Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mutharika donates equipment to Mzuni

Prof.Peter Mutharika: Put the equipment to good use

By Edwin Nyirongo

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Professor Peter Mutharika on Saturday turned savior for the Mzuzu University (Mzuni) when he donated a set of printers and photocopier to the institution.

The donation came against the background of strike by students of the college who last week boycotted classes and damaged property over allegations that management was dragging its feet in repairing malfunctioning printers and photocopies at the campus.

Mutharika made the donation during a public lecture he held at the university.

“I have given you these machines not from the Ministry of Justice but from my personal account. Share them between the students and staff and use them properly,” he said amid protests from students after he mentioned the staff.

Mutharika, who arrived over thirty minutes later than the scheduled time of 6pm, received a standing ovation from other dignitaries who included Cabinet ministers Goodall Gondwe, Abbie Shaba, Ken Kandodo and some deputy ministers.

Some students wore T-shirts emblazoned with Mutharika’s face. The T-shirts also had words: ‘Our democratic Constitution: Some reflections 15 years later, 19th June 2010,” inscribed at the back.

But the lecture was not without controversies, especially after the students were asked to send questions in advance for scrutiny. Some students feared dean of students Chrispine Mphande would remove some critical questions.

And when Mphande started calling names of students to ask questions, there was a protest from those who demanded that everyone should ask questions freely. This forced Mphande to give in and allow students to ask questions freely.

Then came the time when deputy Vice Chancellor Orton Msiska took the floor. Students were not happy with him and started calling: “Nthawi [Time] less than a minute after he began speaking.

Questions ranged from why there are so many constitutional amendments and if DPP would not abuse its majority in Parliament.

The most famous question came from Charles Namalele who wondered why the Justice and Constitional Affairs Minister did not include the role of the in his lecture.

Said Namalele:“The police came to our campus and manhandled us left, right and centre. Is that their role?”

Mutharika said the police are a service and not a force and that if anything bad happened, it might have been due to poor judgment on the part of the law enforcers.

In his lecture, Mutharika said he felt embarrassed that he was involved in the drafting of the Constitution, saying it is long and contradictory. He described it as one of the most amended constitutions on earth.

He also said while he supports the return of the Recall Provision, it is not easy to prove that constituents have lost confidence in their MP.

He also backed Section 65 of the Constitution [on crossing the floor] which he said safeguards political morality although it infringes of freedom of association.

Mutharika also said while it is good to have a presidential limit, the principle should also apply to MPs-The Nation.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mutharika inspires Mzuni students

Prof. Peter Mutharika is an international decorated lawyer.

By Sarah Munthali

Malawi’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Professor Peter Mutharika says his ministry values inputs and recommendations it gets from the general public saying this ensures that the Malawi Constitution remains an important tool in the country.

Professor Mutharika was speaking at Mzuzu University on Saturday night during a public lecture entitled “Our democratic constitution, some reflections 15 years later’ organised by the state owned, Malawi Television (TVM).

“A good constitution can bring good changes in a country and a poorly drafted and structured constitution can bring confusion and misunderstanding, hence the need for a properly drafted constitution,” he said.

He told the jam-packed university hall that during the 2006 constitutional review conference, the Malawi Law Commission made recommendations which should be debated and looked into.

“Some of the inputs which people suggested were interesting and controversial for example, the repealed Section 64 which enabled constituents to recall the Members of Parliament. This provision can give the people their democratic right to recall their MP but at the same time, the provision could be abused.”

He said for instance, an aspiring MP who lost an election could mobilise subjects, sometimes even bribing them, and write a petition to the speaker to have the incumbent parliamentarian removed out of petty jealously and frustration.

Other areas included Section 65 of the constitution which entails the Speaker to declare vacant the seat of any member of the National Assembly who was, at the time of his or her election, a member of one political party represented in the National Assembly, other than by that member alone but who has voluntarily ceased to be a member of that party and has joined another political party represented in the National Assembly.

“Section 65 contradicts with Section 32 which says every person shall have the right to freedom of association, which shall include the freedom to form associations, saying these sections should be deliberated thoroughly to avoid contradictions,’’ explained the highly read international lawyer.

He also encouraged people to look into issues of witchcraft and issues of whether Malawians in diaspora should be allowed vote.

The public lecture organised by Malawi Television, was second after another one held at Chancellor College in Zomba two months ago.

President of the Mzuzu University Students Council, Charles Kajoloweka commended Professor Mutharika for sharing his ideas and knowledge through the public lecture, saying the lecture inspired students and would leave an indelible mark in the history of the university.

The public lecture moderated by Local Government Minister, Goodall Gondwe, was attended by a cross section of people which included cabinet ministers, senior government officials, Members of Parliament, students at the university, civil servants and the general public-Malawi Digest.

First Lady donates MK1 million to Chewas

The First Lady Madame Callista Mutharika says let's all be proud of our culture.

By Our Correspondent

The First Lady, Madame Callista Mutharika Saturday pledged to give K 1 million to the Chewa Heritage Foundation to help in the promotion of the Chewa tradition and culture.

The First Lady made the pledge at Civo Stadium in the administrative capital, Lilongwe during a Chewa Cultural Day which was organised by the Chewa Heritage Foundation with an aim of fundraising and displaying different Chewa dances.

Chairperson of the Organising Committee for Chewa Cultural Day, Mark Zilirakhasu said the money realised at the fundraising event would be used to cater for transport and accommodation expenses for chiefs and delegates attending this year’s Kulamba ceremony for Chewas at Kalonga Gawa Undi headquarters in Zambia.

Madame Mutharika appealed to all the Chewas to wisely use the money realised so that people attend the Kulamba ceremony every time it has been organised to pass the Chewa tradition from one generation to the other.

She also said she was very proud to be a Chewa and appealed to all Chewas to be proud of who they are following the function’s poor patronage.

“I’m not happy with the way Chewas have patronised this function. I’m therefore, appealing to everyone who belongs to this tribe to be forthcoming when functions like these are organised,” she said.

Concurring with the First Lady, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Anna Kachikho said this is a great day for Chewas as it is a time when they would see where they are coming from and reflect on where they are going.

Kachikho said she is also proud as a Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, to note that the Big Dance popularly known as Gule wa Mkulu is one of the dances that is recognised world wide, according to a declaration made by United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Senior Chief Mazengera said it is sad to note that most Malawians are not proud of who they are and that is why most if them follow what other people do in foreign countries.

Chairperson for Chewa Heritage Foundation and the country’s former vice president, Justine Malewezi appealed to all Malawians to be living in unity and harmony by not looking at their differences in culture and traditions.

“I also appeal to government to come with a day when all tribes from the country can come together and display their dances and traditions,” added Malewezi.

The First Lady advised chiefs to conduct initiation ceremonies for children during holidays so that their education should not be disturbed.

“Let me warn all chiefs who interfere with the school calendar by taking children to initiation camps that whoever will be found doing this malpractice, will be dealt with accordingly. This is in line with what His Excellency, Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika and Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi have been saying that children should be going to school at the same time knowing their traditions and culture,” she said.

The First lady thanked all companies, organisations and well wishers who had donated to the Foundation either in cash or kind.

The Kulamba ceremony takes place every year in commemoration of all the Chewa chiefs that have been there ever since. It takes place in Zambia and it is patronised by all the Chewas from Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique-Malawi Digest.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ngwazi says Malawians must dream in colour

Prof. Mutharika, thanks to Mulli Brothers, Malawi is back on the international map for tea.

By Patrick Bande

Malawi President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday urged local business captains to dream in colour if they are to succeed.

Professor Mutharika made the remarks during a press conference held at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe when he saw off the President of Kosovo Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu.

Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu was flying back to Kosovo after a three day official visit to Malawi where among other things he held bilateral talks with president Mutharika and addressed the National Assembly to thank the people of Malawi especially President Bingu wa Mutharika for recognising the independence of Kosovo which took place on 17th February, 2008.

On Friday the two leaders visited Small holder Tea Company (Steco) in Mulanje which is owned by local entrepreneurs Mulli Brothers Limited.

The factory which was formally known as Malawi Tea Company (Mateco) Limited, a government parastatal then, almost collapsed a couple of years ago, thanks to Mulli Brothers Limited which bought and revived it.

“A few years ago that company was going somewhere and I refused that it should be sold to foreign investors until Mulli Brothers bought the company and revamped it now its back on its feet and running,” said Mutharika.

“The lesson from this is simple and straight forward. We must learn to dream in colour. Malawi tea was known the world over and when this company was going down we were removed from the map as a tea producer, thanks to Mulli brothers we are back on the map” added Mutharika.

The Malawi leader also thanked his Kosovo counterpart for coming all the way from Kosovo to visit the country. He said there is a lot the two countries have in common and can share.

Giving an example he said, Kosovo is rich in minerals and Malawi can learn mineral technology for the research institute to be opened in Karonga.

"We discussed a lot of things including: increasing trade between the two countries. First, its political relations and from there, the business community from the two countries can link up to learn from each other. Kosovo buys a lot of tea from other countries and they can buy that from us. We have also agreed to support each other,” Mutharika said.

On his part Sejdiu said he was delighted to be in Malawi and was happy with how he was received in the country. He said he saw optimism in the eyes of Malawians believing tomorrow will be a brighter day every where he visited in the country.

“I feel at home here and next time I will come, I will only use my passport to check in at a hotel. I’m grateful for the huge support that Malawi gave for our freedom and our independence,” he said.

The Kosovo president also announced that he has invited President Mutharika to visit Kosovo as soon as possible to see for himself how free people are in that country. He then asked president Mutharika who is also chairman of the African union to provide information about Kosovo to other nations that know little about the country.

Kosovo is an independent state with a population of about 2 million people and is supervised by the international community following the conclusion of the political process to determine Kosovo final status envisaged in United Nations Security Council resolution.

It lies in the southern east part of Europe and shares boundaries with Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania and its economy relies heavily on agriculture, mining and micro enterprises.

Upon arrival in the country on Thursday Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu was met by president Mutharika and was hosted at a state banquet at the State House before visiting Steco factory in Mulanje on Friday and he addressed members of the National Assembly later on Friday-Mana.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sarkozy praises Africa, condemns Europe

By Adack Pafupi in Nice, France

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy has asked developed countries and organisations to honour commitments which they make during international conferences.

The French leader has also asked business people who are working on the sidelines of the 25th France and Africa Summit to produce practical results, otherwise international conferences will lose all their credibility.

Sarkozy, made the appeals when he officially opened the 25th France and Africa Summit in Nice city in France on Monday.

Opening the summit, Sarkozy said he was worried that developed countries and organisations are not fast at honouring their pledges to African countries.

“I’m talking about honouring pledges to African countries made at international conferences like the Copenhagen. These need to be fully honoured otherwise international conferences will lose all their credibility,” he said.

He said it was this reason that his country decided to organise a meeting of business people to run alongside the summit.

“The fact that we decided to have business people meet here as well was not of course by coincidence. These business people did not wait for us to start working together but we are expecting them to produce practical results for this summit to endorse,” said the host leader.

The French President said that the France-Africa Summit is important because the two parties have a special relation in that they have things which they need to achieve together and that these can be discussed at these meetings.

“I am convicted that it is no longer possible to deal with major world issues without involving Africa,” he said, adding, “the failure of Africa would be a tragedy for Europe.”

The French President said that he wants a new France – Africa relation to have no complexes.

He also discouraged the cases of having big countries on one side and smaller ones on the other.

Sarkoy encouraged a relationship of trust where all issues should be open for discussion with interests to defend and views to put across, based on equal and forward looking relationship.

He also said that if European countries call themselves friends of Africa, they must be ready to give Africa a role in global governance.

“There can be no double speak, there can be no hypocrisy. We cannot say that we need to closely involve Africa in major issues affecting peace, security and a balanced world but then do nothing about it,” he stressed.

The French president said that the African continent should take it rightful place in bodies dealing with such issues which he said is not the case today.

President Sarkozy said that the United Nations Security Council has to be reformed because it is not right that Africa is not a permanent member of the Security Council.

“We can no longer manage the 21st century world with 20th century institutions,” he said.

He also praised the African Union because he said outside interventions on the African continent have nearly come to an end.

“I would like to pay tribute to the role played by the African Union (AU), represented here by its Chairperson and Chairperson of its Commission, whom I commend greatly,” he said.

Malawi President and AU chairperson Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika is attending the summit which is expected to end this Tuesday afternoon.

After the summit, the two leaders are expected to host a join press conference-Malawi News Agency.