Monday, February 28, 2011

Anglican Bishop Wants Malawians To Embrace Homosexuals

Brighton Malasa, Upper Shire Diocese Bishop in Malawi's Anglican Church, has asked people to be accommodative on gays and lesbians,saying even "these people are Malawian citizens".
Malasa told Zachimalawi in an exclusive interview Sunday that it was high time Malawians accepted the "reality that people are born differently".
His stance comes barely four days after he reiterated this stance to a Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (Manerela+). At the meeting, held in Malawi's Lakeshore District of Mangochi under the theme: 'Generous Pastoral Response Towards Most at Risk Populations in Malawi for Religious Leaders'.

Malasa steps in the toes of the Malawi Council of Churches, which recently criticised Malawi's development partners for 'promoting' homosexual sentiments in Malawi.
Malasa told Zachimalawi: "The church should not be in the forefront encouraging homophobia. Instead, this is our opportunity to be there for them, both homosexuals, commercial sex workers, and other marginalised members of society. This is our noble, spiritual role".
Malasa said, however, that his sentiments did not mean he was supporting development partners who have cut, or are withholding, chunks of money meant for social-economic development upliftment projects.
Gays attract controversy in Malawi
"Actually, I am saying this from a spiritual point of view, which view advocates for, and promotes, love- unconditional love. We need to be all-embracing," said Bishop Malasa.
Added he: "However, let me make it clear that I am not supporting gays; my call is just an invitation to them. These people are sinners, do not know what they are doing, are confused, and are, therefore, in dire need of salvation. It is from this stand point that I am asking each and everyone of us to follow the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: He was there for everybody, including sinners. He came here for sinners, and redeemed thm on the cross of Calvary. Let us invite gays and lesbians- because they are sinners- unto Christ; let us not chase them away to perish."
Malasa said he was ready to defend his position "anywhere".
"I am a servant of God; I have to preach love. Remember, Jesus is love. Homosexuals need love; our unconditional love. When we condemn homosexuals, we are putting a condition to their situation, and these people (homosexuals) cannot be open to discussion. Let us change our minds," said Malasa.
The Anglican Church is not new to homosexual issues in Malawi; in fact, the church was some five years ago plagued by wrangles over the appointment, and subsequent removal, of a gay bishop.
Members of the church did split at the time, bringing temporary confusion in the Anglican Church.
Is Bishop Brighton Malasa opposing the position of President Bingu wa Mutharika (above)?

Bishop Brighton Malasa

Homosexuality is not a health rights issue, says Malawi Health Equity Network

President Bingu wa Mutharika: Has won MHEN's support on anti-gay stance
The Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) has quashed observations that homosexuals are a health concern, describing health rights advocacy for gays and lesbians as a "bizzare and strange phenomenon" as such matters are anathema to Malawi culture.
MHEN National Cordinator, Martha Kwataine, told Zachimalawi at Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre that she and her organisation would do nothing to advocate for health rights among Malawian homosexuals.
Kwataine's stance contradicts revelations by Dr. Mary Shawa, Secretary for Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Office of the President and Cabinet, that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member state has registered a 25 per cent HIV and AIDS prevalence rate among gays.
Shawa said, however, that the HIV and AIDS prevalence percentage points among Malawian lesbians was yet to be ascertained.
According to Malawi's top nutritionist, the country takes homosexuals as one of the most vulnerable groups to HIV and AIDS, and that, as such, government has always taken their health needs into consideration.
MHEN: Wait a minute; not in Malawi
Malawi has in the past come into conflict with the Global Fund for HIV and AIDS and Tuberculosis over government's health efforts among homosexuals.
The Global Fund argues that, since homosexuality is criminalised in Malawi, gays and lesbians cannot have 'free' access to health resources, and are either more likely to die from preventable ailments or die faster than necesary as their sexual disposition elienates them from society benefits like Antiretroviral drugs.
The Global Fund recently rejected Malawi's proposal for further further, citing, among other reasons, criminalisation of homosexuality and lack of transparency and accountability on previous funding.
Kwataine, speaking on the link between homosexuality and health rights, denied that there was "any relationship" between "gays and health rights".
"Homosexuality is not a health issue; in fact, we have made it clear at MHEN that we support President Bingu wa Mutharika's anti-gay stance. Malawi is a God-fearing nation," said Kwataine.
The health rights advocate added: "In fact, I wll never comment on gay issues because these are evil issue. Remember what happened to Sodom? It was because of homosexuality. Let me be honest: I am a born again Christian, and my conscience is against anything to do with homosexuals- either as a health issue or otherwise."
Kwataine bashed donors for withholding financial assistance to Malawi on the basis that the country criminalises acts of homosexuality.
"Let those donors go to hell; in fact, Malawi can stand on her own, and fund all her domestic needs. Don't we have a fuel levy? Are we not over-collecting on domestic taxes? That means we can stand on our own. To hell with gay issues," said Kwataine.

HRCC gags officials on gays

Lesbians: Cannot be defended by human rights activists in Malawi
The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC),  a consortium of over 91 human rights NGOs in Malawi, has banned any of its officials from commenting on homosexual issues in the country.
HRCC, which has won public support for its human rights advocacy work, silently issued the ban in January 2010, during which time Malawi was plagued by the issue of Tiwonge and Steven Monjeza- the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member state's first open gays.
One of the human rights NGOs mother body revealed to Zachimalawi that he was once summoned (in April 2010) for commenting on gay and lesbian issues on FM 101.
In an interview today (at Malawi Sun Hotel, where HRCC is holding its two-day Annual General Meeeting), HRCC National Coordinator, Mavuto Bamusi, confirmed the development.
Bamusi said HRCC made its stance clear from the onset, "that we will not take a stand on these homosexual issues".
Even gays are not safe
The HRCC Secretariat boss further challenged that "nobody" from the grouping's secretariat will "ever" comment on homosexual matters.
"Our stand is that we will take a no-comment position on homosexual issues. We will not utter a word, either in support or against, on gay issues. In fact, we are not ready to do anything about these issues," said Bamusi.
Asked if this could not be translated as 'abdication' of responsibility, Bamusi said it was up to the Malawian public to judge, but added that HRCC's stance could not change "come rain, or sunshine".

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Justice Minister, George Chaponda, says Gays Deserve Death Sentence

President Bingu wa Mutharika: I don't understand homosexuals
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Dr. George Chaponda, tells Zachimalawi that Malawi is not ready for gays and lesbians, and suggests that the "best way to deal with this menace is to impose a death sentence on them".
Chaponda told Zachimalawi (currently in Lilongwe on a tour of duty) that Malawi "will not relent and give in to donors on homosexuals", adding "it is this kind of behaviour that leads to so many moral catastrophes in the world", and vowed to stamp out on pro-gay sentiments.
"As I said last week (at a meeting with media managers held at Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) offices in Blantyre), our country remains a God-fearing nation, and is not ready for this form of modern nonsense. It is shameful and disgraceful that donors want to impose their will on us when, even in the United States, less than six states tolerate homosexuality. These (donor) demands are totally unacceptable," said Chaponda.
Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza: Malawi's first open gays
Asked to suggest a 'eternal' solution, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister suggested that "Malawi should think about imposing a death penalty on gays and lesbians; otherwise, these people will corrupt our children's minds".
"Simply put, Malawi is not ready for this kind of deplorable behaviour and (we) will do all we can to stop this nonsense. Human rights activists promoting this behaviour are doing so for monetary gain; in fact, they lack high moral principles. We cannot accept that", he added.
Chaponda joins State President Bingu wa Mutharika in speaking out against gays. Mutharika told a religious gathering at the height of the Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza homosexuality trial he did not understand how "normal thinking individuals" could think of becoming gays.
To be punished in Malawi
"Let us condemn this behaviour," Mutharika said.
Today, government still maintains it will not bow to donor pressure and give in on homosexuals.
Government decision to put its foot down has riled some development partners; notably, Germany. Germany has withdrawn approximately K5 billion in aid from Malawi, imploring Mutharika's government to decriminalise homosexuality and reverse anti-press freedom laws.
So far, government has shown no signs of changing, let alone reveiwing, its stand- a position that has also angered the United States government, which has threatened to withhold some substantial amount of aid.
However, Chaponda said government is not moved.
Justice Minister George Chaponda: Let's impose the death sentence on homosexuals
"Malawi is a sovereign state," he told Zachimalawi.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

UDF Leader of the House, Ibrahim Matola, fails to finish housing project

United Democratic Front (UDF) Leader of the House (in Parliament), Ibrahim Matola, has become a laughing stock in his Mangochi North Constituency for failing to finish a three-bedroom house in seven years.
Villagers, who spoke to Zachimalawi today, said it was embarrasing that Matola is failing to complete small 'personal' projects, raising questions over his capability to cater for the needs of the whole constituency.
Zachimalawi will publish a full report of the story Monday, after completing a four-day tour of duty on Matola's accomplishments in Mangochi North.

Ibrahim Matola
 We will also post pictures of the uncompleted house, uncompleted bridges, dilapidated school blocks, among others.
Matola has recently criticised the Malawi Parliament for becoming the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) rubber stump.
He said MPs cannot deliver in an environment that leaves no room for positive criticism and exhaustive contributions.
Mangochi North MP, Ibrahim Matola

Zachimalawi's Current Perception of Malawi

President Bingu wa Mutharika (above) turning Malawi into a Police (below) state.
It is a combination anathema to a young democracy as ours.

Thank the clouds the judiciary is so strong and independent.


Honourable Members,

Our current parliament is about to complete its second year in service. We in PPM believe that it is time for you our honourable members of parliament to reflect back and re-think the achievements or/and your failures. PPM is sending this message of goodwill to you our parliamentarians to share our observations in the past 21 months of your service to the people of Malawi.

PPM would like to commend and applaud you for  having managed to meet regularly in line with the  constitutional requirement  throughout the 21 months of your term.  This was not the case with the previous parliament for reasons well known to most of us.   Thanks to the Speaker and State President for their cooperation in this regard.
2.0     DEBATES

Your debates were orderly and disciplined to a certain extent.  Incidents of disorder were minimal.  Walk-outs were not as regular.  Bad language was limited although provocative language was at times used by some members.  Our Honourable Speakers controlled such situations.


Debate content was poor.  Issues were fast tracked leaving substantial matters hanging.  This behavior kept annoying your electorate.  This unfortunate and questionable behavior was more pronounced particularly when debating very crucial and sensitive bills.  To the majority of your electorate, it was clear that our parliamentarians have a hidden agenda aimed at oppressing them.
Attendance deteriorated due to increased absenteeism by some members. To some MPs, this could be an indication of the feeling that they are wasting their time seating  in the Chamber because the issues being debated are not what their constituents expect.  Indeed the way business is  conducted in the house is so disappointing even to the electorate.

The majority of the bills you have passed are extremely unpopular with your electorate.  They are oppressive and likely to drag the nation back to dictatorship or worse still to Dynasty Rule.  One commentator described most of the bills passed in the current parliament as “BARBARIC and DRACONIAN”.  Some of your electorates commented that you are making the laws for yourselves or/and your political parties not for the good of the nation because you do not consult them. You are following instructions of your political party masters blindly without due consideration of your voters.  There are a few courageous MPs who speak for the electorate during crucial debate.  To those few we say Congratulations!!.  The general feeling is that if you  consulted the electorate, they could not  have allowed you  to pass or even  debate bills like:
                                             I.            Allowing the Police to search their houses without a court search warrant.
Refer to section 18 (police bill)

                                           II.            Giving powers to the President to decide when and whether or not to hold local government elections when their constitution provided for a fixed election month.   We have already witnessed the uncertainly and confusion surrounding the holding of local government elections.  Only a naive person  can believe that the elections will be free and fair if they are going to be held at all .  WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS .  Certainly, it is you our honourable members of parliament for giving powers to one person to decide on our electoral fate.  A lot of such confusion is yet to come in a number of areas you have changed the law.
Refer to section 96 (2) (Local government act bill)

                                          III.            Giving powers to an individual Minister to ban publications which give your electorate news they are entitled to. This is tantamount to muzzling the press and thereby keeping your electorate in the dark.  In any case, Section 46 of the penal code is not consistent with the constitution if you don’t know.  How do you therefore expect anyone to be convicted on a section which is inconsistent with the constitution.  May be that’s why you are reintroducing Local Court!
Refer to section 36 (Media bill)

                                        IV.            Arresting your electorates for breaking wind in public when we all know that Malawians are already a very  disciplined nation where passing gas in public is concerned.  It is very embarrassing to every Malawian to break wind in public.  Why debate such a bill yet  alone proposing it for debate.
Proposed debate (cabinet meeting)

V.                                                            Creating local courts when we very well know that our  problem with the back log of cases in courts is lack of capacity in the judiciary  which can be effectively solved by training more magistrates.  Local courts will simply confuse the aggrieved as to which court system is competent enough to handle the matter at hand.  Worse still, local courts will be abused by people in power to oppress opposition parties and anybody with dissenting views as it happened in the one party era. Are you really serious honourable members that you want to drive the nation into repeating a mistake??
Refer to section 133 (Local courts bill)

                                        VI.            Requiring political parties and civil society to ask for permission from the Police to hold a rally or peaceful demonstration when our democratic right requires that such groups should only inform the police when they want to hold a rally or peaceful demonstrations for security purposes.  Your electorate knows that this is aimed at oppressing the people and denying Malawians freedom of information to enable them have a well informed choice on matters which affect their lives.  You want them to hear from the ruling party only.  Several requests from Civil Society and the opposition parties to hold rallies and peaceful demonstration  have been denied by the police.  This will continue to create problems for the people of Malawi and that will badly reflect back on you our parliamentarians.
Refer to section 18 (Police bill)

                                       VII.            The injunction bill which clearly aims at oppressing the aggrieved  who want to complain against government.  Why should the law obstruct or stand  in the way of the aggrieved ?
Section 10 (2) (Court injunction bill)

                                     VIII.            Power given to the police to question university lectures on purely academic issues discussed in class.  These are the issues we used to see in the 30 years dictatorship rule.  How can you therefore deny that you are driving us backwards?
(police act)

                                         IX.             The issues which were raised in the Bishop’s Pastoral letter continue to be swept under the carpet when your electorates expect you to start analyzing the issues and passing appropriate registration to address these national concerns
Refer to The Catholic Bishops pastoral letter no. 20 entitled “Reading Signs of the Time”
 Some of the bills made our parliament a laughing stock internationally. This is a very  unfortunate development for our nation.  Worse still, some of the bills annoyed the donor community who are now re-thinking  their position on Malawi.  Honourable Members!! Where are you taking this country to?  Are you trying to create room for dictatorship or dynasty rule?  If you only sit back and rethink through these bills, any wise person will know that this is the direction you are taking our country.  If you don’t know, please  cool your tempers and re-think.  Ask your elders about how the one party dictatorship  was created.  Parliament was used to change laws and consequently everybody suffered including those who were used to change the laws.
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”
In the first multiparty parliament and period prior to that parliament, Malawians  of wisdom cleaned our constitution.  We are now being pushed backwards by you our honourable MPs.

 Ironically our parliament and the executive wing of government are dominated by those who ran away from the evils of the 30 year dictatorship that they do not know  what it means to be in  a dictatorship rule.  They should ask the brave ones who stayed.  Dictatorship makes everybody suffer including MPs and Cabinet Ministers when they lose their seats or fall out of favour since these are not life time positions.  Power remains in the hands of the people.  Atsogoleri amangobwelekedwa.  It is therefore not wise to misuse Chinthu Chobwereka.  PPM recognizes people  power” fully.  This is why our political ideology is POWER TO THE PEOPLE.  We  strongly believe in “People’s Power” when all other parties want “Power” for themselves.
Good lesson  for you to learn from is that the MP who moved the “Single Meal for Prisoners  Motion”  in the late  1960s ended in prison within two years after this bill was passed when he thought he was making the law for prisoners not him. He accepted his mistake while in prison.  Kunja kuno kuli Mulungu.  Nthawi zina amatilangira pansi pompano.
What is surprising, not only to PPM but to the nation at large is that issues which really concern the majority of Malawians are never discussed constructively in our national assembly.
You may wish to know that your parliament has passed more bills in 21 months than any other parliament since independence if not since the founding of this nation in the 18th century and yet serious issues which
affect the nation remain either untouched or/and  unresolved.

Some of the critical issues are:-
5.1        Shortage of forex which has culminated into shortages of fuel, raw materials, machinery and spare parts among other necessities. In  the last term these issues were blamed on opposition parties for refusing to pass the budget.  Is the opposition still standing in your way?
            5.2        Impact of the fertilizer subsidy programme on the persistent forex shortage in the past 4 years . While it may be a good  programme,  the question is - is it sustainable?  This programme was meant to benefit the poor and make them self reliant in due course.  We believe the programme should have started phasing out i.e. less beneficiaries in subsequent years.

5.3               Subsequently this programme should have gotten replaced by “Fertilizer Loan Schemes” as proposed by PPM in the last parliament?  (Ngongole kwa alimi ang’ono ang’ono zobweza  akagulitsa mbeu zawo). We are not in the stone age where we should only worry about enough food to eat and nothing else.  No forex, no fuel, no raw materials etc.  We can do better than this.

5.4          Why is Malawi stuck with chemical fertilizers when several countries  have  since     replaced it with organic and bio-fertiliser whose raw materials are found in abundance in our country?

5.5               Why has government abandoned the inclusion of ethanol in our petrol  which
was saving us millions of dollars in forex  when it was properly regulated?

5.6               Why is government not pursuing  the development and use of bio-diesel to replace the petroleum diesel to save forex?  Bio-diesel is made of up to 40% Jatropha Oil or other oil seeds.  The social/economic impact  in using bio-diesel is three fold;

i.          Income to farmers producing the seeds,
ii.          Huge forex saving on diesel imports and,
iii.                  Organic fertilizer production  out of the oil cake which is rich in soil nutrients.

5.7            Why isn’t government encouraging import discipline? We are importing water, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and so many other things which are readily available in Malawi at a time when we are experiencing the worst forex shortage in the economic history of our country.  Government is hiding behind “Liberalization “  Do you know that liberalization without regulations and discipline can spell doom?

5.8               When will  MALDEF/YEDEF open up to members of other political parties since DPP members have enjoyed the facility for over 4 years now?

5.9               Can government  not negotiate for a dedicated vessel to transship Malawi cargo from Dar es Salaam to Nacala and encourage importers to use that cheaper route to save forex? For example,  exempt duty on  transport cost on that route only.

5.10            Introduce bills to strengthen our democracy to avoid drifting the nation
into a Dictatorship or Dynasty Rule i.e bring back  the senate and recall provisions.  Honourable Members, you may wish to be reminded that the reason why the senate was removed is no longer relevant.  If we can afford to pay our MP over K20,000.00 per day on top of a salary and other allowances package of almost half a Million Kwacha, we can afford a senate now to bridge between the MPs and Head of State. The senate will be instrumental in  slowing down the passing of  oppressive laws.  Section 64 will kick-out MPs who work for themselves and their party masters instead of working for their  electorate.

5.11            More of our school leaving youth are joining the ULOVA CLUB every year.  Can  government not consider training some of them as magistrates to  build capacity in the judicially instead of creating another court system for chiefs when in fact the chiefs are already very busy with traditional matters  and being pushed to campaign  for a 2014 presidential candidate?  Will the chiefs have time to try cases considering that such campaigns are starting immediately after general elections.  The chiefs can be pushed to a point, their capacity is  being overstretched.   They are human beings.  In fact, the chiefs will be among the oppressed if you  our MPs create another dictatorship or dynasty rule.

5.12            Can government not consider training most of the thousands of our youth who are loafing in apprenticeship to stimulate entrepreneurship?  If properly trained, most of them will go into own businesses to build national capacity in cottage industries to substitute the importation of things like water, vegetables, furniture, cereals, fruit juices, potatoes, cooking oil, organic fertilizers and many more products whose raw materials are found in abundance in Malawi to save forex.
Honourable Members, this is just a dozen of the many issues our parliament can debate to truly transform Malawi into a really prosperous nations to meet the aspirations of its citizens.  Most Malawians who have travelled have seen what national prosperity is in other countries.  WE CAN DO IT. 
You have introduced so many laws in our legal system including another court system (the Local Courts) within a very short period without giving the nation time to assess the impact these changes will have in the medium and long term.
Where are you rushing to?
The danger of what you have done is that, introducing so many changes in anything be it in government, business, church or even in a chemistry composition can create confusion which can result in a total failure of the intended purpose/result. Certainly, even a secondary school student would question his teacher if he/she (the teacher) asked him/her to introduce so many changes into his/her (student) chemist formula composition.  WHAT IS OUR PARLIAMENT  SUBJECTING US TO WITH ALL THESE CHANGES IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM??
PPM doesn’t believe that Malawians will allow their parliament to continue driving them into repeating the mistake of creating another Dictatorship or allow room for the creation of a Dynasty because both are very bad forms of government.

As parliament rises, PPM would like to appeal to the Honourable Speaker to arrange for a meeting between the cabinet and parliament to seriously consider slowing down in introducing so many changes to our legal system.  Parliament should start forecasting on issues which will build our nation like those stated above and many more.  That meeting should also agree to repeal all the  unpopular laws you have enacted.  Those laws are not good for you or anybody.  You may not agree today, but soon or later you will.  Who knows, you may agree while in prison serving the laws enacted by yourselves.
Our President is a reasonable person.  He will certainly welcome such a meeting to take place and  preferably chaired by him.  PPM initiated such meetings in the previous parliament and were very successful.  The Speaker should invite all Party Leaders in Parliament and a few wise Honourable Members  of Parliament from both opposition and government.
Honourable MPs, we sincerely thank you for taking time to read this message, and we hope that the sentiments expressed herein will have an impact in your  deliberations hereafter, because it is said that knowledge without action is a sin.  YOU HAVE NOW KNOWN WHAT YOUR FAILURES ARE IN CASE YOU DID NOT KNOW.  YOUR FAILURES ARE INDEED BOTHERING THE MAJORITY OF MALAWIANS.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kenwilliams Mhango Arrested Again

Blantyre Police officers on Friday took human rights activist Kenwilliams Mhango by surprise when they pounced on him in Blantyre Central District, and whisked him away from an internet cafe purportedly for taking part in demonstrations plans against fuel shortages in Lilongwe last week.
 President Bingu wa Mutharika: Dictator or democrat?
Mhango told Zachimalawi four police officers embarrassed him at Frontline Business Centre when they forced him to leave "whatever I was doing on the internet, and follow them to Blantyre Police".
"I was taken by surprise and embarrassed. I think this government has lost direction," said Mhango.
Mhango, a board member for the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC)-  a consortium of over 90 Malawian human rights NGOs- was last week arrested alongside HRCC Chairperson Undule Mwakasungula and National Coordinator Mabvuto Bamusi.
They were later released after being cautioned by police officers in the capital Lilongwe.
While many human rights organisations and lawyers condemned such police action, and thought the issue was dead and buried, Mhango said he was surprised to be picked up by police officers "over an issue we have resolved".
Asked what he thought could be the reason behind the brief arrest, Mhango told Zachimalawi that one of the police officers confided in him that they were sent after receiving a tip that Mhango was organising a protest match against incessant fuel shortages in the commercial city, Blantyre.
He denied the accusation.
The officers later released him without taking him to Blantyre Police Station, according to Mhango.
However, the human rights activist said he is now living in "fear, as anything may happen before I know it".
Southern Region Police Spokesperson, Davie Chingwalu, said he had not received any report on the same.
President Bingu wa Mutharika's government has cramped down hard on protests and dissent, attracting accusations from civil society organisations that he was muzzling human freedoms.
  Are opposition parties, like the United Democratic Front (UDF, above) and freedom of assembly safe?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bakili Muluzi Renews Passport

Former President Bakili Muluzi today took some time off from his B.C.A. Hill residence to visit the Immigration Headquarters in Blantyre and renew his expired passport.

Muluzi, looking frail and off-balance, arrived at the Immigration headquarters around 11 am, and went straight to the passport issuing officer's office. The former president emerged some 20 minutes later, and briefly waved at some on-lookers before jumping into his vehicle.
He was in the company of his bodyguard.
Muluzi is scheduled to go to South Africa anytime from now, and his only huddle was his expired passport- which expired on December 31, 2010 along with the rest of Malawians.
The High Court recently quashed government's request to call for an independent panel of doctors before allowing Muluzi to seek medical help in South Africa.
His son, Atupele, told local papers he was fearing for his father's health, fearing that his inserted discs could collapse anytime, eventually putting him at the risk of perpetual disability.
Muluzi is currently answering charges on alleged corrupt practices, and has been engaged in a protracted legal battle with the Anti-Corruption Bureau ever since he left office in May 2004. He is yet to appear in court as the case has been marred by injunctions and counter-injunctions, arguments and counter-arguments, and even frequent references to the Constitutional Court, responded to with yet more counter-references.

President Bingu wa Mutharika: Has put the fight against corruption at the top of government agenda
President Bingu wa Mutharika has put corruption at the top of his agenda, but his efforts have attracted a spate of criticism, ostensibly because his fight has largely left government bigwigs and cabinet ministers scot-free.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Polytechnic Students Protesting Right Now

Students from the polytechnic- a constituent college of the University of Malawi- are protesting in front of the administration block right now.
 Observers say Malawi is turning into a police state, as government uses police officers to silence dissent
The students have, among other things, set tree branches alight, and are shouting on top of their voices.
So far, they have done nothing to the college bus stionally some ten metres away.
There is no physical violence as well; just some shouts on top of their voices, and the sense tha nobody- as not even police officers and school officials- is listening.
Yesterday, 13 of their colleagues were picked up by police- ostensibly for causing damage to property.
The students run amok early yesterday, blocking the Masauko Chipembere Highway and pelting stones at vehicles.
This prompted police officers to extent the handcuff along with the arm, netting 13 students in the process.
The students are protesting against delays in the provision of book and stationary allowances. This follows delays by the Malawi Savings Bank to release the same.
In Zomba, Malawi's old capital, students demonstrated against the 'picking up' by police of a renowned science lecturer, Blessings Chinsinga, apparently because he told students the demonstrations in the Middle East- which have, among other leaders, influenced the resignation of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and his Tunisian counterpart- were partly influenced by fuel shortages.
Malawi is in the midst of a fuel crisis of sorts, and government officials feared that the observation by Chinsinga could trigger Middle-East like demonstrations, according to a senior police officer in the Eastern region.
Observers have condemned President Bingu wa Mutharika's government for gagging intelectual and freedom of expression.
His government recently empowered the Minister of Information and Civic Education to ban any publication viewed as not being in the public interest.
This has angered Malawian editors.