National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Public Trust has warned that the rising cases of violence can easily “throw this country into an abyss of chaos.’
The institution’s national programmes manager Gray Kalindakafe also urged for a need to sober up as a nation ahead of what he called a historical period Malawi is undergoing.
He was referring to the current court case in which the Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe is slated to give its verdict on the case in which Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM leaderships challenged the May 21 presidential vote.Participants being drilled in the peace conference in Blantyre. Photo by Fatsani Gunya
“Yes, it worries us. I mean, there is just too much lawlessness going on around. Since the May 21 polls, a day rarely goes without reports of violence somewhere. We can’t continue like this as a country. We surely need to put a cap to this madness otherwise; we will live to regret our actions soon,” he said.
Kalindakafe was speaking on Wednesday in Blantyre during a day-long technical workshop on alternative resolutions which NICE organised with support from the European Union (EU).
His sentiments come just a day after three police officers were injured in anti-Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) protests in Karonga that also saw four roadblocks demolished.
He added: “There is no justification whatsoever to being violent against each other. Not even in the name of exercising one’s rights.
“As an institution, we are reminding all stakeholders that as we are living in a multiparty dispensation, living in harmony is key. For once, can we think of Malawi as a nation and not necessarily of our parties, religions and tribes of affiliation.”
At the same meeting, Blantyre City Council deputy mayor Joseph Makwinja agreed on the need for concerted efforts in fostering peace ahead of the court’s judgement expected early next year.
“Much as leaders hold the key to peace as they tend to manipulate the masses, I feel communities in general have a role to play too. In this case, peace must be demand-driven. It is a shared responsibility,” he said.
One of the participants to the conference Anita Kaliu called the sessions timely.
Kaliu, who is also district education manager for Blantyre urban, said such meetings can help sensitise the masses on the fine line that lie between rights and responsibilities among students.
She said: “We are also concerned about the disruptions the student protests continue to bring to the school calendar. It’s a pity that some feel it is their right. This is why we feel we need to educate the masses. Much as the violence cannot be condoned, we feel that to some extent, the students are just mirroring the situations back home. Peace is indeed a collective responsibility.”
NICE argues the messages for peace should be treated as an emergency as various sections of the society at large may react differently to the pronounced judgement from the court.
The trust has been engaging various stakeholders on the importance of fostering peace within their respective ranks for a better Malawi. The exercise, which will see similar workshops in all districts, started in the north through the central region and is now concentrating in the south.
Thyolo Police Station child protection officer George Sinalo has urged girls in Thyolo to report sexual gender-based violence (SGBV).
He made the remarks last week during an awareness campaign for communities to uphold girls’ rights. Environmental Concerned Youth Association (Ecoya) organised the campaign at Namitete Primary School Ground in Traditional Authority (T/A) Nchiramwera in the district.
“Silence among communities perpetuates the abuse that foil girls’ rights. About 58 girls dropped out of Namitete Primary School this year due to child marriages and teenage pregnancies.Sinalo speaks at the event
“We understand some chiefs suppress the cases which frustrates efforts to eradicate the vice. So, girls must report the issues directly to police for law to take its course,” said Sinola.
He said according to Child Protection and Justice Act (2011), girls under 18 years of age should not be in marriage, saying perpetrators will be sentenced to a maximum of three years imprisonment with hard labour.
In an interview, group village head Matchuwana singled out poverty as one of the causes of SGBV.
Ecoya project officer Austin Kunsida said they will intensify the campaigns on child rights in the district.
“We need a holistic approach to address the vice. Parents and guardians should know their responsibilities and authorities should discharge duties effectively to uphold girls’ rights,” he said.
World Vision Malawi (WVM) country director Hazel Nyathi has said they are making strides in improving lives of people in the Southern Region through projects they are implementing.
Nyathi made the remarks on Wednesday in Blantyre during a meeting with stakeholders from the region.
“Among other things, we distributed mosquito nets with the help of district council officials and other stakeholders.Nyathi: We have made progress
“Through water, sanitation and hygiene programme [Wash], we have seen proper sanitation practices being adopted,” she said.
Nyathi also said the child report indicates that the country is doing well despite some challenges.
“As a country, we still have a lot to do in service provision by government and other stakeholders.
“We also have challenges in security and protection of vulnerable children,” said Nyathi.
On her part, Chiraduzulu District Commissioner ReighardChavula said there is good coordination between the council and the organisation.
“We have reached many people in water and sanitation services and the distribution of mosquito nets,” she said.
The organisation is implementing various projects in Mangochi, Balaka, Mulanje, Neno, Chikwawa, among other districts in the Southern Region.
Mzimba East legislator WezzieGondwe says cases of child abuse, especially those involving a girl child, are rising in Mzimba District because most communities are not aware of laws that protect children.
The independent lawmaker said this at Chasato Ground in Mzimba on Sunday when the district commemorated the 2019 International Day of a Girl Child under the theme Girl Force: Unscripted and Unstoppable.Hara women sit in front of their factory
Speaking at the event, Gondwe said there are many laws that exist to protect and promote rights of children, but such laws have not been disseminated accordingly to rural communities.
Gondwe said: “For instance, we have the Child Care Protection and Justice Act; and Marriage Divorce and Family Relations Act among other laws, to ensure that children, especially girls, are protected and not abused.
“But since such laws have not been disseminated to the grassroots communities, most people take issues of child abuse as normal when they are not.”
Mzimba South district social welfare officer Jim Wotchi said last year the district recorded about 918 cases of child abuse involving a girl child.
“For girls, 218 cases of child marriages were reported in 2018, 166 cases involving sexual abuse, 214 cases were about emotional abuse. At least 41 child labour cases and two involving child trafficking were also reported,” he said.
Mia Zgambo, a girl from Chasato Primary School, challenged stakeholders in Mzimba to protect girls.
Hara Women’s Cooperative in Karonga District has unveiled plans to open a briquette-making factory in March next year to promote the use of alternative sources of energy.
With support from Christian Aid, the women are now putting up a building for the briquette plant.
The cooperative’s chairperson Witness Ngwira said the group has since undergone training in business management and entrepreneurial skills.Kasangu learners after receiving the desks
“We visited Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to appreciate how they produce briquettes from rice husks as we will be making briquettes from the same,” she said.
Ngwira said the women have so far contributed K3 million towards the project while Christian Aid will pump in K51 million.
“The briquettes will replace fuel wood which is now scarce in Karonga due to deforestation.
“Again, this will protect forests, thereby saving the environment,” she said.
Ngwira said they expect to have a big market considering that most people in the district use unsustainable energy sources such as firewood and charcoal.
In an interview, Christian Aid Breaking the Barriers Project coordinator LusunguChinombo said they came up with the project to empower women with knowledge on energy poverty and how they can overcome the challenges.
“The project is linking energy poverty to economic empowerment,” she said.
Chimombo said through the project, women will have access to money and will use sustainable energy technologies.
Christian Aid is implementing a Breaking the Barriers: Promoting Women Entreprenuership in Sustainable Energy Value Chains Project with funding from the European Union.
Malawi Agricultural and Industrial Investment Corporation (Maiic), a development finance institution under a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement, on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious plan to raise $1 billion (about K750 billion) capital in the next 10 years.
Maiic chief executive officer Taziona Chaponda outlined the institution’s target in Lilongwe during an event marking the official operationalisation of the entity, registered under the Companies Act of 2013 to spearhead private sector development.Kabambe: Maiic offers long-term project loans
Outlining how Maiic intends to raise capital, he said they plan to use avenues such as pension funds, private equity firms, regional and international development finance institutions and other international investors.
Said Chaponda: “Next year, we will focus on the local market and our target is to raise $80 million (about K59 billion) during the year with a local focus. In the next three years, our focus will then be broader as we want to raise about $200 million (about K148 billion). So, the $1 billion will be spread within a period of 10 years.”
He said unlike the banking credit, which is short-term, Maiic will be offering softer credit facilities with loan tenors longer than the short-term horizon.
“We are, therefore, geared to support commercially-viable investments in the public and private sectors of the economy to consolidate and promote growth, productivity, employment, wealth creation and broad-based economic development,” said Chaponda, a former senior economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Speaking at the event, Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor DalitsoKabambe described the institution as a timely and strategic intervention.
“What we have been missing is the presence of development finance institutions, which offer medium to long-term project loans.
“Maiic is, therefore, filling this gap and is complementing efforts such as the one done recently by the National Bank of Malawi in establishing the NBM SME Development Bank,” he said.
A feasibility study commissioned by the Malawi Government in 2013 found that there was a great need to establish a development financial institution in Malawi in view of the huge financing gaps, particularly in infrastructure and small and medium enterprises.
The UN Climate Change Conference COP25 underway in Madrid, Spain kicked off on Tuesday with a high-Level Segment that sent out reminders that international community is running out of time to effectively tackle the climate crisis and must change course and step up ambition in order to prevent the worst climate impacts.
Speaking during the event, Malawi’s minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bintony Kutsaira said he hoped COP25 will provide critical momentum for urgent action to tackle climate emergency.
Kutsaira’s remarks were echoed by UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres who urged countries to honour their pledges made in Paris in 2015 to scale up their national climate pledges every five years—starting in 2020.Un SG-Antonio Guterres during the high-leve segment on Wednesday December 11, 2019 at COP25, Madrid, Spain (Photo courtesy of UNFCCC)
During COP21 held in Paris, France, Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came up with Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)—a blueprint for countries climate ambitions to transform their development trajectories so that they set the world on a course towards sustainable development, aiming at limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“In 2020, we must deliver what the scientific community has defined as a must, or we and every generation that follows will pay an unbearable price,” Guterres said adding that this means reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and to achieve net zero Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050.
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change (UNFCCC), made a passionate appeal to ministers to make progress during the last remaining days of the Conference of Parties (COP).
“On both a professional and personal level, my message to you is this: We need your decisions. We need your leadership. We are out of time,” she said.
The UN’s top climate change official also said she was optimistic that progress could be made, given that the Paris Agreement remained an “unprecedented multilateral success story.”
Negotiations which started on December 2 2019, have generally been moving at a slow pace than expected. There are three main sticky issues that have now proceeded to ministers for political negotiations and consultations.
One of them is the issue of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement which talks about Carbon Management. Negotiations on this article are focusing ondeveloping a new mechanism for carbon management in the new Paris agreement. Some countries which have historically had a lot of carbon sinks such as forests are negotiating to carry over the carbon seized over the years into the new climate regime. This would give them undue advantage over other countries.
The African Group of Negotiators’ (AGN) position is to ensure that such accounting dates back to 1990 levels not beyond that.
Vitumbiko Chinoko, Regional Advocacy Lead, Climate Change and Food Security, Southern Africa Care International reckons that if the accounting goes beyond 1990, the carbon markets will be oversupplied and lower their demand and fail to contribute to the mitigation goal.
“The progress in this article is important to avoid the mistakes of the clean development mechanism under the Kyoto protocol such as breach on human rights, undermining livelihoods such as food production and water or healthy environment. Africa and other developing countries are fighting that the new mechanism on carbon management shall ensure and uphold such important elements such as food security,” he said.
Parties are also failing to agree on how to frame human rights in loss and damage review outcomes.The other issue is the need for improved action and support of loss and damage with finance which would help in addressing most devastating and irreversible impacts such as severe droughts, cyclones such as Cyclone Idai.
However, the US does not want finance in the final loss and damage review outcome. CSOs have therefore asked for a special window in the green climate fund to be dedicated for loss and damage.
Another deadlock is on gender and climate, finance and human rights. Parties have agreed on capacity building but there is no mention of means of implementation. On human rights, some Arab nations are heavily opposing the proposals.
The conference is expected to close on Friday December 13 2019. It is hoped a new Paris Agreement would be signed before close of business on Friday.