‘Bushiri came to give power his son Apostle Nyirenda’

By Thomas Soko
With more wowing and disturbing miracles happening at Blantyre Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), some quarters have alleged that Prophet Shepherd Bushiri bestowed extra anointing on his spiritual son, Apostle Innocent Nyirenda, to do more and more.
Bushiri was in the country recently at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe for his Global Prophetic Tour where, it is said, he laid hands on Nyirenda for strong spiritual powers.
“We are all surprised with the manifestation of God’s grace in the church. We were already contented by what was happening but this is too much.
“I pray that more and more people connect to this grace. It is powerful and liberating,” said Sarah Magombo one of the branch’s devoted members.
Blantyre ECG congregates at Malawi Post Corporation Conference Centre (MPCCC) in Chichiri.
Much as the said miracles and wonders continue to happen, one critic accused Nyirenda of getting share of “satanic powers” from ‘Major 1.’
“Are they even men of God after all? Let people go there but I cannot be part of this nonsense,” said Jimmy Mtawali, a resident of Blantyre.
Maravi Post understands that there have been mixed reactions to the happenings at Blantyre ECG, and there are also rumours that Nyirenda is becoming closer and closer to Bushiri.

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Why Chilima is thoroughly incompetent and must resign sooner than later?

By Frank Kamanga
Well, in case you have already forgotten it, which is a very likely scenario, Saulos Chilima is still the Vice President of this country.
This means that he gets a salary and related benefits from a government he so deeply despises, without doing any actual work (if anything he’s mostly doing opposition work…if what he’s doing can be called ‘work’); this is tantamount to theft, another concept he so vehemently denounces, yet practically espouses more often than not. As if this wasn’t enough, Chilima, who claims to be actively fighting corruption, went on record on ZBS TV and admitted that the United Transformation Movement (UTM) is getting funding from the very same people within the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) he accuses of corruption.
Well, either there is a severe IQ deficiency or a blatantly opportunistic mindset; hard to say what’s worse in this case.
This so-called ‘good citizen’ is actually abusing the Malawian law to justify illegalities. He completely disregards Malawi’s legal framework and uses over 50 police officers (instead of 6 that are actually prescribed by law).
It appears that -in general- he has a very bad relationship with laws, since he is the President of a group which is -for all intents and purposes- illegal in Malawi, as it is not even registered as an official political party.
Moreover, Chilima continues to hold meetings both domestically and abroad, which slander and undermine a democratically-elected government, ultimately inciting anarchy and lawlessness.
Not to mention his glaring lack of ethical integrity and moral fibre: by continuing to be the country’s Vice President, supposedly serving a government he so zealously abhors, Chilima demonstrates time and again a complete and utter absence of an ethical nucleus and moral principle.
Brave leaders with a strong sense of integrity do not take advantage of the law’s loopholes, as a means to stay in power. Chilima knows that he cannot be fired and desperately clings to his Chair, trying constantly to hoodwink Malawians into thinking that he is a politician of a different calibre.
The joke of the century.
Additionally, Chilima is abusing State resources for personal gain; since breaking ranks with the DPP and launching the UTM, Chilima has been crisscrossing the country like a tourist, accessory making grandiloquent pledges. We do hope he enjoyed Malawi’s landscapes at least.
Overall, Chilima needs to be held accountable. The claims that he recently made regarding election rigging and the use of an eavesdropping machine by the government, without providing any credible evidence, constitute defamation.
This is particularly dangerous coming from the Vice President of the country and greatly attests to his questionable morality.
In case Chilima hasn’t yet got wind of it: Malawi needs a functioning Vice President. With his self-imposed absence from the government, President Mutharika might be forced to appoint a second Vice President.
This would be a total drain of the State’s resources, since tax payers would have to pay for two Vice Presidents (with one of them permanently slamming the government from idyllic landscapes, while enjoying his ‘vacation’).
If Chilima genuinely believes in the reforms he so passionately preaches, he can do this country good by resigning and focusing on his political ambitions. This would be a win-win scenario, and for him and for us!

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post

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Its high time Malawi President Mutharika should resign over MK145 million and Karim vehicles obtained corruptly

By Saunders Jumah
Malawi will stop corruption the day a big fish from the top resign, time has come for President Peter Mutharika to resign.
The MK577 billion corruption cash gate has been pushed under the carpet, saving the face of the president, MK145 million has been refunded back to Zameer in a quest to protect the face of the same president.
We have exposed a lot of corrupt activities directly involving the first family only to be ridiculed by the community that lives and depend on corruption in Malawi.
Today more exposé are coming out with verifiable evidence that the corrupt Zameer Karim bought five Nissan bakkie for president Peter Mutharika costing MK85 million.
 The question that baffles our anti corruption drive is, why Peter Mutharika and not ministers? Is DPP going to defend their leader again at the expense of the nation that is dying because of corruption?
DPP has always been defending President Peter Mutharika that he is clean, why after being exposed of the MK145 million did he not reveal that the 5 Nissan pick ups must also be returned if the president is indeed not corrupted?
Again! Does corporate governance not part of DPP party being official and a ruling party? Why are properties of the party being personalised as being Peter Mutharika? Are the laws of Malawi restricting citizens to adhere to corporate governance while the ruling party run jungle accounts? First an international bank opened a bank account of a party with single signature, later vehicles belonging to a political party are registered in the name of an individual, does this make any sense or Malawi politics is uneducated or running ignorantly?
Where are auditors and accountants of the nation?
This calls for a probe in all activities of political parties in Malawi. We may wonder why political parties are run as family businesses because books of accounts of political parties in Malawi are not reconciled by legal accounts firms.
After DPP refunded the money, we did not hear what initiative was taken to discipline Peter Mutharika over his lone signature over the party bank account, Standard Bank failed to clarify what criteria was used for the president to open a political party account without the consent of other party members. We demand minutes that declared Peter Mutharika to be a sole signatory otherwise the entire corporate system of business is a farce.
No wonder Indians have found a green grass in externalizing money made in the country back to India.
The way citizens are being penalized at the borders and offices of MRA, in offices of registry, there are people in this country that break the laws of corporate and political governance and remain presidents and leaders? This is pathetic of a nation.
President Peter Mutharika must resign or be forced out of power by the tribunal of Parliament which must assess the matter about his involvement with Zameer Karim.
Fellow citizens! We have watched Kamuzu Banda destroying this nation for 31 years, we let Bakili Muluzi complicate democracy for 10 years, we dare not let Peter Mutharika confuse the nation’s intelligence.
There are a lot of scandals that have occurred under this very man Peter Mutharika, we cannot sit back and watch when our way of life is being damaged and destroyed.
President Peter Mutharika must be probed without fear or favour to unmask whatever dirty deals he is involved in till the truth is unveiled. If he is found guilty let him face the law.
The nation is crying over chronic corruption and nepotism, without catching up with big fish in this case president Peter Mutharika our country will never win the war or crusade against the vice of corruption and state looting.
It is high time president Peter Mutharika appeared in the court of law and defend himself not using political propaganda making Nicholas Dausi to dry his throat coaxing answers to defend the president.
Maenga and all Utopians of Malawi call for a sweeping broom to enter state house, ministries, parastatals, government departments, pockets of President Peter Mutharika, ministers and spouses as well as concubines to find out why corporate governance is a hard task in the government personnel?
If President Peter Mutharika lead in having dubious bank accounts what about ministers and those in his party?
Malawi is not a country that belongs to DPP and Peter Mutharika alone, we are having elections in 2019 for any party that command more support to take over we cannot let one single political party or tribe to hold our nation hostage.
Mr. President you have lived three quarters of your life in a country where democracy has white hair (imvi) in that country where a leaders commits a slight mistake resigns.
Be board enough and lead by example by resigning. You will lose nothing rather you will leave a legacy that will make this country start all over on a clean slate.
Your corrupt activities have damaged and destroyed the fabric of our society.
With you at the helm Road Traffic will not stop demanding MK75000 for a driving licence, with you at the helm Department of immigration will not stop demanding extra MK20,000 for an express passport of MK68,500.00.
With you at the helm each and every government department will not stop asking for bribes for services they are paid to do.
All these have increased and are promoted because they know you are corrupt.
Case in point Zameer Karim scandal, US$10 million meant for our soldiers from the peace keeping fund of the UN, MK577 billion cash gate, the MK3, MK9 billion you are giving Mulli and the MK270 billion you are about to give him when 20 souls family are crying for their loved ones your brother commanded the police to kill.
If you love this nation Mr. President you will do the needful by resigning or allow an independent probe to prove your innocence over all these scandals.
You may not worry over the future of this country because your generation is almost over and that your children and grand children are in America but there is those of us whose only home we know is Malawi, our generation and the rest rely much on the tree of fruits you plant today.
 If you plant the tree of corruption all will inherit that, you lay a foundation of the rule of law we will praise you when you are gone.
Face saving is good at times with resignation from office. This is known as maturity and human.
Saunders Jumah is a regular Maravi Post contributor works for MAENGA;

His views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post

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Malawi VP Chilima too cheap to stand before BBC interview

By Sean Kampondeni
In the introduction, Zeinab Badawi described Malawi as “a small southern African state”.
This condescending description of Malawi as “small” was an unforced error on the part of the interviewer, and that it was committed in the very introduction was a good opportunity for Malawi Vice President who is also United Transformation Movement (UTM) Saulos Chilima to seize control of the interview and present himself as the one who is going to drive the narrative on Malawian affairs in this interview, not her.
But instead, Chilima let it slide, thus allowing her to be in command of the exchange from start to finish, which left him largely on the defensive where he is weakest, rather than staying on the offensive where he flourishes the most. A general rule in being an excellent interviewee is that before you answer any question, you must first and quickly decide whether or not you accept the premise of the question, and if you don’t accept it, then you must first challenge that premise before you even answer the question.
Zeinab’s premise that she was talking with the Vice President of a small country had the effect of trivializing his significance, and Saulos should never have accepted that premise, for he is not from a small country, for there are smaller countries in Europe that she would not have derided for their size in a similar fashion.
ON THE QUESTION OF HIS REASONS FOR RUNNING
This was Zeinab’s very first question, and it was obvious from BBC’s advert before the interview happened that this would be where the interview would start. Surprisingly, Chilima seemed to be caught off guard by the question, giving two rather lacklustre points in response.
First, he said it is because times change. Second, he said it is because he has a constitutional right to run. This question was such a golden opportunity for Saulos to wax eloquent about his altruistic reasons for running, his burden regarding the stagnation of his people, his anguish over the corrupt state of the government, and his realization that his good intentions for the people of Malawi are held hostage by the ceremonial office of the Vice President. But instead of talking about his nation-building reasons, he talked about his personal rights, which sounded flat, uninspiring, and self-serving.
ON THE QUESTION OF FULFILLING HIS DUTIES AS VICE PRESIDENT
This was obviously going to be a very tricky area for him, because he and his team have not yet come up with a credible answer as to why he continues to hold his position as Vice President in a government he repudiates.
This decision to retain his office in a government he describes as embarassingly corrupt is arguably the place he is most exposed to criticism because it is hard for him to make a convincing case that the same government you denounce as unworthy of public trust is worthy of your participation. And so when Zeinab asked the question, he admitted that constitutionally, his office is a delegated office, which means that being a functional Vice President requires delegation of duties from the President.
But since he and the President are no longer talking and he is no longer attending cabinet meetings, then that means he has not been delegated any duties by the President for the past four and a half months. In short, Saulos is not doing his job because the President is not giving him any jobs to do. And yet, having said all that in the interview, Saulos insists, much to Zeinab’s dismay, that he is still doing his job as VP because, as he put it, he still shows up at the office, conducts meetings with his staff, and is available to answer questions from citizens.
This kind of reductionism of his job is beneath the office of the Republic’s Vice President, and that he finds it justifiable to be expending large amounts of taxes from citizens on his security, benefits, and salary just so he can go sit in his office where there are no presidentially delegated tasks waiting for him smacks of entitlement, not service. And so Zeinab was right to characterize such a position as “awkward” and “difficult”.
ON THE QUESTION OF TURNING AGAINST HIS BOSS
When Zeinab asserted that by breaking rank from his own party and making his own bid for the top job, Saulos had turned against APM, Saulos said he had not. You have to be a Jedi master to pull that kind of mind trick effectively. If I was advising the Vice President, I would tell him that this kind of answer makes him sound disingenuous, and that it would be better and more credible to simply say that he is indeed against APM’s leadership. He should have said, “Zeinab, APM has failed to lead the country, he has failed to fight corruption, he has been implicated in the siphoning of 2 million dollars from a fraudulent government contractor into an account only he controls and which his party was forced to return to that businessman when it was exposed, he has lost the trust of the Malawian people, he has had two nationwide protests against his leadership in the space of six months, and right now he is headed for defeat at the polls because the Malawian people are against him, including members of his own family.
And I too am against him, because I’d rather stand with the Malawian people than with my own boss, because the country is bigger than any one man. So yes, I am running against him because the people that pleaded with me to do so are against him and so am I.”
But instead of this kind of consistency, he stands on a platform at political rallies where he and his coterie take turns to denounce and lampoon President Mutharika, and then turns around to sit with Zeinab to claim that he is not against Mutharika. If you are going to wear two faces, you have to at least make sure that people don’t see you wearing both at the same time.
That Saulos can takes actions against APM, including the severing of all contact with him, and yet say he is not against him, is a red flag. A similar pattern emerged in his exchange with Zeinab about his candidature, where on the one hand he pays homage to democracy by saying that he is not yet a presidential candidate because UTM has not yet nominated him at an elective conference, and that he would be ready to support another nominee if the party chose someone else; and yet on the other hand he completely undermines any chance that that elective conference will be democratically competitive given that the entire history, founding, messaging, and branding of UTM is already in a full blown campaign for his and only his presidential bid.
These are all signals of a man who is quite at ease with talking out of both sides of his mouth, giving with his left hand in one forum what his right hand takes away in another.
ON THE QUESTION OF HIS AGENDA TO CREATE ONE MILLION JOBS
This was Saulos Chilima at his very best. He gave a strong and robust defence of this signature promise of his campaign. And the fact that Zeinab actually asked about the “one million jobs im a year” promise is a testament to how much that message has resonated and distinguished him as having a clear target that he is aiming for. Zeinab tried to suggest that this many be too ambitious a target, but Saulos was authoritative in his description of the economic distinctives of Malawi, its  dormant sectors, and the high unemployment levels on which he based such a promise.
ON THE QUESTION OF HIS ABILITY TO RECONFIGURE THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE THAT THE DPP & MCP COMMAND
His response to this question was weak to say the least. The best approach would have been for him to show up to this interview armed with statistics of the political landscape under question, and more importantly, to exhibit a comprehension of the statistical impact his party has had so far after two months of rallies in select parts of the country.
He should have said “we have conducted x number of rallies in x number of districts of the 28, and those rallies have been attended by x number of eligible voters, and in the 5500 areas where people will be casting their vote we have established party structures in x number of them, and those we know have said they are voting for us after only two months are x number of voters out of the 5.5 million already registered.” This would demonstrate that he is aware of the political bases other parties command and that his quest to build a base of his own is in fact bearing fruit. That would have been better than the answer he gave, which was effectively a dismissal of the political realities on the ground as having any relevance in his calculations at all. A campaign is not wishful thinking.
ON THE QUESTION OF HIS POLITICAL ASSOCIATION WITH JOYCE BANDA
This was a trick question, and quite a trap. Saulos recently met with PP President Joyce Banda, whose government presided over the infamous Cashgate scandal, the most brazen looting of public funds from the treasury in our nation’s history. Zeinab asked Saulos how he could justify his overtures to Joyce Banda and yet claim that he wants to draw a line in the sand between himself and previous Presidents who have presided over corrupt administrations. To some degree, one has to sympathize with Saulos here, for the question was a lose-lose scenario.
If he had thrown Joyce Banda under the bus, he may have jeopardized any prospect of a coalition with PP going forward, and that would potentially be politically suicidal. On the other hand, if he defended her as a credible President worth consulting with on matters of fiscal prudence, he would have been placing himself at odds with 85% of Malawian voters who in the 2014 elections reached the same conclusion as Zeinab, namely that Joyce Banda’s leadership on corruption was “poor”. Saulos was put between the Egyptians and the Red Sea, but he could find no staff to wield and forge for himself a path out of the trap, so he fell into the treacherous noose of defending Joyce Banda’s divisive record on corruption, a risky move which may pay off with PP supporters and cause a fallout with the rest. Perhaps he is counting on the Muluzi truism that “A Malawi sachedwa kuyiwala”.
ON THE QUESTION OF HIS BOSS’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS
When Zeinab Badawi narrated the improvements to the economy and the state machinery under Mutharika’s oversight, it was yet another awkward question designed to force Saulos into either the trap of singing Mutharika’s praises or dismissing those improvements as false when reputable institutions like the IMF and the World Bank are on record as lauding Mutharika for having steered the country from the edge of collapse. As with most tricky questions, the right answer is almost always a third option that is not on the table, which requires the ability to think quickly on your feet and refuse to fall for the false dichotomies you are being backed into. As such, Saulos should have fallen back on the plight of the Malawian people and the terrible abscess of corruption. He should have said that while the figures about inflation rates and currency stability under Mutharika are indisputable and a credit to Mutharika, that achievement has not translated into a change in living standards and job creation for Malawians, nor are those economic achievements sustainable if the levels of corruption continue rise as they have done during this administration. Instead, all Saulos said was, “whether he has done good or bad, I believe we can do better”, which is really not saying much at all.
ON THE QUESTION OF WHY HE THINKS HE IS THE MAN TO DO THE JOB
This is another area where Saulos always has his talking points in order. Touting his accomplishments at the helm of Airtel, his management of disaster relief efforts, his spearheading of the Public Service Reform Commission, he declared with characteristic confidence that given the chance to govern the country, “I can do wonders”. It was of course a departure from his mantra that Malawians should not fall prey to self-declared messiahs, but as Malawian, he also understands that “Fumbi Ndiwe Mwini”. And when it comes to self-branding and self-marketing, Saulos is in a league of his own, and he made the most of the closing moments of the program to singe himself in the psyche of the listener. He closed the show with an admirable control of the narrative that he had lacked for most of the program, where he had allowed the smiling assassin in the chair across from him to corner him into knots he was not as dexterous or as seamless at untying as we have seen him in interviews at home, especially those done in his own mother tongue.
Having said all that, it is unfair to say that the interview was a disaster. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that it was average and inconsequential. If the goal was to come out of it buoyant with momentum for having captured the imagination of the global audience that Hard Talk commands, that mission failed. Similarly, if the goal was to project himself as one running for president for reasons that are more noble and people-centered than his own personal rights and ambitions, that mission also failed, rather spectacularly.
But if the goal was to dominate another cycle of news and social media discourse among urban Malawiarns for the furtherance of his quest for an office he is pursuing more as a personal right than a national duty, he succeeded immensely.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post

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Exclusive on Malawians suspects left to rot in jail

By MacDonald Thom
The death of his wife on January 16 2014 in Mozambique, where he went to work in a tobacco farm, was a sad occurrence. He had just married her four months earlier.
He went to Mozambique with the wife’s uncle; but when tragedy struck, everything was shrouded in suspicion. Samson Kwananda had a list of suspects responsible for his wife’s death.
Little did he know that, to others, he was the suspect. They took Kwananda’s wife’s body to Malawi on January 17. But, when he arrived, he found himself in the hands of police officers who eventually took him to Maula Prison.
In this story, MACDONALD THOM exposes gaps in the country’s justice system, which has resulted in Kwananda spending close to half a decade on remand. He is not the only one.
From January 2014, days turned into months, months into years. And the counting continues. Every new day brings renewed despair to Samson Kwananda, who has resigned that to
the fate that trial in his murder case would never commence. Hopelessness is all he has.
“I am worried. The year 2014 is a long time. I do not know what is happening. Is it because I do not have money? Is it because of poverty? My wish was to have this case concluded so that I can have peace of mind,” he said.
Following his arrest, he only went to the magistrates’ court in Lilongwe, where he was told the reason for his arrest: murder of his wife. Thereafter the matter was committed to the High Court and he was told to go back to Maula Prison. Since then, the correctional facility has become his home.
Despite his current status, Kwananda maintains he is innocent.
“What happened is that on January 16 2014 she [Kwananda’s wife] died. I do not know what led to her death. Sometimes I think she was bewitched. I also think it is because she had a heart problem. I am not very sure. No postmortem was done. People just believe I killed her,” Kwananda said.
He has questions. People may accuse him of killing his wife, he may accuse others. But it is only the process that he has denied for close to five years that can prove his guilt or innocence.
But dumped and forgotten within the walls of Maula Prison, Kwananda seems to have resigned to fate.
“I am here, it is difficult to follow up on what is happening. My only hope are organisations that assist inmates in following up these issues. Since coming here, I am surviving by God’s grace,” he said.
The Daily Times understands that there are many inmates in the country’s prisons who have been on remand for many years. Some are waiting for trial, others are waiting for judgements, others sentencing.
Sources at Chichiri Prison indicate that Allan Francis Tebulo, who was remanded in 2007, had his murder trial concluded in 2013. Since then, he has been waiting for judgement. A related story is that of Stafford Vasco, who was remanded in 2006. His trial was concluded in March this year. He is waiting for judgement.
The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code of 2010 introduced a 90-day pre-trial period custody time-limit. This entails that being on remand beyond 90 days is illegal.
A report by Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (Pasi), on Promotion of Adherence to Pre-trial Custody Time Limits in Malawi notes that, years after the amendment of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code, some accused persons in Malawi continue to languish in prisons awaiting commencement of trial beyond custody time limits.
The report highlights that camp courts for homicide remandees have reduce the number of remandees held in prisons in excess of custody time limits.
It states that, between November 2017 and April 2018, NGO Consortium, through Pasi, managed to release from prison over 200 remandees
“In six-month period the Consortium has facilitated the release from prisons of 225 homicide remandees some of whom have been in prisons for over 10 years,” reads the report which was submitted to Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.
As people continue being on prison remand for many years, Malawi Prisons Service (MPS) continues grumbling over the problem of overcrowding in prisons.
MPS spokesperson, Mike Shaba, said the problem of lack of space is still affecting prisons.
“The number of inmates we have exceeds the capacity of our cells. If people are on remand for a long time, that worsens the problem. But we know there are a number of initiatives being implemented with the aim of easing the problem of congestion,” Shaba said.
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs spokesperson, Pilirani Masanjala, said there are many factors that cause delays in prosecuting cases.
“The prosecution of homicides involves four institutions: DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions], High Court, police and prison. And in most cases it also involves the Legal Aid Bureau when the accused can’t afford a lawyer. This is very common in homicide cases. It, therefore, requires that all involved institutions should be ready in order for the matter to proceed in court for completion,” he said.
He added: “The other side is that homicide trials take place where the offence occurred. So the High Court moves from Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu or Zomba and goes to the district where the offense was committed.”
Masanjala, however, said Ministry is trying to interface with stakeholders to quicken the processes.
“Currently homicide trials are taking place all over the country so that everyone should appear before court and know his [or her] fate,” Masanjala said.
Legal Aid Bureau Director, Masauko Chamkakala, said there are many inmates whose cases are taking long to be concluded.
He blamed the situation on resource constraints.
“We have a criminal justice system that needs more resources. The demand [for services] is so overwhelming,” he said.
Pasi is one of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) trying to assist “forgotten” homicide suspects. Its Paralegal Coordinator, Chimwemwe Ndalahoma, said although they are assisting the people affected, more has to be done.
“We have visited the country’s prisons, trying to compile a list of people in that situation. We have even organised camp courts. Some [suspects] have been released on bail, others have been released unconditionally. We have heard of cases where people have been waiting for judgments for many years,” he said.
Like Chamkakala, he blames what is happening to some people on remand on lack of funding.
“Homicide cases are heard where they were committed. As such, they require a lot of money. It seems government is running away from its responsibility. The system that has become popular is camp courts. But this relies heavily on donor support,” he said.
In February this year, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda issued a directive that all pending judgements should be delivered by the end of September this year.
Supreme Court of Appeal and High Court Registrar, Agnes Patemba, said Nyirenda warned that judges who fail to comply would be punished.
It is now about three weeks since the deadline passed. Patemba was not readily available for comment on the latest with regard to judges’ compliance to the directive.
As Kwananda and many others are on remand for many years waiting for trial, judgements or sentencing, conditions in prisons are not good. A Police and Prison Monitoring Study which Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) conducted in 2017 has revealed that there are still human rights violations in prisons and police cells in the country.
The MHRC study was aimed at assessing the extent to which Malawi prisons have adhered to the Gable Masangano case ruling of November 9, 2009 which determined that conditions of prisons in Malawi are unconstitutional.
Masangano sued Attorney General, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security and Commissioner of Prisons over living conditions in prisons.
Some of the key issues he said the prisoners are subjected to are insufficient or total lack of food stuffs, insufficient or total lack of cell equipment such as blankets, sleeping mats and mugs and that prisoners were harassed and physically tortured by warders in front of their relatives.
The MHRC report says there is a lot to be done to improve conditions under which people are detained and the enjoyment of their rights as detained persons.
The report observes that Maula Prison has a capacity of 800 but, at the time of the monitoring exercise, it had over 2,800 inmates while Zomba Prison had over 2200 against the capacity of 800.
It attributes the development to slow trials of people on remand, incarceration of people convicted of petty offences, among other factors.
MHRC Director of Civil and Political Rights, Peter Chisi said there is need to find ways of reducing the time people stay on remand as well as increase the capacity of prisons.
“What we have observed is that prisoners have stayed a long time, some of them even up to four years, without being tried. There is an assumption that a person who is on remand has not been convicted and therefore they have to be presumed innocent. Now, when you stay four years on remand, you have already been punished for a crime that has not been established. So there must also be a way of reducing time that the people can spend on remand,” Chisi said.
With delays in trial and no bail granted to them, or indeed delays in judgements or sentencing, Kwananda and many other “forgotten” remandees are being subjected to the conditions which were faulted by Masangano.

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Aspirant Malunga withdraws from DPP Primaries in Chikwawa

By Elijah Phompho, MEC Stringer

Former Energy and Mining Minister in late president Bingu Wa Mutharika’s  administration Grain Malunga on Monday pulled out of DPP primary elections contest for Chikwawa North constituency due to disagreements on the legitimate number of delegates to vote.

Malunga who once served as the Member of Parliament for the area between 2009 to 2014 protested over selection of area committee members in Mwamphanzi ward. Malunga requested the presiding officer for the elections to call out names of the delegates for transparent purposes.

However Lomeyo Bwanali who came from the Party’s Secretariat to preside over the elections did not comply to Malunga’s request.

In Ndalanda ward in   the same constituency aspiring Councillor Kondwan Alfazema also pulled out on similar grounds.

During an interview presiding officer for the primaries Lomiyo bwanali said the party will announce the outcome of the primary elections without specifying whether the party shall conduct a re_ run of the election in the Constituency.

Mr Grain Malunga was competing against the youthful and upcoming politician Owen Chomanika

in an interview Chomanika accused Grain Malunga of pulling out of the contest after noting that he was not going to win.

On the other hand Grain Malunga insisted his pulling out meant that the  elections were cancelled in the constituency.

Malunga said he has written the Director of election in the DPP for the constituency to have a re run of the elections.

However efforts to get the party’s stand on the primary elections proved futile as the Director of Elections in the party, Ben Phiri could not be reached on his mobile phones.

Spokesperson for the DPP Nicholas Dausi said  the party is yet to get a report on the primary elections in Chikwawa.

Regional Govonor for the Party Honourable Charles Mchacha also refused to comment on the matter saying the primary elections are being conducted by northern region executive  committee of the DPP and that the southern region committee is overseeing primary elections in the northern region.

The ruling DPP has started conducting primary elections in the lower shire districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa targeting constituencies where the party does not have sitting MPs. These constituencies are Chikwawa North, Chikwawa East and Nsanje Lalanje.

This has raised fears as to whether the party intends to impose candidates in the constituencies where the party has sitting MPs in the lower shire.

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A high-ranking Saudi officer with ties to the crown prince oversaw journalist’s deadly interrogation, sources say

By Tim Lister, Clarissa Ward and Peter Bergen, CNN

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(CNN)A Saudi mission that resulted in the apparent death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul was organized by a high-ranking officer with the General Intelligence Presidency, Saudi Arabia’s main intelligence service, three sources familiar with the case told CNN.

One of those sources described the officer as close to the inner circle of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It is unclear whether the crown prince authorized an interrogation, abduction or killing. Several officials CNN spoke with said the mission could not have happened without the direct knowledge of the 33-year-old crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, who is known by his initials “MBS.”

A second source said the officer assembled and sent his own team to interrogate Khashoggi. They suspected Khashoggi of having ties to the kingdom’s arch rival, Qatar, the source said. There has been no evidence to substantiate Khashoggi had such ties.

Another source told CNN the mission’s organizer was not transparent about what he told Riyadh, which, the source said, explained why the government had no clear information for days.

It’s not clear whether these elements will be included in the report ordered by the Saudi authorities into the affair. On Monday, sources told CNN that the report will acknowledge that Khashoggi died in a botched interrogation, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey.

A Turkish official told CNN on Tuesday that Khashoggi’s body was cut into pieces after he was killed two weeks ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The claim, which was first made to the New York Times earlier in the investigation into Khashoggi’s fate, comes after Turkish officials searched the consulate for nine hours on Monday night. The Turkish official would not comment on the disposal method for the body.

On Tuesday, President Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the crown prince informed them that an investigation into the matter had begun and answers would be forthcoming shortly.

Passports suggest team had ties to Saudi government

Turkish officials have said privately that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate on October 2 after he arrived to obtain papers that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. Saudi Arabia has previously insisted he left the building alive, but Cengiz says she never saw him again.

Previously, a source familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN that Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that showed Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate. The evidence, which was described to the source by a Western intelligence agency, showed there had been an assault and a struggle inside the consulate.

Turkish authorities believe 15 Saudi men who arrived in Istanbul on October 2 were connected to the Khashoggi’s disappearance. Turkish officials provided CNN with passport scans of seven men they suspect were part of the group. The passport scans were taken on the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

CCTV footage shows Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate on October 2.CCTV footage shows Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate on October 2.

One of the passport scans appears to belong to Salah Muhammad al-Tubaiqi, listed as the head of forensic medicine at the Saudi Ministry of Interior. Another member of the group identified by Turkish official media and appearing in the alleged passport scans is Muhammad Saad al-Zahrani, who has appeared on Saudi state TV alongside Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Sabah, a pro-government private newspaper in Turkey, last week listed 15 names alongside photographs of men who authorities believe were flown into Istanbul from Riyadh. Eight of the 15 were identified by state news Anadolu Agency.

Two sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to CNN that the 15 men listed by Sabah were of interest in the ongoing criminal investigation launched by Turkish prosecutors.

Officials to search Saudi Consul General’s residence on Wednesday

By the time Turkish investigators gained access to the consulate Monday evening, a fresh coat of paint had been applied “everywhere” inside the building, a Turkish official told CNN Tuesday. The source said Saudi Arabia must make “a genuine contribution” to the investigation of Khashoggi’s disappearance in Istanbul.

A Saudi investigation delegation enters the Saudi Arabian consulate Monday before Turkish investigators arrive.A Saudi investigation delegation enters the Saudi Arabian consulate Monday before Turkish investigators arrive.

Earlier Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested investigators were looking into possibility that evidence of toxic materials had been concealed.

“My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over,” Erdogan told reporters.

CNN saw a cleaning crew enter the main consulate building on Monday before Turkish officials arrived with a forensics team to begin their investigation. CCTV footage showed vehicles moving from the consulate building to the nearby Saudi consul general’s residence on October 2.

An expected search Tuesday of the consul general’s residence did not take place, according to a deputy police officer near the building who spoke to CNN’s team in Istanbul. Investigators said the search will take place Wednesday, according to state broadcaster TRT.

Meanwhile, the consul general himself, Mohammed Otaibi, left Turkey on Tuesday, the semiofficial Anadolu news agency said.

International scrutiny heightens

Saudi Arabia has been under intense international pressure to explain Khashoggi’s apparent death, which has created a diplomatic rift between Saudi Arabia and the West.

The G7 foreign ministers called for those responsible to be held accountable.

“We encourage Turkish-Saudi collaboration and look forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducting a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation, as announced.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, left, meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Tuesday in Riyadh.Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, left, meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Tuesday in Riyadh.

“My assessment from these meetings is that there is serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, including accountability for Saudi Arabia’s senior leaders or senior officials,” Pompeo said Tuesday after meeting.

Pompeo will fly to Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

CNN’s Tim Lister and Clarissa Ward reported from Ankara. CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen 

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Abida Mia charms unopposed in Chikwawa- Nkombedzi MCP Primaries

Written by Leo Mkhuwala
Its now official that the people’s favourite, Abida Sidik Mia will carry the mandate to represent the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in the May 2019 polls as parliamentary candidate for Chikwawa-Nkombedzi Constituency.
Supporters have unanimously vested their hope and trust in the widely acclaimed as “strong woman” at Ngabu Community Ground on Wednesday where she won the primaries unopposed.
Songs of joy, saturated with great anticipation, for a future so bright, filled the air when the aspirant-made- candidate, humbly accepted the peoples’ wish in a rather clear verbatim.
“Whom am I to say no when you have carefully looked all around and visualize there is no-one else but me to take you through to a one great future,” she said with her voice immersed into frantic crescendos.
Deemed as the towering beacon of hope that characterizes incessant development within  and beyond the constituency, Abida used her acceptance speech to promise good tidings for the young and old.
Key among the promises, was the provision of clean water, a thing which is currently a challenge and negatively affecting the woman-folk the most.
She also promised to better the lives of the youth through empowering them with various vocational trainings.
To improve the learning conditions towards achieving quality education,  the people’s darling committed to construct both new and additional school blocks especially in the hard-to-reach places of the constituency.
Vehemently, Mia further promised to ensure that, all people in the area, have access to electricity.
“I will ensure that electricity is no more a luxury which only a few can afford,” she said.
Repeating what she had recently promised during her visit to Ngabu rural hospital, Abida said she would shortly be donating an ambulance that will ease the burden of transport for the sick especially during emergencies.
Regarded as a strong woman by many and a great leadership  inspiration to thousands of fellow women, Abida Mia is an accomplished enterprenuer and the wind beneath the millionaire business magnet cum politician and MCP Vice President, Muhammed Sidik Mia whom she calls husband.

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Pros, cons of Malawi’s secondary school fees abolition

By Kisa Paul Kumwenda
Education is widely valued across the world as a central factor in economic, political and social development of any country.
Some scholars have defined it as a catalyst of development. This is why it is vital that we provide education to every learner.
Barely two weeks after releasing a press statement instructing secondary school head teachers not to collect school fees, government finally abolished payment of K3,250 per student in all public secondary schools; that is, MK1,500 tuition fees per year, general purpose fund contribution of MK1,500 and textbook revolving fund pegged at MK250.
It is pertinent to provide a background as to what ignited the government’s thinking.
In 2015, Malawi joined the global 2030 agenda which calls for member states to contribute to the attainment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), of which Goal Number 4 centres on education. The goal is specifically about ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Target 4.1 calls for countries to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education, leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.
Precisely, this target calls for the provision of 12 years of free, publicly-funded, inclusive, equitable, quality primary and secondary education – of which at least nine years are compulsory, leading to relevant learning outcomes – should be ensured for all, without discrimination.
It is important to note that this is a dream that, we committed to and whether this is attainable within the 15-year time-frame is a question that needs answers.
While we must realise that we do not live as an isolated State, but rather in a global society, there is still need to deeply reflect on these commitments that government makes on our behalf by considering country contexts and citizens’ views before the implementation of the same.
The expansion of free primary school to secondary education is an attempt to increase access to equitable and inclusive education for everyone. While this is a good vision, proper planning needed to be in place before the actualisation of the same.
One thing that needs to be noted is that this is a global plan and needs to be rectified, taking into consideration the context. As a country currently we are in this process of domestication, where some two weeks ago we were developing indicators for the SDG 4.
One tends to wonder as to which instrument they are implementing because this one is not SDG 4 as it is in the process of developing a country strategy, neither is it the National Education Policy nor the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy as, during the consultations in the development of the said strategies nothing of this sort came out.
Until 1994, access to primary education in Malawi was attached to mandatory fees, which meant that to the majority of Malawians, education was expensive.
This implied that there in inequality in the provision of the public good. Lower-income-bracket parents were wary of sending their children to school as tuition fee requirements often hampered access.
The immediate outcome of 1994 policy shift to free primary education was unprecedented increase in enrollment from 1,895,423 the previous year to 2,860, 819 the following year.
Since then, enrollment has continued to increase to 5,073,721 according to Education Management Information System, 2017, challenges in classroom space have worsened from an average of 1: 80 before 1994 to 1:121; teacher pupil ratio has always been high regardless of the government’s efforts to train and recruit more teachers.
Teacher motivation has always been a challenge, with no continuous professional development, unpaid arrears and delayed salaries which demotivate our teachers. These are just a few memories and realities that are still hampering our education sector.
One would think that the reduced burden of MK3,250.00 would increase the enrollment in secondary school but, to the contrary, it will, in the meantime, mean nothing apart from reducing pressure from parents and guardians by the said amount.
In the 2017/18 academic year, 210,323 learners passed their Primary School Leaving Certificate (PSLCE) examinations representing 79.39 percent and were eligible for secondary school education.
However, the public schools registered a 38 percent selection rate. This means that, out of the 210,323 learners who passed the PLSCE examinations and were eligible for secondary school education, only 79,779 were given space, living out 130,549 to be either absorbed by 76 private secondary schools or repeat in Standard Eight.
In reality, about 55 percent eligible candidates repeat, not because the fees are high, but mainly because we do not have adequate space for these learners. This questions the intention and motive behind some of these decisions on some school fees.
Another important thing is how the process of announcing the fees abolition was done. At that time, where parents and guardians were ready to pay school fees, they were told not to.
For them, school fees was and still remains the whole amount which they pay to schools which ranges from MK 5,250 in community day secondary schools to MK50,500 in boarding schools. And it took the government two weeks to announce the exact amounts they would be deducting from the fees.
The critical impact of the decision would always be constrained resources, which means that schools will not have adequate teaching and learning materials to aid teachers in the teaching and learning process. In an environment where the schools are already grappling with availability of adequate teaching learning materials, it is illogical to remove the same from the schools.
This is with the background that, since introducing a new curriculum in secondary school in the 2016/17 academic year, there were no provision of the corresponding textbooks to all the schools until the 2018/19 academic year, yet these teachers and learners were assessed using the new syllabus. This shows how grave the challenges are in these schools.
In the context of limited and constrained resources, the decision came when the budget was passed and it did not take into consideration reforms.
Furthermore, the decision of the government based on the conditionality of a donor is what puts to question another important issue of sovereignty.
We have allowed for a long time external factors to determine how our house should be managed without considering our country’s status. Let us assume that a cost-benefit analysis was done on how much they are bringing in and how much we are taking off; was it not proper and wise to consult the citizenry and the strategic stakeholders on the same?
The little that parents and guardians were contributing was significant in rural schools where most of the developments are managed by surrounding communities.
Some of the resources could go towards infrastructure development in these schools.
So essentially, the decision, in whatever context it was made, will further widen the inequalities among learners as those in rural schools will no longer be benefiting from resources procured using the contributions they were making as it is doubtful if the government will optimally cushion the gap that will emanate from its decision.
In conclusion, the government erred in the timing and implementation of this otherwise great reform. More should have been done before the implementation of the same so that people should not think that the ministry is being used to achieve political goals especially as the country gears up for next year’s tripartite elections.

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Mzuzu MP defects to UTM; Alleges unfulfilled development promises

By Patricia Mtungila-MEC Stringer

After months of mounting speculation that he was heading to United Transformation Movement (UTM),  the Mzuzu City Legislator Leonard Njikho  has finally come out in the open to declare that he dumped the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)  and joined the  opposition  UTM.

The MP cites the DPP-led Government’s failure to  implement the promised infrastructure developments such as a state-of-the-art youth centre, airport and stadium  in the City of Mzuzu  as his motivation for the decision.

Njikho said this in Mzuzu on Saturday at a rally that he organized under the United Transformation Movement (UTM) at Area 1 B in Luwinga in Mzuzu.

“The purpose of this meeting is to confirm that I have left the DPP.  The DPP is a Party that does not complete development projects here in the North.   I have joined the UTM wholeheartedly and will serve to  grow the UTM ,” said Njikho at the meeting which was attended by about 400 people  from the Area 1 B.Among other developments.

Member of Parliament (MP) alleged that despite the funds for the state-of-the-art Mzuzu youth centre being allocated in the budget every year  since 2014, the  DPP Government  has blocked its construction.

The legislator claims that the construction of the modern youth centre  now remains only a dream  as  no funding allocation has been made for the Project in  the 2018/2019 National Budget.

Njikho joins the long list of MPs from Northern Region who have defected to UTM including; Agness Nyalonje, Olipa Muyaba Chiluba, Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya among others.

 

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