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Archive for May, 2012

Ligoya is now Mw’s High Commissioner to India

Barely few weeks after he was fired as central bank chief, Dr Perks M Ligoya can now start mastering diplomacy 101. He now heads to New Delhi, India to be Malawi’s High Commissioner.

He replaces Chrissie Chawanje Mughogho who was among the first diplomats to be recalled late April 2012 by the new President Mrs Joyce Banda. Ambassador Mughogho was given 3 months to wind up her tour of duty!

Dr Ligoya who has been Governor of the Reserve of Malawi (RBM) since 2009 was replaced by Charles Chuka, a former RBM manager for economic services and former senior advisor at the World Bank.

Ligoya’s tenure as top central banker was characterised by forex shortage and an over-valued Kwacha against the major trading currencies.

Chaponda tears apart JB’s speech; faults poor implementation of devaluation

Leader of the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) in Parliament Dr. George Thapatula Chaponda today tore apart President Joyce Banda’s speech saying the president should walk the talk in the implementation of her dream; noting that so far the president has not lived up to her talk since she took office. He went further to say President Banda is an admirer of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika who always dreamed in color; wondering whether the new president dreams in black and white or in color.

Dr. Chaponda also took time to respond to remarks on the late president made by Leader of Opposition Rt. Hon John Tembo which he described as an ‘unfortunate’ and ‘very unAfrican’ to talk of a dead person. “…the Mutharika family and the DPP felt that the remarks made by the Leader of Opposition Hon JZU Tembo yesterday relating to the late President were very unAfrican. The late President has died and it is unacceptable on his part to make disparaging remarks for someone who has died. His entire speech was intended to discredit the memory of Bingu which is unfortunate”, bemused Chaponda.

On devaluation, the former minister faulted government for the poor implementation of the process which lacked measures to cushion the ordinary citizen from the effects. He went on to call the remarks by the Reserve Bank governor which said employees should not expect a pay rise but instead urged them to endure as ‘very painful’. He hoped that the Minister of Finance will soon unveil measures to address the situation.

“In other words from my party’s perspective, this IMF package should have been negotiated and implemented before or simultaneously as the devaluation was being effected and not the other way round”, said Chaponda.

The DPP leader bashed the president for ignoring the nominations that his party had submitted for commissioners of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) saying instead the president had appointed active politicians into in the body. “DPP received [such] a letter and provided names. However, we are surprised that what has emerged is a highly politicized commission including current senior political office bearers of political parties. Hence, it is felt that the letter requesting us to provide names was merely window dressing and not done in good faith”, wondered the Law doctor.

Read the full speech here: Chaponda’s Response to the State of the Nation Address 2012-2013

‘DPP will not support repealing the gay ban’, Chaponda

Leader of the Democratic Progress Party (DPP) in Parliament Dr. George Thapatula Chaponda today said his party will not support the repealing of the laws especially on the same sex marriage if brought into the house. He said before the death of its leader, Bingu wa Mutharika, such laws were sent to the Law Commission for review and that what was remaining was the process by the Law Commission to consult various stakeholders at one point or another regarding the matter and make a recommendation.

In her first State of the Nation address to Parliament, President Mrs. Banda said: “Some laws which were duly passed by the august house… will be repealed as a matter of urgency… these include the provisions regarding indecent practices and unnatural acts”.

Chaponda said it is his hope that such law and others on the list will be thoroughly debated in the House according to procedures as they contain some elements which are good for the country.

He urged government and parliamentarians to be very careful and ensure that the process of repealing these legislations, especially the same sex marriages act, is not dictated by donors.

JZU hails JB’s address

Malawi Congress Party President Rt Hon John Tembo on Monday described President Joyce Banda’s State of the Nation address she delivered during the opening of the National Assembly on Friday May 18 2012 as an address that affords the nation an opportunity  ‘to take stock of what we have done and how we have performed the past year, and  also provides us with an opportunity on how we can chart our way forward as a nation’.

In his statement, Tembo, who is Leader of Opposition in Parliament openly said his party would render  support to government policies that would help Malawians. He then called upon the cabinet ministers the much desired support to the president in steering the country from the challenges it is facing.

The Dedza South parliamentarian attributed the economic mess the country is in to ‘greed and selfish ambitions of the privileged few’. He added that it was ironical to see some people that were part of the creation of this mess acting like angels now.

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Below are some of the notable quotes from his 10-paged response (the emphasis is mine).

Mr Speaker Sir, allow me to express my sincere congratulations to Her Excellency the State President on her ascendency to the highest office of the President of the Republic of Malawi. What we have witnessed over the past month is a clear testimony that good will always triumph over evil. Mr Speaker Sir, this is the working of the hand of God at its best. When God says yes, no one can say no.

Mr Speaker Sir, over the past few years, we witnessed a nation maturing itself into a mess by the deliberate policies and ambitions of those that were entrusted with the authority to govern us all. I am extremely happy to state that every impunity has its end. The end of an era of oppression, suppression and depression has beckoned the dawn of new hope and a new Malawi where every person can have his/her dignity and freedom back.

Mr Speaker Sir, I feel confident to stand before this Honourable House and before the people of this nation because for once, after this past regime, we have a government that is committed to restore the rule of law and ensure freedom for its people. We have a government that says anybody, regardless of political affiliation, can be covered by our public broadcaster, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation. We have a government that would want to treat the sons and daughters of this country on the same basis without promoting one tribe or clan above others. We have a government that is committed to listen to its people. I sincerely commend government for this commitment.

While the people of this great nation were sleeping in filling stations in anticipation for a litre of fuel, running from one hospital to another in search of a tablet of aspirin, queuing for a packet of sugar, and the list can go on, the privileged few were jumping from one plane to another and from one conference to another proclaiming that the Malawi economy is right on track.

Mr Speaker Sir, it is an open secret that we, as a nation, were driven into this economic mess because of greed and selfish ambitions of the privileged few.

Mr Speaker Sir, as the opposition both in Parliament and outside Parliament, together with the Church, the civil society and the media, we did as much as we could to raise the signals that things were off track but we had a government that did not know what, when and how to listen to its people. The irony of this whole episode is that some of those that were championing the course of the past government with fervency are acting like angels today.

Read the whole speech here: JZU’s Response to the State of the Nation Address 2012-2013

DPP MPs make u-turn on PP; as PP women tussle with UDF over party colors

Almost all the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Members of Parliament (MPs) who recently announced their total support and wish to join the Peoples Party (PP) have made a dramatic U-turn.

According to an MP who sought for anonymity, the MPs agreed that they will remain in the opposition side as independents. “We are very conscious of the s65 damages; we do not want to lose MPs at this crucial time. If the government wants to work with us, we will be happy to render our support while on the opposition benches,” said the MP.

According the MP, the agreement was reached at a recent meeting held at Ndata with the DPP leader Professor Arthur Peter  Mutharika.  The meeting was attended by 40 MPs and there were about 80 apologies.

Soon after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, many DPP MPs announced their total support to the PP with some of them announcing that they have joined the now ‘ruling party’.

While the DPP MPs were making an about turn, there was tussle of party colors at the Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe. People were left speechless at the airport when some People’s Party (PP) women clad in orange forced their fellow friends-in-government, the United Democratic Front (UDF) to wear off their yellow regalia if they were to attend the welcoming in ceremony of President Joyce Banda.

The UDF women came at the airport with a minister (name withheld) who is from the party.

“All along I believed that we are in the government of national unity. We were told that as of now, the nation’s development depended on unified workforce regardless of the party which the president comes from but unfortunately, their supporters think otherwise,” said a visibly angry UDF sympathizer. “As supporters from another party working in the government of national unity where tolerance reigns high, we thought it wise to come to the airport and give support to our (UDF) leaders who are in the same government. We were shocked to be treated as such. We were told to remove the UDF cloth and we did just as that,” added another woman minutes after the incident.

According to an eye witness, the overzealous orange women told their yellow counterparts that UDF is not the one ruling and they have nothing in the government. “They were told that gone are their days as the ruling party and they should just be happy that some of their MPs are driving the ministerial vehicles. They were told not to abuse a small favor Her Excellency President Mrs. Banda has granted them,” said the eye witness.

P/S: Keep checking on this page for updates from the Parliament Building from tomorrow when the budget session opens.

Will JZU sit on govt benches?

With only a day left before the opening of the 2012-3 budget session of parliament, it is still unclear if Leader of Opposition in parliament (LOP) Right Hon. John Z. U. Tembo will seat on government benches. The Dedza South parliamentarian confessed his support for the new president Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda and was last seen at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) welcoming her from her maiden trip to South Africa. This was quite unusual for Hon Tembo to welcome a president at the airport.

Media reports have been awash with rumors of the appointment of the veteran politician to the second vice presidency. In an interview weeks ago, JZU, as is fondly referred to, hinted that he was ready to accept such an offer should it be extended to him.

During his recent mass rally at Kamtande school ground in Mchinji, the MCP leader told his followers that he will support President Banda’s government owing to the president’s commitment to repeal the bad laws including section 46, the Police Act, and the probe on the death of a fourth-year engineering student, Robert Chasowa.

Investigations carried by this blogger show that the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, as of today, will still seat on the opposition benches come Friday May 18 2012 when President Banda opens the budget session. According to the seating plan that his party has presented to the Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda shows that Tembo’s seat remain intact as of now; and changed made on the two parliamentarians who have been roped in as deputy ministers by President Banda.

Leaked information from the several meetings Tembo has held with his party’s legislators show that he is ready to go for the position first and last held by the late Chakufwa Chihana under Bakili Muluzi’s tenure. However, the parliamentarians made a demand to Tembo in the event that he accepts the offer; that a few MPs be appointed as full cabinet ministers.

To compound things further, it is said that Peoples Party (PP) gurus who once worked with Tembo are another stumbling block to the deal. My source remained tight-lipped on the details.

‘Remove fuel levies,’ MEJN proposes

Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) has proposed to government the removal of levies on fuel in order to rescue ordinary Malawians who live on less than a dollar per day.

Dalitso Kubalasa, MEJN’s executive director made the suggestion at the second pre-budget consultation meeting organized by the embattled finance minister Hon Dr. Ken Lipenga, MP in the capital Lilongwe on Wednesday May 16 2012.

“As MEJN, we are asking government to rescue ordinary Malawians from the side effects of Kwacha devaluation,” urged Kubalasa; adding that devaluation of Kwacha will make scores of Malawian to remain poor as they will not afford to buy essential services and commodities  as they are likely to go up.

In response, Lipenga assured the stakeholders at the meeting that the country’s economy is recovering and that he is optimistic that prices of food stuffs and other basic commodities will not go up despite the devaluation. He, however, promised that government will remove taxes that were introduced in the infamous zero deficit budget. He said currently his ministry is strategizing to remove taxes with direct effect to Malawians.

Matters of transparency and accountability in the management of public funds, adjustment of electricity tariffs by the utility company, ESCOM, and intermittent water supply in the cities dominated the discussions at the meeting.

The budget session of Parliament will be opened by Her Excellency President Mrs Joyce on Friday May 18 2012.

Stop Press: Katopola is fired; Wadi is back

When all had thought the new broom had worn out quickly, the sweeping has gained more momentum; this time reaching out to clean the unchartered corners of government, the legislature. The in-the-news Clerk of Parliament, Mrs Maltilda Zande Katopola, has been replaced by private practice lawyer, Ishmael Wadi.

Ishmael Wadi was the youthful Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the first term of late Bingu wa Mutharika’s rule before he was forced to resign for failure to comply with instructions from ‘the appointing authority’ through a public speech late wa Mutharika made at the opening of Trade Fair in Blantyre.

Katopola has been in the news for all the bad reasons since she was drafted to be the chief executive officer to Parliament in January 2006 by the late president. She was implicated in [influencing] awarding secretarial services contract to her company. She was back in the news for taking an electricity interconnection bill for presidential consent before it was presented and debated in the chamber.

She has now been reallocated to be a high court judge at the Mzuzu registry.

Top civil servants reshuffled

Government has reshuffled some of the Principal Secretaries (PSs) with immediate effect. Anthony Livuza who once served as PS in various ministries returns to the Information ministry to replace James D Kalilangwe who has been moved to the labor ministry. Mr. Saidi who once served as director of youth will be going back to the ministry youth, sports and culture.

Moffat Chitimbe who was among the five PSs who were dumped to head the Shire Zambezi Waterway project is now PS for Ministry of Transport.

Mw journalist nominated for Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards

Malawi multi-award winning freelance journalist, Frazer Potani has been nominated as one of the finalists in the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2012. The awards ceremony will be held in London, UK on June 28 2012

Potani has been nominated in the Best Business News Story category for his feature ‘When donors are stoned, the poor pay price which was first published in Africa News.  Other nominees in this category are Alexander Dziadosz whose article on South Sudan featured in the Reuters and Adedayo Oketola of Saturday Punch of Nigeria.

“I will be flying to London June month end. I got the communication of my nomination on May 9 through one of the senior consultants of Diageo Business Group,” said Potani in an interview. “Am greatly humbled and honoured to be carrying Malawi flag at this important function,” he said.

The Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards, which were launched in 2004, recognise the fact that excellent business journalism plays an important role in promoting Africa as a destination for investment and supporting enterprise development.

Potani recently submitted 16 stories in this year’s NAMISA Malawi Chapter Awards but failed to scoop any. Ironically, the article which has earned him the Diageo nomination was part of the 16 stories he submitted for the NAMISA Malawi awards.