Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kalibu Academy is the best place to be

There is something special about Kalibu Academy in Blantyre. And this special feeling becomes more apparent- even more commanding- as one goes towards Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
That moment when, coming from Kameza Round-about, one notices that big sign along the road: Kalibu Academy- the spirit of excelence reaching the heavens!
Located at a quiet locale, where nature rules, the feeling is that one has reached the place where order and tranquility rules. Where else, if the question arises, does the spirit bubble up more convincingly- the spirit that induces the best feelings in us, even feelings to learn more of the world around, and the world to be discovered- than close to nature?
Nature is life, and in nature, that is where life begun- only to be spoilt by human beings. Kalibu Academy is restoring that, through the never ending quest for educaion.
Quality education for your son and daughter. If your son and daughter be loved by you, then, there is no better place to show that love through commitment: Kalibu Academy.
Kalibu is, probably, the best place to be in Blantyre. Where children learn, and grow into responsible citizens.
When you go to Kalibu Academy, every student will greet you: If it's morning, Good morning Sir; Good morning madam!
In the afternoon, the greeting reflects the fading sun. Good afternoon sir; good afternoon madam.
And that is learning. The spirit of Kalibu Academy.
The food is just superb. The learning facilities out of this world.
Kalibu academy for you, and the ones you love.

Chikhwawa children talk development

By Richard Chirombo
Shire River is an apt metaphor for Chikhwawa people- so beautiful and
serene-looking and, yet, with hidden violence and sudden natural
upheavals that have claimed so many lives.
People along the river utilize the water in so many ways: watering
crops, cleaning domestic ware, drinking, and fishing. The resourceful
are also weaving new lives from the golden strings of sand drawn from
the river, meeting their daily social-economic needs.
From the same waters, however, roams one of the major sources of pain
for people in the Lower Shire: crocodiles. At the hour of
self-occupation, relaxation, or abandon, a crocodile strikes the
unsuspecting ‘victim’, adding one more case to the statistics of
“People have become accustomed to all these experiences,” says
Traditional Authority Ngabu.
Ngabu adds that, while nobody gets accustomed to crocodile attacks and
predictable flood patterns, people have become accustomed to both
negative and positive features.
Civil Society Organizations, too, see no problem with the idea of
getting accustomed to both negative and positive aspects of life in
Chikhwawa; it is on the point of getting familiar with negative
features that can be changed that is the bone of contention.
Mervin Banda, Regional Coordinator (South) for the Malawi Economic
Justice Network (Mejn), feels that familiarity becomes a problem when
people get used to the ‘wrong’ things, and that older generations are
often guilty of transferring negative elements over to new
The best way, he says, is “to let children take control of things”,
identify problems, and offer solutions to everyday challenges. Because
children see things from a ‘first-time’ point of view, they are more
likely to influence positive change.
Chikhwawa children have accepted the challenge, and are taking
positive action. Through Mejn, World Vision Malawi (Chikhwawa
Cluster), and Chikhwawa District Council, children are now able to
contribute towards social-economic development through the NGO
Coalition on Child Rights.
Taking advantage of the fact that children remain largely uncorrupted
from experience, Banda used the meeting organized by Chikhwawa
children on April 2, 2011 to raise awareness on the recently enacted
Child Protection Act, and hear children’s development concerns raised
through the Second Session of Chikhwawa Children’s Parliament.
As Andrew Artson, Speaker for Chikhwawa Children’s Parliament,
pointed out, education comes first in the mind of the Chikhwawa child,
followed by food security, health, and water and sanitation, in that
order. These are issues old-timers are too accustomed to that they
either see no need to change, or have given up on.
The problem could be that non-state actors leave all the work in the
basket of government. Artson offers the first solution:
“We hope NGOs and other stakeholders would also take the issues up as
they are (also) working in the district.”
These issues include the need for a comprehensive adult literacy
programme. Adults, he says, are forcing the girl child into early
marriage. Closely linked to this is the remoteness of learning
institutions from villages, exposing the girl child to rapists,
forcing children to start school much later than normal, and leading
into school drop-outs as marriage gets more attractive than secondary
school and university corridors.
Chikhwawa, chips in Child Member of Parliament for Chikhwawa Mkombedzi
Audria Chiwanda, is also hit by drought and the problem of erratic
rains almost every year; floods, when too much rains elsewhere create
floods in dry Chikhwawa; water-borne diseases because most boreholes
are in a state of disrepair in a district with scanty sources of
portable water.
”Chikhwawa is one of the districts that do not have adequate health
facilities that, when a child falls sick, parents have to travel long
distances (and) most of the schools do not have first aid facilities
for emergencies. We have also realized that there is a very big
shortage of health personnel in our hospitals,” says Chiwanda.
Observers say Chikhwawa has taken the right path in empowering
children, but fault other underlying factors for deep-seated attitudes
towards development gaps. Civic and Political Space Platform (CPSP)
Southern Region Coordinator, Noel Msiska, says people are yet to
appreciate the full meaning of democracy- power to the people.
At a meeting CPSP organized for Chikhwawa religious leaders with
funding from Dan Church Aid- in preparation for this year’s Local
Government Elections (LGE)- Chikhwawa Pastors Fraternal chairperson,
Hussein Nguwo, blamed it on bad experiences from 1994. He suggests
that when experiences are painful, they cease to be the ‘greatest
teacher’; instead, they become a distraction and burden.
The problem is that people have learned to dismiss such burdens,
leaving a litany of problems unresolved. Unfortunately, says Nguwo,
this has turned out to be the case with democracy, too, because
decentralization is there only on paper.
“One of the reasons is that voters are disappointed in Members of
Parliament (MPs), most of whom prefer urban areas to their rural
constituencies. People think the same of councilors.”
It is a challenge warranting a multi-sectoral approach. It means
religious leaders continuing to pray for rains, offering spiritual
food, visiting hospitals and prisons; but they should also preach
politics, development politics.
In addition, Chikhwawa people must also recognize and embrace two
important principles: the ability to challenge accepted social mores
and the latitude to make mistakes. More related to this is the
principle that elected leaders must generally respect generally-held
consensus to protect certain values while being free to challenge
their continual validity.
This realization, it is hoped, will help Chikhwawa women overcome
stereotypes, too. Since independence, Chikhwawa women have lagged
behind in literacy levels. From January 2009 to May 2010, for
instance, the percentage of female patrons to resource centres has
never exceeded 15 per cent. Male readers, however, always surpasses 85
per cent. These figures are for people who visit National Initiative
for Civic Education District library, Ndife Amodzi, Chikhwawa Prison,
Mtera and Sangano resource centres.
It is a threat to the 50-50 women representation campaign. How can
people who do not read widely get the information to make informed
It is a jig-saw complicated by inaccessibility of most MPs. In the
absence of councilors, MPs are regarded as the first-line of
development call. Chikhwawa has registered some success because every
Traditional Authority, Paramount Chief and Senior Chief has their
mobile number publicly displayed at the NICE office. MPs, too, have
their contact numbers displayed.
It is part of the remedy to get people believing in themselves again,
faith being powered by the hope of Chikhwawa children.

Masewero a Ragibe apita patsogolo kuThyolo

Boma laThyolo lalimbikitsa Masewero aRagibe (Rugby) pakati paanyamata
ndiatsikana am’sukulu zasekondale ngati mbali imodzi yoonetsetsa kuti
dziko laMalawi likhalenso nditimu yafuko yamphavu pamasewerawa.
Masewero aRagibe, omwe ndiotchuka kwambiri m’maiko monga South Africa
ndiNamibia, adalowa pansi m’dziko laMalawi, ngakhale kuti azungu ena
achitsamunda amkachita masewerowa kuyambira zaka zam’ma1943.
Masewerowa adatchuka kwambiri m’dziko muno m’ma1970, pomwe patimu omwe
amapezeka kuZomba, Thyolo komanso Blantyre (paBlantyre Sports Club).
Dziko laMalawi lidali ndiosewera monga Costas Scordis, omwe
adathandiza kuti matimu am’dziko muno azichita bwino akakumana
ndimatimu monga Zambia ndiNamibia.
Koma, pazifukwa zosadziwika bwinobwino, masewerowa aangoferatu m’dziko
muno. Nkhani yosangalatsa ndiyokuti akuluakulu aBungwe laRugby
Association of Malawi (RAM), lomwe pakadali pano akufuna kulilembetsa
kuMalawi National Council of Sports (MNCS).
A Serj Mwatiha, omwe akugwirizira udindo wawapampando waRAM, adauza
mtolankhani wathu loweluka lapitali kuti boma laThyolo latsogola
kwambiri pamasewera aRagibe.
“Masewerawa apita patsogolo kwambiri kuThyolo, ndipo akuseweredwa
ndiana ambiri m’sukulu monga Luchenza ndiMendulo Community Day
Secondary (CDSS). Nalo boma laMulanje silikutsalira m’mbuyo, ndipo
Rabibe ikuseweredwa papulaimale yaLomola,” adatero aMwatiha.
AMwatiha, omwe ndimphunzitsi wapaLuchenza CDSS, adati izi zili
chomwecho chifukwa chakhama lamzika ina yakuScortland, aCharles
Fewcett, omwe adayambitsa masewerowa m’sukulu ataona kuti ana ambiri
amatenga kachilombo koyambitsa matenda aEdzi, kaHIV, kamba kosowa

Rugby at Blantyre Sports Club

Loweluka lapitali, matimu ochokera kuKasungu (Kamuzu Academy), Thyolo,
Blantyre (Saint Andrews International High Schoo ndiKalibu Academy)
adakumana pabwalo lazamasewera laBlantyre Sports Club ndicholinga
chofuna kupatsa akuluakulu oyendetsa Ragibe mwayi osankha osewera omwe
adzamenye mutimu yaMalawi akadzaikhazikitsanso.
Pakadali pano, bungwe laRAM lili pakalikiliki ofuna kulembetsa
ndiMNCS. RAM idauzidwa kuti idzalembetsedwa ikadzakwanitsa kukhala
ndimatimu 10 aRagibe m’dziko muno, koma zikalata zones zoyenera
kulembetsera timu adamaliza kale kukonza, malingana ndiaMwatiha.

Masewero akiriketi akubwerera m’chimake’

Wolemba Richard Chirombo

Malawi National Cricket Team players training at St. Andrews International High School in Blantyre

Akuluakulu omwe akugwirizira ntchito yoyendetsa bungwe yoyang’anira
masewero akiriketi m’dziko muno, laMalawi Cricket Union (MCU), ati
ntchito yokonzanso zinthu zomwe zimkalakwika ikuyenda bwino.
Wapampando waMCU, a Dave Thompson, adauza mtolankhani wathu kuti,
mwazina, bungweli lapanga kale ndondomeko yotukulira masewero
akiriketi m’dziko muno, laika ndondomeko zokhwima zoyendetsera chuma,
komanso latsala pang’ono kumaliza ntchito yopanga tsamba lofotokoza
zamasewerowa kuMalawi pamakina akompyuta a intaneti, motsatira zomwe
akuluakulu amasewerowa muAfrica ndipadziko lapansi adalangizira
kumayambiriro achaka chino.
Izi zikutsatira kuphwasula kwakomiti yomwe imkayendetsa masewerowa
m’dziko kumayambiriro kwachaka chino, mabungwe oyendetsa masewero
akiriketi padziko lonse lapansi aInternational Cricket Council (ICC)
komanso bungwe lomwe limayang’anira kiriketi muAfrica laAfrica Cricket
Association (ACA) atasonyeza kusakhutitsidwa ndimomwe zimayendera
zinthu kuMCU.
Malingana ndilipoti loyembekezera lowunika zakayendetsedwe kachuma
kuMCU, lomwe adakonza ndi oyendetsa ntchito zothandiza komanso
kuonetsetsa kuti mamembala aICC akuAfrica akutsatira ndondomeko
zoyenera zoyendetsera kiriketi aGoodlove Poswa mothandizana ndiaGraham
McMillan- omwe amalumikiza ntchito zotukula kiriket kuAfrica- zinthu
zambiri sizimayenda bwino m’dziko muno.
Mwazina, akuluakuluwa adati zikalata zokhudzana ndikayendetsedwe
kachuma sizimasungidwa, padalibe yemwe amalemba zochitika pamisonkhano
yaakuluakulu abungweli, anthu amangogwira ntchito popanda m’gwirizano
uliwonse ndiowalemba ntchito (MCU), panalibe ndondomeko yofotokoza
zakasamalidwe kakatundu wabungweli, komanso malipoti azachuma omwe
amaperekedwa kuICC amkasiyana ndimalisiti omwe adali m’mabuku abungwe
laMCU kuno kumudzi.
Zonsezi zidapangitsa kuti komiti yoyendetsa masewerowa kuno kumudzi
ayithetse m’mwezi waFeburuwale chaka chino, ndikukhazikitsa komiti
yongogwirizira yomwe imalize ntchito yake kumayambiriro kwamwezi
waOkotobala chaka chino.
Polankhulapo pazamomwe ikuyendera ntchito yoonetsetsa kuti masewerowa
abwerera m’chimake m’dziko muno, aThompson adati zambiri zomwe
adalangiza mabungwe aICC ndiACA zayamba kutsatidwa, chinthu chomwe
chapangitsa kuti anthu akhalenso ndichidwi ndmasewerowa.
“Zinthu zikuyenda bwino chifukwa tili ndianthu odzipereka kuyendetsa
ntchitoyi. Nayonso timu yakiriketi yadziko lino yayamba kumenya
ndimayiko ena, chinthu chomwe chikutilimbikitsa ndikutipatsa
chikhulupiriro kuti, pofika mwezi waOkotobala, tikhala titakwaniritsa
zonse zomwe tidalangizidwa,” adatero aThompson.
Mwazina, komiti yogwirizirayi- yomwe ili ndiakuluakulu ena monga Robin
Tiffin-Roberts, Bhavesh Dhanesha, Jayendra Khe,ndiVivek Ganesan-
yathandiza kuti timu yaMalawi ikachite nawo masewero amaiko omwe
alimugawo lachiwiri lakiriketi muAfrica, la ICC/ACA Division 2 T20
Tournament, omwe adayamba pa14 Meyi sabata latha ndipo adatha pa
19Meyi kuBenoni m’dziko laSouth Africa.
Dziko laMalawi lidali mugulu loyamba (Pool A), ndipo lidatumiza
osewera khumi ndimphambu zinayi, komanso owayang’anira awiri.
Dziko lino lidakwezedwa kufika mugawo lachiwiri (Division 2)
litachinya matimu onse amuAfrica pampikisano wagawo lachitatu
(Division 3) omwe udachitikira m’dziko muno m’chaka cha2009.

Roma: living in fear in Romanian settlement

By Barbora Cernusakova, EU Team Researcher, and Fotis Filippou, EU Team Campaigner

Constanta is a beautiful city on Romania’s Black Sea coast, yet not everybody is able to appreciate its beauty – least of all many of its Roma inhabitants.

We visited 35 Romani families living in an informal settlement at the outskirts of the city. After being evicted from their homes and camping in front of the city hall for a few months in plastic tents, they were moved to this plot of land by the local authorities, reportedly as a temporary measure and with the promise of receiving a house. This was in 2000.

Eleven years later, they are still here, living in shacks they constructed with any material they could gather. They have no access to electricity, water or sanitation.

Children have to study by candlelight. Their parents go door to door asking neighbours for some water to drink, cook and wash themselves with.

Fear is constant in their lives. In the winter they fear the cold, and the rain flooding their homes. In the summer they fear the rats and snakes that surround them. Many told us they are ill as a result of these conditions.

They are so destitute that immigration to Western Europe seems to them the only solution. “Why do you think all these Roma go to France, Italy, Germany, Spain?” asked Lucretia, one of the Romani women we met there.

Later in the day we visited Roma people living in the historical centre of Constanta, which is about to undergo a massive gentrification. They were told they will be evicted. They are afraid they will be rendered homeless or they will have to move to containers that reportedly will be provided by the local authorities.

Elena, one of the women living there, told us: “By the end of Friday I know that I will at least be safe for Saturday and Sunday.” At the beginning of the working week her fear returns, as every knock on the door could bring an eviction notice.

One Romani woman, Nicoleta, said: “Our skin may be darker, but this shouldn’t mean they should be throwing us away like trash”.

This International Roma Day, Lucretia will still wake up with no money for the medicine she needs. Elena will be hoping the eviction notice will not arrive today.

Roma: living in fear in Romanian settlement

By Barbora Cernusakova, EU Team Researcher, and Fotis Filippou, EU Team Campaigner

Constanta is a beautiful city on Romania’s Black Sea coast, yet not everybody is able to appreciate its beauty – least of all many of its Roma inhabitants.

We visited 35 Romani families living in an informal settlement at the outskirts of the city. After being evicted from their homes and camping in front of the city hall for a few months in plastic tents, they were moved to this plot of land by the local authorities, reportedly as a temporary measure and with the promise of receiving a house. This was in 2000.

Eleven years later, they are still here, living in shacks they constructed with any material they could gather. They have no access to electricity, water or sanitation.

Children have to study by candlelight. Their parents go door to door asking neighbours for some water to drink, cook and wash themselves with.

Fear is constant in their lives. In the winter they fear the cold, and the rain flooding their homes. In the summer they fear the rats and snakes that surround them. Many told us they are ill as a result of these conditions.

They are so destitute that immigration to Western Europe seems to them the only solution. “Why do you think all these Roma go to France, Italy, Germany, Spain?” asked Lucretia, one of the Romani women we met there.

Later in the day we visited Roma people living in the historical centre of Constanta, which is about to undergo a massive gentrification. They were told they will be evicted. They are afraid they will be rendered homeless or they will have to move to containers that reportedly will be provided by the local authorities.

Elena, one of the women living there, told us: “By the end of Friday I know that I will at least be safe for Saturday and Sunday.” At the beginning of the working week her fear returns, as every knock on the door could bring an eviction notice.

One Romani woman, Nicoleta, said: “Our skin may be darker, but this shouldn’t mean they should be throwing us away like trash”.

This International Roma Day, Lucretia will still wake up with no money for the medicine she needs. Elena will be hoping the eviction notice will not arrive today.

Misratah: the spiralling human cost in a city under fire

By Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s crisis researcher.

Here in Misratah, Libya’s third city, we have just experienced four more days of relentless shelling by Colonel al-Gaddafi’s forces. In just two of the residential neighbourhoods I have been able to visit in the past four days – Qasr Ahmad in the east of the city and Zawia al-Mahjoub in the west – hundreds of rockets and mortar shells have rained down, literally all over the place. I have lost count of how many homes I’ve seen that have been hit in these clearly indiscriminate attacks.

Medical clinics, schools, mosques, factories and the port – where thousands of foreign workers are stranded and waiting to be rescued – are just some of the locations that have come under attack. Fortunately, many of the residents of the houses that took direct hits escaped injury but others were not so lucky. Adults and children alike have been killed and injured in their homes and on the streets by flying shrapnel from these projectiles.

In the centre of town, where the “frontline” between Colonel al-Gaddafi’s forces and opposition fighters keeps shifting from street to street, the devastation is extensive. In this area I found cluster bombs all over the place – they present an enormous danger, not least because these munitions have a high “dud” rate, meaning that unexploded bombs litter the area.

We know from other situations such as in southern Lebanon, where these lethal weapons were used extensively by Israeli forces in 2006, that they can continue to kill and maim civilians, often children who pick them up in ignorance of the danger they contain, long after the actual conflict has ended and people have returned to their homes.

As the long siege of this city continues, Misratah’s valiant but terrified residents are finding it increasingly difficult to find any safe shelter.

This morning in the Zawia al-Mahjoub neighbourhood in the west of the city, I found that house after house had been damaged as a result of the firing of indiscriminate rockets and mortars into the area. More of these projectiles continued to rain down in and around the neighbourhood all morning. Some residents had already fled after previous attacks but many others were still there, wondering what to do and where to go to seek shelter, to find safety.

In one damaged house I found four families, numbering more than 40 people in all, who were huddled together in one room in the centre of the house on the ground floor – in the hope that this would offer the greatest protection if another rocket or mortar should hit the house.

‘Ali, the home’s owner, told me that he and his family had taken in the three other families when they had been forced to flee from their homes in other neighbourhoods.

‘Ali’s brother, who has suffered from paralysis for the past five years, was weeping and shaking as he lay in his bed. The unfortunate man cannot speak but his hearing is good and so every time we heard a rocket landing he shuddered at the loud bang.

‘Ali and other members of the family were trying to comfort and reassure him but they themselves were also terrified and feeling a sense of awful helplessness at what is going on around them. Earlier in the morning, ‘Ali’s 34-year-old son and a 53-year-old neighbour had both been wounded when a rocket struck just in front of the house as they were standing by the front gate.

Later, I found them both in hospital. Both have sustained serious injuries as a result of shrapnel – ‘Ali’s son has a deep wound in his neck and his neighbour suffered a wound to his abdomen and a fractured arm, where the shrapnel also severed an artery.

Even the local clinic in Zawia al-Mahjoub was not spared. On Saturday afternoon (16 April) a mortar shell landed in the car park injuring a staff member and a visitor. Mohammed, a 42-year-old anaesthesia technician, told me: “While I was getting a cup of coffee in the courtyard of the hospital, two rockets landed nearby and I rushed into the hospital but when I reached the door a third rocket landed in the car park”

The other casualty from the attack, Faraj, a 45-year-old teacher, told me that he was at the clinic to visit a friend who had been injured earlier when a rocket or mortar had exploded in front of his house. Doctors treating Mohammed and Faraj told me that they had sustained deep shrapnel injuries to the chest and abdomen respectively, while Faraj’s arm had also been broken.

The neighbourhood had previously been shelled on several occasions by Colonel al-Gaddafi’s forces. One of these attacks, carried out on 5 April, killed Maryam, a10-year-old girl who had been playing in the courtyard of her house when a mortar shell landed there. She was killed by shrapnel.

The same day, two other young children, Ahmad and ‘Abdelsalam, both aged only two, were injured while they were inside their homes by flying shrapnel from rockets that fell nearby. Ahmad’s right arm was broken and ‘Abdelsalam’s left femur was fractured.

In one of the schools where families displaced by the conflict have taken what they hope may need to be only temporary refuge, 35-year-old Kamila, who is expecting her first child, told me: “Gaddafi’s soldiers came to our neighbourhood and so we fled to my relatives in another area. After two days I was in pain and thought I was having a miscarriage and so my husband took me to hospital but on the way there our car was shelled. My husband was badly wounded; his left leg had to be amputated and his right leg was burned down to the bone. I was also injured by shrapnel in my left leg and side and some of the fragments are still in my leg (still clearly visible).

“He was evacuated to Turkey two weeks ago and I have not been able to get any news from him because there is no telephone network here any more that works. I had to move again because the place where I was staying was not safe, so I came to this school with my sisters. I left home with only the clothes I had on my back and now we live off charity. My husband’s parents had gone to stay with other relatives in Tammina, but then that neighbourhood too was attacked and many people left and I don’t know where they are now.”

Kamila’s sister-in-law, a mother of seven, and her cousin, a mother of two, are also sheltering in the same school with tens of other people. They too have spent the past few weeks fleeing from one place to another in a vain search for safety.

In the same school I met a Sudanese family who have been living in Libya for decades. Yusouf told me that in the early evening of 23 March their home was hit by two shells as the area was being pounded by Colonel al-Gaddafi’s forces.

“When our apartment was shelled I took my wife and children and we rushed out immediately. We thought we would go back home in a day or so but then the building was taken over by al-Gaddafi’s forces and we have not been able to go back. All our possessions, including our passports, the children’s school certificates and everything else remained in the apartment. Now we have nothing,” he said.

Misrata: Seventy-two year old Khamis in front of his home, which was shelled on 9 April 2011 © Amnesty International
Some of the displaced people I met in the school came from Qasr Ahmad, a neighbourhood of eastern Misratah, near the port where a dozen people were killed on 14 April, several of them while waiting in a queue to buy bread.

One who died was Mohammad ‘Ali Sha’ib, a 47-year-old father of two boys aged four and five. Another was 69-year-old Mostepha Hamrouche, whose neighbour, ‘Omar, told me: “We were sitting by the wall of his house with other neighbours when rockets started to fall very close by. We got up and ran off in different directions. Mostepha took cover under a tree across the road but a rocket landed right by that tree and killed him.”

Misratah’s residents are now feeling very scared. They can neither find safety in the city, nor can they leave. They are trapped and remain prey to the ongoing rain of indiscriminate explosives being fired at their neighbourhoods by the Libyan leader’s forces.

The question on virtually everyone’s lips is the same one – where is the international community and why is it not doing anything to provide the protection that it promised, and which they crave, to the vulnerable and increasingly desperate inhabitants of Misratah?

Fuel shortage

When shall all these fuel shortages come to an end?

Amnesty International is 50!

Did you know that you are part of a global movement of people who have been defending and protecting human rights for 50 years?
Amnesty International is 50 and we want to invite you to celebrate this milestone with us by joining our 50th anniversary campaign!
In 1961 Peter Benenson, a British lawyer, was outraged by the imprisonment of two Portuguese students for raising a toast to freedom.
Benenson turned his outrage into action and published an article “The Forgotten Prisoners” in a national newspaper which created a public outcry. Reprinted in newspapers across the world, his call to action resonated with the values and aspirations of people everywhere. It was in this moment of activism that Amnesty International was born.
The International Executive Committee of Amnesty International receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo 10th December 1977. © Norsk Telegrambyra
Fifty years after Amnesty International's candle first shone a light on injustice and oppression, a global movement of human rights activists – made up of people like you and me - has grown into a powerful force for freedom and justice.
Now Amnesty International has more than 3 million supporters around the world who are united by a common understanding that our rights and freedoms are interconnected and our actions are critical to protecting and upholding these human rights globally.

Your commitment and action has brought justice and hope to countless individuals and communities around the world. As we enter our 50th year of human rights campaigning we remain committed to strengthening the global human rights movement – and we can’t do it without you!
We need your help to protect freedom of expression, abolish the death penalty, defend rights of women and girls, demand international justice, stop corporate abuse and end oppression and injustice.
Wondering how you can help us do it all? Visit now to learn more about the campaigns that are part of our 50th year and take action to defend and protect human rights!
In solidarity,

Salil Shetty
Secretary General, Amnesty International

Friday, May 27, 2011

IPPF Appoints New Director-General

13 May 2011, LONDON: The President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is pleased to announce that its Governing Council has appointed Mr.Tewodros Melesse to be the next Director-General of IPPF, the world’s largest sexual and reproductive health NGO.

Mr Melesse has held the post of Regional Director of IPPF’s Africa Region since 2002, where he has been responsible for managing IPPF’s response to a broad range of health and development challenges in 44 sub-Saharan African countries.

An Ethiopian national, Mr Melesse studied economics at the Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium. He began his career in family planning and reproductive health in 1984 and worked at US-based reproductive health NGO Pathfinder International and IPPF before becoming director of IPPF’s Africa Region.

As Regional Director, Mr Melesse played a pivotal role in providing technical and management support to the African Union in the development and adoption of the Continental Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy Framework and the Maputo Plan of Action, in collaboration with UNFPA/Africa.

He said: “Every day, in countries around the world, IPPF plays a critical role in delivering life-saving health care to the poorest and most marginalized communities. Ensuring greater access to services and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive rights of all people will be a priority over the next five years.

“Delivering better sexual and reproductive health services and outcomes for women, men and young people plays a central role in development globally, but especially among the poorest communities. My vision for the future is to develop IPPF’s national Member Associations as centres of excellence, delivering services to marginalized and under-served people around the world, and ensuring governments recognize the importance of sexual and reproductive health to sustainable development and human rights.”

Mr Melesse also paid tribute to the out-going Director-General: “Dr Gill Greer brought new thinking and ideas around sexual rights. She has been a tireless human rights activist who has worked to ensure access to quality services to the most marginalized and hard to reach populations.”

Dr. Jacqueline Sharpe, President of IPPF, said, “I’m delighted that IPPF has found from within the Federation a new Director-General who is a highly skilled, deeply committed and motivated individual capable of continuing the work of taking the Federation forward in the coming years.”

A committed advocate, Mr Melesse will provide continuity in implementing IPPF’s strategic priorities and vision. He is expected to take up the appointment within the next few months following the retirement of current Director-General, Dr Gill Greer.

For further information please contact Paul Bell on
+ 44 (0) 207 939 8233 or
+ 44 (0) 7799 335533
Email us at

International Planned Parenthood Federation is a non-governmental organization, a network of 153 national member associations, working to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights for all people in 174 countries worldwide.

Bulletin of Christian Persecution May 2 - May 25, 2011

May 2 - May 25, 2011

May 2, 2011
Hundreds of Muslims in Gujranwala attacked Christians' homes, a school and a Presbyterian church building after learning that police had released two Christians accused of "blasphemy" - amid reports of another alleged desecration of the Quran.
May 3, 2011
In the aftermath of the April 30th Muslim attacks on a Presbyterian seminary after a false accusation that Christians desecrated the Koran, at least 3,000 Christians have fled for their lives.
May 6, 2011
Muslim attackers killed seventeen Christians and burned down several Christian homes in the village of Karum. Since the introduction of Sharia law in northern Nigeria in 1999, thousands of Christians have been killed by Muslims, and local officials have failed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Update HERE on the killing of Christian Nigerians.
May 7, 2011
Police have charged a mentally ill Christian with "injuring religious feelings" under Pakistan's widely condemned blasphemy laws.
Christian communities across Syria have been attacked by anti-government protesters in recent weeks who are being led by hard-line Islamists. Also Christians have come under pressure to either join in protests demanding the resignation of President Bashir Assad, or else leave the country. Eye witnesses report seeing around 20 masked men on motorcycles open fire on a home in a Christian village outside Dara'a, in southern Syria. Another source said that churches had received threatening letters over Easter, telling them either to join the protests or leave. In Karak, Muslim Salafists forced villagers to join the protests and remove pictures of the president from their home. One man who refused was reportedly found hanged on his front porch the next morning.
Update of this story: Thousands of Christians flocked to Saint Mark's Cathedral in Cairo Friday in response to a protest organized by Salafi Muslims last week in front of the church. The conservative Islamist group had gathered its members to protest for the release of the wives of two Coptic priests, who some believe have been detained by the church after allegedly converting to Islam. There was a strong military presence at the cathedral Friday ahead of the protest. Mina Salib, one of the protesters, said that "Christians all over Egypt were deeply disturbed by last Friday's protest and came to express their anger and assert their defense of the Cathedral against any attacks." Mina added that people immediately responded to the call to protect the church as result of the attack directed against Pope Shenouda.
May 8, 2011
Christians Copts in the area of Embaba were attacked Saturday evening by Muslim Salafis. The attacks lasted for 14 hours. The Muslims fired guns and rifles and hurled Molotov cocktails at Coptic churches, houses and businesses. 12 Copts were killed and 232 injured.
The church of Saint Mina was the first to be attacked. According to its pastor Fr. Abanoub the attack started at 5.30 PM on Saturday May 7, when church parishioners noticed a large number of Salafis, estimated at 3000 men, congregating near the church. Anticipating trouble, the army was called. The Salafis went to the church and asked to search it because they believed a Christian girl named who had converted to Islam, married a Salafi and wanted to revert back to Christianity, was hiding inside the church.
The second church attacked by Salafis was St. Mary and St Abanob, also in Embaba. Muslims prevented the fire brigade from reaching it. The third church attacked was St. Mary Church in Wehda Street in Embaba, the ground floor of which was completely torched. More HERE.
May 9, 2011
Malaysia (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Islam is under siege in Malaysia because aggressive Christians are determined to convert Muslims who are nonchalant about their faith, several Islamist groups alleged. The Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam accused Christians of strategising an elaborate plan to ensure that more and more Muslims leave the faith, which is illegal in Malaysia. The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, together with partners Global Day of Prayer, Marketplace Penang and Penang Pastors Fellowship, said the claims against their community were lies.

May 12, 2011
Pakistan (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Once more, Pakistan's 'black law' strikes again. A Muslim businessman has used the infamous blasphemy law against a rival and former associate, who happens to be Christian. More and more, the law is being used to persecute the country's Christian minority or settle personal scores. The victim is Gulzar Masih, from Sialkot, who owns a bookstore. Yesterday, he and his son had to flee town, fearing reprisals by local Muslims who tried to set fire to his shop. Only the intervention of police stopped the attackers.

May 15, 2011
Egypt (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Violence erupted in a Cairo neighborhood when pro-Coptic protesters clashed with unidentified men, leaving at least two people dead and 60 injured. The demonstrators initially staged a sit-in in front of the state TV building to demand greater rights for the religious minority. Problems between Egypt's Muslim majority and its Coptic Christian minority have been on the rise in recent months, with a number of violent clashes reported between the two groups. More HERE.
May 16, 2011
Iraq (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
An Iraqi Chaldean Christian man was abducted, tortured and then beheaded by Al Qaeda jihadis. The victim was from Kirkuk, northern Iraq. He had been kidnapped three days ago and the family had received a ransom request. However, negotiations for his release did not work out and so he was brutally murdered. A pastor in Kirkuk said that kidnappers had pressured his employer to fire him because he was a Christian. More HERE.
Christians from a local Evangelical Church congregation in this Plateau state town have been displaced after Muslim extremists set their church building and some homes on fire last month. The Rev. Ishaku Danyok of the church said that the April 29 incident occurred after Muslims approached Christian music shop owner Gabriel Kiwase and told him that his music was disturbing them as they said their prayers.
The young Christian man "quietly switched off the music set, and then the Muslims left, only to return about 20 minutes later to burn down the music shop and then go on rampage, burning down houses belonging to some Christians in the town," Danyok said. Update HERE.
May 17, 2011
EU (Hat tip to
A religious liberty campaigner has been heckled at an EU meeting for saying Christians should not be sent to prison for peacefully expressing their opinions. A room full of feminist and homosexual activists jeered at Dr Gudrun Kugler when she spoke about the intolerance faced by Christians in Europe. Some of the crowd said that Christians ought to be thrown in jail if they make a "negative comment" against a "minority group".

May 18, 2011
Two more shocking cases have surfaced in Pakistan where Christians were badly treated by Muslims. The first concerned two Christian women working at a Lahore, Pakistan, hospital, who were allegedly "manhandled" by a leader at the Fatima Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. A source close to the situation said that Nusrat Bibi and Muneeran Bibi, who are both married female sanitary workers at the hospital were "brutally thrashed" and "unlawfully detained for several hours," after being assaulted by a Muslim officer at the medical facility.
In another disturbing case, this one in a town located in the Punjab, the Christian Communication Network Pakistan (CCNP) told ANS that "a gang of Muslim men, on the behest of a former member of the Punjab Provincial Assembly, "invaded two Christian houses" in the city. Adnan Sher, an activist of CCNP, said that a Christian man, Sharif Gull, was abducted at gunpoint by the Muslim "hoodlums."

Adnan Sher then alleged that the Muslim mob also attacked at the house of another Christian man, Idrees Asif. He added that the alleged culprits, armed with clubs, thrashed the men and women of Asif's family and ripped off the cloths of the Christian women and made publicly nude.
Azerbaijan (Hat tip to
Within the space of three days in mid-May, three Protestant communities in the town of Sumgait (Sumqayit) north of the Azerbaijani capital Baku were raided by police and officials of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations.
Syria's minority Christians are watching the protests sweeping their country with trepidation, fearing their religious freedom could be threatened if President Bashar Assad's autocratic but secular rule is overthrown. For many Syrian Christians, the flight of their brethren from sectarian conflict in neighboring Iraq and recent attacks on Christians in Egypt have highlighted the dangers they fear they will face if Assad succumbs to the wave of uprisings sweeping the Arab world.
The body of Chaldean Christian Ashur Issa Yaqub was found on Monday (May 16) with marks of severe torture and mutilation. He had worked as a construction worker from the northeastern city of Kirkuk, and al Qaeda members had demanded $100,000 for his release, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Sources close to a Christian reportedly kidnapped, tortured and murdered by al Qaeda over the weekend said the kidnappers had pressured his employer to fire him because he was a Christian.

May 19, 2011
An influential Muslim family in a village near Sheikhupura is holding a 17-year-old Christian girl hostage because one of her brothers allegedly eloped with a woman from the Muslim family. The Muslim parents have threatened further retaliation against the Christian family if they do not produce their daughter, whom they have also threatened to publicly shoot dead as an "honor killing."
An area clergyman identified only as Father Emmanuel called the situation "critical," saying it has pitted the area's 1,800 Muslim families against its 70-to-100 Christian families and could lead to violence. More HERE.
Islamic extremist groups disrupted two post-Easter services in Cirebon as police failed to stop the violence, this according to Hendardi, chairman of the Setara Institute, an NGO fighting for human rights and religious freedom in Indonesia. The activist slammed police for its "powerlessness" vis-à-vis "hostile" acts perpetrated by radical movements, which interrupted religious services.
The situation in Abbotabad is "critical" for religious minorities, who are "fasting and praying for peace in the region", Fr Javed Akram Gill, a parish priest in the town where Osama Bin Laden was killed tells AsiaNews. The priest confirms that the death of the Al Qaeda "has raised fears within the Christian community" because "every time the Americans say or do something, Christians [in Pakistan] become the number one target." Together with the Catholics, the faithful of other Christian denominations "prefer to stay inside" and their leaders refrain from making pastoral visits.
On the morning of May 19 two Coptic priests went to St. Mary and St. Abraham Church and opened it together with some of the Coptic residents, but later in the day thousands of Muslims surrounded the church to protest its opening, hurled stones at the church building and the Copts, who responded by throwing stones. The army and the police stood there watching and did not intervene.
Unable to secure the church, the army and police closed it and arranged for a "reconciliation" meeting between the Coptic priest and the Salafi sheikhs. "The atmosphere of the meeting was belligerent," said attorney Ashraf Edward, "and one of the sheikhs threatened us by saying that should the church be opened without their permission it would end up like the church in Soul which was demolished by Muslims."
May 20, 2011
Two nurses at the Fatima Memorial Hospital, Lahore, were attacked and abducted for several hours by a fellow Muslim. The man also charged them with theft after stealing their mobile phone and a sum of money. In a second incident, a group of Muslims - at the behest of a former MP of the area - attacked the houses of two Christians, to force the owners to abandon them and transfer the land ownership over to him.
Turkey's Christians are under siege.
May 23, 2011
A Coptic Christian bishop warns the native Germans about the threat of Islamic dhimmitude and where it leads.
Pakistan (Hat tip to
Pakistani Christians have expressed concerns about renewed kidnappings and abuse of women and girls by Muslims in a country still reeling from the recent assassination of a Christian government minister.
Among those targeted was Sehar Naz, a 24-year-old employee with Pakistan's State Life Insurance Corporation in Punjab province, who was recovering of her injuries Monday, May 23, after she was allegedly kidnapped and raped by a Pakistan Army officer.
May 24, 2011
Sudanese National Security Intelligence and Security Service agents have arrested a Christian woman in a Darfur camp for displaced people, accusing her of converting Muslims to Christianity, said sources who fear she is being tortured.
At the same time, in Khartoum a Christian mother of a 2-month-old baby is wounded and destitute because she and her husband left Islam for Christianity. More HERE.
Christians in Pakistan remained concerned Monday, May 23, over the situation of Pastor Paul Ashraf and his family after they reportedly narrowly survived a drive by shooting by suspected Islamic militants in Punjab province, seriously injuring their eldest son. "Pastor Ashraf was in a van with his wife, Rubina Ashraf, and eldest son Sarfraz Ashraf, on April 27 when two unidentified men on a motorbike opened fire" on their car, said the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement. . . . Pastor Ashraf and Rubina were unharmed but Sarfraz" who drove the vechicle, "was shot in the side and face. The masked gunmen fled from the scene when they saw that Sarfraz had been seriously injured," CLAAS explained.
May 25, 2011
Algerian authorities have ordered the immediate closure of seven Protestant churches and demanded that the Algerian Protestant Church Association close all churches under their authority.
Produced by Political
Publisher: Bill Warner; Edited by Asma Marwan

Thursday, May 26, 2011

President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika's State-of-the-nation address on May 23, 2011

Republic of Malawi



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2 GENERAL BACKGROUND Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am pleased to be here this morning to deliver the State of the Nation Address to this august House and to open the 2011/2012 Budget Meeting. During the past year, Malawi has achieved a great deal in economic and social development and has contributed positively to the global debates on peace, poverty reduction and food security. In the course of my presentation, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will inform the House that Government is delivering on its promises. I will also highlight major achievements attained in the last twelve months and provide policy direction that Government will follow in the 2011/2012 fiscal year. MACRO-ECONOMIC PERFORMANCEMr. Speaker, Sir, this august House will be pleased to know that the Malawi economy has continued to perform with distinction under the DPP-led Government. Malawi has indeed achieved an economic miracle. The economy has been growing at an average rate of 7.6 percent since 2005. In 2010, the economy grew by 6.7 percent. This growth rate is well above the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) target of 6 percent and the average for Sub-Saharan Region which was 5.5 percent. This shows that the country is on track to reduce poverty and meet targets ofthe Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations by 2015. In 2011, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is expected to grow by 7.0 percent despite increasing world oil prices.
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3 I can confidently say that we have, as a nation, launched our economy on the road from poverty to prosperity. The inflation rate remained at a single digit, declining from 8.4 percent in2009 to 7.4 percent in 2010 due to increased food availability on the local market. As a result, Government continued to lower the Bank Lending Rate from 15 percent in 2007 to 13 percent during the 2010/2011 fiscal year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government has also made tremendous progress in reducing the domestic debt and the budget deficit. The domestic debt hasbeen reduced from 25 percent of GDP in 2004 to 11.6 percent of GDP in the 2010/2011 fiscal year; while the budget deficit has been reduced from 7.8 percent of GDP in 2003/2004 financial year to 1.5 percent of GDP in2010/2011 financial year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Malawi is presenting a zero-deficit budget this coming financial year. In other words, our recurrent expenditure will be financedentirely from our own resources. However, for development projects expenditure, we expect our development partners to continue to support us. Government will continue to implement sound macro-economic policies and strict fiscal discipline to ensure economic growth and sustainable development in this country. In recognition of Malawi’s outstanding performance, Mr. Speaker, Sir, our country received the Millennium Development Goals Award last year during the United Nations General Assembly.
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4 In another area, the signing of the Millennium Challenge Cooperation Compact with the Government of the United States is also testimony of our steadfast adherence to human rights and good governance. OUR PRIORITIES Mr. Speaker, Sir, the above achievements did not come about accidentally. They are the result of a well designed and well articulated home grown policy encapsulated in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) since 2006. The MGDS was designed as our overarchingoperational medium term strategy for the attainment of the nation’s Vision 2020 and the Millennium Development Goals. The main thrust of the MGDSis to create wealth through sustainable economic growth and infrastructure development, as a means for poverty reduction. The first phase of the MGDS from 2006 to 2011, focused on six “prioritieswithin priorities” and these are: Agriculture and Food Security; Irrigation and Water Development; Transport and Communications Infrastructure; Integrated Rural Development; HIV and AIDS Management; and Energy Development. Subsequently, we added the following three more

Malawi's President, Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika (Chitsulo chanjanji, kasupe wachitukuko, Ngwazi yachiwiri, maUniversity folo)
priorities to respond to national needs: Youth Development and Empowerment; Mining and Industrial Development; and Education, Science and Technology. Mr. Speaker Sir, during the five year period of MGDS implementation, we made a lot of strides. For instance, poverty levels declined from 50 percent to 39 percent; food security has tremendously improved and our country is no longer classified as a food deficit country; primary school net enrolmentincreased from 73 percent in 2006 to 83 percent in 2009; paved road
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5 network increased from 3,663 km in 2004 to 4,073 km in 2010; and the contribution of mining to GDP rose from 3 percent in 2005 to 10 percent in 2009. From this year, we will embark on the second phase of MGDS implementation which will run up to 2016. We will continue to build upon the nine priorities within priorities and past success records. AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY Mr. Speaker, Sir, agriculture remains the back-bone of our economy. For this reason, Government continued to implement programmes that enhancecrop production for food security and income generation at both national and household levels. I am pleased to say that despite sporadic dry spells experienced in someparts of the country in the course of this year’s cropping season, we expect yet another bumper harvest with an estimated yield of 3.8 million metric tons of maize representing an estimated surplus of 1.2 million metric tons. Maize production figure this year has gone up by 13 percent as compared to last year’s production. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the production of other crops is also estimated to increase this year. For instance, production of rice is estimated to increase by 12 percent to 123,000 metric tons; cassava by 8 percent to 4.3 million metrictons; sweet potatoes by 14 percent to 3.3 million metric tons; pulses by 15 percent to 540,000 metric tons; and sorghum by 37 percent to 74,000 metric tons. With regard to Farm Input Subsidy Programme, Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2010/2011 fiscal year, Government distributed 160,000 metric tons of
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6 fertilizer to 1.6 million farm families. The Farm Input Subsidy Programmehas transformed Malawi from a food deficit to a food surplus nation. Government will continue with the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in the coming financial year. The price of a bag of fertilizer to the poor farmer willremain at K500 during the coming fiscal year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government continued to construct additional strategic grain reserves to ensure food security. Recently, we commissioned the Luchenza and Mzuzu Silos, bringing to four the number of silos currently in operation in the country. The total national storage capacity now stands at 240,000 metric tons. In addition, to improve food security at household level, small metallic silos, introduced a few years ago, are still being promoted to smallholder farmers. In the 2010/2011 financial year alone, a total of 735 small metallic silos were fabricated and distributed to smallholder farmers. To date, 1,488 smallmetallic silos have been fabricated and distributed.I am pleased to report to the House that these metallic silos are helping small farmers to combat post harvest food loss. Many of them are able to keep food from one harvest season to another. In order to further improve agricultural productivity and diversify food sources, new agricultural technologies and food varieties were introduced during the 2010/2011 financial year. These include legume, cassava, banana and mushroom varieties. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in aquaculture, fish production increased from 800 metrictons in 2009/2010 fiscal year to 2,500 metric tons in 2010/2011 fiscal year.
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7 The number of fish farmers also grew from over 4,000 to 6,000 during the past two years. I am also pleased to say that with the support of donors, Government formulated the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAp) aimed at improving the effectiveness and sustainability of investments in the agriculture sector to foster food security and achieve agricultural led economic growth. The ASWAp will be implemented for four years from 2010to 2014. The Programme received initial financial support to the tune of US$53.3 million from the World Bank and the Kingdom of Norway. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2011/2012 financial year, Government plans to introduce new and high yielding wheat varieties. We will also expand the area under wheat production from 1,200 hectares to 6,000 hectares through irrigation. In addition, we will promote pigeon peas production through introduction of this crop to non-traditional growing areas of central and northern regions. In the area of livestock development, Government will introduce new technological innovations in animal husbandry. We shall import 330 hybrid dairy heifers from South Africa for sale to smallholder farmers. THE GREEN BELT IRRIGATION AND WATER DEVELOPMENT Mr. Speaker, Sir, I now turn to the Greenbelt Irrigation and Water Development. This is an important policy intervention to sustain foodsecurity in our country. When fully implemented, this will change our development paradigm. We expect to achieve this by reducing over dependence on rain-fed agriculture, achieve sustainable and integrated
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8 water resource management, as well as increase availability and accessibility of water and sanitation services. As I have said before Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Green Belt Initiative is intendedto irrigate up to 20 kilometers along our lakes and rivers and is planned to cover close to a million hectares of land. We have mobilized resources to kick-start implementation of the Green Belt Initiative. To date, we have allocated MK2 billion from Government budget and a line of credit amounting to $15 million (MK4 Billion) has been obtained from the Government of India. In the 2010/2011 financial year, 2,824 hectares of land were developedunder irrigation. Since the programme started, about 43,000 hectares have been developed of which 40,784 hectares are under irrigation, benefiting over 356,728 farming families. Government also rehabilitated smallholder irrigation schemes such as Nkhate in Chikhwawa; Muona in Nsanje;Limphasa in Nkhata Bay and Likangala in Zomba, covering a total of 1,797 hectares. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform this august House that Malawi is on course to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal on water and sanitation by 2015; the aspirations of the World Summit on Sustainable Development; aspirations enshrined in the Vision 2020 and our own Malawi Growth and Development Strategy targets on water and sanitation. In the 2010/2011 fiscal year, Government constructed 560 new boreholesbenefiting close to 140,000 new users; rehabilitated 220 boreholes accessed by 55,000 people; rehabilitated 912 water taps catering for 109,000 people; and completed rehabilitation of Chilobwe, Kalitsiro and Lizulu rural water schemes and Nkhamanga gravity-fed piped water supply schemes.
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9 Mr. Speaker, Sir, construction and rehabilitation of treatment works atMapelera, Livunzu, Mbadzi and Liphangwe under Chikhwawa East BankScheme; Lufilya in Karonga; Ntonda in Ntcheu; and Nkhamanga in Rumphi,are completed. On the development of small community earth dams, we are in the final stages of constructing Lichenza dam which will supply water to the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) and other surrounding communities in Thyolo District. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am happy to inform you that detailed designs of water supply schemes for Dedza, Chitipa and Chikhwawa were finalized, andconstruction will commence very shortly. With respect to urban water supply, close to 9,000 new connections were made in 2010/2011 financial year and over 7,000 stuck meters were replaced throughout the country. We also finalized construction of water works in Mzuzu and Likoma within the 2010/2011 financial year. Mr. Speaker, Sir, some of the programmes which Government has lined up for the 2011/2012 financial year include: improving urban and rural water supply and sanitation; strengthening hydrological monitoring programmes; management, protection and conservation of catchment areas; development of the Songwe River Basin; hydrological cycle observation; andimplementing the Green Belt Irrigation Initiative. EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will recall that last year, during the opening of the 2010/2011 Budget meeting, I lamented the inadequacy of universities andinstitutions of higher learning in the country. I, therefore, requested this
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10august House to support my decision to improve the human capacitydevelopment by establishing six new universities over the next ten years and institutions of higher learning as well as revisiting our education system. I am happy to report that, twelve months on, we have kept our promise and made great progress in this area despite several bottlenecks and skeptics in certain quarters of our society. Currently, restructuring of institutions such as Bunda College of Agriculture to become Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources is in progress while construction of the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo has been commissioned. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you are aware, the Malawi University of Science and Technology is being funded by the Government of the People’s Republic of China. They have decided to complete the work in twenty months. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government prioritized education, science and technologyto develop adequate national capacity for development. The main focus of the education sector is, therefore, to ensure improved equity, quality andrelevance of education as well as to expand institutions of higher learning to make more students access better education. During the 2010/2011 financial year, Government:-  commenced the processes of establishing six new universities, for instance, commissioning of the construction of the Malawi Universityof Science and Technology; amendment of the University of Malawi Act; and drafting of enabling Bills for the establishment of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources;  rehabilitated Soche, Nasawa, Salima and Lilongwe Technical Colleges;
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11 constructed 104 classrooms, 12 administration blocks, 28 teachers houses and furnished 382 classrooms;  commenced the upgrading of 18 Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS) by providing a laboratory, library and additional classrooms;  completed construction of Machinga Teachers Training College which has since begun admitting students; and  recruited 4,000 Open and Distance Learning Teachers and upgraded 400 Community Day Secondary School teachers to diploma level. In the 2011/2012 fiscal year, Government plans to construct 6 new Secondary Schools; upgrade 12 CDSS; construct additional classrooms, teachers houses and 5 teachers training colleges in Chiradzulu, Chikhwawa,Mchinji, Rumphi, and Phalombe. A Special Needs Institute will also be constructed in Lilongwe and a Malawi College of Accountancy campus in Mzuzu. TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE AND NSANJE WORLD INLAND PORTDEVELOPMENT Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government has demonstrated that a well developed transport network system is an indispensable condition for enhancing socio-economic growth and development. It is for this reason that Government has continued to invest heavily in the transport sector. As I have stated in the previous addresses, Government has been implementing the Road Sector Programme through which a number of major roads have been completed or are under construction across the country. The Programme will continue to make provision for the improvement of urban roads where traffic volumes have increased, as well as rural roadswhere the majority of our population resides.
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12Shire-Zambezi Waterway Project Mr. Speaker Sir, the Nsanje World Inland Port, which was inaugurated on 23rdOctober, 2010, is being implemented in phases. The first phase which included the construction of a 200-meter quay for berthing of two cargo vessels and one passenger vessel was completed. The next phase will belaunched in the coming financial year and will involve construction of port facilities, offices, warehouses and the development of the Nsanje urban plan. The partner states of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia will shortly undertake a detailed feasibility study of the Shire-Zambezi WaterwayProject. The African Development Bank has agreed to fund the study which is expected to commence as soon as resources have been mobilized. The study will take a period of 18 months to complete. Once fully operational, the Port will enhance socio-economic development of our country and the region.Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Shire-Zambezi Waterway Project is very important for the development of Malawi and Zambia and it will reduce the cost of transport for both countries. Government will, therefore, continue to workwith all partner states and multilateral institutions to make this project a greatsuccess. Let me, once again, urge the private sector to be fully involved in the development of both the port facilities and the Nsanje City.
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13Rail Transport Mr. Speaker, Sir, regarding rail transportation, I wish to report that under the Nacala Development Corridor, the Mchinji-Chipata Railway line wascompleted and inaugurated in Chipata, Zambia in August, 2010 by the three-member Governments of Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. This will greatly facilitate the movement of people and goods along the corridor. In the 2011/2012 financial year, our railway network will be rehabilitated andupgraded. Air TransportMr. Speaker, Sir, in the development of air transportation, Government completed phase I of the rehabilitation of Chileka International Airport which included construction of the perimeter security fence and the rehabilitation of the international arrival hall. In the 2011/2012 financial year, Government will embark on phase II which will include the reconstruction of the departure hall and duty free shops. We will also continue with the rehabilitation of Kamuzu International Airport runway and the School of Aviation. CLIMATE CHANGE, NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT Mr. Speaker, Sir, climate change, natural resources and environmental management are of serious concern to our government. In order to mitigate impacts of climate change, Government in 2010/2011 financial year, started implementing climate change projects that are aimedat enhancing community readiness and responses to climate change. New projects involve promoting sustainable land management and climate adaptation in rural livelihoods and agriculture. Government is also
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14developing a climate change investment plan and climate change policy which will guide investments in climate change development projects. With regard to environment, Government completed a number of Environmental Impact Assessments for various development projects with atotal investment cost of K2.6 billion. In addition, Government formulated guidelines for biodiversity management for sustainable use of biological resources. Atomic Energy Bill was drafted to provide safeguards and ensuring safety and protection from exposure to harmful radiation in development of minerals such as uranium, industrial manufacturing, agriculture research and medical treatment. In the 2011/2012 financial year, Government will continue with environmental education and awareness to the general public on climate change issues, ozone layer depletion, pollution control and biologicaldiversity.Mr. Speaker, Sir, forests are an integral part of the ecosystem and also a source of income for the country. To this end, Government implemented several projects aimed at preserving our forests. During the 2010/2011 financial year, Government rehabilitated 559 hectares of existing industrial forest plantations, planted over 51 million trees during the National Forestry Season and formed a multi-sectoral committee to ensure coordination and rehabilitation of degraded environment. In addition, Government collected K414 million in revenues from the sale of saw logs compared to K216 million in 2009/2010 financial year.
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15INTEGRATED RURAL DEVELOPMENT Mr. Speaker, Sir, integrated rural development is at the centre of poverty reduction in rural areas. Government is committed to improving the livelihoods of our rural people. The Rural Growth Centres Programme is one of the approaches that Government is pursuing in implementing the Integrated Rural Development Strategy. Government has embarked on the second phase of the Programme and construction has started at Chitekesa Rural Growth Centre in Phalombe. With respect to modern markets, I am pleased to inform this august House that in the 2010/2011 financial year, we completed construction of markets at Matawale in Zomba, Dwangwa in Nkhotakota and Ekwendeni in Mzimba. Construction work of Limbuli Market in Mulanje and Nkhamenya Market in Kasungu is in progress. Government also continued to improve the welfare of traditional leaders. In this regard, houses for Chief Mthiramanja in Mulanje, Senior Chief Makanjira in Mangochi, Chief Chimaliro in Thyolo and Chief Nkalo in Chiradzulu were completed and handed over. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in 2011/2012 fiscal year, Government will commence construction of Rural Growth Centres at Jenda in Mzimba, Malomo in Ntchisi, Mkanda in Mchinji and Chapananga in Chikhwawa. In addition, the construction of Lizulu, Tsangano and Nsanje markets will start.
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16PUBLIC HEALTH, SANITATION AND HIV/AIDS MANAGEMENTPublic Health Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2010/2011 financial year, Government made remarkable progress in the health sector and we achieved the following:-  scaled up malaria control activities which included Indoor Residual House Spraying in various districts, provision of insecticide treated mosquito nets and intermittent presumptive treatment for pregnant women; developed guidelines on the inspection of food and food premises;  constructed 2 health centres at Chisoka in Thyolo and Edingeni in Mzimba; and 250 staff houses countrywide;  rehabilitated 55 health facilities and 250 staff houses; and  refurbished six laboratories at Mwanza, Mangochi, Mchinji, Kasungu and Rumphi District Hospitals as well as at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2011/2012 fiscal year, Government intends to rehabilitate Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Kamuzu Central Hospital and refurbish Nsanje District Hospital and 7 laboratories throughout the country. Government will also construct new District Hospitals in Blantyre, Dowa, Phalombe and Chikhwawa. In order to ease referral of patients to medical facilities outside the country, Government will construct a state-of-the-art referral hospital in Zomba and a cancer centre in Lilongwe.
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17SanitationMr. Speaker, Sir, in the area of sanitation, Government obtained a grant of US$5 million from the Global Sanitation Fund Facility of the United Nations to support the implementation of the National Sanitation Policy from 2011 to2015. The initial phase will cover Rumphi, Nkhotakota, Ntchisi, Balaka, Phalombe and Chikhwawa districts. Government also developed policies on health care waste management and environmental health. As for the 2011/2012 financial year, Government has lined up programmesto ensure safe access to sanitation facilities. Management of HIV and AIDS Mr. Speaker, Sir, with respect to HIV and AIDS, Government’s commitment remains unwavering. Let me remind this august House that I boldly introduced the supply of free Anti Retroviral (ARV) drugs when hundreds of people were dying each day. In the 2010/2011 fiscal year, Government, with support from development partners, allocated close to K12 billion for the implementation of HIV and AIDS programmes. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I need not remind the august House that when I took over the leadership of our country in 2004, some of us used to attend funerals every day of the week. We have therefore come a long way in the management of HIV/AIDS. I am therefore pleased to inform this august House that according to the UNAIDS Report of 2011, new infections in young people in Malawi declined
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18by 25 percent between 2004 and 2010 and we are among the 9 countriesglobally with such an achievement. Furthermore, the transmission of HIV from mother to child declined from 23.1 percent to 12.8 percent between 2009 to 2011. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the number of Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) facilities in the country increased from 377 in the 2009/2010 fiscal year to 406 in the 2010/2011 fiscal year. Over 88,000 new clients were enrolled in the ART programme bringing the total number of people benefiting from the Programme to about 396,000 since its inception in 2004. About 80 percentof the recipients are still alive and continuing with treatment. I wish to assure the House that in the coming financial year, Government willintensify the delivery of HIV and AIDS services and commence the local production of ARVs. Nutrition Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have learned over the past six years that nutrition and balanced diet play a crucial role in the management of HIV/AIDS.Government is determined to eradicate malnutrition and defeat the HIV and AIDS pandemic. During the 2010/2011 fiscal year, the following notable achievements were made:- Over 300,000 adults and children attending Community-Based Child Care Centres received vita-meal across the country;  Over 90 percent of children aged between1and 5 years were de-wormed to prevent anaemia caused by worm infestation;  About 3.2 million pupils received micronutrient supplements in 5,300 schools; and
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19 Over 1 million school children in public schools were provided with meals under the School Feeding Programme. In the forthcoming financial year, Government will intensify nutrition service delivery and expand the School Feeding Programme to more public schools. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AND SPORTS Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is committed to ensuring that our youths actively participate in the socio-economic development of this country. To this effect, in the 2010/2011 financial year, we achieved the following under the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. First, we disbursed business loans to the tune of over K676 million, benefiting about 11,700 youths; second, we provided equipment worth K29.5 million to young entrepreneurs; and third, we trained close to 1,800 youth groups and 226 individuals in businessmanagement. Government also established youth networks at Traditional Authority and district levels in all the districts and commenced the construction of theNational Youth Development Centre in Neno. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2011/2012 financial year, Government will implementactivities including disbursement K1 billion to over 17,000 youths from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. It will also operationalize Neno National Youth Development Centre by farming 10 hectares of land, constructing dams for aquaculture, procuring animals for animal husbandryand planting fruit trees for horticulture.
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20ENERGY, MINING AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENTMr. Speaker, Sir, the importance of energy, mining and industrial development in socio-economic development cannot be overemphasised. Government, therefore, continues to focus on the development of these areas. Energy Development In the area of power generation, Government signed a K53 billion Compact with the Government of the United States of America through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to rehabilitate Nkula A power station, conduct major maintenance works on the distribution and transmission network, and construct 220KV power lines from Nkula to Golomoti. Government also signed a contract with China Gezhouba GCL for construction of phase II of Kapichira Hydropower Project which will add 64 megawatts to the electricity grid. Government is intensively exploring other forms of clean and renewable energy such as wind and solar energy. The estimated combined energyproduction in these areas is over 140 megawatts. In the area of fuel supply, Government recently formed the National OilCompany of Malawi which will facilitate the construction of strategic fuel storage facilities in the country. The main policy change in the area of fuel is to build up adequate oil reserves to stabilize our access to fuel supply.
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21Mr. Speaker, Sir, in order to maximise energy use, Government will distribute for free 2 million energy saver bulbs to households and small scaleentrepreneurs.Mining Development Mr. Speaker, Sir, mining development offers a new frontier of incomegeneration in our country. I am happy to report that Paladin (Africa) Limited from Australia, began full scale mining of uranium at Kayerekera. Thebenefits from uranium development to our country are beginning to be realized. Government also gazetted Radioactive Minerals and Petroleum and Gas Exploration and Production Regulations, and granted six licences for the exploration of petroleum and gas in Lake Malawi and Lower Shire. In the next financial year, Cement Products Malawi Limited is expected tocommence mining at Njereza in Mangochi. Government plans to facilitate the establishment of small-scale mining industries for lime production; glass making; and manufacturing of pencil, chalk and Plaster of Paris. Manufacturing Mr. Speaker, Sir, the establishment of viable manufacturing industries is the surest way of transforming our economy from predominantly importing and consuming to a producing and exporting country. This is also a sure way to move out of poverty. Therefore, Government continues to create afavourable environment for the manufacturing sector.
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22During the 2010/2011 financial year, Government facilitated the establishment of a plant to manufacture syringes under the “Buy Malawian Campaign”, as well as the setting up of Mtalimanja Sugar Company, a local firm which has a sugar plantation of 200 hectares for processing sugar at Chia Lagoon in Nkhotakota. Sugar production is scheduled to begin by the end of 2011. Government also revived the leather industry in Malawi with support of donors. A number of enterprises have already ventured into production, particularly shoe manufacturing. Other notable development in manufacturing included the production of Medium Density Fibre (MDF) boards from wood waste for the export market by Raiply Company. As a result, 200 direct jobs will be created. The Enviro Fuel and Chemicals Company also commenced production of bio-diesel in partnership with Axa Bus Company on a pilot basis. The Bio Energy Resources Limited will soon complete installation of a plant for processing jatropha into oil to be mixed with fossil diesel to produce bio-diesel. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am pleased to report that several manufacturing companies continue to expand their capacities including the Bakhresa Grain and Milling in Blantyre that increased its capacity for wheat processing and biscuits confectionery manufacturing. It also increased wheat production from 250 metric tons per day to 500 metric tons per day. At the same time,the Shayona Cement Corporation will expand its production line from the current 150 metric tons to 1000 metric tons per day with a capital injection of US$50 million. This will result in the creation of 200 additional jobs. The Arkay Plastics Company and Mapeto David Whitehead have also introduced new technological innovations that have resulted in improvement in the quality and quantities of their respective fields to increase our exports.
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23OTHER DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am pleased to say that behind the Malawi economicmiracle is public sector reform. These public sector reforms are aimed at addressing specific institutional, policy and legal frameworks to make the public service more efficient and effective. This is because for our Government, an efficient public service is a prerequisite for successful achievement of our national development agenda. During the 2010/2011 financial year, Government undertook, among others, the following reform activities: First, Government finalised the development of the Code of Ethics and Conduct for the Public Service. The Code of Ethics and Conduct sets out standards of correct behaviour expected of public servants. Second, Government commenced the process of rationalization of the very large number of non-productive statutorycorporations, through dissolution, merger or privatisation. For instance, the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre is being established as an incorporated company to take over the functions of Malawi Investment Promotion Agency(MIPA) and Malawi Export Promotion Council; and an amendment Bill to merge Lilongwe and Central Region Water Boards has been prepared. Third, we institutionalised a mandatory Public Service Administration Course for public servants as part of the public service capacity building programme. Fourth, Government instituted various expenditure control measures to ensure financial prudence in the utilization of Government resources. Fifth, we established an e-government coordinating Office to manage e-government activities throughout the Public Service as well as to ensure an
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24effective e-government institutional framework, and Government developed the Malawi Public Service Charter Programme and six public institutions developed their Service Charters. Mr. Speaker, Sir, currently, Government is developing a policy and legal framework for the proper management of parastatals. In the 2011/2012financial year, public service reforms will focus on strengthening themanagement of the Civil Service through appropriate training and formulation and implementation of an e-government policy. We will also introduce a funded and contributory pension scheme. We will continue strengthening budgeting and financial management processes, while at the same time we will review the recruitment and promotion processes in thepublic service to motivate performance. Finally, we will review the PublicService Act to reflect modern public service management fundamentals. TRADE AND PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT Mr. Speaker, Sir, an important aspect of Malawi’s economic paradigm is thegrowth of trade and private sector performance. Therefore, promotion of trade and development of the private sector in Malawi are vital to the attainment of the country’s policy of transforming from a predominantly importing and consuming to a predominantly producing and exporting economy.To this end, Government is implementing a number of programmes. For instance, in the 2010/2011 financial year, Government embarked on a buyer-seller linkages scheme that links small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to major agro-based industries, market outlets and other manufacturing companies. Linkages were facilitated in the fishing, confectionery and
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25brewery industries where inputs are being sourced from small-scale producers. Other initiatives to enhance SMEs include Business Growth Scheme that has assisted 185 businesses in cost-share grants worth K142 million and has provided advisory services to over 700 business firms. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is committed to safeguarding the interests of consumers. In this respect, a Consumer Protection Council is in the process of being established as a body to administer the Consumer Protection Act for a holistic consumer welfare enhancement. In addition, the CompetitionCommission facilitated take-overs and mergers that protect consumers fromunfair trading practices. In a bid to develop new markets, bilateral agreements with People’sRepublic of China, India and Brazil have been strengthened. For instance, Malawi’s exports with China increased by 400 percent to K5 billion between 2008 and 2010. Exports to India rose from K414 million to K1.8 billion duringthe same period. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government identified the following products in our agenda for export product diversification: macadamia nuts, groundnuts, garments, ethanol, honey, beans, chilli, handcrafts, pigeon peas, paprika, cassava,fruit, plastics, confectionery products, wheat flour, minerals, timber productsand hides and skins. The export destinations include China, India, the SADC, COMESA, the US under AGOA and EU Markets. In order to facilitate private sector development, business-related legal and regulatory reforms are underway. Out of 42 business-related laws identified for review, 32 have so far been reviewed and 7 bills have been enacted into law. As part of institutional reforms, the registration systems of the Registrar
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26General’s Department and Deeds Registry of the Ministry of Lands are undergoing computerisation to facilitate business and lands transactions, respectively. Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me reiterate that in order for the private sector to grow and perform efficiently, there is need to improve the security in our country. To that end, Government has adopted measures that will ensure four areas of security. First, the security of the investment; second, the security of the investor; third the security of the business premises; and fourth, the security of the investors’ homes. I believe that since 2004, the country has seen tremendous improvement in security in these areas. Government will continue to introduce innovations in the area of security for the private sector entrepreneurs.INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY Mr. Speaker, Sir, modern systems of governance by governments and the private sector depends on the availability of reliable information and communications technology. Therefore, Government continues to place priority on the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a key factor in the development of our economy. I am pleased to inform this august House that Malawi has made remarkablestrides in ICT sectors as evidenced by the implementation of e-Government, e-learning in tertiary education, e-medicine at College of Medicine, e-commerce and industry. Government also commenced the digitalization of official Government documents in order to preserve and protect all strategicGovernment records.
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27A remarkable innovation in the area of information and communicationstechnology is that Government plans to implement a “Connect a Constituency” Project to ensure that every constituency in Malawi hasaccess to modern ICT facilities. On telecommunication industry, Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am happy to report that during the 2010/2011 financial year, Government issued a license to a fourth mobile telecommunication operator by the name CELCOM Malawi Limited. In addition, Government introduced a coverage license regime which will allow operators in the industry to provide both fixed and mobile telephone services. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2011/2012 financial year, Government will continue to support the development of a high capacity digital backbone ring fibre network. In addition to the links between the major cities, work is underwayon the link from Mzuzu to Blantyre via lakeshore. Government also intends to implement activities aimed at improving the ICT sector. Among these is the development of the Malawi Digital Broadcasting Migration Strategy to conform with the SADC and InternationalTelecommunications Union (ITU) requirements. In addition, Government will issue more telecommunication licences in order to further increase competition in the ICT industry and improve service delivery. WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT Mr. Speaker, on the role of women in development, Government continues to make considerable progress towards the attainment of gender equality in this country. In this regard, Government is implementing programmes aimed at promoting gender equality, women’s rights and empowerment to ensure that they actively participate in the development agenda of our nation.
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28On record, this Government has placed more women to positions of highresponsibility than ever before. The greatest challenge concerning the role of women in development is to reduce significantly the maternal mortality in our country. I am glad that we are making good progress in this area and I am confident that we shall attain the MDG targets by 2015. Our efforts to promote gender equality and women empowerment arerecognized internationally. According to the Global Gender Gap Report of 2010, Malawi’s Gender Development Index out of 134 countries which were assessed in 2010, Malawi ranked number 68. This signifies that the countryis moving in the right direction towards the attainment of gender equality. CHILD DEVELOPMENT Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government has been implementing several initiatives aimed at developing and empowering our children to become responsible and productive citizens who will contribute towards the development of this country. At the top of the Government agenda is the need to ensure child health and reduce infant and child mortality. In this respect, during the 2010/2011 fiscal year, Government continued to facilitate the provision of Early Child Development (ECD) Services at community level by training over 11,000 caregivers and increasing the number of ECD centres which currently stands at 8,000 across the country. In the 2011/2012 financial year there are plans to upgrade some of theexisting ECD centres into model centres which will provide quality ECD services.
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29Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government is committed to protecting children against any form of abuse, including child labour and child trafficking. For thisreason, Government intensified community child protection by recruiting 300 community child protection workers across the country. Government will recruit more in the coming financial year. As you are aware, we now havethe Child Care, Protection and Justice Act, which will, among other things, help in bringing the perpetrators of child abuse to book.Government also supported over 9,000 orphans in different secondary schools across the country with school and examination fees. In the 2010/2011 financial year, Government continued to carry out programmes aimed at assisting orphans and other vulnerable children in this country. Among these was the provision of cash transfers which enabled the children to meet their basic needs. With the support of our development partners, we provided cash transfers to over 34,000 orphans. NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to national defence, Government has made progress in improving the capacity of the Malawi Defence Force. Government registered the following achievements in the 2010/2011 financial year:-  constructed an 800 capacity Transit Training Camp at the Malawi Armed Forces College (MAFCO) with financial assistance from the United States Government;  acquired modern high-tech training equipment and facilities to enhance the quality of training at MAFCO with support from the British Government; and
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30 established an engineering battalion which has since received engineering equipment worth MK 350 million from the Government ofthe People’s Republic of China. Staff Officers and Military Observers from the Malawi Defence Force remained in active duty in United Nations Missions’ in the Darfur, Northern Sudan; the Southern Sudan; the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)and Israel. This year, Government agreed to deploy a battalion comprising850 military personnel to Ivory Coast. Deployment started in April and is expected to be completed in June, 2011. In the 2011/2012 fiscal year, Government will rehabilitate the Malawi Armed Forces College (MAFCO) hospital in Salima and construct the road to Changalume Barracks. Construction of female soldier’s hostels, kitchen and dining facilities at Cobbe Barracks in Zomba will also commence. Government will also refurbish the Lilongwe Airbase and ensure improved water supply at the Airbase. Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me reaffirm my Government’s utmost dedication and commitment to ensure a safe and secure environment for all persons, their homes, their business premises and their investments in this country. Government has reaffirmed peace and security in our country. Streets are safer today than ever before. Government is working tirelessly to fight against all forms of crime including cross boarder crime in terms of humanand drug trafficking, theft, small arms proliferation, murder and corruption. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government will continue to strengthen existing partnerships with members of the general public and other stakeholders. We will also computerize the finger print system to enhance criminal
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31investigation and computerize immigration systems at all border posts to conform with international standards. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am sure this House will agree that due to systematic security measures, our streets in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu are now much safer. Our people, especially women and girls now walk on thesestreets in a much safer and protected environment than before. MyGovernment is determined to ensure the safety of all people in our streetsand markets. As an integral aspect of its security policy, Government has introduced a National Registration and Identification System for our country. The system will provide the most up-to-date demographic bio-data for effective and efficient identification, registration, socio-economic planning, security and management of targeted programmes. Government will soon start issuing national identity cards to eligible citizens. LABOUR RELATIONS Mr. Speaker, Sir, the labour market plays a key role towards economic growth and development. For this reason, Government maintains industrial peace and sound labour relations. During the 2010/2011 financial year, Government enacted the Employment Amendment Bill and Pension Bill. The legislations will address the challenges faced by employers and employees with regard to issues of severance allowance and pension. Government intensified inspection of workplaces on conditions of employment, minimum wages and child labour in order to enforce the minimum labour standards as required by our labour laws and the
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32International Labour Organisation. Government also settled 12,000 labour complaints and managed to claim and pay out K37 million to complainants. Government further processed 700 compensation cases for workers and managed to claim K98 million which was paid either to the victims or dependants of the victims. In the 2011/2012 financial year, Government will develop a National Programme on Occupational Safety and Health to ensure continuous improvement of working conditions of our working population. HUMAN RIGHTS, RULE OF LAW AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE Mr. Speaker, Sir, Malawi’s record on human rights and good governance has been outstanding. Government can still boast that since 2004, there are no political prisoners in Malawi jails. Furthermore, despite unwarranted provocations, Government has exercised maximum constraints and has allowed some media houses unprecedented freedom of expression. With regard to safeguarding minority rights, the House is reminded that during the past year, although our customs, our religious beliefs and our laws were violated, Government pardoned the gay couple that had been convicted and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. Similarly, those charged with sedition were also pardoned. I wish to reiterate that my Government considers good governance as essential for economic growth and sustainable development. During the 2010/2011 financial year, Government prepared 31 Bills, 29 of which were passed by this august House. It also finalized publication of the revised edition of the Laws of Malawi, which is also available in electronic form. This
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33will make it easier for practitioners and the public to access the Laws of Malawi.Government continued its efforts to increase access to justice by ordinary people throughout the country. I am pleased to report that we opened theRegistrar General’s Office in Mzuzu so that people in the Northern Region are well catered for. In addition, the Department of Administrator Generalcommenced disbursing funds from the Lilongwe Office to beneficiaries of deceased estates who previously had to travel to Blantyre to access their benefits. I am happy to report that in November, 2010, Malawi was positively reviewedby the United Nations Human Rights Council under the Universal Periodic Review process.LANDS, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENTMr. Speaker, Sir, the issue of access to land and housing by ordinaryMalawians poses a big challenge in our quest for social justice. However,Government has made significant strides in addressing issues of access to land, physical development planning and management, and housing infrastructure development. In the 2010/2011 fiscal year, 826 residential plots were serviced and allocated in Lilongwe and Mzuzu. Government prepared a number of layout plans, base maps and land use maps for a number of centres such as Rumphi Boma, Lizulu, Mchinji Border, Namwera, Ulongwe, Thondwe, Usisya, Malomo, Chitekesa and Areas 26 and 46 in Lilongwe City.
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34In addition, Government started construction of a 5 storey office block atCapital Hill in December, 2010, to ease pressure on office accommodation. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2012. In the 2011/2012 financial year, Government, through the Malawi Housing Corporation, plans to construct 4200 houses, service 5800 plots at Area 49 in Lilongwe, BCA Hill in Blantyre, Lupaso and Mzirawaingwe in Mzuzu, and Old Naisi in Zomba. We will also build 17 hostels for University students and rehabilitate 6,627 houses. TOURISM, WILDLIFE AND CULTURE Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the area of tourism, wildlife management and culture, there is need for our country to move from traditional approaches to a more aggressive stance. We need to explore new areas of tourist attractions such as mountain tourism for instance. We need to make our beaches along the lakes more attractive. Our research shows that the tourism industry has ahuge economic potential. Government is therefore committed to developing the sector by providing a more conducive environment in order to attract more tourists. Government introduced the star grading exercise to improve service deliveryof the hospitality industry and ensure value-for-money accommodation. I wish to report that as of now 14 properties have been graded and the highest level achieved has been a four star rating. With regard to culture, Government facilitated the organizing of functionsaimed at preserving culture such as Umuthetho for Ngonis, Mulhako waAlhomwe for the Lomwes and Kulamba for the Chewa people.
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35Mr. Speaker, Sir, Government has rehabilitated the Independence Arch. Rehabilitation work is further going on at Nkhata Bay Martyrs Memorials and Chongoni World Heritage Site. DISASTER MANAGEMENT Mr. Speaker, Sir, the country experienced major flooding in Karonga, Salimaand Nkhotakota and a total of 11,614 households were affected. Government provided relief items to all affected households. Governmentcontinued to implement recovery and rehabilitation projects for the 2009 Karonga earthquakes victims.Several interventions were made to control floods, including river bankstabilisation, river excavation and dredging, and construction of dykes in Zomba, Chikhwawa and Nsanje districts to reduce the incidents and impactof flooding in flood-prone areas. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the 2011/2012 fiscal year, Government will continue to implement disaster preparedness activities and ensure that affectedhouseholds are assisted and empowered to become resilient. DISABILITY AND THE ELDERLY Mr. Speaker Sir, Government recognizes that people with disabilities and the elderly are important stakeholders in the economic growth and development of our country. During 2010/2011 financial year, Government instituted a 5-year capacitybuilding project for special needs education centres and vocational traininginstitutions. We also extended the Social Cash Transfer Programme to persons with disabilities in Phalombe, Machinga, Mangochi, Mchinji, Salima, Likoma and Chitipa Districts.
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36Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to the elderly, Government provided start-up capital for small-scale businesses to 210 elderly persons throughout the country and assisted institutions that look after elderly persons with food and non-food items. In the coming financial year, Government plans to continue the rehabilitation of special needs education centres so that more persons with disabilities areaccommodated. Government will also extend the Community-Based Rehabilitation Project for the elderly to Rumphi and Ntcheu Districts. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am pleased to report to this august House that Malawi’srelations with the rest of the world have improved significantly during the past year. For the first time in our history, Malawi rose to the mantle ofcontinental leadership during the year 2010 through which we made a lot of contribution to developments within Africa. This august House will be pleased to know that during the period of Malawi’sAfrican Union Chairmanship, our country was put on the continental and world maps as we steered various development activities on the continent. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as Chairperson of the African Union, I advanced the needfor Africa to become a food-secure continent through the introduction of the African Food Basket concept. During my Chairmanship, Africa’s voice was heard at the G8 and G20 groupings. At both the Muskoka Initiative which was in support of MDG4 and MDG5 and the Seoul Action Plan for consolidation of macroeconomic and fiscal policies, I highlighted the need for the G8 and the G20 groupings to take into account the financial needs of
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37Africa and other developing nations as part of its efforts to implement the global development agenda. Mr. Speaker, Sir, let me now turn to international relations. I am pleased to inform this august House that our relations with other countries continue to grow for the mutual benefit of our peoples. During the 2010/2011fiscal year, Malawireceived nine (9) Ambassadors/High Commissioners from the People’s Republic of China, Arab Republic of Egypt, Japan, Kingdom of Norway, Republic of Kenya, Canada, Commonwealth of Australia, Republic of Burkina Faso and IslamicRepublic of Pakistan. More Ambassadors/High Commissioners will present their credentials in the coming four weeks. Mr. Speaker, Sir, Malawi continued to contribute positively to the regional and international initiatives aimed at maintaining international peace and security in the world. As AU Chairperson, I travelled to conflict strickencountries of Cote d’ Ivoire and The Sudan to assist make peace happen. I also represented the African Union at the United Nations General Assembly. In addition, during the past year, I made state visits to six countries to strengthen our ties for the benefit of our country. The countries included India, Germany, Cuba, Islamic Republic of Iran, Zambia and Botswana where agreements on several social and economic programmes were concluded. Malawi also received the Heads of State of Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Botswana for various functions and Prime Ministers of Rwanda and Mozambique.
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38Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am delighted to inform the House that Malawi opened our first Embassy in Latin America in Brasilia, Brazil. In order to improve our representation abroad, Government is continuing with its program to construct Chanceries for our Embassies abroad. The new Chanceries in London and Washington DC have been completed and the construction of a Chancery in Lusaka, Zambia, is underway. Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to Malawi’s bilateral relations with the United Kingdom, I wish to assure this august House that both Malawi and Britain are committed to strengthen such relations in all aspects. To that end, genuine dialogue and consultations have been initiated and I am confident that a new modus operandi will be agreed to the mutual regard of our sharedcommon vision and interests. CONCLUSION Mr. Speaker, Sir, in conclusion, I wish to state that the past year has been a very successful period for our country. In the year 2010 our country hascontinued to register unprecedented socio-economic growth. The positive achievements speak for themselves. The fruits of our country’s development can clearly be seen and validated by every true Malawian who has the interest of this nation at heart. Ours is a promise delivered. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to remind every Malawian that it is the duty of everyone to develop our country. Let us therefore not spend our energytearing each other down. Instead, let us all offer ourselves unreservedly to build Malawi our motherland.
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39I would like to reiterate my own and Government’s commitments to continue with our development efforts and to ensure that as a nation, Malawiaccelerates the pace of growth and development for the good of all people. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I take this opportunity on behalf of all Malawians and indeed on my own behalf, to convey our gratitude to all development partners for their continued support in various development programs that we are implementing. We have truly benefitted from donor support. We pray that this support continues. I also thank the Public Service for the role it plays in the implementation of Government programmes. I equally thank those in the private sector, the Non-Governmental Organizations, the Civil Society Organizations, religious leaders, and traditional leaders that work closely with Government in developing our country.

State President, Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika
I also commend the Leader of the Opposition and Opposition Members of Parliament that work with Government to ensure that our country decisively moves from poverty to prosperity. It is my belief that as we go into the coming financial year, we will all continue to work together for a better Malawi. Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is now my singular honour to declare the 2011/2012 Budget Meeting of Parliament, officially opened.
God Bless you all.
God Bless Malawi.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.