Scramble for same old cake

The Nation Online - 6 ore 59 sec fa

With rapid population growth, Malawi is  struggling to provide quality education, jobs, healthcare and other basics.

According to the 2018 census, the country’s population has increased by 35 percent from 13 million to 17.6 million within a decade.

The unmet need for contraceptives among youth remains high

The count is four times the 1966 population and 1.3 times that of 2008.

At the 2.9 percent annual growth rate, the population is projected to double to about 35 million in 24 years.

However, new evidence by economist Kennedy Machira, from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, points to a bleak future—with the ever-increasing population competing for the “ever-dwindling resource”.

Machira notes that most services are inadequate for the bulging population and it could get worse unless women if a Malawian woman continues having an average of four to five children in a lifetime.

He explains: “At present, the healthcare infrastructure is not enough to aid universal health coverage. However, if the fertility rate declined from the current 4.4 to 2.3, government would save over $10.86 billion

[about K8.1 trillion]

of the healthcare budget by 2050.

“This would mean fewer hospitals and health centres being built. At the current total fertility rate, Malawi would need 1 864 more health facilities by 2050. But reducing the rate to 2.3 would translate to only 1 493 more being built.”

Undoubtedly, a larger population would require more financial resources for health.

Empowering every woman to have fewer children would help the country achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

This includes reducing maternal mortality; reducing newborn and child mortality as well as ending Aids, malaria and other communicable diseases.

The savings would also be used to increase health financing and retain health workers.

With a fertility rate of 2.3, the economist argues, the country would need to educate 3.6 million fewer students, recruit 96 00 fewer new teachers and build 7 000 fewer schools.

“It is already difficult to meet the needs of existing students, but with fewer students, less funding for education would be needed. These savings could be used to enable further educational improvements,” he argues.

Machira also says a slower population growth would also cut the demand for jobs.

He estimates that the country would require 2.2 million fewer jobs by 2050 if the fertility rate decreased.

The census shows there are 8.3 million economically active people in the country.

However, many new jobs must be created each year to reduce unemployment and support the youth entering the labour force.

According to the International Labour Organisation, the country required about 250 000 new jobs in 2015.

Machira’s graphs show the demand would swell to 15.1 million by 2050 if the number of children per woman remained between four and five.

However, the study shows, the country would need 12.9 million new jobs if the fertility rate went down to 2.3.

“A large increase in population can cause a serious need for job creation. Unemployment and under-employment are already severe, especially among young people,” he argues.

Low population growth would also reduce the scramble for farmland, housing, urban infrastructure, water and electricity.

To achieve the desired fertility rate, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) population and development specialist Bill Chanza says the country needs to recommit to the promises made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994. The pledges include universal access to education, reduced infant and child mortality, reduced maternal mortality and improved access to sexual reproductive health, including family planning.

Since 1994, the country’s fertility rate has declined from 6.7 to 4.4 while access to modern contraceptives has risen from seven percent to 58 percent.

But  Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM) policy and advocacy officer Simeon Thodi noted that there is still high unmet need for contraceptives-—9 percent among all married women and 22 percent for adolescents.

At 40 percent, the unmet need is even higher among the sexually active unmarried women. This hampers efforts to slow population growth.

“The country is not growing any bigger,” he says. “With the resource envelope remaining the same, overpopulation exerts more pressure on the provision of social services including health, education, and security among others. This compromises people’s quality of life.”

Chanza calls for concerted efforts to end early child-bearing among girls by improving access to family planning for the youth for instance. Machira recommends continued implementation of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, targeting young people and the under-served.

Categorie: Malawi

Mvangie Arts to launch poetry album in October

The Nation Online - 6 ore 53 min fa

Mvangie Arts is set to launch its poetry album Recite For Mothers this October in the capital Lilongwe.

Founder and director for the Lilongwe-based arts firm Patwell Phiri confirmed the development in an interview on Sunday.

Phiri said the album was released on July 27 and has a total of 27 poems from 27 poets.

One of the contributing poets: Chikopa

“We are expecting to launch it on October 13 at Lilongwe CCAP Hall.  We wanted to give mothers a special gift just by appreciating and recognising the great work that they do to the society,” he said.

Phiri said part of the money raised during the launch will be used to cheer up mothers during Mothers’ Day at a hospital to be identified soon.

Phiri, who once served as Poetry Association of Malawi (PAM) regional chairperson for the Central Region, urged people to come in large numbers for the launch.

“People should expect the unique performances at the launch. We will have some notable women in society to spice up the event,” he said adding that so far member of Parliament for Lilongwe City South Constituency Nancy Tembo has confirmed her presence during the launch.

Phiri said poems in the Recite For Mothers were recorded at various studios around the country but mastered under Mvangie Arts.

Some of the poems in the album are Gift To My Mom by Amfumu Kenneth Khondiwa, Ali Ndi Amawo by Luckier Chikopa, Mukandinenele Kwa Amai by Mussa Ngwira.

Categorie: Malawi

Outfit promotes music reading

The Nation Online - 6 ore 59 min fa

A new arts outfit calling itself No Kidding System has set its objective in ensuring that Malawian musicians are able to read music in order to speak the same language with the global music space.

One of the outfit’s managers Congo Zebron Kapatika says they have collaborated with some of the renowned Russian arts experts to achieve their goal.

Ready to roll: No Kidding System

Already, they have formed a band as one form of the establishment known as No Kidding Band, which will act as a classroom where different artists will learn the art of music.

“We established a firm to improve and promote art and craft. Besides the formation of the band, we are also going to form a drum performing outfit as well as teach the youth different forms of art, including making artefacts using clay,” he said.

Currently, the outfit is promoting four reggae and dancehalls artists, including General Mark real name Mark Kumpoto, Kongo Gabriel (Gibson Matewere), Timoteo (Timoteo Kadango) and Black Star.

As part of offering the artists, exposure, Kapatika said they have organised a performance for them at the Edgar’s Lodge in Mulanje on August 30.

“We are then going across the border to Mozambique to perform in Villa Milanje and Quelimane. We also plan to perform in Zambia, Maputo and Cape Town,” said Kapatika.

He said they have also set their eyes on a European tour where they want to utilise the West’s advanced stage to expose the local artists.

“We are of the strongest view that our artists need more schooling and interaction,” he said.

For the Cape Town show, he said they are working with an entertainment firm in the metropol African Linking owned by his two brothers Moses and Harry Kapatika. Kapatika once collaborated with Born Afrikan to bring Luciano and Lutan Fya to Malawi and South Africa.

He also said the artists are set to record some singles locally which will be used for promotional purposes. After that they will also take them to record in foreign recording studios.

“That’s why we are trying to promote the young artists so that we put them on a global stage where real deals happen,” said Kapatika.

“Of course, we will still make use of the trusted hands of the star-studded producer Jay Jay Munthali who is also the consulting music director for the firm,” he added.

Munthali said he is only rendering a service to the initiative as he also plans to identify and train musical instrumentalists who will form part of a band that he has in mind.

He says he also strongly believes that it is high time to start discouraging the notion that there is Malawian music because music is universal.

“This kind of thinking has discouraged our musicians from going back to school in order to learn to read music,” said Munthali.

Kapatika, who is co-managing the outfit with two Russian nationals Vitaly Goncharov and Daniel Basner, disclosed that in December they plan to hold a musical festival in Malawi where they will bring in top Jamaican dancehall icons Sizzla and Capleton.

“We set our standards high. We do not only view the business side of music but we strive to achieve quality of what we take to the table for business negotiations,” he said.

In the band that is rehearsing with the artists, Basner is playing lead guitar, Munthali, the bass while Dave Nkhoswe and George Namate are playing keyboards and drums respectively.

In an interview during the break at the rehearsing platform in Chirimba, General Mark, who is a dancehall artist, said there has been a huge change in his musical approach as he has learnt many lessons related to musical theories. 

“I have learnt about notes and arrangement with respect to music production,” said General Mark who has recorded nine tracks before but says he could now do a much better job if he were to go back into the studio.

Kongo Gabriel says the opportunity under the outfit is going to help him achieve special musical skills because “within the period that he has practised with the outfit it has been a special learning session for me”.

He says this is despite the fact that he has an album called Too Much which has a track called Umandipangitsa which is enjoying massive airplay on most of the local television stations.

“I am not new because I once was a member of the Chosen Few Band which was famous for the track Noah Wapenga,” he said. Timoteo, who has three albums to his name; Bonongwe (2006), Kulima Mtauni (2008) and Babylon System (2018), says the exposure he is getting is helping him to grow artistically because of the guidelines they are getting within the band.

Categorie: Malawi

Committee sees new price stabilising maize market

The Nation Online - 7 ore 3 min fa

The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture says maize traders have more staple grain than Admarc, observing that the increase in maize buying will help the State produce trader to buy the desired volumes.

The committee chairperson Sameer Suleman said this in the context of the directive by Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa on Friday to enable  Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to increase maize buying price from K150 per  kilogramme (kg) to K200 per kg.

“What was happening was that traders were offering better prices to farmers than Admarc, and as a result, Admarc could not buy the maize.

Maize prices have escalated in recent months

“I can tell you that at K200, the prices have now become competitive and after that announcement, big traders have started offering maize to Admarc,” he said.

Agricultural expert Tamani Nkhono-Mvula, in an interview on Friday, said he was not surprised that Admarc was facing challenges because most of the maize was already bought by traders.

“This is a perennial problem. If Admarc wants to buy from smallholders then the most realistic time to buy is in March or April not now,” he said.

The upward adjustment comes weeks after Admarc opened its markets to buy the staple grain at K150 per kg, but failed to secure the desired volumes as prices were not lucrative to attract farmers.

But Nankhumwa said government wants to procure the desired maize volumes through Admarc to ensure food security and maize market price stability.

The State produce trader borrowed K2.5 billion from a commercial bank for that purpose.

The minister said to complement maize procured by Admarc, National Food Reserve Agency will also start buying maize to replenish the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR).

A recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) found that Malawi has the highest level of maize price volatility compared to other sub-Saharan African countries.

The results of third round Agriculture Production Estimates Survey indicate that this year’s maize output is at 3.3 million metric tonnes (MT), a 24.7 percent increase compared to the 2017/18 final round estimate of 2.6 million MT. According to the country’s SGR guidelines, the SGR size should be 217 000MT, which comprises 95 000MT buffer stock, 8 000MT emergency stock, 76 000MT safety net stock for non-emergency response and 38 000MT stabilisation stock.

Categorie: Malawi

MRA seeks relief on border demos

The Nation Online - 7 ore 3 min fa

Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has applied to the High Court for an injunction to restrict Human Right Defenders Coalition (HRDC) planned  demonstrations to outside its premises at the borders.

The decision to seek the court’s relief follows HRDC‘s decision to hold protests at the country’s borders and airports from August 26 to 30, as one way of forcing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign.

A Malawi Defence Force vehicle during previous demonstration

MRA spokesperson Steven Kapoloma said in an interview last evening the injunction is not intended to stop the protests, but rather to stop people from demonstrating inside MRA premises.

He said: “We are not saying no to demonstrations, but we are saying these are protected areas. We are keeping many valuable goods that are under Customs Control. So, the injunction we are seeking is that demonstrations can take place, but outside the MRA premises.

“They can come to the border, but only up to the gate, not inside the premises. They can be there for whatever period they want, but not inside the MRA premises. Our plea will be heard before the High Court at Blantyre Registry on Thursday.”

Kapoloma: We are not stopping protest

However, HRDC lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa feigned ignorance on the matter when contacted last evening.

Meanwhile, HRDC has rebuffed former President Bakili Muluzi on his call for a meeting to discuss the coalition’s plans to hold anti-Ansah protests at the country’s ports of entry.

In an interview following a letter Muluzi wrote HRDC on the matter, the former president stressed he was against the planned protests, arguing they will paralyse the country’s already fragile economy.

An analysis in our sister paper Weekend Nation on Saturday estimated that government could lose revenue in excess of K1 billion in the protests that are targeting the country’s airports and border posts.

Muluzi first met the HRDC on July 23 when he failed to convince the civil society leaders to postpone nationwide demonstrations.

Flashback: Muluzi (L) welcomes HRDC leaders before the meeting

In his letter on Monday, Muluzi first sympathised with HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo whose house in Lilongwe was petrol-bombed by unknown assailants last week, before he delved into the impending protest.

The former leader proposed that the meeting should take place on Friday or Saturday this week, before the planned protests scheduled for next Monday.

Reads the letter in part: “For the sake of this country, may I propose another meeting between your team and myself to find solutions to this impasse. We should endeavour to work at finding solutions that will keep our country together.”

He said after engaging Muluzi last month, they expected him to report to the country on the meeting which he held with President Peter Mutharika so that the citizenry is aware of what transpired.

But Mtambo, while thanking Muluzi for sympathising with him on the arson at his home, said the HRDC has no time to engage in dialogue that lacks clear direction.

Said Mtambo: “We don’t have time to be attending dialogues of convenience. After all that time, why is he coming back to us today? What did they discuss with Mutharika? Why hasn’t he told the nation about that all this while? Now he wants to talk to us again because he has heard of our plans to hold vigils at borders and airports? We will not meet him.”

The HRDC leader added that their mission is to continue reclaiming the country’s destiny from people “who have inflicted so much pain on it”.

But Muluzi later stated he is concerned with the border and airport protests, adding he wants to use the meeting to tell the HRDC what he discussed with Mutharika.

He said parties must discuss the issues first and that only a communiqué from such engagement must be taken to the media, and not the whole dialogue process.

Said Muluzi: “The problem that I have is that in any mediation, you don’t dialogue before a camera. For me to call the media and say this and that, honestly, is that that the way we should go?”

Meanwhile, political and administrative studies lecturer at Chancellor College Mustafa Hussein has said the HRDC is justified to snub a meeting with Muluzi.

“They had expectations that after meeting Mutharika, former president Muluzi would tell the nation what transpired, but that didn’t happen. I would suggest that Muluzi must bring together all players-Mutharika, Ansah and HRDC.

“If not, Muluzi must endeavour to find a common ground on the positions taken by the three players,” he said.

The  HRDC has been holding demonstrations since the announcement of the May 21 presidential election results to force Ansah to resign and pave the way for investigations to identify and prosecute those who supplied Tippex used  to alter elections figures. Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, has dismissed calls for her to resign for allegedly mismanaging the presidential election, saying she would only step down if the court hearing an elections petition case found her leadership to have failed to discharge its duties.

Categorie: Malawi

TC to get tough On auction system

The Nation Online - 7 ore 6 min fa

Tobacco Commission (TC) says the auction system of selling tobacco will now be subjected to strict compliant issues just like the Integrated Production System (IPS), also known as contract farming.

TC chief executive officer Kayisi Sadala said in an interview yesterday that one of the critical elements on tobacco production is traceability demanded by cigarette manufacturers worldwide.

Tobacco Commission wants the crop to be traced from the source

He said Malawi is currently implementing such a demand through IPS, but observed that in the past, tobacco under auction system has fallen short of such a compliance issue.

Said Sadala: “In view of this, the commission is advising all tobacco growers that efforts under IPS shall also be applicable under auction system. Basically, we want to establish where the tobacco is grown, how is it grown and who is growing this tobacco.”

Explaining some of the strategies that TC will use to ensure tobacco growers under auction are also compliant, he said the regulatory body will now be vetting all new applicants before issuing a licence.

He said TC will also be validating land availability for all new applicants.

Sadala said TC will also implement know-your-customer inititive for all tobacco growers while also undertaking Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite-based radionavigation system, so that every tobacco grower’s database is fully known.

“In compliance with the law, the commission will ensure that all research, extension services and use of chemicals and pesticides are duly complied with,” he said.

Reacting to TC’s stance, Phindu Tobacco Growers Association president Abel Kumwenda yesterday welcomed the development, saying it will help improve the traceability of tobacco which is one of the key prerequisites by cigarette manufacturers.

But he wondered whether TC will have the capacity to reach out to all tobacco growers in its pursuit for compliance.

But Sadala said TC is in the process of enhancing its structures, disclosing that it will establish what he called a Liaison and Compliance Unit which will be key to reach out to all tobacco growers in the country.

IPS is a marketing agreement that commits tobacco companies to buy a predetermined volume from a grower.

Following the adoption of IPS in 2012, the country runs two parallel tobacco selling systems with 80 percent of the leaf sold under IPS and 20 percent under auction. Globally, tracing growers’ farming location, farming methods and how growers address issues of child labour and deforestation are pertinent matters of concern to cigarette manufacturers.

Categorie: Malawi

Sadc to focus on intra-trade, industrialisation

The Nation Online - 7 ore 7 min fa

Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji says the country stands to benefit in various ways from Sadc following some resolutions made on intra-trade, industrialisation promotion and job creation at the just-ended summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

He told Malawian journalists who covered the summit from August 17 to 18 that there are a number of agreements that have been signed to increase intra-trade and job creation within the 15-member Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region.

Chimulirenji: There were a number of agreements signed

“There is no sense in selling commodities outside Sadc when our neighbouring sisters and brothers need such products,” he said.

Chimulirenji said the summit resolved that member States should promote women representation in politics and economic decision- making because, like men, they also contribute towards economic growth and development in the region.

During the summit, the Vice-President signed Sadc protocols on industry, inter-State transfer of sentenced offenders and  extradition.

The Sadc Summit was held under the theme A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation.

In an interview, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Salim Bagus said: “The economy cannot grow without industries. It is good for Sadc to concentrate on industrialisation.”

He said Malawi is providing some incentives such as reduced taxes to attract investors to come and create jobs.

The summit also approved the revised roadmap towards full operationalisation of the Sadc Regional Development Fund. The fund will mobilise resources from member States, development partners and private sector to support regional development and deepen regional integration.

Categorie: Malawi

MEC yet to gazette May 21 elections results

The Nation Online - 7 ore 9 min fa

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has not gazetted the May 21 Tripartite Elections  results within the stipulated time, contravening the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act (PPEA).

Section 99 of the PPEA stipulates that: “The commission shall publish in the Gazette and by radio broadcast and in atleast one issue of a newspaper in general circulation in Malawi the national result of an election within eight days from the last polling day and not later than 48 hours from the conclusion of the determination thereof…”

Mwafulirwa: We are doing it

While MEC announced the election results through print and broadcast media, it did not gazette them as required by the law used to administer elections in the country.

When contacted on Monday, MEC director of media and public relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa in a written response confirmed the electoral body had not gazzetted the results yet but is in the process of doing so.

A Malawi Government invoice number 0721403 that we have seen shows that MEC on August 13 2019 issued a payment of about K4.5 million to the Government Press to issue a gazette general notice number 61, containing the publication of Parliamentary and Presidential Elections results almost two and half months after the expiry of the mandatory period stipulated in the PPEA of 1993.

Mwafulirwa said: “We are in the process of gazetting but that does not invalidate the results. Gazetting is one way of keeping records. The commission announced the results. It is the results that were announced that are now subject of a court process.”

MEC is defending the same results in court in the ongoing presidential elections results petition by UTM Party leader Saulos Chilima and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) compatriot Lazarus Chakwera.

Lilongwe-based lawyer Justin Dzonzi, while calling it a ‘procedural impropriety’, cast doubts if there could be legal consequences on the same.

He said: “My personal view on this matter is that under normal circumstances, if there are no impeding factors, the commission should gazette the results within the stipulated time.

“But at the end of the day whether administrative lapses or incompetence should not stand in the way of people’s choices. As such, the results should stand so that any failure in procedure should not affect the wishes of voters.”

However, Dzonzi said MEC may have acted prudently by not rushing to gazette the results, considering the legal challenges the results are being subjected to currently.

Another lawyer who did not want to be named said what MEC did by not gazetting the elections results was dangerously careless.

Said the lawyer: “If the results have not been gazetted, then they cannot be effective. But I think the situation is remediable. I doubt if the court would declare the results invalid on account of them not having been gazetted within the time set by the law. MEC must liaise with relevant public officers involved in the gazetting process to get this done as soon as possible.”

Malawi Law Society (MLS) honorary secretary Martha Kaukonde in a written response on Monday said there was no direct implications of the failure by MEC to gazette the election results.

She said: “As per Section 99 of the PPEA, the requirement is to publish by gazette and by radio and newspapers. The Act does not provide any sanctions on what is to happen if some but not all publications are not done.”

Another law scholar based at the University of Cape Town Danwood Chirwa, in an emailed response, also downplayed the significance of the process, descibing it as a mere ‘formality.’ The May 21 Tripartite Elections were announced by May 27 following the vacating of an injunction stopping the announcement of the presidential poll results, at the High Court Lilongwe registry which had been granted to the MCP days earlier.

Categorie: Malawi

South Netball League gets K25 000 gate collection

The Nation Online - 7 ore 10 min fa

Following re-introduction of gate charges by the Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League (BDNL), on Saturday, games played at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) grossed K25 500.

The league’s general secretary Annie Hanjahanja-Billie said although the revenue was not much, they are satisfied considering that this was the first time after  the charges were suspended because BYC is also used by other sports disciplines.

Action between Diamonds and Tropical at BYC on Saturday

“For a start, this was satisfactory as we were testing the waters,” she said, adding that the gate fee will be increased to K500 at the start of the league’s second-round.

Hanjahanja said from the revenue that was realised, facility owners (Malawi National Council of Sports) got 25 percent (K6 375) while the rest will be shared among BDNL and the six teams that played on the day.

“I cannot tell how much BDNL and the teams would each get as we are currently discussing on how we should share the collections,” she said. If they share it equally, each will receive K2,450.

While welcoming the initiative, the league’s clubs, especially the unsponsored, said they hope the revenue will trickle down to their coffers.

“When the gate charges were previously introduced, we hardly received a tambala from the collections, and there are no clear guidelines on how the money would be shared among the clubs. It is my hope that we will be getting something to cushion our expenses,” said Serenity Stars chairperson Dalitso Ameera-Chinyama.

At BYC, last weekend, defending champions Kukoma Diamonds beat Tropical Queens 38-22 while Tigresses had a 55-36 victory over Zomba-based Prison Sisters. The two giants are tied on 18 points from nine-straight victories apiece, but Diamonds are at the summit of the table on better basket difference of 592 against Tigresses’ 513. In another match, Serenity Stars moved a step up—to sixth place—with 10 points from nine encounters following a 60-28 victory over Chileka Sisters.

Categorie: Malawi

Tabitha scoring spree halted

The Nation Online - 7 ore 12 min fa

Malawi’s women’s football icon Tabitha Chawinga’s scoring spree for her Chinese Women’s SuperLeague side Jiang Suning was halted on Sunday when she did not score in her team’s 1-0 win over Beijing Phoenix.

Her solace, nevertheless, was that her team registered an eighth-straight win to take their tally to 24 points after their captain Marjun’s strike, made the difference.

Tabitha breaks away from her marker in a previous game

Prior to this game, Tabitha had scored in all their seven matches.

“It’s part of the game. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

“What is important is that we got the result we wanted, which keeps us on track to win the title.

“As a player, I need to be realistic and accept that I cannot score in every game. It just doesn’t work that way,” she said.

Tabitha won four awards in her debut season in China last year, including  Player of The Year and the golden boot. She scored 17 goals and is targeting 25 this season.

Categorie: Malawi

Six teams in Super League title race

The Nation Online - 7 ore 14 min fa

Six teams still stand a chance of winning the 2019 TNM Super League after the first-round ended with six points separating the top six, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) statistics show.

After all the 16-teams played 15 matches, Be Forward Wanderers are top with 33 points, having failed to extend the gap after a 2-3 loss to Moyale Barracks at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday.

Phambala: We will
be much better

On this final day, Kamuzu Barracks (KB) drew with Mzuni to cement second position with 30 points while Nyasa Big Bullets lie third with 29 points.

Silver Strikers are fourth with 28 points while Blue Eagles, with 27 points, are fifth. 

TN Stars are on sixth position with the same number of points, but trail the cops on superior goal difference.

In an interview, Blue Eagles assistant coach Wilson Chidati said the league is wide open and that they have not given up the fight.

“I don’t think there is a reason to surrender yet. The gap is still small. What we need is to improve our defending. Our attacking has been better than last season,” he said.

On his part, Kamuzu Barracks coach Billy Phambala also observed inconsistencies in most teams, which he said indicates that the league title chase is still open.

 “A couple of teams are still in the race. However, we believe that, other than Wanderers, we stand a better chance of winning it,” he said.

Phambala fired up a warning shot to fellow title contenders revealing that he is expecting to beef up the squad with players that are returning from peacekeeping mission.

They include midfielder Harvey Nkacha and striker Kelvin Hanganda.

“We will be much better in the second-round. So, if we played well with players drawn from our reserves, how far shall we go with the experienced ones?” he said.

Meanwhile, Wanderers also intend to strengthen the squad with a striker and a midfielder, according to the club’s chairperson Gift Mkandawire.

Silver Strikers general secretary Lawrence Yobe also said they are likely to sign a few more players.

Football analyst Charles Nyirenda predicts that the title could still go to the traditional rivals Bullets and Wanderers.

“The other teams lack consistence. Look at Blue Eagles, they have beaten top teams Wanderers, Silver and Bullets but when they play other teams they are not up there. This i s the same with KB,” he said.

Categorie: Malawi

Chilima, Chakwera lawyers query AG role, slow pace

The Nation Online - 7 ore 28 min fa

Lawyers for UTM Party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidates have queried the Constitutional Court in the ongoing presidential election court petition case over the alleged partisan role played by Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale and the slow pace of the case.

 Kaphale’s role first came into question after the AG, who is representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), stood to address the court on a debate about cross-examination while lawyer Frank Mbeta was addressing the court.

Some of the lawyers during break time at court on Monday

Mbeta is one of the lawyers for President Peter Mutharika—who is the first respondent as governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

 Mbeta was cross-examining Chilima on evidence from ballot sheets, and his move to support allegations of pre-marked ballot sheets in Mzimba and inflated number of voters in Rumphi.

 One of Chilima’s lawyers Chikosa Silungwe told the court Kaphale’s role and conduct is raising questions over his impartiality and the impartiality of MEC, offices Silungwe said are supposed to act independent of partisan interests. He argued that the AG and MEC have colluded with the DPP candidate in the court case.

Return to court today: Chilima

 Silungwe said Kaphale “is conflicted” as he is supposed to be “custodian of the Constitution” and act as a “referee” in such matters and consequently regularly delaying proceedings in the matter. 

Veteran lead lawyer for MCP presidential candidate Modecai Msisha concurred with Silungwe and took further aim at the court, criticising it of failing to adhere to its own directions which are aimed at speeding up the trial.

 He said: “It appears counsel for MEC is acting in collusion with counsel for Presidential candidate. The second issue is time. The court is not exercising its obligation to manage this to ensure that the case is expedited. You have to look at the law. At the rate we are going, we will be having a decision in 2025, with all due respect.”

But Justice Healey Potani, who forms part of the five-judge panel hearing the case,  chided Msisha for the suggestion that the case could prolong to 2025, saying the assertion may send a “wrong signal to the public”.

“We are still reviewing the issues but we feel that we should not expedite the case at the expense of justice but what you have said will be at the back of the mind.  I am not happy with what you have said about the case ending up in 2025, it may send a very wrong signal to people listening outside,” he said.

Msisha apologised for any “overreach” in his comments but maintained his stance on both the delays and role of the AG.

Mbeta defended the AG’s role in the case, saying since DPP and MEC were both respondents in the case, they were entitled to conferring and sharing positions.

He said: “It’s rather surprising that the petitioners decided to drag the first respondent and second respondent in the same matter, but when it comes to responses, the issue is that we are colluding.”

The lawyer argued that the defence teams’ responses are based on “what we believe are facts”.

Said Mbeta: “If there are any similarities in our stories, the word of mouth which should come out should be collusion. I have noted that when petitioners speak the same language, it’s okay but when we respond in the same manner it’s a problem. I believe there should be a fair level playing field without attracting words like collusion.”

Mbeta further said the AG addressed the court on the matter as an officer of court, adding there was no conflict of interest in doing so.

The UTM Party and MCP legal teams have accused the DPP and MEC legal teams of employing tactics to delay the case, including repetitive questions.

Some 800 witnesses have sent sworn statements and possibly could be lined up to provide evidence, but the AG spent five days cross-examining Chilima alone.

The hearing in the Constitutional Court enters its eighth day today, with Chilima still expected to be in the witness stand to face lawyers representing Mutharika in cross-examination. This will be followed by Chilima’s witnesses to who will also take to the witness stand before the second petitioner, Chakwera, takes his turn in this historic election case the five-judge panel wants to be heard within 12 days.

Categorie: Malawi

House meets September

The Nation Online - 7 ore 28 min fa

Parliament has announced the second meeting of the 48th Session from September 9 to October 11, which will convene to discuss the 2019/20 National Budget.

A press statement issued by the office of the Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gottani Hara states that members of Parliament (MPs) should fulfil their mandate and attend the meeting.

Parliament meeting in June

Reads the statement in part: “The Office of the Speaker wishes to inform all Cabinet ministers, deputy, members of Parliament and the general public that the 2019/2020 budget meeting,  which will be the second meeting of the 48th session of Parliament, will be held from Monday 9th September to 11th October 2019.”

The announcement comes amid growing political tension following Malawi Electoral Commission’s declaration of President Peter Mutharika as winner of the May 21 presidential election under Democratic Progressive Party ticket.

The last sitting of Parliament in June was marred with controversies, with Leader of Opposition only being  named when the House was about to pass a provisional budget worth K511.3 billion.

The Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) asked Treasury during the pre-budget consultative meetings to cut public debt and narrow the budget deficit if the country is to sustain economic gains.

As part of its input to the 2019/20 National Budget, Ecama also wants Treasury to maintain the prevailing macroeconomic stability in the next fiscal plan. Public debt has been increasing substantially over the past years and has reached unprecedented levels. Public debt, which comprises domestic and external debt, stood at around K3.3 trillion as of December 2018–twice the country’s 2018/19 revised national budget of K1.4 trillion.

Categorie: Malawi

Shake up looms At silver strikers

The Nation Online - 7 ore 44 min fa

Silver Strikers have said they will shake up the technical panel and offload some players in a bid to improve the team’s performance.

The Central Bankers’ chairperson Peter Chando was quoted by Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) yesterday as saying the resolution was made by the executive committee on Friday.

Silver’s Khuda Muyaba (R) tussles with Nyasa Bullets’ Yamikani Fodya

Justifying the move to offload some players, the Silver chairperson said: “There have been some players who have been with the team for sometime but they are not playing, so we have decided to get rid of them. We have a bloated squad, so we are spending a lot.

“So, we are saying why did we buy them?”

Chando said the decision, on which players to offload, will be made after liaising with the technical panel.

“We are meeting the technical panel on Tuesday [today].”

On the looming technical panel changes, the Central Bankers’ chairperson said: “What was discussed was a reshuffle of some roles. But I can confirm that you should expect changes.

“But that will depend on whether the board will give us an OK, because this is just a proposal and we should have a clear position by the end of the week.”

The club’s general secretary Lawrence Yobe said in an interview yesterday, they will also invade the transfer market.

While keeping a tight lid on their targets, he said: “We are looking at a broader number of players such as upfront and an attacking midfielder.”

However, reports indicate some of the proposed players are Masters Security’s Eric Atsiga, Raphael Phiri of Civil Sporting Club and Karonga United’s Misheck Selemani.

Although they won the Airtel Top 8, the Central Bankers have been inconsistent in the TNM Super League in which they have finished fourth, with 28 points, at the end the first-round,

The resolution comes barely a week after the team’s patron, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) governor, Dalitso Kabambe, expressed concern following the team’s seven-year title league drought.

Kabambe said this when the team presented to him the Airtel Top 8 trophy they won earlier this year.

The RBM governor said it is high time Silver won the league, saying it is the only way the team can show appreciation of the RBM sponsorship.

“The team has a capable board and executive committee and it is, therefore, baffling that it does not live up to expectations.

“Players need to be committed. Taking part in a CAF tournament is not a problem, but they should prove they that they deserve that by winning the league,” he said. Kabambe said, as sponsors, they have shown their commitment by improving the players’ welfare through good perks and buying a vehicle for the coaches and a team bus.

Categorie: Malawi

Timber Millers to hold protests today

The Nation Online - 7 ore 59 min fa

Members of the Reformed Timber Millers Union (RTMU) will today hold protests in Viphya Plantation after failed discussions with government over timber business.

The RTMU has teamed up with some chiefs to query government for allegedly favouring foreign concessionaires over locals in the timber processing business in Viphya Plantation in Mzimba and Nkhata Bay districts.

Timber milling in progress at Viphya

Since July 31, they have met Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira twice, but RTMU claims the meetings have yielded nothing; hence, the protests.

Speaking to the media in Mzuzu on Monday, RTMU president Paul Nthambazale said the demonstrations are aimed at expressing dismay on  government’s conduct for allegedly giving business to foreign-owned companies at the expense of local companies and traders.

He said: “This conduct is contrary to principles under the new Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act of 2017 which gives 60 percent to indigenous black Malawians when it comes to the procurement of goods and services by government.”

The demonstrations will start at 10am from Gwayi to Chikangawa Forestry Office after which some RTMU  members will drive to Mzimba and Nkhata Bay district council offices to deliver petitions. Then a vigil will be held at Chikangawa Forestry Office from August 20 to 23.

Meanwhile, Senior Chief Mtwalo of Mzimba has said chiefs were concerned with how business was being conducted in Chikangawa Forest.

“We are here to help them wherever they want to go with the issue. It is painful that our sons and daughters are not benefiting from the plantation. We need to correct this,” he said. While confirming that Kutsaira has met RTMU before, Ministry of Energy spokesperson Sangwani Phiri said he was not aware of the protests.

Categorie: Malawi

Petrol bombing terror rages on

The Nation Online - 8 ore 19 min fa

Bomb throwing violence linked to politics is escalating, with the latest petrol war victim being the headquarters of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Lilongwe.

While political players are engaged in blame games, the police appear helpless with no concrete leads on who is behind the bombings and their motives.

Part of the door that was affected

Yesterday’s petrol-bomb explosion, which did not claim a life but partly destroyed the building, is the second in one week and the fifth since Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announced controversial presidential election results on May 27 this year.

Unknown assailants last week petrol-bombed Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Timothy Mtambo’s  house in Area 49 in Lilongwe, damaging his vehicle and part of the house.

These incidents also come after thugs in July petrol-bombed a UTM Party vehicle in Mangochi, a house belonging to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) director of Youth Richard Chimwendo Banda in Dowa, MCP offices at Chichiri in Blantyre, and MCP vice-president Sidik Mia’s offices in Blantyre.

National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said in an interview yesterday they are yet to arrest anyone although they continue investigating the cases.

He said: “We believe that these attacks are coordinated and that the communities know some people who are doing this. We ask for their help in dealing with the situation.

Kadadzera further bemoaned what he described as “traditional means of investigating matters” within the police, saying it affects the speed with which they can conclude their investigations.

“If we had things like CCTV, such technology could have helped us track down suspects. But for now, we depend on asking people for information and the community to offer us tip-offs so that we get to the bottom of issues,” he said.

However, the National Police spokesperson said the police are working hard to establish facts and bring culprits to book.

Meanwhile, security expert Euginio Njoloma, who lectures at Mzuzu University in the Department of Governance, Peace and Security, said the attacks are indicative of compromised security in the country.

He said: “The targeted attacks signal a compromised security. It also defies the concept of Rule of Law, which makes the country degenerate into a failed statehood category. All this is because government appears not interested to address such targeted attacks and chooses to leave the perpetrators scot-free.”

According to Njoloma, government must see to it that the rule of law is respected irrespective of one’s political affiliation, calling for speedy investigations and delivery of justice.

DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister for Homeland Security, while confirming an attack on the party’s offices, said in an interview the party is worried with the direction the country is going.

“As a country we can’t continue this way. We think that this is a result of careless statements made by HRDC leaders and UTM Party and MCP. We think a solution is contact and dialogue,” he said.

But MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali said the acts are politically motivated.

He said: “The biggest worry in this country is that the President Peter Mutharika regime has chosen to pull the Malawi Police Service into their political armpits, rendering the law enforcers toothless and substantially unprofessional in their service delivery.”

On his part, HRDC vice-chairperson Gift Trapence said the current problems do not need dialogue, but for government to let the police work freely to protect the citizenry and their property.

Political analyst Ernest Thindwa has since warned that if the parties involved do not engage in dialogue, the country could easily slide into a large civil strife scare.

 He has also called on police to speed up investigation on the matters. 

Yesterday’s bombing of the DPP offices is suspected to have occurred around 2am, according to Central Region Police spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula who said the police were yet to assess the damage.

A visit to the place by The Nation showed that only the main door of the office and a window were tampered with as guards managed to extinguish the fire on time.

In August last year, a survey by our sister newspaper Weekend Nation based on serious violent cases published in Nation Publications Limited (NPL) titles—Weekend Nation, The Nation and Nation on Sunday—indicated that out of 15 incidents of violence that occurred between 2014 and 2018, police only acted swiftly on one incident.

According to the paper’s  findings, the one case they acted on involved opposition parties, while those linked to supporters of the governing DPP were largely ignored.

Additional reporting by Enelless Nyale

Categorie: Malawi