Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Talking in Whispers: Returns

I am taking a hiatus because of other personal commitments.
As such, I will not write of Malawi becoming a Police State where one can be arrested for dressing, talking, eating, driving, walking (swagging) like the President.
Only in Malawi: it is illegal to own a house, a land rover, a limo, yamaha motorbikes, security guards, clothes, shoes, number of children, surnames, first names, number of teeth, hairstyle and anything which resemble that of the president...
Everything which I may have written tomorrow or the day after tomorrow can be found in this award winning piece titled: TALKING IN WHISPERS.
Click the link to buy the book if you are interested in reading what I may have written but was already written decades back.
Sixteen-year-old Andres becomes a wanted man and the target of security forces after the driver of a car that he is travelling in is shot and his father is taken away.
Then Andres meets an American journalist who provides him with evidence that will be 'more valuable than bullets' against the oppressive military regime.
An exciting and uncompromising political thriller, Talking in Whispers was awarded the German Buxtehulder Bulle, which celebrates outstanding teenage fiction dealing with human rights themes.
This is where I end and close down my blog, see you in 2016... 


Fire the Rapist Cabinet Minister

Disclaimer: This is nothing to some of you and has not been written following any convention of a news report

A senior Minister in Malawi intended to rape an underage child in Mzuzu. He tricked the girl, whose father was once in the cabinet, into his room at one of the local hotels. I will not provide more details here. However, the story just made headlines in a Friday gossip paper despite being one of the gravest criminal act on the land.
Such an issue deserves strong coverage by all media houses as this minister has failed to ensure justice of this innocent girl. How will such a rapist ensure justice for all Malawians while serving as the Minister. Are not Cabinet Ministers supposed to be accountable and be custodian of human rights and serve the welfare of the most vulnerable?
The long arms of the law have been made short by this cabinet minister who swore to defend the Constitution.
The Rapist is still the Minister, despite the President being a woman and claiming to be a strong advocate of the girl child's rights.
Joyce Banda please fire this rapist from the Cabinet
In the UK, a Minister was fired for calling police officers as plebeians. Another Minister in the UK was also fired for over-speeding. Are you telling me that raping is a less serious human rights violation than over-speeding?
As Malawians, Are we really serious about moving our democracy to its maturity stage? I bet not. We are satisfied at this infancy level.
I will not write anything more considering that I am on a break, and considering that other people may be arrested for publishing my blogs. If you need more information about this, then I am afraid I will not give it.
By the way, did you hear about this minister who abducted an underage girl from Lilongwe to Mzuzu where he had sex with her. I will not write anything about that either. All I can say now is that it is illegal to have sex or buy sex from an underage according to the laws of Malawi, particularly the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act  passed in 2010. The maximum sentence for such crimes is life.
Since you are the same people who claim that whistle-blowers deserve to be arrested and not those who flaunt the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, I will zip my mouth and not meddle into other peoples business. But do you know the emotional trauma such girls have passed through.
As I said earlier on, I am on a hiatus and see you in 2016.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thugs Hired to ‘Silence’ a Whistleblower: Malawi’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice Implicated…

…As Corruption Mars Joyce Banda's Regime 

Senior cabinet ministers in the Administration of Joyce Banda are alleged to have hired thugs to ‘silence’ a whistleblower, this blogger can reveal.
According to highly trusted sources, Rebecca Chimjeka, a blogger and well known reporter in Malawi, is living in fear and is emotionally disturbed after receiving an “anonymous” call from one of the senior ministers implicated in corruption scandals.
However, the call’s anonymity was revealed as Chimjeka was not the intended recipient.
The alleged Minister, by mistake, dialed Rebecca Chimjeka’s phone number, thinking she was an alleged assailant who the Minister had hired to “silence” Chimjeka for being critical of the government.
Rebecca Chimjeka: Emotionally disturbed
“Mwamumenya, mtsikana uja (Have you dealt with [Rebecca Chimjeka])?” queried the said minister in the phone conversation.
According to Chimjeka, this prompted her to pretend to be the alleged mugger and responded with a “no” to the question; something which enraged the Minister.
“Ndiye kuti zikukusangalatsani zomwe akulemba eti (That means you are pleased with her blogs)?” The minister sarcastically probed.
Not known to the Minister, Rebecca was recording the conversation having received three anonymous calls threatening her security for her investigations which implicated the President, Joyce Banda and her vice president Khumbo Kachali in corrupt practices.
          According to her investigations, Joyce Banda, the vice President Khumbo Khachali, and other senior government officials such as Ralph Kasambara and Sidik Mia, among other officials, flouted the Malawi constitution and illegally "offered themselves" contracts to supply subsidized fertilizer.
Consequently, Rebecca established that out of the 27 companies contracted to supply the donor supported fertilizer to uplift the wellbeing of Malawians who are currently living in chronic poverty, 14 companies are owned by members of the executive branch of the government.

Sheer Coincidence? Above and Below: the list of names thought to be associated with senior Peoples Party members

Other senior party sympathizers and prospective Peoples Party financiers own other 7 companies on the list.

The suppliers include the following companies: JB Investments, KK Properties, Astor Chemicals (owned by one Abdul Gaffer Mohamed Sidik Mia), Boss Distributors.
This blogger does not intend to imply that these companies are owned by anyone in the current regime.
However, it is an open secret that Joyce Banda and Khumbo Kachali are commonly known by their acronyms:- JB for Joyce Banda and KK for the vice President Khumbo Kachali.
Likewise, Sidik Mia is the Minister of Transport and Public Works something which may be intriguing as Astor Chemicals is owned by someone called Abdul Gaffer Mohamed Sidik Mia.
 It is even fascinating to note that Malawi’s Attorney General and Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambara, owns a company called Boss Car Hire as earlier until today stated on his Facebook profile.
According to the list, a company called Boss Distributors has also been awarded the tender to distribute the “subsidy”.
Of course, this blogger does not remove the possibility of this being a sheer coincidence.
The Director of Information, Isaac  Cheke Ziba, when contacted to clarify on this "coincidence", directed this reporter to a publicity in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sarah Tione, whose phone numbers were all out of reach.
However, as I was going to press, Kasambara had edited his Facebook profile and removed his proprietorship to Boss Car Hire. As I said, it could be sheer coincidence.
Assuming that these companies are owned by the alleged owners, it should however be stressed here that it is not known if the owners had declared their business interests to the Speaker of Parliament, Henry Chimunthu Banda, as the Constitution of Malawi demands.
Ralph Kasambara (second person from left)
Fervidly, the constitution asserts in Section 88: “the President and members of the Cabinet shall…within three months from the date of election or appointment, as the case may be, fully disclose all of their assets, liabilities and business interests, and those of their spouses, held by them or on their behalf as at that date; and, unless Parliament otherwise prescribes by an Act of Parliament, such disclosure shall be made in a written document delivered to the Speaker of the National Assembly who shall immediately upon receipt deposit the document with such public office as may be specified in the Standing Orders of Parliament”.
The Constitution adds: “The President and members of the Cabinet shall not use their respective offices for personal gain or place themselves in a situation where their material interests conflict with the responsibilities and duties of their offices”.
But Kasambara later revealed to Chimjeka that his Boss Car Hire is not related to Boss Distributors (which was found to be owned by a Malawian Indian).
We should also not remove the possibility of having different ministers rushing to the registrar of companies to “cover up” their ownership of companies listed on this year’s fertilizer suppliers especially after the whistleblower had published the anomalies implicating the President and some members of the cabinet. With “orders from above”, this has the highest probability.
This story brings back memories of 20 people killed during the July 20 demonstrations for standing up against nepotism and corrupt practices which marred the administration of Bingu wa Mutharika which saw Mulli Brothers getting a lion’s share in all government contracts.
Another fascinating thing is that before the call was made, Rebecca Chimjeka had retracted the part in her investigative epistle which linked Ralph Kasambara to Boss Distributors. After the call was made, the ‘retraction’ was also ‘retracted’.
Ironic, isn’t it?
According to her blog, the whistleblower alleges that the cabinet minister phoned her at exactly 14:39 (12:39hrs GMT) on the 11th of this month.
In the article, she alleges that the Minister also served in the same portfolio during Bingu wa Mutharika’s first term.
Through basic sum of deduction, this leaves Ralph Kasambara on the spotlight.
Kasambara served as AG during Mutharika’s first term before falling out of favor of the then president.
He is currently serving in the same portfolio.
It is not the first time that government agents have used machineries at their disposal and their authority to silence activists and whistleblowers.
Recently, Justice Mponda was arrested allegedly for stories which also implicated President Joyce Banda who had freed rapist Agala Festone Kuiwenga, just a month after the High Court had extended his 8 year sentence by one more year due to the gravity of the offence he committed.
She also pardoned George Allan Nyambi, a relation of Senior Chief Nyambi of Machinga. Nyambi was convicted for murder.
In the meantime, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) have said that they are saddened by efforts employed by the Malawi Government and its agents to silence the Media.
MISA argued that the Malawi Government is using “out-moded pieces of legislation enacted during the colonial era to suppress dissent views and promote colonial superiority”, adding that such laws “are archaic and retrogressive [with] no role to play in a democracy”.
So far, activists are ganging up against the current government of Joyce Banda for undermining various sections of the country’s constitution.
some of the people who Ralph Kasambara is alleged to have
kidnapped and assaulted earlier this year
Ralph Kasambara, who doubles as the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, was arrested this year allegedly for kidnapping people before subjecting them to mental torture and other forms of physical brutality.
Efforts to talk to Kasamabara proved futile as his phone number was not being answered.
This blogger will keep on attempting to hear Kasambara's side of the story on the matter.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tanzanian High Commissioner Not Deported, Minister of Justice Claims

Troubled waters of Lake Malawi
The Minister of Justice in Malawi has clarified on earlier reports which claimed that the Tanzanian High Commissioner to Malawi, Patrick Tsere, had been declared persona-non-grata.
According to one of the local online papers, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ralph Kasambala, has issued a statement which “categorically refutes” such reports as not being true.
Patrick Tsere told Zodiak Malawi that part of Lake Malawi is owned by Tanzania. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Activists Trash PP’s Victory in Mzimba

Activists in Malawi have trashed claims that the just ended by elections in Mzimba successfully served as the litmus test for Joyce Banda’s popularity.
            The ruling People’s Party won one seat in the two parliamentary by-elections conducted in Mzimba district.
This made other people to conclude that Joyce Banda has scored a 50% on the litmus test.
Dead or Alive? The casket for Peoples Party in Mzimba as people
However, one well-known activist, Billy Mayaya, argued that the by-elections come far behind serving as the litmus test.
Mayaya, popular for standing against the autocratic regime of Bingu wa Mutharika, wrote on his facebook profile.
“Economic recovery and not by-elections will be PP's Litmus test!!”, declared Mayaya.
The current regime is facing fresh calls for poor economic recovery plans, and mismanagement of public resources.
However, the president has responded that she will not give in to pressure in coming up with economic recovery plans.
As such, commentators have said that Joyce Banda's administration is reluctant and not ready to suffer together with Malawians or to start respecting people’s rights.
The recent Integrated Household Survey, which quantifies socio-economic development in Malawi, revealed that one third of the country’s population is living under ultra-poverty with extreme deprivation of human basic needs.
The Malawi president also revealed that poverty levels have increased to over 85% from 50%  last year.
Such critics include Rafiq Hajat, John Kapito, Undule Mwakasungula and have been joined by CONGOMA, PAC and HRCC.
These organisations played a key role in standing up against Mutharika.
Joseph Mabvuto Kachali, an independent candidate won the seat in Mzimba Central while Mzimba South West went to Raymond Nkhata of People’s Party.

Civil Societies Ready to Demonstrate Against Joyce Banda

Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin! The writing is on the wall as religious-based civil societies will demonstrate their displeasure with the current regime this month in Blantyre.
            According to press reports, Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has decided to hold a major conference where delegates will examine ills by the current regime.
"I don't want to pre-empt what will be discussed. However, it is only sufficient to tell you that as PAC we strongly feel that not everything is going on well in this country”, said the Publicity Secretary of the faith bodies, Maurice Munthali.
Resign or Improve: PAC to school Joyce Banda
PAC joins hundreds of other Civil Society Organisations such as Council of Non-government Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA) which oversees NGOs registered in Malawi; Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), an umbrella of all organisations working on human rights in Malawi and Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA).
Another outspoken activist, John Kapito, is also reported to have declared that the current president no longer has the  plight of Malawians at heart, 85% of whom are swimming in poverty traps while the president is obsessed with globetrotting.
In retaliation, however, the President labelled all her critics as “jealous and foolish”.
In addition, the Minister of Information and the state house press officers also declared that these critics are criticizing the government merely for not being given any government favours as she has done with her friends.
However, PAC declared that this conference is in line with its aims and objectives.
“We are not fighting or siding with anyone. PAC is just executing its obligations and mandate to provide the necessary checks and balances”.
PAC is well known for standing against the dictatorial regime of Kamuzu Banda. Its members, such as the Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral letter which fought against autocratic leaderships of Kamuzu Banda.
PAC also stood firm against Bakili Muluzi’s third -term bill and open-term bills as he wanted to remain in power, before he handpicked Mutharika.
In March this year, following a similar conference, PAC gave the then President, Bingu wa Mutharika, a 90-days ultimatum to either resign or resolve various socio-economic and political atrocities.
However, Muntharika died a month later on 5th of April. This made the then vice president, Joyce Banda, who sided with PAC on the ultimatum, to be sworn in.
She promised the nation that her regime would address all action points raised during the March conference.
Like Father? Joyce Banda and the late Bingu wa Mutharika
The atrocities raised against Mutharika include poor governance and mismanagement of economic.
However, it is almost 200 days; and the country is yet to see major change. According to Muthari, this has necessitated PAC to take action.
Inside sources indicate that Joyce Banda will also be issued a similar ultimatum of either resigning or giving in to austerity measures. However, going by her recent remarks, one would rightly conclude that resignation is the sole option remaining for Joyce Banda.