Namisa Blogger of the year 2013,Stimulating the much needed debate

Archive for May, 2013

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Orange Bus @ Malawi Cargo Centre, TZ Enroute To Malawi

Orange Bus @ Malawi Cargo Centre, TZ Enroute To Malawi

About two weeks ago, Finance Minister Ken Lipenga announced a tax waiver on buses like this. Little did we know that the intended beneficiary had already imported some. This Blogger of The Year journalist recently travelled to Tanzania and captured this bus which is en-route to Malawi. We now have answers as to why those import duties were removed. We will keep you informed.

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Malawi Parliament Staff Beats Photojournalist

Malawi Parliament Staff Beats Photojournalist

This photojournalist working for Malawi’s leading daily, The Nation had a rude awakening on Thursday at the National Assembly in Lilongwe when she was roughed up by Parliament’s security officer, a Mr Chilinda.
Condemnations from press freedom rights bodies have started flowing in describing Mr Chilinda’s actions on the journalist as barbaric in modern Malawi. Some members of the civil society have also called on the Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda to discipline his secretariat staff.
Lawyers have advised the photo journalist to seek redress in the courts as the beating happened in the full view of the public.

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CAMA Takes January 17th Petition To The Malawi National Assembly

CAMA Takes January 17th Petition to Parliament

Consumer Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito, seen at Parliament Buildings in the administrative capital, Lilongwe on Thursday. He is with opposition DPP spokesperson Nicholus Dausi. Kapito and some senior consumer officials were at Parliament to present a petition on outstanding issues from the January 17th demonstrations. The issues include; President Joyce Banda’s internal and external travels the lack of declaration of assets by the President and a bloated cabinet among many others. The opposition Malawi Congress Party’s Chief Whip Joseph Njobvuyalema has since received the petition.

Government Chickens Out On Kamange As New Auditor General

The appointment of a new Auditor General in Malawi remains in limbo as government unexpectedly withdrew the proposed name of Peter Kamange  to be considered by the high office.

The surprise withdraw comes against a background of reports suggesting Kamange’s name could have be rejected again by Members of Parliament.

According to Wednesday’s order paper in Parliament, the confirmation of Peter Kamange was  the first agenda item to that was to be discussed in the Chamber but to a surprise of the legislators, Leader of Government Business in the House, Henry  Duncan Phoya requested the  Speaker of the National Assembly Henry Chimunthu Banda to vary the relevant Standing Orders for the house to continue with the budget deliberations.

When he asked to clarify on why government jumped the confirmation of the new Auditor General, Phoya gave no reason but said the matter would be back in the House next week.
But according to this blogger’s sources among the Parliamentarians, it has been confirmed that  Mr Kamange’s name is very unpopular amongst the lawmakers and that the government side felt another rejection was on the way.

In Novermber last year, Members of Parliament dismissed the name of another of President Joyce Banda’s appointees to the post in Anderson Kulugomba.

According to some of the Parliamentarians, they feel that Kamange is not the right choice for the position of Auditor General as he is a practicing politician in the ruling Peoples Party (PP).

As part of the evidence confirming his political activities and loyalty to the ruling party, Kamange once served as  Secretary General for the PP.

Last year, during the PP’s Convention, Kamange also attempted the post of Treasurer General which he lost to Harry Mkandawire.
The Auditor General’s office though very critical in government finances accountability, remains without a controlling officer almost 10 months after the resignation of Leckford Kampanje.

The delay to confirm a substantive Auditor General has paralyzed activities in this paramount office as donors are withholding funding to some critical government departments and agencies

Sources from Capital Hill say that about K6.6 billion in Malawi’s budgetary support finances has been put on hold by some of Malawi’s bilateral partners until Auditor General’s vacancy is filled.

Joyce Banda government “Driving a false economy with counterfeit characteristics” -MCP

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on finance in Parliament has
accused President Joyce Banda regime of ‘running a false and counterfeit economy’.
He was responding to the 2013/14 budget statement that was delivered
last Friday.
In his speech titled “Driving a false economy with counterfeit characteristics” MCP spokesperson on matters of finance described the 2013/14 budget as dangerous saying expenditure has increased by 34% which he said it is relying on non tax revenue which has badly performed by MK 5.2 billion. He said the national cake is being handled like the way it is because President Joyce Banda took the country on a silver platter.
Njobvuyalema has since advised PP government to handover power to able
hands, an apparent reference to his party. This did not go down well with leader of the house Henry Phoya who stood on a point of order accusing Njobvuyalema of misinforming the nation.
Attached is the copy of the speech; MCP Budget Response 2013-2014 Budget -Fnal

Corruption undermines FISP efforts to end food insecurity

A report by Anti Corruption bureau (ACB) on the 2012/13 farm input subsidy programme (FISP) shows that diversion of fertilizer by transporters who were hired by the ministry of agriculture to other unintended places left more beneficiaries without access to the commodity.
This has been disclosed by the bureau at a dissemination conference of the report in Lilongwe. The report has also disclosed that late delivery of inputs in some areas resulted in beneficiaries selling the coupons.Over 16 cases have been recorded and one case involving Group Village Head man Kamphata was concluded.
The Group Village Head man was found guilty after he was found with 48 bags of fertilizer valued at 624 hundred thousand and he was convicted,fined and ordered to return the bags. The report by ACB is aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability through increased involvement of the bureau in the implementation of FISP.

Minister of Finance presents the 2013/14 budget

Government is expected to spend about 688 billion Kwacha in the 2013/14 fiscal year.
Finance Minister announced this when he presented the 2013/14 budget at the Parliament building in Lilongwe.
Out of 688 billion Kwacha, 175 billion Kwacha will be spent on development activities.
In the speech that has been described as risky because of an increase in expenditure,Minister of Finance was quick to point out that about 348 billion Kwacha deficit will be financed through foreign borrowing. In this year’s budget speech the Ministry of Education has been given 20 percent of the total budget.
The leader of opposition John Tembo said the speech was creative in the sense that the Minister would like to paint a picture that it is a budget for the people but it did not touch in crucial areas like fertilizer. However the donor community have described the budget as business oriented.

Here is the full 2013/14 budget speech; MINISTERSpeech 2013

Joyce Banda told to stop experimenting with people’s lives

Leader of opposition in parliament John Tembo has warned President Joyce Banda administration not to take lives of Malawians for experiments. This was in response to President Joyce Banda’s call for Malawians to brace up for more pain as the economic recovery plan (ERP) is far from bearing fruits.

Banda made the call in her state of the nation address on Friday. The MCP leader also accused Banda of living an extravagant life while preaching austerity measures to Malawians. In the 17 page response titled Malawi- despair to hope, Tembo advised the PP government to uphold the rule of law including freedom of expression. Tembo also wondered why the President avoided to say a word on the reports of rotten maize in the silos at the time when Malawians were starving.

While asking government to abandon the fertilizer subsidy program he advised to put the commodity at a universal price of five thousand Kwacha. On the same the MCP leader is demanding a report on the way the 2012/13 program was implemented.

Responding on behalf of DPP President Professor Peter Mutharika the party’s leader in parliament, George Chaponda took a swipe at PP government for failing the nation.
Chaponda accused PP government of extravagance arguing it spends 12 million Kwacha to distribute one cow.

He also concurred with Tembo in demanding an explanation on why maize got rotten in silos when Malawians were eating maize husks. Chaponda has since challenged government to put in policies that should see Malawi moving towards economic dependency and a complete departure from donor dependency.

JB’s state of the nation address is just a wish list-opposition

Opposition political leaders have said that the state of nation address by Dr Joyce Banda is more political and a wish list aimed at winning people hearts for 2014 election.According to the leader of opposition John Tembo, the speech is more political and he will wait to see if all the projects that the President has outlined will be implemented.
DPP spokesperson Nicolas Dausi said the speech is a wish list and that it has left some issues that are supposed to be addressed with urgency. According to Dausi the President failed to address areas such as the opening of Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo and Bingu’s dream of Nsanje inland port.
While welcoming the speech UDF leader Atupele Muluzi said the address failed to give direction of the economic recovery.
Among the things that the look new in the budget are the introduction of Mudzi trust which opposition leaders feel is political as the President want to woo votes in the coming elections.
Other projects include,the upgrading of roads in some parts of the country,the building of a modern village between the Bingu presidential hotel and capital hill and a fry over to sun bird capital hotel. There will also be the establishment of Tea Auction floor among other developments.

Tough time for Malawians-Joyce Banda

President Joyce Banda has warned Malawians to brace themselves for tough time ahead as it will take her government a bit longer to fix the economy.
President Banda said this in her state of address under the theme -Malawi on the road to transformation-that marked the official opening of the 2013/14 budget meeting of the national assembly in Lilongwe.
Banda has since appealed to Malawians experiencing the pain that comes with her governments economic recovery policies to wait with hope. She pointed out that many ministries and departments will have their budgets slashed in order to finance the first ever 2014 tripartite elections.
On this Banda advised ministries and departments to prioritize their activities depending on their importance and use the resources economically. On the 2012/2013 budget president Banda said her PP led government performed exceptionally well. According to her, government collected more in tax revenue by 600 million Kwacha between June to December 2013. Banda has since predicted that Malawi economy will grow by 6.1 percent in the 2013/14 financial year. Here is the full speech: State of the Nation Address Final Copy-1