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Malawi news pt 2

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  • 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 1 of 2 , Aug 27, 2004
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      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, 2004

      Pushpa Jamieson
      Lilongwe

      '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
      said.

      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

      Lilongwe

      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
      observers.

      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

      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
      eyesore.

      "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
      city.

      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
      Blantyre

      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
      factors.


      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
      Blantyre

      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
      Matamando.


      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
      Blantyre

      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
      differently.

      "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
      says.

      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
      poverty."

      "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
      themselves."

      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
      Lilongwe

      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
      only.

      '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
      Bureau.

      '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
      insisted.

      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
      espionage.

      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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