a respected international decorated professor at Law.

In his address to the gathering at the ceremony, Dr Mutharika said that Malawi and Africa as a whole cannot develop without well trained experts who he said are lacking at the moment.

“We need human capacity building in our countries and Malawi is looking forward to new areas of cooperation between the East China University and Malawi’s University of Science and Technology being established with assistance from the Peoples Republic of China,” he said.

The State President said that it is possible for Africa to be developed but only when African experts take a lead in the fight against poverty and ignorance.

“Through education and human capacity building we can change humanity for the better and Malawi as a country is happy that we are doing just that,” he said.

President Dr Bingu wa Mutharika reiterated his conviction that Africa will develop and become a major contributor to the global economic development.

At this point he repeated his view that Africa is not poor but that the people on continent are the ones who are poor.

The President said that this is the case because of the vast resources Africa is endowed with. He said that he is aware that Africa needs financial resources and well trained human resources to turn the raw materials on the continent into wealth.

Dr Mutharika disclosed that Africans are aware that they are marginalized in many ways by the rich nations.

“Africans are aware that they are being marginalized in global politics, science and technology, economic development and trade. Africa is also marginalized in global resource financial allocation simply because Africa is poor,” said Dr Mutharika who is also the chairperson for the continental country grouping, the African Union (AU).

But he said AU sees emergence of globalization as an opportunity for the people of Africa and other nations to work together through the pursuit of global peace and security and fight against terrorism so as to create new wealth through promotion of industrial development, manufacturing, mining, agro-processing and promotion of human capacity.

He told the gathering that Malawi has improved tremendously in the last five years he has been in power, explaining that more and more people are living above the poverty line because of the abundant availability of food.

He said 75 percent of Malawians are already accessing clean portable water, beating the UN set target of 74 percent by 2014.

Dr Mutharika, also commended China for being one of the biggest cooperating partners in Africa and hope that African countries will benefit much more as the cooperation gets closer and closer reducing poverty among the people of Africa through support from China.

Speaking when he introduced President Mutharika to the audience, president of the University, Professor Yu Lizhong said it was a great honour and pleasure that President Mutharika agreed to accept the title of honorary Professorship in Economics.

“His Excellency, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi and chairperson of the African Union is a well known economist and politician. He holds a PhD in development economics from the Pacific University of Los Angeles-USA,” the University President told the gathering. He also disclosed to the gathering of other positions that Dr Mutharika held before becoming State President of the Republic of Malawi.

Prof Lizhong also pointed out that President Mutharika spearheaded the formation of several regional economic organizations including the Association of African Central Banks, Conference of African Ministers of Finance and many more.

“So it is therefore our pleasure and honour that President Mutharika agreed to accept the title of Honorary Professorship from our University,” he said.

Currently, there are four Malawian students studying at the East China University.

During the ceremony, President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika donated to the institution several books that he has written in his lifetime career as an economist.

Amongst the donation, was his yet to be published book which the President described as somehow controversial.

Malawi at the World 2010 Expo in China

The Malawi first couple of Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and Callista being welcomed by their Chinese counterparts of Hu Jintao and his wife at the official opening ceremony for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China.
Young girls holding flags from countries all over the world that are participating in the World Expo 2010. This was part of the performances during the official opening of the Shanghai World Expo on Friday evening.
The Shanghai Expo Culture Center were the opening ceremony took place.

World Expo 2010 fire works lighting up Shanghai skies on the official opening evening.
Some of the structures which befit modern cities being shown at the World Expo 2010.

Malawi gets financial boost from China

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao just before the talks.

By Samuel Makaka in Shanghai, China

One of Malawi’s closest allies, the Peoples Republic of China has provided over MK3 billion as top up to the projects it is sponsoring in Malawi for any financial problems that may arise due to depreciation or any other problems requiring more expenditure.

This was disclosed when the visiting Malawian leader, Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika met his host, the Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday.

“The Peoples Republic of China has provided about US$22 to 25 million to meet any financial hiccups that may arise in the course of carrying out works on the projects they are financing,” said Kachale adding, this is just to make sure that the projects are finished on time.

Some of the main project the Chinese are financing in Malawi include the Chitipa/Karonga road, the new parliament building in Lilongwe, the five-star hotel project and international conference centre in Lilongwe and the sports complex in the same city, Lilongwe amongst many other projects.

The minister said that following this huge financial assistance from the Chinese, the Malawian President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika had proved his critics wrong when he decided switch ties from Taiwan to the Peoples Republic of China.

When Malawi changed ties about two years ago, there were a lot of skeptics and critics who blamed government for dumping long time ally Taiwan for Mainland China. However, the Mutharika administration put its foot down and justified its move.

Malawi is currently enjoying huge financial help from the Peoples Republic of China.

Kachale also commended President Hu Jintao for being keen in seeing that the Malawi-China relationship grows from strength to strength.

He said the relationship has only been in place for two years but within this short space, already, huge projects are being implemented in Malawi.

On her part, Malawi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Etta Banda said during the discussions, President Dr Mutharika began by condoling his counterpart for the loss of life and property during the earthquake which hit China about three two weeks ago.

She said Dr Mutharika asked the Chinese government to assist Malawi with specialists to do extensive exploration work in Malawi for minerals that exist in this southern African country not known and in unknown quantities.

The minister said Dr Mutharika took advantage of the talks to invite President Hu Jintao to visit Malawi on his next leg of tours to Africa.

The Foreign Affairs Minister has since disclosed that President Hu Jintao has accepted to visit Malawi.