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Govt condemns mob justice

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 10:18

Minister of Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo has urged people in the country to stop taking the law into their own hands.

The minister made the call on Thursday in Paramount Chief Kyungu in Karonga District during the launch of Government Citizen Engagement on mob justice.

Mtambo said cases of mob justice were on the rise in some parts of the country.

Mtambo (2nd L) and Kyungu (3rd L) arrive at the event

He said: “Mob justice is evil and unacceptable. No one has the power to take another person’s life.

“That is why there are security institutions to help us when we have misunderstandings.”

Mtambo asked traditional leaders to take a leading role in ending mob justice by encouraging dialogue among their subjects when there are misunderstandings.

Malawi Police Service Deputy Commissioner responsible for community policing Aubrey Nyirenda asked for collaboration to end mob justice.

He said: “We are pleased that the ministry has reached out to the community with this important information.

“It is our hope that this will reduce the malpractice.”

On his part, Paramount Chief Kyungu said he is hopeful the initiative will end mob justice in the district.

He said: “The problem is big, stressful and it worries us chiefs in the district.

“We also appeal to the media to continue helping us in civic educating people on the dangers of mob justice.”

In September, a mob in Paramount Chief Kyungu burned Hauli Mwaghogha on suspicion that he bewitched his brother.

Police later arrested 10 people in connection with the mob justice.

In August, Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice of Karonga Diocese embarked on a peace-building initiative to reconcile community members at Mpata who clashed over witchcraft accusations.

Recently, there also have been cases of mob justice in Chikwawa, Mangochi, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay and Lilongwe districts.

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Categories: Malawi

Dodma calls for disaster risk reduction intervention

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 10:14

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) has asked civil protection committees in Mangochi to focus on developing risk reduction interventions to prepare for disasters.

Dodma commissioner Charles Kalemba said this last week during a meeting with Mangochi District Civil Protection Committee members on disaster risk management and the state of disaster preparedness.

Kalemba: Dodma is equipping evacuation centres with resources

The meeting was part of a  series of meetings Dodma is expected to conduct in Balaka, Phalombe and Zomba districts.

“The District Civil Protection Committee should function before disasters happen in the district not when the disasters have occurred because as a department, we are now focusing mostly on risk reduction to help our people to be resilient not dependant,” said Kalemba.

He said Dodma has already started equipping evacuation centres with resources to reduce risks.

Later, Kalemba visited an evacuation centre in group village head Chipola in Traditional Authority (T/A) Chimwala in the district.

He advised the Village Civil Protection Committee to scale up income- generating activities to raise funds to use in managing the evacuation centre and funding risk reduction interventions.

The committee’s vice-chairperson Rajabu Hassan said they raised K46 000 through rentals.

He said the centre is used for meetings and other events whenever it is not sheltering disaster victims.

He said they have now increased rentals to K10 000 from K6 000.

Mangochi District has two evacuation centres in T/As Chimwala and Mponda.

According to downscaled seasonal forecast report for 2021/22, Mangochi is expected to receive normal to above normal rains.

Currently, the district has recorded 188 households that were affected by strong winds in T/As Chowe, Bwananyambi and Chiunda this month.

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Categories: Malawi

400 farmers to benefit from irrigation scheme

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 10:10

About 400 farmers are expected to benefit from Chimwala Irrigation Scheme currently under construction in Senior Chief Malemia in Nsanje District.

Speaking after inspecting the construction of the water intake, Shire Valley Irrigation Services Division chief irrigation officer Oswald Mvula said the scheme will improve food security in the district.

He said “The district is prone to natural disasters such as droughts and floods which affect crop production.

“That is why we are rehabilitating the scheme to enable farmers to grow crops using irrigation.”

A pipe supplies water to a dam at the scheme

Mvula said they are reviving other schemes which are not functioning such as Mtolongo in Senior Chief Tengani in the district.

“Another way to make the project sustainable is by drilling two boreholes in each scheme to ensure continuous water supply,” he said.

Malemia Area Development Committee chairperson Mathias Chilumba thanked Nsanje District Department of Irrigation for the intervention.

“We urge people to take advantage of the scheme to grow crops to beat hunger,” he said.

Chilumba encouraged farmers to grow some cash crops, including vegetables to earn extra income.

In his remarks, Nsanje district commissioner Medson Matchaya urged the community to take ownership of the project.

He said “Doing maintenance works, protecting the dam and planting trees around the intake is our duty and responsibility and not donors. Let us join hands to protect the scheme for our benefit.”

Chimwala Irrigation Scheme is part of a resilient project under the Post-Cyclone Idai Emergency Recovery Project being implemented in eight districts, including Nsanje, with funding from the World Bank to the tune of K344 million.

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Categories: Malawi

Ministry commits to complete health facility project

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 10:06

Ministry of Health says Chilinde Health Centre project in Lilongwe, which stalled for three years due to financial constraints, will be completed by March 2022.

The ministry’s deputy director of planning and policy development Sanderson Kuyeli gave the assurance on Friday during a meeting of stakeholders in Chilinde Township.

Kuyeli (R) presents contract
documents to Patel

He said: “We have given the contractors our demands that we want to see the project completed in four months from December to March 2022 and they understand what we are asking of them.

“We know we are approaching the rainy season, but we will try to meet the deadline.”

Kuyeli said funds have been allocated to the project, adding that due to rising costs of materials, there were financial hiccups, but that has been sorted out because additional resources have been assigned.

“We have instituted a team in the ministry to monitor the project,” he said.

Golden Star Contractors  site agent Harnish Patel said they will deliver as instructed.

“We are remaining with five staff houses, a maternity wing, fence and other minor processes,” he said.

When complete, the health facility is expected to decongest Bwaila Hospital and Lilongwe Central Hospital.

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Categories: Malawi

Mchinji Council engages staff on HIV prevention

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 10:01

Mchinji District Council has engaged its junior staff members on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) initiative being championed by the Ministry of Health to reduce new HIV infections in the district.

Speaking on Friday, Mchinji District acting principal nutrition, HIV and Aids officer Patrick Mulenga said they want workers to have updated information on new interventions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Mulenga: Junior staff members miss out on information

He said the council has many junior staff who are connected with other people because they always run errands for offices and, therefore, they can disseminate the information more quickly.

“Junior staff members miss out on important information because they are constantly running office errands, but due to the same, they are well connected and this information about PrEP is vital for their health,” said Mulenga.

Mchinji District Hospital HIV and Aids coordinator Godfrey Mwankenja, who is also the District Council Aids Coordinating Committee chairperson, told the workers that PrEP ought to be administered before being involved in  risky behaviour.

He said PrEP is different from post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in that the latter is administered after being involved in  risky behaviour.

However, Mwankenja warned that if not properly understood, it can negatively empower people to venture into risky behaviour. 

“You take a PrEP oral drug before sleeping with a person you suspect to be HIV positive. So, people should not take advantage of it to engage in risky behaviour,” he said.

One of the participants, Fanny Mazombwe, commended the council for the sensitisation, saying PrEP will protect people from spreading or contracting HIV.

She said: “I am pleased to learn that there is a chance for a person to avoid contracting HIV from someone who is HIV positive.

“However, I want to encourage people to continue using condoms and use PrEP in the absence of condoms.”

The sensitisation was funded by two percent of Other Recurrent Transaction from the council.

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Categories: Malawi

Strength doesn’t lie in violence

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 08:32

The Malawi Police Service has stepped up its efforts in road accident prevention by, among others, cracking a whip on drunk driving.

Harassment. Domestic violence. Abuse. Rape. Ugly words reflecting horrible acts. We refer to these examples of the exploitation of unequal power between genders as gender-based violence.

In many ways, it is unfortunate that in giving definition to these behaviours, we also sanitise the reality of what gender-based violence means to its victims, to the communities in which it is endemic, and to each of us as human beings.

That act of sanitising this atrocity also makes it far too easy to put the onus on women to advocate for change. Women who are the primary victims. 

Globally, an estimated 736 million women—almost one in three–have been subjected to gender-based violence, intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence at least once in their lifetime.

Think for a moment what that means and what the devastating effect that has on the safety, health, and economic security for mothers, sisters, daughters, and their families or communities.

According to UN Women, most violence against women is perpetrated by current or former husbands or intimate partners.

And during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, gender-based violence has increased in frequency and intensity for many women as it magnified underlying risk factors around the world.

That is not a women’s issue. That is a men’s issue. Around the world, and far too often, boys and men grow up thinking or are taught that the only way to demonstrate one’s strength is through physical dominance or violence.

That must change.

If we are to end the scourge of gender-based violence, we must call on men to learn that true strength does not come from violence, but from restraint; that power comes from working together; and that when we strive for all people, regardless of gender, to be afforded the opportunity to realise the fullness of their potential, that we can all be stronger – together.

Gender-based violence is an issue that affects all of us, in the US and Malawi and everywhere else around the globe.

As we observe the annual international campaign known as 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence, we write to highlight the importance of governments and individuals working together towards eliminating violence against women.

The US government partners with organisations throughout Malawi to support programming and advocacy efforts to tackle various gender-based violence issues. 

Across Malawi, both men and women are using art and poetry as a creative vehicle to bring gender-based violence issues to light in public forums and intimate discussions.

At the 2017 Women in Business Conference, I (Qabaniso Malewezi) shared my work The Unapologetic Apology, an apology to women for the injustices inflicted by men.

The poem attempted to pull back the curtain and address the ongoing battle for women to access equal opportunities and justice not only in Malawi, but around the world.

In Malawian culture, many believe that marriage is not only about the union of two people, but also the union of the families. For instance, when one person in a marriage wrongs the other, his or her relatives apologise for the wrongdoing and are the ones to ask for forgiveness.

Through my poem, I question if this family act of apologising for the wrongdoing inflicted holds the offender fully accountable.

As much as the poem deeply resonated with women, I acknowledge that I should not have apologised on behalf of fellow men. That instead, individuals can and should work to take full responsibility for their actions as a way to commit to an overall social attitude change. 

We believe that changes in attitude in both of our countries and around the world can result in societal change, leading to a change in norms and traditions that have perpetuated gender-based violence. And wouldn’t that be the best apology in the end?

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Categories: Malawi

Community strives to keep girls in school

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 08:08

Widespread poverty in Malawi keeps pushing children out of school.

Every academic term, boys and girls quit school because they cannot afford school fees.

The development has persuaded some organisations to intervene in aid of children in poverty.

Olipa Aefeso, 19, was on the verge of quitting school for marriage when she received a bursary that rekindled her dream of becoming a journalist.

A glimpse of Chimteka CDSS irrigation fields which help keep girls in school

The girl from Thomas Village in Mchinji almost dropped out because her parents, who survive on piecework, could not pay K12 500 a term at Chimteka Community Day Secondary School (CDSS).

The second-born in a family of six narrates: “My parents quit school at a young age due to poverty. I want to remain in school until my dream come true, but the dream was shattered when they could not even afford my tuition and school uniform.

“They tried hard to keep me in school, but the going was tough. When I was selected to secondary school, I never thought a day would come when I would join my friends in Form One, but I did.”

However, her first steps in secondary school were uncertain as the headteacher frequently sent her home because her parents could not pay school fees on time.

During one of those disruptions, Olipa was on the brink of getting married to escape the pain and stigma associated with poverty.

“I thought marriage would save me from the hurdles I was going through, but a group of concerned mothers approached me to discuss the importance of staying in school,” she explains.

Olipa feels lucky that the mother group came to her rescue.

The women are part of the Sustainable Participatory Initiative for Secondary Education project at Chimteka CDSS which encourages girls to stay in school. The initiative, funded by the European Union (EU), is implemented by Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd) in partnership with the Ministry of Education to improve secondary education in Malawi.

Project coordinator Gomezgani Shaba, the initiative aimed at building the capacity of 12 constrained CDSSs and surrounding communities to raise income for sustainable support of vulnerable schoolchildren, especially girls.

Fisd installed solar-powered irrigation systems in communal fields where schools grow various cash crops they sell to pay school fees for needy learners.

The proceeds from the irrigation fields also meet educational needs of children like Olipa in the rural CDSSs.

Chimteka CDSS has been growing high-value crops—vegetables, beans, onions, tomatoes and rice—since 2018. The proceeds finance a bursary which has helped pay school fees for boys and girls who were struggling to meet educational basics.

Olipa became a beneficiary in 2019 when she was in Form Two. This year, she sat Malawi School Certificate of Education examinations and hopes to go to university to do media studies.

However, she is worried of what lies ahead as the project, which started in 2017 and phased out last year, only focused on needy learners in secondary school.

“Who will pay for my tuition if I’m selected to university?” she wonders.

Another beneficiary Dalani Paul, 18, says being born in a poor family with low education attainment discouraged her from going to school, but the project changed her mindset.

She has completed secondary education, thanks to the earnings from the irrigated school gardens.

Rosaria Laurent, the chairperson of the irrigation committee, says: “After selling the crops, we agree how the money should be spent.

“With the Form Four students gone, we are remaining with three students on the bursary and next term we will add some more.”

Laurent says the community has been earning more income from the school garden than the expected requirement for the bursary. This year, the school management in partnership with the parent-teacher association resolved to use the surplus income to expand their income generating activities.

They have since diversified into livestock production, especially piggery.

With the harsh effects of climate change, the committee is optimistic that when crop yields drop due to weather shocks the proceeds from selling pigs and pork will cushion the needy children from dropping out and other hardships.

Chimteka CDSS head teacher Clement Mponda commends the community for sustaining the project that promotes the retention of children in schools.

He says: “Poverty has forced many bright students to quit school and some end up marrying at a tender age. But having a community taking a leading role in safeguarding the future of the youth is commendable.”

The fifth Integrated Household Survey released this year indicates that 50.4 percent of Malawians aged at least 15 years has never attended school and blamed it on lack of money.

Some 22.2 percent of the respondents in the State-sponsored nationwide survey reported that their parents did not allow them to attend school.

“Across the regions, lack of money was reported as the main reason for never attending school and Central Region recorded highest rate at 53.7 percent, followed by 49.7 percent in the Southern Region and 30.0 percent in the Northern Region,” read the findings of the nationwide survey.

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Categories: Malawi

Fresh call for low bank lending rates

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 08:02

Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) vice-chancellor professor Address Malata has urged commercial banks to reduce lending rates to make borrowing affordable for majority of Malawians.

She made the call on Saturday in Blantyre during the annual Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) Dinner and Dance.

Malata said that interest rates remain a major cry for Malawians, observing that if banks make interest rates manageable, more people will borrow for meaningful development projects and contribute to the country’s development agenda.

Malata: Banks should not just be focused on making profits

“If the rates are high as is the case now, we will continue to have a few people that are able to borrow. Banks should not just be focused on making profits but ensuring that they help in the socio-economic development of the country by making lending cheaper,” she said.

Malata challenged banks to realign their work to the Malawi 2063 pillars, highlighting that banks have a role play to realise the country’s development goals by ensuring that Malawians benefit from the banking sector.

In response to the call, BAM president Macfussy Kawawa indicated that while lowering interest rates is good for businesses, this cannot happen in a vacuum as there are several determinants that constitute the borrowing structure which banks have to consider.

He said: “As banks, we keep being reminded about the cost of borrowing, but this a challenge which requires dealing with underlying factors that influence the cost of borrowing.

“For instance, how you realise security for a loan and how long it takes has got a factor into the pricing of a loan. Now if as a country we do not deal with that, the component will remain.” 

But Kawawa said banks have been looking into other bank charges to ensure that the lower end of the customer finds banking cheaper.

“This is one of the positive moves that banks are currently looking into and we will continue looking at opportunities to see that if there are any gains, they should be passed on to the consumers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Parliament is expected to debate the Financial Services Amendment Bill of 2021 which, among others, seeks to regulate interest rates on loans obtained from banks and other financial lending institutions.

The Bill also seeks to amend the Financial Services Act by inserting , in part VII, a new section 34A, which will provide for the regulation of interest rates, setting policy rate, setting the maximum recovery from any loaned amount and shrinking the ever-widening spread between lending and deposit rate.

Commercial banks offer customers deposit rates as little as five percent while charging an average of 23 percent on loans, a development market watchers described as prohibitive. The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has kept the policy rate at 12 percent.

Addressing delegates at the Economics Association of Malawi 2021 Annual Lakeshore Conference in Mangochi on November 11, Vice-President Saulos Chilima made a fresh call to banks, telling commercial bank that “interest rates must come down and that is non-negotiable”.

He asked RBM to consider capping the interest spread, the gap between lending and deposit rates.

Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development; and Public Sector Reforms, said it is important that if banks raise the lending rates, they must also pass the same to depositors.

Currently, banks are offering customers deposit rates as little as five percent while charging an average of 23 percent on loans.

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Categories: Malawi

Two local firms get EU boost to fight Covid-19

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 08:00

The European Union (EU) has given K160.5 million to two Malawian firms to increase their production capacity in medical and pharmaceutical Covid-19- related materials.

EU head of delegation Rune Skinnebach said this on Thursday in Lilongwe during a stakeholders engagement meeting under the Support Industrialisation and Productive Sectors (Sips) as part of the Fifth Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Industrialisation Week.

The two firms, Ethanol Company (EthCo) and Intelligent Monitoring Systems (iMoSys), have been granted 100 000 euros (K91.7 million) and 75 000 euros (K68.8 million), respectively..

Skinnebach (L) and Usi interact
after the meeting

Skinnebach said the EU is taking comprehensive action to tackle the destructive impact of Covid-19 in the region.

He noted that Africa imports 99 percent of its vaccines and more than 90 percent of all medicines and health technologies, making it a priority for the African continent to strengthen local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.

“We are awarding a financial grant to Ethanol Company which will allow it to scaleup its production line and increase production of hand sanitisers and surface disinfectants from 2 000 litres to 7 200 litres a day,” said Skinnebach.

He said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the high demand for alcohol-based sanitisers in Malawi, EthCo extended their core business and built a production line for hand sanitisers and surface disinfectants to meet the local demand and reduce reliance on imports.

Skinnebach said iMoSys reacted swiftly to the “extreme shortages” of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and adjusted its operations, venturing into the manufacturing of medical face shields.

He said the EU IS supporting iMoSys to expand the company’s production capacity of high-quality, affordable face shields for healthcare workers and for small and medium enterprises in critical sectors.

“The company targets to increase its production from 300 face shields a day to 700 face shields a day and it estimates this could create employment for 35 people of which 40 percent should be female,” said Skinnebach.

Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Michael Usi commended the EU for the grants, saying Sadc needs to build capacity to address emerging challenges, including Covid-19.

He said: “Let me acknowledge the financial and technical support that Sadc receives from the European Union and German Government.

“Despite the pandemic, we need to demonstrate our solidarity for resilience even more, to stand strong together and continue to find ways to continue to develop our communities and defeat the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Usi said 14-country Sadc should be focused to improve the performance and growth of selected regional value chains and related services within the agro-processing and pharmaceutical sectors to contribute to the Sadc Industrialisation and regional integration agenda.

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Categories: Malawi

Airtel calls for Lilongwe derby semis

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 07:28

Defending champions Silver Strikers will face their capital city rivals Civil Service (Civo) United in the semi-finals of the Airtel Top 8.

The Central Bankers beat Kasungu-based TN Stars 4-1 yesterday at Chitowe Stadium in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota to qualify on a 5-1 aggregate over two legs.

By half time, Silver were already in the comfort zone as they led 3-0.

Was named man-of-the-match: Tembo

Winger Blessings Tembo, who was named man-of-the-match, was the toast of the afternoon for the Area 47-based side after claiming a brace and setting up the other.

He drew first blood in the sixth minute direct from a beautiful free kick which gave TN Stars goalkeeper Blackson Kotei no chance.

Stanley Davie doubled the Central Bankers lead in the 24th minute with a powerful shot after being put through by Tembo to add misery for his former club.

Barely a minute later, Tembo  was on target again when he headed home a free-kick from Mark Fodya.

Silver were dominant in midfield where Tembo, Tawonga Chimodzi and Zebron Kalima turned on a classic display.

Frank Banda added the fourth in the 61st minute before striker Fabio Kapinde netted the consolation goal for TN.

Silver assistant coach McDonald Yobe said their plan worked to perfection.

He said: “The plan was to score an early goal so as to unsettle them and it worked.

“We knew that allowing them to settle down would create pressure for us. The boys played according to instructions and we’ll now switch focus to the semi-final match.

TN Stars captain Blessings Joseph accepted defeat, saying they drew some lessons from the loss.

The other semi-final will be another derby involving Blantyre giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers.

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Categories: Malawi

‘Let’s go win!’

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 07:25

The message from President Lazarus Chakwera as he wound up his speech during the Kuipatsa Moto Flames VVIP  Fundraising Dinner at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Saturday night was loud and clear: “To the Flames, let’s go, win!”

Monitored on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Television, the event, which was organised by the Flames Resource Mobilisation Task Force, was aimed at raising funds for the Malawi National Football Team’s preparations and participation at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon next January.

Appearing  relaxed and easy, the President challenged the Flames not just to participate, but compete.

He said: “There was once a time when the Malawi National Football Team was known for its winning habit. In those days, even when we did not win trophies, we would still win medals.

“Winning is not just an achievement, it is a state of mind and when a whole nation has that winning mindset, that national mindset becomes more empowering than politics, more enriching than banking and more intimidating than thunder.

“Time has come to reclaim that winning mindset, but make no mistake that reclaiming that mindset will not just come by wishful thinking.”

Chakwera, a former Malawi National Council of Sports board chairperson, said the forces that are blocking the country’s progress are many.

“But the greatest of these forces is what I call Malawi phobia, a form of self loathing we have suffered from for a long time,” he said.

The President also unveiled the new Flames jersey to be worn at the Afcon tournament.

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) marketing and commercial director LimbaniMatola said in an interview yesterday that K54 million was raised from the event through auctioning of high table seats and sponsorship categories.

The auction, presided over by Vice-President Saulos Chilima, raised K21 million while K33 million was raised through sponsorship categories that were classified as platinum, gold and silver.

Airtel Malawi plc managing director Charles Kamoto and businesspersons Rafiq Gaffar and Jones Chadza bought the seats.

Said Matola: “Actually, State House offered to meet all the costs  and we are grateful to the First Citizen as we could have spent in the excess of K15 million.

“We are still doing the reconciliations and the figure could rise. Otherwise, the event was ahuge success.”

He also said the decorating firm Jay Deco as well as artists Lawi, Lulu and Matumela Band contributed 50 percent of their performance fees towards the cause.

“We are also very thankful to the artists and, of course, all those who contributed to the success of the event,” said Matola.

Flames Resource Mobilisation Task Force chairperson Jabbar Alide, who is also FAM vice-president and a High Court judge, thanked Chakwera, Chilima and government for supporting the cause.

He said: “Let me appreciate the support that government gives the national team. We always appreciate because we know government has many commitments and responsibilities.

“You are a typical father . We pledge to account for every penny. To all of you, we will not disappoint you.”

Flames vice-captain John ‘CJ’ Banda apologised to the President and the nation for the team’s poor showing during the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualification campaign.

“We did not do well, but that doesn’t mean we are a bad team. We are going to the Africa Cup of Nations to compete and we will make the nation proud,” he said.

Banda also called on the FAM to be accountable for the funds that have been pumped towards the initiative.

Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama said the ultimate goal is to win the cup.

He also thanked the task force and all those who assisted towards the cause.

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Categories: Malawi

Onesimus throws woman abuser out of show

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 07:11

Celebrated Afro-pop singer Onesimus on Saturday night took his campaign against abuse of women to another level when he sent a man out of his show at Sunset Casa in Blantyre for beating a girlfriend.

The singer, real name Armstrong Kaluwa, got irritated on stage when, in the middle of his performance, he spotted a man under the disco lights busy hitting his girlfriend.

Onesmus performing at Sunset Casa

He immediately halted his performance and only resumed after the security personnel successfully took the abusive man out of the entertainment centre.

Said Onesimus: “Look at that guy, he is beating a woman. Please, take him out of this place or I will get off the stage. Pay him back his money. Security [personnel], I give you 30 seconds to escort the guy out of this place or I will stop singing.

“Women, if a man beats you, leave him. He does not love you. You are flowers; you need to be well taken care of. Let’s get rid of gender-based violence once and for all.”

As if trying to get the revellers understand his message better, the ‘African Butter’ got back to action to dish out one of his hit songs Solomon, which discourages men from beating women.

“Mkazi sitimenya/Mwana mkazi musamuzunze, Mwasanduka Van Damme!!!” He introduced the song as many more music lovers flocked onto the dance floor.

Solomon was followed by another popular song Maria that also advocates for women’s well-being.

Later, Onesimus called on stage a beautiful unmarried couple that appeared to be the most romantic at the centre. He sang for them before inviting them for lunch and promised to sing at their wedding for free.

Other songs which he performed include Miracle Money, Easy Baby, Panado, ‘Ndimuimbira, Here With Me, Looking For Somebody and Mr Nobody.

One of the patrons Jones Chifumbi said he was happy to see a musician of Onesimus’ calibre getting in the forefront to fight violence against women.

While describing the show as one of his best, the Mr Nobody hit-maker lauded the environment at Sunset Casa, saying the country needs more entertainment places of such and class.

He also announced that he will next year hold shows in at least six states in the United States of America (USA).

Sunset Casa co-owner female boxer Agnes Mtimaukanena said the entertainment centre was blessed to be one of the few entertainment spots to have hosted Onesmus upon his home-coming.

The artist returned home a few months ago after staying in South Africa for eight years.

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Categories: Malawi

Disasters affect 10 000 households, kill 25

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 07:06

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) says natural disasters have affected 10 086 households, killing 25 people and injuring 94 between July and November this year.

In a written response yesterday, Dodma spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said the deaths included 16 caused by lightning strikes and nine as a result of collapsed walls due to strong winds and rainstorms.

He said: “So far, Dodma has reached out to slightly over 6 000 affected households. The provision of relief assistance is ongoing and the department will reach out to all the remaining households, and those that may be affected along the way.

“The relief packages include food and non-food items such as rice, plastic sheets for temporary roofing, kitchen utensils, tents and housing units.”

People caught up in the floods in Mzuzu at the weekend

Khamula mentioned Dedza, Mangochi, Lilongwe, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Mchinji, Nkhata Bay, Nsanje and Phalombe as the hardest hit councils.

On Saturday, incessant rains caused flash floods in some parts of Mzuzu. The affected areas included Zolozolo, West Luwinga, Chibanja, Masasa and Mchengautuba where some houses partly or completely collapsed and personal property damaged.

Speaking when he issued a rainfall outlook for the 2021/22 rainfall season, Department of Meteorological Services and Climate Change Management director Jolam Nkhokwe stressed that climate change has largely contributed to more occurrence of extreme weather events such as heavy rains, leading to floods and pockets of prolonged dry spells.

In recent years, Malawi and many countries across the globe are feeling the impact of climate change and continue to face frequent and intense droughts, storms, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

The 2020 World Disaster Report by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies rated Malawi as a highly vulnerable and fragile country stating that in 2019 it was the second worst hit after Iran.

As countries across the globe recently pledged zero-carbon emission by 2040, a statement commissioned by the United Nations in partnership with Climate Vulnerable countries (V20) indicates that interest rates on debt of V20 countries are already higher than they would otherwise be due to climate vulnerability.

According to the 2020/21 National Budget allocation, the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources was allocated about K404 million.

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Categories: Malawi

Vendors raid villages, buy national IDs for AIP

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 07:03

It has emerged that some unscrupulous vendors have raided rural areas in the country and are buying national identity (IDs) cards from some beneficiaries of 2021/22 Affordable Input Programme (AIP) to access the subsidised fertiliser.

In an interview yesterday, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (Csat) executive director Willy Kambwandira said his organisation has received several complaints from across the country through its toll-free line that some vendors are buying national IDs to access AIP.

Women wait for transport home after buying
fertiliser from Agora in Limbe

Meanwhile, Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu has also confirmed receiving such reports.

Kambwandira said Mulanje, Thyolo, Machinga and Dowa are the most affected districts and has asked government to treat the matter with urgency, saying if the problem is not addressed, crop output in the 2021/22 agricultural year will be affected.

He said: “Machinga is worse because there are a lot of issues apart from that of vendors monopolising the buying of inputs. Some chiefs are also demanding about K5 000 to issue an authorisation letter for those who cannot afford to go and buy the farm inputs such as the elderly.”

He said his organisation is engaging relevant authorities, including Ministry of Agriculture and the police because some of the activities are criminal in nature.

Kambwandira asked government to migrate to a biometric system instead of use of national IDs to curb malpractices.

In a separate interview, Lungu said the issue is being handled at district council level.

He said: “We are getting reports that vendors are buying IDs, but the onus is on the people in the communities where those malpractices are happening to deal with such challenges and not necessarily waiting for the ministry because the ministry is for policy direction.”

On Csat’s proposal to migrate to biometric system, Lungu welcomed the idea, but was quick to point out that the system would be difficult to implement because it is more costly than the current one.

The Nation spot-checks also found that vendors are buying the national IDs at between K13 000 and K20 000 from smallholder farmers. The vendors then use the IDs to access two 50 kilogramme (kg) bags of fertiliser as well as maize and legume seeds at the subsidised price of K7 500 per bag.

The affected areas include traditional authorities Kuntaja and Kunthembwe in Blantyre Rural, where the IDs are fetching an average of K13 000.

In Phalombe, the IDs cost K18 000.

Commercial prices for fertiliser are hovering around K34 000 per 50kg bag.

Reacting to the developments, Farmers Union of Malawi president Frighton Njolomole expressed shock.

He said his organisation has also received several complaints and noted that most farmers selling their IDs are poor farmers from rural areas.

Said Njolomole: “It’s a big pity and what we can say is that the government should definitely do its best. This is very sad news I tell you and I don’t know where Malawi is going.”

President Lazarus Chakwera launched the AIP on October 16 2021 at St Theresa in Chiradzulu.

This year’s programme has been beset with logistical challenges.

The programme is expected to benefit 3.7 million smallholder farming households with an allocation of K140.2 billion.

As of yesterday, the cumulative redemption sales were at 73 536.35 metric tonnes, representing about 19.8 percent.

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Categories: Malawi

DPP says won’t appeal ConCourt ruling

The Nation Online - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 06:59

Former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) says it has accepted the Constitutional Court judgement that threw out its bid for a review of the legality of the June 23 2020 court-sanctioned Fresh Presidential Election.

DPP spokesperson Shadric Namalomba said in a statement on Saturday that DPP is a law-abiding institution and will now focus on regaining its lost glory while at the same time pushing government to address socio-economic issues affecting Malawians.

Namalomba: We will move forward

He said: “We accept the ruling. DPP as a party, we will move forward towards regaining glory and we are strongly sure that Malawians will vote us back into power come 2025.”

DPP sought the interpretation of the Constitutional Court on the legality of the fresh presidential election and subsequent parliamentary and local government by-elections presided over by a Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) cohort that had four of its members fired by the High Court for not being duly appointed.

Effectively, the case had the potential to nullify the victory of President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima if the five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court granted DPP its wish. However, the case was dismissed at preliminary stage as the court said it was a disguised appeal.

The court fired four commissioners sponsored by DPP, namely Arthur Nanthuru, Steve Duwa, Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje.

While stressing that the party has decided not to pursue any other means to protest the ruling, Namalomba said the outcome of the case, however, does not mean things are well in the country.

He said the nine-political party Tonse Alliance administration should not rejoice over the court outcome since a majority of Malawians are not happy with so many unfulfilled campaign promises.

Namalomba said: “The ruling, however, does not mean that things are well in this country as you can see that many people went to the streets of Lilongwe to demonstrate against maladministration by the current regime.

“Prices of commodities continue to rise almost everyday while the people’s sources of finance continue to decrease.”

The case was the second in two years to put the country’s presidency on trial in connection with elections. During the first case, Chakwera and Chilima petitioned the court to overturn DPP president Peter Mutharika’s 2019 re-election over alleged irregularities, especially in the results management system. The court rulled in their favour.

However, Mutharika maintains that the judgement was a “judicial coup”.

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Categories: Malawi

New music platform for local artists

The Nation Online - Sun, 28/11/2021 - 01:06

A group of music enthusiasts and software developers trading under the name Ghetto Tunes have established a website whose aim is to create a platform for local artists to showcase their music.

In an interview on Wednesday, one of the officials of Ghetto Tunes Joseph Lupiya said the idea to develop the website came after noticing that local up-and-coming artists face many challenges in promoting their music and make it accessible to their fans.

He said: “When a new artist wants to do music, they have to pay for everything from studio fees to other expenses including promotion. We thought the website, which is free of charge, would help the artists especially those who want exposure at no fees at all.”

Lupiya: The website is free of charge to artists

Lupiya said apart from getting exposure, the artists get some revenue depending on how their platform is visited and how many downloads they get.

In a separate interview, one of the soft wafe developers of Ghetto Tunes website, Jones Sochera said the platform is basically a music distribution space which helps music lovers to discover hidden talent in Malawi.

“Each artist has a station where all their songs are available. The platform is user-friendly and music lovers can access songs by their favourite artist at the same time with no problems,” he said.

Sochera said people can also access old songs at the website.

“It is not just about the new songs by up-and-coming artists, but also for established artists,” he said, adding that artists such as Piksy and Sir Patricks also have stations on the platform. 

Sochera disclosed that plans are underway to establish a system that will see music lovers pay a subscription fee to access the music on the platform.

“Part of that subscription fee will go towards the artists who will benefit much more from their talent and hard work,” he said.

Currently, over 1 000 local artists have stations on the platform with a few South African and Nigerian artists joining the community.

The website is ghettotunes.com.  

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Categories: Malawi

Malawi’s potential alone means nothing

The Nation Online - Sun, 28/11/2021 - 01:05

It is often said that Africa is a potentially rich continent with abundant natural resources. But the question is: Why does the continent have poor countries? In fact, the poorest countries in the world are found in Africa.

Honestly, to say that Africa is potentially rich is a cliché by foreigners and locals who have illegally helped themselves by converting the resources into personal fortunes.

This has been mostly in illegal mining and timber manufacturing. Worse still, even if these activities are done legally, the common man gets no benefit.

This is due to rampant corruption which makes corrupt government leaders go into secretive deals. Malawi has very clear examples.

The confirmation that uranium deposits at Kayelekera in Karonga generated euphoria across the country. Most people thought this was the time to get out of the life-threatening poverty.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The uranium mining started during Bingu wa Mutharika era and yet up to now government can hardly explain to Malawians what has happened to the proceeds.

Surprisingly, only government officials such as Cabinet ministers still talk highly about the relevance of Kayelekera Mine.

Obviously, this triggers rumours that probably the leadership were getting the benefits at the expense of poor Malawians. This is possible with the high level of corruption in the country. The other example is how Chikangawa Forest (the once largest manmade forest in Africa) has just benefited foreigners and the who-is-who of this country.

The poor people have just been watching as government fails to explain what proceeds it gets from the forest and how it is used.

What is stated above shows that potential alone is not enough. It requires development conscious leaders who do not condone corruption.

Meanwhile, probably by thinking along the line of Africa’s potential, the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo once visited Malawi and met president Peter Mutharika where he mentioned that people must stop entertaining “we are poor thoughts”.

To say the truth, this is unavoidable in Malawi because about 85 percent of the population is made up of poor people. These people do not just believe in the potential of Malawi to improve their lives; what they want is the reality to bring the much-needed change.

Leaders in Malawi should know that the reality is that Malawians are poor and it is not a question of entertaining ‘we are poor thoughts’.

If leaders in this country feel ashamed of leading poor people then they must do something about it. It is unfortunate that they deliberately forget that their lopsided leadership styles contribute a lot to poverty.

In Malawi, it is common knowledge that corruption is indeed destroying the country. But it has been said several times before that the President seems to handle it with kid gloves by being seen to be applying selective justice which is making some suspects feel as if they are untouchable.

It is obvious that leaders feel embarrassed with the poverty status when they attend international meetings. But the anomaly is that they expose themselves with their desperation for foreign aid. Imagine, whenever donors indicate that they are likely to help Malawi, leaders get into the euphoria gear.

They almost walk on their knees when signing the loan agreements which to them is a success story. When they return home it is a song at every meeting.

Any sensible leader must be in a position to know that Malawians themselves have a key to the success of the country.

The success is not out there. Let the Malawi potential work for all Malawians and not just the few crooks.

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Categories: Malawi

Our economy begs urgent attention

The Nation Online - Sun, 28/11/2021 - 01:04

To say my boss in my previous world was a smoker is an understatement. Tobacco was to him what water is to fish. He was a chain smoker. Tobacco fragrance hit you as soon as you entered his office.

One day, this boss was bereaved and we, the lesser mortals, were duty bound to spend time at the siwa (the house where the body of the deceased is kept during the mourning ceremony). After I had sat outside the siwa for two hours, I saw the boss get up and take some steps into a secluded corner of the compound. He then lit his cigarette and puffed at it passionately.

Miraculously, the boss kicked the habit after some years. He unshackled himself from the tyranny of tobacco, a feat which many have attempted to achieve and failed miserably.

Quitting smoking is an uphill task. Successful quitters are few and far between. Be that as it may, the number of smokers worldwide is declining.

Figures given in the Statistical Journal indicate that currently 19 percent of adults in the world smoke and the figure is declining. It is projected to be 17 percent by 2030.

While this is good news for health enthusiasts, it is sour news for tobacco dependent economies like Malawi. For a long time, Malawi’s economy has been anchored by tobacco. Little wonder that it is as fragile as the commodity.

When I was on a study tour in the UK, I met and befriended a gentleman called Dr. Charles. He once asked me what the main source of Malawi’s income was. When I told him that it was tobacco, he was visibly puzzled as he could not come to terms with the fact that a commodity like tobacco could be relied upon as the major source of national income.

Our economy is as fragile as the commodity on which it depends. Some people have been suggesting that we are on the same footing economically as our neighbours. We simply are not. You cannot even begin to compare our economy to that of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique or Tanzania. Even after going through the battering that the Zimbabwean economy was subjected to, it never sank to the level of ours. Not only is Zimbabwe way ahead of us in terms of mining but also in terms of manufacturing. When I worked for a printing company, we used to import paper and other printing accessories from Zimbabwe, all made in Zimbabwe.

The economies of our neighbours are many times more robust and more resilient than our own. Just as easily as tobacco goes up in flames, any shock to our economy will easily combust it, which is why we all need to handle it with care. Shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic can easily take its toll on our economy.

The authorities in the tobacco industry keep reassuring us that tobacco trade is alive and well. At best what this does is artificially placate us. Otherwise, the writing is on the wall. We have to seriously explore alternatives to the doomed commodity.

My considered opinion is that industrial hemp holds some promise. Many articles ago, I stated that an element known as tetrahydrocannibol (THC), present in ordinary hemp (marijuana), was largely absent from industrial hemp.

The THC content of marijuana gets as high as 20 percent, making the herb psychoactive. Industrial hemp’s HTC content varies between 0.05 percent and 1 percent. As such industrial hemp cannot make anybody high. However, its growth needs to be heavily regulated to prevent unscrupulous individuals from growing the forbidden strain together with the harmless, commercial variety.

Apart from finding a viable alternative to tobacco, we should also exercise care in the way we spend locally, and utilise forex for international transactions. Programmes like the Affordable input Programme are huge guzzlers of forex. They put a great deal of strain on the already choked economy. We, therefore, must seriously consider weaning ourselves from such programmes as a matter of urgency.

As for expenditure control, government must heed to calls from the citizenry to introduce austerity measures. Such measures must be conspicuous enough to be seen by all and sundry.

There is probably not much that can be saved from the said austerity measures, but the fact that that the authorities are willing to apply such a discipline to themselves will send a strong message to the people: first that the authorities care about their plight and secondly that austerity measures are necessary in times of economic crisis. This will be a good example to the citizens who will likewise subject themselves to similar discipline.

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Categories: Malawi

Stop blaming rape victims

The Nation Online - Sun, 28/11/2021 - 01:03

In the recent past, I have read several heartbreaking stories. I have singled out two—one about a woman raped by her father and another one about a four-year-old girl who defiled and left for dead.

The thought of a four-year-old girl being sexually assaulted and killed in the process by someone she perhaps trusted makes me wonder what has become of men in this country.

According to the police report, the girl was lured into the bush where she was defiled and bled to death. It is believed the man who did this was from the same village as the victim because a friend of the victim was able to identify the man by name—meaning he was a well-known person or even a close family friend of the victim.

This is what has become of our society. A society that is failing to protect the girl child! What sort of man looks at a four-year-old girl with erotic eyes? So many questions remain unanswered.

I dare say sometimes even the law enforcers have let down the girl child.

It feels like there is no point sometimes in reporting these cases because victims often are interrogated as though they were the perpetrators.

I have heard of stories of police asking rape victims what happened for them to be raped. Really?

When the story of woman, in her 20s, broke out, many on social media platforms were quick to defend the man and put the blame on the girl.

There, someone with no iota of shame, claimed women are raped because of the way they dress—miniskirts.

Others said she was old enough ‘not to be raped’ and she might be faking it. And yet others had the audacity to say the woman “looks like a loose girl”.

In short, very few believed her story justifying that the man was innocent and might have been framed.

These are just some of the many reasons most rape cases go unreported. The shaming of the victims does not help but exacerbate the psychological and physical torture they have suffered under the rapists.

I wonder how people want a four-year-old girl to dress “so as not to sexually arouse” men.

Oftentimes, the tendency of defending the perpetrator is done by both men and women.

I read one woman’s comment that she doubted if the man could have really raped the woman because according to her, the man looks so innocent. Sigh!

We can only hope that the police and the courts will ensure that justice is delivered. My heart bleeds for this little girl and the woman and others in similar situation.

I pray that the perpetrators feel the wrath of the long arm of the law. To those who lay blame on the victims, you will never understand the psychological and physical trauma victims go through until it happens to you or someone close to you.

Bravo to those who refuse to be silenced by society and report these atrocities. If you know someone who has committed such a crime, report them to the police.

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Categories: Malawi

Women are hitting on me

The Nation Online - Sun, 28/11/2021 - 01:01

Dear BMW,

My friends and I are in that prime age where we attract women from both spectrums—younger ones in college and older ones inching fast towards 45.

In bars and nightclubs, travelling in public buses has become a bit scary. The number of times women hit on me are a bit unsettling.

What is even sad is that my pastor’s wife, and most recently, a nun I met at a popular shopping mall all wanted a piece of me.

BMW, I hate being hounded because poor me grew up in a traditional family that believes in hunting for women. But women these days no longer have the patience.

Biggie, nowadays, you can’t have your drink in a club in peace without some woman offering to give you a BJ of your life.

Apart from the ‘night nurses’ who are always ready to spike your drink, there are also many women who leave you high and wet with their dressing.

In the past I used to allow some of this, thinking that cities are supposed to be liberal, rotten and immoral. But papa, it is getting out of hand and I can’t take it anymore.

I decided to abandon my night life for life on social media, especially WhatsApp.

Haa, I wish I knew, on WhatsApp, it is even worse. Women are throwing themselves at me like never before. What should I do?

Should I live like in the dark ages; stop going to night clubs for good, skip public transport and throw my phone down the toilet?

Mfana Wofewa,

Via WhatsApp,

Nyambadwe Proper,

Blantyre

 Dearest MW,

I think there is an oversupply of eligible women who are too willing to give in without the least resistance. That’s how bad the world has become.

In fact, yours truly was hounded last week. A young woman, not quite 21, seduced me openly, promising to give me a BJ of my life. She may have been drunk, but her propositioning was made in full consciousness, to my befuddled male friends.

I sympathised with the girl. For starters, Biggie is very choosy. I like my meat with lots of fat. But this one was a typical ‘pin’.

She was barebones, light-skinned with red lips and a flat screen (you know what I mean).

Kamuzu Banda will resurrect before I can offer such a diva a drink!

Secondly, I’m very poor in small talks, especially with women.

I normally have this irresistible urge to talk about stock exchange, rights issue, K17 billion Bankgate, Dow Jones and economic prospects of Malawi.

I also love talking about science and man’s journey to the moon. These topics have a way of inducing yawns from Malawian women.

I don’t watch enough of the Kardashians, Trump’s White House or English Premier League to sustain a shallow conversation that many women and men I know favour.

But the girl was undeterred. I can’t disclose what followed, but it had the capacity to shake your faith in humanity.

What I am trying to say young man is this; real women cannot throw themselves at you.

The women who are busy seducing men via the social media or indeed in bars and drinking holes are nothing but hookers, who think life revolves around sex and money.

So stay away from such people. There is more to life. Stay at home if you need to.

Read a good book and enrich your brain.

Finally, please before you throw that phone in the toilet share the contacts of your pastor’s wife and err…did you say you know a nun.

I need to call and teach them both a good moral lesson!

BMW

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Categories: Malawi