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Malawi news pt 2

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  • Christine Chumbler
    Peter Piot Speaks Out Against Stigmatisation And Discrimination The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) February 16, 2004 Posted to the web February 16, 2004 Wezie
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 19, 2004
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      Peter Piot Speaks Out Against Stigmatisation And Discrimination

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 16, 2004
      Posted to the web February 16, 2004

      Wezie Nyirongo

      The UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot has called upon Malawians to refrain from the practice of stigmatising People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) saying stigmatisation can lead an HIV positive person to an early death.

      Piot, who was recently in the country from Geneva made the wake-up call on stigmati-sation during the National HIV/AIDS policy launch in Blantyre.

      'Let us fight stigma and discrimination. Stigmatisation is very dangerous as it can kill a person living with HIV/AIDS faster, long before the virus kills him.' said Piot who on his mission to Malawi was also accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development (DFID) Suma Chakrabarti.

      He advised that it is everybody's responsibility to fight HIV/AIDS as well as to know his/her HIV status. He reiterated the fact that to effectively combat the disease everyone should stick to the much accepted precepts of Abstinence, to Be faithful (faithfulness to one's partner) and the use a Condoms (ABC) if HIV/AIDS is to be fought in the country and world wide.

      On a positive note, Piot observed that Malawi has made tremendous strides in the fight against the pandemic in the past three years. The provision of Antiretroviral medication to People Living with HIV/AIDS was noted to be one of the factors contributing to the success that the country made in fighting the pandemic.

      'Three years ago key issues in the fight against HIV/AIDS was funding and the organising of national HIV/AIDS activities. But it is now time for action and implementation,' said Piot who also works directly under the Secretary General for the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

      He further called upon leadership both in political and traditional levels to take up the challenge against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

      President Muluzi in his address during the launch said Malawi would succeed in the fight against the pandemic if the culture of silence, stigma and discrimination within societies was removed and there is recognition that people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are a valuable resource in the response. 'Malawi will succeed in the fight against HIV/AIDS if we break the barriers of silence and remove stigma and discrimination within our own societies and recognise that people who are living with HIV/AIDS are an invaluable resource to address the response,' said Muluzi adding that parents must break the silence and have a frank and straight discussion with their children on matters relating to the pandemic.

      He also appealed to the National Aids Commission (NAC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to organise frequent and regular HIV testing days and outreach for mobile testing centres to mobilise Malawians to have an HIV test.

      'The more we know about our HIV status and the situation of HIV/AIDS in the country, the better we will manage to deal with this scourge effectively,' he added.

      The National HIV/AIDS policy which was launched under the theme: 'A Call to Renewed Action' highlights important issues relating to protection, participation and empowerment of vulnerable populations such as women and girls, orphans, widows and widowers, children and young people, the poor as well as people engaged in transitional sex.

      Prisoners, mobile populations, people engaged in same-sex relationships and people with disabilities are also among the vulnerable groups which the policy attempts to cater for.


      UDF to March Against Chihana Saying He is De-Campaigning the Party in the North

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 16, 2004
      Posted to the web February 16, 2004

      Wezie Nyirongo

      A group of about one thousand UDF Young Democrats are today expected to stage a demonstration against the AFORD leader Chakufwa Chihana who is also the second vice president for de-campaigning UDF aspiring candidates in favour of his party candidates in the north, The Chronicle has established.

      Sources from the UDF in the Northern region told The Chronicle that the demonstration comes after the remarks Chihana made when he addressed a rally in Nkhata Bay recently.

      It is reported that Chihana advised the people in the north not to support and vote for any UDF candidate but they should rather give massive support for AFORD candidates, both the aspiring and sitting members of parliament.

      The source said irritated Young Democrats will converge in Nkhata Bay central where they will start demonstrating, all the way to Chihana's office in Mzuzu city.

      In an interview, the UDF regional governor for the North Wyson Mkochi said he was not aware of the demonstration adding that it is wrong to stage a demonstration against Chihana because his remarks were part of his campaigning for his party.

      'I am not aware of the demonstration but I know that Chihana did make those remarks in Nkhata Bay and I don't think it right for the UDF to stage a demonstration based on Chihana's remarks. He was only campaigning for his party so there is nothing wrong for him to say that,' said Mkochi.

      'As a regional governor I will not tolerate such acts of demonstrations and it will be wrong to allow them to go ahead because it was part of the campaign strategy,' he added.

      UDF secretary general Kennedy Makwangwala also told The Chronicle that since the two parties are working together it is not advisable for his party's militant wing to stage a demonstration.

      'Everyone knows that Chihana is AFORD president and he has the right to campaign for his party. Therefore it is not necessary to demonstrate against him,' said Makwangala while questioning why they have resorted in doing action.

      'It is just the AFORD president campaigning for his party so why should the Young Democrats demonstrate?' he questioned adding that although the election period is not yet upon us there was still room for leaders to campaign for their parties.

      One of the UDF aspiring candidates for Mzimba west Catherine Gotani Mkandawire, who is also reported to be rivals with the sitting AFORD MP, Loveness Gondwe told The Chronicle that it could be true that there is going to be a demonstration because the situation is quite tense in the north between UDF and AFORD aspirants.

      'Although I am not sure about the demonstrations I think it could be true that there is such an arrangement - the situation is quite tense here,' said Mkandawire adding that she is still living under fear because there is group of boys who are always following her movements.

      'Last Sunday I was even followed to a church service and these boys were heavily equipped with pangas waiting for me outside the church in Mpherembe.

      I was saved by the church leaders who preached against the violent acts and they were at least over powered,' added Mkandawire who is also wife to the UDF district governor for Mzuzu city.

      The development comes at a time when the UDF and AFORD are still in crucial talks where it is alleged AFORD is demanding the position of the presidential running mate. There are also reports of continued violence in the north where sitting AFORD MPs are being challenged by their fellow counterparts who are UDF aspirants.

      Confusion also surrounds the two coalition partners on the issue of primaries where the UDF are to surrender the seats to the AFORD as a sister party. In most areas where there is an AFORD MP there emerges another UDF aspirant.

      AFORD secretary general Wallace Chiume is challenged by the presidential pr ess secretary Chinduti Chirwa who will be contesting on a UDF ticket.

      In a related development, Chihana is reported to have sidelined his vice president Kalundi Chirwa who is also the sitting member of parliament for Kasungu north. Reports say Chihana recently held a rally in Nkhamenya where he introduced a Mrs. Mwale as the AFORD parliamentary candidate for the area without the consent of Chirwa. It is not yet known whether Chirwa will still stand as an MP for AFORD or not.

      The development relates to the UDF where the UDF president Muluzi sidelined his vice president Justin Malewezi and handpicked Bingu wa Mutharika as the party's presidential candidate. This frustrated Malewezi who later dumped the party and joined the opposition People Progressive Movement (PPM) where he retains the position of vice president.


      Opposition Dissmiss Muluzi's Promises

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 16, 2004
      Posted to the web February 16, 2004

      Pilirani Phiri

      Opposition parties in the country have described as 'lip service' and 'church appeasement' President Bakili Muluzi's recent promise to the nation that his government would do everything possible to ensure that the May 18 general elections are free and fair.

      Some members of the opposition parties told The Chronicle that President Muluzi's assurance was simply meant to gain support from the churches who, of late seem to view him and the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) party with little favour.

      Speaking recently in Lilongwe during the presidential breakfast held at New State House in Lilongwe the President assured the nation that his government would do everything possible to ensure that the May 18 general elections were free and fair. "I would like to promise you here that myself, personally and my government in particular will do anything possible to ensure that the May 18 general elections are held in a free and fair environment", said Muluzi while commending the church for organising the function.

      Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) President Kamlepo Kalua said in an interview that the nation should not take Muluzi's assurance seriously, saying the UDF is likely to rig the elections in its desperate bid to remain in power after May 18 this year. "The nation should not take Muluzi's promise of a fair and free elections seriously because his UDF party is likely to rig the elections in its desperate attempt to cling to power. Besides that, one can also see that the registration process was a flop in most areas of the country," said Kalua adding; "I can tell you that some centres like in Nsanje, registration centres had no materials until the registration exercise closed. So with such bad preparations I can even say he is lying by saying his government is doing 'anything possible' to ensure that elections are free and fair".

      Also speaking in an interview Republican Party (RP) President Gwanda Chakuamba said the nation should pray and hope that what Muluzi said in the presence of the church will publicly manifest itself. "The best thing is that the nation should hope and pray that what Muluzi said in the presence of the clergy, whether he meant it or not must manifest itself," said Chakuamba.

      Commenting on the same issue Muluzi's long time senior cabinet Minister and former UDF's second Vice President but now People's Progressive Movement (PPM) President Aleke Banda urged Muluzi to first bring to book all UDF officials who perpetrates violence if his 'free and fair elections' promise was to be believed. "It is very easy to promise peace but at the same time not observe it. It is the UDF that incites political violence - so the President must first bring to book his UDF violence perpetrators if he is to be believed. It is the UDF that has the key to peace, so they must refrain from violence if the elections are to be indeed fair and free," said Banda.

      The UDF pa rty of late have been terrorising members of the opposition and the church through its terror youth wing known as the Young Democrats. The so called 'Young Democrats' who are often older men with shaven heads, wearing dark sunglasses have no clear mandate and are answerable to anyone who has money in the party. Civil society organisations and the church have asked the ruling UDF to disband them before the elections, a call that has so far not been heeded.

      The presidential breakfast prayers which were scheduled to be attended by 12 presidential candidates saw the Malawi Congress Party president John Tembo and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) president Brown Mpinganjira refuse to attend the prayers.

      Tembo only sent his representative saying he was attending 'other business' while the NDA was not represented by anyone. The party said later it fears for the security of their president and advised him to stay away.

      It has been reported that the venue was awash with UDF Young Democrats although, in this instance they did not cause any disturbance nor did they perpetrate any acts of violence against the other opposition party presidents.


      Bwanje Farmers Undergo Training in Irrigation Farming

      The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

      February 16, 2004
      Posted to the web February 16, 2004

      Annabel Ridpath

      Irrigation agriculture experts from Kilimanjaro Agriculture Training Centre (KATC) in Tanzania recently visited Malawi and conducted a five day training course on water management for Ninety farmer from the Bwanje Valley Irrigation, Crop Production and Marketing Co-operative Society.

      Silio Paulo, chairperson of the scheme's Cooperative Society was impressed with the training which he said would improved the participant's knowledge of efficient water utilisation techniques. Part of the training included strengthening their leadership skills and also highlighting the need for creating and enforcing by-laws which would help the scheme to operate efficiently and benefit all its members: 'Once we put what we are discussing here into practice, we expect to get higher yields, which should further improve our lives,' he added.

      J. C. R Shaba, a crop protection officer for Dedza Rural Development Progra-mme (DRDP) who attended the course said: 'Action planning is particularly important because it facilitates the timely and coordinated implementation of activities. Farmers will be able to sell their commodities as an organised group. They will also be able to institute their own activities and receive extension advice,' he remarked.

      The skills picked up by the farmers and the benefits are likely to spread to other farmers outside the scheme.

      Adam Pyuza, Deputy Principal of KATC advised that the farmers themselves should take the initiative and lead the way. He said it was important that farmers should take the lead and that support from extension staff should follow their initiatives closely. He also added that any improvement strategy should be owned by the farmers themselves. 'The basic approach is to promote farmer-to-farmer knowledge transfer which will result in higher multiplication of extension benefits'.

      The Irrigation Scheme began in 1997 with a US$16 million grant aid from the government of Japan.

      Situated along the Nankhokwe River in Dedza, the scheme comprises of an 800 hectare project with 2,240 farmers. 768 of the framers are women who have an average landholding of 0.4 hectare per farmer.

      Rice, maize, beans and vegetables are the major crops under cultivation benefiting all the people in the valley.


      78,000 Malawian Voters Die

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      February 13, 2004
      Posted to the web February 16, 2004

      Wisdom Chimgwede

      At least 78,000 registered voters died between May 1999 and th e last day of the May 18, 2004 general election voter registration exercise, according to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) interim report.

      But the commission's spokesman, Fergus Lipenga said in an interview, the figures are expected to rise, by next week when the final roll is expected out.

      The Chairman's report however attributes the low figures to an apparrent unwillingness to report the deaths on the part of the living voters.

      At the start of the registration exercise, the commission had estimated to create a deceased persons register equivalent to the nation's mortality rate currently standing at 2.5 per cent.

      It was therefore expected that by the close of the exercise, about 150,000 people from the 6 million currently registered, could be recorded in the deceased persons register.

      At the beginning of the voter registration, the voters roll had 5.2 million registrants and between 300,000 and 560,000 new voters were expected to register based on the National Statistical Office projections.

      However, by February 2, four days after the close of the exercise, the number of known new registrants stood at 900,000.

      "This high figure can be attributed to the registration of those who have just attained the age of 18 years, double registration and the under-aged. We will determine the under-aged registration when we examine the challenges from the registration centres later in April 2004." reads Kalaile's report in part.

      The commission also expected that all the 5.2 million voters in the 1999 register, could verify their names and other details, but only 2 million physically verified their records by 6 PM on January 28.

      Kalaile said the reason for this could be that some voters did not see the importance of verifying the voters roll as they have certificates in their possession.

      "In some cases, voters sent their relatives to verify records on their behalf. This can be attributed to inadequate voter education," says Kalaile.

      Meanwhile, the voter registration exercise described by the commission as a success has received conflicting reports from various monitors.

      While the Sadc Parliamentry Forum observer mission attributes the main problem of low turn out in most centers and shortage of registration materials to lack civic education, the local observers have gone flat out accusing the commission of failing to supervise the registration process.

      The commission however says this is not: "wholly correct because the commission has done a tremendous job to visit all the centers."

      The commission accuses Center For Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) the owners of the report of producing inadequate reports which can not assist the commission.

      According to Kalaile, the report does not specify exactly where the shortages occurred and what kind of material was in short supply.


      President Mules's Son Enters Politics

      Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

      February 13, 2004
      Posted to the web February 16, 2004


      Malawi president Bakili Muluzi will be retiring from office after the May elections but it seems his name will still be reverberating in the country's political circles.

      This is because the president's 26-year-old son, Atupele Austin Muluzi, has just recorded a resounding victory in primaries for parliamentary elections in his rural Machinga northeast constituency after beating two other contestants.

      "It is a great honour for me to take up this role. I feel humbled for the people to entrust their future in me," said the soft- spoken first-born son of Muluzi.

      Atupele, speaking to PANA in a plush office of his father's six-month old Trade Investment Bank of Malawi in the commercial capital of Blantyre, said he believed people who are in privileged positions should give back to society.
      "Growing up in Machinga, I was not happy looking at people in villages lacking basic necessities like food and health care. So I believe one way I can contribute (to alleviate poverty) is through politics," he said.

      Atupele said he was sure his father's ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) would emerge victorious in the elections. Why?

      The opposition was too fractured to cause a serious challenge to his father's successor, economist Bingu wa Mutharika, he said.

      But at 26 Atupele was honest enough to admit that he was still a toddler in politics. "I am just a baby. I am still crawling, still learning my way," he said.

      The UK-trained lawyer is currently company secretary for his father's Trade Investment Bank of Malawi.
    • Christine Chumbler
      Continue With Arv Therapy is the Advice Given By Dr. Ntaba - Minister of Health The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe) August 23, 2004 Posted to the web August 23,
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 27, 2004
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        Continue With Arv Therapy is the Advice Given By Dr. Ntaba - Minister of

        The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

        August 23, 2004
        Posted to the web August 23, 2004

        Pushpa Jamieson

        'To those who are on this drug, I would say; 'for heavens sake for
        their own benefit, please don't stop'. The ministry is as interested
        about their welfare as anybody can be'

        This is the advise that Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba, Minister of Health gives
        to those who are currently taking the Ranbaxy triple fixed dose
        combination therapy anti-retroviral drug which contains Lamivudine,
        Stavudine and Neverapine.

        Responding to a question from The Chronicle about the danger of
        continuing to use a drug that has been de-listed by the World Health
        Organisation (WHO) because of the failure to meet the required standard,
        Ntaba said the quality and efficacy of the drug were not in question.

        'WHO has looked at the laboratory that the drug manufacturer uses, they
        have found the drug quality and efficacy to be acceptable, to be
        appropriate. There has been no evidence to the contrary whatsoever.'
        Ntaba went on to explain that it was the procedure of the laboratory
        used by Ranbaxy for biological equivalence to the patented ARVs which
        was in question. He said when WHO did their periodic assessment on the
        manufacture of the drug they found that the drug was acceptable.

        'When they tried to reassess this laboratory that does the
        bioequivalent they now found out that (it was) not the results (that)
        are in question but the procedure. That procedure alone is not meeting
        the international requirement.' He went on to add that because the
        procedure did not meet the requirement internationally, the drug was
        removed from the list. He stressed the fact that it was not the quality
        of the drug, but the procedure followed that resulted in the removal of
        the drug from the WHO drugs list.

        Ntaba said it would be a tragedy to deprive the poor Malawians who were
        infected by HIV/AIDS from a drug whose quality is still acceptable just
        because of a procedural shortfall. Ntaba said it is very simple for the
        laboratory to meet and remedy the shortfall in order to get the drug
        back on the WHO registered list - and are in the process of doing so.

        'We have the option, in our particular case, either to withdraw the
        drugs and put the patients who are on that drug at risk - because it is
        not possible for us to simply withdraw and get another equally
        accessible generic preparation - it will take more than six months'. He
        cautioned that this would mean that people would be six months without
        the drug.

        'Most of those people would not be here by that time, I assure you' he

        He warned that since the virus had already been exposed to ARVs,
        stopping the treatment would mean that the virus could develop
        resistance to any future anti-retroviral drugs.

        Ntaba said the decision by his ministry to continue with the drugs was
        made on the advice of the WHO experts through their country
        representative. This is because of the delay in finding a replacement
        regime and the risk of leaving patients without an alternative drug for
        a long time.

        Ntaba said he was confident that every effort would be made by the
        concerned parties to correct the procedure in order to get the drug back
        onto the WHO list as soon as possible. He revealed that UNICEF, who are
        responsibly for procuring the drug for Malawi are in the process of
        looking at being on the queue for a replacement supplier for the future

        Responding to recent media reports about the government defying the WHO
        order, Ntaba said it was unfortunate that the media had chosen to
        overlook the importance of continuous therapy and instead see
        government's stand only as a defiance to an order from WHO.

        He challenged the media to assist in making sure that correct
        information was given to people, saying his ministry was just as
        concerned about the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

        'I said at a recent press conference - 'please you people in the media,
        we are just as concerned ourselves in the ministry as you are about the
        plight and welfare of people with HIV/AIDS. We are all working
        together'. Lets not confuse the patients, lets send a similar united
        strong signal to get all of them to come out'.

        He warned that if people thought that the drug was banned and the
        ministry was being irresponsible by not adhering to the ban, they would
        all go into a cocoon, stop taking the drug and die there.

        This, he said, would make the fight to stop the further spread of
        HIV/AIDS even more difficult. He said the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the
        country was a tragedy and everything that can be done must be done to
        ease the plight of those infected and affected.


        Lusaka, Lilongwe Cities Twin

        The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

        August 20, 2004
        Posted to the web August 20, 2004

        LUSAKA City Council and Malawi's Lilongwe City Council have signed a
        memorandum of understanding to address bilateral issues affecting the
        two cities.

        Speaking at a signing ceremony yesterday, Lusaka Town Clerk Francis
        Muwowo said the memorandum would strengthen cooperation between the two
        sister cities.

        Legal services director Moono Munansangu signed on behalf of Zambia
        while Lilongwe Mayor Jussab Hamdani signed for Malawi.

        Mr Munansangu said the spirit of pan- Africanism was needed in exchange
        of bilateral issues that affected the cities such as pollution, health
        and capacity building to enhance social bonds between the two cities.

        A committee would be instituted to foresee the implementation of the
        issues raised in the memorandum.

        And Lilongwe mayor Mr Hamdani supported the formation of the committee
        saying, it would help countercheck the issues raised and commended
        Zambia's road network and city management.

        "I'm impressed with Zambia's road network, solid waste management
        project and management of street vending," he said.

        Mr Hamdani was also impressed with the construction of Luburma market
        where his city participated and promised to implement certain projects
        exchanged between the two cities.

        The Lilongwe delegation visited the solid waste management project in
        Kalingalinga, dump site in Chunga and Luburma market.

        Other issues discussed during the four-day visit were, general overview
        of the city of Lusaka, rates administration and the land tenure project
        in Chaisa township.


        Malawi: Election Chief Summoned to Explain Flawed Poll

        UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

        August 19, 2004
        Posted to the web August 19, 2004


        A parliamentary committee has reportedly summoned the chairman of the
        Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to explain why the May general
        election was condemned as flawed by local and international poll

        MEC chairman Justice James Kalaile is expected to appear before the
        Parliamentary Committee on Public Appointments and Assets Declaration
        next month, following a public outcry over his management of the 20 May
        presidential poll, won by a clear margin by the ruling party candidate,
        Bingu wa Mutharika.

        Kalaile confirmed on Thursday that he had been summoned by the
        committee, but told IRIN he had "no idea" why he had been called.

        In its report on the ballot, the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa
        said the MEC "seemed to lack the institutional capacity to organise and
        manage some crucial aspects of the electoral process, such as the
        compilation of the voters' roll".

        The Commonwealth election observer group noted: "The conclusion we have
        reached is that the voters were free to express their wishes on election
        day itself, but because of the problems with the register, the bias of
        the state media and the abuse of incumbency, the process prior to
        election day was unfair. Some of the requirements of the democratic
        process have been met, but others have not."

        A political analyst at the University of Malawi, Edge Kanyongolo, said
        he welcomed the move by the parliamentary committee, and supported
        demands made by some pro-democracy NGOs that Kalaile and his
        commissioners should be sacked.

        But he cautioned against rushing into a decision, as "this will not
        help the democratisation process".


        City Assembly to Demolish Shacks

        Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

        August 19, 2004
        Posted to the web August 19, 2004

        Paul Kang'ombe

        Blantyre City Assembly has threatened to pull down all shacks that are
        being used as telephone bureaux.

        The Assembly's public relations officer Elistina Lunguzi said that the
        shacks are not compatible with the city plans describing them as an

        "Some of these infrastructures were erected a long time ago and after
        sitting with the stakeholders we realised that some of these shacks are
        illegal," she said.

        Some Asian businessmen have been complaining to the Blantyre City
        Assembly that some of the telephone bureaux and vendors are poorly
        situated and that this hinders their business.

        The Assembly introduced a K500 levy on every applicant within the

        Telephone bureaux mushroomed with the liberalisation of the
        telecommunication sector that was introduced in 1994.

        The Malawi Telecommunication Limited (MTL), the sole fixed line
        providers estimates that there are about 10, 000 telephone bureaux in
        the country.

        The country's telecommunication watchdog, the Malawi Communication and
        Regulator Authority (Macra) also hiked telephone bureau application fees
        from K1,000 to K4,200 annually.

        One of the telephone bureau operators at Mbayani in Blantyre, Regina
        Ngozo said that the new fees are prohibitive and aimed at frustrating
        the small-scale businesspersons.

        "Some bureaux don't make enough money and these prohibitive fees are
        likely going to kill the telephone bureau business," said Ngozo.

        She further noted that the new development is a step backward in the
        telecommunication industry.


        SADC Business Experts for Great Economies

        Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

        August 19, 2004
        Posted to the web August 19, 2004

        By Lucius Phaiya

        SADC business experts currently gathered in Blantyre, have blamed
        inadequate technical capacity in macroeconomic analysis prevailing in
        government organs as the cause of poor macro-economies of the region's
        member states.

        Converged to scout ways through which they can improve human and
        institutional capacity in the critical areas of macroeconomics and
        financial management under the Macroeconomic Modelling and Forecasting
        Programme [MMFP] , the gurus have named poor databases and weak
        coordination among major economic institutions as other derailing

        In an interview, MMFP Programme Director Dr Ephraim Kaunga said that
        most top economic institutions have suffered from the effects of
        government's exclusion of competent capacity, which led to weak policy
        consistence and coherence.

        "We have noticed that governments have not intervened on key economic
        bodies of the member states to ensure that there is a strong network of
        capable personnel that cannot put national economies to insecurity,"
        said Kaunga.

        Kaunga added that the Macroeconomic and Finance Management Institute
        [MEFMI] formulated proposal solutions to this capacity gap which need to
        be recommended by the member states so that the region can fight the
        problem as one.

        "Microeconomic modelling is a critical tool which needs quick
        correction. In member countries there are technical capacity gaps
        especially in modelling, which limit quality of policy design and
        execution," said Kaunga.

        Speaking on the local view, Director of Finance in the ministry of
        economic planning Ben Botolo said that there are a number of problems
        that MEFMI has tried to address in the country including the closing of
        companies, which have began bearing fruit.

        "MEFMI has set up concise programmes like the MMFP to ensure that we
        can rise above our economic problems and join those countries doing
        better on the board," said Botolo.

        Botolo also thanked the Malawi Government for the support it renders to
        MEFMI capacity building efforts, citing a consensus on balance of
        payments analysis as well supported by the government.

        He urged MEFMI to exercise the potential vested upon it to establish
        networking links for the sharing of information on macroeconomic
        management in the region.

        "This will provide a platform for high level interaction among
        technical staff of the major institutions engaged in policy formulation
        and implementation," he said. Policy formulation is considered to be a
        delicate duty of macroeconomic institutions as weak policies are feared
        to bring serious economic cripples which demand long term recovery.


        Nurse Cuts Gospel Album

        Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

        August 19, 2004
        Posted to the web August 19, 2004

        By Wanangwa Browne

        A nurse working at Uwigo Clinic in Blantyre has taken off a breather
        from her usual profession by venturing into the music scene. She is busy
        producing her debut album.

        Peggy Nyirenda, 26, has suspended injections, drug prescription and
        picked up the microphone to cut a gospel album to be entitled

        The Album has 10 songs which are in English, Chichewa and Tumbuka.
        Among the songs include Matamando, Everything I do, Wadada Chiuta,
        Tiwonge Yehova and Uyu Yesu and they are being recorded at Studio K by
        Albert Khoza.

        A fourth born daughter in the family of eight she said, as is the case
        with many musician who surfaced to the fraternity with a choral
        background, so too has she whose interest in music started while she was
        nine years old in a Sunday School Choir of the United Church of Zambia.

        She said, her interest continued whilst at school where she was
        inspired by her music teacher. Nyirenda said in class it was one of her
        favourite subject up to form five and she passed with A.

        "My admiration grew enormously as I was idolized by my brother who by
        that time was at University of Zambia where he obtained a degree in
        music. Sometimes he used to take me and sing in hotels entertaining
        tourists," she said.

        "When we came to Malawi, we formed a family Choir. Being born in a
        Christian family and knowing how nice God is, it's one way of praising
        him in everything he does in our lives," she explained.

        "As is the message in everything I do,' I am thanking God by raising me
        the time I was virtually dead. I fell sick to the extent of failing to
        identify my parents. Besides I was unconscious for four days but God
        sent a man who prayed for me and I became conscious," said she.

        She added that she is not worried with sales at the market but her
        motive is to preach the greatness of God through music.


        Ex-MP, Governor in Verbal War

        Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

        August 19, 2004
        Posted to the web August 19, 2004

        Abdul Aziz Onile And Paul Kang'ombe

        Ex-Member of Parliament for Blantyre City South Elwyn Maluwa and
        Blantyre district governor Eric Chiwaya are not seeing each other eye to
        eye as the Blantyre district governorship polls draw closer.

        Maluwa blames Chiwaya of decampaigning him during the May 20
        parliamentary elections where he lost to independent Jimmy Banda who has
        since joined the ruling party.

        He described Chiwaya as a failure, incompetent and that he deserves to
        be relieved of his duties for having a hand in the party's failure to
        return many constituencies in the district in the just gone polls.

        "Chiwaya is a destroyer who shoulders the blame for my failure to
        retain my seat during the elections.

        Imagine, he was working against me by misleading some party loyalists
        to be decampaign me," he alleged.

        Maluwa said that he would strengthen the UDF at grassroots level.

        Maluwa denied that he was distributing maize in the constituency to woe
        the people to vote for him.

        "The City Assembly is responsible for the distribution of the maize and
        that the maize was one hundred metric tonnes donated by the National
        Chairman of the UDF Dr. Bakili Muluzi at Naotcha ground during the
        campaign period.

        Maluwa also denied rumours circulating that he had differences with the
        UDF national Chair who it is believed is supporting Chiwaya.

        "The UDF Chair is a humble man who loves everyone.

        Chiwaya should not hoodwink the people who seemingly have had enough of
        him. If I were him, I could just peacefully resign," he said.

        Commenting on the dismissal of some UDF faithful from their positions
        and creation of the party's new branches, areas and constituency
        committees, Maluwa argued that the move is not a blessing. It will only
        create division in the party.

        "Our party Constitution clearly stipulates that none of our devoted
        supporters shall be expelled from the party until the National Executive
        Committee (NEC) holds elections at all levels," said Maluwa.


        Are Teachers Stealing Our Children's Future?

        Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

        August 16, 2004
        Posted to the web August 16, 2004

        By Story Workshop (edited By Malawi Standard)
        Blantyre, Malawi

        For quite some time now, teacher/student relationships in schools, have
        partly been blamed for the girl child's alarming dropout rate.

        The problem, according to statistics, is at times with the girls
        themselves but teachers are largely to blame in many instances.

        Sankha Wekha, a new magazine show from Story Workshop exploring the
        choices youth are making, started on MBC Radio One last week. Later the
        26-part series, will turn the spotlight to the growing problem of
        seductive teachers who are betraying the trust of many parents and
        guardians, according to Story workshop.

        Story Workshop's media team has been investigating the problem of
        teacher-student sex in Malawi mainly to try find out its verocity. The
        result? Girls from all over the country report that abuse is all too
        common in their schools.

        Sad as this may sound, but students accept having had sex with their
        teachers themselves or at least know a friend who has fallen prey to
        seductive teachers.

        "Seductive teachers deserve severe punishment" screamed one newspaper
        article on April 2 this year following revelations about Kanyenda
        Primary School in Dedza.

        "The nation has reached a crisis " the newspaper article observed.

        The situation at Kanyenda had gone unchecked until one girl became
        pregnant. The teacher abandoned his promise to marry her, but he was
        still allowed to teach at the school - much to the despair of school
        committee chairman Henry Lotazio.

        Lotazio pleaded with the Government to ensure "that strict punishment
        is meted out to such teachers".

        The rare cases which are brought to the attention of the authorities
        can expect little punishment at present, as the Ministry of Education
        Public Relations Officer Joseph Chisala admits: "Currently (we use) Book
        6 of Public Service Regulation which has disciplinary measures like
        interdiction but these measures are not working".

        The public outcry over the abuse reported in Dedza was timely as the
        Education Act is in the process of being revised. The Ministry plans to
        incorporate stronger measures to ensure that teacher-student
        relationships are put to a halt.

        Everyone who values the well-being of Malawi's children will be urging
        the Government to make strict laws and, more importantly, enforce them.

        Unless the situation is checked, girls will continue to suffer the kind
        of fate witnessed by this Standard Eight girl: "We were coming from
        break time and the teacher called us to collect notebooks. Most of us
        refused because we knew the behaviour of that teacher, but one of us
        went and she was told to see him some other time.

        "The teacher then proposed love to her. My friend told me that she
        refused and from then on, the teacher used to beat and give her
        unjustified punishments and would mark her assignments wrong even if she
        got a everything right."

        But her cry for help went unheard.

        Some teachers feel they are no different from other men and see no
        reason why they should be punished for simply using work as an
        opportunity to meet girls?

        "We need to separate line of duty from being a man. Teachers come to
        school to work, not to engage in marital affairs with their girl
        students. It is a teacher's job to shape their lives not put their
        futures at risk by impregnating them or passing on HIV or an STI to
        them," says science teacher Dyton Chiwaya, at Blantyre's Catholic
        Institute Primary School.

        "Engaging in relationships with your students is totally wrong. A
        teacher's role is to help girls have a good future. It's our job to
        control male ego even if girls try to seduce us," he said.

        Teachers need to appreciate that they are accountable to parents, to
        the school committee, to the District Education Authorities and, most of
        all, to the girls they are entrusted with their future.

        He issues a strong warning to colleagues who ignore this: "The Ministry
        of Education stipulates that teachers who have relationships with girls
        should be punished to act as a deterrent to others from engaging in the
        same behaviour. It is a breach of our professional ethics and they
        should be forced out of their job if they behave incorrectly."

        Story Workshop Executive Director Marvin Hanke agrees that teachers are
        not just like any other men and believes they shouldn't be punished

        "I'm the father of several daughters. When they're in school, teachers
        are their parents. We don't accept parents having sex with their
        children. When teachers use our girls sexually they're violating the law
        related to teacher conduct and making a mockery of the profession," he

        Most relationships, it was discovered, happen because teachers offer
        gifts or threaten girls with poor marks if they refuse, but sometimes
        girls are at fault themselves.

        Zimachitika scriptwriter Charles Simbi remembers his days as a teacher
        and says: "Some girls will slip love notes into their homework books to
        try entice you. They think a teacher can marry them and take them out of

        "We have to therefore acknowledge that teacher-student relationships
        are not always one-sided. But it still remains up to the teacher as a
        mature adult to handle these situations sensibly," he says.

        Chiwaya offers this advice to young male teachers who lack adequate
        training due to Malawi's severe teacher shortage (a large proportion of
        which is due to HIV-AIDS related deaths): "Explain to girls why it is
        wrong to propose to their teachers. Tell them they can please you best
        by working hard in class and making something of themselves. Tell them
        to respect you professionally just as you want them to respect

        But why is it that some girls seem to invite trouble? Sadly, many
        believe they are worth nothing without a man.

        "My friends and my parents all say I need to find one," says 17 year
        old Selina (name changed). "I'm finding it really difficult to cope up
        on my own and wish I had someone to look after me," she adds.

        Others concentrate on wearing fashionable clothes and doing their hair,
        relying on their looks to entice their teachers.

        But Rudo Mkukupa, Story Workshop's Community Mobiliser and talented
        singer in her 20s sees things differently.

        "Women are not powerless sex objects. We can make our own choices.
        Girls should be encouraged to be confident individuals. They have the
        right to say 'no!' to teachers and complete their education," she says.

        Clearly it is time for change - and it's not just Story Workshop who is
        saying so. Hanke says: "Sankha Wekha was influenced by several
        significant research studies which helped us understand the barriers
        girls face in completing their education as well as in assessing the
        impact HIV-AIDS is having on education in the region."

        These studies included 'An Investigative Study of the Abuse of Girls in
        African Schools' (Esme Kadzamira and Eve Lemani, August 2003, DIFID),
        'The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Primary and Secondary Schooling in Malawi
        (Esme Kadzamira et al, September 2001, Centre for Educational Research
        and Training) and 'Male Teacher Sexual Abuse of the Girl Child in the
        School Context: A Case Study of Primary Schools in Chiradzulu District
        (Emmie Chanika, June 2003, DAPP Child Aid Program).

        "I would urge all policy makers and others in the field of education to
        read these studies and fight with Story Workshop against seductive
        teachers," urges Hanke.

        Story Workshop is asking authorities to crack down on those who would
        steal the future of Malawi's young girls.

        "We need to be serious about this issue. Government must be firm in
        demonstrating that this behaviour is unethical, illegal and unacceptable
        to the nation. As long as we just pay lip service to the problem,
        nothing will change," says Hanke.

        A reknowned feature writer, Mzati Mkolokosa believes that premarital
        preganancies are a crucial trigger for prostitution.

        Do we men realise that when we use, misuse, abuse and confuse girls, we
        refuse them a bright future," he queries.

        Mkolokosa adds: Every sugar daddy is somebody's husband, father, son or
        brother. Every victim is somebody's daughter or sister. So how does this
        happen? Dixies Maluwa-Banda, head of Education foundation and chancellor
        college, says there is a power difference between older men and young
        girls which can destroy a girl's self-esteem.

        "She starts a relationship thinking she's in control because she's
        being promised the things she wants. But she soon finds out how helpless
        she really is," adds the educationist.

        But Hanke says it is unfortunate that enforcement of penalties by MoEST
        is difficult especially due to lack of knowledge on laws and rights on
        the part of the community atlarge.


        Nib Still Feeding Muluzi State Secrets ... As Reports Indicate a Fraud
        Probe On Nib Imminent

        The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe)

        August 15, 2004
        Posted to the web August 16, 2004

        Levison Mwase

        The National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), a government security arm which
        is mandated to report only to the Head of State, is allegedly continuing
        to feed the former president and UDF National Chairman, Bakili Muluzi,
        top secret state intelligence, The Chronicle has been informed.

        Highly placed sources in the NIB, a brainchild of Muluzi when he was
        president, said some top officials in the Bureau pass on to Muluzi
        important classified intelligence information which the Bureau gathers
        for state security purposes.

        However, Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Bright Msaka said it
        was not true that NIB still reports to Muluzi. He said the NIB, just
        like the Malawi Army, has an obligation to report to the Head of State

        'The Head of State is the only person the NIB reports to. They started
        to report to President Bingu wa Mutharika soon after he took over
        office,' said Msaka.

        Our sources insists that Muluzi still accesses state intelligence which
        is passed on to him by some of his loyalists in the Intelligence

        'Duplicate files containing state secrets and other pieces of
        intelligence information which are supposed to be seen only by the
        President, are passed over to the UDF National Chairman,' the sources

        Apparently, soon after Mutharika took over office in May, Muluzi
        requested, and obtained intelligence from NIB on the financial situation
        of Republican Party (RP) and the then Mgwirizano Coalition president
        Gwanda Chakuamba as well as national Democratic Alliance president Brown
        Mpinganjira which helped him to woe the two opposition leaders to join
        the UDF government.

        It is also alleged that Muluzi recently asked some NIB officials to dig
        up some dirt on the past record of State House Chief of Staff Ken Ngo'ma
        and DPP Ishmael Wadi which the UDF National Chairman could use to
        intimidate Mutharika with should he continue to behave strangely against
        the UDF.

        The development comes hot on the heels of recent revelations that
        Muluzi left a complete and efficient spy apparatus to monitor activities
        of Bingu wa Mutharika.

        The NIB, previously known as Special Branch of the Police during the
        Kamuzu era, was delinked from the Police Service at the direction of
        Muluzi to become a separate and complete state security arm with a
        mandate to protect the nation and its citizens at all times from

        However, unlike Intelligence organisations in other countries who
        operate transparently, the NIB has under cover officers and its
        officials disguise themselves as Office of the President and Cabinet
        (OPC) employees.

        Some NIB officers were recently thrown out of an elections conference
        in Blantyre after the organisers discovered that the officers were
        disguising themselves as 'concerned citizens'.

        Media reports suggest that government is probing the NIB for alleged
        fraud and corruption after the Bureau reportedly failed to account for
        K375 million which was allocated to it in last year's budget.

        When asked to comment on the issue, Msaka said he was not aware of any
        probe concerning the NIB.

        The media reports also allege that most NIB officials receive three
        times the recommended salaries prescribed for officers in government.

        NIB Director of Intelligence Chitsulo Gama is quoted as having denied
        the allegations. Sources in government said Mutharika has ordered a
        restructuring of the NIB.

        Opposition parties have constantly criticised the allocation of huge
        sums of money to NIB by government while neglecting pro-poor
        expenditures. They have often also questioned the existence of the
        Bureau saying it was primarily created to stalk opposition figures as
        well as spy on members in the UDF who are deemed to be 'out of step'
        with the former president and his policies.
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