25 April 2018
Breaking News
Chikondi Chimala

Chikondi Chimala

Lilongwe, April 20, 2018: Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Aggrey Masi has emphasised on the need to adopt technologies such as the use of drones in the surveillance of protected areas.

He made the remarks in Lilongwe on Friday during a joint commemoration of the 2018 World Wildlife Day and World Wetlands Day at Chigoneka Community Day Secondary School.

Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Shi Ting Wang donated two high pack drones to Malawi government to help in the fight against wildlife crime.

Masi received the donation on behalf of Malawi government.

The Minister said he appreciates the donation saying it has come at a right time when the country is facing challenges in fighting wildlife crimes.

“The donation is timely and it couldn’t come at a better time than this. For this reason, we need to use technology if we are to effectively win the fight against wildlife,” he said.

The Minister made a commitment to protecting wildlife and preserving wetlands for the benefit of all.
The two events were held under the themes ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban future’ and ‘Protecting Bi cats to Have the Big Five.’

Masi said the themes are befitting for Malawi saying wetlands and wildlife have economic value for Malawi through attracting tourists and agricultural production among other things.

He said the social economic value of wildlife is immeasurable hence the need to protect them.

Despite the economic value, the minister advised communities to desist from building in wetlands due to the fragile nature of such places.

“We are reminded that wetlands are fragile areas that easily get degraded. Last year some places in Lilongwe City were subjected to flooding due to encroachment of wetlands,” he said.

Masi observed that the country is facing challenges in wildlife and environment conservation hence the donation.

He said the world is a global village hence the need for countries to work together and adopt technologies that are widely used by other countries.

The Minister said it is for this reason that his government has made the donation which he said will be used in the fight against wildlife crime.

“The drones will go a long way in assisting Malawi protect wildlife and environment through aerial surveillance,” he said.

World Wetlands Day and World Wildlife Day are commemorated on February 2 and March 3, respectively.

Malawi commemorated the events on Friday because of other commitments while   March 3 is designated in the country’s Martyrs day.

On December 20, 2013 at its 68th session the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed March 3, as the UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the World’s Wild Animals and Plants.

On the other hand, World Wetlands Day was adopted in 1971 to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and planet.

Karonga, 4 April 2018: Ministry of Health and Population says it will soon conduct a re-assessment survey on the prevalence of River blindness (Onchocerciasis) in Karonga District amid fears of spill-over of the disease from Tanzania.

Program Manager for Onchocerciasis Control at the Ministry, Laston Sitima, said on Tuesday the ministry will assess if Karonga has cases of River blindness after the disease was recently registered in Tanzania.

“We would like to conduct a survey to check on the prevalence of River blindness in the district. Tanzania had the disease and it is feared that there might be spill-over to Malawi due to cross-border relations and activities,” said Sitima.

Sitima said the ministry has so far embarked on community sensitization on the disease before it commences testing people of the same in targeted communities.

“We are conducting awareness meetings to ensure that communities are well informed of the up-coming survey and to clear out misconceptions about the survey which some people may have,” he said.

Karonga District Health Officer, Dr Phinius Mfune, commended the ministry for the survey, saying results of the exercise will be used for planning in the event that there are cases of River blindness in the district.

River blindness is a vector borne disease caused by black flies, locally known as Zipwiti and Chinyiriri.
The disease leads to total blindness and an infected person’s skin turns like that of a lizard and leopard as a result of scratching if it remains untreated for a long period of time.

The survey will be conducted in 34 villages, targeting learners aged between 10 to 14 years in 30 primary schools. It will also target persons from five years above in the villages.

The last survey was conducted in 1997 and eight districts, including Karonga were put under mass drug administration against River blindness.

Mangochi, March 22, 2018: Mangochi First Grade Magistrate Court on Tuesday convicted and sentenced 23-year-old man, Akidu John, to 8 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for defiling a five-year-old minor.

The court heard through Police Prosecutor Sub-lnspector Maxwell Mwaluka, that the minor’s family and the accused person lived in the same compound and that the offence was committed on the night of January 20, 2018.

Mwaluka said on the day, the mother had left her two daughters, the minor and her 12-year-old sister when she went to Greenland Bottle Store to give her husband food where he was working as a barman.

According to the prosecutor, back home, the older sister left her little sister asleep and went to their neighbour’s house nearby. John, the accused, took advantage of the situation and sneaked into the house to defile the girl.

“He used a piece of cloth to cover the girl's mouth so that she should not scream and when he was done, he fled the scene leaving the minor gagged and traumatized,” explained Mwaluka.

He added: “When the mother returned, she found her little daughter groaning with pain, pointing at her genital area and upon close observation, the mother found semen around the minor’s genital area.”

The court further heard that the little girl explained that John had sneaked into the house and that he had defiled her.

The news shocked the mother and called her landlord and neighbours to witness what had happened.

The matter was reported to Mangochi Police Station who acted on it and took the girl to Mangochi District Hospital where it was proved that she had indeed been defiled and that led to the arrest of John.

The accused pleaded not guilty before the court but the state paraded four witnesses who testified against him.

The court found John guilty and the state prosecutor asked for a stiff custodial sentence to isolate the accused from the society.

The presiding First Grade Magistrate, Ronald M'bwana, concurred with the state and sentenced John to eight years IHL in order to deter other would-be offenders.

John hails from Mtalimanja Village, Traditional Authority Mponda in Mangochi District and his offence was contrary to Section 138 of the Penal Code.  

Mzuzu, February 19, 2018: The Bible Society of Malawi launched a third edition of the Tumbuka Bible, the most dominant language in the Northern Region of Malawi and northern areas of the Central Region, Malawi News Agency has learnt.

Translation of a new version by three translators and 20 reviewers has taken 15 years to print 5000 copies of the Bible.

Speaking during the launch on Saturday in Mzuzu City, Bible Society of Malawi Executive Director, Clapperton Mayuni, said the previous translations were not addressing some issues, hence the new version.

“The translations that we had before weren’t adequately addressing some issues. So the Bible Society of Malawi, being an arm of churches, engaged some people to embark on a third edition of the Tumbuka Bible,’’ said Mayuni.

He, however, said the total cost of the translation was not yet established.

“We haven’t done all the arithmetic but millions of Kwacha have been spent in the production as well as capacity building of the translators,” he said.

Mayuni further commended Church of Central Africa Presbytery (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia for providing free office space to the translators and the Reformed Mission League for paying the staff.

In his remarks, Bishop for Anglican Diocese of Northern Malawi, Fanwell Magangani expressed gratitude for the new Bible which he said will enhance dissemination of the gospel to the believers.

“This is a very important development as God gave us the gift of language through which we can understand His Word of salvation easily. Therefore, the translated Bible will help Tumbuka speaking people appreciate it,” said Magangani.

The first translation of the Bible to Tumbuka was in 1952 and revised in 1989.

Lilongwe, 30 January 2018: The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) says detailed and segregated data is vital in efficient and timely response to disasters.

DoDMA’s Principal Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Natasha Mbengo made the observation on Monday in Dedza District when she led a team of officers in briefing civil protection committees (CPCs) on the collection of data using the simplified disaster rapid assessment form.

“Humanitarian partners have various interests and area of focus in responding to disasters. Some partners are only interested in responding to issues affecting pregnant women or child headed families in the event of a disaster, hence, there is need to capture as much segregated data as possible so that both government and humanitarian partners make well-informed decisions in disaster response,” said Mbengo.

She said apart from simplifying the assessment form, the department, has also translated it to Chichewa and Tumbuka.

“We intend to translate the form into a number of local languages so that we enhance easy collection of data amongst CPCs, which are local structures that are involved in disaster risk management at group village head, T/A and District levels; and other stakeholders in the event of disasters,” said Mbengo adding that the improved forms will be pre-tested in Dedza, Machinga and Rumphi Districts to assess its understanding by stakeholders and thereafter, the form will be further simplified and improved basing on the findings of the pre-tests.

Mbengo said the initial form used in previous disaster rapid assessments was full of technical language which would hardly be understood by a layman.

“The simplification of the form will ease the participation and engagement of disaster affected communities and local structures such as VCPs in disaster response,” said Mbengo.

Secretary of Dedza’s Chikololere Area Protection Committee Jameson Nkhukuyasokera said the simplified disaster rapid assessment form will play a pivotal role in providing guidance under which the CPCs will collect necessary data for improved disaster response.

District Commissioner for Dedza Ellis Tembo said he had hope that the simplified form will bring about collection of accurate and detailed information which will form the basis for the much needed response during disasters.

The disaster rapid assessment form is being simplified, translated and pre-tested with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Disaster Risk Management Support programme.

 

Saturday, 13 January 2018 10:02

Balaka market vendors asked to pay market fees

Balaka, January 13, 2017: District commissioner (DC) for Balaka, Rodrick Mateauma has called upon vendors at Ulongwe market to fulfill their obligation of paying market fees for the council to carry out some development projects within their area.

He made the call during the commencement of series of meetings in the district by Local Government Accountability Performance Project (LGAP) which aim to seek views from vendors on how best the council can develop the district for the next five years.

Mateauma said vendors plying their trade within the councils’ jurisdiction have an obligation to market fees to enable the council raise revenue for implementation its developmental plans.

“Vendors in the past used to pay market fees on their volition in major markets such as Ulongwe and Phalula. But now the enthusiasm has gone down making the council to just have pipe dream development dreams that fail to materialize at the end of the day,’ the DC observed.

Mteauma recalled that, “Last year we planned to pay school fees for needy students, but the plan slipped away from our hands because we did not collect more revenue as planned.”

One of the vendors, Samuel Mustafa accused the council of financial mismanagement.

“We do pay the market fees as required by the Local Government Act. But the council is giving the communities poor service,” he lamented.

Lilongwe, January 13, 2017: Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor, Dr Dalitso Kabambe says the RBM has developed mechanisms aimed at ending the pilferage of public resources which in recent years has been one of the major causes of the infamous plunder of government funds dubbed Cash-gate.

He made the remarks Friday in Lilongwe when he officially launched the High Value Alert Facility and the RBM 2018 Strategic Plan.

According to him, the High Value Alert Facility has been developed as an Short Message Service (SMS) and email alert system for all government transactions above K50 million.

In this system, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Secretary to the Treasury, Accountant General, Budget director, Minister responsible for where the transaction originated and responsible controlling officers will be alerted of any transaction above K50 million within two minutes.

“The genesis of the High Value Alert Facility dates back to Cash-gate whereby junior civil servants in the accounting profession could generate and complete transactions without the knowledge of their line ministries or controlling officers which is contrary to our existing laws.

"That is why the RBM decided to make a contribution in the fight against plunder of public resources by introducing this High Value Alert System," Kabambe explained

The Governor pointed out this was a game over for all those involved in unscrupulous activities that have resulted in plunder of public resources as any irregularity in any transaction will be quickly reversed and corrected.

He added that this would assist Controlling officers and Ministers to be fully in charge of their budgets.
He viewed that no one would in the future come up and said was not aware of the transactions in their ministries.

Kabambe pointed out that there are already other measures to detect any irregularities in transactions below K50 million.

On the strategic plan, he said this is a revised plan of the current three year plan of 2016- 2017 and the last in the series.

According to him, the bank is putting its plans known to the public so that the citizenry can know what to expect from the bank and to make the bank accountable to its people.

Some of the objectives in the plan include for the bank to continue improving the conduct of monetary policy, maintain official foreign reserves above three months of import cover throughout 2018, deepening the conduct and capacity of financial markets and ensure a sound, robust and resilient financial system.

Kabambe said the plan had been developed out of a rigorous and careful analytical process of examining the current economic trends as well as short to medium term objectives of the country.

“The plan acknowledges the country is facing and the need to grow our economy for the benefit of all Malawians. The plan has been developed to challenge all departments in the banks with ambitious but achievable targets.

“All our plans are consistent with our strategic objective of ensuring that there is price and financial stability in this country,” the governor added.

Lilongwe, January 5, 2017: Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Francis Chinsinga on Friday attested to his Ministry’s commitment to curb corruption in the Department of Road Traffic.

Chinsinga said rendering of road traffic and safety services, including enforcement of road traffic regulations has been among the high ranked corruption zones in the country. As a Ministry he said they have been implementing a lot of reforms to reduce all the risk areas to corruption and fraud in then road transport subsector.

Chinsinga was speaking during the launch of two policy documents namely the Corruption and Fraud Prevention Policy and Client Service Charter for the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS).

He said the launch of the two documents symbolized strides and continued effort taken by the Ministry to curb corruption at the DRTSS and improve service delivery to the general public, in a consistent and high quality manner.

He added that corruption and fraudulent practices are among other reasons fostering the increase in road accidents facilitated by the lack of proper procedures in obtaining critical services at the directorate of road traffic and safety services and collusion with traffic law enforcement officers.

He said the corrupt and fraudulent practices give room to operation on the roads of the country vehicles that are not road worthy, as well as, unskilled drivers.

“It is against this background that my Ministry has developed the Corruption and Fraud Prevention Policy and Client Service Charter to provide guidelines and procedures for preventing, detecting, reporting and investigating corruption and fraud.

He added: “This is to promote an environment and a culture intolerant to corruption, supporting the directorate to protect its reputation and government revenue.”

Chinsinga said the DRTSS would ensure that the documents are used to the full capacity by ensuring genuine guide for the organization in search of excellence in offering services to the general public.

The Director General of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), Reyneck Matemba said the two documents were vital in curbing corruption at the Directorate and its enforcement is meant to maximize deterrence from corrupt practices noting the documents are supposed to act as a tool for empowering staff and key stakeholders with information on corruption.

“The need to prevent corruption at the directorate cannot be overemphasized, corruption in such an important regulatory institution is a threat to the safety of every road user, in fact every person in Malawi, for there is rarely a person in Malawi who does not use the road at one point or the other,” he said.

Matemba urged the DRTSS to put the documents into use and not shelve them, he advised the Directorate to educate its officers on the content of the documents so that they should be aware of the dos and don’ts of the directorate.

The policies will provide a channel through which employees, suppliers, clients and the general public can report irregular activities taking place within the directorate’s sphere of control without fear of victimization, or repercussions.

Lilongwe, January 4, 2017: The strengthening of democratic governance, domestic accountability and access to justice especially for women, girls and other vulnerable groups like people with albinism are crucial for sustainable development.

EU Ambassador to Malawi, Marchel Gerrmann said this when the European Union handed over a donation of four 4x4 vehicles and eleven motorcycles procured with funding from the 11th European Development Fund through the Chilungamo Programme to NICE Public Trust.

Gerrmann said as EU they value and continue to support NICE Public Trust owing to the role it plays in empowering citizens to demand transparency and accountability from duty bearers which is crucial for the promotion of domestic accountability.

NICE Public Trust has been accredited by the Malawi Electoral Commission to provide voter education to the electorate across the country ahead of the forthcoming tripartite elections in 2019.

The EU Ambassador said it was for this reason that they recognize that for NICE to accomplish all the tasks, the support of other development partners is crucially needed.

“With a network of over 8 000 volunteers and a reach to millions of Malawians in all the districts, NICE is uniquely placed to impart knowledge on the voting procedures and more importantly empower citizens to claim and their rights,” he said.

Speaking when receiving the donation, Board Chair for NICE Public Trust, Susan Kaunda said as a Public Trust they value the financial, technical and material assistance they get from EU ever since NICE started as a project in 1999.

“This donation has come at the right time when we are busy empowering and mobilizing the public through civic education. It is no doubt that the vehicles and the motorcycles will ease the challenges we have in reaching to the grassroots,” said Kaunda.

She said the support from EU has given them more vigour, strength and zeal to work harder and better in fulfilling their mandate of contributing towards democracy and good governance through civic and voter education.

Machinga, January 3, 2017: Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) closed the 2017 year in style by organising an open-day in Traditional Authority Liwonde in Machinga to equip the youth with sexual and reproductive health knowledge.

The youth are expected to use the knowledge gained in preventing teen-age pregnancies.


The open day, held last Sunday under the ‘Yes I Do,’ Project, centred on encouraging the girl child to go back to school as schools open on January 8, 2018 for the second term in the 2017/2018 academic calendar.

FPAM Project Officer, Jimmy Kachali, said it was the aim of the organisation to work with young people in the area so that they are equipped with relevant knowledge on sexual and reproductive health for them to make informed decisions.

Kachali said FPAM works with young people through Youth Action Movement whereby they (youth) are empowered to be advocates in the fight against teen pregnancies and early marriages.

He observed that it was important for the young people to use the knowledge acquired from FPAM clinics because it would enable them prevent early pregnancies which, most often, result in deaths and disabilities.

“A lot of girls are dropping out of school due to early pregnancies, if they can be equipped with sexual and reproductive health knowledge, such things can be avoided,” said Kachali.

He, therefore, asked local leaders and parents to keep girls in school and send those who have children back to school to equally enjoy their right to education.

Chairperson of Mangamba Youth Friendly Health Services, Dickson Matope, commended FPAM for the youth empowerment programme on sexual and reproductive health, noting that it has contributed to the reduction of teen pregnancies.

“Before FPAM was introduced in our area, we had high numbers of teen pregnancies, but now things are changing for the better and the deaths which occur due to early pregnancies have been reduced,” said Matope.

Matope, therefore, asked FPAM to continue teaching the youth about sexual and reproductive health, saying that was the only way of promoting education in the area.

In his remarks, Group Village Headman (GVH) Mangamba commended FPAM for the role it was playing in empowering the youth with different skills, saying the interventions were coming at a time the area was experiencing high rate of pregnancy and early marriages.

GVH Mangamba said traditional leaders had embraced the ‘Yes I do’ Initiative such that through the intervention, chiefs had managed to dissolve at least 20 teen marriages in the area.

He, therefore, urged parents to send the girl children back to school and stop promoting early marriages, emphasising that the only right place for the girl child was the school.

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