Showing posts from 2010

Malawi Politics: Joyce Banda and posterity

A day in politics, they claim is too long. Just last Friday, President Bingu wa Mutharika shook hands and smiled at Joyce Banda his number two in the party and Government. Somewhere some party officials were meeting and confirming the expulsion of Joyce Banda from the party. Come Saturday, Joyce Banda knews, so too Khumbo Kachali that the meeting would discuss their fate and they were duly admitted into the meeting. The loudmouths of the DPP Governing Council, we are told, started with so many materials but the hits was when Youth Minister Lucius Kanyumba rose to speak. He delivered the matter of the day. I personally know Kanyumba from a long history we share. I have travelled with him in many places as a youth worker. I would not pass judgement on this particular matter on why it had to be a "youth" being asked to perpetuate a fight of two elephants. I know youth in Malawi, due to short sightdness or easy promise of good life- they have at times made hasty decisions and ins

Child bearing in the era of HIV and AIDS- Dedication to Elizabeth Glaser on what would have been her 63rd Birthday!

..the case of managing pediatric Aids A woman without a child in the majority of our communities is not a complete woman. A recent study by the National Association of People Living with HIV and Aids (NAPHAM) indicates that stigma against infertile women has forced many of them to take drastic measures to avoid ridicule. From committing suicide to prostitution, women without natural bearing capacity seem not to find solution in society already known for its conservative view of unmarried older persons. This is however an ignored area and many suffer or die in silence. The agony experienced by such women might seem to be lesser if one considers those that loose their children during delivery. After carrying a baby in the womb for nine whole months, the pain would be greater only to hear muted sounds of disbelief due to the early death of the newly born child. The realities are difficult to comprehend for males and many who have yet to experience the loss of their own child. However for

Reflecting Africa`s diminishing values

The end of colonialisation, unfortunately also marked the end of many original thoughts of patriotic Africans, that modernity today has overtaken culture and more people are less likely to converse in their own language than a foreign tongue, as Kondwani Munthali reflects over Africans diminishing culture. The coming in of missionaries and voyages of explorers in the 1800 brought to an end to one of the greatest human tragedies; Slavery. This worst form of abuse, seems to have had a lasting impact on the relationship between Africans and the rest of the World. While some used the bible to justify slavery of Africans, many who have failed to understand African cultures have simply called in primitive and uncivilized, yet the continent is the home to early civilization and great wonders of the World. Unfortunately Africans themselves seem to be on the fast track to adopting alien cultures than others who are trying to erase them from the global picture. Take example of the new generation

Animal Farm: Reflection of Malawi politics?

At the peak of his singing career, deputy lands Minister, dubbed ‘Minister of the Poor” sang two songs. They were a hit to the ears of the majority of Malawians tired already of the UDF administration’s mismanagement of the country’s economy. One song was “Osauka alibe mawu” while the other was “Agalatiya.” George Orwell animal farm, is a powerful political piece that the Communists never wanted anybody to read, just like dictators in Africa would not like to anybody to see how equality during the struggle quickly turns into enmity once power is taken. In the two pieces of art by Billy Kaunda now a full time politician and George Orwell’s book clearly have one underlining denominator- that those that go into power through a promise of change, rarely do they stick to their initial proclamations. The power basically is now associated with ones financial muscle. The new decision maker in so called democratic parties other than the majority voices who are supposedly owners of the party. At

God, Human Rights and Equality: Why secular humanism cannot survive

Monday, August 16. 2010 George Thindwa, Executive Director of Association for Secular Humanism took his turn in the Nation to proclaim triumph of secularism. He claimed to have statistics as high as 75 percent of population in different developed nations claiming Christianity is shriveling. Taking my turn, I will not use the Bible, but the same limited human reasoning and events to justify why God exist even in secular thinking. Without God, the very foundations of Governments would collapse, so too fundamental freedoms. To the contrary, belief in God continues to grow not only in Africa, but even in the West. The biggest absurd claim is that the belief in God or any supreme deity has shriveled. He misses the fact that it is not only Christians that believe in God and it is not only individuals that believe in existence of God, even the Governments and nations subscribe to the existence of God. The Malawi national anthem firmly subscribe to the God and its first stanza calls for God to

The long journey to 2014

Between my last posting, a lot has happened. The Malawi flag has changed with a majority against it, Professor Peter wa Mutharika got himself and endorsement and just yesterday a cabinet reshuffle came into reality. Someone asked if I had opinion over reshuffle, I told him Malawians will be good at speculating but the real truth remains with President Bingu wa Mutharika- as it pleased him to keep all of those that were in cabinet and fire him. Others angrily accuse Mutharika of making a 'family affair' out of state positions. They claim his brother and wife as the reasons. It is difficult to understand Malawians when they want to make an arguement. Mostly it is emotional than factual. Jeb Bush was a Governor while George his brother was a President. His wife was running the Malaria Initiative- nobody questioned anybody. But that aside, before I speak, nothing that I write here is related to any position both locally or international where I am affiliated as a consultant or full

Absolute power corrupts...bring back my flag

There is something irritating about politicians. They never learn from their past or their colleagues mistakes. Soon after attainment of multiparty democracy, when the Malawi Congress Party was the most hated name in town, the ruling party the UDF tried to change the national flag under the pretext that it was similar to MCP. Everybody protested, it was giving in our national pride, identity and sweat for our freedom. The blood that Malawians shed in 1959 and in the later struggle of independence was not MCP blood. It was blood of Malawians, the flag and later the national athem represnts the sacred identity of the Malawi nation. The designer and composer of the two items might have died silent heros, but they left a legacy and pride of the nation. God has allowed me to travel to at least 72 countries across the World, nothing compares to the time when your National anthem and flag is raised. During the May 1 opening of the World Expo in Shangahai, China, I everyone of my colleagues fr

World Cup South Africa: Africa can do it

This is it! Mnet yesterday premiered Micheal Jackson's This is, already accessble on DVD across the continent but was not availble on television. There were six of us watching switching between the Mnet Channels and Channel 223 where Superspot was beaming Brazil versues Ivory Coast game. Ivory Coast lost, but Africa again won the game. This is a continent which has been written off by many people. This is a continent which big channels like BBC and CNN are still looking for a breaking news in terms of security lapses at World. Unfortunately Africa has arrived and the World Cup proves that we can do anythng the World can. We no longer need special allocations, nor doubting Thomases who thought Sepp Blatter wanted a cheap vote by saying Africa should host the World. No Africa is a continent fully awake to its reality, that is why those playing the 'Washington Concesus' games should start changing strategy. Africa is no longer a backyard colony of any nation, the legacy of the

Israel and the United States; what next

When I wrote about black Americans, Obama and Iran some very accomplished journalists in the US and UK wrote back and we have been arguing on the role of the United States in global politics. I insisted that the World community really favours the rich countries and rights of poor people and their beliefs do not matter. I have just been proved right, the attack on the Palestine Flotilla shows the World of an oustanding inequality that the United Nations and others have ignored and pretended to address. They had audacity to fly ban Ki-moon to seek release of two gay Malawians but cannot provide adequate security to the 700 person whose only crime was to reach out assistance to the palestine. Further more, the image of the United Nations as a hopeless institution continues to grow. Israel repeated the same just on Friday when it stopped Racheal Currie from delivered humanitarianian aid to Gaza. Of course the only way for Gaza to gain peace is when the two sides talk, but Israel has bro

Ban Ki-moon, Homosexuality and the price of Africa's poverty

The excitement of many Malawians at the prospect of seeing the United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon died istantly when everyone realised that he had travelled from New York only to add pressure to Malawi to release the gay couple that had been jailed for 14 years on charges of buggery and gross indecencency. I had the privilage of sitting close to Ki-moon when he assumed the post of spokesperson to the President to tell our Parliamentarians that the President had pardoned the two men and asked parliament to appeal "outdated laws." There are reactions but many are not captured, What do ordinary Malawians think that has been the question. Malawians are angry and horrified. Nobody really expected the two men to stay in prison for 14 years, an appeal process at the Higher Court would have seen the two get a lesser or even suspended sentence. Today from facebook to twitter, one can sense the feeling that everybody is sympathetic to our President, he was held by the Foreign countries a

Obama,Oprah, Madonna and Korean peninsula the BBC and Iran's Press TV

The digital revolution makes the media and being part of the mainstream media very interesting. Amid Gay scandals and moves to outlaw polygammy today I am happy just to get out of Malawi and talk of the new World order. The problem with politicians is when you praise them, they expect praises throughout their term of office or they get angry with you to the point of rejecting interviews. There is a party leader in Malawi who has overstayed his welcome and at an appropriate time this blog will address him. Talking of criticism, it is ideologically and career wise suicide to criticise President Barack Obama of the United States of America of handling some global and domestic issues more especially if you are white. More worse if you are a black leader, you try to sound as black as possible, this saw one of the renonwed activists in the USA jumping to critique Tiger Woods for not cheating with a black woman. Barack Obama biggest achievement has been the Healthcare Reform and for that he w

Hail President Bingu wa Mutharika- Father of the Nation

For one thing, I love my country. I love its flag that is why I am really amused by the idea to change it and far more important I love the third stanza of the National Athem. It ends with all beatiful Malawi. Land of Peace, so fair and blessed. But Monday, 24th May 2010, I found some pride in having the Bingu wa Mutharika as a President. Many people whom I have come across have told me stories of his dreams and aspirations. His frustration when the opposition tried to slow him down. Personally I find the story of how he wrote Mabizinesi Aphindu interesting- mainly at night. But when he spoke during the opening of Parliament, his dreams many people think are impossible were actually real and for many Malawians I believe they will go down as athe day Malawi turned and became a mature nation. I have written on having more universities before, I ahve argued they can be source of foreign exchange and more importantly the fields of research and others can bring in massive transformation to

What the Gay rights campaigners missed!

The ruling on Gay engagement as buggery and indecency is something that was expected and generally the feeling is that it is welcome in a deeply conservative society. The worst perfomer are the Gay rights activists who though they could influence our courts with messages from England, South Africa and even nearby borders. First. nobody in Malawi believes that the two poor souls, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steve Monjeza did that on their own accord, and the emergence of well established lawyers raised eyebrows that these two average casual workers suddenly could afford legal representation when they barely could afford lunch. Unfortunately with the current global information access, one can easily deduce the calculated test-the waters plan that later emerged with another wedding in Argentina and in Asia and similar attempts in Kenya. The use of people without any public influence such as Chimbalanga and Monjeza showed how the camapigners view the views of Malawians and our society and some

China's future inspired by the past

Searching for identify: China’s future inspired by the past The emergence of the cultural groups such as Mulhako wa Lhomwe and Mzimba Heritage have sent eyebrows up, with many speculators pointing fingers at notion of domination by some tribes due to the political or leadership roles of some of their tribesmen. To the contrast, China is finding its inspiration from its past and diversity of its people, that harnessing the culture and promotion of all cultures and heritages seems to be growing big everyday as Kondwani Munthali found out in his recent visit to China. China is too big, with 1.3 billion population, a single political system, but its cultural symbols remain part of its traditions and pride for a generation that has been able to sent its people to the moon and building great modern facilities not even the United States of America has been able to at the moment. But Beijing the capital to the remote City of Zhenjiang in Jiangsu province, Chinese people are proud of their cult

AKB: Measure of a Giant

There is a lot that will be said and written about Aleke Banda. Many will associate with him about the many heart touching moments with AKB. I knew him from many sides, as a Minister, as a grandfather and as an advisor- even on controversial stories- he was willing to listen to me and give me advice. I am thankful to God for such a gift to Malawi. For years to come his values and beliefs will shape my thinking. Go ye well Ada, at least the human flesh pain is over and you have reached in Gods arms: Out of Tukombo a son came From Que Que a patriot was shaped In prison a revolutionary was made At Capital Hill a servant of the people was placed How do you measure Measure of a humble giant You sacrificed your youth ideas You were incancerated for your belief in freedom You were jailed for the truth Yet you never were bitter Yet you never spoke ill of anybody How do you measure Measure of a giant From Targetted subsidy to Manure making campaign From Malawi News to the Nation Publication

Freedom of Speech and politics of patronage

Freedom of Expression, is guaranteed in the Malawi Constitution, but everywhere from public offices to the private sector, one would feel the country slowly going back to the era of silence. “Some things are better left unsaid,” most argue, following one of the many repressive cultural adages that has created dictators in the past. Government or someone in Government decided in their own wisdom, that Nation Publications Limited, has exercised free expression too far, according to theories of political patronage, and that Malawians- who includes employees of NPL and pay tax, should not get adverts through the papers. The tactic used is not a strange one, in the late 1997 or thereabout, the UDF administration were incensed with Malawi News, then a firebrand of investigative journalism, and consequently banned advertising in all Blantyre Newspapers products. The good thing about democracy, is that it outlasts dictators and political loyalists with misguided visions. Malawi’s democracy tr

The story of democracy, advert ban and Joyce Banda

This morning I used public transport and one of the passengers asked me what I thought of the on going ban against my newspaper- The Nation. I said he should be asking me what I think about democracy. I told this good gentleman who says is a regular visitor to this blog that I believe strongly that democracy truimphs over anything else. I told him I pray for a stronger democracy and leave to worry about short term decisions to wither themselves. The best examples are Bakili Muluzi era when young democrats pounced on journalists and newpapers got bans left and right. Within five to ten years, with the end of Bakili Muluzi all the excited persons who wanted to destroy press freedom had nothing to show for it. The newspaper survived because as much as the current politicians would want me believe they dont know, Malawians voted for democracy on June 14, 1993. Had Malawians chose a different way, none of them could be sure to be in office today. Democracy the bad news about those that beli

Happy Valentines day Bingu n Callitsa!

Of course it is the wish of every Malawian to be at the New State House today, reason- President Bingu wa Mutharika and his new found love Callitsa Chapola are getting engaged. All media houses except the one I work for and a few private ones have been invited to the private engagement. I was not sure whethere to cry for the lost opportunity to watch a President engage or smile for the day off where I would call my set valentine for a pizza day out. Most of us at our paper are patriotic Malawians but someone seems to have different thoughts that scheming day and night on how to "punish" the paper. Now after the verocious opposition of 2004=09 was tamed, perhaps it is percieved that independent papers can be called "opposition.' Just two days ago I met a good freind who is influential in the controverisal Mulhako wa Lhomwe and we discussed a number of things including what he termed as an offer for a proper job that I moved out of my work place.I smiled and laughed an

Mungomo, Joyce Banda and the quota system

I have been out for long, the reason is that I wanted just to look at what is going around and keep my thoughts to myself. I have enjoyed the two months gone, the new year and I should be able to blog my thoughts quickly. First things first, congratulations to Bingu my president and Callista Chapola for leading the way by announcing their intentions for Holy Matrimony, hopefully we will find a card for the event and share with many of my freinds here the pictures. The same congrats to Albert Mungomo for making it to the State House after names flew and gossip damaged peoples lives for the post. I am optimistic that he will be as freindly as he has been before. My congrats to the DPP too for their victory in Kasiya and the UDF for retaining Machinga South East and hopefully the years to come Malawi will maintain its great democracy of allowing people the freedom to choose. On quota system out come, I strongly believe time will come when we will realise that we can develop a competitive

World Aids bosses can joke :Goosby and Kazachikine

I last blogged on World Aids Day 2009, so a happy new year to you all. The same day I travelled to Balaka where an HIV positive woman told me a story which would shake the politicians and semi politicians in public service who claim to be doing alot in the field of HIV and Aids. Of course it was quite a week, I met US Global Aids Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby who was more of a diplomat and did not bring any new pledges. I felt minus the mutlimillion kwacha building he opened as HIV unit in Lilongwe,the rest was a public relations tour. The US president initiative on HIV/Aids known as PEPFAR rightly secluded Malawi from its initial support to countries. The head of Global Fund Kazachikne was also in Malawi and I joined the two top funders of HIV and Aids fund to a tour of some of the ARV distribution centres. They were impressed with service delivery at Kang'oma health centre but shocked to learn that when a pregnant woman test HIV positive they travel about 20 kilometres to