Saturday, January 30, 2010

Malawians: Have Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga been imprisoned?

Well, today I just wanted to comment on my own story; the one about over 40 international organisations condemning the "imprisonment" of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza.
My question: Have they been imprisoned?
And the answer is a big NO. The issue is still in court.
Makes one wonder why the international organisations have already sentenced and convicted Monjeza and Chimbalanga to a custodial sentence.
Eh, hee! Anthu akunja mabodza!
Vimphonongolo onthu okunja inu; vimilomo!!!

Malawi: Condemnation of Country's Discriminatory Laws


Civil society organisations have expressed strong opposition to the imprisonment of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, a gay couple, in Malawi. More than 40 African civil society organisations have called for the immediate release of this couple, and for the repeal of discriminatory laws against same-sex relationships.

We, the undersigned organizations, write to express our deep concern at the imprisonment and prosecution of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga under provisions of Malawi's penal code criminalizing private sexual behavior. We further call on Malawian authorities to drop all charges against both men and repeal sections 153 and 156 of the penal law.

On 28 December 2009, police officers arrested Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, at their home charging them under sections 153 and 156 of the Malawian penal code for "unnatural offences" and "indecent practices between males." This happened two days after Monjeza and Chimbalanga conducted a traditional engagement ceremony, an event that was widely reported in the Malawian press. On 6 January 2010, they were taken to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital where Chimbalanga was forced to undergo a medical examination ostensibly to ascertain whether he had sexual relations with another man. The following day both men were subjected to a psychiatric evaluation. They are being held in Chichiri Prison in Blantyre and have been denied bail by a Magistrate Court. Despite critical constitutional and legal issues raised by their lawyers in the High Court and to the Chief Justice as a Constitutional Court issue, the criminal trial continues. The penalty if they are found guilty is up to the maximum of 14 years in prison with hard labour.

The government has to prove with evidence the charges against Monjeza and Chimbalanga. Regardless of whether they are accurate, the prosecution has caused a widespread fear among persons engaged in same-sex relations-a group the Malawian government has recognized is vulnerable to discrimination and critical to its efforts to effectively respond to the HIV epidemic. The National HIV/AIDS Policy states: "Government and partners shall put in place mechanisms to ensure that HIV/AIDS/STI prevention, treatment, care and support and impact mitigation services can be accessed by all without discrimination, including [persons engaged in same sex sexual relations]. Dr. Mary Shawa, the Principal Secretary for Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the President's Office reportedly acknowledged the need to "incorporate a human rights approach in the delivery of HIV and AIDS services to men who have sexual intercourse with men." She further asked men who have sex with men (MSM) to come out in the open in order to assist in HIV prevention efforts. This cannot be done given recent statements by governmental officials denouncing MSM, which has served to further drive this already vulnerable community further underground.

The importance of reaching out to persons having same-sex relations as a critical component of the response to HIV has been well-recognised by leading medical institutions as well as UNAIDS, UNDP and the World Health Organisation. According to an August 2009 research paper published in the Lancet, the world's leading medical journal, "The HIV/AIDS community now has considerable challenges in clarifying and addressing the needs of [men having sex with men (MSM)] in sub-Saharan Africa political and social hostility are endemic. An effective response to HIV/AIDS requires improved strategic information about all risk groups, including MSM. The belated response to MSM with HIV infection needs rapid and sustained national and international commitment to the development of appropriate interventions and action to reduce structural and social barriers to make these accessible."

Finally, the arrest and prosecution of Monjeza and Chimbalanga not only undermines the response to HIV but is a violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Malawian Constitution. Specifically, the Malawian Constitution guarantees that every person has the right to liberty, human dignity, freedom and security of the person, and to be free from discrimination on all grounds. These rights guaranteed under the Constitution are reinforced under Malawi's regional and international legal obligations. The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, ratified by Malawi in 1989, prohibits discrimination' provides for the right to equality; dignity; and liberty. Similarly, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Malawi has also ratified provides for freedom from discrimination; equality; liberty; and dignity.

Sections 153 and 156 of the Penal Code undermine the response to HIV and violate the fundamental rights guaranteed under Malawi's legal obligations. We call on the Malawi government to release and drop all charges against Monjeza and Chimbalanga and repeal sections 153 and 156.

Endorsed by:

National Women's Lobby and Rights Group, Malawi

Umunthu Foundation, Malawi

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Malawi

Centre for the Development of People, Malawi


Botswana Treatment Literacy Coalition

Association Nationale des Séropositifs et Sidéens (ANSS), Burundi

HALT-SIDA, Democratic Republic of Congo

Protection Enfants SIDA, Democratic Republic of Congo

Sambatra Izay Salama (SISAL) Madagascar

Collectif Arc en Ciel, Mauritius

Prevention Information Lutte Contre le Sida (PILS), Mauritius

Associaçao Mulher, Lei e Desenvolvimento (MULEIDE), Mozambique

Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia

The Rainbow Project, Namibia

Women's Solidarity Network, Namibia

Centre for the Study of AIDS, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Artists for a New South Africa

Community Health Media Trust, South Africa

Engender, South Africa

Intersex South Africa

Out in Africa SA Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, South Africa

Unit for Social Behavioural Studies in HIV/AIDS and Health, University of South Africa

Women and HIV/AIDS Gauge, South Africa

Swaziland for Positive Living (SWAPOL)

Women and Law in Southern Africa, Swaziland

Children's Dignity Forum, Tanzania

Children Education Society (CHESO), Tanzania

Copperbelt Health Education Project, Zambia

Network of Zimbabwean Positive Women (NZPW+)

Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)

RAVANE+ (People Living with HIV Network in the Indian Ocean Region)

AIDS & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA)

African Council of AIDS Service Organizations (AfriCASO)

AIDS & Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA)

AIDS Legal Network, Southern Africa

Behind the Mask, Africa

Southern Africa Treatment Access Movement (SATAMO)

Relevant Links
Southern Africa
Human Rights
Legal Affairs
Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS)

Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)

International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC) Collaborative Fund, Africa Programme

Treatment Action Group


International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)

AIDS-Free World

Black Gay Men's Network, United States

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Center for Reproductive Rights

Friends of the Treatment Action Campaign, United Kingdom

Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, United States

International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO)

Physicians for Human Rights

Positive Voice, Greece

US Positive Women's Network

Women Organized to Respond to Life Threatening Diseases (WORLD)

Andrew Feinstein, former Member of Parliament, African National Congress

Jape Heath, International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV or AIDS (INERELA)

Phyllis Orner, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Reverend Steven Lottering, South Africa

Dismiss all Bakili Muluzi cases- Billy Banda

Malawi Human Rights Watch Executive Director, Billy Banda, has reiterated the need for President Bingu wa Mutharika's government to pardon former president Bakili Muluzi and dismiss all cases he is answering to.
But Information Minister Leckford Thotho has called the sentiments reckless, saying there was no way government could go about "pardoning people who have done nothing wrong".
"Do these civil society leaders mean to say that Dr. Muluzi is guilty? The issue, as far as we know, is in court. These civil society organisatioins are filled with people who are ignorant about the laws of this country and court procedures," said Thotho, tearing into Banda.
Banda has been advocating for the Zero-casing of Muluzi in Malawian courts.

Dr. Bakili Muluzi doing very well, family members

Former President, Bakili Muluzi's family says he is doing well, and has since called on Malawians to pray for the flamboyant leader.
Muluzi's son, Atupele, told Zachimalawi his father was responding well to treatment, and thanked Malawians for their "untiring prayers".
His sentiments follow complaints from interim United Democratic Front president, Friday Jumbe, that he was not being updated on Muluzi's condition.
Muluzi retired from the party's chairmanship position recently, and now wants to lead a life out of the active political spotlight.
He retirement, though, has been humpered by illness.

Charges withdrawn against 2 who Twittered police location

The Allegheny County District Attorney has dropped all charges against two New York men accused of posting locations of police officers on Twitter during the G-20 summit.

Elliot M. Madison and Michael T. Wallschlaeger, both of New York City, had charges pending before a district judge. Before that case came up, their attorney brought a motion to unseal police affidavits that backed a search warrant in their case. Today before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman the district attorney's office withdrew all charges against the men.

"The charges were ill-thought, ill-conceived and they never should have been filed to begin with," said Claudia Davidson, who represents both men.

Mike Manko, spokesman for the district attorney, said the office decided to withdraw charges after consulting with other law enforcement agencies.

He said, "After an extensive review of the facts and circumstances underlying those two arrests that took place on Sept. 24, 2009, there appears to be sufficient evidence to suggest that certain acts that occurred during the G-20 summit were not isolated incidents confined to Allegheny County but instead may have been related to more expansive activities that went beyond the Pittsburgh G-20 in both time and substance. That being the case, a determination was made that until further investigative activities by law enforcement agencies can be completed, it would be more prudent to have the current charges withdrawn rather than prosecuted at this time."

According to a criminal complaint filed against Mr. Madison, Pennsylvania State Police served a search warrant on Room 238 of the Carefree Inn on Kisow Drive in Kennedy early in the afternoon of Sept. 24. It was the first day of the G-20 summit and also the day set for unsanctioned protests in Lawrenceville.

In the motel room, police discovered Mr. Madison and Michael Wallschlaeger sitting in front of personal computers listening to both police and EMS scanners.

They were using headphones, microphones and maps to alert protesters about the movements of law enforcement, the complaint said. They sent the information out via cell phones and Twitter.

The pair also face charges for their G-20 activities in federal court in New York after the FBI searched their home in Queens for 16 hours.

The New York Post reported that agents seized "computers, political writings, anarchist literature, gas masks and a pound of liquid mercury."

Their defense attorney on the federal case, Martin R. Stolar, obtained a temporary restraining order against the FBI in the Eastern District of New York.

Ms. Davidson, the Pittsburgh-based attorney, said her "read" on Mr. Manko's statement is that "there was another jurisdiction that didn't want the DA's office to show their hand here."

"That doesn't mean an investigation elsewhere is going to turn up any crimes. We maintain their actions were always lawful. Use of electronic equipment to exercise their first amendment rights by anyone is not unlawful," she said.

Bakili Muluzi doing well, family members

Former President, Bakili Muluzi's family says he is doing well, and has since called on Malawians to pray for the flamboyant leader.
Muluzi's son, Atupele, told Zachimalawi his father was responding well to treatment, and thanked Malawians for their "untiring prayers".
His sentiments follow complaints from interim United Democratic Front president, Friday Jumbe, that he was not being updated on Muluzi's condition.
Muluzi retired from the party's chairmanship position recently, and now wants to lead a life out of the active political spotlight.
He retirement, though, has been humpered by illness.

Malawi govt. to cough K16 million for Calista Chimombo's trip

President Bingu wa Mutharika left for Ethiopia to attend the African Union summit at which he is largely expected to take over its chairmanship from Lybia's Muammar Gadaffi.
This must have been good news for Malawians, but reports from State House officials indicate that government will cough a whopping K16 million in accommodation costs for First-Lady-In Waiting Calista Chapola Chimombo, just because the former Tourism Minister has had the luck of happening to be Mutharika's next wife.
State House officials said part of the chunk will also go towards Chimombo's allowances, despite the fact that she is yet to wed the president.
Observers have been left wondering in what capacity Chimombo is having a free cake of tax payers money, when she is not yet officially engaged to Mutharika.

50 African states for Bingu

The rope is tightening for Lybian leader, Muammar Gadaffi, who wants to have another go at the African Union chairmanship despite union rules indicating that positioning will be on rotational basis.
But, so far, it seems things are going on well for Malawi's Bingu wa Mutharika- who has been nominated by the Southern African Development Community to take over from Gadaffi, now that it is the bloc's turn.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ettah Banda told Zachimalawi that, so far, 50 African states have assured Sadc of the AU chairmanship.
Banda said that the countries do not want a situation where unelected leaders, such as Gadaffi, would want to cling on to power and soil Africa's good governance picture.

CBS News Poll: 83% of Speech Watchers Approve of Obama's State of the Union Proposals

A large majority of Americans who watched President Obama's State of the Union Address generally approve of the proposals he outlined in his speech, according to a CBS News Poll conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the President's address.

Of the randomly selected 522 speech viewers questioned by CBS, 83 percent said they approved of the proposals the President made. Just 17 percent disapproved — typical of the high support a president generally receives among those who choose to watch the State of the Union. In January 2002 — when George W. Bush gave the State of the Union Address a year into his presidency — 85% of speech watchers approved.

Six in 10 of those asked said they thought Mr. Obama conveyed a clear plan for creating jobs, and seven in 10 said his plans for the economy will help ordinary Americans. Another seven in 10 said President Obama has the same priorities for the country as they have.

Special Report: Obama's 2010 State of the Union

The same individuals were interviewed both before and after Wednesday's State of the Union, and after the speech, 70 percent said Mr. Obama shares their priorities for the country, up from 57 percent before the speech.

However, a sizable 57 percent said the President will not be able to accomplish all of the goals he set out in his speech. Most Democrats who viewed the speech (63 percent) said the man they elected would be able to accomplish all of his goals, but only 11 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independent voters agreed.

Most Democrats and independents who watched said the president shares their priorities, while most Republicans did not.

Read the Complete Poll

In his speech President Obama said jobs would be "the number one focus in 2010," and here the president seems to have changed the minds of many speech watchers. After listening to the president, 59 percent of viewers said Mr. Obama has a clear plan for creating jobs, while 41 percent said he does not. Before the speech those numbers were almost exactly reversed.

Seventy-six percent of speech watchers generally approved of Mr. Obama's plans for dealing with the economy, up 21 percentage points from before the speech. President Obama laid out a plan for freezing spending for discretionary government programs for three years starting in 2011, and this seems to have resonated — 72 percent of those questioned approved of the plan.

Viewers were also more optimistic about the impact of President Obama's economic plans after watching the speech. Seventy-one percent said his economic plans will help ordinary Americans – up from 55 percent before the speech — and 56 percent were left thinking his plans will reduce the budget deficit in the long run, up from 41 percent.

On health care, President Obama reiterated the need for reform, and most speech watchers (67 percent) approved of the president's plan for dealing with the issue. Prior to his speech, 54 percent said they supported his plans.

The Commander in Chief also garnered approval for his handling to the war in Afghanistan with his speech Wednesday, with those supporting his strategy increasing from 58 percent before the address to 74 percent afterward.

Perhaps predictably, Americans who watched the speech were more Democratic than the nation as a whole. Historically, a President's supporters are more likely than his opponents to watch State of the Union addresses. Forty-four percent of speech viewers in this poll described themselves as Democrats while only 21 percent said they were Republican.

More Coverage of Obama's State of the Union:

Obama Vows to Fight for Jobs
Full Text of Obama's Speech
Bob McDonnell: The Government Is "Trying to Do Too Much"
Obama Upbeat as He Seeks to Reset Presidency
Dem, GOP Leaders Spar Over Obama's Community Banks Plan
Ohio Voters: Obama Needs More Details on Jobs Plan
Obama Priorities Revealed in State of the Union Speech
Obama's Speech Leveraged His Strengths
Photos: The State of the Union
Full Video of Obama's State of the Union
Katie Couric's Webcast: Analysis and Interviews


This CBS News Poll was conducted online by Knowledge Networks among a nationwide random sample of 522 viewers of the President’s Address to Congress. Knowledge Networks, a Silicon Valley company, conducted the poll among a sample of adult members of its household panel who said in recent days that they intended to watch the speech. The Knowledge Networks panel is a nationally representative sample given access to the Internet. This is a scientifically representative poll of viewers’ reaction to the speech. The margin of sampling error could be plus or minus 4 percentage points for the entire sample of speech watchers.

Secret Investigation Against G-20 Twitterer Has Minnesota Connection

In September 2008, the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, saw considerable pre-emptive arrests of activists and journalists, including raids on independent media spaces and the Tin Can Comms Collective office, which coordinated a series of Twitter feeds during the surrounding protests relating to activist actions, legal support, and street medic teams. This update from an anarchist collective in New York, who saw members raided and arrested for a similar Tin Can Comms Twitter deployment during the September 2009 G-20 protests in Pittsburgh, PA, was reposted anonymously with the above title on Twin Cities Indymedia’s website. Local charges had been dropped against the Pittsburgh G-20 Twitterers because of an ongoing “national” investigation, presumably in lieu of pending but not yet announced federal charges.

A New Year, A New Tortuga House Update, January 27, 2010

It has been several months since our last communication regarding the “situation” here at Tortuga House, but with nothing more than the seemingly interminable filing of legal motions by our defense to unseal the secret affidavits authorizing the raids in Pittsburgh and New York, counter-motions by prosecutors to keep these affidavits sealed, and judicial providence obviously favoring the side which signs their checks, we may as well be submitting a blank sheet of paper for all the real news we have. With the affidavits in our case remaining sealed—the motives and strategy of the state remain in the realm of speculation and will obviously not do for any public statement. However, a recent court date in Pittsburgh has since brought us several scraps of useful information that we felt it was important to share with others.

On January 15th, a court date/rubber-stamping procedure regarding a request by the state of Pennsylvania to keep the affidavit, which authorized the September 24th raid on a motel just outside of Pittsburgh and the arrest of two of our housemates during the G-20 protests, sealed for yet another 30 days yielded a bit more than the inevitable ruling in favor of the prosecution. The judge in the case, perhaps bored or suffering indigestion from eating a rich lunch, asked the state to explain why this affidavit—in a case where all charges against the accused had been dropped—required the extension of the seal.

Amid the standard spiel of the on-going investigation and grand jury in New York, the prosecution also claimed in oral arguments that this investigation now included Minnesota. In the application to the court, the prosecution wrote: “…certain alleged acts that occurred during the G-20 Summit were not isolated incidents confined to Allegheny County but instead may have been related to more expansive activities that went beyond the Pittsburgh G-20 both in time and in substance.” Also in the application to the court, is the first official mention of informants in the investigation. “The affiants are requesting the original search warrants be sealed for an additional 30 days to protect the informants involved in the investigation as well as an ongoing, more expansive investigation.”

It is worth noting that the prosecution manipulated facts in oral arguments about the investigation in New York—claiming that investigators could not move forward with the case until a decision was reached by the US Supreme Court (which is not true in any respect), as well as claiming the reason that the state has still not gone through our computers is because our hard drives are “booby-trapped” and would “self-destruct” if removed! Of course our lawyer objected to such outright fabrications and of course the judge, after the enormous strain of asking a legitimate question, extended the seal on the affidavit once more. The seal is currently set to expire on February 21st.

We wish we had more than these meager scraps from the dungheap of justice to provide—but this points to the necessity of unsealing the affidavits in both Pennsylvania and New York, as well as why the state is fighting to keep these documents sealed. What we now know is that prosecutors in Pennsylvania claim there are multiple informants in this investigation—which has repeatedly been described as “multi-state” and “ongoing” in court documents—and if we can believe them, that the investigation now includes Minnesota. According to the January 15th application to the court, they also state that included in the investigation are “activities that [go] beyond the Pittsburgh G-20 both in time and in substance.” However, it is unclear what activities they are referring to or where they think they might have taken place. Unfortunately, this is all the precious information we have—everything else remains conjecture.

While this new information is certainly not comforting, our goal in sharing this information is definitely not to frighten others into inactivity. State repression attempts to douse the inevitable flames of rebellion by targeting individuals with the hope that in striking one (or two or three) they will frighten many. By sharing our experiences in being openly targeted by the state, we hope we can collectively overcome their attempts to control those who refuse their authority and find ways to fight back while navigating the treacherous waters of life under capitalism. No matter what they do they will never succeed in putting out our fire—can’t stop won’t stop.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I have no appetite for women- Davis Mpanda

Davis Mpanda, owner of Under-14 soccer outfit Davis Babies, has revealed to Zachimalawi that he has no appetite for women, hence his decision to go on and sleep with minors.
Mpanda has pleaded guilty to charges of having unnatural sex at Machinjiri Magistrates Court and is now awaiting his sentence, having pleaded guilty.
Said Mpanda: "What could I do? I have no appetite for women. I believe I am gay. I have never had sex before."
There have been increased civil society outcries on the need to legalise homosexuality in Malawi, ring leaders being the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Centre for the Development of People and the Malawi Gay Rights Movement.
But government officials have gagged the civil society organisation, saying it was premature to talk about legalising homosexuality when the issue of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza was still in court.

Jacob Juma rebuffs Muammar Gadaffi on plot against Bingu

South African President, Jacob Juma, on Wednesday received a phone call from Libyan president, Muammar Gadaffi, on the possibility of assurping the African Union chairmanship from Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika.
The AU chairmanship rotates and, this time, it is the turn of the Southern African Development Community to choose a representative.
SADC settled for Mutharika but reports indicate that Gadaffi has developed some insatiable thirst for power and wants another run.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ettah Banda confirmed the development in an interview, saying she was informed of the issue by her South African counterpart.
"We have been assured that Dr. Mutharika will take over the chairmanship so Malawians should not worry. We are aware of what is happening," said Banda.
She said Zuma rebuffed Gadaffi on the issue, and maintained that it was SADC's turn.
South African government officials are yet to respond to an e-mail from Zachimalawi.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Malawi in bird flu vaccination campaign

Malawi is not taking the possible threat of bird flue lightly. Believing that the adage which purpots that once beaten, twice shy often strikes true, the country plansd to start vaccinating its citizens.
This follows four reports of bird flue during its peak last year, leading to the death of a Mangochi man.
The campaign,coming courtesy of the United States Government, is being implemented by the Ministry of Health.

Hunger imminent

Malawi could face hunger for the first time in five years.
This follows continued dry-spells in various parts of the country.
AZachimalawi tour of Thyolo, Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Dedza, Kasungu and Nkhotakota reveals that wilting of crops is common place, and farmers expressed fear they may have no food this year.
"Government should start redistributing farm inputs now," said Jonathan Banda at Nkhotakota Boma.
President Bingu wa Mutharika has acknowledged the possibility of hunger, but says Malawi has enough stocks.
Zachimalawi is now in Chitpa and will file an assessment report tomorrow.

Tips on flue and how to avoid it

Influenza is a common, and sometimes deadly virus commonly refered to as "the flu". Many people frequently mistake the common cold for flu, the term "flu" is used freely in relationship to cold-like symptoms. However, true influenza is a strong and potentially lethal virus that leads to approximately 35,000 deaths per year. People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, or those with chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable to contracting influenza. The flu season is typically from mid-October to early spring. Flu can kill. You need to protect yourself.


How to Forgive, Forget and Let Go

Forgiveness is one of those concepts that most people have difficulty grasping. While we all have a mental image of what forgiveness "should" look like when others forgive us, knowing how to forgive ourselves or someone else isn't as easy to understand.

When someone else causes us emotional harm, whether unintentional or intentional, learning to let go of this pain can be one of the most difficult transitions we go through. Social workers in the prison system work with families on the process of forgiveness to help ease the transition between incarceration and life on the outside. Similar to restorative justice programs which involve the victim of a crime and the offender, these prison programs seek to develop an understanding of the offenders act(s) and come to terms with the eventual return to society.

The families involved tend to view forgiveness as an admission that the past is completely forgotten and life can return to normal as if nothing happened. As you can imagine, this effort at denying the behavior has a negative effect.

Carrying emotional pain, anger, anxiety, and other distressing thoughts about a situation or someone often is easier for us than beginning the forgiveness process. Cognitive-behavioral therapists often stress positive thoughts since it can be easier to invest more time in negative thoughts and redirect energy toward positive change. The more we concentrate our emotional energy on carrying a grudge and not forgiving someone, the more likely we are to become anxious, depressed and negative about the general situation.

Since it is often easy to think of forgiveness in terms of forgetting, we need to examine how we forget. Human memory does not work like computer memory. There is no way to reformat the past. Instead, we look at situations through different lenses. Psychologists often refer to these lenses as perspective. Reality of our situation is how we view it at the time that the impression or memory was formed.

Forgetting a past hurt refers to relearning the circumstances surround the situation, reprocess it through a fresh perspective, and move toward forgiveness. When we look at the outcome of what happened, we can either become bitter and angry or view the end result as an opportunity for personal growth and change.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lovemore Munro yet to decide on gays' application

Chief Justice Lovemore Munro is yet to make a decision on the issue of whether the arrest of gay suspects Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga should be reveiewed by the Constitutiona Court.
Monjeza and Chimbalanga's lawyers argue that the two's arrest infringes on their human rights and freedoms, and works against the Republican Constitution.
Two weeks down the line, the Chief Justice is yet to decide while Monjeza and Chimbalanga are still being held on remand against their will.
The two complained on Monday this week Police officers were tightening hand cuffs too hard on them, "as if we are hard-core criminals".
Whenever they appear at the Blantyre Magistrates Court, people boo them, a tale-tell sign of a nation still shackled by conservationism.

Peter Mponda talks on retirement from Flames

Flames captain, Peter Mponda, says he rushed into announcing that he may retire from the Malawi National Team, revealing he is now under intense pressure from family members and soccer lovers to delay his retirement.
Mponda said after Malawi's group stage exit in Angola he was 'seriously' considering the option of resigning from the Flames.
"I feel I have done my part," said Mponda.
Now, he may be on the verge of changing all that:
|I will consider views from all angles and make a decision. At the moment, I am ready to go for the Flames," he said.


For six years, Syrian users have been affected by U.S. government trade sanctions that exclude certain goods from the Syrian market. Specifically, the Syria Accountability Act (SAA) of 2004 prohibits the export of most goods containing more than 10% U.S.-manufactured component parts to Syria, with the exceptions of food and medicine. Sudan, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran are all also affected by similar sanctions.

In the past year, the fact that the sanctions against Syria include software has garnered significant attention. Last year, in an attempt to comply with the sanctions, LinkedIn unintentionally cut off Syrian users entirely (the sanctions require that sites block software downloads, not general access), a decision that was quickly reversed. Web-hosting companies have also kicked off Syrian, Iranian, and other users, some of which were not actually prohibited from use.

The discussion recently reached a fever pitch when, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a free and open Internet, Syrian users noticed they could no longer access open-source software community SourceForge. Syrian Abdulrahman Idilbi, writing for ArabCrunch, broke the news:

As of January 2008, people from those countries can browse SourceForge projects and download from them, but access to the secure server was not allowed, so they would not be able to log in to SourceForge or contribute to projects. As of January 2010, blocking went further with not allowing people coming from “banned locations” to download anything from, having a response similar to this one:

SourceForge's blockpage for Syrian users
Hiconomics, who tweets here, started up a discussion on the subject on the Yalla! Startup community. He writes:

As some of you may already know… has suddenly blocked Syrian & Sudanese users on the basis of being compliant to US law.

Four national teams for Kinnah's signature

Flames Coach Kinnah Phiri says he will take time to sign a new contract with the Football Association of Malawi as he tries to weigh over the options.
Kinnah revealed that he has received four "serious' inquiries from four respectable West African teams, and may be forced to quit ship if FAM does not improve on his perks.
"But I will not mention the teams right now; discussions are on-going," said Kinnah in Blantyre.

Malawi: Genocide suspect slips out to US

Rwandan officials have pursued their Malawian counterparts on the whereabouts of a 1994 Rwandese genocide suspect, Vincent Nzigiyimfura who was last freely conducting business in the country. Rwandan prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said the suspect was last reported in Malawi under the name Vincent Nzigiye.
rwanda genocide
He added that the Africa Rights, a non-governmental organisation and his country officials were convinced the man had sneaked out to the United States of America.

"We do not know under what circumstances he managed to sneak out of Malawi and end up in the US," he said.

Malawian authorities, however, said they were investigating the matter through the Malawi Police but that this issue was better handled by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Security.

Police chief, Inspector General Peter Mukhito said: "All refugee and asylum seekers movements are the responsibility of the ministry. That is beyond the police as we don't handle such matters," he told the Nation.

Mukhito however said he would act only when a red alert was issued.

Nzigiyimfura was in the country in the capital city Lilongwe running a business, Mzigiye Shopping Centre in Area 2, situated just a few kilometres to the country's Area 3 Central Region Police headquarters.

In April 2009, Africa Rights produced a report that the former Rwandeese businessman in Nyanza town, is suspected to be a key architect during the genocide against Ttusti Rwandans that led to the killing of more than 100,000 people.

Rakiya Omaar of Africa Rights also told the newspaper it was hard to understand how the suspect managed to fly to the US using a visa.

"The good news, however, is that US authorities are aware of the allegations against him, and we have sent them a copy of our report, in addition, justice officials in Rwanda are actively following his case and working with US authorities.

Ngoga visited Malawi where he met with the Director of Public Prosecutions to discuss the matter and said it was a shared responsibility of all other civilized nations to take some action.

Malawi: President finds new wife

Malawi's president Bingu Wa Mutharika has found a new wife and expected to marry on May 1 this year. The former Minister of Tourism and Wildlife Calista Chapola Chimombo would now become the first lady after the official marriage ceremony. They will have an engagement ceremony on February 14.
calista chimombo
Mutharika who is in his 70’s lost his wife Ethel in May 2007 after a long battle with cancer.

Chimombo is a high ranking official of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The news of their engagement and wedding comes barely a month after speculations were rife that the two were planning to marry and the two have been seen together at recent functions.

The Malawi president, who retained the presidency in the May 19, 2009 elections, will marry.

Some international reactions to story about Malawi Gay Rights Movement 15, 000 Euros injenction

As humans, we have strayed so far from our creator. We have decided that we will determine what is right and what is wrong. Seemingly, the laws of nature now have to take a back seat to the laws that men set. Homosexuality is an illness, it should not be embraced and forced upon people. The rich nations should not be trying to use money to spread their disease throughout the worlld. That is exactly what it is, it is a disease, a chemical imbalance. It should be treated as an illness. If a man goes out and kills someone, he is arrested and sent to prison. He is not considered a productive part of society. It is wrong for us to go against what the creator has put in place. Throughout nature, creatures are paired male to female. God gave us the gift of free will, he also laid out the law and put consequences in place. If you want to be gay, you will have to deal with the Almighty on that issue one day. But please do not try to corrupt the rest of humanity along with you.

Loyd, United Kingdom

Chancy Namadzunda, AfricaNews reporter in Blantyre, Malawi
A 15, 000 euros boost is to be made to the underground Malawi Gay Movement (MGM) from their Netherlands counterparts (name withheld) to help heighten the activities of the movement in the southen African country. MGM said the money would help create a reliable network among its members.
black gays
“We want to have a powerful movement which will enable us to get settled in the country. We want to be recognised just as any other social groups. Currently, it is threatening in the country to come out and say you are gay just like what happens to our friends.

“We are also going to use the same money to help this couple in legal fees. They are our friends and groundbreakers, they have done us proud and we cannot leave them,” an official who does not want to be named said.

The source said they are planning to launch a massive campaign to lobby the parliament to legalise gay marriages as human rights.

Recently, the Minister of Information Leckford Thotho warned that any attempt by anyone within or outside the country to bring gay relationships in the country will be punished.

“This is a cultured and religious country, so nobody should try to bring in this issue,” he said.


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Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 03:01
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As humans, we have strayed so far from our creator. We have decided that we will determine what is right and what is wrong. Seemingly, the laws of nature now have to take a back seat to the laws that men set. Homosexuality is an illness, it should not be embraced and forced upon people. The rich nations should not be trying to use money to spread their disease throughout the worlld. That is exactly what it is, it is a disease, a chemical imbalance. It should be treated as an illness. If a man goes out and kills someone, he is arrested and sent to prison. He is not considered a productive part of society. It is wrong for us to go against what the creator has put in place. Throughout nature, creatures are paired male to female. God gave us the gift of free will, he also laid out the law and put consequences in place. If you want to be gay, you will have to deal with the Almighty on that issue one day. But please do not try to corrupt the rest of humanity along with you.
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 17:33
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I think that the aritcal show the right of people to be they are. That peole should not be juged or kiled cause they like the same spices of there self. It was an all right artical.
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 17:37
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I agree with you im not gay but people should have rigtht be free in not being judge by it. In that it is sometimes a cofuseing that some peploe are gay.
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:16
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helo)i agree with you well i am not gay but the people that are gay they have the right to be wat they wanna be and the wourld is never ganna end so that is why i really agree with you and the people who disidet that okay and if some people are gay where you live then that is okay because there alot of gay people over hear in Austin and we dont tell them nuthing because i have a uncle that is gay and thats why i understand jajaja its kinde of funny that i am telling you dis but its okay any ways i like youre story you realli know how to right a story and really make someone emagen it bue any ways i have to go but dont worry if youre gay or not dat wont change youre life or other peoples life
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:20
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Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:21
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Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:22
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k ases
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:22
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nada y tu tita jajajaja
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:23
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nada lil chivitita
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:23
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oh okay pos deque ablamos
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:24
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kien sabe to2 van a ver estos
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:25
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jajajajajajajaajajajajajaj LOL:) ya se pero que inporta namas no pongas nuestros nombres
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:26
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ok k mas osea nose de k
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:27
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MrWashington modified this message on 26-01-2010 00:50 with 100%
Posted on Monday 25 January 2010 22:28
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hey i like youre story okay bye

A lie about Malawian gays

Chancy Namadzunda, AfricaNews reporter in Blantyre, Malawi
A 15, 000 euros boost is to be made to the underground Malawi Gay Movement (MGM) from their Netherlands counterparts (name withheld) to help heighten the activities of the movement in the southen African country. MGM said the money would help create a reliable network among its members.
black gays
“We want to have a powerful movement which will enable us to get settled in the country. We want to be recognised just as any other social groups. Currently, it is threatening in the country to come out and say you are gay just like what happens to our friends.

“We are also going to use the same money to help this couple in legal fees. They are our friends and groundbreakers, they have done us proud and we cannot leave them,” an official who does not want to be named said.

The source said they are planning to launch a massive campaign to lobby the parliament to legalise gay marriages as human rights.

Recently, the Minister of Information Leckford Thotho warned that any attempt by anyone within or outside the country to bring gay relationships in the country will be punished.

“This is a cultured and religious country, so nobody should try to bring in this issue,” he said.


Malawi: Gov’t set guidelines for HIV/AIDS fund

In a quest to combat corrupt practices in the administration of HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme in Malawi, the government of that country has come up with new guidelines intended to standardize the care package across the public sector to facilitate effective use of the resources.
Government introduced HIV/AIDS Workplace Programme as a fund to benefit HIV/AIDS infected civil servants who had come in the open as an encouragement to mobilize more people to declare their status. Such workers were getting K5,000 (about $34) on top of their monthly salaries.

But the programme was temporarily suspended after it was discovered that some unscrupulous people in the civil service were conniving with hospital personnel to issue them (civil servants) with bogus medical reports indicating that one is an HIV patient and that their CD4 count had reached a point where they are supposed to start taking the life-prolonging drugs - ARVs.

After being issued with the bogus medical reports the civil servants would go to their employers asking to be included on the list of HIV infected servants benefiting from the fund meant for civil servants on anti-retroviral drugs so that they too, should be receiving a monthly K5000 (about $34) from government coffers.

“Through this practice, a lot of government money was lost,” said Dr. Mary Shawa, Principal Secretary (PS) for Nutrition, HIV/AIDS, in August 2008.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, Director of Nutrition, HIV and Aids in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Catherine Mkangama said the new guidelines provide a minimum package for nutrition care and support that should be given to the people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS using the two percent ORT [other recurrent transactions] resources.

Mkangama explained that the package has been developed through a process of wide consultations and lessons learnt from other Nutrition Care and Support programmes in the country.

“The guidelines are intended to standardize the care package across the public sector to facilitate effective use of the resources. In addition, the guidelines suggest activities that can be implemented to promote HIV prevention, control, mitigation, care, support and treatment in the work place programme,” Mkangama stated.

The new arrangement states that Public Servants Living with HIV/AIDS (PSLWHAs) will also be getting nutrition support complement the food security of their households.

While as support was restricted to the infected persons in the old programme, the new programme extends the support to their registered dependants (only those residing with the public servant) if infected by the pandemic.

“The new arrangement is very effective and will help in saving government money. Beneficiaries will need to go a number of processes to qualify for the support. This is done to avoid fraud and corruption in the administration of the programme,” said Mkangama.

Among others, public servants will have to produce their health passbook, ART number, health centre where they are collecting their drugs from, village where they come from and the type of assistance they would need.

Department of Nutrition, HIV and Aids is currently printing a document containing these guidelines on the use of the 2% of other recurrent transactions (ORT) budget commitment towards HIV and Aids at work place to all government departments and ministries.

Malawian gays plan demonstration

The Malawi Gay Rights Movement (Magrim), a representative body of Malawian gays, plans to hold demonstrations against the continued 'intimidation and harassment' of gay suspects Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza. Magrim made the resolution at a gays and lesbians meeting held in Blantyre Tuesday morning.
black gays
Magrim Spokesperson, Wongani James Phiri, said they were unhappy with the continued keeping of the two gays in custody, some 26 days after being arrested on December 28, 2009.

"We are demonstrating on Sunday and our march will start from Upper Kamuzu Stadium through to old Blantyre Town Hall. We demand the unconditional release of the two," said Phiri.

Monjeza and Chimbalanga have themselves complained the tightness of Police handcuffs, saying they were being treated as hardcore criminals when they were not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let's pray for our friends in Haiti

Malawians, let's pray for our friends in Haiti.
Thank God, help has started arriving.
Too late for some.

Comments on stories about gays in Malawi

As humans, we have strayed so far from our creator. We have decided that we will determine what is right and what is wrong. Seemingly, the laws of nature now have to take a back seat to the laws that men set. Homosexuality is an illness, it should not be embraced and forced upon people. The rich nations should not be trying to use money to spread their disease throughout the worlld. That is exactly what it is, it is a disease, a chemical imbalance. It should be treated as an illness. If a man goes out and kills someone, he is arrested and sent to prison. He is not considered a productive part of society. It is wrong for us to go against what the creator has put in place. Throughout nature, creatures are paired male to female. God gave us the gift of free will, he also laid out the law and put consequences in place. If you want to be gay, you will have to deal with the Almighty on that issue one day. But please do not try to corrupt

What Chancy Namadzunda has written about Malawian gays on Africa News

Malawi: 15, 000 euros boost for gays

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Posted on Sunday 24 January 2010 - 13:10
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Chancy Namadzunda, AfricaNews reporter in Blantyre, Malawi
A 15, 000 euros boost is to be made to the underground Malawi Gay Movement (MGM) from their Netherlands counterparts (name withheld) to help heighten the activities of the movement in the southen African country. MGM said the money would help create a reliable network among its members.
black gays
“We want to have a powerful movement which will enable us to get settled in the country. We want to be recognised just as any other social groups. Currently, it is threatening in the country to come out and say you are gay just like what happens to our friends.

“We are also going to use the same money to help this couple in legal fees. They are our friends and groundbreakers, they have done us proud and we cannot leave them,” an official who does not want to be named said.

The source said they are planning to launch a massive campaign to lobby the parliament to legalise gay marriages as human rights.

Recently, the Minister of Information Leckford Thotho warned that any attempt by anyone within or outside the country to bring gay relationships in the country will be punished.

“This is a cultured and religious country, so nobody should try to bring in this issue,” he said.

Link to the story:

Link to Haiti earhquake, relief efforts

Link to Haiti earthquake:

Haiti still needs help

Dear Richard

International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization, founded by volunteer doctors and nurses and dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through relief and development programs. Our emergency response team is in Haiti responding in force and I would like to ask for your help to get the word out to the readers of Zachimalawi. There are still thousands of patients seeking treatment of which approximately 80% are in need of surgery and are running out of time - especially with the tremendous aftershocks still devastating this country. The team is treating crush injuries, trauma, substantial wound care, shock and other critical cases with the few available supplies - And they're in it for the long haul. I would love your help spreading the word by blogging or tweeting about IMC's rescue efforts. We've put up a blogger friendly widget here on our site:

With the widget it's really easy to let your readers know that donating $10 to help the people of Haiti is as simple as sending a text message of the word "haiti" to 85944. If you have any questions just let me know and I will do my best to help you out. If you are able to post the widget or tweet, I would appreciate it if you could send me the link.

Thanks so much,


‘Anti-gay bill threatens HIV fight in Uganda’

The UN Special Rapporteur on health, Anand Grover, warned that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill being considered by the Ugandan Parliament is "not only a violation of the fundamental human rights of Ugandans, but will also undermine efforts to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support."
“Lessons from the last 30 years of the HIV epidemic have shown us that recognition of the rights of people with different sexual identities is a necessary component for a successful HIV and health response,” stressed the UN expert.

“In many countries where sex between men is not criminalized and where stigma and discrimination have been reduced, men who have sex with men are more likely to take up HIV prevention, care and support and treatment services,” he added.

“I urge the Ugandan Parliament to build on its past successes in responding to HIV and to refrain from passing this Bill,” said Grover, while strongly supporting the President and other members of the Government in their attempts to prevent the initiative of some members of the Parliament that the bill becoming law.

He said: “Uganda is in the great danger of taking a step backwards – away from realizing human rights for its people and away from an effective, evidence and rights-based HIV response.”

The Special Rapporteur on health stressed that a number of UN human rights conventions ban discrimination on grounds of sexual identity or orientation, and laws that criminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults violate the right to privacy.

Homosexuality is already criminalized through Uganda’s existing penal code, but the proposed Bill will increase penalties for homosexual conduct and will criminalize many related activities, such as the ‘promotion of homosexuality.’

By including the publication and dissemination of materials, funding and sponsoring related activities, and any attempts to ‘promote or abet homosexuality,’ these provisions could affect the work of civil society actors and human rights defenders addressing issues of sexual orientation or gender identity, which are crucial to addressing vulnerability to HIV.

The Bill also criminalizes failure to report any relevant offences. It therefore compels citizens – including health workers and civil society organizations active in HIV prevention and human rights– to report to the authorities anyone whom they suspect of being homosexual. Furthermore, the Bill would result in the punishment of ’serial offenders’ and those who are living with HIV, with the death penalty.

How to Set Boundaries With Your Boss

It's good to be the "go-to" guy on the job. You please the boss. You're respected, looked up to, admired. Yes, the "go-to" guy is what so many aspire to be.

John Harris used to be the "go-to" guy. Harris screened calls, ran interference and made things happen for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- at least until both men were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and a count of soliciting bribes. Harris was caught in a web of deceit, bribery and poor ethics, operating as Blagojevich's chief of staff.

While the former governor continues to claim his innocence and exploits his notoriety with an appearance in the upcoming "Celebrity Apprentice," Harris seems to have recognized the severity of the charges.

What is Mr. Harris doing these days? Now he's the government's "go-to" guy. As part of his plea bargain agreement, Harris will be one of the key witnesses in the Blagojevich trial come June 2010. Yes, it's good to be the "go-to" guy.

Was Harris pressured by Blagojevich to act out this criminal behavior? Did Harris fear losing his job -- or worse, fear for his safety? His family's safety?

Establishing boundaries in the workplace can be tricky and sometimes difficult, although it's seldom as dramatic as the choices Harris faced. But if your organization's environment does not foster a comfortable climate for feedback, employee and corporate success suffers. Establishing realistic and appropriate boundaries in the employee-boss relationship and even key to the health of the organization.

Tight handcuffs anger Malawian gays

Arrested Malawian gays, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, have complained bitterly over "too tight handcuffs', saying it seems Police officers want to punish them for 'doing nothing wrong' by pressing the handcuffs too hard on them.
The two complaining loudly on Monday, not for the first time though, telling a Police officer: "Why are you pressing the handcuffs too hard on us as if we are hardcore criminals? Have we stolen anybody's property?"
However, the Police officers merely promised that they would loosen the cuffs in court.
Monjeza and Chimbalanga's case continued on Monday, and three witnesses are expected to testify against them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nkhayabay hospital construction starts March

The people of Nkhatabay will soon stop crying for a district hospital, following government plans to start construction of a new hospital March.
The hospital will have 600 beds and 60 staff houses, and is modelled on the design of Nkhotakota District Hospital.

Waiting for the Malawi National Team

Malawians have come to terms with the exist of their national soccer team, the Flames, from the Orange Africa Cup of Nations and are now looking forward to welcoming their team at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
The team tumbled 3-1 against Mali in a game they should have easily won. Striker Russel Mwafulirwa fluffed a host of scoring opportunities while goal tender Swadick Sanudi seemed to have had a surgical operation that 'opened' his hands and made him too charitable, allowing the unimpressive Malians to score two goals within two minutes.
But Malawians now say the team should dwell on the positives from Angola, a country that has become synonymous with mismanagement and poor organisation.
But missing in Malawi's cities are the Red, Green and Black colours that surfaced after the Flames humbled Algeria 3-1.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Malawi coach says ready to beat Mali

Kinnah Phiri, Malawi National Football Team coach, has promised nothing short of victory in tomorrow's game against Mali.
Kinnah said in an e-mail response his charges had come over Thiirsday's misery and were now in good mood.
"The Angolans made life difficult for us because we were playing them' now they are good again because we are not playing them on Monday," said Phiri.
The Flames faced intimidation and psychological torture in preparing for the game against Angola. Twice, they failed to train due to purported sabotage.
"The Angolans can be so cruel in deed," said Phiri.
He added:" They can also be good, at the same time."

Khonsolo yaBlantyre ipereka ndalama zolimbana ndiEDZI

Khonsolo yamzinda waBlantyre yapereka ndalama zokwana K900, 000 kwamabungwe omwe akugwira ntchito zolimbana ndimatenda aEDZI m’madera osiyanasiyana mukhonsoloyi.
Mkulu wakhonsoloyi aLeycester Bandawe adati akuyembekezera kuti miyoyo yaanthu omwe akukhala ndichiyembekezo ndikachilombo kaHIV, komwe kamayambitsa matenda aEDZI, komanso ana amasiye apindula ndintchito zamabungwe am’midziwa.
ABandawe achenjeza mabungwewa kuti ayenera kugwiritsa ntchito ndalamazi moyenera, ndipo adati mabungwe omwe adzapezeke atasakaza thandizoli adzabweza ndalamazo.
“Ndalama zimenezi ndizaanthu omwe akuvutika m’madera osiyanasiyana chifukwa chosowa thandizo mwina chifukwa chokuti akukhala ndichiyembekezo ndiHIV, kapena ndiana amasiye. Pali mavuto osiyanasiyana omwe anthu oterewa amakumana nawo ndipo akuyembekezera umoyo wabwino kuchokera kwamabungwewa,” adatero aBandawe.
Mabungwe am’madera osiyanasiyana mukhonsolo yaBlantyre akhala akudandaula kuti kuchedwa kwandalama zogwirira ntchito kwapangitsa kuti ntchito zosamalira anthu omwe amadalira thandizo lochokera kubungwe loyendetsa ntchito zokhudzana ndiHIV ndiEDZI laNAC avutike kwambiri.
Ena mwamabungwewa adayambanso manong’onong’o pomanena kuti akuluakulu akhonsolo yaBlantyre adadya ndalama zomwe zimayenera kupita kwaanthu omwe akhudzidwa kwambiri ndimatenda aEDZI, chinthu chomwe chidakhumudwitsa akuluakulu amumzindawu popeza ndalama zidali zisadabwere.

M’gwirizano wadzetsa mtendere kuChiradzulu

Mfumu Likoswe yam’boma laChiradzulu idati kutha kwam’chitidwe odula ziwalo amayi komanso kuchepa kwaumbanda m’bolalo kwadza chifukwa cham’gwirizano omwe ulipo pakati paApolisi ndianthu am’midzi.
Boma laChiradzulu lidavutika kwambiri ndim’chitidwe waumbanda kumayambiliro azaka zam’ma2000, chinthu chomwe chidadzetsa mantha pakati paanthu am’bomalo.
M’chitidwewu udakula kwambiri m’dera lamfumu Likoswe, ndipo zimenezi zidakhumudwitsa mfumuyi, yomwe idadabwitsidwa ndichifukwa chomwe anthu ambandawa amkachitira zamtopolazi mdera lake.
Koma mfumu Likoswe yam’bolalo idati zonsezi tsopano ndimbiri yakale, ndipo anthu akugona mosayang’ana kukhomo, chinthu chomwe idati chatheka kamba kam’gwirizano wabwino pakati paApolisi ndianthu am’madera akumidzi kumeneko.
“Zinthu zidasintha tsopano ndipo kuno kuli mtendere tsopano. Zimenezi zatheka chifukwa cham’gwirizano wabwino omwe ulipo pakati paogwira ntchito zachitetezo ndianthu am’midzi,” idatero mfumu Likoswe.
Mfumuyi yathokoza anthu omwe amayang’anira ntchito zoonetsetsa kuti akuluakulu ogwira ntchito zolimbikitsa chitetezo akugwira ntchito limodzi ndianthu m’madera osiyanasiyana kamba kothandiza ndizida zosiyanasiyana monga zobvala pantchito, miyuni younikira usiku komanso psilili (mawezulo).
Akuluakulu olimbikitsa ntchitozi m’chigawo chakumwera sabata latha adapereka zovala anthu omwe akuthandizana ndiApolisi pantchito yobweretsa chitetezo, zinthu zomwe adati zithandiza kusiyanitsa pakati paanthuwa ndiena ongodziyendera usiku, mwina kamba kofuna kuchita zinthu zaumbanda.

Thandizo likufunikabe m’boma laSalima

Anthu omwe adakhudzidwa ndivuto lamphepo yamkuntho m’boma laSalima adadandaula kuti anthu ndimabungwe ambiri akuyika chidwi chawo chonse pangozi yazivomerezi zomwe zidakhudza anthu oposa 4,000 m’boma laKaronga, kuyiwala kuti nawonso akuvutika chifukwa chimphepo yamphavu yomwe idasasula nyumba ndikugwetsa mitengo mwezi watha.
Anthu okhala kuChitala m’boma laSalima adakhudzidwa ndivuto lamphepo yamkuntho paDisembala 19, chaka chatha, chinthu chomwe chidapangitsa kuti nyumba komanso mitengo yamalambe, mtenthanyerere ndiina igwe ndikutchinga njira.
Anthu omwe nyumba zawo zidagwa akusowa mtengo wogwira ndipo akugona muzisakasa.
Zimenezi zidadziwika pomwe bungwe laCentre for Sustainable Development and Alternative Rights (SUDAR) lidakayendera madera omwe akhudzidwa kwambiri ndivutoli litalandira pempho kuchokera kubungwe lina lakuNetherlands, lomwe lidapempha bungweli kuti likawunikew zamavuto omwe adza kamba kamphepoyo.
Malingana ndiaMichael Mtambalika, mkulu wabungweli, bungwe lakunjalo lidapempha SUDAR litamva zavutoli.
“Vutoli litagwa, ife tidafotokozera bungwe lotchedwa Universal Justice lakuNetherlands, ndipo bungweli layamba kale kusonkhetsa thandizo m’dzikolo. Tapeza kuti anthu ambiri akuvutika ndivutoli kuSalima, ena mwaiwo alibe ndichakudya chomwe,” adatero aMtambalika.
Anthu oposa 250 akufunika thandizo lamsanga kuChitala, Malingana ndimafumu ena akuChitala.
M’modzi mwaanthu omwe akhudzidwa ndivutoli, a Linda Kuzimva, adadandaula kuti anthu ambiri ayika chidwi chawo pangozi yakuKaronga, chonsecho kuSalima kunalinso vuto lina lalikulu.
“Tikupempha kuti anthu atikumbuke nafenso popeza tili pamavuto adzaoneni. Tikusowa zakudya monga Likuni phala ndizina,” adatero aKuzimva.
Malingana ndibwanankubwa waboma laSalima, a Gift Lapozo, zinthu monga mapepala apulasitiki komanso zakudya ndizomwe zimafunika m’bomalo.

Debate rages on 2010 secondary school selection

Benedicto Kondowe, National Coordinator for Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education (CSCQBE), is a man of high estimations; he sets his eyes on the future and never looks back, overtly sure that human beings will always learn from history’s toughest lessons.
Like so many who hope that tomorrow may be better than today, his optimism for the future of education in Malawi is pregnant almost to a fault. At least, that is the impression one gets from Kondowe since announcement of the 2009 Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (PSLCE) results, and list of candidates selected to various national secondary schools.
Dots of pessimism and discouragement now mark facial expressions once decorated with hope and optimism. Moreover, Kondowe cannot help but look back at life’s little lessons- something that brings him to the realization that, after all, childhood was a lesson, too.
The lesson he gets: When you are a small child, you know something is not right, and you do not like it. But you do not question it, and you never let that get you down; you, sought of, just continue to move on with life, to live.
This is the situation Malawian Civil Society Organisations (CSO) found themselves in when the country embraced multiparty democracy in 1994. They could see things go wrong with the new political leaders and merely move on with their lives.
“Now we have matured with age and are ready to question those in authority whenever we see that something has gone amiss. We have even gone a step further and are increasingly engaging the government in dialogue on various issues of national interest,” says Kondowe.
A good case in point is that of the 2009 PSLCE secondary school selection list. Kondowe, the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian and others feel shortchanged on the results, and are questioning the Ministry of Education.
The bone of contention, over an issue government officials say is far way straight forward, is the difference in regional percentage points. CSCQEBE and Livingstonia Synod are questioning the rationale behind drastic reductions in selected students from the Northern region, and suspect an invisible hand and system to be at play.
“Why, for example, is it that the number of students selected to national secondary schools for Northern region candidates has dwindled from 19 per cent in 2009 to 13 per cent (representing a decrease of 6 percentage points) in 2010? At the same time, the number of students from the Southern and Central region has increased from 36 per cent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2010, and 42 per cent in 2009 to 44 percent in 2010, respectively. We suspect foul play,” said Kondowe.
What sort of foul play?
“We believe that the quota system has been used indiscreetly,” he adds, his anger beginning to appear.
The issue of quota system has a deep surface. It existed during the one party regime and was, subsequently, abandoned. Then, in 2007, the University Council reignited debate over the issue following concerns presented in Parliament by one opposition Member of Parliament over the shortfalls of University Entrance Examinations (UEE).
The MP noted that UEE was creating selection disparity between urban and rural students but the Council identified regional disparity and not urban versus rural was what the Council identified as a core issue.
Facts established by the council indicated that about 3000 students qualify for entrance examinations every year, competing for about 900 spaces only. It then requested the Centre for Education Research and Training (CERT) to conduct a comprehensive study to confirm or disqualify this impression.
The University Council, however, noted the social-political implications of the trend to the future of Malawi’s education, and recommended to the University Senate in 2007 to consider re-introducing the quarter system, but the Senate pleaded for more time and consultations.
Now CSCQBE believes the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb), which is not related to the University Council or Senate, has borrowed a leaf from the University of Malawi and applied a quota system of selection.
“Otherwise, Maneb should come out in the open and explain its selection criteria. People may lose trust in it. It is also good for the government to be transparent because it will help the regions that have not done better to get back to successful, old ways,” said Kondowe.
However, Education Minister George Chaponda feels that CSOs suspecting foul play are seeing opium smoke where plantations never exist. The 2010 secondary selection process was normal, he says, and nothing sinister ever happened.
Chaponda assures Malawians that government would not behind their backs and implement a system that is far from matured, asking people to get regional politics out of the selection equation.
The issue of quota system is a contentious issue even within the file and ranks of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), following the firing of former Director of Political Affairs Harry Mkandawire.
This was after Mkandawire’s public criticism of government’s intention to employ the quota system. The party liked no bit of his criticism of President Bingu wa Mutharika, who has vowed to make development, including access to higher education, equitable to all Malawians.
Mutharika has often advocated for equality in sharing the national development cake, and says just such a development could help spur a new era of all-round development.
DPP has, thus, not taken lightly to CSCQBE and Livingstonia Synod accusations of under-hand tactics. Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba, DPP Publicity Secretary, feels that the sentiments are innuendos aimed at the ruling party- now driving the current administration.
“The Livingstonia Synod and others should know that the schools in question are national schools and not regional schools. These people are advocating regional lines, yet the number of Northern region students in the country’s education facilities is more than the 13% Livingstonia Synod is claiming. People must know that these students are scattered all over Malawi.”
Ntaba adds that, in fact, “Section 20, subsection 2 of the Republican Constitution requires that government acts to address any inequalities in the country. If I may ask, why are other regions not complaining; they are a silent majority.”
CSCQBE has since threatened to take stern action, among others by carrying out a more comprehensive study on the “evils” of the year’s secondary school selection criteria.
“Equitable distribution should not be retrospective,” says Kondowe.
It remains to be seen whether the coalition will take any real action. However, a 2009 study conducted in four SADC countries by Development Media Africa (Dema) revealed that CSOs rarely succeed in their advocacy roles.
The Dema study indicated, for instance, that only 3 per cent of advocacy efforts for Malawian CSOs worked for the past five years, with Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia reporting a 13 per cent effectiveness rate.
What is more? The study, which had 1780 respondents in all the four countries, revealed that CSOs rarely follow what they preach, often doing the very same things they scorn governments for.
A recent press conference on equal distribution of resources in the education sector, organized by the equality-conscious CSCQBE in Blantyre, could be a good case in point. While coalition officials vilified government for sidelining the Northern region in this year’s secondary school selection in the presence of 28 journalists, they handpicked only eight members of the pen for sitting allowances.
Equitable distribution the CSCQBE-way!

Tiwonge Chimbalanga, Steven Monjeza Soko still sick

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza Soko, the two Malawian gays arrested on December 28, 2009 and being denied the right to bail, are still not "feeling okay".
The two told Zachimalawi Saturday, when the blogger paid them a courtesy call, they were still feeling dizzy and in pain.
Monjeza complained of headache on Monday while Chimbalanga could not do otherwise but throw up in court, a development that led to the postponement of their case.
The two told Zachimalawi they were receiving a poor diet from well-wishers, apart from living in smelly cells at the station.
In addition, Chimbalanga said he is not being treated as a woman, something he felt was counterproductive to human rights freedoms in Malawi.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tanzania: CPJ condemns government suspension of private weekly

New York, January 12, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for the suspension of independent weekly Swahili newspaper Kulikoni to be lifted immediately. Information Minister George Mkuchika announced the suspension of the leading investigative weekly on Friday, citing a sales and distribution ban for a period of 90 days beginning January 11, according to local journalists and news reports.

The ruling was linked to a November 27, 2009, story that alleged cheating in the national exams for the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces, the managing editor of Dar-es-Salaam-based Kulikoni, Evarist Mwitumba, told CPJ. Presidential spokesman Salva Rweyemamu told CPJ that the minister had decided the newspaper had breached the security laws of the country. He suspended the newspaper under the 1976 Newspapers Act. The minister can make direct decisions for suspension without consulting the independent media monitoring body, the Media Council, the spokesman added. The information minister said the paper could not substantiate their claims in the story after a formal request to do so by the government-run registrar of newspapers, according to the state-owned Daily News.

“The information minister should not be able to censor a publication at will,” said CPJ’s Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. “We call on the minister to lift the ban immediately and to allow the Media Council to reach its own decision on the matter.”

According to local journalists, the decision was politicized because of upcoming election nominations. The paper is critical of the government and frequently investigates corruption issues. Tanzania is expected to hold its fourth multiparty general election October this year.

While the suspension announcement was made on Friday, Kulikoni’s staff were not invited to the press conference and only received official notification of their suspension Monday at 5 p.m., local journalists told CPJ. The newspaper published an edition on Sunday evening and distributed the newspaper Monday prior to receiving notice, Mwitumba told CPJ. The minister sent an additional letter demanding an explanation for publishing today despite the suspension order, he said.

The government suspended another leading investigative journal, MwanHalisi, under the same legal provision on October 13, 2008, for 90 days for “inciting public hatred against the president.”

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Arrested gays very sick

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, the two gays arrested on December 28, 2009 for having a public gay engagement and still in police custody since then, are very sick.
This forced the Blantyre Magistrates Court to suspend court proceedings on Wednesday.
This happened when Chimbalanga started vomiting in court while Monjeza kept complaining of having a terrible headache.
The two are being subjected to intense public redicule that it seems the court cannot help on this, as witnessed by incidences where they are being booed in court while court officials watch helplessly.
On Monday, when the two appeared in court and state witnesses started giving first hand evidence, the two asked for permission to go to the loo. While in there, where they took four minutes, State Prosecutor Dickens Mwambazi told the crowd that gathered outside the toilet:
"These guys are taking long; they should not penetrate each other in there!"
The members of the public laughed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Calista Chimombo denies dating President Bingu wa Mutharika

Former Tourism Minister, Calista Chapola-Chimombo, has refuted claims she is dating Malawi's president, Bingu wa Mutharika.
Chimombo has since mid-December 2009 been seen sitting next to Mutharika, a position reserved for high government officials and trusted pals.
Instead, Chimombo says it is the president who chooses who to sit next to him, and as such it was "just a previlege" that Mutharika has allowed her to sit next to her.
Chimombo also says she sits next to the president in her capacity as ruling Democratic Progressive Party's Director of Political Affairs.
"There is nothing more between us; as least as far as I am concerned," Chimombo told Zachimalawi.

Discovered: A plot against Malawi's earthquakes

Dancing buildings. Defaced landmarks and road infrastructure. General panic. Lost lives.
It did not take Karonga District residents and public officials long to find the suspect- an earthquake.
The signs were there, long before the devastating earthquake of December 19, 2009 showed to the world how serious the problem is for Karonga, a district the Geological Surveys Department indicates lies above an area prone to faulty rock movements arising from deep within the earth’s crust.
The price people and infrastructure pay for playing tenant to the Great East Africa Rift Valley System areas.
The first quake, almost prophetic, struck early during the month of December, forcing people to abandon their houses for the unpredictable open ground during the night, and back into their houses wearing the safety of day light.
Then, on December 19, 2009, it happened. At four-years old, Agnes Sambo was in the morning of her life, and yet she died. Sambo was hit by falling walls of a house she, and other family members, were sleeping in, according to Karonga District Police Public Relations Officer, Enock Livason.
Sixty-year old Tereza Kilembe, 15-times Sambo’s age, had a long way to go before the sunset of her life. She, along with one more Karonga resident, became part of Sunday, December 20, 2009’s statistics: Quake kills Three.
United only by the fact they both hailed from the area of Paramount Chief Kyungu, they were later joined by one more productive citizen of the district, all because of a natural phenomenon originating from a distance of remote impossibility from Karonga’s bustling district life.
John Saiwa-Kilembe, one of the people hard hit by the earthquake disaster, lost a house to the unstable earth that Saturday night. He, like most of the people affected, wondered aloud why the quake chose to wear the mask of darkness and strike at night, when most people were peacefully asleep.
“That brought general confusion. Nobody understood it any more than anybody else. What pains me is that I spent over K600, 000 to construct my house. After the earthquake, its value went down to practically nothing- reduced to rubble,” said Saiwa-Kilembe.
Most of the net worth of Karonga people, even during these days of changing lifestyles and Western culture infiltrations, lies in their firm belief to uphold traditional values. Often, these values do not come in cash terms; they are measured in units of integrity and respect. However, the one factor affected people seem to have come to peaceful terms with is that, during disasters and panicking moments, even values go down regardless of worth. Even the most respected community members may find themselves crammed with commoners in donated tents.
Michael Chatsika, who now has to grapple with the fact that his Toyota Carina family car is damaged beyond repair as garage walls fell over it, acknowledges this fact better than many. He spent three days sleeping in tents.
“Just in November 2009, I could not imagine myself being in this situation. Once disaster befell us, there was no choosing where to sleep or what to eat. I would, however, love to thank all well-wishers for coming to our rescue. I have now come to understand the gift of giving better than before,” said Chatsika, who originally comes from the Central Region district of Dowa but settled in Karonga. He says he will never leave Karonga, his new, lovable district. Nothing, not even earthquakes, will separate him from it.
Now that the quakes are come and, God forbid, may continue to disrupt normal life during the rainy season- and relief items continue to trickle down for the quake victims: should public authorities and us just sit on our laurels and wait for the next disaster?
“No, that would be sheer recklessness. It is high time we started planning against the earthquakes big time. Malawians must now join hands and see how we may minimize property and life loss in future,” says Undule Mwakasungura, publicity secretary for Karonga Earthquake Victims Trust.
Sheer recklessness it would be, agrees Dr. Ignacio Ngoma- president of the Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE). Why does he rush to comment, anyway; what do engineers have to do with earthquakes?
“Earthquake mitigation mechanisms wear a multidisciplinary face. Many disciplines are involved including engineers, seismologists, architects, public administrators, risk analyzers and managers, economists, building conservation technologists, as well as material testing and inspection experts,” argues Ngoma.
Ngoma says no future planning efforts could really work without incorporating engineers because this crop of people considers earthquakes a type of load that exerts forces on infrastructure they build and operate. They have also come to know, through experience, that the force created by quakes may be either static or dynamic, depending on the ground motion.
“By far, the most serious earthquake damage is structural. What engineers do is design and construct buildings that will withstand various degrees of earthquake exposure. In addition, we also have building codes that cover such areas as the largest earthquake magnitude ever recorded in any particular area and any such probability,” says Ngoma.
He is an angry man, though, at the lack of appreciation for engineers’ work and usefulness in reducing quake and winds damage, at least in Malawi. Just look at the general lack of public works engineers in most Town and District Assemblies, he says, not to mention government departments, and takes a shot at long-standing public engineers’ vacancies in most institutions.
It is like courting death, in real terms, he warns.
When disaster strikes, there is one face that shines above all faces; a voice above the noise. This is Lilian Ng’oma, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs.
Ng’oma does not cherish it when the Department of Disaster Management Affairs comes to drawn all faces and voices in the aftermath of disasters; she dies for a time when Malawi will establish comprehensive disaster alert systems, especially on earthquakes, so the Department may concentrate on the task of warning people in advance before disasters of the Karonga magnitude.
“It is better to warn people in advance than rush with relief items. That is why we would love the Geological Surveys Department, for instance, to map out earthquake-prone areas in, say, Karonga so we may have an effective earthquakes’ early warning system. That will make our work easy as we will be able to forewarn people, and possibly evacuate them, before disaster strikes,” says Ng’oma, who cited the Lower Shire as one of the areas this system really works.
Not that she wouldn’t like to help- soliciting maize floor here, Soya for children, salt, beans, tents, cooking oil, blankets, kitchen utensils, plastic sheets, poles for temporally houses and jerry cans there.
But the running around, it cannot last forever. When will it end?
“When we begin to plan properly. This includes routine checks on structures like bridges and buildings. We should also promote the construction of mad huts, which has shown strong resilience against earthquake damage,” says engineer Hutchson Mthinda. He has never seen the face of an earthquake, but has planned against more than a thousand in his lifetime.
As it is, Karonga will continue to experience earthquake occurrences because, geologists say, it lies at a point where two arms of the Rift Valley meet to form a Y-junction of two other rifts- one from the Red Sea and the other from Zambia.
This adds to Malawi’s continued susceptibility to earthquakes. The last great quake to have caused great damage came in 1989, and heavily affected Salima district. The Chitala Earthquakes, seismologists and geologists call them over a drink.
Earthquakes are measured on a scale christened Richter, after the name of the person who came up with the innovation, but human beings do not normally feel earthquakes with a magnitude of less than 2.0. There is no upper limit on the scale though earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 8.0 are described as ‘great’ and, on average, only one of these will occur in the world each year.
Most earthquakes occurring in Malawi are moderate, of less than 6.0 in magnitude on the Richter scale, though those above 6.0 and 7.0 occasionally occur.
A geologists’ map for Malawi is replete with dots of earthquake black spots all over, but the dots are much darker for Karonga and brother-in-disaster Salima.
And MIE president, Ngoma, offers little hope when he says: “It is important to note that all engineering solutions are limited by economic and political considerations.”
The only consideration politicians- including the incumbent President Bingu wa Mutharika, former Heads of State Bakili Muluzi and Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda- ever made was declare affected areas ‘Disaster Zones’ while the economists merely went to such zones and counted the losses and costs. Nothing like planning for the future.
Mutharika has declared Karonga district a disaster area already, but the question remains: what next?
Detecting earthquakes is, for now, a business of remote impossibility because they are creatures of short-notice mannerisms. They can only be detected within seconds- too late for any early warning system to be effective. Neither can they be blocked by placing a huge stone in their way.

Police officers, journalists trying to separate us- arrested gay Tiwonge Chimbalanga says

Steven Monjeza’s groom, Tiwonge Chimbalanga, has expressed concern over what he terms journalists and police officers efforts to separate them, describing the two forces as ‘confusionists and separatists’.
Chimbalanga says ever since their issue came into the media limelight, most journalists- notably those from state-run Malawi Television (TVM)- have been pressing him and Monjeza with questions that expose their (journalists) prejudice.
“We are being judged in the media even before the Blantyre Magistrates Court starts hearing from us. Let people give us a chance,” said Chimbalanga.
TVM’s Mwansambo, for example, quizzed Chimbalanga and Monjeza about their sexuality the way a police interrogator would, raising questions over media impartiality.
Mwansambo, at one time, even told Chimbalanga to stop wearing his female clothes, since he may have realized how wrong it is to be gay.
However, Chimbalanga refused, saying it was the way he grew up.
That, apparently, angered Mwansambo who told Chimbalanga: “That means you are not changed your bad ways, eeh?”

Arresting us was grossly unfair, gays claim

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga have rushed out at the Malawi Police Service officers for rushing out to arrest them, saying by engaging publicly the two were just exposing what for so long has been kept under raps in Malawian society.
Monjeza and Chimbalanga told Zachimalawi they were not remorseful with what they had done, pointing out that heterosexuals engage and marry publicly without much ado from members of the public.
“So what is wrong with us?” queried Chimbalanga, as Monjeza nodded.
“It is how we were born,” said Monjeza.

Malawi gays complain of police torture, media, society prejudice

The bail application hearing of two Malawian gays Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza arrested on Monday of holding the first public engagement between members of the same sex ended into a mixture of drama and emotions on Wednesday.
Some single women that stormed the court premises after the bail ruling was shifted for Monday ridiculed the two of staging of such an engagement when there were many single women ‘desperately’ looking for men to no avail.
One emotionally charged woman who identified her self as Memory Chamawa almost went into fits with obscene ridicules to the two saying they needed mental attention.
The two that are awaiting bail ruling in what is expected to be a controversial human rights landmark case have since complained of police torture and prejudice by the media and the general Malawian society.
Tiwonge told the media police at Blantyre police were beating them as if they had done a criminal offence yet they were just trying to open up as gays.
Said Tiwonge; “The police severely beat us as if we had done a criminal offence, they have been ridiculing us as if we are social outcasts and we are now only leaving the challenge to our lawyers”.
Tiwonge, who has been providing for the family since the two started cohabiting six months ago, also blamed the media for the way they were negatively reporting on their affair.
He said some journalists had been coming to them with obvious questions that indicated that they had previously judged them to be in the wrong.
Tiwonge said she saw nothing wrong with the engagement and condemned the media for making her partner Steven to chicken out and announce that he was planning a separation.
“The media are coming to us with condemning questions just as the church is condemning us for coming in the open on our gay status while the truth was that a lot of peole male and female were engaging in same sex affairs in Malawi,” he said.
Noel Supedi of Edgar and David the law firm representing the two said it was unprofessional for the media to put their own emotions in the coverage of the case, as meanwhile his clients were still innocent until proven guilty.
He could however not disclose the defence grounds they have in the case that attracts a 14-year jail term.
Meanwhile the Malawi Gay Rights Movement (Magrim) has assured Malawian gays and lesbians that the match planned for Friday will start at the planned time.
Magrim publicist Wongani Phiri said in an interview the Malawian gay and lesbian community was encouraged by the generosity that Edgar and David law consulting firm had shown to represent the two.
He has since appealed to well-wishers to support the two both emotionally and financially.

Malawian parliamentarian says he is no gay

Ruling Democratic Progressive (DPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Phalombe South, Daveson Nyadani, has denied claims he is gay and was preparing to table a motion that would effectively legalize homosexuality in Malawi.
Nyadani has, however, rushed out at journalists for probing his ‘private life’, saying whatever he does in private is nobody’s concern.
The MP was linked to gay activities while a student at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, where he later worked in the Publications Department.
Nyadani has presented various papers at international level, exposing the plight of Malawian gays and lesbians in his former capacity as Centre for Development of People (Cedep).
Meanwhile, the Malawi Gay Rights Movement (Magrim) has criticized religious leaders in the country for whipping public opinion against gays and lesbians, saying the phenomenon was natural and did not deserve the negative fuss it was getting.
“Even the negative attacks on Nyadani are uncalled for. We now live in a civilised world,” said Wongani Phiri, Magrim publicist.
Wongani said it was sad that people were now resorting to witch-hunting in a bid to show how anti-gay they were.
“You talk of pastors and other ignorant people ganging up against people who don’t bother them when they go about proposing ladies. This slavish behaviour must end,” he said.

Is President Bingu wa Mutharika dating former minister Calista Chimombo?

The rumour mills are busy, speculating about President Bingu wa Mutharika’s next move on the love scene
And the spotlight is on former Tourism Minister, Calista Chimombo. Chimombo served as Minister during Mutharika’s first term, but lost the position after tumbling in the May 20, 2009 Parliamentary Elections.
Chimombo has recently been seen at public occasions sitting next to the president, or a least at some ear-some distance, prompting media analysts to speculating that love could be on the cards for the flamboyant Malawi leader.
Chimombo was last seen with Mutharika on New Year’s Day, when the President entertained children at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.
She stood behind the President, a position reserved for security personnel or those worth the President’s trust.
And Chimombo seemed happy, very happy- smiling through and through as the President danced in the midst of jubilant children.
Mutharika has not made any public stand on the issue. But speculation is rife that the two are dating.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No clothes change for suspected gay 'bride' Monjeza in eight days

Police officers at Blantyre Police, where two Malawian gays arrested on December 26, 2009 for staging a public gays' engagement for the first time in Malawi's history are being held, have not allowed the 'bride' Tiwonge Chimbalanga the right to change his clothes.
This has meant Chimbalanga's clothes have begun to smell badly, and this reporter can testify because he sat next to the two suspects, Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, at the Blantyre Magistrates court when the court denied them bail yesterday.
In addition, the two are apparently loosing weight, and are being tormented by members of the general public every time they appear at the court.
Women, especially, have taken it personally and have been heard to shout, even in court, at Monjeza and Chimbalanga for falling for each other when there were a lot of Malawian women walking single on the streets.
Chimbalanga said he is not happy that he has not been allowed to change his own clothes, saying that showed that Malawi did not respect human rights.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Malawian gays denied bail, ridiculed in court, outside

The Blantyre Magistrates Court on Monday refused to grant Malawian gays arrested after staging the country’s first public same-sex engagement bail, bowing to prosecutors demands to give the state more powers to carry out medical examinations, among other factors.
First Grade Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwausiwa told crammed court the court wanted to give the state the benefit of the doubt by allowing it 10 more days of investigations, as opposed to the requested 14, allowing prosecutors to carry out a medical examination on Steven Monjeza Soko and Tiwonge Chimbalanga.
State prosecutors say the medical examination is crucial to their circumstantial evidence, but human rights activists have questioned the decision, saying it was tantamount to forcing people to join research initiatives or medical programmes.
Throngs of people sang songs of redicule to Monjeza Soko and Chimbalanga in the court, and the two seemed less at ease. The court was supposed to be their place of refuse and shelter from a highly homophobic society.
Both Malawi Gay Rights Movement (Magrim) Publicity Secretary, Wongani Phiri, and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapeace have expressed concern over the way Malawians are treating the two.
Women poked fun and ridiculed the two when they were boarding a police vehicle, calling them all sorts of names, including ‘mentally-disturbed devils”.
Phiri says Magrim fears that, with people openly opposing the two including within court premises, they may not be subjected to a fair trial.
However, Malawi’s judiciary has a reputation for fairness and good-dealing with suspects, a development that has at times put it at loggerheads with ruling officials.
Monjeza Soko and Chimbalanga’s case has attracted a lot of attention, with people differing in opinions over the prospects of legalizing homosexuality.
Others feel there is no problem with that while the church community has ganged up against such a decision, openly calling for officials to punish the two sternly.