Two prominent envoys in Malawi, British High Commissioner and United States of America (USA) ambassador have expressed worry over inflammatory and derogatory public remarks by individuals and political party leaders in the country.
The concerns by two of Malawi’s main bilateral donors, comes amidst concerns in the media following political rhetoric remarks that may have described as derogatory and inflammatory.
In a joint statement issued in the administrative capital, Lilongwe on Tuesday, British envoy Michael Nevin and USA Ambassador Jeanine Jackson have condemned both government and political parties in the country for using inflammatory that may easily lead to hatred and misunderstandings amongst the people of Malawi as the country approaches the 2014 tripartite elections.
The two world super powers have advised political parties, supporters and potential candidates to exercise restrain as the country draws closer to the elections.
Britain and USA have also advised political players to refrain from insults and instead focus on real issues that affect Malawians in order to convince voters ahead of the polls.
During the opening of the conflict management training for political party leaders last month Malawi’s electoral management body, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson, Justice Maxon Mbendera (in the picture above) appealed to political parties to engage in clean and civilized politics where competition is based on policies and manifestos.
The MEC boss also warned against negative rhetoric during campaign which he said could degenerate into violence if not properly managed.
Justice Maxon Mandera also emphasized the need for political parties to refrain from acts of violence that could easily bring about tension and affect the whole free and fair process for any elections.
Malawians go to polls next year to elect a President, Parliament and a local government.
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President John Tembo is set for a major political comeback following the party’s National Executive Committee resolution to bar all aspirants that have not served the party in the last five years from contesting for any positions in the ranks and file of the party during the forth coming party convention.
This follows a grueling two-day NEC meeting held at the MCP leader’s residence in Lilongwe. The meeting which started on Thursday, ended on Friday afternoon with this resolution as one of the major highlights
MCP director of elections Joseph Njobvuyalema has confirmed the development in an interview with this blogger.
According to Njobvuyalema the resolution was arrived at through a vote where out of the 25 executive members present only 7 voted against the criteria while 18 voted in favor of the 5 year requirement.
If the resolution is anything to go by then democracy faces yet another test in the Malawi Congress Party.
Analysts have condemned the decision saying this resolution on its own means that some of the aspirants have been denied their right to participate in this democratic activity prior to the 2014 tripartite elections.
But to Njobvuyalema this means something else. The director of elections, who is also a presidential aspirant himself, thinks the resolution means democracy has won.
However, some national executive members say they are bitter with the outcome of the vote.
According a NEC member who did not want to named, they blame the process arguing that interested individuals also participated in the voting thereby making the whole process unfair.
By interpretation this means the likes of former Farmers Union of Malawi President Felix Jumbe, Formers Assemblies of God President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera may not take part in the presidential race unless otherwise.
On the other hand, the current MCP leader faces a stumbling block as the party’s constitution does not allow him a third term.
Soon after John Tembo announced that MCP would to go to a convention this year in preparations for the 2014 polls over 11 aspirants came out and presented their nomination papers expressing interest to contest for the party’s top position of President.
The main opposition, Malawi Congress Party or MCP National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting is expected on Friday to continue deliberations over the preparations for the forth coming convention.
Sources who were in the 10 hour long meeting on Thursday confirmed to this blogger that the gathering in the administrative capital, Lilongwe, adjourned after failing to reach an agreement.
Apart from discussing preparations for the convention, featured highly in the deliberations was the scrutinizing the names of candidates vying for MCP’s top position of president.
According to information gathered by this blogger, all the presidential candidates coming from the central region were advised by MCP president John Tembo that they should agree to field one person to contest for the presidency. However, after long hours of discussions, the MCP gurus failed to agree resulting in the adjournment.
According to insiders, this was one of the main reasons that forced the MCP to consider vetting the names of candidates to compete for the top job.
The MCP convention is expected to take place from the 9th to the 11th of August, 2013 at the Natural Resources College in Lilongwe.
The United States of America (USA) ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson (in the picture) says protecting and supporting refugees from conflict and oppressed zones is a moral responsibility for all nations.
The ambassador said this when she visited Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa. The US envoy said her government recognizes the plight of thousands of refugees that are in Malawi and applauded both the government and other development parterres that are providing assistance for the refugees in suffering.
Her visit to the Refugee Camp in Dowa follows her government’s contribution of US$500,000 (approximately K182 million) from the US Government to the World Food Program (WFP) to purchase urgently needed food stuffs targeting more than 18,000refugees.
According to Miss Jackson, it is a responsibility that the United States to support partners such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Program and private organizations in the work they do to ease the suffering and providing basic protections to refugees in the country.
She pointed out that refugees have very limited access to arable land and employment making them heavily dependent on food and material assistance provided by WFP, UNHCR and other NGOs., hence the assistance from the USA government.
During the visit, Ambassador Jackson met refugees who have lived in the camp for more than 10 years and others who arrived in the camp recently after fleeing from other countries.
The over 18,000 refugees that are in Malawi are part of the current 45.1 million total number of refugees in world and most of them have escaped from political instability in their countries.
Dzaleka Refugee Camp accommodates refugees predominantly from Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa
A few weeks ago, it was reported the brand new Toyota VX was involved in a serious accident at Chitukuko in the heart of Lilongwe.
It is not known what caused the accident but the vehicle, barely a few weeks old was assigned and driven on this day by Presidential Advisor on Non-Governmental Organisations, Reverend Macdonald Sembereka.
Surely, this is money down the drain. Can those in offices of authority please take care of the public properties like vehicles as these items belong to the masses.
On 20 July 2011 Malawians in all the regions protested against perceived poor economic management and poor governance by the late president Bingu Wa Mutharika and his DPP Party.
Two years later, it appears the perpetrators of such a horrendous crime are still walking free. At least 9 police officers were arrested in connection with the 20 July mass protest that saw 20 people dead. Among the officers that have been arrested are Sub Inspector Kamwala, Sergeants Makokezi and Kanyama and Constable Lobo. Senior officers that issued instructions of the shoot to kill policy are still walking free. Some of the politicians that were very influential in the DPP government are now close to President Joyce Banda.
Amnesty International, a human rights organization, also called for an investigation into the misuse of firearms because it had information that a lot of people were injured with gun shots and that some people were killed by security forces. The protest that took place for two days left 20 people dead and over 98 injuries were reported
As prayers to commemorate the July 20 killings are underway, we have to question why perpetrators of serious crimes still walk free, arrogantly so.
The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) will hold its convention in August this year, this blogger can reveal.
Impeccable sources within the MCP national executive committee have disclosed that the gathering will take place at the Natural Resources College in the capital, Lilongwe from the 2nd to the 4th of August, 2013.
When contacted for comment, Chairperson of the Organizing Committee for the Convention, Joseph Njobvuyalema did not deny or confirm when the dates of the convention were put to him.
“The convention will surely take place. I will not give you the date though. The organizing committee is meeting this weekend to get clearance and blessings on the preparations from the MCP National Executive Committee,” he said.
Sources within the party hierarchy have confirmed to this blogger that MCP President John Tembo has been meeting some of the party’s leadership aspirants in order to advise them on what he thinks about leadership election criteria at the forth coming convention.
Among other agreements, sources say John Tembo also known as JZU has proposed that as leader, in consultation with the National Executive Committee he should be allowed to eliminate some of the aspirants in order to ensure there is order in the party.
However, according to Njobvuyalema, all aspirants that have shown interest to contest at the convention and have the right qualifications will be allowed to run freely.
The impending MCP Convention in August will be a reschedule of the party’s postponed convention earlier in April this year sighting financial constraints.
Njobvuyalema said the political grouping has finally sourced adequate funding to allow it host the indaba.
The battle for the Malawi Congress Party’s top job of President is being contested for by former president of the Malawi Assemblies of God Church Rev Dr Lazarus Chakwera, ex-Farmers Union of Malawi President Felix Jumbe, Joseph Njobvuyalema, Makala Ngozo, Dr Christopher Daza, former Chief Justice Love more Munlo, lawyer Edwin Banda among others.
It is yet to be seen if all these names will make it to the final ballot paper at the convention.
Political analysts have said the outcome of the MCP convention with determine which way the 2014 general elections will go.
The Malawi Government has put a ban on the sale of all open food stuffs in the areas surrounding the northern region border post of Songwe. This as a result of suspected cholera outbreaks in the area.
The Songwe border marks the boundary between this southern African country and its eastern neighbor, Tanzania.
The ban has also been effected in the areas surrounding Karonga town which is not far from the Songwe border.
Recently, there have been reports of cholera outbreaks on the other side of the border in Kyera. Kyera is a popular district in Tanzania where a lot of Malawians cross the border daily to do their shopping and trade. A lot Zambians also flock into the town.
According to latest reports, at least three Tanzanian nationals resident in Kyera have died from the outbreak and 21 others are receiving treatment in hospital. Those under treatment have been put in isolation to avoid passing on the disease to others.
According to Ministry Health publicist Henry Chimbali who confirmed the ban as a result of the outbreak, saying Malawi has put in place measures to avoid the disease from spreading across the border into the country.
“Health workers at the border post have increased surveillance for any diarrhea signs in the area,” said Chimbali.
He said government is doing everything possible to
prevent the outbreak as it may also be caused from mare visits into the area.
Malawi has not registered any cholera cases since November 2012.