Thursday, October 28, 2010

Landlord evicts gay suspect

A landlord in Mchinji has evicted his tenant on suspicions he is gay, both parties have confirmed the development.
The landlord, Michael Sato Mbewe, told Zachimalawi today he was suspicious of the tenant, Kumkeyani Santhe’s, behavior, saying during the past seven years that he (Santhe) had been renting a two bed-roomed house, “there was no female who ever visited; in fact, it was always men and men…and these were not even his relatives”.
But Santhe quashed the claims. He said the males his landlord is referring to are “mere friends who merely come to visit. After all, what has a landlord to do with people who visit you? I thought when you let out a house it becomes temporary property of the tenant? This is very unfair”.
However, Sato Mbewe also said he decided to evict the tenant because he was not getting married.
Said he: “Actually, it is not true that I have evicted Santhe because he is gay. The reason is that he is 35 years old, has never brought any female friend home, and shows no interest to marry. During the past seven months, four of my neighbours’ daughters have fallen pregnant because of single tenants. I don’t want this to happen to me.”
Sato Mbewe has three daughters aged, 21, 18 and 14.
But the evicted tenant maintained he had been evicted last week Wednesday because the landlord suspects he is gay.
“I have stayed here for seven solid years: why didn’t I impregnate his daughters? In addition, how can a homosexual man impregnate a woman? It doesn’t make sense to me,” Santhe said.
He has, however, come to terms with the decision and says he plans to go to Mozambique and start working. Santhe is an electrical engineer and hails from Mtengo Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kalonga in Salima.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Air Malawi: Mr. failure's other name

Last week Wednesday, I received a Short Text Message on my phone from someone I do nort know. He or she simply wrote: I HAVE NEWS. PLEASE CALL ME. I AM ON HOLIDAY, AND HAVE NO UNITS. THANK YOU.
Naturally, I did not call the individual because I never call unidentified people back.
Two hours later, the person called- it was a lady. Shye said she had finally managed to buy some units.
The lady, Martha Kalimbuka, was disappointed with Air Malawi. It was basically about the treatment the Air Malawi crew and management accorded them.
The story goes thus: Kalimbuka had gone to Mzuzu some two days earlier (on Monday) to pick her sick mother down to Blantyre, where she hopes the mum would benefit from advanced medical help.
She, and 20 other people, bought tickets for a trip that would take them direct from Mzuzu to Blantyre. It is not flying that fascinated them; they wanted to be there on time.
They were in for a surprise.
At Lilongwe International Airport (KIA) in the Capital City, all the people on board Air Malawi were told to disembark because some visitors from the United Kingdom had booked their plane in advance.
The passengers, including Kalimbuka and her sick mum, were told that another 'bird' would be sent to ferry them.
This is unfair and, as expected, did not please the passengers.
But they were still chased from the plane that was supposed to be theirs.
What's more? They had to wait at KIA for 11 solid hours before the other plane was finally dispatched.
This is inhumane and unfair.
If the Air Malawi guys and guyesses knew that the plane was pre-booked, why ferry people from Mzuzu- people whose destination was Blantyre; a Blantyre they fully paid for- and dump them in Lilongwe?
This behavour is counter-productive.
No wonder, then, that the United Nations system in Malawi banned their staff from travelling on Air Malawi. Though the UN-Country Office later clarified on the issue, they were just kidding.
As we know, the United Nations can sometimes be as useless as Air Malawi.
Lastly, let me thank all the people who call, or text, me whenever there is something strange, new, and worth-knowing.
I have now changed my policy; I will be answering to every request for a call.
Thank you very much for all the information. And everything.

Macadamia Nuts Processing in Malawi

Macadamia is among the most important cash crops in Malawi. The nuts have a variety of uses, ranging from usage in confectionery products, eaten raw or roasted as dessert nuts. They are also used for household oil extraction and cosmetic manufacturing. Macadamia products are exported to both Asian and European markets.

The total area under macadamia cultivation is 2,200 hectares. Production of macadamia nuts is by both smallholder farming and large-scale estates. The cost per hectare in Malawi is very low. So far, macadamia bodies have been established and two processing plants are already operating.

However due to increasing demand for the product, more foreign investment is being sought to boost the production and processing of the nuts into various marketable products. These foreign investments may take the form of post harvest handling and processing facilities for smallholder farmers of Kasungu and Mzuzu and also the development of commercial macadamia estates.

Air Malawi: Mr. failure's other name

Last week Wednesday, I received a Short Text Message on my phone from someone I do nort know. He or she simply wrote: I HAVE NEWS. PLEASE CALL ME. I AM ON HOLIDAY, AND HAVE NO UNITS. THANK YOU.
Naturally, I did not call the individual because I never call unidentified people back.
Two hours later, the person called- it was a lady. Shye said she had finally managed to buy some units.
The lady, Martha Kalimbuka, was disappointed with Air Malawi. It was basically about the treatment the Air Malawi crew and management accorded them.
The story goes thus: Kalimbuka had gone to Mzuzu some two days earlier (on Monday) to pick her sick mother down to Blantyre, where she hopes the mum would benefit from advanced medical help.
She, and 20 other people, bought tickets for a trip that would take them direct from Mzuzu to Blantyre. It is not flying that fascinated them; they wanted to be there on time.
They were in for a surprise.
At Lilongwe International Airport (KIA) in the Capital City, all the people on board Air Malawi were told to disembark because some visitors from the United Kingdom had booked their plane in advance.
The passengers, including Kalimbuka and her sick mum, were told that another 'bird' would be sent to ferry them.
This is unfair and, as expected, did not please the passengers.
But they were still chased from the plane that was supposed to be theirs.
What's more? They had to wait at KIA for 11 solid hours before the other plane was finally dispatched.
This is inhumane and unfair.
If the Air Malawi guys and guyesses knew that the plane was pre-booked, why ferry people from Mzuzu- people whose destination was Blantyre; a Blantyre they fully paid for- and dump them in Lilongwe?
This behavour is counter-productive.
No wonder, then, that the United Nations system in Malawi banned their staff from travelling on Air Malawi. Though the UN-Country Office later clarified on the issue, they were just kidding.
As we know, the United Nations can sometimes be as useless as Air Malawi.
Lastly, let me thank all the people who call, or text, me whenever there is something strange, new, and worth-knowing.
I have now changed my policy; I will be answering to every request for a call.
Thank you very much for all the information. And everything.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Michigan Gay College Student Kills Himself

A 19-year-old Oakland University sophomore took his own life Tuesday, a few months after telling his family and friends he was gay.

Family members of Corey Jackson say they believe the Rochester Hills, Mich., college student had been bullied over his sexual orientation, and it ultimately led him to commit suicide.

"I believe [it happened] because he recently realized he was a homosexual and he was getting pressured at school by his peers because he told his family and nothing changed here," his grandmother Carolyn Evans told Click On Detroit. "Corey was the most loving, giving, funny person. He had the most wonderful personality. He had cousins from ages 14 down to 2 and he never said a bad word about anybody. When he went to school and he realized his sexual preference had changed, he changed completely. He withdrew."

Oakland University president Gary Russi said in an e-mail to students that Jackson’s death "diminishes us all."

"In our mourning, I am hopeful that we will not focus on the manner of Corey's death, but rather celebrate the life he lived and the people he touched," Russi wrote.

Students organized a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to honor Jackson. The president Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, of which Jackson was a member, wore a purple shirt Wednesday in remembrance of Jackson and in support of ending bullying of LGBT teens.

Police are still investigating Jackson's death, but the Oakland County medical examiner's office confirmed that it had been ruled a suicide.(

Gay Russians win in European Court

....Moscow mayor declared to have acted illegally

The European Court of Human Rights today made an historic ruling that the mayor of Moscow acted illegally by banning successive Moscow Gay Pride parades, every year since 2006.

The appeal against these bans was lodged in Strasbourg by Nikolai Alekseev, organiser of the Moscow Gay Pride committee.

Responding to the court victory by the Russian gay activists who filed the case, campaigner Peter Tatchell said

"This ruling is a major rebuke to the disgraced former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, and to his authoritarian allies in the Russian government. They have been found guilty of violating the freedom of expression clauses of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"It is a huge embarrassment to the top Russian leaders, Putin and Medvedev, as well as to Luzhkov. Their suppression of peaceful gay pride parades has been declared illegal.

"This is an astonishing victory. Nikolai and his small band of daring LGBT activists have taken on the might of the Russian state - and won.

"It is a triumph for LGBT Russians and for all Russians who love liberty.

"This ruling expands the democratic space and gives comfort to human rights defenders everywhere.

"It's a positive result for gay rights and liberty, and a setback for autocracy and homophobia."

"Each year since 2006, despite threats to arrest and kill him, Nikolai Alekseev and his colleagues have exercised their lawful right to demand LGBT human rights. He has been arrested and beaten by the Moscow police, Christian fundamentalists, extreme nationalists and neo-Nazis.

"Undeterred, each year he continues to assert the legal right of LGBT people to hold a Moscow Pride parade - making a courageous stand both for LGBT equality and for freedom of expression.

"Mr Alekseev has taken on the repressive, homophobic Russian state, with his many legal cases in the European Court of Human Rights. He is a real pioneer and hero.

"His actions are supporting, broadening and strengthening the wider democratic and human rights movement in Russia, challenging the government's drift to authoritarianism and its many restrictions on the right to protest.

"At a time when so many Russian human rights defenders have been badly beaten and even murdered, Alekseev's campaigns show him to be a man of great bravery and moral principle. He is risking his life for the sake of liberty and freedom - for LGBT people and for all Russians."

Rains soak patients at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital

The corridors reeked with water, dirty brown water.
Two people- an old woman and a man in his 50s- lost balance and fell head first. Falling into the dirty, brown water snaking down the red-floors of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Malawi’s referral hospital for the Southern region.
At exactly 12:45pm, the heavens opened to vomit the waters of life: rain. The rains, though expected any time in October in the Southern region, came unexpectedly, taking people by surprise.
QECH was taken by surprise, too.
Maintenance works are still going on at the hospital, so much so that demolished walls are yet to be filled with new bricks and mortar; defaced corridors are yet to be dressed back to red; and buildings still open to the skies are yet to wear the hut of iron sheets and ceilings.
So, when the rain came, it found premises and people unprepared.
Water filled the corridors that have not been touched the by the hand that demolishes to build. The main source of this bountiful of water were the open walls.
Water entered from one end, and traveled at quick speed to reach the other end; in the process, washing the feet of the bare-footed, and soaked the shoes of the foot-clothed.
It was a sorry sight- seing people fall, seing people weight. Under a covered roof!
Mary Chadza, one of the soaked people in the safety of QECH, said it was sad that hospital officials failed to plan ahead of the rains.
“In the village, people have been busy clearing the fields in preparation for the rain. Others took advantage of it to embark on construction projects, QECH inclusive. It is all preparation.
“However, it is sad that QECH failed to prepare against the rain. And now we are suffering,” said Chadza.
A mentally-disturbed man then went about disturbing people who gathered at the patients’ receiving bay; gathered to run away from the open skies (rains) and the closed corridors of QECH.
“Call me Ndaziona now; from today, onwards,” he barked.
A watchman said Ndaziona’s real; name was Gataso; but that he changed names frequently when the disease was on him.
That was the only light side. A man who went to QECH so debilitated and out of mind is now getting to the light. He is now on the road to recovery, and normalcy.
“All of you should learn to walk with umbrellas,” Ndaziona barked again.
It was a wise statement from him; a man getting back to his faculties. The basics.
Other people advised Ndaziona to tell QECH officials to learn to plan against the rains. That way, patients will no longer get wet or fall.
After all, medical interventions are there to pick us up from the fall- the departure from normal health.
Like rains, our health falls, and goes back (evaporation for the waters).
As it is, the rains are back. At least in Blantyre.

There is no course called experience

A couple of years ago, I interviewed the Principal for the Malawi Polytechnic, Dr. Charles Mataya, during a graduation ceremony for Engineering students. The Polytechnic is a constituent college of the University of Malawi (UNIMA).
Our focused our subject on the ‘animal’ called experience. Dr. Mataya had earlier on implored the private and public sector to engage UNIMA graduates, irrespective of prior hands-on knowledge, saying employers’ demands for five or six years’ experience were thwarting UNIMA efforts to oil the country’s industry with able hands.
Then, he said something I remember very well: It is a statement borne out of experience, too. That is the irony.
“There is no course called experience,” he said. This is an old observation, but the phrasing is Dr. Mataya’s. So, whenever we say that ‘There is no course called experience’, we should always attribute it to Dr. Mataya. He said it; more importantly, he phrased it.
Of course, out of experience. He also delved into his life, how he made it through the University corridors, and his aspirations. But those are not part of the issue at hand here.
I have remembered that interview with Dr. Mataya because of what is happening in the United Democratic Front (UDF). A young, brilliant man called Atupele Muluzi has expressed his wish to contest for the party as president during the forth-coming 2014 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. Atupele, son to retired president Bakili Muluzi, claims that people have been calling him, pestering him. And that he can’t do otherwise but heed the people’s call to vie for the post.
Already, musician Lucius Banda has shown interest to square it out against Acting party president, Friday Jumbe. And nobody has raised any qualms about it.
Enters Atupele, and there is noise from former UDF husks (madeya, as the late Davis Kapito, former UDF Regional Governor for the South, used to say). The husks are saying that Atupele is too young and inexperienced to context, though he will have clicked 35 years by May 2014.
The Malawi Constitution says anybody can become Head of Government and State after attaining the age of 34. Framers of the Constitution might have known that, at 34, a person can have children- even 10 children, if he or she marries at 18 years (Don’t forget the song, chaka chino mwana, chamawa mwana, chinacho mwana; kubala samabala choncho, kumeneku ndikubala kwagalu- in English, it means: Be family planners, don’t develop dog habits. Dogs bear offsprings every year) .
So, Atupele is eligible to stand. Period.
What is surprising is that former Madeya- the likes of Kennedy Makwangwala, Kenneth Msonda, Humphreys Mvula, Dr. Nga Ntafu, among others- are now up in arms against young Atupele.
Makwangwala has even gone a mile further, accusing the former president of pampering his son to vie for the UDF presidency. The Ntcheu man even described Muluzi as a confusionist.
There is sense in what former husk Makwangwala is saying: Muluzi single-handedly killed the party because of his tendency to make unilateral decisions. However, Malawians should also know that Muluzi was not making ‘unilateral’ decisions because he was the only human being among maize husks. Even rice husks are madeya, by the way. So are wheat’s, and the like.
Suppose you go to a maize, rice or wheat milling place and stand on top of two metres of husks. How many people are there?
Of course, one- yourself. You can’t say four people counting on madeya. Madeya are no human beings.
So, after all, Muluzi never made unilateral decisions; he made human decisions among madeya.
He was the only human being when he dragged the once-mighty UDF into an alliance of convenience with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), a party he once served, and later so hated I suspected he would vomit himself sore every night before retiring to sleep. He might also have stopped eating nyama yaTambala (chicken-cock meat) because it was the symbol of MCP.
Muluzi was the only human being when he imposed Bingu wa Mutharika on the UDF, after seing his hopes of an unconstitutional Third Term disappear like the once-likeable Youth Leaguers’ red uniforms. Mutharika later changed from Nsalulu (a harmless snake) to Tiger (as he has said it himself), dumped the UDF to form his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
This development still baffles former UDF Publicity Secretary, Sam Mpasu. Mpasu still wonders whether people form political parties to get into government, or they get into government first (as individuals) to form a political party. Which is more important, Government, or a political party.
Mpasu has a ready answer, though: People form political parties in order to get into government, not the opposite!
But Mutharika did it. It is possible, after all. Malawi’s brand of democracy. Viable democracy.
The only time Muluzi the Senior made a unilateral decision despite being surrounded by human beings like Nga Ntafu, Mpasu, Mvula, among others, was when he dragged the UDF into an alliance with the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD); an alliance that did not last because AFORD Tsar, Chakufwa Chihana, later cried wolf over corruption and chickened out.
Some of his Ministers remained with Muluzi, having tasted mazira (eggs), sausage, and scones (to quote Fr. Edward Masauko) in government.
It is the only time Muluzi made a unilateral decision because Kapito had not yet declared UDF big wigs Madeya.
What is clear from the sentiments raised against Atupele’s ‘policy vision’ to stand for the UDF is the fact that UDF big wigs are in a hurry to wear off the term ‘madeya’. Who could imagine Makwangwala accusing Muluzi of trying to bring confusion into the Yellow party, having packed his Yellow blankets and mats from the dilapidated UDF Headquarters in Limbe, to start a colourless life (no Yellow, no Blue, no Black) at BCA Hill in Limbe.
Time has really changed.
It is their argument I have trouble with. Experience is not an issue; the Republican Constitution sorted that out when it fixed the entry point for presidential aspirants at 34 years old.
A 34 year-old man is a dangerous thing; he can impregnate all your daughters.
On the other hand, a 34 year-old woman is too dangerous, too; she can bear more children than your fore-grand fathers. This is victory, in the literal sense.
A 34 year-old woman is also dangerous because she can abort innocent ‘children’, all in the name of personal choice. She will tell you she is too big to think for herself. Period.
So, 34 is a dangerous mark’ it is also a mantle that comes with civic responsibility. Used carefully, man can achieve the best for humankind.
Or so the Constitution implies.
Msonda can not stand against Atupele in the name of experience. It is just last year, during the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, when he was going around Mbayani Township in Blantyre, campaigning for the position of legislator.
Now, there is nothing wrong with vying for any position. It is the name he took for himself that captivated me and many people: he called himself Obama.
“I am young and energetic,” he told me in an interview then. And then means last year (2009).
To be young is to be inexperienced. That is the archetype created.
And,now, this Obama is broking another ‘Obama’ in the name of experience.
As for Makwangwala, his claim that it is time for people who have been in UDF through thick and thin to take over makes no sense. Which people, if Zachimalawi may ask.
You mean, the husks?
No, it is time for visionary people to take over.
And Atupele is one.
Just look at how he contributes in the National Assembly.
No long ago, when Parliament was dominated by the opposition and MCP President John Zenus Ungapake Tembo (who happens to be my Member of Parliament in Dedza South), people expected Atupele to behave like the other opposition ‘confused-confusionists’, he rose above party lines to talk sense.
His contributions in Parliament, and as former Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, were always positive. A young, wise man.
While the choice to pick him or not rests in the UDF, the fact remains that it is high time young people in this country begun to think outside the box, and take over.
That time is now.
Experience is an animal that does not matter. You don’t buy experience; you acquire it as you go, as you work, as you see, and feel, and be.
It is not a pre-requisite for success.
Experience is a symptom, like headache. It does not always mean the same thing, But it reveals something. We know what is it it reveals when we see it. Meaning; you see things as you go.
As President, you have advisers. You make the decisions as you rule.
Experience, like a big head, doesn’t make for good leadership. Leadership is what you are. What you are is a symbol of what you have gone through.
How do you develop experience over things that you have not gone through; but things you can still learn?
This is too philosophical for madeya. Too Richard Chiromborical for Yellow!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Joe Gwaladi vows revenge

Raw musician Joe Gwalani, beaten recently by vendors in Blantyre's commercial centre, Limbe, has vowed revenge.
Gwaladi was assaulted by music vendors because of his tendency to sell his music on his own, ostensibly at rock bottom prices.
This has angered the vendors, who feel short-changed by the controversial musicans. This led to his assault in Limbe.
But the musician is not shaken: "I will continue to sell my music on my own, so long as I find something to eat. I will also revenge on these vendors. After all, I know the people who did this to me," said Gwaladi in Blantyre City Centre.
He said he has been taking pain-killers since the assault, and thanked Police officers for coming to his rescue.
"Those monsters would have killed me. Actually, I plan to release a single diploring vendors behaviour in Malawi," he said.
Among other issues, Gwaladi has taken issues with vendors' tendency to pester people, especially tourists, to buy their products; harassment of women; increased cases of theft; and violation of human rights.
"Some of the vendors are good people; but there are monsters and thieves among them. This is the group I want to deal with," he said.
Malawian vendors are among people accused of making Malawi a less favourable investment destination.

Remembering Fr. McXencious Nyongani, Fr. Julius M'Mbulu

Time has passed, time has flied. But the memories refuse to fly, and petch on the shoulder of resignation.
A shoulder so soft one nearly falls. But the hope of meeting Father McXencious Nyongani, long gone, in the course of the Lord's work, makes it a little light and fair.
Fr. Nyongani remains an insipiration to me. He showed me the way, as he served mass at Salima Catholic Parish. He was a father, as his name truly suggested.
He had worked for it, deligently, and earned it.
And, then, in a motorcycle accident, to die. It was so painful because the accident that claimed this good man occurred right at the junction to Salima Catholic Parish- the place he so loved to serve. The place he grew to like.
That is why the years between 1997 and 2000 were not good for me. I remember Father Nyongani clearly, the day the Chairperson of the Salima Catholic Parish Church Council announced, for no apparent reason, that I was no longer Chairperson of the St. Stephano Group, also called Altar Boys.The reason: I did not finish cutting palm trees for the Corpus Christi.
Well, the truth is that I took leave of the rest of the boys because I was sick.
Father Nyongani said, in his judgement, I did nothing wrong, and said the status quo remained. That Sunday, I served the then Lilongwe Diocese Bishop, Tarcizius Ziyaye. Actually, I was the one carrying his Chipewa.
It was a sweet victory. And I loved the church dearly.
Then, death came again and took Father Julius M'mbulu from us. It was a car accident.
Actually, it happened two weeks after I and Andrew Nazombe had gone to Kanyenyeva Out-station with him- alongside Sister Phiri- in a Toyota Hilux that was to kill him.
This fateful night, he was coming from an outstation around 7 pm, and tried to 'over-take' a stationary truck thinking it was in mobility.
The impact was devastating. Father M'mbulu was no more.
No more, from a tour of duty- serving the Lord's flock.
That is why I can't forget the years between 1997 and 2000.
So painful to lose these youthful fathers; men of the Lord.
Today, refusing to forget, I remember them. Not that I wish I could forget; I wish I could remember them. Everyday.
Rest in Peace Fathers; men who were so committed to the work.
But, now, before I finish, let me update you abit, my beloved fathers- priests of the Lord.
The Arch-Bishop now, for Blantyre Arch-Diocese, is Tarcizius Ziyaye.
And things have changed. The President is now a Catholic: Professor Bingu wa Mutharika.
He is also Chairperson of the African Union.
I wish you could see for yourselves. But time could not allow.
What has not changed, oh faithful Fathers, is that you continue to rest in peace.
This, at least, soothes my soul. And all those Salima Parishoners. Family and Friends.
Till we meet again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lin Songtian remains Malawi's best friend in China, invites tea experts to World Tea fair

Tears fell like neglected stones at his fare-thee-well ceremony promptly organised by President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Mutharika said it himself, that he felt it upon himself to honour one of the country's foreign 'best friends' with a State bounquet.
The president, who is also African Union Chairperson, told the lucky 'many' who gathered to bid bye to this great son of Mainland China that it was only the previous day he was reminded that the then Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Lin Songtian, would be leaving Malawi- a land came to love and adore- within two days. His tour of duty of over.
"I, therefore, ordered that a State Banquet be organised for him. I am happy that, today, we are here to bid farewell to Ambassador Songtian," Mutharika said.
And Songtian, the International diplomat so eloquent at it, stood up and gave a tear-calling speech, remembering his first experiences in Malawi- the Warm Heart of Africa-, ending by offering possible highways to economic development.
Songtian said, in particular, that there was a market for Malawi tea in Mainland China, so long as some things were modified to suit Chinese taste.
Songtian took his body with him, through Kamuzu International Airport. His heart went wityh him, too- but only half of it.
The other heart lives in Malawi.
When he arrived in China- home at last, from a successful tour of duty- he learned that Mainland China would be holding the world's largest symposium and fair for the tea industry.
He promptly remembered where his other heart was (Malawi), and directed Chinese Embassy staff in Malawi to promptly organise two people from Malawi to go and attend the meeting in China.
The meeting started on October12, 2010 and is slated to end on November, 2 next month.
Two people from Malawi's tea industry were quickly found and, as at now, are in China. They are from the Tea Association of Malawi and a representative of smallholder tea growers in Mulanje. From the Tea Association, Mr. Njikho made it to China, to represent the country for the first time ever.
Zachimalawi was previleged to get the news on the Friday before the two's departure the following Tuesday, but felt it wise not to feature the story because we wanted to 'taste' the 'nose' of mainline media. And Zachimalawi is disappointed to discover that, either their nose is too small, it doesn't pick any smell whatsoever. And Zachimalawi lovingly advises them to seek medical attention at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) since most of them are in Blantyre, and QECH is the main hospital.
If all the reporters cannot go at once, atleast the Editors should be dispatched there immediately; they need immediate medical treatment on the nose!
With our people in China, Malawi stands a chance of making more in roads into the international market.
But, more importantly, it is a story that reminds us that we have a friend, even a faithful friend, in China: Lin Songtian.
A man, in case we have forgotten, who promised to launch a book on Malawi and kept his words.
A man who did so much for China ion Malawi; but more importantly, did so much for us.
Lin Songtian: probably the best Ambassador (not only Chinese) Malawi has ever had.
He came to Malawi two years earlier and found the British Ambassador to Malawi blubbing aid conditionarities; the American Ambassador shouting the song of transparency, or else, no funding; the Irish Ambassador threatening to pull out of the fertiliser subsidy programme; and the World Bank busy forcing Malawi to sign an agreement on the Electricity Interconnection Project which will benefit nobody but Mozambique. As usual, it is the taxpayer in Malawi who should shoulder the burden of the loan.
Fortunately, Malawi has a wise leader in Mutharika, who has said 'No, I want no nonsense here!'
Songtian saw his chance in all this, and came with development projects that had no conditionaries at all. His most favourite piece of advice was that 'a real friend does not ask to have sex with your wife in order to construct a bathroom for you'.
Malawi will remember him. As he remembers us.
Long live Songtian. Long live Mainland China.

Four injured in debate over Atupele Muluzi

There was tension and drama at Lifidzi Market in Salima District yesterday, when traders turned against each other in a debate over the presidential candidature of former president, Bakili Muluzi's son, Atupele.
It all started when Yusuf Zanda, one of the fish sellers in the market, announced to friends around 9 O'clock in the morning that the United Democratic Front (UDF) National Committee (CEC)ndorsed Atupele for the party's 2014 presidency.
This, however, is not true because the party's NEC has not endorsed any individual for the position. In fact, UDF Task Force for Leadership Change and Convention chairperson, Ken Msonda, maintained yesterday that there would not have been any Taskforce had it been that UDF held its convention as stipulated in the party's constitution.
"And that means, it doesn't matter who gets the position; even if it is Atupele, the main issue is that we need a convention," said Msonda.
Msonda also brushed aside reports the fighters were part of the his task force.
"That is not true; our supporters are decent people," he said.
The fight among party members, which entailedr-all braw for almost 30 minutes, involved 15 people, four of which sustained serious injuries as Panga knives and table knives played the role of 'fast judges'.
There were no immediate deaths.
Reports have been rife that some UDF executive members are supporting Atupele for the party's presidential aspirant in 2014, the year Malawi will have another turn at the national polls.
The country last had Parliamentary and Presidential elections in May 2009, giving incumbent Bingu wa Mutharika another go at the head of government.
He is, however, barred from standing again in 2014, having satisfied the Constitutional provision of two consecutive five-year terms in office.
This has paved way for squables in the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Two dominant groups have since emerged, one supporting Mutharika's younger brother Peter, while the other has settled for incumbent Vice President Joyce Banda.
State-run media, notably Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Radios 1 and 2 have settled for Peter, as evidenced by a barrage of pro-Peter campaigns, while Banda has but been forgotten or outright ignored.
In UDF, Acting party president Friday Jumbe is already running against mudy waters, with Lucius Banda and new calls for Atupele to join the fray being the latest developments.
When contacted to comment on the Lifidzi fight, Atupele professed ignorance.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Munya robbed

This year's Big Brother All Stars has exposed systematic theft at Alexander Forbes.
Nigeria Uti, who always played second fiddle to Zimbabwe's Munyaradzi Chidzonga, walked home US$200000 richer in what could best be described as 'an act of highest deception' in Africa's history.
No wonder, Munya cried. Openly so.
The show started on a strange note, when Nigerian artists- with their phony toungues (call them child toungues) filled up the show as ifd they own Africa; what with host IK in the limelight.
This was always supposed to be a Nigerian conspiracy, and so it has been.

Statistical Islam, Part 2 of 9

Islam, Part 2 of 9
Case 1: The Koran of Mohammed
Mohammed can be clearly understood, but the Koran must be the most famous book that has been read so little and understood even less. Contrast this with Mohammed's day. In the Sira (the biography of Mohammed), we find accounts of illiterate Muslims debating the meaning of the Koran. The Muslims of Mohammed's day understood the Koran for a simple reason. The Koran of 632 AD (Mohammed's death) is not the one of today. Every verse had the immediate context of Mohammed's life. A new verse had the context of what he needed at that time. To all those near Mohammed, each new verse made sense; it had a context and therefore meaning. The voice of Allah resolved Mohammed's problems. It is Mohammed's life that gives the Koran its context and meaning.

The Koran of the bookstore is not the historical Koran of Mohammed, because Uthman, a caliph (supreme ruler) had it arranged starting with the longest chapter and ending at the shortest chapter. After he created the Koran we know today, he burned the originals. The time and story have been annihilated by the rearrangement. From a statistical point of view, the text was randomized and, hence, very difficult to understand.

It is an easy task to reconstruct the Koran of Mohammed's day, the historical Koran. Take the Koran and rearrange the pages of the chapters in the proper chronological order in a line on a table, since the time order of the chapters is well known. Then take the pages of the Sira (Mohammed's biography) and lay them out in a line beneath the Koran. It will be seen that the Sira and the Koran fit together like a key in a lock. The Koran is the warp and the Sira is the woof that forms a single fabric, the historical Koran. If these two are integrated into one text, the historical Koran is reconstructed.

When this reconstruction is done, the Koran becomes the epic story of the rise and triumph of Islam over all of the native Arab culture. The historical Koran is straightforward and not confusing at all. Just as in Mohammed's day, anyone can understand it.

The historical Koran reveals the primary division of the text. The early Koran written in Mecca is very different from the later Koran written in Medina. The early Koran is more religious and poetic. The later Koran is more historical and political. There is a radical change in its tone, subject and language in the two texts. The difference is even clear to a first-time reader. There is a Meccan Koran and a Medinan Koran. The relative sizes of the two Korans are: Meccan Koran is about 64% of the total Koran; the Medinan Koran is 36% of the total .

Tereza Mirovicova in a Malawi music video supporting boNGO programs

Dear Friends and Supporters of boNGO,

One year ago I appeared in a music video of a famous Malawian artist Lucius Banda. The clip became a part of a short movie serving as a unique tool to promote boNGO and raise finances for its development programs in Malawi. One of the Czech banks is behind the project and wants to contribute money to boNGO based on how much the film will be viewed. At the moment you can watch the film at

I will be glad if you decide to support this interesting idea of how a non-profit organization such as boNGO can be supported by a company. When is the project fully running I shall inform you about how much money will each viewing bring to boNGO’s projects.

Sending you best regards from hot Malawi.

Tereza Mirovicova


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Volunteering for a cause

....Mulanje CTC gaining ground
Gladys relaxing at her home Picture
by Joseph Scott, 2009
Gladys Muwawa wakes up at 5 every
morning. She has to make her weekly
rounds to check on her clients. Gladys quickly
completes her household chores and sets on
the road.
She hurries through the maize fields and by
the time she reaches her first client the sun
is already up. Fortunately, Gladys finds her
client on her first meal.
She observes the feeding and then sets off
to another client. Gladys is a community
therapeutic care (CTC) volunteer with
Chambe Health Centre in Mulanje. The centre
is one of the twelve in the district that is
receiving technical support from the CTC
Advisory Service (CAS), a technical arm in the
Ministry of Health, funded by the USAID.
“I became a volunteer because I wanted to
help children suffering from malnutrition in
my village,” she says. “I use my weekly check
up visits to observe if parents are not abusing
the chiponde -a local name for ready to use
therapeutic food (RUTF)-meant for their sick
Before volunteers in the Chambe zone
stepped up their supervisory visits, many care
givers were abusing the chiponde. Cases were
recorded in Chambe where parents would give
the RUTF to other children, as food.
”We came to know of such issues when we
noted that most children were not responding
to treatment after the prescribed two weeks
in the programme,” says Gladys.
However, through strong community
awareness initiatives by the volunteers, cases
of mismanagement have decreased.
“We have enlisted the help of our chiefs in
enforcing good feeding habits. Fortunately,
the chiefs are sympathetic to our work, and
have joined in by organising monthly meetings
where we meet all the community members.
“We take this opportunity to reinforce our
message on who should eat chiponde and who
shouldn’t. And to ascertain that the RUTF is
not being misused, we do some minor
investigations in the villages. For example,
we ask other children if they have tasted
chiponde. Their responses guide us in our
approach to our clients,” she says.
Gladys like other volunteers in the zone has become
a health model in her village. Her commitment to the
CTC programme has endeared her to many mothers in
her zone.
Chetueje Machira is one of the mothers who has
recently become a permanent visitor at Gladys home.
Her son, Simeji, was ill for some time due to
After assessing him, Gladys referred Simeji to Chambe
health centre where he was admitted in the CTC out
patient programme. Simeji was given a two week supply
of Chiponde, and now has fully recovered.
“I always come here (Gladys’s home) to make sure
that I am not missing something on his [Simeji] feeding
schedule,” says Chetueje.

Women take stand in hunger fight

As the hot summer air wafts through Nkhotakota,
a group of women from Thondo village sing joyfully,
oblivious to the glaring sun, as they take turns to
water their near ripe crop of maize. Down stream,
another group is busy making seed beds in preparation
for another crop.
The mood is jovial and the atmosphere is worry
free. Everyone seems to like what they are doing.
But a year ago these women couldn’t afford to smile.
Their crops were washed away and hunger wrecked
havoc in their families.
“As a woman, it hurts to see my children cry with
hunger. It’s more painful as a mother to tell them
that I don’t have any food to give them. In their eyes
I am supposed to provide for them but knowing that
I can’t do anything is heartbreaking. That feeling of
desperation is the one that brought us together as
women to drive hunger away from our families,” says
Grace Kalowa who is chairperson of the twenty
member, Kathyothyo Women Irrigation Club.
She adds: “We couldn’t wait for another hunger
spell to start irrigation. We learnt the hard way and
didn’t want that kind of thing to happen again.”
But their first effort was a demotivating experience.
Armed with confidence and resolve, the women went
on to plough the loamy river bank close to their
village. The results of their first attempt didn’t justify
their hard work. And this left most of them dejected
and with waning confidence in the new project.
They had heard of irrigation farming on the radio
but they had no knowledge of how it works. Seeing
the potential of this group, Concern offered to help
them find their feet by giving them start up inputs
and extension knowledge on irrigation.
“Although we desperately wanted to improve our
food situation by embarking on irrigation farming, we
had no knowledge on how to start or where to get
Fortunately Concern came to our rescue. It was
like a confidence booster because of all the people
we approached, they were the only ones who
believed in our big dreams,” says Kalowa
But why did the women not involve their husbands
in the group?
“We have lived for so many years with our husbands
and know very well their attitude towards progressive
women. They always want to impose whatever they
think is right on us, and we felt that with this kind of
behaviour we won’t move forward.
“Men will always find something to put in their
stomachs, but it’s up to me as a mother to make sure
that my children have had something to eat,” Kalowa
However, the men have not been sidelined
completely: “We tell our husbands that they should
also take part in the cultivation of the fields, but we
made it clear that this is not a ticket for them to
meddle in our club’s affairs, she says, adding that
the men now understand “why the women took this
The group, which now has about 8 hectares under
cultivation, feels they have defeated hunger once
and for all.
“I can now see a big change in our lives. Currently,
we are harvesting some of our maize and the other
crop will be ready in a few weeks time. We have
already sold part of crop as green maize and the
money we realized has been deposited in our village
savings and loan account.”
“Concern taught us how to save money which we
realize after selling our surplus crop. We use part of
the money to lend each other as capital for small
businesses,” she said.
In addition, the group has also benefited from a
goat pass on project. They received twenty goats
from Concern as a means to build their asset base.

Community project helps alleviate food insecurity

Three years ago the people of
Nkhazo village in Dowa found
themselves in one of the most
severe droughts that had ever hit
the area. The rains disappeared
when their maize crop was at
flowering stages. Every thing they
had was gone.
To fight the impending disaster,
they came together to explore ways
of how they could save themselves
from the hunger. After lengthy
discussions, they settled on
irrigation farming as they had a
perennial river that flows through
their village.
However, many were disillusioned
by their crop failure and opted out
of the idea. The remaining group of
65 villagers went ahead to form
Vitcheche2 Irrigation Club. With
hunger staring them in the face,
the group worked hard in the
grueling task of tilling the sun
baked land along the river.
Seeing the commitment of the
community to be self sufficient and
also their determination to fight
hunger, Concern Worldwide supplied
the group with legume seeds.
Concern also linked the group to
agricultural extension services to
provide them with advice on their
new venture.
Page 7
L i v e l i h o o d s
Committed to a world without poverty
Despite having worked hard
on their land, the crop did not
do well. But the group did not
give up. They put in extra effort
and today the fruits of their
hard work are evident. They now
harvest three times a year.
Currently, part of the field is
lush with a healthy maize and
tomato crop.
“Concern came to our aid
when we had a drought in 2006
through the cash transfer
project. Every family was given
some money to see them
through the drought.
Says Chiwaya: “My family is no
longer destitute. I was very poor
but through this irrigation
project I have accumulated
personal effects and livestock.
We really appreciate the
difference Concern has brought
in our lives.”
Another member who is
grateful for Concern support is
Joyce Ndazaki (49). Joyce like
Chiwaya, has also made personal
advancement through the
project. And she says: “Through
Concern I have managed to
establish a tomato garden that
has improved the life of my
She adds: “Now I don’t
complain about anything. I have
bought goats and chickens from
the proceeds of my tomato
garden. Hunger is no longer an
issue in my family.”

All sweet for honey producers in Dowa

A few months ago, Siverio Kamera, 42, a member of Ngala Club in
Dowa was getting disillusioned by the lack of progress in his
newly found source of livelihood, beekeeping.
Having joined Ngala Club in 2006, Siverio was finding the going
tough as the project was failing to make any meaningful head
“The bees were not producing enough honey to make any
profitable business. And worse still, the harvesting was proving
to be a risky business, as on every occasion I would be stung
due to lack of protective clothing,” recalls Siverio.
Ngala started on a humble note with only four beehives.
However, they realized that on their own, the project would
crumble. So they approached Concern for support and guidance.
“After seeing our perseverance and determination, Concern
helped us with 50 beehives. They also trained us in honey
processing,” recalls Siverio, adding, “Besides the beehives and
training, Concern also gave us bee suits. This was a great boost
as previously we were harvesting without any protective
clothing, which was dangerous.”
The relationship with Concern changed the fortunes
of the group’s members. When they started, Ngala
members could only manage about 10-18kg from four
The quantities were too low to make any significant
impact on their lives. With support from Concern,
the group’s production has grown tremendously with
a single beehive producing between 8-10 kilogrammes.
“We were selling unprocessed honey, which meant
greater quantity for a lesser amount. The training by
Concern equipped us with processing skills and now
we are bottling our produce. This has greatly boosted
our sales. Before we were selling the same amount at
MK150 but now the price has increased to MK500,”
says a proud Siverio.
He adds: “We harvest twice per year and I am
able to get MK10, 000 on each harvest. This
money has helped me pay school fees for my
children and also buy basic necessities for my
family. I also use part of the money to buy fertilizer
for my field.”
Another beneficiary from Ngala whose life has
changed for the better is Theresa Makanjira.
Theresa says before joining the group, she used
to solely rely on her husband for support.
“I used the profits from the honey I harvested
last year to buy food and a goat, which now has
one kid. Our life has changed because we are
now two heads with some income in the family,”
says Theresa.
Concern has initiated a process of linking Ngala
Club to other markets to boost their sales, which
will eventually see the group becoming self

Alick learns to walk, again

Ivy’s son, Alick, had been ill for
two years. During this time, Ivy
tried traditional medicine but
to no avail. She thought that her
son was bewitched, but clinical
examinations showed that he was
suffering from severe malnutrition.
Thanks to a special highly
nutritious food, supplied by
Concern, Alick is now back on his
Ivy had been abandoned by her
husband after he married another
wife. In order to feed her
children, she started a firewood
“There are no trees in our
area, so it was a difficult business.
But I had to forage for pieces of
wood as this was the only
business which does not need any
capital,” she said.
On a good day Ivy could get
MK100, which she would buy food
for her two children. However, in
most situations, she would fail to
even gather enough firewood for
sale and this meant a day without
a meal.
Alick has been ill for two years.
In these two years of the young
boy’s illness, Ivy tried traditional
medicine but to no avail. She
thought that her son was
bewitched but clinical
examinations show that he was
suffering from severe acute
His body was swelling and he
had continuous diarrhoea attacks,
which made him weak. Eventually,
Alick gave up on walking as it was
too taxing, considering how weak
he was.
“I almost gave up on Alick,” she
said.“He didn’t look like a human
anymore. He couldn’t even keep
his head upright and I had to tie
him at my back with a cloth so
that I protect his neck.”
Alick’s condition was critical.
The Dwambazi Health Centre
admitted him in the nutritional
Page 5
Community Therapeutic Care
rehabilitation unit .
Alick was put under treatment
with a strict diet of ready to use
therapeutic food (RUTF), which is
supplied by Concern Worldwide,
to boost his nutrition status.
After two weeks of intensive
feeding with RUTF, Alick regained
his health and made an attempt to
walk again.
“At first he didn’t make it, but I
kept on encouraging him to try,”
said Phiri.
A few days latter, Alick
astonished everyone by walking
on his own. His health is improving
and the swelling is subsidising.
According to Phiri, Alick could be
on his way out of the NRU to join
the outpatient programme,
commonly known as OTP.

Concern launches education programme in Nsanje

Concern Worldwide recently launched
a new education programme in
Nsanje district, which has been hailed
by stakeholders as a timely intervention
in promoting the education of the girl
child in the district.
Speaking during the official launch at
Phokera, Deputy Director of Basic
Education, Chikondi Mussa said
Government was pleased with
programme and pledged support to make
the programme a success.
“The programme goal for Concern is
impressive. It shows that things are not
okay in Nsanje hence the need for this
kind of intervention. Although Concern’s
approach is not all that new it’s,
however, unique in that it recognizes
that it’s everyone’s job to solve the
problems being faced, especially by the
girl child in Nsanje,” explained Mussa.
Mussa, who was the guest of honour
during the launch, said her Ministry has
introduced a number of initiatives in the
district, which will complement the
programme and assure its success.
“As government, we know there are
problems in our education system such
as shortage of teachers. But we are
putting up strategies to fill in the gaps
like the Open Distance Learning
Programme (ODL), which has already
kick started in Nsanje. Also, government
is constructing better facilities to
entice pupils, especially, the girl child
to go to school. We know that many
structures are not friendly to girls,
hence our efforts to upgrade the
water and sanitation facilities in
Nsanje and other schools across the
country,” she said.
In his remarks, Country Director
of Concern Worldwide, Johnson
Byamukama said his organisation is
privileged to support Malawi realize
its education goals in line with the
Millennium Development Goals 2 and
“We look forward to work ing with
the Ministry of Education and the
Nsanje District Education department
to implement this programme so that
we help realize the dreams of many
children in the district ,” he said.
“We believe by empowering
communities, there will be a sea of
change in attitude and practices that
will eventually lead to the freeing of
more children to access and be retained
in the school system. We will also use
our presence and experience in the
education sector to contribute to
relevant policy debates and on issues
that inhibit the full participation of girls
and vulnerable children in Nsanje,” he
Mussa’s concerns were also shared
by the traditional leadership, which was
represented by Senior Chief Tengani,
“I know there are chiefs in Nsanje who
still condone the harmful practices of
early marriages. This is a bad practice,
which I will not condone.
“Instead of marrying off our
daughters, let’s catch them young and
make them understand the importance
of education. It’s now up to us to
encourage our girls to seize this
opportunity and as parents and
guardians we should be behind them for
support. It’s high time Nsanje features
in the news for good things. That’s why
this project is good for Nsanje,” said
Chief Tengani. n
ment of girl’s education by actively
engaging the communities and the
education department during
Byamukama added that the
programme will seek to change the
negative behaviours that have
traditionally hindered progress.

Rabbit project helps man fend for family

Stefano Amosi was ecstatic
when he was selected by his
area village development
committee to be one of the
beneficiaries of a rabbit pass over
project supported by Concern.
Stefano, a father of four,
could not contain his happiness
on the prospect of venturing into
rabbit farming. But many people
around Stefano’s village down
played the impact of such a
“What difference would two
rabbits make in the life of a man
who has known nothing but
poverty and misfortune,” they
would say, recalls Stefano.
“When I went to receive the
rabbits, I just did it for formality
sake. All my hopes were dashed by
the negative things my neighbours
were saying about the rabbit
project. I started believing more
in them than in what I could
achieve from the project,”
Stefano mused.
But circumstances forced him
to make the most out of the
Earlier in the year, Stefano,
who comes from Chikanga village
in Lilongwe, was struck by double
tragedy. His maize crop withered
as rains abruptly stopped during
the flowering stages. Within a
space of a few months, his sister
died leaving behind three
children. As the only living uncle,
Stefano was obligated to shoulder
responsibility of their up keep.
“I had no food, no money or
anything to give to my now larger
family. I knew being given the
rabbits was an act of God. He
gave me something small so that I
should think big,” he said.
“I followed all the instruction
on rabbits farming and within a
Page 4
L i v e l i h o o d s
few months,” said Stefano, “the
rabbits gave birth. When the
rabbits came of age I sold some
and from the proceeds I managed
to get money to buy things like
soap and maize meal on the
market to feed my family.”
Stefano also saw an opportunity
to start a vegetable garden which
he fertilised using the rabbits’
droppings as manure.
“One small idea led to
another,” he says. “Never before
had I dreamed of gardening, but
now I have one. I use some of the
vegetables to feed my rabbits,
some I use for food and the rest I
From the income, Stefano has
managed to buy ten chickens. “I
have all the hope that in the
future I will expand my livestock
production. I am thinking of
buying goats or even a cow,” he
Currently, he has eleven
rabbits and says he wants to
extend the kraal as some are
“Those neighbours who were
discouraging me are now the ones
coming to me for advice on how
to start a rabbit project. They
can see that my life has changed
for the better. I now can afford to
send my children to school and
remain with extra money to buy
food,” explains Stefano.
The rabbit pass over project is
being implemented by a local
partner,Hope for the Heart
Missions, with financial support
from Concern Worldwide. The
project aims to improve the lives
of the extreme poor households
in Lilongwe by providing them
with a source of livelihood.
Currently, 50 households are
benefiting from the programme
and Stefano is one of them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

European Investment Bank, African Development Bank Finance Large-Scale Wind Farm in Africa

Lilongwe 12 October 2010

European Investment Bank and African Development Bank Finance First Large-Scale Wind Farm in Africa

The European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank have agreed to provide €45 million to design, build and operate on-shore wind farms on four islands in the Cape Verde archipelago. This will be the first large-scale wind project in Africa, and the first re¬newable-energy, public-private partnership in sub-Saharan Africa. The project will introduce modern wind-power technology in Cap Verde and enable wind power to be established there as the primary alter¬native to electricity that is produced by means of fuel-oil or diesel. More specifically, the project will provide over 28 megawatts of electric¬ity-generating capacity. It will help Cap Verde reach an ambi¬tious target of ensuring that 25 per cent of its local power needs are provided by renewable energy by 2012, and 50 per cent by 2020. It will also help reduce Cap Verde's need to import fuel that is priced in foreign currency. All wind farms are ex¬pected to be operational by the end of 2011.

Said Cristina Duarte, Cape Verde's finance minister: “Cape Verde is pleased to host the first large-scale wind farm project in Africa. The project will help Cape Verde provide 50 per cent of elec¬tricity from renewable sources by 2020. We thank the European Investment Bank and the African Develop¬ment Bank for their financial support and expertise in making this project possible”.

Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Africa, added: “This project establishes wind energy as a competitive alternative to traditional diesel generation in Cape Verde. Enabling small island states to use renewable energy contribute to the global fight against climate change. Close cooperation between the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank demonstrates the contribution that long-term public finance can make to developing renewable energy projects in a challenging economic climate”.

African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka noted: “Climate change seriously threatens sustainable development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. How-ever, climate change also provides new incentives and opportunities for Africa to pursue low car-bon-intensive development. Sustainable growth requires access to diverse, reliable, affordable clean and renewable energy”.

Notice on Political Islam, Christian postings: No room for religious disenfranchisation on Zachimalawi

This is to inform you, dear reader, that Zachimalawi will no longer be posting anything to do with political Islam, persecution of the Jews and the like because some of the readers belong to the said religions and feel attacked.

As you know, Zachimalawi is a fair Brand; we believe in fairness and goodwill. We will be posting things that will unite us, both in Malawi and the world at large.

So, good people, worry not. Your request to me has been granted. Zachimalawi loves you.

It is imperative that we concentrate on things that unite us, and build our nation.

So, Mohammed Issa, Ibrahim Satar, Abdul Mussa (Egypt, Libya, United Kingdom, respectively),and Michael Linga (Mzuzu), Fineas Mzeremu (Salima), George Mwamadi (Mangochi), among others,we have taken note of your request.

Continue reading Zachimalawi.

Climate goes haywire

Malawi, like the rest of the world, was once regulated by the sun;
everything- time, animal and plant life- revolved around the sun.
Time when the earth was an integral part of man, and man a loving part
of it. The perfumed flowers were man’s sister; the deer, the horse,
the great eagle- his brothers. Humming insects evoked holy memories
and experiences in people, just as rocky crests, juices of the
meadows, the body heat of the pony and warm worms- all belonged to one
Before the famed Dziwe Lankhalamba on Mulanje Mountain turned violent
and started swallowing human souls, shining water moved peacefully in
such rivers as Linthipe, Shire, Mudi, Lilongwe, and lagoons like Chia
without causing floods. The water was not just any other liquid to the
then caring people of Malawi- it was the blood of our ancestors.
Mid-day ghostly reflections in the clear waters of the lakes- Lake
Malawi, Chiuta, Kazuni and Chilwa- told of memories and forthcoming
events in the lives of the people.
The water’s murmur was the voice of our ancestors, and the rivers and
lagoons were our brothers and sisters because they quenched our
thirst, carried our canoes and fed fish to our children. The Akafula,
or Abathwa, the early inhabitants of Malawi, then gave the best
treatment to the rivers, the sought of kindness you would give to your
only brother or sister.
The earth and its people were connected like blood which unites one
family. Whatever befell the earth befell the sons and daughters of
earth. It is as simple as that and a web: man did not weave the web of
life; he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he
does to himself.
For a long time, this realization remained the settled conviction of a
larger group of people, at least until the formation of independent
nation states of people begun to take effect because, not long after,
things went haywire.
Take language vocabulary, for instance. It is a fact that the British
word ‘scheme’ quickly translates to the American ‘plan’ or ‘proposal’.
Yet the two countries were once one, when Britain was an unmistakable
colony of the United States of America.
They say the world has conflict built into it; a factor that continues
to haunt the modern world.
December 2009 will go down the annals of our world story as a month
when world leaders, both from developed and developing countries, as
well as experts from different fields, met in Copenhagen, Denmark,
under this carpet of on-going confusion, disagreements and conflict.
They gathered under the United (?) Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to draw
the way forward on tackling climate change and its associated impacts.
Issues tackled included land use, changes in land use, forestry and
rising global temperatures, all manifestations of man made
concoctions. Malawi’s president, Bingu wa Mutharika, did not make it
to the high level meeting as he wanted to serve the country’s drying
foreign currency reserves. Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental
Minister Grain Malunga wore his shoes.
However, Mutharika was home talking about climate change. He went to
Chiradzulu and planted two trees when the country launched the
National Forestry Season on December 15, 2009.
He remembered his good ole days, when the rains honoured their
Southern region promises early November, keeping those (promises) for
the Central and Northern region for somewhere between late November
and early December, respectively. Always, before the word ‘excuse’
crept into the language of the rains.
“The story is different now. We have prolonged dry spells, which have
already started affecting districts like Chiradzulu. These are the
effects of climate change,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika felt so sorry that, as the children of ‘ancient’ Chiradzulu
and Thyolo used to run and bathe in the rains on days like December
15, there was nothing but the sun and a dry spell for children of
modern-day Chiradzulu and Thyolo!
Sentiments echoed by Natural Resources, Energy and Environment
Principal Secretary, Dr. Denis Kayambazinthu. He bemoaned that
climate change was fast becoming part of the warm-heartedness that is
“The country has experienced a number of adverse effects of climate
change. The most serious have been dry spells, seasonal droughts,
intense rainfall, river line floods, flush floods and unpredictable
rainfall patterns,” said Kayambazinthu.
The scary part of it, he said, is that these are impacting negatively
on food security, water quality, energy and sustainable rural
communities’ livelihoods.
Malawi is at a crossroads. Some of the events attributed to climate
change include the severe drought conditions of the 1991/92
agriculture season and extreme flood events in 2000/01.
An Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change report reveals that
Malawians cut an average 70, 000 trees each year and that, while more
trees are planted during the National Forestry Season, only 60 per
cent survive.
While climate change and global warming are global phenomena, a US
National Environmental Trust report indicates that Malawi is paying an
exorbitant price for the activities of rich nations such as USA,
China, and Britain. The report says Malawi emits less than a quarter
of a million metric tones of carbon equivalent a year, as compared to
over 1,500 million tones emitted by the USA in 2002 alone.
Yet, this is no time for finger pointing, enthuses Elina Mkululanga-
Head of Public Weather Services in the Department of Climate Change
and Meteorological Services at the Meteorological Services Department.
“We are really seeing the effects of climate change, but this is no
time for finger-pointing It’s time to bear responsibility and act,”
says Mkululanga.

It's a good joke; when a girl rapes an innocent boy

Today, I laughed my lungs out.
Reason: I read in papers that a 17 year-old girl from Bangwe Township in Blantyre is on the run, after raping a two year-old boy.
Seventeen year-old girl on the run?
After raping a two year-old boy?
That's laughable!

When Myanmar's Not Free, None Of Us Are Free

Dear Richard,
Myanmar is about to hold its first national election in two decades.

In the last elections in 1990, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a resounding victory — only for the military government to ignore the results and arrest scores of opposition activists who threatened their grip on power.

We cannot let this happen again

Many of Myanmar's 50 million people live in poverty. And those who express views contrary to that of the ruling authorities face harassment, arrest, torture, imprisonment and, sometimes, execution. Many are held in solitary confinement, denied access to medical care and cut off from their families and loved ones.

More than 2,200 political prisoners are behind bars in Myanmar - silenced simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Now is the time to act

The eyes of the world are on Myanmar as they prepare for elections. As the moment draws near, foreign ministers of Myanmar's neighbouring countries are under pressure to speak out against the military government.

Now is a critical time to put pressure on these Ministers and defend the three freedoms - expression, assembly and association - in Myanmar.

We cannot let the repression continue while Myanmar's election goes ahead. With your help, we can work towards a global outcry that ensures the people of Myanmar are protected in the lead up to the 2010 elections and beyond.

Write a letter to 9 Foreign Ministers from Myanmar’s neighbouring countries

In Solidarity

Online Communities Team
Alaphia, Buddha, Jennifer and Jeremy

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hail the Queens of African netball: Malawi

Malawi were African Queens before President Bingu wa Mutharika took over the African Union Chairmanship earlier this year; they are African Queens now, making it Malawi's twin victory as the males' soccer side still walks towards the remarkable sport mark that has eluded them since independence.
In New Delhi, where Commmonwealth Games are currently in full throng, the netball Queens did it again, pummeling proud South Africa by 59 baskets to 47. It was so sweet the Queens, led by veteran Mary 'Atcheya' Waya and Mwawi Kumwenda, danced their bodies out.
It must have been so frustrating to South Africa, who took over fifth position in the world albeit temporarily, to surrender it to their arch-rivals Malawi.
The two sides were rocked in disagreements lately, after Malawi turned down an invitation at the 11th hour. South Africa, in turn, connived with the continent's netball association to exclude Malawi from a netball tournament held in South Africa, saying it was was teams that set their eyes at qualifying for the India games.
It was a blue tactic, and justice has decided on the pitch.
This means Malawi are fifth in the world, having failed to break into the top four, but remain Number One in Africa- to the chagrin of South Africa.

Something about the Immigration Department Headquarters

People from the village come to Immigration Department Headquarters in Blantyre. They have hopes, they have things to do, they are busy people.
There, at the good Immigration Department, they become 'useless', humans no longer being.
If not, why are they tossed around?
Pushed from one office to another?
The Immigration Department should think twice for sure. Didn't I hear that its offices were decentralised? Why do people come from Mangochi, Machinga, others Lilongwe and Mzuzu, to have their travel documents processed?
And, then, why do they stand on long lines; lines that never end, as Amwenye, Azungu and others pack their expensive vehicles in front of the Bible Society of Malawi, and enter from 'behind' (excuse me the pun)?.
There, behind, they get their passports within minutes- after coughing something but minutes.
Today, that's where I went: The Immigration Department. I saw the lines. A hungry woman, with a child at the back. She was eating raw cassava, white staff falling from the mouth that is but centrally-located.
Why do Malawians suffer, in their own country?
Why should they wait, for something they paid for, in the first place.
Of course, the officers at the Immigration Department try their best. But if you have no car, good clothes and a nice shave, you are lost.
Let us change our mind set; torment the Malawian no more.
Let us treat each other with dignity.
And our country will develop.

Hail the Queens of African netball: Malawi

Malawi were African Queens before President Bingu wa Mutharika took over the African Union Chairmanship earlier this year; they are African Queens now, making it Malawi's twin victory as the males' soccer side still walks towards the remarkable sport mark that has eluded them since independence.
In New Delhi, where Commmonwealth Games are currently in full throng, the netball Queens did it again, pummeling proud South Africa by 59 baskets to 47. It was so sweet the Queens, led by veteran Mary 'Atcheya' Waya and Mwawi Kumwenda, danced their bodies out.
It must have been so frustrating to South Africa, who took over fifth position in the world albeit temporarily, to surrender it to their arch-rivals Malawi.
The two sides were rocked in disagreements lately, after Malawi turned down an invitation at the 11th hour. South Africa, in turn, connived with the continent's netball association to exclude Malawi from a netball tournament held in South Africa, saying it was was teams that set their eyes at qualifying for the India games.
It was a blue tactic, and justice has decided on the pitch.
This means Malawi are fifth in the world, having failed to break into the top four, but remain Number One in Africa- to the chagrin of South Africa.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fuel crisis normalising

Malawi has been hit by another wave of fuel crises, but the lines are now clearing at various pump stations.
Life has been hard the past two weeks, reminding Malawians of another fuel crisis that hit the country's filling station pumps in September last year, a problem that lastd a whopping two months.
This year, however, things have cleared up alit quickly, lighting the mood in Malawi's towns and streets.
The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority and Petroleum Importers Limited have been busy, clearing the way for fuel because fuel also rules the products' shelves.
Any shortage also affects the salt, sugar consumer, making it a hard knock in the head of the average citizen.
In Blantyre, filling stations are heaving a sigh of relief.
For people who were joking that- apart from 'exporting' the African Food Basket idea- the country should also 'export' the idea of fuel shortages to Libya, Nigeria and Angola (among other African countries with huge oil wells and resources), their lips are going dry now.

Malawi Netball Team in Delhi, India: Fixtures

Pool A

1 Australia New Zealand
2 Jamaica
3 Malawi
4 Samoa
5 Trinidad
6 India Papua

Pool B
1. New Zealand
2. England
3. South Africa
4. Cook Islands
5. Barbados
6. New Guinea

Waiting for a giant sadness: When the curtain closes on BBA All Stars this Sunday

Next week, by 9 O'clock evening, Big Brother Africa All Stars (my favourity Reality Television Series) will comew to an end.
Whenever the Big Brother Africa Season ends, I feel empty inside. When in season, I always feel like a warm hand has touched my heart, letting it (the heart) rest there, 'until further notice'.
Sunday evening next week, this hand will leave the heart, to rest wherever fun sleeps after BBA.
It is this prospect that is making me sad.
However, let me say that this Season has been fantastic- though I will never understand why Africa doesn't love Code Admore Sangala, the giant son from Malawi.
I think our ladies, starting with Hazel Warren and, then, Mzamose Chibambo, have found a soft soft on Africa. Not the case with ana athu andevu. I don't know why people hate good thinks.
I am saying this Season has been fantastic. Uti and Munya are the faourites, of course, but Munya will go back to Zimbabwe with the moola (cash). That is a fact this Sunday stands to validate.
And many people have asked why Africa seems to have fallen in love with Munyaradzi Chidzonga. The reason is simple: Africa saw that the rest of the housemates- except Code, of course- hated Munya so much. They hated him with all their hearts, and hands, and might, and will.
Africa saw through it, and knew that it would be through them, and them only, that Munya will overcome all that hatred and survive. So, it is sympathy that has finally materialised into love, real love, for Munya that the black-lipped boy (fodya mwana uja) is going back to Harare with 200 United States Dollars. Over 200 times President Comrade Robert Mugabe's actual (official) salary!
It will be good for Africa; it will be good for Munya;it will be good for Zimbabwe.
This BBA All Stars Season has also highlighted lies churned out by our reputable media houses. The guys got facts embarrassingly wrong at times, misleading the unsuspecting reader.
There was a time, two weeks ago, when one of the papers wrote that Africa had voted Lerato back into the House, when she remains an 'envelope girl'. The other time, they said Tatiana was banned from the game for violence when it was, actually, Hannington.
Should I continue? No. It will spoil the good game that is BBA All Stars.
This week, I will watch the 'game' extensively. What's more: We are on Mid-Semester Holiday the whole of this week.
Time to flex. Yes, us the Bombocrat type.
Long live Code; you are our hero.

The tale of a Malawian civil servant

I decided to go to Blantyre Main Market over lunch today. There, an old friend (no, the guy is in his late 50s) popped up, holding what appeared like the head of a small bird. It (the head) was as small as a Yao-Namwali’s mkanda!
It has become a common sight at Blantyre Market (not in Blantyre Market; for these heads, and their ‘murdered’ bird-owners, are laid down, in typical pelete fashion, outside the market along the Kioshikia.. -something, something road; as we go towards Inde Bank in Blantyre Top Mandala) to find women selling these ‘full-chickens’.
The guy is a well-meaning civil servant. He has worked for the government of Malawi from 1972. That was a time government was a big orphan in the Southern Region, without an office of its own. Yes, government was a tenant then, and its offices lay like abandoned feathers in Vanmali, Chibisa and other houses.
And this guy was there, being tossed around like a stubborn stone.
When the Bakili Muluzi administration set about constructing the ‘plastic’ building that is the New Southern Region Government Offices, the guy- a driver- was there to bear witness. He had hopes, too.
No more.
Things, he said, are not Okay in the Civil Service.
He had ready examples. He has just secured 15 hectares of land in Chiradzulu for rent. The cost, to an ordinary citizen, is fair: K6000 per growing season. All that stretch of land!
But the guy is complaining, saying he cannot manage to pay K6000, buy farm inputs (since Civil Servants with a big stomach like him are wrongly perceived to be well-to-do!), and pay casual labourers. He said he wishes he could do the farming himself, but it’s to hot out there. Again, he will be robbing government of its time.
That is the problem with God-fearing Civil Servants. They know that theft is as serious as murder, fornication, abortion…you name it.
All these years working for the government and he is still poor; can’t afford life’s basics.
I felt sad, seeing him ‘finishing off’ that head of a small, innocent bird, a head with no other tangible use but to ‘serve’ Malawi’s civil servants and other low income earners.
It felt even sadder seeing him going back to work, since it was now 01:20pm.
He said he had more work to do, to serve his government.
He loves the government; but the government doesn’t love him.
Why give him peanuts, after all.
There has been this talk that most civil servants are lazy; that they spend much time adoring women’s bottoms; that they deserve what they receive; that they are government’s little thieves. And many more.
This is not true.
We have civil servants so honest, hardworking and accountable.
Such people deserve better.
Thanks our Civil Servants. You have done a lot. Continue to do a lot.
Let The Government give them their just reward.
I rest my case, but my head: It remembers that honest civil servant.
In my mind, he will always carry a bird’s severed head.
We never know; perhaps, if he manages to source K6000, he may be able to ‘kill’ his own birds- in his own rented munda (garden, field, farm). In his mind, he has won his wishes; on the ground, poverty. As hard as nothing; as hot as intimacy.
Should I say, 'May His Soul Rest in Peace'?
No. He lives.
But he lives in poverty.

What is wrong with

The guys’ internet services are as unreliable as electrical energy offered by the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).
I have failed, so many times, to upload my blog because of these guys. But I pay, always. And in time. Only to be kissed by the big lip of poor service.
The internet service often runs away, like a mad hare (if you know Kalulu-the-Hare) ,and I have to chase this Hare with patience. Yet, patience, by its very nature, is static.
How do we make the best out of this? By speaking out. But that is a problem, too.
Words have no skin, to push the high, concrete wars of reliability.
We just hope that our internet service providers with jack up. After all, we are already paying a lot of mitanda yansima just to access the internet. Do you know how much “crosses” (Mitanda) of Nsima we would consume if we used financial resources to buy things Nsima-related?
Please, our internet guys, you service our tourists. The least we can do is give them a wrong impression of the Warm-Heartedness that is Malawi.
Welcome to reality. Welcome to Malawi. The land of Nsima and nothing else.

Friday, October 8, 2010

boNGO Worldwide works wonders among Malawian communities

Born in Czechoslovakia, Tereza Mirovicova looks more of a Malawian now. Everyday, she thinks about new innovations, the main purpose of which is to transform lives of Malawian children.
Just one such innovation is a news movie, titled 'Zione', in which Mirovicova reflects about life in Malawi in face of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Twenty minutes ago, I was with Tereza at the Malawi Network of AIDS Service Organisations (Manaso) Headquarters in Blantyre. The business was simple To accord Manaso member organisations the opportunity to sample and critique the movie, and contributions came in handy.
'Zione' is a story of a girl whose father dies of HIV and AIDS, leaving an ailing mother (who is also infected) and a dilapidated home. This forces Zione to venture into commercial sex work, at the instigation of friends including Linda.
It is Zione who suffers in the end, getting pregnant and the deadly HIV, while the friends who coaxed her into the trade to help bail her our of the tentacles of poverty go about sleeping with men.
Zione dies, leaving her HIV-infected mother alive. The mother, whose health is deteriorating, now has to face up to the reality that the rest of her children will have nobody older to look up to, since Zione took the first train to the grave yard.
Plans are that the movie be shown in schools; perhaps, it will change the situation- perhaps, it will save a life. Perhaps, it may contribute to an HIV-free Malawi.
In short, boNGO is a Non-Governmental Organisation that aims at raising standards of children through child care centres, and works in Blantyre.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Villagers descend on two naked men caught 'in the act'

Confusion ensued at Sangachazi Rest House in Nkhotakota when people descended on two men found 'on top of each other' in the wee hours of Wednesday this week, owner of the place confirmed to Zachimalawi.
Apparently, one of the men- identified as Mark- booked a room for one night accommodation. The room accommodates one customer, and costs K550, according to Rest House owner Kumkeyani Benito Santhe.
However, Mark (who booked in using simply the first name Mark) sneaked out of the room around 9pm to fetch an unknown male friend, whom he brought to the room, contravening the place's rules and regulations.
Santhe said the two men's ordeal started with a power outage,but when Electricity Supply Corparation of Malawi (Escom) officials restored power, darkness prevailed at the Resthouse.
This forced Santhe and staff to suspect that the problem had to do with the main electrical switch, which, incidentally, is located in the room the two men booked.
"Our of our two guards, Lasten Cassam, escorted me to the room to check on the switch. We were surprised that the two kept us waiting for as long as six minutes when we knocked at the door, which forced us to use a spare key to get into the room,"said Santhe,adding it was "scary" to find the men "pulling out of each other".
He said, "actually, we found both of them naked and sweating. We were surprised to find two people instead of one, and engaging in something very strange. We thus called for help from other members of the community, including local traditional leaders. Unfortunately, these people descended on the two and beat them severely".
Mark and his friend were later whisked away by workers at the rest house, though they were forced to pay six times for room service despite not spending the rest of the night in the controversial room.
Santhe said it was sad that, within the past two years alone, he has caught at least four men engaging in "abominable acts", adding he suspected that his rivals were behind the spate of these "shameful acts".
"I wonder where this country is heading to," he said.
Linda Mzeremu, one of the community members, said she was awakened by shouts from the Rest house and, when she went to find what the problem was, she was so shocked to find the two men being beaten.
"They deserved it. These people want to bring bad luck to all of us. People should realise that rains can stop coming in this country if we allow people to commit 'stupid' acts. I am happy they were beaten," she said.
Sangachazi is a 20 bed-roomed Rest House established in 1999. It serves traders in second-hand clothes, dry fish sellers who come to buy fish in the district, and field workers.

Statistical Islam, Part 1 of 9

One of the great questions of the 21st century is: What is the true nature of Islam? There are two distinct answers to this question from the media and leaders. The popular message is that Islam is one of the great world religions, a peaceful religion, a foundation of world civilization, its Golden Age was the highpoint of history, and it preserved Western thought while we were in the Dark Ages. The alternative message is that Islam is a brutal, backward, woman abusing, violent, intellectually narrow ideology that is out to annihilate civilization.

Which side is right? How do we resolve this issue? Can it even be resolved? If we turn to the “experts” of any of the opinions, they will tell you that their view is correct. What then is the ultimate authority that will give us a firm foundation for reasoning and judgment about Islam? Is it possible to use critical thought or must we just accept the authority of experts?

There is way to achieve consensus about ideas that goes beyond expert opinion. The use of facts along with logic is the basis of critical thought. The ultimate form of critical thought uses measurements and numbers to resolve questions. This paper will use the foundational texts of Islam and measure the importance of ideas by how many words are given to concepts. The assumption is that the more content that is devoted to a subject, the greater the importance of the subject is. As an example: the Koran devotes 64% of its text to the subject of the unbeliever. This is assumed to imply that the unbeliever is important in Islamic doctrine.

The use of critical thought may seem counter-intuitive since many people view Islam as a religion that does not have a rational basis. Actually, Islam is not only rational; it is hyper-rational, but it uses another form of logic than the one we take for granted.

If we are to use critical thought, we must have a firm foundation. All Muslims agree that:

“There is no god, but Allah and Mohammed is His messenger.”

When this is repeated as a public testimony, you become a Muslim. However, this statement is not only the beginning of Islam, it is also the foundation and totality of Islam. It is not enough to worship Allah; you must worship as Mohammed worshipped.

Who is Allah and where do we learn about Him? This question points directly to the Koran.

Then the Koran, in turn, points directly to Mohammed. It says 91 times that Mohammed is the perfect Muslim. He is the divine human prototype, the only pattern acceptable to Allah. The actions and words of Mohammed are so important that they have a special name—Sunna. We find the Sunna in two texts. The Sira is the biography of Mohammed and the Hadith is the collection of hadiths (small stories, traditions) about Mohammed.

Islam is based on Koran and Sunna. Since the Sunna is found in the Sira and the Hadith, this means that three books contain all the doctrine of Islam—the Trilogy. If it is in the Trilogy (Koran, Sira, Hadith), then it is Islam. If something is not in the Trilogy, then it is not Islam. All of the Islamic doctrine is found in the Trilogy. Now, we have the complete information with no missing pieces.

We have established our first criteria of knowledge. All authoritative statements about Islam must include a reference to the Trilogy to be authenticated. It does not matter what a scholar, imam, media guru, or anyone else says, if what they say cannot be supported by the doctrine in the Trilogy, then it is not Islam. If it is supported by the Trilogy, then it is Islam.

We have been taught that the Koran is the source of Islamic doctrine. However, the Koran is only 14% of the total sacred texts . Actually, the Sira and the Hadith are 86% of the total textual doctrine . Islam is 14% Allah and 86% Mohammed. This is very good news. The Koran is obscure, but anyone can understand the life and sayings of Mohammed. These statistics point to the easy way to know Islam—know Mohammed. Anyone, absolutely anyone, can understand Mohammed and hence, Islam.

Islam is a text-based doctrine, so the nature of these texts must be made clear. A Muslim believes that the Koran is perfect, complete, universal and eternal. It does not contain the slightest error and it is the exact words of the only god of the universe. Mohammed is the perfect example of how to live the sacred life. This idea of complete, final, universal, and perfect textual truth is very hard for non-Muslims to comprehend. Most people read the Koran with the attitude of: “Oh, they don’t really believe this.” When Muslims read the Koran, their attitude is: “These are the perfect words of Allah.” Muslims call themselves the “believers” and by that they mean that they believe the Koran is perfect and Mohammed is the perfect pattern of life.

Remember, we started with the question: Can we evaluate what the media commentators, politicians, imams and other “experts” say about the true nature of Islam? Yes, we can know the true nature of Islam—it is found in the Trilogy. If what the expert has to say can be supported by the doctrine found in the Trilogy, then it is valid, since the Trilogy is the final arbiter of all opinions and statements about Islam.

Critical thought provides a powerful first step. Now, let us measure the doctrine of Islam. The following cases show how the technique of counting the number of words that are devoted to a topic can be used to discover the dominant themes of Islamic texts and, hence, Islamic doctrine.

The Political Violence of the Bible and the Koran

One of the most frequently used arguments heard in the defense of Islam is that the Bible is just as violent as the Koran. The logic goes like this. If the Koran is no more violent than the Bible, then why should we worry about Islam? This argument is that Islam is the same as Christianity and Judaism. This is false, but this analogy is very popular, since it allows someone who knows nothing about the actual doctrine of Islam to talk about it. “See, Islam is like Christianity, Christians are just as violent as Muslims.” If this is true, then you don’t have to learn anything about the actual Islamic doctrine.
However, this is not a theological argument. It is a political one. This argument is not about what goes on in a house of worship, but what goes on the in the marketplace of ideas.
Now, is the doctrine of Islam more violent than the Bible? There is only one way to prove or disprove the comparison and that is to measure the differences in violence in the Koran and the Bible.
The first item is to define violence. The only violence that matters to someone outside of either Islam or Christianity or Judaism is what they do to the “other”, political violence. Cain killing Able is not political violence. Political violence is not killing a lamb for a meal or making an animal sacrifice. Note, however, a vegan or a PETA member considers both of these actions to be violent, but it is not violence against them.
The next item is to compare the doctrines both quantitatively and qualitatively. The political violence of the Koran is called “fighting in Allah’s cause”, or jihad.
We must do more than measure the jihad in the Koran. Islam has three sacred texts: Koran, Sira and Hadith, the Islamic Trilogy. The Sira is Mohammed’s biography. The Hadith are his traditions—what he did and said. Sira and Hadith form the Sunna, the perfect pattern of all Islamic behavior.
The Koran is the smallest of the three books, the Trilogy. It is only 16% of the Trilogy text . This means that the Sunna is 84% of the word content of Islam’s sacred texts. This statistic alone has large implications. Most of the Islamic doctrine is about Mohammed, not Allah. The Koran says 91 different times that Mohammed is the perfect pattern of life. It is much more important to know Mohammed than the Koran. This is very good news. It is easy to understand a biography about a man. To know Islam, know Mohammed.
It turns out that jihad occurs in large proportion in all three texts. Here is a chart about the results:
It is very significant that the Sira devotes 67% of its text to jihad. Mohammed averaged an event of violence every 6 weeks for the last 9 years of his life. Jihad was what made Mohammed successful. Here is a chart of the growth of Islam.
Basically, when Mohammed was a preacher of religion, Islam grew at the rate of 10 new Muslims per year. But when he turned to jihad, Islam grew at an average rate of 10,000 per year. All of the details of how to wage jihad are recorded in great detail. The Koran gives the great vision of jihad—world conquest by the political process. The Sira is a strategic manual and the Hadith is a tactical manual of jihad.
Now let’s go to the Hebrew Bible. When we count all of the political violence, we find that 5.6% of the text is devoted to it. There is no admonition towards political violence in the New Testament.
When we count the magnitude of words devoted to political violence, we have 327,547 words in the Trilogy and 34,039 words in the Hebrew Bible . The Trilogy has 9.6 times as much wordage devoted to political violence as the Hebrew Bible.
The real problem goes far beyond the quantitative measurement of ten times as much violent material; there is the qualitative measurement. The political violence of the Koran is eternal and universal. The political violence of the Bible was for that particular historical time and place. This is the vast difference between Islam and other ideologies. The violence remains a constant threat to all non-Islamic cultures, now and into the future. Islam is not analogous to Christianity and Judaism in any practical way. Beyond the one-god doctrine, Islam is unique unto itself.

Another measurement of the difference between the violence found in the Judeo/Christian texts as opposed to that of Islam is found in the use of fear of violence against artists, critics and intellectuals. What artist, critic or intellectual ever feels a twinge of fear if condemning anything Christian or Jewish? However, look at the examples of the violent political threats and murders of Salman Rushdie, Theo van Gogh, Pim Fortune, Kurt Westergaard of the Danish Mohammed cartoons, and many others. What artist, critic or intellectual has not had a twinge of fear about Islam when it comes to free expression? The political difference in the response to the two different doctrines is enormous. The political fruit from the two trees is as different as night and day.

It is time for so-called intellectuals to get down to the basics of judging Islam by its actual doctrine, not making lame analogies that are sophomoric assertions. Fact-based reasoning should replace fantasies that are based upon political correctness and multiculturalism.