MEC reviews June 23 presidential election

The Nation Online - Ven, 18/09/2020 - 15:15

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is reviewing the June 23 Fresh Presidential election in six districts in the Southern Region to appreciate the challenges faced during the electoral processes.

Speaking yesterday at the opening of a review meeting in Liwonde, Machinga MEC commissioner Arthur Nanthulu said although the 2020 Fresh Presidential elections were fair and credible, elections stakeholders should find ways of improving future elections. 

“No matter how well the elections were managed, there is always room for improvement because each election has its own challenges,” he said.

voting | The Nation OnlinePeople vote in the Fresh Presidential Election in this file photo

Nanthulu said the commission appreciated the role political parties, civil society organisations, chiefs and council officials played through the election process.

“So, I ask participants to come up with ways on how the challenges they faced in their respective districts can be avoided in future elections,” he said.

In his remarks, Machinga District National Initiative for Civic Education officer Bowlander Muonjeza said the review meeting will help the districts strategise on future elections.

“As we are reflecting back on what happened in the Fresh Presidential Election, we are also helping ourselves prepare for the next elections,” he said.

Muonjeza said every district is unique; hence, experiences its own challenges.

The review will include registration of voters, determination of winners, declaration and announcement of results at district and national level.

Participants to meeting were desk officers, chiefs and party officials from Machinga, Balaka, Zomba, Mangochi, Chiradzulu and Phalombe districts.

The country held Fresh Presidential Election on June 23 this year after the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court nullified the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections in February due to massive irregularities.

Categorie: Malawi

Court jails security guard three years for theft

The Nation Online - Ven, 18/09/2020 - 14:12

Chitipa Magistrate’s Court has sentenced Yotamu Nyondo, 55, to three years imprisonment for stealing two motorcycles from his workplace at Tubepoka Development Initiative.

The court heard on Wednesday that on April 22 this year,  the initiative’s offices were broken into and two Yamaha motorcycles registration CP 4042 and CP 4043 valued at K7 million were stolen.

In his ruling, first grade magistrate Billy Ngosi said police investigations showed that there was no forced entry, leading them to conclude that the culprit used keys to unlock the doors.

He said: “When quizzed, Nyondo said he lost his keys and had visited his daughter at the hospital on the said night.

regional illustration arrest | The Nation OnlineAn artist’s impression of court proceedings

“However, police established that he had not reported to his bosses about the lost keys. Police also found from his family that he had not gone to the hospital as he claimed.”

The police arrested Nyondo and charged him with breaking into a building and committing a felony contrary to Section 311 (1) of the Penal Code.

He pleaded not guilty, but the State paraded four witnesses to prove its case.

State prosecutor James Kanyumbu asked the court for a stiffer punishment, arguing that motorcycle thefts are becoming rampant in the district.

Nyondo comes from Ngoya Village, Traditional authority Mwaulambya in the district. 

Categorie: Malawi

Salima District Council to end child marriages

The Nation Online - Ven, 18/09/2020 - 14:10

Salima District Council in partnership with World Vision Malawi plans to terminate child marriages in the district to send the children back to school.

In an interview, Salima district social welfare officer Fedda Mbwana said they want to protect children from abuse, including early marriages.

She said: “It is government’s wish to have all children in school.

“So, we will not relent on our efforts until we withdraw all children from marriages.”

World Vision Malawi Salima district manager Thokozani Chibwana said they were complementing government’s efforts to ensure children get education.

“We want to protect the future of children in the district,” he said.

students | The Nation OnlineStudents back in school

In a separate interview, Senior Chief Kalonga said he was concerned with the situation.

He said: “Traditional leaders have said the children went into marriages after schools were closed.

“However, I am pleased that the council and World Vision Malawi plan to end the marriages.”

The chief  warned parents and guardians who allow their children to get married that they will face the law.

Ellina Asamu from Traditional Authority Kalonga said some girls married because they thought schools would never open soon.

“However, I urge traditional leaders to formulate by-laws to protect girls from early marriages,” she said. 

A report from Salima District Hospital indicates that the facility registered about 6 000 teenage pregnancies between January and August this year.

Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati ordered traditional leaders in the country to terminate child marriages and send them back to schools.

Schools reopened last week for examination classes for primary and secondary schools learners and for final year students in colleges and universities after they closed in March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Categorie: Malawi

Open letter to God: Why are they culling us and are You still here?

The Nation Online - Ven, 18/09/2020 - 13:09

8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus: “Dispersed among the nations throughout the provinces of your kingdom, there is a certain people living apart. Their laws differ from those of every other people and they do not obey the laws of the king; so it is not proper for the king to tolerate them.9 If it please the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them; and I will deliver to the procurators ten thousand silver talents for deposit in the royal treasury.” – Esther 1:8-9

In recent months, I have been at my wits’ end, plunging into the deep stupor of massive despair as I have tried to make sense of all the endless reports of violence meted towards people that look like me, people of colour. Today, I write this open letter to the Higher Being, a lamentation of sorts about the endless injustice that my people face globally.

As I pen the letter to our Divine Leader, it is reminiscent of two powerful biblical instances where divine intervention were enacted when Moses and Esther looked upward during their respective times of perilous danger. Perchance, as I look up, He will likewise, respond.

Charles Davis, columnist of United States (US) Insider Business reports that on Tuesday, 173 congressional US Democrats demanded an “immediate investigation” by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general into reports that women have been receiving hysterectomies without their consent at a detention facility.

The investigation would follow leads into a whistle-blower’s claim that the immigration agency known as ICE has been sterilising immigrant women. The doctor behind this heinous unnecessary and unrequested medical gynaecological procedures had been dubbed the “uterus collector.”

Such open criminality and disrespect of people of colour are rampant in the US, leading to countrywide protests under the platform Black Lives Matter. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, Atitiana Jefferson, Michael Dean, Melvin Watkins and Channara Tom Pheap are a few recent incidents of killings in plain sight of unarmed black people (predominantly men), by white police officers.

White hate on black is not a new phenomenon. It stretches deep into the vile un-erasable stench of slavery. The marks of slavery are visible with the treatment of the white race on the black race on both sides of the Atlantic.

Although sometimes people separate slavery and the experience of the enslaved in the Americas from the experience of the people of the African continent who underwent colonialism, the experiences are similar. The end result similar though vastly different.

The enslaved black man in the Americas has not led a life of roses. Slaves brought to the US have led a life of hatred meted toward them, unpaid labour, lynching, segregation laws and now institutionalised killings that threaten to cull the population of black people living in America.

Likewise, the black people in Africa have not been living a life filled with potpourri. During the colonial period (1800-1960), white people  subjugated black owners of the continent, technically enslaving the entire continent (except Ethiopia and Liberia). British, French, Portuguese, German, Belgian and Dutch colonialists instituted vile living standards and relations with Africans.

Both experiences exacerbated by the white race against the black race on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean is laced with humongous racial injustices.

As white police officers in the US find themselves again and again at the end of a gun fired at a black person, the sad truth about Africa is that of the being availed, given easy access to guns that have led to bloody power disputes and coup d’états or the quest for control of minerals. Black people are caused to kill black people using guns manufactured and sold, not on the black market, but legally, by White gun manufacturers, marketers, and imperialist manipulating rulers.

Oh my God! That You would stretch down Your hand and end the unjust justice systems that want to wipe out the black race, which is a part of Your creation!

Categorie: Malawi

Bwaila Hospital in dire straits

The Nation Online - Ven, 18/09/2020 - 13:05

Bwaila District Hospital in Lilongwe is sailing in troubled waters with multiple challenges including poor water access and shortage of medical equipment.

The hospital’s physiotherapy department, for instance, only has one specialist and three beds, but lacks even the most basic equipment such as walking frames.

The maternity department, on the other hand, has no guardian shelter and faces erratic water supply so much that guardians buy water outside from people who have capitalised on the situation to make money.

bwaila hospital | The Nation OnlineChiponda talks to guardians under a tree at the hospital

These were among the challenges that were laid bare to Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda when she visited the facility on Wednesday.

Speaking to the minister, a guardian Christina Mahenga said she had been looking after her pregnant cousin for three days during which they have had to buy water.

She said: “We buy about two litres of warm water at K400 which we take to our women for a bath even after they deliver. It is a sad situation.”

The minister also learnt that the hospital is operating without a slit lamp because the lone equipment requires servicing, forcing health workers to use mobile phone torch lights instead.

A slit lamp is a microscope with a bright light used during eye examinations. It gives an ophthalmologist a closer look at the different structures at the front of the eye and inside the eye and is a key tool in detecting eye diseases.

Lilongwe district medical officer Mary Chimsewu Nkunika said the hospital only has 144 beds which are not enough to cater for the many patients that require admission.

She bemoaned that a structure meant for a theatre, which was constructed by the University of North Carolina-Project Malawi, is still idle due to lack of equipment such as theatre beds and anaesthetic machines.

In response, Chiponda said government is working on finding a solution to the challenges and a consultant has already submitted a quotation to fix the water and sewer systems.

Said the minister: “I must say that water is of paramount importance in the labour ward. Therefore, we will ensure that we do what we need to do to address this. We want to ensure that we don’t only depend on our partners but also do our part in addressing these challenges.”

She further commended the hospital’s health workers for providing quality health care to patients amid the myriad challenges.

Prior to visiting the hospital, Chiponda visited Chipatala Cha Pa Foni, a programme where people access health information and advice through a toll-free phone line.

Categorie: Malawi

Construction workers in Nkhata Bay end strike

The Nation Online - Ven, 18/09/2020 - 13:02

Construction workers have ended their two-week strike at the new Nkhata Bay Market and resumed work after resolving their grievances with the employer.

It is alleged that China Gansu Engineering Corporation Limited did not pay the workers since the start of construction works on July 30 this year.

In an interview yesterday, a foreman Wilton Bakali said they started work without signing any contract regarding their wages.

“We did not sign any contract with the employer up until the end of the month when he produced the documents which had conditions that we did not agree with,” he said.

The documents outlined a daily wage ranging from K1 000 to K1 300.

construction | The Nation OnlineWorkers back at the site

The workers reported the issue to Nkhata Bay Boma Ward councillor Celia Nyamwera Adamana who tried to reason with the employer.

“After my intervention, the company changed nothing and I asked the workers to lodge their complaint with the District Labour Office for further assistance,” he said.

But Nkhata Bay district labour officer Lanwell Mkisi blamed both parties for failing to sign a contract agreement prior to work. 

“We don’t work for somebody without a work or contract agreement unless we want to be exploited. Any form of employment needs to follow proper procedures,” he said.

Mkisi advised that all workers be paid following government minimum wage of K1 346.16 per day.

In a separate interview, China Gansu Engineering Cooperation Limited site manager Zhong said the issue was an administrative misunderstanding.

He has since agreed to pay each worker K1 346.16 per day.

Categorie: Malawi