Monday, October 24, 2016

Gwanda Chakuamba: So Near, Yet So Far Away

At 81, the heart of the once mighty Gwanda Chakuamba,  a veteran politician from the Lower Shire, has been stilled at last.
In that instance Monday morning, an instant at Blantyre Adventist Hospital when Gwanda's body could not pull any more-- a morning when his will could not out-muscle his heart-- Malawi lost a giant of gigantic proportions.
Never, in recent memory; never in recent history; never, in the foreseeable future shall a Gwanda stand still.
He braced prison life during the one party regime. At one point, he was one of those pushing others that way, the jail way-- when, for example, he served as one of the leaders for the defunct Malawi Young Pioneers.
And, then, others turned the knife on him-- facilitating his path to jail.
And, at 81, he forgets all that.
Because a dark cloud has stood in the way of the light of happiness, if not the light-of-Gwanda's presence.
Now, Gwanda will be remembered as a fearless leader. A leader who took the Malawi Congress Party on his shoulders and represented it as presidential candidate. When, that is, all was well with John Zenus Ungapake Tembo.
He also stood as Mgwirizano Coalition presidential candidate when a presidential candidate with clout was needed in 2004 to  beat United Democratic Front's hand-picked Bingu wa Mutharika.
People, voters that is, were hopeful that here was someone-- a Gwanda Chakuamba-- who could upset the political order and push the United Democratic Front, whose president Bakili Muluzi had reached the junction of his constitutional road as Republican president.
On that hope, the hope for change from yellow to something non-yellow, voters went to vote enmasse in the 2004 presidential elections.
When Bingu wa Mutharika still carried the day, those days when Justice James Kalaile was Malawi Electoral Commission president, voters went on riot, burning tyres in such Blantyre townships as Zingwangwa, Bangwe, Ndirande.
A United Democratic Front office in Ndirande (Goliyo) was torched down. The ruins of that deplorable action can be seen today, stripped of the yellow ( United Democratic Front's party colour) colour that adorned it.
A United Democratic Front office in Chitawira was torched down.
Malawi was in a violent crisis.
In the heat of that moment-- the heat, in this case, representing the love for Gwanda Chakuamba -- a 13-year-old Epiphania Bonjesi--  an innocent, soft-spoken Catholic girl who loved her rosary and faith-- was gunned down by one towering figure called a Malawi Police Service officer.
People know where Bonjesi is buried.  But none can identify that police officer. He, surely it must have been a he, was shielded by the system that claims to defend justice when it promotes injustice.
Gwanda then did a number of things in between. He formed his Republican Party.
He joined the Democratic Progressive Party of Bingu wa Mutharika, in which he served as Agriculture Minister-- becoming famous for demanding a BMW  (his favourite car) when hunger was biting the stomach linings of millions in Malawi.
Along the way, he joined the People's Party of Joyce Banda in the run up to the 2014 Tripartite Elections.
Just recently, he became more blue than the Democratic Progressive Party.
And, on Monday, he became history, the main ingredient of Malawi's post-1994 political history.
To say the truth, justice delt Gwanda a great injustice and, from today onwards, he shall be remembered as someone who came so close to the presidency and, yet, remained so far away-- coming close to power only when he was hoping.
Now he hopes no more for earthly positions. As a self-proclaimed pastor, he hopes for better history.
As he lives no more, in body, but remains forever present in our memories.
Oh, Gwanda, oh! 

President Peter Mutharika's Education Legacy

More than anything else, President Peter Mutharika, who is live and ticking, will be remembered for announcing in the 2014/2015 academic year that Junior Certificate of Education (JCE ) examinations had been abolished.
But, like all abrupt decisions, the decision did not take effect there and then. Instead, candidates will just be having continuous assessment from the 2016/17 academic year.
Why? JCE was costly, in terms of examinations' processing. The certificate, meaning the paper, cost a leg.
Of course, arguing that the processing of learning is more valuable than the certification makes sense.
Again, JCE certification lost ground a long time ago, so that employers no longer fancy JCE holders as academically sound.
That said, nothing beats the image of a shining certificate, JCE or not.
Again, JCE helped students study their Form One and Form 2 work before proceeding to senior level. In other words, it helped them get accustomed to examinations' fever.
Additionally,  JCE served as a sieving mechanisms, screening those who might, otherwise, have not been ready for Malawi School Certificate of Education examinations.
The abolition of the same has, therefore, brought unnecessary panic, and reduced the expectation that Malawians had on their education system.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why Malawian Presidents Take Traditional Leaders to UN General Assembly

... some history
Never, in the past two years and four months since President Peter Mutharika won the May 2014 Tripartite Elections, has the President's absence from, and presence in, Malawi raised equal attention.
Not until he left Malawi for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, United States of America (U.S.), on September 16, 2016 and returned on October 16, 2016.
In fact, his going was a routine issue. Malawi's presidents have never missed out on the opportunity to jump on the next plane to New York whenever United Nations member states flock to the U.S.. Such a trip is a, kind of, ritual.
The only debate that rages in the media-- and this, too, has caught the imagination of Malawians in the past two years and four months-- hovers over the topic of how many people have made the trip.
For your information, no trip to the  UN General Assembly is worth it if traditional leaders-- hordes of them for comfort sometimes-- do not accompany the President. So, the media have been spending time on such trivia as how many people accompany the president-- which is a none-issue any way, since people, both those who deserve it and those who do not, have always accompanied Malawi's presidents. And, always, traditional leaders are part of the fray.
The genesis of this is former president Bakili Muluzi's regime.
Muluzi, who was elected in 1994, presided over a regime that ensured that The Senate-- a public body that would have seen traditional leaders mouthing out their views-- did not exist in the statutes.
And there had to be a way of placating the traditional leaders, one of which being the selection of a lucky few to accompany the president to New York for the useless-as-usual U.N. indaba.
It was a way of saying, 'Thank you'. Just that the 'Thank you' costs the Malawian tax payer a leg.
Other presidents, starting with Bingu wa Mutharika after Muluzi had finished his second, five-year term in 2004, continued the tradition, if not perfected it.
After Bingu left office on April 5, 2012-- after collapsing in his office at the New State House in Lilongwe-- Joyce Banda perfected that tradition.
In fact, Joyce Banda will go down in history as the only president who believed that his influence would be perpetuated by traditional leaders. Come to think of it, between April 7, 2012-- when she took over the stick of power from Bingu-- and March 2014, as Malawians prepared for the first Tripartite Elections slated for May 2014, Joyce Banda had promoted 40, 000 traditional leaders!
Well, the incumbent Peter Mutharika was next on the train of appeasement.
Last year, he came under a barrage of criticism for going to the UN indaba with a bloated entourage of 100-plus people. Of course, the government machinery said some of those who made it to New York had been sponsored by other organisations.
Whatever the case, one unofficial duty of the president of Malawi-- any president-- seems to be the appeasement of as many traditional leaders as possible.
And the UN General Assembly has always been a perfect, justifiable excuse.

Girls held by Boko Haram need support to rebuild shattered lives

...Chibok girls’ family reunions highlight plight of thousands of girls held by Boko Haram
ABUJA, Nigeria, October 18 --
The emotional reunification with their families on Sunday of 21 of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years ago in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, highlights the need for intensive support for women and girls who have been held by the group.
“The release is great news and we are delighted to see the girls back with their families, but we must keep pressing for all the women and children held by Boko Haram to be freed,” said Gianfranco Rotigliano, Representative of UNICEF Nigeria a.i. “And we must bear in mind that all of those who have been held by Boko Haram will face a long and difficult process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable trauma they have suffered.”
The more than 200 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014 are among thousands of women and girls that UNICEF estimates have been held and subjected to violence by the group.
UNICEF has supported hundreds of women and girls who have already been released or escaped from Boko Haram.
The girls report they have been subjected to rape – frequently in the form of forced “marriages” –   beatings, intimidation and starvation during their captivity. Many returned pregnant or with babies as a result of rape.
When they do reach safety, girls who have been held by Boko Haram are often ill, malnourished, traumatized and exhausted; they are in need of medical attention and psychosocial support so they can begin to come to terms with their experiences and reintegrate with their families and communities.
Frequently, returning to their families and communities is the beginning of a new ordeal for the girls, as the sexual violence they have suffered often results in stigmatization. People are also often afraid the girls have been indoctrinated by Boko Haram and that they pose a threat to their communities. The use by Boko Haram of children – mostly girls – as so called ‘suicide’ bombers has fuelled such fears. Children born as a result of the sexual violence are at even greater risk of rejection, abandonment and violence.
Since January, UNICEF and its partner International Alert have been providing psychosocial support for women and girls who have experienced sexual violence at the hands of Boko Haram. UNICEF and International Alert are also working with affected communities through a network of trained religious and community leaders to promote acceptance and to address negative perceptions that hamper the reintegration of women and girls who have suffered such violence.
Funding from the Swedish International Development Agency and the UK Department for International Development has so far this year enabled UNICEF to provide a comprehensive programme of reintegration assistance to more than 750 women and girls subjected to Boko Haram-related sexual violence.
With such large numbers of women and girls having been held by the group, however, the long-term provision of much-needed support remains heavily underfunded.
SOURCE: United Nations Children’s Fund

The United States and WFP welcome a Second Ship Carrying Critical Food Commodities for Sudan

...The food commodities will be used to assist more than 2 million vulnerable people across the countryPORT SUDAN, Sudan, October 18 --
In support of its operations in Sudan, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), today welcomed the arrival of over 50,000 metric tons of assorted food commodities including sorghum, lentils and vegetable oil from the American people.
The food commodities will be used to assist more than 2 million vulnerable people across the country. These include 200,000 South Sudanese refugees for three months, over 725,000 internally displaced people in all of Darfur’s five states for four months, 900,000 school children for six months, and more than half a million people who have been affected by the lean season which lasts from April to October each year.
U.S. Embassy’s ChargĂ© d’Affaires, a.i., Ervin Massinga and USAID Sudan Mission Director Dr. Jeffrey Ashley joined WFP Sudan Country Director and Representative Matthew Hollingworth in Port Sudan to welcome the arrival of the U.S. ship. In May this year, WFP welcomed the arrival of a shipment of 47,000 metric tons of sorghum ‒ also donated by USAID ‒ that was used to cover the needs of South Sudanese refugees and internally displaced people in Darfur.
In 2016, WFP plans to assist 4.6 million vulnerable people in Sudan through a number of different activities
“The United States through our strong implementing partner, WFP, continues to provide critical food assistance in a timely manner to areas that face severe food insecurity and malnutrition due to conflict and drought. The United States remains committed to fighting hunger and malnutrition and urges all parties to allow unfettered humanitarian access so as to end unnecessary suffering,” said ChargĂ© d’Affaires a.i. Massinga.
Since 2011, the United States has been a long-standing partner and the largest single donor to WFP in Sudan contributing over USD 900 million to WFP’s operations in the country. Its generous contributions have enabled WFP to provide assistance to all those in need across a range of activities implemented through general food distribution, school feeding, nutrition and food-for-assets programmes.
“I am very pleased to be here in Port Sudan and to welcome this ship carrying food for the people we serve across Sudan,” said Hollingworth. “WFP is grateful for the continued support from the U.S. Government and people which helps us provide much-needed assistance to vulnerable families in the country.”
In 2016, WFP plans to assist 4.6 million vulnerable people in Sudan through a number of different activities, including emergency food and cash-based transfers, nutritional support and resilience-building activities to help communities become self-reliant.
SOURCE: World Food Programme

UK partners with Kenyan police to combat child abuse

... a new unit, established in April by the National Police Service of Kenya (NPS) in collaboration with the UK’s National Crime Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (NCA-CEOP), represents a powerful new weapon in the fight to protect Kenya’s children

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 18 --
Tuesday saw the official launch of Kenya’s first police unit dedicated to the fight against child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA).
The new unit, established in April by the National Police Service of Kenya (NPS) in collaboration with the UK’s National Crime Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (NCA-CEOP), represents a powerful new weapon in the fight to protect Kenya’s children. It has already been instrumental in safeguarding more than 150 children, and is currently pursuing 15 cases against child sex offenders.                
The UK’s NCA-CEOP has worked with the NPS over the last three years to build capacity to protect children in Kenya. The pioneering CSEA unit is currently staffed by 12 specially selected NPS officers; working with children’s officers, specialist doctors and civil society experts like the International Justice Mission (IJM). The UK has provided training, equipment and financial support to the unit as the NPS works to build its investigative and safeguarding capabilities.
The CSEA Unit was officially launched at an event held by British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, and attended by Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Ndegwa Muhoro, Chair of the Anti-FGM Board, Hon. Jebii Kilimo, Chairperson of the Taskforce on Children’s Matters, Lady Justice Martha Koome, and officials from the Office of the Inspector-General of Police.
Speaking at the launch, Nic Hailey said: “We believe that our responsibility to protect children from abuse does not stop at the borders of the United Kingdom. International cooperation is vital if we are to best protect vulnerable children and reduce opportunities for offenders.
“I applaud the pivotal role of the NCA in working with Kenyan and other law enforcement agencies to safeguard children and prosecute offenders, wherever they are located.”
Detective Chief Superintendent of the NCA’s CEOP Command, Simon Mason, said: “We’re proud to support the National Police Service of Kenya in establishing this truly innovative unit, and will continue to work closely with its officers.
“International cooperation is vital if we are to best protect vulnerable children and reduce opportunities for offenders.”
Superintendent of Police Grace Ndirangu, Head of the Kenyan Child Protection Unit, said: "This unit changes the way we protect children from sex offenders in Kenya. We're working across agencies to detect abuse, then investigate and prosecute offenders successfully while ensuring the child's welfare is at the centre of everything we do."
The launch of the CSEA unit is the latest step in a partnership between the UK, Kenyan authorities and NGOs to protect vulnerable children in Kenya. It follows the January 2015 Kenyan launch of the International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC).
SOURCE: The British High Commission Nairobi.

Ajay Gupta and Oakbay Investments Delighted with Affidavit from Pravin Gordhan

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 18 -- Gupta Family lawyer, Van Der Merwe Associates, releases a statement on behalf of Mr. Ajay Gupta and Oakbay Investments ( in response to the affidavit from Pravin Gordhan.
Highlights include:
  • The Gupta Family (as majority shareholders) and Oakbay Investments are delighted to have been cited as respondents to the application from the Finance Minister. At last, the Gupta Family and Oakbay can begin to formally clear their names. They thank him for this opportunity
  • The Finance Minister’s application is being considered by lawyers for the Gupta Family and Oakbay and will be dealt with in full – each and every entry
None of the transactions related to Oakbay or the Family, which are over a five year period, were flagged to the FIC as suspicious
  • The application’s detail is fundamentally flawed as of the 72 transactions flagged, our initial analysis shows:
  • Six transactions (totalling R4,096 billion) refer to the Optimum mine before it was under Oakbay’s control and so were not transacted by Oakbay or the Family
  • 24 transactions (totalling R325 million) are perfectly legitimate, are in the normal course of business and are not suspicious in any way
  • Five transactions (totalling R1,698 billion) relate to Oakbay Resources and Energy, the listed entity. These are perfectly legitimate and all information is being supplied to its auditor, SizweNtsalubaGobodo, for review
  • Another 20 vaguely refer to ‘multiple transactions’ that makes any further analysis impossible without further detail from the Finance Minister
  • The remaining 17 transactions (totalling R719 million) were also all for legitimate purposes and are absolutely not suspicious. We will disclose these transactions in full, once the full analysis has been completed
  • All of the 72 transactions were approved and cleared by the respective banks processing the transactions
  • The fact that all transactions were approved is acknowledged in the attachment to Minister Gordhan's application‎, in the form of a signed letter from the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank
  • None of the transactions related to Oakbay or the Family, which are over a five year period,  were flagged to the FIC as suspicious. To put this in context, the FIC’s own 2015-16 Annual Report showed that 98,054 transactions in that year alone were flagged as suspicious by the banks (i.e. STRs)
  • One of the largest transactions flagged in Minister Gordhan’s application was the transfer of the Optimum Rehabilitation Trust’s Account (over R1.3 billion) from Standard Bank to the Bank of Baroda. Yesterday, we proved this was bona fide and approved by all relevant authorities (pdf attached). The transfer occurred because all of Oakbay’s accounts were being closed
  • Whilst we thoroughly welcome this application, it is undiluted nonsense and appears to be little more than the usual political games
To reiterate, we are delighted to have received this application. The truth always comes out in the end and we look forward to clearing our name in court.
SOURCE:Oakbay Investments Ltd.

ITC Submission Deadline Extended

The deadline for Infecting the City Public Art Sessions 2017 has been extended to 31st October 2016.

Artists interested in showcasing their work at this series of public arts events can submit a proposal via the Infecting the City website

Please watch our Facebook page and website for more announcements.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The increased cost of air pollution in Africa calls for urgent mitigation action, says new OECD Development Centre study

...Without bold policy changes in Africa’s urbanisation policies, these costs might explode
The human and economic costs of air pollution in Africa are growing fast, according to a new OECD Development Centre study on the Cost of Air Pollution in Africa. Already, they are surpassing the costs associated with unsafe sanitation or underweight children. Without bold policy changes in Africa’s urbanisation policies, these costs might explode.

Building on the OECD’s methodology to assess the Economic Consequences of Outdoor Air Pollution for OECD countries, China and India, the paper provides new, critical evidence on the economic cost of the impact of air pollution on human lives for African countries.

Between 1990 and 2013, total annual deaths from outdoor air pollution -- ambient particulate matter pollution (APMP), mostly caused by road transport, power generation or industry -- rose by 36% to around 250 000. Over the same period of time, deaths caused by household air pollution (HAP) --caused by polluting forms of domestic energy use -- rose by 18%, from a higher base, to well over 450 000.

For Africa as a whole, the estimated economic cost of those premature deaths is around USD 215 billion for outdoor air pollution in 2013, and around USD 232 billion for household air pollution. And this is in spite of slow industrialisation, and even de-industrialisation in many countries.

Although the study stresses the lack of precise information on the exact composition of the sources of air pollution in Africa, it does note that its deleterious impact has risen in tandem with the continent’s steady and rapid urbanisation, a megatrend set to continue to unfold throughout this century and which makes bold action to tackle and reverse the impact of air pollution even more urgent. This suggests that current means of transportation and energy generation in African cities are not sustainable. Alternative models to those imported from industrialised economies, such as dependence on the individual automobile, are necessary. The new evidence also reinforces calls for more effective regulation of the toxicity levels of imported fuels.

The study also underlines that while “early industrialisers”, such as many OECD economies, have been facing the challenges of industrialisation and environmental protection – including combatting air pollution – in a sequence, African nations are compelled to face them simultaneously. This makes the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) all the more arduous.

Finally, the trans-boundary nature of air pollution and its negative contribution to global climate change call for international, co-ordinated action to combat air pollution in Africa. The New Urban Agenda discussed this week in Quito, Ecuador during the United Nations-Habitat III Conference (17-20 October 2016) presents an opportunity to foster such collective action.

SOURCE: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Winners of the Kuwait-sponsored, Al-Sumait 2015 Health Award and 2016 Food Security Award have been announced by the prestigious Board of Trustees at a meeting in Kuwait City

Today’s Board of Trustees meeting of the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development ( honored ground-breaking research on tackling childhood malaria and addressing undernourishment through Africa, which both impact the lives of ten millions of children across the continent.

The Board awarded the 2015 Al-Sumait Prize for Health to Professor Kevin Marsh, from the University of Oxford and African Academy of Sciences, Kenya, for his sustained efforts to control and eradicate malaria, which impacts the health of tens of millions of African children.

The 2016 Al-Sumait Prize for Food Security honored two organizations The Sweet Potato for Nutrition Team International Potato Centre, Peru, in advancing the contribution of sweet potato to African farmers and households to address Vitamin A deficiency, one of the most pernicious forms of undernourishment, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria, for its work in improving the yields and nutritional quality of major staple food crops, such as cassava, banana and maize.

Al-Sumait’s Board is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Other board members include Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Former President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr. Abdulatif Alhamad, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Mr Tareq Al-Mutawa, Executive Member of the Board of Public Gathering Charity Committee and others.

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), which administers the awards, said the Board of Trustees is ‘proud to award the prizes to all three recipients who have made major contributions to improving the lives of millions of people throughout Africa.

Each of the winners represent innovative, exciting initiatives being done to address the challenges facing Africa

“We are deeply humbled by the efforts demonstrated by Al-Sumait prize laureates in the pursuit of scientific discoveries to meet the challenges of disease, nutrition, food production and climate change,” he said. He added all the laureates were in the frontline of Africa’s challenges, yet have succeeded despite limited resources.

Al-Sumait Prizes honor individuals or institutions who help advance economic and social development, human resources development and infrastructure in Africa through their sustained research and or innovative projects that result in major impact on the lives and welfare of the people of Africa especially the poor and underprivileged. The awards were instigated on the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait.

With each award worth one million dollars and a gold medal, Al-Sumait awards are administered by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and a Board of Trustees who oversee the selection of the recipients. The awards acknowledge the work of the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti doctor who dedicated his life to addressing the development challenges confronting Africa and established the Direct Aid humanitarian organization.

The winning laureates will receive their awards from the Amir of the State of Kuwait and the President of Equatorial Guinea during a ceremony at the Fourth Arab African Summit in Equatorial Guinea on November 22, 2016.

“Each of the winners represent innovative, exciting initiatives being done to address the challenges facing Africa,” said Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin.

SOURCE: Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Idea of Hell is Not African

Africa has been the dumping ground of the Eastern and Western world for ages.
And what has been dumped goes beyond material products.
In fact, one of the most notable thing dumped in Africa is ideas.
Take, for  instance, the idea of hell. 
I have gone through African literature, especially on issues to do with ancestral spirits and I have not come across any book that talks of an African who talks about hell.
I am referring to the period before Christianity and Islam washed away the fabric of Africanness and left the African bare with no standing ground.
Once Christianity and Islam took root, the African started talking about hell,  and the like.
That is a shame because the concept of hell is not African.
It is utter nonsense to believe that African ancestors will burn in hell simply because they lived when Christianity, Islam and other faiths that proclaim the existence of hell had not been introduced.
In Malawi, before Malawi came to be associated with people who live in Malawi, we had intercessors such as M'bona, Mlauli,  Chauta, Mphambe, Leza, Chisumphi. 
Before I proceed, let me shed light on the names Chauta, Mphambe, Leza, and Chisumphi. These were not names of God, no.
Instead, these were names of real people-- people who were acting as intermediaries between the living and the dead.
In Africa, most African societies that is, it was believed that a dead person was more powerful than a living one. The dead were believed to have attained a higher status, a status of immortality. They would, therefore, live with the living, intercede for the living, and negotiate, on behalf of the living, with the Creator to bring goodies such as rain.
The people who were playing the role of intercessors included M'bona, Mlauli, Chauta, Mphambe, Leza, and Chisumphi.
Unfortunately, due to the mixing of people of different ethnic groups and language backgrounds, others started associating the terms Chauta. Mphambe, Leza,  and Chisumphi with God. In fact, these names became synonymous with God.
Well, the truth is that Leza is not God. Leza was the name of a human being. The same applies to Mphambe, Chauta, Chisumphi. These were names of human beings who used to till the ground, drink water, tire out, whip their children, throw up, attend funerals and wedding ceremonies, suffer from constipation,  and, of course, intercede for the living.
When these individuals died, they became part of the unbroken chain of life on the other side of the veil, pleading with God, after being asked by the living, to bring rain and water the thirsty ground.
So, when people translate the term God to Chisumphi, Leza.  Mphambe, the best they can expect is for Chauta, Mphambe, Leza, Chisumphi to shake in their gravesend. 
But God, the one they believe they are referring to when they address Him as Mphambe, Chisumphi, Leza, Chauta, does not listen. He knows these are names of individuals. The names M'bona and Mlauli have not been mistaken with that of God because these were intercessors who came later, and are easily remembered by the ancestors who passed on stories about M'bona and Mlauli through the word of mouth.
It is not true that stories about the existence of M'bona and Mlauli are myths. These individuals, like Chauta, Leza, Mphambe, and Chisumphi, really existed in Malawi. Before selfishness washed away the communal spirit of the African.
The real translation for God is Namalenga (or Creator in English).
Now, back of the issue of the concept of hell. 
Leza, Chauta, Chisumphi, Mphambe have never been quoted, orally, as it were, or in folktales, talking of hell.
Hell is a foreign concept, popularised by people who never knew Africa.
There is no hell in original Africa. 
Those who lived a good life continue to be sources of good in society, and one of the benefits they get is to have their names given out to children.
Those who lived an unexmplary life get their names buried with them. And that is the extent to which Africans came to giving someone a 'hellish' experience!  
Believing in hell is being like a tree without roots, for the roots, the African ancestors, never toyed around with the concept of hell, which is a figment of the non-African's imagination, any way.

Peter Mutharika Security to be Heightened Ahead of Arrival

There will be no compromises today afternoon as President Peter Mutharika steps on Malawi soil for the first time since September 16, 2016.
Police officers in 13 sectors have been called on to be alert, and part of the preparation includes the routine task of removing vehicles that are not road fit and people of unsound mind along the route designated for the President's convoy.
President Mutharika has not spoken publicly about his health, with unconfirmed reports indicating that the president stayed put in the United States of America, when others such as South Africa's Jacob Zuma, took the first flight home when the United Nations General Assembly ended.
Mutharika was in the United States of America to attend the United Nations indaba.
On Saturday, ruling Democratic Progressive Party cadets lined the streets of Blantyre, chatting: Stop spreading lies! President Peter Mutharika is coming Sunday!
Others visited Mutharika's private Sunny Side residence.
This is Mutharika's most anticipated trip back home since he assumed office on June 1, 2016. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

President Peter Mutharika Appoints Jane Mayemu Ansah as Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson

President Peter Mutharika on Friday, October 14,  appointed Justice of Appeal, Dr. Jane Mayemu Ansah, as the chairperson for the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec).
The appointment follows a recommendation from the Judicial Service Commission, which submitted several names, including that of the former Attorney General Ansah.
According to a statement signed by Chief Secretary to the Government-- a position not provided for in Malawi's laws, which provide for the position of Secretary to the President and Cabinet, according to lawyer Sunduzwayo Madise-- the appointment is with immediate effect.
Chief Secretary to the Government, George Mkondiwa, indicated that the Senior Counsel will take if from where former Mec chairperson, the late Maxon Mbendera, left off.
Mbendera died two months ago, and his death shocked the nation.
Ansah, who leads one of the Christian churches in Malawi, is known as a no-nonsense woman who floats above the waters of compromise.

President Museveni opens 2nd Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa Partnership Platform

...Officially opening the 2nd Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) Partnership Platform, President Museveni outlined some diseases like cancer, pneumonia and Hepatitis B, among others as, illnesses that could be caused by consuming foods contaminated by aflatoxins
Ugandan President, H.E Yoweri Museveni has called for a collective effort among African countries to address the aflatoxins challenge in Africa as they are a major health risk and impede the agricultural and trade sectors of the continent. Officially opening the 2nd Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) Partnership Platform, President Museveni outlined some diseases like cancer, pneumonia and Hepatitis B, among others as, illnesses that could be caused by consuming foods contaminated by aflatoxins. He called for more concerted and proactive efforts to sensitize the general populace about the effects of aflatoxins on their wellbeing.
SOURCE: African Union Commission

Commonwealth candidate Masambu elected Director-General of International Telecommunications Satellite Organization

...During his time as chairman of the CTO Council on behalf of Uganda, Mr Masambu presided over important transformations to turn the CTO into a more member-centric organisation
Patrick Masambu, a Uganda citizen and former chairman of the Council of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) ( has been elected director-general of the US-based International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) ( Mr Masambu was the only Commonwealth candidate for the position. A former communications regulator for Uganda, he brings to the role over 30 years of experience, including over six years as ITSO’s current deputy director-general and director of technical affairs. He is the first sub-Saharan African to be elected to the position.
SOURCE: Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)

DHL Express recognized as Top Employer in Africa for the third consecutive year

...The company was certified as a Top Employer in twelve markets, including Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda
DHL ( Express, the world’s leading international express services provider, has been certified as a Top Employer in Africa by the Top Employers Institute at the prestigious Top Employer 2017 ceremony on Thursday 13 October at the Sandton Convention Centre.
The company was certified as a Top Employer in twelve markets, including Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Hennie Heymans, CEO of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), says, “We are extremely proud of this achievement.
SOURCE: Deutsche Post DHL

Turkey – Africa Economic and Business Forum: Hosting Arrangements Signing Done

H E Dr Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, and the H E the Ambassador of Turkey accredited to AU,  Mr. Fatih Ulusoy have signed the hosting agreement regarding the organization of the Africa – Turkey Economic and Business Forum, which is scheduled to take place on November 2nd and 3rd, 2016, in Istanbul, Turkey.
In his remarks H E Dr Mothae Maruping thanked the Ambassador for Turkey’s continuing co-operation extended to the African Union. He pointed out that the active participation of the private sector is one of the key pillars in pursuit of achieving the goal
SOURCE: African Union Commission

EU grants €380,000 to reform customs in Central Africa

...The funded action aims at improving coordination and implementation of trade facilitation reforms in Central Africa countries
A €380,000 EU grant has been signed with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) after ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly committees met in the European Parliament premises today. The funded action aims at improving coordination and implementation of trade facilitation reforms in Central Africa countries.
The EU grant will support the countries of the region in putting in place the agreement. It will also boost capacities of their respective National Committees on Trade Facilitation to comply with other relevant national, regional and international requirements and share lessons learned throughout the region. 
SOURCE: European Parliament

Peter Mutharika Appoints Four High Court Judges

The president of the Republic of Malawi, Peter Mutharika, in exercise of powers conferred upon him by Section 111 Sub-section 2 of the constitution of the Republic of Malawi, has appointed the following individuals as judges of the High Court of Malawi:
1. Mr. Joseph Chisinau
2. Mrs. Dorothy de Grabrielle
3. Mrs. Ruth Chinangwa
4. George Baku was.
According to Chief Secretary to the Government, George Mkondiwa, the Office of the President and Cabinet effected the appointments on October 13.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Was President Peter Mutharika Fulfilling His Green Card Obligations?

Malawi's president, Peter Mutharika, left Malawi for the United Nations General Assembly in the United States of America on September 16, 2016. He returns home, via Kamuzu Intetnational Airport in Lilongwe, on October 16, 2016.
That is exactly a month after leaving Malawi, where he is needed most as the Malawi currency, the Kwacha, continues to tumble against other foreign currencies such as the South African Rand, the United States Dollar and the Euro, among others. Power outages have become the norm too.
But the worst part was the speculation that he was critically ill!
However, what was lost in the heated debate over the president's where-abouts in the United States of America, and the genuine condition of his health, was the fact that Mutharika stayed 40 years in the United States of America. His children are tgere.
But the most important part, which was overlooked in the debate, was the fact that he has a Green Card that obliges him to stay in the United States of America for a month every year. 
It turns out Mutharika stayed this long to settle that part of his obligation. Kwachas have been spent in the United States of America, and more kwachas will be spent until he arrives home on October 16.
It turns out he has played a game against Malawians and won.
As Malawian citizens got engrossed, and lost even, in the debate, he was busy meeting his obligation of a worthy Green Card holder.
From September 16 to October 16, that is exactly one month.
FINAL SCORE: President Peter Mutharika 1, Malawian 0!

President Peter Mutharika Returns to Malawi Sunday, October 16

When all was rumoured, speculated and said, President Peter Mutharika, like the main actor in the play of life, returned home, fine, happy, bubbling and well.
This will be the story of the future after everything about President Mutharika's official duties, and purported treatment for an undisclosed illness, in the United States of America, where in went in September to attend to United Nations General Assembly matters.
But, finally, zachimalawi can confirm what the Presidential Press Secretary has confirmed, as below:

For Immediate release
October 11, 2016.
State House is informing the public that His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika will on Sunday 16th October 2016 return to Malawi from the United States of America (USA) where he attended the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and also attended to various government businesses.
The President shall arrive at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) at 13:00 hrs.
Mgeme Kalilani
Kamuzu Palace – Lilongwe

Monday, October 10, 2016

Like Patricia Kaliati Like Malison Ndau

When former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, suddenly took ill on April 5, 2012, Patricia Kaliati was the Information Minister.
As such, because in Malawi people think they can be responsible for information processing and dissemination, Kaliati was also the details facto government spokesperson.
The task was cut out for her; she had to turn any negative news into a chain of positivity and generate as much hope as she could, no matter how hopeless the situation.
So, as Bingu's once mighty heart slowly, but decisively, lost its vigour; as that heart got stilled at last-- Kaliati was busy refuting reports that Bingu, loved by many locals and hated by as many in the donor community, had crossed the veil.
The president is well, said Kaliati.
And, somehow, people sympathised with her.
After all, here was a government long used to spewing lies, half truths, and, sometimes, vitriol.
And Bingu did die. And no more energy to rebuff, or let alone postpone, the truth was left.
Kaliati could be understood. She was a lay woman.
In September (last month), whether by coincidence or otherwise, President Peter Mutharika-- who was last seen in Malawi in September, but his case of a missing person has not been reported to police -- President Peter Mutharika moved Kaliati from the position of government spokesperson to that far away from speaking for the government.
And in her place came Malison Ndau,a pastor.
As a pastor, Ndau knows how important speaking nothing but the truth can be. Of course, we know that there is nothing like the truth-- because the truth does not exist, hence they say it is relative. At one point it was true that the earth was flat. Until someone said, 'No, that is not true. The earth is oval-like in shape'.
Well, that the earth was flat was not untrue; it was the truth of that time, until another version of truth emerged. That the earth is oval-like in shape is the truth of this time. Until another version of truth emerges.
And Ndau knows the shortfalls of the concept of truth very well.
When Kaliati was busy, while wiping tit bits of saliva from her mouth, telling Malawians that Bingu was well and bubbly during the afternoon of April 5 2016, she was right because, according to the truth of the time, doctors had not yet pronounced Bingu dead. If they did, at least the contents of that confirmation document was not publicly known.
And Kaliati was a lay woman! Not lost in the shrubs of religiosity.
Today, with Pastor Ndau playing Kaliati's April 5 2012 role, reports are rife that President Peter Mutharika is seriously ill and recuperating in the United States of America. But, on the whole, these are reports emanating from people bitter with greed, people whose frustrations are publicly known, and their political inclination a matter of public currency.
In the heat of these reports came Pastor Ndau with that press statement, reiterating that Peter Mutharika is still the President of the Republic of Malawi, and that he continues performing his duties of Head of State and Government by remote control.
Well, because he is a pastor, as opposed to the lay woman Kaliati, maybe Malawians could do better to believe him.
They say Malawi is a God-fearing nation, no so? Even though the Malawi Constitution is secular, not so?
Well, like the information gap on President Peter Mutharika's exact where-abouts in the United States-- in one of the scenes in my favourite love comedy, Coming to America, which I watch in the evening every two days, Semmi tells Prince Akeem, while looking at the map of the United States of America, that "... The land is so infinite" -- so many 'not sos' do not fill the information.
Maybe the fact that Ndau is a pastor in this highly superstitious nation will.

President Peter Mutharika is Fine, Says Malawi Government

Republic of Malawi

For immediate release
9th October 2016

Central Office of Information
Ministry of Information and Communications Technology
Private Bag 310
Capital City

Government wishes to condemn in very strong terms the behaviour of people who are spreading rumours on the social media to the effect that the State President, His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, is critically ill in the United States of America (USA).
These rumours are baseless, malicious and sickening to say the least. The President is enjoying very robust health and is continuing to carry on his functions and duties whilst in the USA.
We would like to remind all Malawians that in response to the so many inquiries as to what the President is doing in the USA, the Presidential Press Secretary, Mr. Mgeme Kalirani, has repeatedly stated that the President is continuing to carry out other duties which could not be concluded whilst he was at the United Nations General Assembly.
This information was released by the State House to the public for those who genuinely desired to know the truth. If this information released by the information holders cannot be accepted by those who postulate to disseminate news, then it indicates a very serious appetite for rumour mongering in our society.
Government is reminding all Malawians that whilst the laws of this country provide for freedom of expression, those rights ought to be exercised responsibly and within the law.
Spreading false rumours about the health of the President is a criminal offense and unless this behaviour stops forthwith, Government will not hesitate to bring to book those responsible for this irresponsible, malicious and damaging rumour-mongering which is clearly aimed at spreading fear and panic among law abiding Malawians.
Once again, Government reiterates that the President is enjoying very good and robust health in the USA and that when he concludes the official duties he is currently undertaking which are for the benefit of all Malawians, the Nation will be advised in the next few days regarding the dates he will return home.
There is therefore no need to panic.

Hon. Malison Ndau MP

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Malawian Referees: An Enemy from Within

The dangerous tackle on Malawi football is made, not by Football Association of Malawi, Super League of Malawi, or Malawi National Council of Sports officials. No. The killer tackle is made from a whistle, blown by the shameless mouth of referees who demand a special visit, with 'special' amount of cash, before crucial Super League games.
And, yet, the referees receive their dues for officiating games.
And, yet, the referees opt for football, and not pig farming, because something inside their rational heads pushes them into the game.
The understanding is that the referee, though not neutral as the environment they grow in plays the role of fire that shapes their metal of life into adulthood, is supposed to rise above the waters offoolishness of bias.
Not with some Malawian referees--for to speak of all referees in the same bad breath is to be too general, and too unjust-- who treat the game as one of those little things to be spiced up with kick-backs.
For the past six months, Zachimalawi, which understands that money exchanges hands for some teams to consistently do well, has been investigating reports that some officials from some top notch clubs are elected by supporters of such clubs to simply play a role of palm-oiling whistle men and women.
And some whistle men-- and women? Let us call them officiating personnel-- have grown used to waiting for mid-night visits paid by officials who splash banknotes as little as K20, 000 to tilt the referees perceived impartiality towards bias.
So much so that, at the end of the day, it is not the labour of those involved on the field of play that determines the result of a game of soccer; it is the cash in the referee's pocket. The cash can be in the pocket, or left lying somewhere at home. But the fact is that the referee has pocketed something.
Just on Thursday this week, one football official from the clubs that have been clinching the Super League said: "My friend, Mighty Be Forward Wanderers, Mzuzu University, EPAC United, Civo Service United, Moyale Baracks, Azam Tigers, among other teams, cannot win the TNM Super League because their officials believe that they can win the Super League by playing 'clean soccer'. They are cheating themselves. They need someone to be chatting and visiting referees assigned to officiate high profile matches. Normally, K20, 000 does the trick.
"Often, the referee will appear to be making a genuine error when, in fact, they are aiding the team that has offered something. So, the referee may deny other teams a genuine penalty and give the other a penalty from nowhere. Sometimes, they send off someone or appear not to have noticed an infringement on football rules. It is part of the game," said the official.
Then, there is the tendency by some referees to favour home sides. If you are a Southern Region or Northern Region team and you are playing against a Central Region team, there will, probably be many decisions that go against your side. The same case often applies to teams from the other regions, so much so that it has become commonplace to hear a soccer official telling Malawi Broadcasting Corporation that "we will win, if officiation will be good" , or if the referees will not favour the home side.
And some referees are open supporters of some teams.
For example, one referee used to be in the supporters' committee of one of Malawi's top notch, but poor, teams. Today, he officiates games between his favourite teams and others, and no one wonders what went wrong for the open supporter of a well-known team to become a referee-- that human being holier enough to claim that there is any such thing as impartiality in this mediated world.
There, once upon a time, this one referee who used to give this one big team penalties in each and every game. That tall man retired with his reputation untainted, if only because people got used to his blatant bias that it became a normal way of life.
It is such a shame that people know these things but look aside.
Shame to referees who sell their soul for quick, hard cash! They are Malawi football's number one enemy!

Friday, October 7, 2016

On President Peter Mutharika's Absence

The gravity of some Malawians'fury over president Peter Mutharika's absence in the country is shocking.
More so because, while the president is wrong to keep Malawians in the dark about his where-abouts in the United States, it is wrong to play clever jokes on his absence, especially when the joke is premised on the idea that Mutharika has lost his way in the thicket of life in the so-called Dreamland.
Come on, the president spent 40 years of his tank of life in the United States, where he shared his knowledge on constitutional law and other deliberate loopholes legal minds are always setting up.
Secondly, some of the most vocal voices have not stepped their feet on Malawi soil for six or so months. So, does the president's absence or presence matter, anyway.
What matters, really, is that, in pretending to get concerned about the president's absence, they are only bringing attention to themselves.
That is all they want!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Latest on MacDonald Kumwembe, Pika Manondo and Raphael Kasambara: Word by Word




MACDONALD KUMWEMBE…………………………………………….1st Applicant
PIKA MANONDO ………………………………………………………….2nd Applicant
RAPHAEL KASAMBARA…………………………………………………3rd Applicant

Honourable Justice Dr. Michael Mtambo
Mrs Kachale, Director of Public Prosecutions (D.P.P)
Chibwana, Special Prosecutor, assisting the D.P.P.
Malunda, Senior State Advocate, assisting the D.P.P.
Goba Chipeta, Counsel for the 1st and 2nd Convicts
Gondwe and Msisha SC, Counsel for the 3rd Convict
Kalambo, Court Clerk


The 1st and 2nd applicants were on 21 July 2016, convicted by this Court on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to murder while the 3rd convict was convicted on a charge of conspiracy to murder. On August 2016, the 1st and 2nd applicants were sentenced to 15 years and 11 years imprisonment each on the convictions of attempted murder and conspiracy to murder respectively, the sentences to run consecutively. The 3rd applicant was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment on the conviction of conspiracy. All the tree appealed against conviction. They now apply to be released on bail pending appeal.

Section 359 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code (CP & EC) confers discretion on the High Court to grant bail pending appeal. It provides:

“The High Court may in its discretion in any case in which an appeal to the
Supreme Court of Appeal has been filed grant bail pending the hearing of an appeal”.

There is therefore no question whether a convict can be released on bail.

The learned Director of Public Prosecutions (D.P.P.) submits that the recognised and well established test when considering whether or not to grant bail pending appeal is whether there are exceptional and unusual circumstances. She relies on the High Court decision in Kamaliza and Others v Republic [1993] 16 (1) MLR 196. This case has been buttressed by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Suleman v Republic [2004] MLR 398 (SCA) in which Tembo JA said:

“The expression ‘exceptional and unusual circumstances’ [in the context of applications of bail pending appeal] means circumstances where, on the one hand, it appears prima facie that the appeal is likely to be successful or, on the other hand, where there is a risk that the sentence will have been served by the time the appeal is heard”.

The Suleman dictum (supra) has been recently affirmed by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Jonathan Mekiseni and Others v Republic, Civil Appeal Cause No. 14 of 2015 (unreported), where Twea JA stated:

“Bail after conviction is at the discretion of the Court where it ‘deems it fit’. Admission to bail pending appeal is an exception not the rule. Such admission to bail therefore is rare and only in exceptional and unusual circumstances”.

Obviously, the burden to prove exceptional and unusual circumstances warranting release on bail is on the applicant unlike in an application before conviction where the burden to show that the interest of justice militates against granting bail is on the state. This is so because before conviction, a person is presumed innocent whereas upon conviction, there is no presumption of innocence.

On his part, Mr. Goba Chipeta, learned counsel for the 1st and 2nd applicants, submits that there is a new test in applications for bail and that the test of exceptional and unusual circumstances is a ‘traditional old test’ which has been overtaken by the dictates of section 42 of the Constitution. He relies on the reasoning of Mwaungulu J (as he then was), in the High Court decision in Kenneth Kumuwa and others v Rep, Bail Application Case No. 107 of 2012 (unreported) which held that there is only one test for both bail prior to conviction and after conviction. This is the interests of justice test. The reasoning of Mwaungulu J in the Kumuwa Case has been rejected a fellow High Court Judge, Dr. Kachale J in Emmanuel Uche v Republic, Criminal Appeal No. 110 of 2015 (unreported). The judge stated that upon consideration of the Kumuwa judgment, he declined it as being erroneous.

Mr. Goba Chipeta argues that the reasoning of Dr. Kachale J is not as persuasively articulated as that of Mwaungulu, J. As the learned D.P.P. rightly observes, this is his opinion. I agree that since pursuant to the doctrine of precedent, rulings in the High Court are merely persuasive, the fact that there is a lack of agreement within the High Court on this specific issue means that any persuasive nature of the Kumuwa Case on the point is significantly weakened. This is more so that despite the issue not having been addressed, the Supreme Court of Appeal has not adopted the Mwaungulu reasoning subsequent thereto.

When I asked Mr Modecai Msisha SC as an officer of the Court to advise whether there is a new and old test, his view was that this discussion is unhelpful and that the test is still whether there is a prima facie case for the success of the appeal. On my part, I feel it is unfair to ask a judge who convicted an applicant whether there is a prima facie case for his decision to be reversed on appeal as it would be like asking him to sit on appeal in his own decision. It is illogical for one in one breath to convict on the ground that the state has proved the case beyond reasonable doubt and in another breath express doubts about the conviction. If I thought that my conviction would easily be appealed, why convict in the first place? The reasonable action would be to acquit.

However, I am compelled to address the question whether the appeal has a prima facie chance of success.

The learned D.P.P. submits that another factor to consider in applications for bail pending appeal is enunciated by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Mekiseni case. It relates to the arguments advanced to support the application, which are indicative in the determination of whether there is a likelihood of success of the appeal or not. If the reasons given are substantially the same as the arguments advanced during trial, then the likelihood of success is significantly reduced. In Mekiseni (supra), Twea JA, in denying bail, stated:

“The Applicants sought to build their case on the facts and evidential issues on which the lower Court and the Court below made their findings…in the main the arguments that have been advanced before me are the same that the Applicants advanced in the Court below…
In the circumstances therefore I find that there are no exceptional or unusual circumstances in this case which would persuade me”.

Whilst the applicants have cited that there is insufficient evidence supporting the conviction, the State asks the Court to take judicial notice that most of the applicant’s arguments with regard to the insufficiency of evidence are analogous to those made in their submissions on conviction. In view of the comprehensive nature of the judgment on conviction, the repetitiveness of the submissions with regard to likelihood of success and the ruling in Mekiseni, I agree with the learned D.P.P that the applicants’ appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal does not have a prima facie likelihood of success.

The state observes instances where the trial Court, having disbelieved State witnesses on some aspects still proceeded to convict due to its consideration of the totality of the evidence and submits that this is not basis for the argument advanced by the applicants that their convictions might be overturned. This is so because gone are the days when Courts approached evidence piece by piece. Comparative case law puts the importance of such an approach in its proper perspective. In Director of Public Prosecutions, Gauteng v Pistorius [2015] ZASVA 204, the South African Court of Appeal, in faulting the approach that the trial Court Judge (High Court) took to analysing and attaching weight to the evidence, said:

“A trial court must consider the totality of the evidence led to determine whether the essential elements of a crime have been proved. As Nugent J stated in Van der Meyden [1999 (1) SACR 447], a passage oft cited with approval in this court:

‘The proper test is that an accused is bound to be convicted if the evidence establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt…what must be borne in mind, however, is that the conclusion which is reached (whether it be to convict or to acquit) must account for all the evidence. Some of the evidence might be found to be false; some of it might be found to be unreliable; and some of it might be found to be only possibly false or unreliable;…’ (emphasis added)

I agree with the State’s submission that the fact that the Court in this matter in its judgment clearly articulated the instances in which it disbelieved State witnesses on certain issues only goes to demonstrate the objectivity, reasonableness and strength of the findings of guilt against the applicants, and not weakness as argued by the applicants.

In Suleman (supra), Tembo JA stated that where there is a risk that a sentence would be served before the hearing of an appeal, a court may grant bail pending appeal. In view of the long sentences meted to the applicants, it is unlikely that they will have finished serving their sentences before their appeal is heard.

The applicants have stated that the grant of bail pending appeal would not prejudice the State. That they have ascertainable locations within Malawi, and that the 3rd convict has an impeccable personal record both in public and private life. No evidence has been adduced about the character of the 3rd accused. From his conduct during the trial, he did not display any impeccable conduct. I agree with the state that the matters listed by the applicants are not relevant considerations at this stage, and definitely are neither exceptional nor unusual circumstances.

Further, the applicants have argued that according to the Supreme Court of Appeal decision in Republic v Mvula, MSCA Criminal Appeal No. 7 of 1212 (unreported), it is not safe to convict on call log evidence. The trial Court held that the Supreme Court of Appeal came to this conclusion based on the evidence before them (see last but two lines in the quotation). As such, the case is not a blanket authority for the proposition that one can not convict based on call log evidence. Further, there was additional evidence to the call logs on the basis of which the trial judge convicted. So, the totality of the evidence in the Mvula case and the case at hand are not the same.

Consequently, no unusual or exceptional circumstances have been established by the applicants. I therefore dismiss the application for bail pending appeal.

Dated the 3rd day of October, 2016 at Blantyre.

​​Dr.M.C. Mtambo

Monday, September 26, 2016

Why They Hated Gulewamkulu

Malawi's indigenous cultures did not stand a chance in the fluid interplay of Western culture and the so-called civilisation.
In countries such as Malawi, initial contact between Western culture-- meaning, in this case, the Christian missionaries-- has been complementary as well as problematic.
To begin with, the missionaries' work was complementary in the sense that their aesthetic acts brought about health guarantees.
At one point before Quinine became part of the arsenal against malaria, to have malaria meant having an unsolicited appointment with death. Malaria was a death sentence.
But not completely a death sentence, of course, for, traditionally, Africa has had natural remedies to malaria. You talk of avocado leaves You talk of bluegum leaves heated in a pot. A patient who inhales the hot air has always had relief from malaria. It is like malaria's parasites dissolve in the vapour, head for the clouds, and becomes tomorrow's rains.
The beauty of African medicine, you may say. The only problem could have been that African malaria drugs did not cure quickly enough, but that is talk for another day.
Going very quickly to the problems associated with contact between the Western missionaries and African traditions, the missionaries' disdain for gulewamkulu explains it all.
Gulewamkulu had subtle but clear messages, and the missionaries did not like it. They called it evil and those who converted to Christianity quickly abandoned gulewamkulu and embraced the gospel.
In so doing, they left their rich past behind. A past they had known for something they never knew.

Fischer Kondowe Says He Has Five More Years to Play Football

So, Nyasa Big Bullets and former Malawi National Football team's winger Fischer Kondowe's inner consciousness is stronger than his tiring legs?
The connection between Fischer and retirement from football is crossed again by that of his reluctance to hang his boots and focus on his mouth; something like coaching and the like.
Well, not Fischer, who, certainly, does not want to retire from fame and occupy a liminal space in which he must accept to play a role off the pitch when a football match is in session.
The mystical success of Fischer, who has won everything on Malawi's domestic soccer scene, and even strutted his stuff in South Africa's Absa Premier League, refuses to succumb to the blurring-shed of old age, more so when we consider that Fischer's lips are about to kiss 'Mr. 40 Years'' lips, and Mr. 40 Years is not particularly known for his physique, relentlessness, and for more.
Mr. 40 Years likes to look after his children, instead. He does not even tend to his garden, Mr. 40 Years, or wash his fleet -- mmmmmmmm, are two vehicles a fleet, mmmmmmmm? -- of vehicles. The children, whether biological or adopted-- take care of that job.
But Fischer is not even interested in listening to anything to do with Mr. 40's behaviour. It has to do with Fischer, and Fischer only.
After all, it is well known that there is no relationship between the approaching Mr. 40 and Fischer. If anything, it is Mr. 40 Years who imposes himself on Fischer.
Suppose Fischer --we are saying, just imagine-- and 39 and he was to cross into a river called 40 because there is no other way of getting into the Highway of 41 without waving bye to Mr. 40. Does Fischer plead with Mr. 40 to let him ( Fischer) walk freely to 41?
No, Mr. 40 will impose himself on Fischer, and say, you are 40.
Even if Fischer says no, Mr. 40 will still say: You are 40!
This Mr. 40 Years! Too possessive.
Well, Fischer does not care. There is no wrong side of life, no right side of age.
And, so, talking about his football, Fischer tells Zachimalawi: "I thank Jah for being on my side all these years. I have heard some people, including journalists, say, 'When will you retire?' Well, I still have the will to carry on, the energy to take me from one spot to another on the pitch. I still have five more years of active football in me and, by that, I mean playing on the pitch."
The strong will Fischer has is the escape route from the limitations imposed by age!

Malawi Defence Force soldiers' bullying works light for Zomba City

Three days after Malawi Defence Force officers stormed Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi offices in Zomba City, Zomba has not known black-outs again.
Whereas Zomba used to experience debilitating power outages, sometimes only 'enjoying' only three hours of uninterrupted power supply,Zomba has never known so much happiness since the blackouts came back to haunt Malawian.
Of course, the Shire River, Lake Malawi's only outlet, is drying up. The Blantyre Water Board, which taps it's untreated water from Shire River, has found itself on its knees-- literally, as the water levels have receded and officials at Walkers Ferry to to bend down harder just to draw a gallon of water (and this latter part is a joke, really)-- and the talk everyday is about when life shall get back to normal in the city of Blantyre.
Today, it has become commonplace for Blantyre City residents to go four, five days without a drop of water.
Patience is running out fast as thirst and unpleasant feelings build up.
But water is not Zomba's problem. If anything, water is the most abundant resource in Zomba. And it is cooler than the water min Blantyre.
Maybe because Mudi Dam, the source of Blantyre Water Board's water-- after the deterioration of Chiwembe Dam and Chimwankhunda Dam-- is situation far away from Soche Hill and Ndirande Hill.
Not so with Zomba, where Mulunguzi Dam dances under the shadow of Zomba Mountain, a mountain that dances under the shadow of,natural forests, forests that dance under direct sunlight. As biting as an African sunshine can be.
But, the thing is, there is darkness in people's hearts at the moment, despite the continued supply of sun rays. With the incessant water supply shortages in Blantyre and power outages in Zomba are making people angry.
Maybe Malawi Defence Force soldiers should also storm Blantyre Water Board offices in Blantyre. After all, there is a Malawi Defence Force camp at Chichiri in Blantyre.
These service failures must be brought to an end. Somehow.
That day being now.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Camouflaged Malawi Defence Force soldiers storm ESCOM offices

It is so hard to be in Malawi and not get used to the darkness. Perpetual darkness that is!
But it is difficult to be a soldier, patriotic soldier, for your country and be subjected to perpetual blackouts. Power outages. Blackouts. Does it make any difference?
Darkness is darkness.
Now, realising that these are peaceful years and it does not make sense for a camouflaged soldier to be subjected to the camouflage-of-darkness during times when peace is the national anthem, Malawi Defence Force soldiers (15 of them to be precise) visited Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) offices in Zomba on Thursday last week and repeated the act Saturday ( meaning, today) at around 9 am.
Make no mistake about it, they were in their camouflaged attire, ready to defend themselves from blackouts perhaps. But they were not armed to the teeth, in terms of weaponry. Their greatest weapon today was anger. The anger they held in the tanks of the emotions.
And their other weapon was their dressing. It was like they brought 'war' into ESCOM offices in Zomba.
Their demand, as if it were a simple thing to ask: Stop switching off electricity at Cobbe Barracks!
It seems there are no blackouts at Changalume Barracks, also in Zomba. Why, if that is not the case, did Malawi Defence Force solders from Changalume not join their colleagues?
Well, the soldiers further complained that the blackouts are negatively affecting their work at the barracks.
Too much darkness creates a war-like atmosphere somehow. And nobody likes it because peace tastes like roast meat! Sorry vegetarians but what vegetable smells like meat?
Well, the soldiers' displeasure is a reflection of the anger that is sweeping through the nation.
It has become a way of life for people to have hydro-electric power three hours a day.
This does not inspire confidence in anyone, let alone industry players.
Energy Minister, Bright Msaka, seems tactless, too. The best he has done is to accuse ESCOM of failing Malawian. Really?
For the time being, even the soldiers are not happy! Anger a soldier and you douse the flame of patriotism in them.
And that is not akin to playing with fire. It is actually playing with fire using the weapon of darkness. The sort of darkness only ESCOM can conjure up.
Let light come, starting with the barracks.

Zomba: Crumbling into the ruins of memory

Zomba City
Malawi's former Capital City, Zomba, remains as desolate and forgotten as ever. Just look at the picture above, taken by Jarson Malowa Saturday morning.
It is a perfect depiction of a dream of colour gone terribly wrong.
When the one party regime established Zomba as, first, a city and, then, Capital City, the idea was to turn it into a launch-pad for development. A former of physical map for development.
But Zomba, established as a preffered city for the white settlers, has lost track.
In those days, when the white settlers discovered that Zomba had a, somewhat, European climate that made life easy under the rays of the sun that hit, but hit with consideration, the hairless skin of a four-month-old baby.
The idea was to develop Zomba, infracture-wise, by changing the shape of the infrastructure.
So, they made the city, Zomba City, the abode of Parliament. Zomba Central Hospital was there to provide quick-fire medical attention, with the army (that is before Malawi Army changed to Malawi Defence Forces) base there to offer protection from outside threats.
Zomba was meant to be great. That is why the Malawi National Examinations Board headquarters are in Zomba. That is why Government Print, where all government publications are printed, is in Zomba.
But whatever dream disturbed the minds of those forward-looking people has been disturbed. Zomba's fall from the dream of colour started when, in the nick of time, someone decided to move Parliament from Zomba to Lilongwe. Yes, to move the Capital from Zomba to Lilongwe-- oh, dusty Lilongwe!
After that someone made, by word of mouth, that decision, someone, also by word of mouth, declared that Zomba be stripped of its city status. Zomba was a municipality-- stripped bare by lack of a Parliamentary building, reduced to ashes by the merciless deprivation of its Capital City status, trimmed to size by the further beating following Zomba's humiliation to the status of a municipality.
And, yet, someone else re-declared Zomba a city but fell short of re-declaring it a Capital City. It is because Lilongwe has moved on after Zomba's fall.
And it seems Zomba is unlikely to rise again. Already,former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika's colour-dream to turn Zomba State Residence into a state-of-the-art hospital. Like Bingu, the dream lies in black-and-white at the back of policy-makers' minds.
And Zomba business premises look sorrier than a street kid, as seen above.
Zomba's dreams crumble into the pieces of non-existence. Zomba buildings crumble while standing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Yoneco: The Number One Enemy to Studies!

Are you deep in studies and, as one way of attaining your academic goals, you have been assigned by your class lecturer to visit Youthnet and Counselling (YONECO)Fm or any of their affiliated institutions just to find out how the institutions operate, in terms of decision-making, and how that affects, positively or negatively, operations?
Have you agreed to carry out the exercise by booking an appointment with the aim of carrying out your task?
Sorry but, truthfully, you may end up wasting your time because YONECO owners (meaning, the decision makers, the directors) are always afraid.
Yes, they are always afraid of the unknown and will, ultimately, not grant you your request.
They pretend, at first, to be helpful, before they start throwing one excuse after another at you.
In the end, they will simply do their best to make sure that you do not visit them; to make sure that they do not give you the information you require.
For a long time, YONECO had been known for its outreach programmes, mainly targeting the youth. Many a youth have been pulled out of the jaws of early marriages, early pregnancies and, for some time, Malawian realised that the youth could really change things for the better in Malawi.
Then, as one way of making outreach tasks easy, YONECO big wigs decided to establish a radio station in early 2015.
It came with a bang, with salaries that were better than at some established radio stations.
What's more, YONECO FM has a fleet of cars others can just dream of. That is good for media progress in Malawi.
Since its establishment, a number of media, communication and journalism students have knocked on YONECO's doors, asking for information on, say, how long does it take for a news event to be given the green light to go on air by the bosses? What is the chain of command? And other simple issues.
And, in all cases, YONECO big wigs, who have to make every decision, pretend to be helpful, but always chicken out at the last minute.
What they are afraid of, nobody knows.
No one wants to know how they manage the institution? No. Nobody wants to know how they manage the finances, let alone where they get them? No.
If anything, people just want to know how decisions are made and that helps the organisation achieve its goals and YONECO management is always afraid of such innocent questions.
Well, in running away from being helpful, in running away from these innocent issues, you are attracting unnecessary curiosity into your affairs. You serve the listener, not so? A listen who is not private, not so?
What is it that you hide at YONECO? What are you unwilling to help out on academic issues?
Look, of all the radio stations and media houses involved in the business of selling news, only YONECO FM refuses to give out information for academic purposes.
It is like they are always suspecting that you want to steal their business ideas, otherwise whatever ideas they have hatched. It turns out, they are anti-progress, anti-education and anti-youth.
From the look of things, and in YONECO's case, the youth cannot always be helpful!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The challenge of enforcing TNM Super League Rights

In Blantyre, the home of Malawi's soccer mecca Kamuzu Stadium, it is difficult to capture moving images, or videos, of TNM Super League games.
And it is understandable.
For the first time, Malawians have embraced the concept of buying rights to beam Super League games. Which is a step in, eeeh, the right direction because ours is a semi-professional league. It is a league where a Nyasa Big Bullets player would be playing in a heated match against Mighty Be Forward Wanderers during the day, and, then, report for duties as a guard somewhere in the evening.
Sure enough, a semi-professional league where a Mighty Be Forward Wanderers player would feature in a tough game against Capital City giants, Silver Strickers, and, then, report for duties as a barman in the evening.
Yes. A semi-professional league where a Silver Strickers' player would feature in a game as Lilongwe City rivals, Civo, and then resume his duty as foreman at a tobacco estate in Lilongwe Rural.
Yes, a semi-professional league where a Civil Service United player would participate in a match against Moyale Barracks and report for duties as a messenger the next day.
Or, a semi-professional league where unemployed youth join Malawi Defence Force sides, namely Mafco, Moyale Barracks, Red Lions, among others, just to secure a job as a private soldier in the military.
The same applies to Malawi Police Service side, Blue Eagles. The side provides an escape route into employment to some young men who impress with their legs and not brains.
So, when Beta TV signed a multi-million Super League right buy-out contract, it was like someone had breathed a bucketful of flesh air in the, otherwise, semi-professional TNM Super League.
And, all of a sudden, Zodiak Broadcasting Station Television could no longer broadcast the matches live. A new landlord was clearly in charge.
Suddenly, Times Television could not capture footage for its sports programmes. If anything, their only hope of bringing a sense of life to life in the Super League are still photos. Nothing else. A montage of still photos and nothing else.
Even Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, long used to getting things tickled over its back know, has found itself in new territory.
No need to talk of Joy Television, or AFJ Television, or of the other televisions station so in the country.
At least radio stations are at an advantage. They can still broadcast live. So long as they get a sponsor. Another sponsor other than TNM. Or, if they are lucky, TNM itself.
It must be said that Malawi has 73 radio stations, according to the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority.
From the look of things, therefore, the practice of buying rights has come to stay. For sure, it will be difficult for Beta Television to recover K300 million-plus it has invested in Malawi soccer. But it is clear that the Super League of Malawi has made a killing out of this experiment carried out in a semi-professional league that is the TNM Super League.
However,while televisions stations are finding it tough to capture moving images without buying rights from Beta Television, I was disappointed when I went to watch a match between Mighty Be Forward Wanderers and Red Lions at the bumpy-as-a-crocodile-tail Zomba Community Centre Ground mid-week.
Reporters and cameramen captured video footage unperturbed. It was as if they owned the ground, and the rights.
Here were personnel from different television stations capturing video footage for 10 to 30 minutes non-stop. And there was nobody to stop them.
Will the TNM Super League rights issues be enforced only at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, Silver and Civo stadia in Lilongwe and Mzuz Stadium in the Northern Region?
Surely, someone, somewhere, rolled out an initiative when the preparations were only half done.
Really, do we expect Beta Television to enforce the rights? Should Beta employ police officers to carry out the job or it is the responsibility of the Super League of Malawi?
To say the truth, rules should be enforced in full measure, and not half measures; in all football grounds, and not some and not others!