National News – The Nation Online http://mwnation.com Top Malawi Breaking News Headlines Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:43:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 MP queries minimum wage changes http://mwnation.com/mp-queries-minimum-wage-changes/ http://mwnation.com/mp-queries-minimum-wage-changes/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:43:49 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222994 Member of Parliament (MP) for Dowa East Richard Chimwendo Banda (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) has queried the disparity in the minimum wage announced by two ministries. Chimwendo Banda said Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe announced in Parliament Goodall Gondwe announced that the minimum wage had been increased from K680 per day to…

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Member of Parliament (MP) for Dowa East Richard Chimwendo Banda (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) has queried the disparity in the minimum wage announced by two ministries.

Chimwendo Banda said Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe announced in Parliament Goodall Gondwe announced that the minimum wage had been increased from K680 per day to K1 250 per day translating to K25 000 a month calculated on 26 working days.

Queried wage: Chimwendo Banda

However, the Ministry of Labour Youth, Sports and Manpower Development announced later that the minimum wage would be K980 per day.

In his explanation, the responsible minister Francis Kasaila confirmed that indeed K 1 250 was the minimum wage agreed upon by the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) representing employers, Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) representing workers and the government.

“When the budget was adopted, minimum wage moved from K19 000 to K25 000 and the minister announced an increase in the tax free bracket to K30 000 to ensure those who earn minimum wage be below the threshold. But the K1 250 per day would then translate to K32 500 which would be above the announced threshold. This (K1 250) was a target,” Kasaila said. n

 

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MPs request for youth centres http://mwnation.com/mps-request-youth-centres/ http://mwnation.com/mps-request-youth-centres/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:39:38 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222988 A good number of legislators have requested government to construct youth centres in their constituencies, but Minister of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila has asked them to forward the requests to district councils. There were three questions in addition to supplementary questions on yesterday’s order for the minister’s oral replies in relation to construction…

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A good number of legislators have requested government to construct youth centres in their constituencies, but Minister of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila has asked them to forward the requests to district councils.

There were three questions in addition to supplementary questions on yesterday’s order for the minister’s oral replies in relation to construction of youth centres and mini stadiums.

Kasaila: Ask your district councils

However, the members of Parliament (MPs) were not satisfied with the minister’s response that he could only respond to requests on national projects such as Blantyre Youth Centre and Kamuzu Institute for Youth.

Salima South East MP Kasimu Liguluwe (People’s Party-PP) asked Kasaila to consider constructing a youth centre at Katerela Trading Centre while Blantyre North MP Francis Phiso asked for construction of a youth centre between Lirangwe and Mdeka trading centres.

On his part, Thyolo North MP Edmans Kaduya (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) asked the minister if the government could consider constructing a mini stadium at Bvumbwe Research football ground.

In response to Phiso’s request, Kasaila asked the MP to engage his ministry on how to submit plans to the Local Development Fund (LDF) who are responsible for such projects.

“The areas mentioned are trading centres where the youth should be kept busy, so I agree there is need for a youth centre. But the ministry has plans available for these which if the member could engage me I could share on how to access possible funds for the projects,” he said.

Kasaila said with decentralisation, it was not encouraged for central government to make decisions on where development projects should go but the district councils in liaison with district development committees.

In his supplementary question, Karonga South MP Rev Malani Mtonga (People’s Party-PP) said the district deserved youth centres considering the high number of national football players it has produced over the years.

He mentioned the likes of Ernest Mtawali and Gilbert Chirwa while Speaker Richard Msowoya, himself an MP for Karonga Nyungwe (Malawi Congress Party-MCP), added Bosco Munthali as a son of Karonga.

When asked how much it costs to construct a youth centre, Kasaila said K50 million would suffice to put up a simple structure as well as netball  and basketball courts and a football ground. n

 

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SA hospitals claim K592m from Malawians http://mwnation.com/sa-hospitals-claim-k592m-malawians/ http://mwnation.com/sa-hospitals-claim-k592m-malawians/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:39:09 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222987 South African hospitals are pushing the Malawi Government to pay 11.6 million rand (about K592 million) in unpaid medical services bills accumulated over the years by Malawian nationals resident in South Africa. The Sowetan newspaper reported on Wednesday that Gauteng Health department is on a mission to recoup 160 million rand from foreign nationals, including…

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South African hospitals are pushing the Malawi Government to pay 11.6 million rand (about K592 million) in unpaid medical services bills accumulated over the years by Malawian nationals resident in South Africa.

The Sowetan newspaper reported on Wednesday that Gauteng Health department is on a mission to recoup 160 million rand from foreign nationals, including Malawians.

Fabiano: I haven’t seen the report

The newspaper said the department has already sent letters of demand to foreign embassies targeted for the exercise.

Quoting the department’s spokesperson Lesemang Matuka, The Sowetan said the department has launched its debt recovery process against foreigners who failed to settle their bills.

Matuka said embassies were sent letters indicating the amounts owed by their citizens, adding that embassies were engaged to “make financial contributions to the debts of their citizens”.

The department, according to the newspaper, is in a financial crisis as it owes service providers at least five billion rand accumulated over two years.

But Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Emmanuel Fabiano and Malawi Deputy High Commissioner in South Africa Gloria Bamusi yesterday denied knowledge of the issue, saying the Malawi mission was yet to get the purported bill.

Said the minister: “Let us first see the documentation on this matter before we make any comment.”

Bamusi, on the other hand, said the mission saw the report by The Sowetan, but the South African government had not yet contacted them.

“While we are aware of this claim as published by The Sowetan newspaper, we have not received any communication from any agent of the South African government on the matter,” she said.

The South Africa High Commission in Lilongwe also said it was in the dark on the matter yesterday.

According to the report, Zimbabweans owe the largest amount, 114 million rand in unpaid health bills with Malawi second and Nigeria third with an alleged 7.9 million rand.

For years, thousands of Malawians and other foreign nationals have lived in South Africa seeking jobs, but this is the first time Malawi government has been requested to foot any social services bill for its citizens residing in the rainbow nation. n

 

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UN report highlights need to invest in energy http://mwnation.com/un-report-highlights-need-invest-energy/ http://mwnation.com/un-report-highlights-need-invest-energy/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:35:53 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222985 The 2017 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) Least Developed Countries (LDCs) report says poor countries, including Malawi, need a 350 percent increase yearly to achieve the global goal of universal access to energy by 2030. The reported, launched yesterday, shows that access to energy plays a major role in the economic transformation…

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The 2017 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) Least Developed Countries (LDCs) report says poor countries, including Malawi, need a 350 percent increase yearly to achieve the global goal of universal access to energy by 2030.

The reported, launched yesterday, shows that access to energy plays a major role in the economic transformation of any country and Malawi is no exception.

Spezowka: Malawi is very fortunate

A recent Fourth Integrated Household Survey (IHS4) conducted by National Statistical Office (NSO) showed that access to electricity in Malawi increased from 7.8 percent in 2011 to 10.7 percent in 2016. In the rural area, access to electricity is at 2 percent.

This is in contrast to an average access to electricity of 35.4 percent at national level and 14.9 percent in the rural level for other sub-Saharan Africa countries.

Speaking at the launch of the report in Lilongwe, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) portfolio manager Andrew Spezowka said Malawi is far below the average of the LDCs in terms of access to energy which calls for structural transformation in the energy sector.

He said: “Malawi is very fortunate because there is incredible interest by private investors in the region to invest in the energy sector.  The private sector needs to have clear signals from government so that they know their investments are profitable.”

In his remarks, Community Energy Malawi (CEM) country director Edgar Kapiza Bayani said to boost the sector; government, among other things, should expedite on the energy policy.

Malawi largely depends on hydro electricity which has been adversely affected by the lowering levels of the water in the Shire River where about 90 percent of the generation machines for the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) are located.

Currently, Egenco is only producing 147 megawatts (MW) against the average demand of 300MW and installed generation capacity of 351MW, resulting in extended load shedding that last up to 25 hours. n

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PAC issues Ultimatum http://mwnation.com/pac-issues-ultimatum/ http://mwnation.com/pac-issues-ultimatum/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:18:44 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222981 The clergy under a banner of Public Affairs Committee (PAC) joined by their flock yesterday marched to Parliament Building and petitioned President Peter Mutharika and Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to ensure tabling of Electoral Reforms Bills. The influential quasi-religious group that champions adherence to human rights principles, transparency and accountability has given authorities up…

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The clergy under a banner of Public Affairs Committee (PAC) joined by their flock yesterday marched to Parliament Building and petitioned President Peter Mutharika and Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to ensure tabling of Electoral Reforms Bills.

The influential quasi-religious group that champions adherence to human rights principles, transparency and accountability has given authorities up to next Wednesday  to have the Bills tabled or face nationwide street protests.

Chingota reads one of the petitions yesterday

PAC chairperson the Reverend Dr Felix Chingota presented the petitions which were first read out. The two petitions—one to the President and the other to the Speaker—carried a similar message, except for points of emphasis in a few paragraphs.

The thrust of the message was that government should ensure that it tables, in the current meeting of Parliament, a set of six Bills collectively called Electoral Reforms Bills, which includes the recommended 50+1 percent  requirement in declaring winner of the presidential election.

Other demands included:

  • That government tables the Local Government Act (Amendment) Bill, including the removal of the voting power of members of Parliament (MPs) at council level.
  • Ensure the reforms are tabled by November 29 this year, failing which PAC will hold a peaceful nationwide march.
  • Ensure that government prioritises the Electoral Reforms Bills, so that they are completed during the current sitting; and,
  • Ensure that government upholds the will of Malawians, saying ignoring the people’s will would be tantamount to suffocating constitutionalism and the collective will of Malawians who put leaders into their respective positions.

Receiving the petition addressed to the President, Lilongwe City Council (LCC) chief executive officer (CEO) Charles Makanga said he will deliver it to the relevant authorities on time.

On the other hand, receiving the petition on behalf of the Speaker, chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, Maxwell Thyolera, said his committee was ready to discuss the reforms as soon as they are presented to them.

He said: “We are waiting for the Business Committee to bring the Bills in Parliament. As members of Parliament and as the Legal Affairs Committee, we are ready to debate the Bills in Parliament and consequently turn them into laws.”

At the start of the march, there was a rare sight as senior leaders of various Christian denominations, the Muslim community and other faith shook hands and hugged. They were resplendent in their robes, gowns and collars.

Female marchers in church cloths or colourful hijabs also turned out in large numbers to accompany their faith leaders.

Heavily armed police officers followed and watched the marchers all the way to Parliament.

However, a noticeable hitch to the event was that the marchers were kept waiting for over 30 minutes before the relevant recipients pitched up to receive the petitions.

The Bills at the heart of the electoral reforms have been some of the most debated, as Malawians try to avoid the old electoral processes which nearly brought about chaos in Malawi’s general elections in 2014.

PAC, the Law Commission and some civil society organisations (CSOs) have been consulting different stakeholders, including government, to solicit views of Malawians on the proposed electoral reforms.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu promised in Parliament that the Electoral Reforms Bills would be tabled in the House during this current sitting. But since then, there seems to be no firm move in this direction, with the government saying this will be possible after Cabinet reviews the Bills.

The Electoral Reforms Bills include an amendment of Section 80(2) of the Constitution and Section 96 (5) of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act proposing 50+1 percent majority in presidential election and an amendment of Section 81 (3) of the Constitution for swearing-in of the President and Vice-President to be done after 30 days. n

 

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Opposition question gensets deal http://mwnation.com/opposition-question-gensets-deal/ http://mwnation.com/opposition-question-gensets-deal/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:12:53 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222976 Opposition members of Parliament (MPs) have described the procurement of generators to ease power shortages in the country as an avenue for some unscrupulous individuals to cash in on the prevailing crisis. Putting across a question of national importance, Kasungu Central MP Amon Nkhata (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) drew the attention of the House to contents…

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Opposition members of Parliament (MPs) have described the procurement of generators to ease power shortages in the country as an avenue for some unscrupulous individuals to cash in on the prevailing crisis.

Putting across a question of national importance, Kasungu Central MP Amon Nkhata (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) drew the attention of the House to contents of an unsigned  letter from purported employees of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) which is circulating on social media.

Nkhata: Why was there no feedback

He wondered why, after Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) invited bids for the supply of diesel generators, there was no feedback on the successful suppliers or notice to those who had failed.

On the Escom generator deal, Nkhata alleged that Escom had entered into an agreement with a company to pay a commissioning fee as well as buy fuel for the generators when that should have been the responsibility of the company.

But Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya stopped the MP from mentioning names of individuals suspected of involvement, citing Standing Orders which forbid mentioning people who cannot defend themselves in the House.

Nkhata then asked the minister responsible to explain, saying: “Mindful that the board rejected the agreement, but certain powers that be pushed it through, there are some selfish individuals who would like to cash in on these blackouts.

“Can the minister responsible come clear on the truth and position of government regarding these generators? Is it leasing, hiring or procuring because these mean different things,” he said.

However, Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe, under the guise of contributing to debate on the question, informed the House that Egenco and Escom were both tasked with finding means to resolve the challenge of power cuts.

The minister said Egenco was looking to buy generators to supply 50 megawatts (MW) into the national grid while Escom would come in with 78 megawatts to deal with the crisis.

Egenco has 15 generators with a 1.5MW capacity but only 10 are functional while an expert was on the ground fixing the rest.

“Over and above what Egenco is doing, Escom will be hiring and this will be expected to be completed between December and end January. We believe we will substantially mitigate the situation,” said Gondwe.

However, he said government had been advised that fuel supply would be a challenge and that the matter would be looked at “from a technical and financial point of view”.

Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi (MCP) said the power shortages could not be described as a crisis when in 2015 government had noted the need to increase power generation and promised capacity would go up by 127 percent by 2016.

She said: “When there is a crisis, we tend to use hasty procurement measures. One wonders, did we not create this crisis to cash in on the deal?”

However, Gondwe was not ready with responses on the cost to the consumers when Lunguzi and other MPs requested for information.

Neither did he respond to allegations of fraud by some unnamed individuals in government. n

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Eastern Region GBV cases up 19% http://mwnation.com/eastern-region-gbv-cases-19/ http://mwnation.com/eastern-region-gbv-cases-19/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:10:17 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222971 Eastern Region Police Commissioner Martha Suwedi says gender-based violence (GBV) is a threat to the socio-economic development in the region. The police commissioner made the sentiments on Wednesday at Chinamwali Trading Centre in Zomba during Eastern Region Police Women Network Basadi Operation under the theme Peaceful Homes, Peaceful Workplaces. The operation, which started with a…

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Eastern Region Police Commissioner Martha Suwedi says gender-based violence (GBV) is a threat to the socio-economic development in the region.

The police commissioner made the sentiments on Wednesday at Chinamwali Trading Centre in Zomba during Eastern Region Police Women Network Basadi Operation under the theme Peaceful Homes, Peaceful Workplaces.

Suwedi addresses the crowd that gathered during the event

The operation, which started with a freedom march from Zomba Police College Camp to Chinamwali Trading Centre in readiness for the 16 days of activism from November 25 to December 10 was aimed at educating communities on the causes, signs, dangers, prevention and punishments meted out on GBV perpetrators.

Suwedi said in 2016, the region registered 1 772 GBV cases whereas in the same period this year, the case have increased to 2 189, representing a 19.04 jump.

At the same time, sexual offences have reduced by 2.4 percent whereas defilement cases have increased by 13.3 percent this year compared to the same period last year, according to the official.

“GBV delays development as time and resources used to treat the victims is the same money that could have been invested in various socio-economic developments,” said Suwedi.

A resident from Chinamwali Township, Mwandida Gandali, described the operation as crucial as it has enabled women and girls to know other forms of abuses.

“Men should also be able to report abusive female perpetrators to authorities to face the law if GBV is to be eradicated in the country,” she said.

Zomba civil society organisations chairperson Newton Sindo pledged that his network will champion GBV eradication in the district. n

 

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Egenco distributes cook stoves in Machinga http://mwnation.com/egenco-distributes-cook-stoves-machinga/ http://mwnation.com/egenco-distributes-cook-stoves-machinga/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:08:33 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222967 Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has distributed 3 000 environmentally friendly cook stoves to people in Machinga District to help conserve the environment. In an interview, Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya said energy saver cook stoves are significant in rejuvenating the country’s degraded environment. The cook stoves, worth K3 million, were distributed in conjunction with…

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Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has distributed 3 000 environmentally friendly cook stoves to people in Machinga District to help conserve the environment.

In an interview, Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya said energy saver cook stoves are significant in rejuvenating the country’s degraded environment.

Women take their cook stoves home

The cook stoves, worth K3 million, were distributed in conjunction with the United Purpose (UP).

The stoves were distributed in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Sitolo in the district.

Liabunya said the stoves aim to reduce the wanton cutting down of trees which are used as firewood and for making charcoal.

Machinga is part of the catchment area for Shire River, which is a source of 90 percent of hydropower generation for Egenco.

Liabunya said the stoves use little firewood and not charcoal, a development that may reduce the destruction of the trees and increase vegetative cover that will attract precipitation and increase water levels in the Shire River.

UP programmes manager for sustainable energy Lloyd Archer urged the communities to use the cook stoves.

In his remarks, T/A Sitolo called on his subjects to utilise the stoves effectively, saying aside from affecting electricity generation, the degraded environment is also affecting agricultural production.

“Let us remember that trees are crucial in our livelihood, and as a nation, we shall be held accountable for prolonged disasters and other catastrophes that may hit the country if we continue fail to manage protected areas prudently,” he said. n

 

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Govt ponders Kasinje Health Centre upgrade http://mwnation.com/govt-ponders-kasinje-health-centre-upgrade/ http://mwnation.com/govt-ponders-kasinje-health-centre-upgrade/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:05:13 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222964 Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi says government will look into the possibility of upgrading Kasinje Health Centre in Ntcheu to a rural hospital. He described the distance from Kasinje to Ntcheu District Hospital as unacceptable, saying that government will ensure there is a rural hospital in the lakeshore area. Speaking on Wednesday when he inspected…

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Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi says government will look into the possibility of upgrading Kasinje Health Centre in Ntcheu to a rural hospital.

He described the distance from Kasinje to Ntcheu District Hospital as unacceptable, saying that government will ensure there is a rural hospital in the lakeshore area.

Muluzi (3L) being briefed on the projects

Speaking on Wednesday when he inspected the site of new maternity blocks, waiting shelters, and other amenities at Kasinje and Bwanje health centres, Muluzi said the new structures will improve the health of mothers and newborn babies.

“The German government through Results-Based Financing for Maternal and Neonatal Health (RBF4MNH) are investing huge amounts of money to improve the health service delivery so that Malawi achieves the Universal Health Services for all,” he said.

The minister said through RBF4MNH there is value for money in health services delivery since the two facilities have recorded no maternal deaths since 2013.

RBF4MNH director Mathew Nviiri said they are investing K97 million for Kasinje Health Centre upgrade and K75 million for Bwanje Health Centre to improve quality of services.

German head of development and Deputy Ambassador Thomas Stagier said his government would like to have the RBF model integrated in the health system specifically in areas which have great impact. n

 

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Storm kills girl, injures 3 in KK http://mwnation.com/storm-kills-girl-injures-3-kk/ http://mwnation.com/storm-kills-girl-injures-3-kk/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:03:09 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222962 A heavy storm yesterday killed a 13-year-old girl and injured three others in Malemia Village in Nkhotakota. The district’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) acting desk officer Victor Chithabwa said the deceased, Zione Kaole, and others met their fate when the house they were in collapsed. He said as of Monday, 100 households in…

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A heavy storm yesterday killed a 13-year-old girl and injured three others in Malemia Village in Nkhotakota.

The district’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) acting desk officer Victor Chithabwa said the deceased, Zione Kaole, and others met their fate when the house they were in collapsed.

One of the houses that collapsed in the storm
One of the houses that collapsed in the storm

He said as of Monday, 100 households in the affected areas were rendered homeless.

“The number of affected households is expected to rise because some houses are still collapsing from the impact. A team is on the ground assessing the immediate needs and to compile a detailed report,” said Chithabwa.

According to Chithabwa, two of the injured have been treated as outpatients while the third is under observation at Nkhotakota District Hospital.

So far, Malemia, Tandwe, Sani and Mpamantha villages in Senior Chief Malengachanzi and Sub-Traditional Authority Kalimanjira have been affected by the storm. n

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Pregnant women demand a clinic http://mwnation.com/pregnant-women-demand-clinic/ http://mwnation.com/pregnant-women-demand-clinic/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 08:01:15 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222959 Pregnant women in Chisi, Karonga, keep dying while giving birth at the hands of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) due to lack of passable roads to take them to the nearest clinics, it has been established. The hard-to-reach hilly population in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kilupula still relies on the banned birth attendants as motorbike operators charge…

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Pregnant women in Chisi, Karonga, keep dying while giving birth at the hands of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) due to lack of passable roads to take them to the nearest clinics, it has been established.

The hard-to-reach hilly population in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kilupula still relies on the banned birth attendants as motorbike operators charge about K5 000 to take women in labour to Kaporo and Ngerenge health centres.

According to the locals, five women have died on the rugged, dusty road during the past five years while two others developed fistula.

Mbughi: Some die on the way

“Some women deliver on the way while the five died of complications because they could not afford a motorbike,” said Febie Mbughi.

This contradicts bylaws contrived to ensure no woman gives birth at home and with the assistance of TBAs.

The rural community, through Kilupula Area Development Committee, has petitioned Karonga District Council to construct a clinic in the area.

They disclosed this on the sidelines of a meeting organised by Lutheran Association of Malawi on Wednesday to discuss the right to food.

“The area has no passable roads, markets and Admarc depot for easy access to food and other essential supplies.

Songwe Ward councillor Austin Mwapimeghe said this compromises the remote population’s right to food and access to health services.

He asked the district health office to establish a clinic in the area. n

 

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Legal Committee wants gender clause amended http://mwnation.com/legal-committee-wants-gender-clause-amended/ http://mwnation.com/legal-committee-wants-gender-clause-amended/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 07:59:09 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222957 The report of the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament on the Political Parties Bill  has recommended an amendment to a gender clause of the Bill to be aligned to the Gender Equality Act. The proposal was made on Tuesday when Parliament endorsed the provision of banning handouts during the official campaign period ahead of elections.…

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The report of the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament on the Political Parties Bill  has recommended an amendment to a gender clause of the Bill to be aligned to the Gender Equality Act.

The proposal was made on Tuesday when Parliament endorsed the provision of banning handouts during the official campaign period ahead of elections.

Clause 3 of the Bill proposes a two thirds gender representation in political parties, but the committee has opted for a 40/60 percent framework in line with the Gender Equality Act.

Referred the bill to committee: Tembenu

On the appointment of the Registrar of Political Parties, the committee did not agree that the minister should be responsible because of the sensitive nature of the work.

“To ensure fairness, the committee is proposing an amendment to clause 4 and 5 which would result in the involvement of the Public Appointments Committee in the appointment of the registrar,” the committee reported.

The House started  debate on the report yesterday  after Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu had referred the Bill to the committee in June this year, not long after it was tabled.

Among other things, the Bill outlined the procedure for registration of a political party, created the office of Registrar of Political Parties and defined handouts and campaign materials.

However, it was the matter of handouts which became contentious as debate which followed the tabling of the Bill showed that definitions were lacking.

Legal Affairs Committee chairperson Maxwell Thyolera  had said on Tuesday the committee needed to clarify these issues by consulting the drafters and other stakeholders who include the champions of the Bill, Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD).

Thyolera said once the Bill was passed into law, political parties, civil society organisations and other stakeholders would be empowered to start awareness on what the committee described as a ‘retrogressive culture’. n

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Blackouts cost Mzimba hospital K1.5m/month http://mwnation.com/blackouts-cost-mzimba-hospital-k1-5m-month/ http://mwnation.com/blackouts-cost-mzimba-hospital-k1-5m-month/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 07:57:24 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222955 Mzimba District Hospital is spending almost K1.5 million a month on fuel for standby generators to mitigate life-threatening impacts of constant power disruptions. In an interview, Mzimba South district health officer Lumbani Munthali said the power blackouts have worsened the hospital’s financial problems. He appealed to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to spare…

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Mzimba District Hospital is spending almost K1.5 million a month on fuel for standby generators to mitigate life-threatening impacts of constant power disruptions.

In an interview, Mzimba South district health officer Lumbani Munthali said the power blackouts have worsened the hospital’s financial problems.

Munthali inspects the “costly” generator

He appealed to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) to spare hospitals from the ongoing outages, which have seen some locations going 24 hours without power.

“Having blackouts from 6am to 6am is a big problem to us. Generators are very costly. In time of emergencies or when we need to do operations, we use the main generator which needs 150 to 200 litres of fuel every 12 hours. We cannot manage,” he said.

Munthali said the hospital is blowing limited funds on fuel instead of using it on healthcare services, including mass awareness campaigns on cholera, hygiene, sanitation and nutrition.

“At the end of the month, we have to pay utility bills. For the district hospital alone, we pay K2.5 million to Escom every month,” he said.

Government, with the assistance of Global Fund, is installing a solar power system at the facility to mitigate power problems.

Recently, Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) chief executive officer William Liabunya said the power woes will be lessened when three generators to be installed in Mzuzu become operational by December 25. n

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PAC gives govt seven days ultimatum on electoral reforms http://mwnation.com/pac-gives-govt-seven-days-ultimatum-electoral-reforms/ http://mwnation.com/pac-gives-govt-seven-days-ultimatum-electoral-reforms/#respond Thu, 23 Nov 2017 15:37:33 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222910 The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has asked government to table the Electoral Reforms Bill as well as the LocalGovernment Reforms Bills by Wednesday next week or face nationwide protests. PAC chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota said this as he led a march from Area 18 to Parliament in Lilongwe where they presented a petition to the State president and…

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The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has asked government to table the Electoral Reforms Bill as well as the LocalGovernment Reforms Bills by Wednesday next week or face nationwide protests.

PAC chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota said this as he led a march from Area 18 to Parliament in Lilongwe where they presented a petition to the State president and the Speaker of Parliament.

Rev. Chingota presenting the petition

PAC, Law commission and some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been consulting various
stakeholders including government to solicit views of Malawians on the proposed electoral reforms.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu also promised people during his speech in Parliament that the electoral reforms bills will be brought to Parliament during the current sitting but since then there seem to be no move on the matter from the government side.

In the petition,  PAC has asked government to do the following; ensure that government tables Electoral Reforms Bill including during the current Parliamentary sitting, ensure that government tables Local Government Act reforms bill including the removal of Members of Parliament (MPs) voting powers at council level, ensure the reforms are tabled by 29thNovember this year failing which PAC will hold a peaceful march nationwide.

PAC also want government  to prioritise the reforms bill so that they are completed during the current sitting and ensure that they uphold the will of Malawians saying shifting them would be tantamount to suffocating constitutionalism and the collective will of Malawians who put leaders into their respective positions.

Receiving the petition on behalf of the president, Lilongwe City Council (LCC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charles Makanga said he will deliver the petition to the relevant authorities on time.

On the other hand, Legal Affairs Parliamentary Committee Chairperson Maxwell Thyolera, who is also Malawi CongressParty (MCP) MP for  Lilongwe North East, received the petition on behalf of the speaker.

Thyolera said his committee is very ready to discuss the reforms as soon as they are presented to them.

“We are waiting for the business committee to bring the bills in Parliament. As members of Parliament and as Legal Affairs Committee we are ready to debate the bills in Parliament and consequently turn them into laws,” he said.

On Wednesday, two people claiming to be leaders of civil society organizations also presented a petition to
Parliament asking the house to do some more consultations before bringing the bills to parliament.

However, commenting on this, Thyolera said enough consultations on the electoral reforms have already been done by recognized and credible task forces and that the results were recommended by credible organisations including the Law Commission.

“To say wider consultations were not done is far from the truth, because most the recommendations on these bills emanates from a report by the constitutional review of 2007 which also has the backing of the Law Commission,” Thyolera said.

 

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Ex-MYPs’ vigil pays off http://mwnation.com/ex-myps-vigil-pays-off/ http://mwnation.com/ex-myps-vigil-pays-off/#comments Thu, 23 Nov 2017 12:10:22 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222863 The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development says it has identified over 500 former members of the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYPs) to be paid terminal benefits following the group’s four-month vigil outside Capital Hill in Lilongwe. A group of former MYPs, the disbanded and disarmed paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) during…

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The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development says it has identified over 500 former members of the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYPs) to be paid terminal benefits following the group’s four-month vigil outside Capital Hill in Lilongwe.

A group of former MYPs, the disbanded and disarmed paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) during the single-party rule, camped at the memorial tower on the outskirts of Capital Hill for four months demanding their terminal benefits. But government maintained it would not make a pay out before conducting an audit.

Flashback: The group that marched Capital Hill in Lilongwe

Lilongwe Msozi South member of Parliament (MP) Vitus Dzoole Mwale (MCP) asked Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe on what the ministry was doing to ensure that the ex-MYPs are paid their dues to resolve the matter swiftly.

In his response in Parliament, Gondwe said following an audit and verification exercise by the National Audit Office (NAO), about 18 former MYPs had been paid so far from the compensations and losses allocation at the Accountant General.

He said: “As you know, terminal benefits are subject to audit. So far, 18 have been paid and a further 492 are in the process of being paid because they had valid documents as audited by NAO.

“I have met with the representatives of the former MYPs and only those with valid documents will be paid.

“During our last meeting on 6 November, we agreed that those who are camping would leave after the names were released, but we are surprised that they are still camping outside Capital Hill.”

Treasury on Wednesday said the terminal benefits will come from the Pensions and Gratuities Vote which was allocated K70.6 billion in the 2017/18 National Budget.

In the audit, government asked the former MYPs to produce copies of their letters of appointment and they had to be only those who were in service on May 2 1994 when the MYP was disbanded through a repeal Act in Parliament.

The minister said government acknowledged that following the disarmament of MYP in 1993 and repeal of the Act which formally recognised them a year later, MYPs deserved to be paid their terminal benefits.

He said MYP was established in 1965, but the workers were only placed in the civil service in 1992.

Gondwe said conditions for their dismissal, according to the Malawi Young Pioneers Repeal Act of 1994, was that they may be seconded, assigned or transferred within the civil service but not the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) or Malawi Police Service.

Those the ministry responsible for the public service could not find placements for through secondment, transfer, promotion or otherwise assigned would be retired or have their services terminated and paid their terminal benefits.

It is the latter group which the government has been grappling to deal with.

Gondwe said not all were paid between 2012 and 2014 after they presented their grievances to  government in 2011.

“While we thought the matter was over, another wave of ex-MYPs came to demand their benefits so the government decided to process these on the basis of what was outlined,” he said.

Responding to a supplementary question from Dzoole Mwale on the timeframe for resolving the matter, Gondwe said the ministry could not give one but for those confirmed, payments could start.

MYP was initially started as an institution to empower the youth with various technical and agricultural skills. However, it was later discovered to be acting as a paramilitary wing of MCP before its disarmament in the transition from single party to plural politics.

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