Saturday, June 30, 2012

From The Mouth of President Joyce Banda at the National Dialogue on The Economy Conference in Mangochi











Your Excellency the Chief Justice Richard Banda, SC (Retired)

Right Honourable Khumbo Kachali, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi and Minister of Health,

Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers present,

Mr. Jonathan Oppenheimer, Founder and Chairman of Brenthurst Foundation,

Chief Secretary to the Government, Mr. Bright Msaka, SC.,

Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Members of the Diplomatic corps,

Hon. Henry Chibwana, Secretary General of the People’s Party,

Hon. J.Z.U. Tembo, Leader of Opposition in Parliament and President of the Malawi Congress Party,

Honourable Members of Parliament,

Heads of Parastatal Organisations,

Chief Executives of Companies,

International Experts and all panelists,

Distinguished Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I stand before you, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this afternoon to preside over the conference on the National Dialogue on the Economy here at Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi a tourist district in the Warm Heart of Africa.

Malawi is at a critical transition. The country has suffered greatly from poor decisions over the past few years.

Of course, we, as a country bear the responsibility for the consequences of those decisions. It is up to us to make the decisions necessary to change our course.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

You may recall that in my State of the Nation Address delivered during the state opening of the 2012/2013 national budget, I highlighted challenges our country was facing.

When I took over office of State President on 7th April 2012, there was poor political and economic governance, the economy of this country was on the verge of collapse; shortage of fuel and foreign exchange were the order of the day. There was acute shortage of drugs in hospitals; manufacturing capacity of many industries went down; many businesses scaled or closed down thereby shedding off a lot of jobs.

For example, Unilever sent most of its staff on leave due to some of these challenges.

I would like to underscore that these challenges inevitably eroded the gains that the country had achieved over the past years. Therefore, my government prioritized to reverse this trend as a matter of urgency. In this regard, Government has put in place tangible measures to address these challenges in the immediate, medium and long term. So far, the main goals of my administration have been:

Firstly, to launch an economic recovery plan. In the short term, some of the measures under this goal include the devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha, normalization of bilateral relations with our cooperating and development partners, and repealing of punitive laws that have retarded political and social economic development of our country.

Although I promised Malawians that our efforts will start bearing fruit after a year, I am pleased to report that, with God’s grace some of these measures have already started yielding the desired results. The traditional relationship between the United Kingdom and Malawi has been restored. Closer home, we have renewed our relationships with our neighbors including Mozambique.

On 19th June, 2012, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wrote a Letter of Comfort to our development and cooperating partners requesting them to start disbursing resources that were withheld because of the suspension of the programme.

Furthermore, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, on 22nd June, 2012, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board approved the Malawi Compact programme that was suspended due to the country’s poor governance record. These, undeniably, demonstrate the trust and confidence that our development and cooperating partners have in my Government.

The second goal is to eradicate poverty. This includes enhancement of opportunities, reducing inequality, and wealth and job creation. I am aware that the measures that we have taken to reinvigorate the economy are hard and may have a negative impact on the poor. In this regard, starting from July, 2012, Government will implement the labour intensive public works, school meals and cash transfer programmes, mostly in those vulnerable communities that did not harvest enough food this year. It is my expectation that the conference, through the vast expertise and experience in this gathering, will assist in suggesting to government other sustainable and practical social protection programmes that can prevent Malawians from falling into poverty.

The third goal is to restore political governance, respect for freedoms and rule of law as we recognize the strong link between democratization and economic growth; and finally:

A fourth goal is to implement a peoples’ Development Agenda by restructuring the economy. Here the focus is macro-economic stabilization, Private sector promotion, public sector reform, and infrastructure development.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Here at home, I have conducted consultations with business, traditional leaders, civil society organisations, development partners and public servants. I have also taken foreign visits to some African countries: South Africa, Mozambique, Liberia and Nigeria, and to the United Kingdom in Europe and to United States of America. There have been interesting lessons and experiences from these visits.

One of the most important lessons is that most governments are ready and willing to support our efforts to improve our situation. Secondly, there is an overwhelming interest by private and public companies to come and invest in Malawi. Thirdly, there is such a rich community of Malawian diaspora in Africa, Europe and the United States of America that are keen and willing to support the development efforts of their Government. The Malawian diaspora could provide a significant source of foreign exchange, transfer of skills, technology and capital. Their networks abroad could be very strategic for our growth agenda.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I am pleased to report that Parliament on Wednesday, 27th June, 2012, approved the 2012/2013 national budget to allow government business to proceed.

With all this, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to our development and cooperating partners for the support that they have so far rendered to us. I also wish to thank the people of Malawi for their understanding and giving my government a chance to institute tough but necessary measures that are aimed at turning around the economy for the benefit of our country.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

The question I ask myself is how do we quickly garner this goodwill into a force of growth in my country? I then realize that the first objective we confront in this regard is that we must ourselves take the responsibility to answer the question: how do we achieve our objectives?

Allow me to proceed to say that our vision is very clear: to eradicate poverty through economic growth and wealth creation. To realize this, we have set for ourselves a value system of integrity, honesty, tolerance, selflessness and stewardship whilst embracing three cornerstones of Unity, Equity and Development.

As a Government, we desire to see Malawians enjoy their freedom, dignity and sense of pride; and maximize their capacity to realize their social, political and economic empowerment.

Government has thus developed strategies to realize this vision. As discussed above, we have:

1. Established an Economic Recovery Programme to deal with current challenges of political and economic governance by:

Creating sustainable and progressive monetary and fiscal policies to stabilize the economy

Introduced austerity measures to cut on waste and promote prudent fiscal management programme.

2. Developed a fresh, more diversified and productive economic model which will re-instate traditional drivers of growth that can generate foreign exchange. Government has decided to promote a private sector-led economic growth with the following priority areas:

Diversified commercial agriculture with irrigation programmes




Infrastructure Development including ICT, Rail, Roads and Airline.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

You may recall that in the State of the Nation Address, I also mentioned that Malawi must identify, “Development tablets” to guide our development agenda regardless of which government is in power. If I may repeat, these “tablets” include:

1) Creating an enabling environment for business by reviewing the rules and regulations for doing business if we have to become competitive and attract investment. This demands a comprehensive audit and review of procedures in doing business, including review of tax and tariffs regimes.

2) Restructuring the energy sector. This is another important area that we need to focus on as a country to ensure that there is adequate electricity to drive the economy.

At the current level of electricity generation, distribution and supply, production and investment output is grossly affected and cannot achieve its full potential. However, with the approval of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact, I have all the confidence that this programme will assist Government restructure the sector and come up with projects that will increase power generation, improve efficiencies and allow other players and investors into the sector through Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Government has also re-opened negotiations with the World Bank and the Mozambican Government on the interconnection to the Mozambique Power Grid which would provide a mid-term solution to our power challenges.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you may have observed, the long queues for fuel have disappeared. Government is working on a long lasting formula that will ensure sustainable availability of fuel in the country. I am pleased to report that Cabinet has approved the automatic energy price adjustor based on market forces, which will assist government, through Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA), to come up with realistic prices for energy such as fuel and electricity. Government will no longer subsidize energy products and this measure will ensure that fuel and electricity are sustainably made available to Malawians on a cost recovery basis.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

3) Another development “tablet” that my government has put in place is to boost industrial production, which has generally slumped mainly due to shortages of foreign exchange and inadequate electricity. I expect improvements in this sector as a result of the improved situation on foreign exchange and the conclusion of the agreement with the MCC compact.

4) Government has decided to review agricultural product market and pricing policy to allow increased productivity while at the same time stimulating wealth creation through value addition and crop diversification.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

5) Boosting exports is another important development opportunity that we need to seriously promote. My administration is committed to promotion of high value crops from this year. In this respect, we have identified rice, groundnuts, pigeon peas, sweet peas and sunflower as the key non-traditional crops that government will focus on for the export market.

Government will develop an export policy and strategy to guide the growth of our export base. Currently Government is in the process of developing an Export Investment Strategy for Malawi.

6) Concerning the tobacco industry, government attaches special attention to boost the industry by restructuring the legal instruments, production and marketing aspects of the crop. You may recall that last year, tobacco prices slumped and our farmers did not benefit from that crop season. However, this year, the prices have tremendously improved to the benefit of our farmers and the economy. Government will further review the policy regime and ensure policy coherence within the agriculture sector to align with crop diversification programme.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

In building the medium to long term economic programme, last month I invited Brenthurst Foundation, a policy think tank organization based in South Africa to consult with business, development partners, civil society organisations and the Cabinet on the challenges we are facing and inform Government on some of the strategies on moving forward. Brenthurst Foundation has provided similar support to Governments in Africa including Mozambique and Rwanda. They also hold periodic camp meetings on post-conflict economic recovery programmes. They have extensively written policy papers on various issues across the world. A must-read book authored by Dr Greg Mills is Why Africa is poor. I would recommend all of you to read it. The book throws some light on how Africa can improve itself.

When I received the report of their first consultative meeting, I decided to convene this conference this weekend where we are expected to build on the achievements highlighted above and link these to our medium and long term programme.

In this regard, this conference will seek to:

1) Re-establish and propose solutions to the current problems facing our economy;

2) Work out strategies that will realize opportunities for Malawi;

3) Identify and re-instate the traditional drivers of growth, and

4) Establish a fresh, more diversified and productive economic model.

I want to acknowledge and thank Mr Jonathan Oppenheimer, a friend of Malawi, who offered to finance this process and support future activities of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Economy for the coming two years. I will announce the composition of the committee when closing this symposium on Sunday. Thank you Jonathan!

I also wish to thank our local private sector partners who have supported this conference. These are: TNM, CDH Bank, Airtel Malawi and Standard Bank.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

In order to realize these grand objectives, our public service will need to reform. We cannot continue with business as usual. We need to find ways to motivate our public service enhance efficient service delivery and vigilantly implement the decentralization programme so that our people on the ground can participate in developing themselves.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

In view of the need to transform and turn around the economy, this conference has been convened to solicit views from a wide spectrum of our society so that through the discussions concrete decisions necessary for drawing up a road map for economic growth and prosperity for Malawi can be arrived at. Government, therefore, expects the conference to come up with an Economic Road Map for the medium and long term.

I want to leave with you five questions to consider as you deliberate during this Conference. These are:

1) How can we re-envision Malawi to be the best small country in the world to do business in?

2) How can we re-establish our economic reputation, that is, the role Malawian culture can play in opening doors in new markets and the need to consider a strong support for initiating the Cultural Ambassador model with the appointment of sporting, business and food ambassadors? The establishment of a strategic communications unit in the Government should be a priority.

3) How can we re-engage with the emerging markets, that is, highlighting the importance of a “structured mobilisation” of the diaspora which could be effective in areas such as mentoring, offering placements and internships, developing an investment vehicle through which the diaspora could provide seed funding for Malawian business; and in communicating positive messages?

4) How can we re-energise our country, that is, identifying the need for a programme for mentoring winning managers? Malawi should focus on increasing its exports not just for products and services, but also its systems and processes in areas where Malawi has particular expertise such as in the agricultural products, Banking and Insurance.

5) How can we reform Malawi? This could be the foundation of the previous four pillars encompassing a range of reform initiatives the Government could consider to enhance business and job creation opportunities.

These are important questions and need answers.

Let me underline that this conference must not concentrate on theoretical solutions; but it must focus on practical and realistic home-grown plans that are tailor-made for Malawi. These solutions should be workable and have a long-lasting and sustainable impact on Malawians.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

This conference must also touch on issues regarding beneficiation in investment. I am looking at how investments such as mining can benefit Malawians through the provision of vital social and economic services and infrastructure like schools, hospitals and roads. I am aware that this is happening elsewhere in other countries and so I am asking: why not in Malawi? In this regard, contract negotiation skills have to be enhanced in the country. I expect the newly-established Contracting Unit in my office to assist government to effectively negotiate contracts to the benefit of Malawians.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

You may have noted that we have invited international experts and guest speakers in this conference. The international experts are here to facilitate the conference and share with us their vast experience and best practices which can firm up our plans. However, I expect Malawians in this conference to assume ownership and take a lead in the discussions and drafting of the economic road map.

As we may be aware, the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) is the country’s national medium term development strategy whose ultimate aim is to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth and infrastructure development. Therefore, the MGDS will form the benchmark of our discussions in this conference.

At this juncture, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to wish you fruitful discussions and request the conference to think outside the box.

Finally, I would like to thank all those that have contributed immensely to the organization of this conference both financially and technically. These include the international specialists and local panelists. Let me recognize Dr. Greg Mills and his team, the Chief Secretary to the Malawi Government and his office; and my staff at State House for making this event a success.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

It is now my singular honour to declare this conference on the National Dialogue on the Economy officially opened.

I thank you all for your attention. God bless you and God Bless Malawi.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Of State House Press Officers and Press Officers to the President

The first State House Press Officer in Malawi- not only democratic Malawi, officially born in 1994- was Alaudin Osman.The second was Dr.Ken Lipenga, though he served briefly, and was followed by Willie Zingani and Chinduti Chirwa- who were working jointly. All these served under former president, Bakili Muluzi's regime. Then came president Bingu wa Mutharika, who started with the able hands of former broadcaster,Prescot Gonani. After Gonani came Agnes Mizere, who acted as the Public Relations Officer for President Bingu wa Mutharika. Then came Chikumbutso Mtumodzi. The last Press Officer in Mutharika regime, before the visionary leader breathed his last on April 5, 2012, was yet another broadcaster, Albert Mungomo. President Joyce Banda has come with her own team. The Secretary to the President is experienced journalist Steven Nhlane. Then, there are Press Officers to the President. These include former Capital FM's 'News Talk' host Brian Banda, former Sky News editor Tusekere Mwanyongo, and Ruth Govati. But debate rages on: What is the difference between State House Press Officer, Public Relations Officer to the President, and Press Secretary to the President?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Amnesty International Remembers Maher Arar

Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen and father of two, was travelling home to Canada from visiting his wife’s family in Tunisia in 2002.
While changing planes at New York City’s JFK airport, he was detained and held for 12 days by U.S. authorities. He was then transferred secretly, via Jordan, to Syria, where he was held for a year and tortured. He was released without charge and allowed to return home to Canada.
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Following a judicial inquiry the Canadian government recognized the role Canadian officials played in his ordeal, and gave him compensation and a formal apology. They concluded that investigations by Canadian authorities had not in fact found “any information that could implicate Mr. Arar in terrorist activities”.

In contrast, the USA refused to cooperate with the Canadian inquiry and, although a small number of members of Congress apologized to Maher Arar via a video in 2007, Obama the U.S. President and full Congress have failed to apologize, offer him any form of remedy or remove him from the USA Watch list restricting his travel.

Maher Arar feels strongly, that having his name removed from this list would be an important part of restoring his reputation.

Before We Forget: MISA meets President Joyce Banda, pushes for Access to Information law

The Media Institute of Southern Africa on Monday, 25 June 2012 met Malawi President, Her Excellency, Mrs. Joyce Banda at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city. The meeting was also attended by the Media Council of Malawi and selected media managers in the country.

President Banda was congratulated for the key decision she took to repeal Section 46 of the Penal Code, a piece of legislation that previously allowed a cabinet minister to ban any publication deemed not in the public interest. Another positive development that was noted is the removal of value-added tax (VAT) on newsprint.

However, the meeting also drew the president’s attention to several other key issues that are relevant to how the media in Malawi can function more effectively in the nascent democracy. These include the passing of an access to information law, a draft bill of which has been under consideration for the past eight years; the removal of customs duty on broadcasting equipment; broadcast reforms at state broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC); re-constitution of the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) board; and improvement of the conditions under which media conferences are held.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting at Sanjika Palace, MISA Regional Director, Zoe Titus, said the delegation was very pleased with the engagement with President Banda and was optimistic about the future of media freedom and freedom of expression in Malawi. “We got the impression that President Banda is very open to pushing an agenda for media reform,” said Titus.

At the same press conference, chairperson of the Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Malawi), Anthony Kasunda said they had received several assurances from the president, a positive development given the country’s recent history. One such assurance, Kasunda said, was that journalists would be able to choose the conditions under which the President would hold media conferences. Previously, journalists have been intimidated and heckled for asking “the wrong questions” at presidential media conferences.

MISA wishes to thank President Banda for her expression of sincerity towards the need for a free and independent media in a democracy and also in fostering a consolidated development agenda in Malawi. We believe that this is a great first step and we encourage the President to follow through the assurances she has given.

MISA will continue to engage all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure that the media in Malawi, and the rest of the southern Africa region, are free.

However, in the absence of clearly-defined and progressive legislation such as an access to information law, development in Malawi will be long in coming and democracy will be perpetually under threat from a political class that is afraid of scrutiny and intent on keeping the citizenry – the actual beneficiaries of promotion of access to information – in the dark.

MISA will continue to engage all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure that the media in Malawi, and the rest of the southern Africa region, are free.


Zoe Titus, MISA Regional Director

Anthony Kasunda, MISA-Malawi Chairperson

Airtel Announce Partnership with Arsenal Football Club

...Content rights in five countries, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda
...Pan African Telco becomes Official Mobile Network Operator in five countries

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 28, 2012/ -- Arsenal Football Club and African mobile network operator Airtel ( have today signed a three-year partnership agreement. The deal provides Airtel with the opportunity to utilise the Club’s merchandising, hospitality and content rights in five countries, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda.


The agreement will help the north London side reach some of its 42million fans across the continent. Airtel customers in Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda will have the opportunity to win match tickets to watch this summer’s pre-season tour fixture and receive exclusive Club content and news direct to handsets. In addition to the agreement, Airtel will be designated as the official mobile operator of the 2012 Arsenal Tour to Nigeria.

Arsenal will also support the Airtel Rising Stars football program, an annual, multi-country grassroots soccer initiative that offers young boys and girls the opportunity to play compete and showcase their talent to selectors in their respective countries. The selected youngsters get an opportunity to get the best-in-class sports training during a residential clinic organized by Airtel and her partners. The Gunners will provide UEFA-trained coaches to assist with training in each of the five markets and at an Arsenal Coaching Clinic for up to 50 footballers.

Airtel Africa Chief Marketing Officer, Andre Beyers commented: “Football fans across Africa are known for their passion of the great game. Arsenal’s exciting style of play and a history of working with the best talent from Africa will enrich this partnership and offer a wealth of opportunities for upcoming players and fans. The partnership provides an impetus to the Airtel Rising Stars in some of the countries that have produced amazing young talent and whose youth teams have gone on to win FIFA Youth and Olympic tournaments.’’

Arsenal’s Head of Global Partnerships Vinai Venkatesham added: “I am delighted to welcome Airtel into our family of Commercial Partners. This is the second long-term partnership arrangement to arise from the continent and we look forward to developing a number of exciting initiatives with Airtel, starting with our forthcoming tour to Nigeria in August. This underlines the depth of our following in Africa and how the profile of the Club continues to grow internationally.”

It is the Club’s second pre-season tour to Africa, having played a fixture in South Africa in 1993. The 2012 visit will feature a game between the Arsenal first-team and the Nigerian National Team the Super Eagles on Saturday 5th August. Airtel is in the process of finalising arrangements that will give selected consumers a chance to watch the match and interact with the team in Abuja. The details of the promotion will be announced soon.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Bharti Airtel Limited.

About Arsenal FC

Arsenal is one of the leading clubs in world football with a strong heritage of success, progressive thinking and financial stability.
Arsenal Football Club was founded in 1886 in Woolwich, south London, before moving to Highbury in north London in 1913.
The Club celebrated its 125th anniversary in the 2011/2012 season, with an impressive roll of honour: English League Champions 13 times, FA Cup winners 10 times, League Cup winners twice and European Cup Winners’ Cup (1994) and European Fairs Cup (1970) winners once. In addition, Arsenal Ladies are the most successful English club in women's football.

Arsenal’s Manager since 1996 has been Frenchman Arsène Wenger. Wenger is Arsenal Football Club’s most successful manager and his honours include three League titles, four FA Cups and four Charity/Community Shields, including two League and Cup ‘doubles’ in 1998 and 2002. In addition, Arsenal went unbeaten for the entire 2003/04 Premier League season, an unprecedented achievement in English football.

In 2006 Arsenal embarked on a new chapter in its history with a move from its home of 93 years, Highbury Stadium, to the new state-of-the-art 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium.
For further information about Arsenal Football Club, please visit <> .

About Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel Limited ( is a leading integrated telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 5 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company's product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G services, fixed line, high speed broadband through DSL, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In Africa, the Airtel brand is present in both Francophone and Anglophone markets spanning Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. In these countries, it offers 2G, 3G mobile services. Bharti Airtel had over 255 million customers across its operations at the end of May 2012. To know more please visit,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Commercial Sex Work in Malawi: Playing Neighbour to a Commercial Sex Worker

It has been enlightening, playing neighbour to a Commercial Sex Worker (CSW).
The adventurous CSW joined us on the compound (made up of six conjoined houses) six months ago. Before that, tenants could come and, within six months, live the place- ostensibly to look for a 'better' accommodation place in town.
Then, six months ago, came this CSW from Mulanje in Southern Malawi.
Not that she came all the way from the land of Mulanje Mountain and its world-acclaimed cedars; she has relatives in the township that has become my abode.
Sometimes, when the blood-is-thicker-than-water is on them, they pay their 'nocturnal' relative a visit.

The origins of her three children  
The CSW in question has sired three children, two boys and one girl.
"Look, I used to be faithful at some point in time. I had a husband. 
"However, being my cousin as well, we could spend more time quarreling than making peace or attending to family issues.
"In fact, we could part ways and reunite, part ways and reunite. Until I could not take it any more. But all my three children are his. It is true; these children are his own blood. I did not sleep with any other man apart from him," the CSW once told our landlady.
Like the rest of us, the landlady was curious, and wanted to know our CSW's story.

Taking care of three children
The CSW has her own way of raising the kids.
Of course, the two daughters are 'beyond' kids: One is 15-years-old and the other 12-years-old.
But the boy is only four-years-old. Meaning that it has not been a long time of separation between the CSW and her cousin-husband.
In the morning, she often complains to the landlady: "Boy-children are three people in one. I think that is why my son is tougher than the girls ever were. He refuses to wake up when told to do so in the morning. When she does, she goes to the bathroom to wash himself while crying all the way...he also demands K200 daily as his primary school package. He also takes a long time in the bath...
You would think this is a catalog of complaints against a toddler of age-four.
She sees nothing like that; the CSW.
"A boy-child is capital. A boy-child is both a son, father, husband, and everything. That's why he is tough, perhaps," she soon peddles into the green ground of praise for her 'troublesome' son.
That is the beauty of motherhood, so it seems.
But the way she takes care of the boy is different from the way she looks after the girls.
In fact, one of the girls (the youngest) often complains that the mother overloads her with work, and that the older one almost relaxes and she touches very few things by way of house chores.
That raises a question; Are the mother's claims that the three children are products of one father true?
Why treat them differently.

The CSW's daily (is it nightly?) routine
Here is how the day of my CSW friend goes on a typical day.
We will start with night time.
By 6 p.m., she tells one of her daughters to boil some water for her.
Then, after 30 minutes, she heads for the bathroom- to wash the day's sins away.
Then, after some 45 minutes (it is always 45 minutes, and never less), she comes back, carrying her yellow bathing towel over her shoulder. 
It takes her another 45 minutes to get ready for the long night. Forget about lunch; she eats her night portion of Nsima (she loves Nsima and beans) by 5 o'clock daily. And, against doctors' advice, she goes to bathe instead of bathing first, and eating thereafter.
Often, at least during the six months she has been there, she goes to work earlier. Her departure time does not exceed 10:00 a.m.
The, she is gone.
The place that has become her business place is just 200 metres away, a trading centre known for its wide range of women and variety of sizzling drinks.
The most surprising thing is that she does not stay at her business 'place' for more than four hours. She always heads for home before 3 o'clock a.m.
I don't know whether she always gets customers. The clearest thing is that she is a woman of routine.

 Abstinence for a CSW's children
In deed, my interest in the CSW was rekindled by this sub-topic. 
With two sexually active daughters, how does the CSW live an exemplary life, and be the right role model for her kids?
That is the question.
"Eish, do you know what is happening between my elder daughter and your son?" she asked the landlady two months' ago. "It seems like the two are going out. I think we will soon be in-laws. In fact, someone will get pregnant soon."
That is how she tries to make the issue of sex sound to both neighbours and her kids.
But, in fact, she tries to be tough.
"I will beat you if I find you with men. I don't want such behaviour in my house," the CSW told the oldest daughter three weeks ago.
The daughter did not respond. Perhaps she was disappointed that her mum could speak that way.
That could be the reason she (the daughter) still went ahead to get hooked!
Two weeks ago, after her mum had gone to work, the daughter went 'out' as well. She got hooked.

Unfortunate daughter
However, the daughter was unlucky.
Three boy-cousins of hers (from the CSW's relatives in the township) saw her. They went straight towards her,  grabbed her, and took her home. Our compound, that is.
They, then, raised the volume of their Panasonic radio.
This (raising of volume) surprised our landlady. It was 07:20 p.m. and someone was raising the volume of a radio.
This doesn't happen at our compound. It is a place of relative peace.
Meanwhile, the boy-cousins started beating the girl up, and the girl was just groaning in pain. The volume was up, and very few could notice what was going on.
The landlady mobilised her drunkard son, headed for the 'troubled' home, and just opened the door without any notice or excuse, or courtesy.
That is typical of Malawi. The neighbour's problem is your own. Privacy does not exist.
When they banged the door open, and found the three boys clobbering the CSW's daughter, the landlady's drunkard-son pounded on one of the boys. The others joined the 'victim' boy, and started beating the landlady's drunkard-boy.
The fight spilled to the outside and, soon, people gathered.
What was surprising is that the girl who was being beaten joined the cousins who were beating her. She, in fact, spoke inspeakables to the landlady and her son, asking them why they 'trespassed' into a private affair.
It was such a great fight.
I was in the house, sleeping, when all this was happening. But my younger brother managed to go out, and attempted to separate the warring factions.
The landlady, engrossed in the fight, did not notice him being there, and trying to make peace.
After 20 minutes, the landlady's youngest son joined the battle, and chocked his elder brother.
This is because the elder brother, angry that the three cousins to the girl had beaten him up, was demanding: "This is my mother's compound. You should move out. I have money; I will pay back your rental fees. I will break into your house and throw all your property out!"
People tried to calm him down but he could not listen.
That is when his own younger brother choked him, and he fell unconscious. That is how the fight ended.

Eviction order 
Nine minutes after the fight, the landlady knocked at our door. When it was opened, she came in and said: "You people are dangerous. Why didn't you come out when the fight was hot ? I will write you eviction notices. You should move out. You are not helpful."
My brother tried to inform him that he was there, and helped calm the situation.
The landlady went out. After 20 minutes, she came back.
We thought she was there to give us the eviction notice.
"I have come to apologise. I am very sorry. I have been told that you helped out," she said.
Well, I told her that, I for one, could not be in the business of running into the flame of battles whenever her son and herself started trouble. I told her that, if they wanted me to be their 'fire-extinguisher, then, I saw no problems moving out.
That's how a fight between a CSW's daughter and a landlady's son nearly got me evicted from my home.

Noise in the morning
However, the most boring thing about the CSW is that she wakes up around 5 a.m. daily, switches the radio or DVD player on, and plays the music full-blast.
Full-blast in the early morning. Just like that.
This infuriates me.
Today, there was a black-out around 06:30 a.m.. As her music played loud for the heavens to hear, the blackout came.
She mobilised other tenants, came to my door and knocked, and asked me to join her and go to the landlady to register our complaint against the blackout.
I refused.
"In fact, I am happy that there is a blackout. You make so much noise as if you are the only one who stays here," I said.
She did not respond. She just looked at me.
I am happy that I used the blackout to 'wash' her out! I think the message has been heard.

Surprise, surprise
The most surprising aspect about the CSW is that she makes sure that her family has everything it needs. When she has no money, she hopes that she will still find customers at night, and get money.
She, therefore, gets money on loan.
Yesterday she said, telling the landlady: "I want someone to give me K6,000. I will pay back in two days' time. Even President Joyce Banda and other African Presidents get loans."
I don't know where she got that, or who told her that.
But she believes it.
The other surprising thing about her is that she loves Gospel music. In fact, she makes noise playing Gospel music. She plays the music full-blast.
The last surprising thing is that, apart from me staying on the left side of her house, her right-side neighbour is a police officer. That is, a female police officer.
Unwittingly, the CSW is buying her freedom out of the dreaded police cells.
It is as if, everyday, she washes the dirty work of the night with Gospel music.
It is enlightening. Playing neighbour to a Commercial Sex Worker!