Monday, 30 April 2012

Litany of events affecting Press Freedom in Malawi

May 3 is World Freedom Day. The UN first proclaimed World Press Freedom Day in 1993 to celebrate the fundamental principals of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world and  to defend the media from attacks on their independence.

 But though its called the world press freedom Day, journalists in this world including my country Malawi are not free,courageous journalists are subject to censorship, shutdowns and even death threats.

Freedom House, a nonprofit organization with consultant status at the United Nations, finds that press freedom is declining around the world, and that only 15 percent of the world population lives in a country with a truly free press.

Malawi is one of the countries where journalists are facing a number of challenges, Recently   Former President  Bingu wa Mutharika made a shocking move when he signed a newspaper ban law, which was described as an intimidation and a threat to the journalism profession.

As we join the rest of the world in commemorating the World Press Freedom day I call upon the new president Joyce Banda who vowed to protect press freedom in the country to remove or suspend the Law.

The following is an outline of recent events that affected press freedom

The Malawi National Assembly amended Section 46 of its Penal Code and made it into a new law in November 2010.The statute now reads “if the minister has reasonable grounds to believe that the publication or importation of any law publication would be contrary to the public interest, he may, by order published gazette, prohibit the publication or importation of such publication.” Initially,the Penal Code empowered the information minister “to prohibit the publication of any seditious materials”

Local political and law experts have questioned these amendments and Blessings Chisinga, a renowned political analyst from the university of Malawi described the amendments as “a strategic movement towards 2014 general election”

According to Chisinga the signing of the new law further thwarts the ratification of Access to Information Bill which has not yet been passed since it was drafted in 2003, which could have helped journalists to easily access information.

Police and ruling party supporters have also been implicated in the intimidation, arbitrary arrest and beating of journalists attempting to report on political events. On October 11, police summoned and questioned two journalists from the Malawi News, Innocent Chitosi, a deputy editor, Archibald Kasakula, a reporter  and George Kasakula of Weekend Nation after two papers published stories  about the death of a university of Malawi student activist Robert Chasowa and Mutharika’s critic  who was murdered at the campus of Polytechnic College.

On September 12, police arrested and questioned a journalist, Ernest Mhwayo, for taking pictures of president Mutharika’s multimillion dollar farm.  He was charged with “conduct likely to cause breach of peace” and released on the following day. Several journalists were beaten and detained by police in July as they covered demonstrations throughout the country.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Joyce Banda Spills The Beans

Malawi president Joyce Banda has spilled the beans to say the then ruling party approached Malawi army to conduct a coup in order to stop her from being the president.

She disclosed this in an interview during her first official visit  to  South Africa since she was elected in power

Banda who applauded  the military for restoring order said DPP's plan B  was to  use a military coup if  Peter Mutharika fails to inherit the presidency from his late brother.

She claimed that some top military officials tipped her about a coup plot  soon after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika was announced.

"The army had an opportunity to take over, in fact for your own information i am told that the army was persuaded to  say if we can,t have it she can,t have it just take over but the army resisted such temptations" disclosed Banda

 "The fact that the army stood up and restored order is the sign that Malawi has matured as far as democracy is concerned" added Banda

Banda who cited the recent coup in Mali  said its high time that Africa should not allow conflicts to take place unnecessarily and carelessly since those who bare the consequences of war are innocent people especially the poor.

"If you can observe Africa is doing well,  look at Mali they didn't last two weeks, Africans have decided no, we are not going to allow conflicts to take place unnecessarily because  at the end of the day  innocent people suffer a lot" said Banda

Thursday, 26 April 2012


Malawi president Joyce Banda announces her  new cabinet, out of the new cabinet , 17 are from the former ruling party DPP, 7 from the ruling Peoples Party, 2 are UDF, 1 Aford, MCP and the other 2 are not parliamentarians  

One interesting thing is Banda has axed the late president's brother Peter Mutharika and has hired the former president's son Atupele Muluzi.

Here is a list of the new cabinet 

 H.E the State President: Mrs. Joyce Banda
Vice President and Minister of Health: Rt. Honourable Khumbo Kachali
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security:  Hon. Peter Mwanza M.P
Minister of Foreign Affairs:  Hon Ephraim Mganda Chiume M.P
Minister of Information: Dr. Moses Kunkuyu M.P
Minister of Transport and Public Works: Hon. Sidik Mia M.P
Minister of Economic Planning: Hon Atupele Muluzi M.P
Minister of Justice and Attorney General: Hon Ralph Kasambara
Minister of Finance: Dr. Ken Lipenga
Minister of Education, Science and Technology:  Hon. Eunice Kazembe M.P
Minister of Labour:  Hon. Eunice Makangala
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development: Hon. Grace Maseko M.P
Ministers of Home Affairs: Hon.Uladi Mussa M.P
Minister of Trade and Private Sector Development: Hon. John Bande M.P
Minister of Energy and Mining: Rt. Hon. Dr. Cassim Chilumpha M.P
Minister of Environment and Climate Change: Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara M.P
Minister of Gender and Child Affairs: Hon. Anita Kalinde M.P
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Planning: Hon.Henry Duncan Phoya M.P
Minister of Tourism and Wildlife: Hon. Daniel Liwimbi M.P
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture: Hon. Enoc Chakufwa Chihana M.P
Minister of Defence: Hon. Ken Kandodo M.P
Minister of Disability and the Elderly: Reene Kachere

Deputy Ministers:

Agriculture: Hon. James Ulemu Chilapondwa M.P
Gender: Hon. Jennifer Chilunga M.P
Finance:  Hon. Ralph Jooma M.P
Foreign Affairs: Hon.Racheal Mazombwe Zulu M.P
Education: Hon. Chiku Hiwa M.P
Transport: Hon. Sosten Gwengwe M.P
Local Government: Hon Augastine Mtendere M.P
Environment: Hon. Ibrahim Matola M.P


Malawi’s President Joyce Banda has announced the new cabinet.  Some of the names that have made it into the new cabinet are :Enock Chihana, Ralph Kasambara , Ken Lipenga ,Dr. Cassim Chilumpha, Atupele Muluzi, Uladi Mussa and Khwauli Msiska. The full list will be uploaded shortly 

Operation exodus: From Opposition to Ruling Party

Political commentators have described the defection of three prominent politicians to the ruling Peoples Party as a sign of greed.
This follows the announcement made by  Malawi's well known opposition party leaders  Dr. Cassim Chilumpha, Mr. Henry Phoya, and Mr. Uladi Mussa  that they have joined Joyce Banda's  People's Party 
The  announcement was made  Thursday morning in the commercial capital Blantyre.
Dr. Chilumpha was one of the UDF party gurus  and former Vice President of Malawi,  Mussa was running his Malavi People's Party while  Mr. Phoya recently  joined MCP after he was axed  from  then ruling party DPP.
Speaking during the conference Phoya said  he  dumps  MCP because he felt “rejected by the party hierarchy”.
He also said “am convinced at the commitment by the Joyce Banda’s administration in upholding the rule of law,”
Without giving proper reasons  Mussa  and former veep Dr. Chilumpha say they simply would like to assist president Banda in her development agenda.
Meanwhile  it is not clear on whether Mussa's Maravi Peoples Party has been disbanded or will join as a collusion 
The development has been heavily criticized by   both  activists and ordinary Malawians  describing them as  "fortune seekers" .
"What is Phoya looking for at MCP that he did not get and what is he now looking for at PP" Wondered a Miss Banda
"PP will die the same death as DPP if Joyce Banda dares to appoint these defectors to cabinet position" warned Ben Chiza Mkandawire on his facebook post.
However  lawyers Wapona Kita argued that the countries constitution allows everyone to join a party of his choice.
"S. 40 (a) of the Constitution says everyone has the right to join a political party.Let the exercise of our constitution rights begin" read Kita's facebook status.

Shortage Of Foreign Currency in Malawi Scares Investors

Investors have come out to say they are afraid to invest in Malawi due to a shortage of foreign currency in the country.
This was disclosed by South Africa’s No 2 retailer, Pick n Pay which is expected to invest in Malawi in the next 12 months.
Responding to a questionnaire Pick n Pay Head of Group Enterprises Dallas Langman said the only challenge the company might face if they invest in Malawi is the lack of foreign exchange.
“Our immediate challenge would be to grow and enable the local supplier, manufacturing and agricultural sector in order to sell as much local product as possible. Our single biggest financial concern stems from the lack of foreign exchange to settle goods brought in from neighbouring countries”. Said Langman   
Since 2009, Malawi has been experiencing a shortage of foreign exchange, which has damaged its ability to pay for imports, and fuel shortages that hinder transportation and productivity.
Due to this investment fell 23% in 2009, and continued to decline up to date . The government has failed to address barriers to investment such as unreliable power, water shortages, poor telecommunications infrastructure, and the high costs of services.
According to Langman Pick n Pay have signed with the Malawi government to open one store in the Capital Lilongwe. He however said they would like to open far more than one shop.
“We would like to open far more than this and we are currently investigating potential sites” added Langman
According to Langman the first store will provide jobs to over  100 Malawians. “It is far deeper than just a store as our intention would be to support as assist local farmers and suppliers in providing us with as many lines as possible and to assist them in achieving this”. Cited Langman

Friday, 13 April 2012


A politician poses as a servant  to be made a leader this is  how most politicians in the world behave, instead of improving the economy of the country most of them  enrich themselves. This is a breakdown of  former Malawi President  Bingu wa Mutharika's wealth

a) Built a K14B Ndata house
b) Acquired an $18m Presidential villa and yatch in
c) A lavish expenditure of K200M on his 78th
d) Acquisition of a $60m hotel in Portugal through
the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM)
e) Extending a K400M loan to Mulli Brothers Ltd to
purchase Bestobell through Malawi Savings Bank
(MSB) at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre
f) Purchase of a K300M Lonhro house in Limbe
g) To act as surety to Mulli Brothers Ltd’s overdraft
facilities with MSB (K5B), NBM (K2.5B), NBS (K2B),
First Merchant Bank (K1.2B) and Stanbic Bank
h) Money for building a K1.8B mausoleum for his
late wife, Ethel
i) Acquisition of K20B worth of shares in Zimbabwe
Commercial Bank
j) Purchase of a personal K65M Maybach Benz (sent
to his farm in Zimbabwe)
k) Purchase 150 Toyota pick-ups for his party DPP
valued at K400M
l) A lavish expenditure of K350M on his April 2010
first wedding anniversary to Callista
m) A K7.8B IndeBank joint account with President
Robert Mugabe
n) Purchase a K38M house in Nyambadwe on
August 24, 2010 (from Shanil Muluzi)
o) K100M February 2010 valentine celebrations
(B) Mutharika would be in a better position to
Educate the Malawi Nation on how the below listed
unlawful transactions have helped advance the
requirements of Prudent Economic Management
(as per Section 13(n) of the Constitution) and
Sustained Public Trust and Good Governance (as
per Section 13(o) of the Constitution):
a) Mutharika draws K50M from Malawi Savings
Bank every two weeks for his personal use
b) Mutharika got K200M from Reserve Bank of
Malawi to buy maize for Robert Mugabe’s
c) Mutharika instructed the sale of the old
presidential jet without the approval of the National
d) Mutharika instructed MRA to surrender 10% of
MRA’s revenue to DPP 2014 Campaign
e) Mutharika instructed ESCOM to give Mulli
Brothers Ltd K160M to buy Chitakale Estate
f) Mutharika has allowed the Chinese nationals in
the country to externalize forex without undue
g) Mutharika instructed the transfer of K5B from
Treasury to Masangwi’s shipping company
h) Mutharika instructed Press Trust and National
Bank of Malawi to deposit to his personal account
K70M every month
i) Mutharika instructed government to send 8
vehicles and 4 tractors (that Malawi government
received from the government of Libya) to his farm in
j) Mutharika instructed the Reserve Bank of Malawi
to lend the government of Zimbabwe $30m at a
time Malawi was experiencing an acute shortage of
k) Mutharika instructed Treasury to deposit K60M
to Malawi Savings Bank to be used towards wooing
and silencing NGOs
l) Mutharika fraudulently pocketed K1.6B through
his FBM account from money meant for preparation
for 2009 general elections
m) Mutharika draws K20M allowance each time he
makes an internal trip (or on ‘government project’
n) Mutharika instructed the Reserve Bank of Malawi
to extend to his wife Callista a loan of K160M
o) Mutharika instructed government to give his wife
Callista a K2M allowance each time she travels away
from station
p) Mutharika instructed the Governor of the
Reserve Bank of Malawi to transfer $6m to his
Zimbabwe account
q) Mutharika fraudulently benefited to the tune of
K3.8B from MTL Privatization proceeds
r) Mutharika diverted $8m given to the
government of Malawi by the government of
Taiwan for the Army and Police Marine at Monkey-
s) Mutharika diverted a $50m loan from Taiwan
authorized by the National Assemblyfor the
construction of the National Assembly
t) Mutharika instructed government topping of
K10M over every Safe Motherhood function
u) Mutharika set the salary for his wife Callista at
K1.3M per month for doing charity work which
previously was not salaried work
Section 13(o) of the Constitution requires the
President to put in place effective measures which
will ‘guarantee accountability, transparency,
personal integrity and financial probity’ to
strengthen and ensure sustained Public Faith &
Trust and Good Economic Governance. There is
ample evidence of financial malpractice by
President where existing financial control
instruments and systems were deliberately
thwarted and frustrated.
(C) Mutharika would, again, be in a better position
to Educate the Malawi Nation on how the below
listed corrupt decisions have helped to subordinate
his self-interests to the interests of the people of
Malawi in the running of the affairs of the nation (as
per Section 88(5) of the Constitution)
a) Mutharika accepted the selling of Chikangawa
Forest to Mulli Brothers Ltd
b) Paladin Mining Company is depositing $5m every
quarter to Mutharika’s Australia account
c) Mota-Engil is giving Mutharika 50% of all
contract proceeds through his Portugal account
d) Mutharika accepted the award of a K6B
government stationary supply contract to Mulli
Brothers Ltd (without tender )
e) Mutharika accepted the award of a K4B
government fertilizer subsidy supply contract to
Mulli Brothers Ltd (without tender)
f) Mutharika accepted the award of an K11B
government petrol & diesel supply-by-tanker
contract to Mulli Brothers Ltd (without tender)
g) Mutharika accepted the award of a K200M
supply of foods-to-prisons contract in Malawi to
Mulli Brothers Ltd (without tender)
h) Mutharika instructed the Governor of the
Reserve Bank of Malawi to offer Mulli Brothers Ltd a
$8m loan on February 24, 2011
Section 88(5) of the Constitution forbids the
President from using his office for personal gain or
placing himself in situations where his material
interests conflict with the responsibilities and duties
of his office. The onus is on the President to assure
the nation his actions are above suspicion and

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


President Joyce Banda axe  is on a roll chopping who ever was against her when she was fired from the then ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Without wasting time Banda started firing top government officials  before the burial of her boss late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
 After firing Inspector General of police, controversial   Information Minister Patricia Kaliati and MBC Director General Bright Malopa have become the next victims since Banda was sworn in as president.
Kaliati has been replaced with MP Moses Kumkuyu and Dr. Benson Tembo took over as as MBC Director General.
The firing of Kaliati did not come as a surprise to most Malawians as she had been vocal against Banda all the time.
Recently Kaliati attacked Banda for being ambitious and focusing on the presidency when  Mutharika passed away.
She later retracted her statements and ask for forgiveness, without being specific  Kaliati further blamed other DPP officials for betraying her.
Malopa has been accused by both civil society and opposition parties for using the public broadcaster MBC to promote DPP.
Despite the two one of the top government officials who has been shown the exit is the secretary to the Treasurer Joseph Mwanamveka  who has been replaced by Radson  Mwadiwa.
This is the first time that Mr. Kumkuyu has made it into cabinet while Dr. Tembo has returned to a position he is very familiar with.
He was the first Director General of Television Malawi during the UDF government.
The changes are just the beginning of a major shakeup that will affect the cabinet and other government positions.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has urged Malawi  government to transfer presidential power in a peaceful  and orderly manner.  

The call follows reports that there is confusion within the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) on whether Vice President Joyce Banda should be sworn in as acting president pending 2014  general election.   

According to reports two camps have emerged;one pushing for the swearing in ceremony while another arguing that Banda should not be sworn in because  the constitution is silent on that.

However according to Ministry of Information officials Banda is expected to be sworn in as Head of State at the National Assembly in the capital Lilongwe.

"President Jonathan urges the political leadership of Malawi and its security agencies to ensure an orderly transfer of presidential powers in keeping with Malawi’s existing constitutional order ahead of the country’s next presidential elections scheduled to be held in 2014" reads the statement. 

Banda if sworn in will be the first female president in Southern Africa. 


Postmortem results  reveal that there was no foul play on the death of  Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika who died last Thursday after suffering from cardiac arrest.

This was disclosed by Milpark hospital doctors who conducted postmortem on late Mutharika 

According to the doctor the body of late  Mutharika is expected to be sent back home on Tuesday

More to Come 

Friday, 6 April 2012


The Body of Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika was sent to South Africa for a detailed postmortem  a source at Milpark hospital disclosed this in an interview.

The inside source who chose not to be named disclosed that Mutharika was brought at the hospital already dead.

"The main reason he was flown to Milpark is for us to find out the cause of the death and as I am talking to you the body is in the mortuary and a postmortem  will be conducted later this afternoon" disclosed the source. 

She further said that they received information from the doctor who treated Mutharika at Kamuzu Central Hospital  in Malawi that Mutharika died on Thursday 5th April in the Intensive Care Unit where he was admitted after suffering a cardiac arrest.

"We were told by hospital officials that te President was pronounced dead two hours after he arrived at KCH" Said the source 

Since Friday night Malawians living in South Africa have been flocking to Milpark hospital to witness the death of their president.

" I  can,t rely on the news I  want to see for myself, a lot has been reported about Bingu but now I believe it" said Robert Maseko who drove all the way from Johannesburg.  

However there is tight security and no one is allowed to enter the premises including Journalists.

The body of Mutharika arrived in South Africa Friday morning at  Lanseria private airport through a private Jet.

The Jet landed at Cargo Terminal a development which forced journalists to believe that it carried the remains of Mutharika.

Journalist are still camping outside the hospital waiting for the outcome. 

Mutharika was flown to South Africa on Friday morning after he was admitted at Kamuzu Central Hospital suffering a cardiac arrest.

People started arriving at the hospital Friday night to find out the truth on whether Mutharika is dead or not.

However it is not known  as to when the body will be sent back to Malawi. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012


The body of Malawi's president Bingu wa Mutharika  is  expected to be flown to South Africa tonight 
Unconfirmed reports say Mutharika was pronounced dead on Thursday evening at Kamuzu Central Hospital were he was admitted  after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Mr Mutharika , 78 died in the intensive care after falling ill on Thursday morning. 

"He was  unconscious the moment he arrived, doctors attended to him for two hours but they failed to save his life" disclosed a source who works at the ICU in a telephone interview 
The source further disclosed that Mutharika's body will be flown to South Africa to examine the cause of the death.
Bingu Munthalika
Several family and cabinet members, including his wife Calistar, brother, Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika, were seen at the  hospital. 


Malawi's president Bingu wa Mutharika is feared dead after suffering a cardiac arrest .
The sad news comes few hours after Mutharika was admitted to Kamuzu Central Hospital  in the capital Lilongwe after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Mr Mutharika, 78, died in   in the intensive care unit  after falling ill on Thursday morning.
"Believe you me the president is dead, said a medical doctor who chose not to be named"
He said everyone has been ordered to be quite on the issue.
Bingu Munthalika
Several family and cabinet members, including his wife Calistar, brother, Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika, were seen at the  hospital. 
However there is no official report on Mutharika's death. 
Mr Mutharika came to power in a 2004 election, and was re-elected with a large majority five years later.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

News and Views across Africa: ANC Suspends Malema Again

News and Views across Africa: ANC Suspends Malema Again: The ANC has  slapped the  ANCYL leader Julius Malema  with another suspension for calling  president Jacob Zuma a dictator at a centenary le...

News and Views across Africa: Timeline of Political Chaos in Malawi

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ANC Suspends Malema Again

The ANC has  slapped the  ANCYL leader Julius Malema  with another suspension for calling  president Jacob Zuma a dictator at a centenary lecture. 
The remark was made during a centenary lecture at  Wits University on last Friday.  
slapped with another suspension  

According to The mail & Guardian newspaper   the new suspension did not form any part of the disciplinary proceedings against the embattled ANCYL leader. Malema is currently appealing against his expulsion.

 ANC National Disciplinary Committee met on Tuesday evening — after the party's top six leaders gave a press briefing — and decided to suspend Malema with immediate effect. The NDC reportedly sent Malema a letter on Wednesday morning, informing him of the decision.

Currently  the embattled Malema is  forbidden from attending any ANC meetings.

On Tuesday, ANC leadership  condemned Malema's remark calling it a  "shockingly crude, disrespectful and un-ANC" .