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Chikondi Chimala

Chikondi Chimala

Monday, 13 April 2015 07:47

Quote

"An education that does not transform your life or the life of others is a wasted education."


- President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

Blantyre, March 27: The Malawi Electoral Commission-MEC has submitted a budget to the Treasury for by-elections in four Local Government Wards which fell vacant due to the demise of office holders.

Although he is tight lipped on figures, the institution's Director of Media and Public Relations Sangwani Mwafulirwa has confirmed the development.

The four wards are Luchenza in Thyolo which fell vacant due to the death of Councillor Davie Baleti of the Democratic Progressive Party-DPP on 12th February and Khwawa in Karonga due to the death of Viyezgo Wilson Nyirenda of Peoples Party-PP.

Others are Chibanja Ward in Mzuzu which lost Councilor Charles Nyirongo of PP and Zomba Central ward which was being represented by late Mayor of the Zomba City Joan Mtaja of the DPP.

And Mwafulirwa said the elections are likely to be held after the passing of the 2015/2016 budget.

“Right now we have submitted our budget to the Treasury for approving but I am not disclosing the figure right now because after the submission of budget we also engage discussion with government, so there can also be a probability that they can trim it."

“But from the look of things we shall conduct by-elections after 2015-2016 budgets are passed. Government is likely to put it in the budget,” said Mwafulirwa.

Mwafulirwa reminded the citizenry that by-elections are supposed to be conducted within 60 days after the office falls vacant, but where factors are not permitting to conduct by-elections, he said the electoral body is mandated to go beyond 60 days.

“The law allows MEC to go beyond 60 days if some factors are not allowing going ahead with by-elections. You may wish to know that all four Wards fell vacant due to death. But I can assure the public that by-elections will be conducted once funds are available," stated Mwafulirwa.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015 11:52

Quote

"You must not fight too often fight with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war"

 

- Napoleon

Lilongwe, March 14: The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) says embracing the Adult Diversion programme can help save a lot of taxpayers’ money spent in taking care of prisoners in the country.

The Adult Diversion programme is a strategy that is being initiated by CCJP in conjunction with various stakeholders like the Judiciary, Malawi Police Service and the ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare to see to it that petty criminal cases committed by adults should be diverted from the formal justice to the informal justice system.

In the informal justice system, these petty criminal cases are handled outside the formal justice system to avoid sending the petty first time offenders to prisons and bring harmony amongst the communities by reconciling offenders and the victims.

CCJP Archdiocesan Secretary Noel Mtonza Friday in Lilongwe told journalists at the end of a one -day Adult Diversion Project orientation workshop for media personnel organized by CCJP that not only can the programme reduce congestions in prisons or bring harmony between the offender and victim, the programme can also saves government taxpayers money.

“What we have to know is that when one is sent to prison, the issue does not end there as government has to be taking care of that person while they are serving their jail sentences like providing them with food.

“As it is now, government is spending a lot of money in caring for inmates who are in various prisons in the country. Now the issue is that there are many people being sent to prisons after committing petty criminal offences and it becomes government’s responsibility to take care of these people while they are in prison.

“However, if these petty criminal offenses can be diverted to the informal justice system, the offenders could avoid prison time and have their cases dealt with at the community level. In this case, we are reducing congestions in our prisons and government will be saving a lot of money which could be used in other developmental works,” said Mtonza,

However, the Archdiocesan Secretary Mtonza said Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) funded programme which has so far diverted 100 cases in various systems across the police and other village setups is coming with its own setbacks.

 He said despite being guided by section 13 L and sections 161 of the Penal Code, there is no legal frame work which this can fully back theprogram which started in 2009.

“The biggest challenge facing the program is the absence of legislature. Malawi does not have a proper legislation in terms of adult diversion unlike in the child diversion where they have an act enacted by parliament clearly stipulating how they should do this.

“But in the absence of that legislation for the adult diversion programme, it is really a hassle for CCJP and all its partners to kind of implement this project,” said Mtonza.

The programme is currently in its pilot stage and it is being implemented in Lilongwe with a future hope of being extended to other districts.

Sunday, 08 March 2015 20:03

Quote of the day

"If I know the answer I'll tell you the answer, and if I don't, I'll just respond, cleverly." - Donald Rumsfield, Former US Secretary of Defense


Some of the Displaced Households in TA Jenala

Phalombe, March 2: Assistance towards displaced flood victims continues to pour in, with the Catholic Development Commission in Malawi-CADECOM, Good Neighbors International and Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) being the latest donors in Phalombe.  

Both CADECOM and CARD will be implementing six and four months emergency disaster relief projects respectively that will see households being provided with farm inputs such as cassava cuttings, sweet potato vines, maize seeds, fertilizer, cowpeas seeds, goats and tents.

The two projects cost approximately K23 million and K25 million respectively.   

On the other hand, Good Neighbors International, a Lilongwe based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) donated assorted items to flood victims in the area of Traditional Authority Jenala to the tune of K21 million.

The items included plastic buckets, spoons, plates, plastic sheets, pots and mugs.

Speaking during the distribution exercise last Wednesday at Tchereni Primary School Camp, Managing Director for Good Neighbors International Kwik-ok Kim advised households to prudently use them as they were meant to improve hygiene and sanitation.

On the four month emergency relief project, CADECOM Diocesan Secretary Peter Pangani said the project was meant to save lives of at least 5, 000 vulnerable households in five T/As in Phalombe through agriculture input distribution and basic methods of conservation and climate smart agriculture.

According to Pangani, the project is expected to ensure increased food production, access to improved seeds, access to locally adapted varieties of planted materials and improved coordination and facilitation of agricultural emergency interventions among stakeholders.

He said the project is expected to incorporate issues of psycho-social therapy where displaced households would be engaged in dialogue to ease the shock and anxiety brought about when people experience such incidents.

The CARD project will target approximately 1000 households in the district with similar disaster relief activities. 

And District Commissioner-DC for Phalombe Paul Kalilombe commended all the players involved in the disaster relief activities in the district, noting that more assistance was needed.

According to Kalilombe, such activities will assist the displaced households return to their feet and continue living normal lives.

Approximately 20,993 households were displaced in Phalombe following heavy rains and strong winds that hit the district early this year. However, no deaths have been reported so far because of the disaster unlike the infamous 1991 avalanche that claimed numerous lives in the same district.

L

HOPE: A girl smiles at a camp for the displaced - File Photo

January 23: Malawi’s envoy to Japan, Major General Reuben Ngwenya disclosed that he has secured K74 million from the Government of Japan meant for the victims of the country’s floods that have left 176 people dead.

According to a press release made available to Malawi News Agency (Mana) Thursday, from the Ambassador, he said they sincerely share the deepest sympathy over the sad news on the devastating disasters.

Reads part of the statement, “On our side we have been engaging the Japanese government and other partners and well wishers for assistance and we are receiving very positive responses and pledges.”

Ngwenya in his statement said the Government of Japan had decided to provide K74 million towards disasters relief in response to the request by the government and the President’s declaration.

“This is for material items including 180 tents for family, 900 sleeping pads, 500 fleeces blankets, 400 wool blankets and 40 plastic sheets,” reads another part of the statement.

The ambassador in his release further notified President Peter Mutharika administration that Japan is also considering to provide additional K1.2 billion ($2.5 million), after approval by Parliament to assist in procurement and distribution of food through the World Food Programme (WFP).

The release also states that the Japanese government has decided to provide emergency assistance from humanitarians’ point of view for the victims as well as in light of the friendly relationship between Japan and Malawi.

According to the press release, Ngwenya has been in the limelight for being proactive in engaging different stakeholders in Japan to help the country in various ways.

The press release added that last year Ngwenya sourced a state of the art Fire Engine and also 10,000 litre Water Bowser vehicle for Mzuzu City Council, courtesy of Japanese Fire Fighter Association.

In 2013, Ngwenya also sourced six fire engines which were sent to the city councils of Blantyre and Lilongwe and on the health sector he sourced 10 dialysis machines which were installed at Kamuzu Central Hospital.

According to the press release the Ambassador also made headlines in July last year following a deal he struck with a Japanese car export Company, ‘Be Forward,’ to open an office in the country, a development he said will completely reduce forex burdens experienced by Malawians who purchase vehicles online, as they will be transacting using local currency when the office is opened.

Hundreds of people are still missing and over 200,000 people displaced and in urgent need for assistance especially in most districts of the country’s southern region.

Blantyre, October 10: President Professor Peter Mutharika on Thursday met leaders of political parties who contested in the presidential race in the May 20 polls at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre where among others, he discussed with them the electoral system, the cash gate scam and economic development of the country. 

Eight leaders showed up namely Atupele Muluzi of UDF, George Mnesa of Mafunde, Mark Katsonga Phiri of PPM, Davis Chester Katsonga of the dissolved CCP, Professor John Chisi of Umodzi Party, Kamuzu Chibambo of PETRA, Abusa Hellen Singh of UIP and Friday Jumbe who had represented New Labour Party-NLP.

MCP's Dr Lazarus Chakwera, Dr Joyce Banda of PP and James Mbobe Nyondo of NASAF did not show up, but Professor Mutharika said he would still invite them during future discussions.

"I want this reservoir of talent to assist me in developing the country. We have discussed matters of cash gate, economic development and the electoral system and they have made some proposals which I will accommodate," the President said.

Professor Mutharika added:  "I have told them to call or email me when they have suggestions on how best we can develop the country. The country has so many problems and we are in this together; I tell you no one can develop this country alone, it needs all of us."

Speaking on behalf of the other leaders, Peoples Transformation Party-PETRA president, Kamuzu Chibambo described the discussion as an open and constructive discourse.

"We talked about issues like the cash gate. We told the president that it was important for people to know what happened and who did what. Some are taking court cases as persecution, but we said no, the law must take its course,” Chibambo said.

According to Chibambo, the meeting also looked at how the country would progress without the support from donors who withdrew their direct budgetary support due to the looting of public resources at Capital Hill.

"Another issue we talked about was that of electoral reforms. You remember that during the 2007 constitutional review it was suggested that we move from the current system in determining presidential winner in which one with a simple majority carries the day to that of the 50plus one. So we looked at the pros and cons of the system," explained Chibambo.

Chibambo also hailed Professor Mutharika for what he termed providing a conducive room for an open discussion and 'showing traits of a listening president'.

During his inauguration as president on 2nd June 2014, Professor Mutharika extended a reconciliatory hand to all presidential contestants.

Sunday, 21 September 2014 20:42

Autocrat to release 12 track EP

Blantyre, September 21: Musician Dave Mpeni also known as Autocrat has said he is in studio working on a 12 track Extended Play (EP) titled Ladies Package which is expected to be out early November.

The musician told Malawi News Agency (Mana) that he has been getting a lot of questions from people asking what is keeping him silent and why he rarely appears at music shows.

“Well am here again to break the silence and tell Malawi what I have been up to lately. Am in studio now working on my 12 track EP) which is expected to be out early November.” He said.

 The artist said he was dedicating the 12 track EP to his lady fans who are always there supporting and promoting his music.

“All the 12 tracks in the EP are talking about ladies hence the title Ladies Package. I know people might be wondering why, of all the concepts talking about ladies well my explanation to that is very simple; I researched and consulted just to come up with something different from other artist`s concepts.

“If you dig deep into Malawi hip hop's history you will not find a single artist who did a mixtape, album or EP strictly for the ladies. I am the first hip hop artist to ever do it, a thing which am proud of.” explained Autocrat.

The artist said he has so far released 2 tracks from the EP titled ‘Mkazi Wanga’ which he featured a dancehall singjay Mandizo from Karonga and ‘Pa Guwa’ which he did with Mabilinganya Empire's Mlakho.

“I've received overwhelming feedback for these tracks and this has given me enthusiasm to work extra harder. I've been receiving phone calls from various people appreciating my talent and giving me words of encouragement, this is something that always gives me hope because whenever am writing or recording a song I know that there are some people out there who are going to sit down and listen to my songs. “he said.

He also revealed that they are currently working on a DVD for the songs ‘Mkazi Wanga’ to give people a piece of what is being cooked.

The whole project is being produced at Studio 38 entertainment by K.I.N.G and other songs in the EP include ‘Dream girl',’ Ukanene', ’Mdalitso wanga' ,’Everyday’ ft. BlackNicer & TrapC,’ Ukuona bwa?' ft. Mlakho,’ Sindidzakusiya' with Lilie & iCon,’ Tabwerera' with Phrey Wills & Copjay.

Blantyre, September 17:  Malawi is said to be one of the countries with low female condom consumption due to cultural and religious believes which perceive condom use as sinful, dirty and immoral.

Executive Director for the Network of Journalists living with HIV (JONEHA) David Kamkwamba said there is need for extensive civic education in order for Malawians to understand the great benefits attached to female condom use as a way of improving uptake.

“Low female condom consumption is contributing to the transmission of HIV in the country,” expressed Kamkwamba.
Kamkwamba also emphasised on the need to review the education system and incorporate modules that will enable the youth appreciate the condom issues at a tender age.

“Currently facts indicate that youths are becoming sexually active as young as nine and it’s high time stake holders embarked on early information dissemination on condom use and benefits particularly female condom,” explained Kamkwamba.

 Another factor leading to low female condom use is the practicality of the condom itself as women need to wear it at least not less than 30 minutes before having sexual intercourse for it to adapt to the amatory.

“For sex workers, who are one most venerable group to the virus, may find the condom unpractical as men lose trust in them if they are found already wearing a condom when meeting their clients,” added Kamkwamba.

Lilongwe resident Kelvin Sulugwe, 25, differs by saying that he is more comfortable seeing a girl carrying on or using female condoms other than moving around with male condoms

“The problem is that when it comes to matters of sex talk, only few people open up and where condoms are concerned, most of them want to act holy like they have nothing to do with such,” says Sulugwe.

 District HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC) coordinator in Blantyre Maggie Kanyenda shared the view that the low female condom uptake is caused by lack of awareness among the people on the importance and also lack of women empowerment.

“Women in our society have no much say on their sex and reproductive rights as most of them are not economically empowered as such they succumb to decisions  a man makes in relation to sex matters which in most cases exclude the female condom use,” explained Kanyenda.

For the global female condom day commemoration this year women are being motivated to demand for the availability and accessibility of female condom globally with the theme “Dance for Demand” where women are encouraged to post a video of their dance to a tune demanding for female condom availability.

The Global Female Condom Day (GFCD) provides advocates with an opportunity to highlight the power of the female condoms in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI).

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