Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani, who is also member of Parliament (MP) for Zomba Chisi, on Tuesday, took advantage of Mother’s Day holiday to cheer the elderly in his constituency.
The distribution reached out to over 260 households in Matiya Ward in Traditional Authority Mwambo.Botomani (R) helps an elderly
carry a bag of maize
Botomani said he donated the maize to lessen hunger problem in the area, which is prone to flood occurrences.
“Although government has always assisted the people during lean periods, I also felt duty-bound as legislator for the area to do something,” he said.
Botomani also appealed to traditional leaders present during the distribution exercise to preach peace and coexistence in the area and urged all constituents to respect the elderly.
The minister pledged to reach out to the remaining three wards with different forms of donations and assistance.
Reacting to the gesture, group village head Makawa thanked Botomani for the donation which he hoped will support the livelihoods of the elderly persons.
Thyolo Secondary School students on Wednesday night destroyed school property, including burning one of the administration blocks, in frustration over alleged mismanagement at the institution.
The development comes barely two weeks after students from Blantyre Secondary School also held protests that resulted in the indefinite closure of the school.Part of the administration’s block that was burnt
During a visit to the school around 10 am yesterday students were seen walking off a dusty road with their luggage to board minibuses at the nearby bus stop.
At the school campus, some workers were seen putting out the flames to rescue some of the property. parents and guardians were seen at the school trying to find out what had happened.
All the while the school’s management was locked up in a meeting with officials from the district education office.
After the meeting, however, the head teacher Isaac Longwe declined to comment while Shire Highlands Education Division manager Evelyn Mjima said she was yet to get facts.
However, a student, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the school authorities have been expelling students without valid reasons and procedures and replaced them with students from elsewhere.
“In addition, we protested against poor diet,” said the student.
The students claimed they had failed to engage the authorities to address the problems.
When contacted, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Justin Saidi said he would get back to us which he never did by the time we went to press.
Ntcheu district youth officer Emmanuel Deveta has said access to youth-friendly health services among young people is low in the district.
The officer said this on Wednesday during an event on Investing for Impact of HIV and Aids Among Young People in Ntcheu project.
Deveta said the majority of youths in Ntcheu live in hard-to-reach areas, thereby making it difficult for them to access the services.Devata: Access to youth friendly
health services low
“Access to information and services on youth- friendly health services and HIV and Aids is critical to behaviour change among sex workers, adolescent girls and boys,” he said.
On his part, Youth Net and Counselling (Yoneco) project officer Richard Nkhonjera said the project seeks to address the impact of HIV and Aids among the youth and preventing further HIV infection among youths living in hard-to-reach areas.
“Increased access to sexual and reproductive health services and counselling for young people will lead to our primary target who is an HIV+ youth,” he said.
Nkhonjera said few health facilities and long distances discourage youths to access youth friendly health services.
The project is funded by Egmont Trust and run by Yoneco.
Workers on a girls’ hostel at Mwansambo Secondary School in Nkhotakota District have accused their employer of not paying them wages for 12 months.
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) is constructing a hostel, kitchen, a matron’s house and a hall at the school. The works began last year.The deserted structures at the project site
However, a tour of the site showed that construction works stalled in November 2018 and the place looked deserted.
Leader of the disgruntled workers, Jeffrey Malire, claimed that efforts to meet the contractor have been futile as he has been shunning them.
“We received our first payment when the works were at foundation level. Another payment was to be made when works reached window level, but he left without notice,” he said.
Master Building Construction Company through its officer Daud Nadin, yesterday admitted the delayed payment, attributing it to government’s late disbursement of funds to the project.
He said MoEST has since released the funds for the resumption of the works, assuring the workers that payments will be made next week.
“We had a cash flow problem because we were waiting for government to release funds. Now that government has funded us, we will be on the site probably next week,” said Nadin.
Meanwhile, Traditional Authority Mwansambo has advised the parties to iron out their differences to resume the works.
The contractor is reported to have hired 80 workers.
Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji on Wednesday visited 22 families whose houses were torched during Tuesday’s fracas between Mkondezi and Msakanene villages in Nkhata Bay District.
The Vice-President, who is also Minister responsible for Department of Disaster Management Affairs, said he had all along known Malawi as a peaceful country and expressed disappointment over what had happened in the district.Kaunda (in white) briefs Chimulirenji on the fracas
“We need to change and go back to our reputation of a peaceful country,” he said.
However, Chimulirenji assured the people of safety and security in the area.
“Government will renovate all houses that were set ablaze during the unfortunate incident which has left people homeless,” he said.
The Veep gave K500 000 to the 22 affected households to buy food as they await relief food which he said would be distributed to them by yesterday.
One of the affected, Anthony Kaunda, thanked government for coming to their rescue as most of them had gone without food for two days.
“We have stayed two days without eating anything. We thank government for the gesture,” he said.
Another victim, Daniel Phiri, appealed to government to provide security to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future.
Government gave K150 000 to the four bereaved families for burial and K400 000 for transport of three bodies to Karonga.
Of the four that died, one was from Nkhata Bay and three from Karonga.
“Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the spoiler to destroy. 17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord. — Isaiah 54:16-17
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malawi and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) requested audit report from Jordan-based auditors BDO as part of the support in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Among the tasks was to verify that the results received at the constituency tally centres and the National Tally Centre are mathematically correct.
The summary of the report, marked confidential and signed on May 31 2019, showcases findings from the forms MEC presented to BDO at the National Tally Centre highlighting the following: 273 Tippexed (corrected with the white corrector fluid), 65 manually amended forms, 45 forms with missing signatures, and 66 forms with missing political parties signatures.
Last week, this column posed questions to Prophet Shepherd Bushiri following his press conference where Malawian journalists were briefed on his desire for peace to return in Malawi.
The article, titled Some Questions and Pointers for Prophet Bushiri was not well-received by some of his followers and even those of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Numerous comments flighted on social media looked at the article as querying the man of God. While there is inadequate space here to counter the general flow of those rants, the BDO report (despite being confidential, has been made publicly available all over the place) appears to throw weight to the side of the millions of Malawians that have doubted the integrity of the election result announcemed by MEC.
The auditors verified only 60 percent of the presidential tally sheets; while 24 percent of the sheets were Tippexed, six percent manually amended, another six percent had missing political parties signature, and four percent had missing signatures.
Alas, Malawians have lost confidence in the exercise due to the anomalies on many tally sheets that are elucidated in the audit.
According to BDO findings, “A significant number of Form 66 were over scribbled. As a result, most of Form 66 became a mess and therefore needed to be replaced by duplicate forms, manually prepared forms, which were completed at the constituency tally centres. Some of the forms were excessively Tippexed by presiding officers to do their corrections.”
How was it possible that presiding officers had Tippex in the tally centres? Who provided these? The dubious activities on Form 66 brings the entire election process into great disrepute.
The report recounts numerous wrong doings during the tally exercises, among them, suspected manipulations of results with many presiding officers leaving their stations, signatures not being attained from all parties; some presiding officers were unwilling to recognise the role of the auditors. The Army stepped in to stop this. Then there was numerous capturing of wrong information, submission of incorrect forms.
In short, the May 21 Tripartite Elections give the appearance of this being our first ever elections. We have done this before: in the one-party times, in a referendum, in the multiparty setting.
What went wrong in May 2019? It’s not rocket science. It’s not difficult to see. The answer lies in the fact that some people want to cheat at this; they’ve gone to the supreme extent to accomplish this, including giving monetary handouts, eliminating people in the know, including their own people, and trying to silence opposition viewpoints.
This is not what democracy looks like.
Central Region Football Association (CRFA) has suspended Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) player Manson Honde for six games for indiscipline.
According to a ruling signed by CRFA general secretary Benard Chiwiriwiri Harawa, the league suspended Honde for causing abandonment of a Chipiku League game against Dedza Dynamos.Harawa: We are seriously warning players
The ruling states that the player snatched cards from referee Charles Lulaka and tore them after he was shown a second yellow card that warranted a red card in the 67th minute.
“Manson Honde is officially suspended for six games for indiscipline and Luanar ground is slowly, but surely growing into a hostile pitch for visiting teams.
“We are seriously warning players of their behaviour that a repeat of the same will attract several punishments that may include banning them for life,” reads the ruling in part.
The committee has also ruled that the game should be replayed at a neutral venue, Mitundu ground on a date to be communicated.
Luanar FC coach Pofera Jegwe acknowledged the ruling and said the club will find a way forward.
“It was unfortunate that it happened like that,” he said.
Dedza Dynamos chairperson Charles Masauko described the ruling as unfair.
“It was proved beyond reasonable doubt that Luanar caused the abandonment of the game and why should they order a replay like the cause was a natural one?” he queried.
The game was abandoned while Luanar were leading 1-0.
Meanwhile, league leaders Airborne Rangers have created a three-point gap at the top after beating Ngolowindo 2-0.
They have 68 points from 29 games while Mafco are on second with 65 points from 28 games.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu has hit back at critics undermining his Fifa Council membership as being irrelevant to the country’s football development.
Launching his fifth term bid earlier this month, Nyamilandu said being part of the world governing football body makes him the right candidate ahead of the December elections.
But his critics argued that the position has nothing to do with Malawi football.Going for fifth term of office: Nyamilandu
In a statement issued on Thursday Nyamilandu’s media liaison officer Kandani Ngwira, described the critics’ views as unfair.
“It is ludicrous to suggest that Fifa would institute such a high office of distinguished football administrators just for personal gains,” it reads in part.
“That is a very reckless and disrespectful statement both to Fifa and to the members of the council.”
Ngwira insisted that Nyamilandu, being part of the Fifa decision-making body, gives Malawi an advantage.
“The Fifa Council membership position gives him leverage to serve and improve football in Malawi because through this position, he can connect with individuals and institutions that can influence and give resources and knowledge to improve our football,” the statement further reads.
But football analyst George Chiusiwa said Malawi would still benefit from Fifa if he was not the council’s member.
“He is only playing around with the truth. We benefit from Fifa projects because we are a member of the global body.
“What he has done for Malawi football in the 15 years was before he went to Fifa,” he said.
Chiusiwa insisted that the FIfa Council membership has nothing to do with Malawi.
“He is a Fifa council member and responsible for steering the global game. He isn’t representing Malawi at that level. If anything Malawi has its voice at the Fifa congress,” he stated.
Nyamilandu was elected to the Fifa Council last year representing Africa’s Anglophone region. The council is the main decision-making body of global soccer’s governing organisation, with members drawn from each of soccer’s regional confederations.
Malawi Under-17 national football team coach Deklerk Msakakuona has apologised for the team’s failure to reach the knockout stage of the Cosafa Youth Championship for the second consecutive time.
Malawi missed the semi-finals after finishing third in the group that had Zambia, e-Swatini (formerly Swaziland) and South Africa.
The Under-17 beat South Africa 3-0, but went on to lose to e-Swatini (2-1) and Zambia (3-2), to become the first hosts since 2016 to bow out of the competition in group stages.Msakakuona: We have let them down
In an interview after the match, a visibly crashed Msakakuona, who has been in charge of the team since 2017, said they were punished for underrating e-Swatini and offered his apology to the football fans.
He said: “I think a lot of lessons have been learned and we will do better in the next tournament. A simple word to the supporters—we are sorry. We have let them down. They loved us most from October 11 when the tournament kicked off up to date.
“Despite losing to e-Swatini on Monday they still came in large numbers to support us in the last game. We did everything we could have done, but as I said football is cruel. The supporters have to accept the defeat as we have done. Next time we will give them victory.”
The former Blue Eagles coach said the loss to e-Swatini made them play under pressure against Zambia.
“If we had won or got a point in the game against e-Swatini we could have played our usual game against Zambia,” said Msakakuona.
But the coach said there is still something to smile about the tournament as it has unearthed talent which will be the future of Malawi football.
“We have to look forward. I know come 2020 the Under-17 Cosafa Youth Championship will be back. We just have to start preparations now to have time to be ready for the tournament,” he said.
His Zambian counterpart Osward Mutapa also echoed Msakakuona’s sentiments.
“It’s not the end of the world. Let’s support them. Let’s give them a chance to develop,” he said.
But soccer analyst David Kanyenda observed that Malawi had lost an opportunity to expose up-and-coming players.
“It’s sad and disappointing that the Under-17 national football team got knocked out so early. For me, these youth tournaments are primarily developmental. The most important dividend is the depth of the exposure.
“Our boys have played their last match already. Had they qualified, they would have been guaranteed more football. They would have played maximum number of games,” he said.
Malawi Queens coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa says she is determined her charges will beat hosts South Africa’s Spar Proteas in pool A opener of African Netball Championship today to increase their chances of the ending an eight-year continental title drought.
The two sides last met in 2015 during the Netball World Cup, when Malawi triumphed 58-51 in group stages before losing 46-48 in fifth-place play-offs.
Last year, the Queens triumphed 33-32 in the Fast5 World Netball Series in Australia.Queens players dare to reclaim their lost glory at the African Netball Cup
This is the first time in six years that the two sides are meeting in the eight-team continental competition after the 2013 finals Malawi saw the South Africans, who are the continent’s top-ranked team, snatching the crown with a narrow 54-52 triumph at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC).
“The Spar Proteas are the highest-ranked team at the tournament. If we beat them, it will mean we will have high chances of winning the title,” Chawinga-Kaluwa said.
If they beat South Africa, the Queens will increase their chances of finishing in the top-two in the four-team pool, which also has Zambia and Lesotho.
They also need to win the tournament without losing a single match to get back into the top-six of International Netball Federation (INF) World Rankings to get automatic qualification into prestigious events such as the Commonwealth Games and Fast5 Netball World Series.
Currently, the Queens are ranked seventh in the world and third on the continent, two steps behind fifth-ranked Spar Proteas and a step behind defending champions Uganda’s She Cranes, who are in pool B alongside Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s newly-appointed coach Dorette Badenhorst, who has replaced Norma Plummer, said they will not underrate their opponents, especially the Queens.
Badenhorst was quoted as saying on www.iol.co.za: “It is never easy playing any African countries. All the four teams that competed at the 2019 Netball World Cup [South Africa, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe], did very well as they finished in the top-10.
“I will never underestimate them. We will make sure that we are better prepared, especially against Malawi. The goal is to win this tournament.”
Malawi, South Africa and Uganda, did not take part in the 2015 edition that Zimbabwe won. South Africa have missed the 2017 and 2018 editions in which the Queens finished runners-up to She Cranes.
Former Queens’ captain Emmie Waya-Chongwe said the Queens have a chance of winning the tournament, but have missed an opportunity of building a future squad ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2023 Netball World Cup.
Malawi’s agricultural exports on the global market have over the eight-year period declined by 4.8 percent, published figures from World Trade Organisation (WTO) show.
The figures show that during the same period, imports quickened by 2.2 percent.
A WTO Market Access for Products and Services of Export Interest to Least Developed Countries (LDC) Report published on Wednesday indicates that in 2018, for instance, Malawi exported agricultural products valued at $1 billion (about K740 billion).
This export value made Malawi the seventh top exporter of agricultural products in 2018 out of 20 LDCs with its agricultural export share increasing by 14.6 percent during the year under review.
At the same time, imports also grew by 10.9 percent in 2018 to $2.8 billion (about K2.1 billion).
The report shows that the 27-country trade bloc European Union (EU) was the main destination of LDCs’ exports in 2011, with a share of 25.8 percent.
In 2018, the EU accounted for 24.7 percent market share, followed by China at 18.4 percent in 2018, with India and United States on third and fourth respectively.
The agriculture sector accounts for about 30 percent of Malawi’s gross domestic product (GDP), contributing about 80 percent of total export earnings and employs over 64 percent of the country’s workforce, according to the National Statistical Office (NSO).
The Malawi Government, through National Agriculture Investment Programme (Naip), seeks to promote diversification of agricultural production and exports to improve resilience as well as expanding the synergies between agriculture-led growth.
Legumes are earmarked by the National Export Strategy (NES) and Naip as having potential for export as the country seeks to diversify away from traditional export crops such as tobacco, sugar, and tea.
In an interview yesterday, agriculture analyst Tamani Nkhono-Mvula said diversification of exports can be achieved if the crops identified in the NES are provided with the necessary institutional and structural instruments for the growth of their value chains.
He said: “For instance, right regulatory institutions need to be created, special funding mechanisms for production and value- addition need to be put in place and if need be, export subsidies need to be put in place for those crops.
“Production for exports has to be a deliberate policy for government, one that is implementable and not only being on paper. .”
Legumes Development Trust chairperson responsible for value chain and markets Vincent Mpaluko on Monday said there has been a mismatch in the production value chain, adding that farmers could produce what the market was not looking for in terms of volumes and quality and also without ready markets.
According to WTO, exports of LDCs continue to be concentrated in primary products, accounting for 58 percent of their exports.
National Planning Commission (NPC) has reconstituted Sector Working Groups (SWGs) which were established in 2008 but have been inactive.
The Malawi Government established SWGs to implement its National Development Strategy (NDS) to ensure domestication of regional and global commitments.
Speaking during the meeting, NPC director general Thomas Chataghalala Munthali said: “In the format they [SWGs] are now, they are supposed to operationalise all priorities of the country such as the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy and other development plans for Malawi.”Munthali: They will help to harmonise
sector policy development
He said such groups will help to harmonise sectoral policy development, planning, budgeting, execution and increasing efficiency in resource allocation through consultations in the prioritisation of activities and resource allocation.
Munthali said once revamped, the forums will also present an opportunity for Malawi to implement international commitments with national priorities.
He said the recomposed SWGs will be aligned to the national development planning process.
On his part, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development deputy director responsible for planning Adwell Zembere said at the end of last year, only a few SWGs were active and functioning.
These include SWG on agriculture, integrated rural development and decentralisation, water, sanitation and irrigation, trade, industry and private sector development, health, gender, youth development and sports, economic governance and democratic governance.
Zembere cited lack of interaction and collaboration between SWGs on cross-cutting issues, inadequate guidance and technical support, poor dissemination of sector reports as well as inadequate staff in most of the planning units in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as some of the challenges.
He said going forward, planning units in MDAs should enhance ownership of SWG activities and budget for the activities in their other recurrent transactions annual work plan and budget without expecting support for SWG activities to come from development partners.
Following the meetings with various stakeholders, NPC has since re-composed about 16 SWGs which will be submitted to the Office of the President and Cabinet and be given terms of reference before they start meeting.
NPC was established through an Act of Parliament in 2017 to ensure continuity of development beyond one political regime.
Currently, the commission is engaged in consultations with various stakeholders to develop the success strategy of Vision 2020, which is set to expire next year.
In recent weeks, NPC has been meeting various stakeholders to resuscitate SWGs, and last week, NPC officials met co-chairpersons and key non-State actors in Lilongwe to discuss the issue.
Nico Asset Managers Limited, a local investment advisory firm, has launched a private wealth management campaign to prepare people for their retirement.
Speaking during the launch on Monday in Blantyre, the firm’s chief investment officer Daniel Dunga said people need to plan and prepare for their retirement by investing.Dunga: This is demand-driven
“This is a demand-driven initiative that people have been demanding during our consultative meetings.
“We had seminars to enlighten people on how they should prepare for their retirement and other eventualities,” he said.
Dunga said people have to follow a five-step process to achieve their investment goals.
The steps include getting to know yourself, setting your goals, building your portfolio, executing your plan and keeping oneself updated and in control.
“First, one needs to define their attitude towards investing and assess their financial situation. Thereafter, setting your goals with information to analyse your risk and return requirements along with your constraints comes next.
“This is followed by developing a tailored investment solution to start your journey towards your dreams as you build your portfolio after analysing the data,” he said.
Dunga said the fourth step requires one to be focused by making necessary sacrifice to execute a plan.
“Finally, you watch your money work for you,” he said.
Nico Asset Managers is a subsidiary of Malawi Stock Exchange-listed financial services group Nico Holdings plc.
United States (US) Ambassador Robert Scott has awarded K138.9 million to 13 local organisations through the US Ambassadors’ Special Self Help, US Ambassadors’ Pepfar Small Grant Programme, and Julia Taft Small Grant.
Scott presided over the signing ceremony where he said the American people are proud to partner with the beneficiary communities.Scott (L) shakes hands with one of the beneficiaries
He said: “Through these projects, we can contribute to improving the living standards of your communities. You have seen a vision of a better life for your families, of clean drinking water for your communities, of a safe place for your girls to go to school. And through your commitment and contributions, the American people are proud to partner with your communities to make these visions a reality.”
The 13 grant recipients include Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) from Lilongwe, St John’s Hospital from Mzuzu, Caring for Persons with Disabilities from Blantyre, Foundation for Community and Capacity Development from Nkhotakota, Positive Steps Malawi from Balaka, and Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment from Balaka.
Others are Nthumba Community Day Secondary School from Mzimba, EWS Foundation and Associates from Ntchisi, Kasupe Community-Based Organisation and Tisange Mushroom Association from Mzuzu, Mvera Aids Support Organisation from Dowa, Moto Briquetting Solutions from Mzimba and Kasungu Wildlife Conservation for Community Development Association from Kasungu.
The Small Grant Programmes are designed to support community-driven development projects that address grass roots economic and social issues.
The programme selects projects that improve basic economic or social conditions at community and village level; have a high-impact, can be quickly implemented, and benefit a large number of people; involve a significant local contribution in labour, material, or cash; are within the ability of the local community to operate and maintain; are a direct response to the initiative and aspirations of the local community; and make income-generating activities possible.
Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi says government will start registering all unregistered children below the age of 15 from mid-2020.
The minister said this on Thursday in Lusaka, Zambia during the ongoing fifth Conference of African Ministers on civil registration which ends today.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Dausi said Malawi is committed to registering all children for the issuance of birth certificates through a mass exercise slated for next year.Dausi:We plan to register all children
He said: “Currently, universal and compulsory birth registration in health facilities has been rolled out to all health facilities in the country.
“In addition, Malawi’s commitment to birth registration rests in plans to register all children aged between 0 and 15 through a mass registration exercise scheduled for mid-next year.”
The registration of children will put Malawi on track towards implementing Sustainable Development Goal number 16.9 which talks about legal identity for all including birth registration.
Malawi issued national IDs to over nine million Malawians through a mass registration exercise and efforts are underway to rollout birth and death registration in all communities.
The conference of ministers draws together political leaders for departments of civil registration to discuss country commitments towards improving registration of birth and death (civil registration) in African Union (AU) member States.
Speaking during the official opening of the fifth conference in Lusaka, the Zambian Vice President InongeWina called on AU member States to fully implement civil registration as a foundation for a robust and sustainable legal identity system.
She reminded African leaders at the conference that implementing civil registration is the only sure way to integrate the African continent.
This year’s theme of the conference is Innovative Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System: Foundation for Legal Identity Management”.
I commend the BBC’s Africa Eye Investigative Unit for their documentary on ‘Sex for Grades: Undercover inside Nigerian and Ghanaian Universities’ aired on Monday, October 7 2019.
The episode exposed some of the misconducts and sexual harassments that happen behind closed doors at some of the most prestigious universities in West Africa. This may also hold true of other universities in sub-Saharan Africa and Malawi in particular.
This year-long undercover investigative documentary highlights a well-known reality that some academics use their positions to force and coerce female students into engaging in unsolicited sexual acts.
It is overwhelmingly encouraging that the documentary has provoked a large response on social media and other women have begun to open up about their own experiences of alleged harassment. It is a tragedy that universities have become a playground for sexual predators. This is a call to action now!
Sexual harassment for the past decades has taken deep roots on African university campuses. Unfortunately, African societies are patriarchal and women that experience these atrocities never report as it is considered their fault. This has led to most men getting away with acts of sexual misconduct and knowing that no repercussions will befall them, leading to misuse of power.
As such, lecturers prey on female students with impunity. Most times, these lecturers target students who are struggling in their studies or are from vulnerable family backgrounds.
For the young women, the worst reason oftentimes is fear of not getting what they want to achieve or expected to achieve in life, as education is one-step to the window of lifetime achievements.
I am disconcerted that sexual harassment by lecturers and professors has been left to flourish luxuriantly on most African academic institutions. Unfortunately, because there are no good accountability systems in place in most institutions, this type of abuse is said to be endemic, though rarely proven. Even when there is evidence, universities have also tended to protect these predators, fearing it would tarnish the reputation of their institution. At least the BBC documentary has put the subject to the forefront of public consciousness. It is no longer enough to ignore the problem, the culture of silence surrounding this rampant issue must be categorically condemned.
Accordingly, there must be clear unmistakable rules, regulations and codes of conduct against sexual exploitation and harassment in the statutes of universities and consequences must accompany any divergence and contraventions of such.
To begin with, lecturers found guilty must have their positions terminated outright. An applause to Nigeria and Ghana for suspending the lecturers involved in the misconduct as filmed in the documentary.
I also commend most academic institutions in South Africa and other countries that use external examiners to check assignments, tests and exam grades, in that way no lecturer has an overall influence on the grades and outcome of students.
Malawian universities can borrow a leaf from such academic institutions.
Furthermore, universities must be restructured to make it easier for female students to report any forms of sexual exploitation while also ensuring protection, privacy and support of victims. There must be clear communication channels and procedures for members of the university community to report and address such unacceptable, inappropriate and predatory behaviours.
It is my hope that criminalisation of sexual harassment will be put as a priority in universities in Malawi so that they do not turn into catacombs for aspiring and ambitious young women.
As one Nigerian academic and media scholar Dr Farooq Adamu Kperogi has often said “Being put in a position to nurture the minds of young people is a sacred responsibility. There should be grave consequences for betraying this responsibility”.
Last week, the country hosted its first ever European Film Festival. The festival was held both in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe. The opening of the event was graced by Black Panther actress Connie Chiume who many Malawians may also remember for her role as Mamokete Khuse in the South Africa’s hit series Rhythm City on Etv. Our Arts Editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with the veteran actress to pick her brains on a number of issues surrounding the development of the film industry in Africa.Chiume: It’s very difficult to produce good quality work without money
: You have been in the film industry for a long time. How do you rate the development in which the film industry is growing?
: It is such a pity that we have such wonderful stories to tell, we have got experience, we have talent but I don’t think the rate at which we are growing is as good as I would like it to be. I think the reason for that is lack of support from the corporate world and even from our own governments. There is some kind of growth. There is eagerness. There is determination. There is passion. There are stories. B but all we lack is just the support. So, it’s not growing at the rate that it is supposed to.
: You have had the rare opportunity of starring in the movie Black Panther. What was your take-home lesson?
: My take home lessons on the Black Panther experience is that budget is everything in our industry. It’s very difficult to produce good quality work without money. You have to pay for everything, you have to pay for the story, your actors, technicians, you have to sell your product and you have to pay your distributor. All of that so in Hollywood what I realised is that they really do go out to budget for movies, they are not afraid to put money into it and trust the people that they have hired to do the movie from the people in front of the camera to those behind the scenes, they really put their money there and they have confidence that their money will come back.
But here on our continent, its getting there, but not as much as we would like. I know in South Africa the government has a number of agencies and the film commissions for each and every province, we have the Department of Arts and Culture, Department of Trade and Industry. We have Department of Film and Video Foundation. Those are some of the agencies that are supporting the film industry. And also maybe we should look at the model of how Nollywood is also doing. They also have their market, and their film industry is growing in leaps and bounds.
Q: How has your life changed since Black Panther?
: Yes, people recognise you. Well, they have recognised me from the previous works that I have done but now its even better. I have been in the industry for 42 years now, and most of my work has been South African work. Of course I have done a number of international films which were shot here in South Africa. But I don’t think Black Panther has done much difference for me except for being invited to events, festivals and stuff like that. But as far as my profession is concerned I have done some TV stuff, after Black Panther. I have also done a Netflix movie which is going to be released soon called Queen Sono. I have done a few movies at home but you know I think maybe I am also to blame for it because you know sometimes when you reach where I am you are supposed to have a manager. I do have an agent but no manager. One is supposed to have a manager and a publicist, someone who is just working on your brand. So, maybe it’s something I have to seriously look at to have someone work with my brand to make it grow better than what it has grown after Black Panther.
: Malawians fell in love with your character Mamokete on Rhythm City which sadly got killed. When do we get to see you again on television?
: Oh, unfortunately I don’t know which TV series are sold to other countries in Africa, but here at home people see me on TV. That was not the last thing I did before Black Panther. I do act on several TV drama and series. So, hopefully Malawians will see more of me soon.
: Have you sampled any of the local films? What is your view of our work so far?
: I have seen all of the movies screened at the European Film Festival and I must say the talent is so amazing. The passion from the few people that I saw there who showcased their work and also addressed the film festival, I can see the passion of those filmmakers, those creatives actors they need support and I am saying big up to them to work under such difficult situations for producing such god work. I said to them I am going to be a messenger and see how in South Africa we can start collaborations between Malawian filmmakers and South African film makers. And maybe not just that but with the rest of the continent.
: Any final thoughts?
: I encourage creatives not to give up. God has given us this talent to share our stories to help the economy of our countries through our talents, so whatever talents you have just go for it for we live in a cyber world now. We all have cellphones. It’s all in our hands now. We all can Google, connect with others, we all can sell our stuff, put our things on YouTube. We all can use social media positively, to promote ourselves, to market our jobs, to market our talents and to market our brands. That is all I can say for now and thank you very much for having me in Malawi.