Tuesday, November 29, 2011


OCCUPY PARLIAMENT-we are the 99%, they are the 1%


Against Greed in the National Assembly

The Forum for Defence of Democracy (FDD) is coordinating a mass (peaceful) vigil in the Capital City for at least five days starting from Monday, 5th December 2011 up to Friday, 9th December 2011 and beyond if need be.
The aim of the vigil is, among other things, to convey the public outrage due to the proposed increase of over 300% on M.P.'s pay packages and peripheral benefits whilst we, the ordinary Malawian voters suffer miserable agony amidst economic mismanagement manifested by the ongoing fuel and forex crises,punitive taxes on essential goods and services, shortages of medicines etc, and spiralling costs of living that plague our daily lives.
The vigil will be situated directly opposite Parliament in Lilongwe, which will ideally attract maximum attention from Members of Parliament, Civil Servants, Ministers and hopefully, the Head of State.

Our intention is to hold this vigil in a peaceful manner which would conform to any democratic standards and indeed, is our inalienable right as enshrined in S38 of our Republican Constitution which states: “Every person shall have the right to assemble and demonstrate with others peacefully and unarmed”.

Let us reiterate that any disturbances, disruptions and violent acts will be caused by outsiders who have no respect for Rule of Law or the Constitution in pursuit of their narrow interests. we therefore urge the Police Service, in the strongest possible terms, to provide adequate protection for the vigilants and to ward off any potential damage on property and lives of the citizenry that may be inflicted by immoral and unethical thuggery.

These issues affect all of us, no matter which side of the fence we choose to sit upon. We thus invite all Malawians to join us in this protest vigil to express our total rejection of this situation. We are entitled to a better life that we work so hard for, now let us stand up and demand it from our elected servants.
For those who can please bring a tent.
Let us stand up and say:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupy Malawi Parliament from 28 November 2011

One, two, three, GO! The Occupy ideology which started a few months ago at Zuccoti Park in New York to Occupy Wall Street #OWS has finally landed in Malawi. Plans are underway to have a million people to occupy Malawi Parliament. According to one of the organisers of Occupy Parliament Malawi #OPM, Ben Chiza Mkandawire, Malawians should rise up and remind the Members of Parliament and Government not to work against the citizen but to work with them.

Here is the what Ben Chiza Mkandawire posted on OMP's Facebook page:

Despite our different cultural backgrounds and social contexts, we all suffer the same threats. Our freedom and dignity are under attack as a result of political dynamics in our corrupt government institutions that are turning our societie into increasingly unjust places.

The OCCUPY PARLIAMENT will mobilise the 1million Malawians from all walks of life to force our governments/members of parliament to work with the people and not against them. We Propose that the week starting from the 28th November 2011 be the beginning of protests in Malawi by all of us occupying the space outside our houses of Parliament.

The idea is to organise new forms of action against MPs, government officials and the failure by government to address the current economic and governance woes.

More details as to how people from other districts and cities will be accommodated will be published on this blog as they emerge. Or you can simply join the group on Facebook, follow Ben Chiza Mkandawire, @khadiba, on Twitter or even search #OPM and #OccupyParliament on Twitter.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Where to get up to date online news about Malawi

A very good friend, who is in Botswana, has been asking me about the whereabouts of Malawi's President, Professor Bingu wa Mutharika. He says it is being reported, in Botswana, that the President has passed on to the next life. He was not sure about it so he decided to ask me about it. News about the President's health and other news about Malawi have suddenly become a must read not only to Malawians but readers from other areas of the world. That is why i have listed down sites where you can get news about Malawi in time.

Traditional news sites.

The best website to get news at the moment is probably Nyasa Times because of the way it updates its contents and the readership it commands in the cyber world. Even though some quarters are not very comfortable with Nyasa Times in the way it reports its news, Malawians like to visit the site and make various comments than any other Malawi news site. Nyasa Times is also credited for giving a chance to people with different views to write their opinions on various issues. The likes of Ndirande Love, Mzati Mkolokosa, Tom Likambale and Emily Mkamanga.

There are three news sites that are doing their best to give up to date and well researched news about Malawi. Malawi Today, Malawi Voice and Malawi Democrat. A special mention also goes to Face of Malawi which not only give news but also many things that affect Malawians.

Those of us who have fallen in love with Muckracking on Sunday, a Sunday Times column by reknown BBC Correspondent, Raphael Tenthani, visit the Maravi Post for a dose of Ralph's critical view of Malawi politics. Maravi post is also good at giving breaking news.

Zodiak Broadcasting Station is also working very hard to match the popularity it has gained as the best radio with online reporting on Zodiak Online. Apart from the ground breaking innovations of listening to their radio online, Zodiak website also gives a chance to download various podcasts like their programmes and interviews. You can download, Sunrise Malawi, Tiuuzeni Zoona, and various interviews.

More downloads can also be found on the archives section of Capital Radio Malawi's website . Brian Banda, considered as Malawi's Larry King, has his straight talk program up for download on the site. As i write this there are interviews of Joyce Banda, Atupele Muluzi, Jessie Kabwila Kapasula, Brown Mpinganjira and Voice Mhone. You can also listen to recorded Day Break Malawi program on the same website.

Malawi's popular daily and weekend newspaper publishers BNL Times and Nation Publications are also maintaining news websites. A few years ago one would not spend much time on their sites because they were not updating their news and even the design of their websites was not up to standards. But of late the BNL Times and The Nation are doing their best and are worthy paying a visit.

Occassionary we also get Malawian news on the international websites like the BBC, CNN, Associated Press, AFP, South Africa's News24, All Africa, Aljazeera.


Malawians are seriously adopting the culture of blogging. There are over 90 blogs on a list of blogs aggregated on Mabloga ( a feed cluster of Malawian blogs). These blogs are only those who requested to be added on the cluster. There are others who have not requested to be on the site. This just shows that there are many Malawian bloggers than the number on Mabloga.

Of all these blogs i recommend the following blogs for up to date news on Malawi, Kondwani Munthali's blog, Mabvuto Jobani's blog, Richard Chirombo's Zachimalawi blog and Malawi Financial Mirror. And then there are other blogs whose opinion i value so much and i read and follow them at all times. The likes of Bright Mhango on his blog, Protests Politics and Cultural blog, Kim Yi Dionne's haba na haba blog, Victor Kaonga's Ndagha, Jimmy Kainja,s blog, Dr Khumbo Kalua's blog, Albert Sharra's blog , Chifundo Tenthani's blog and Dannie Grant Phiri's blog. For development and other technology issues these blogs are also great sources of information, Edmond Kachale's blog, Malawi Development Exchange is an Eldis and Malawi National Library discussion forum where Malawians discuss development issues.

On Twitter

Twitter is probably the best social networking site for breaking news. People tweet as everything happens in real time. I have a group of people i follow for breaking news about Malawi. These people tweet accurate news and events as they happen, they also give links of various news concerning Malawi published in other websites. Here is a list of those people, @Malawi2014, @fredbvalani @maravipost, @jkainja, @malawivoice, @nchenga, @kumwendafrank, @mynassah, @chiume, @Cthe, @kondwamunthali,@RexChikoko,@chimzy, @ctenthani, @bennyblithe @malawinews365, @daniso, @dadakim and @amizere.


Various friends on Facebook are also on the ground to tell us when news actually happens. This ranges from unconfirmed reports and some news that has actually happened but has not been picked up by the traditional publishers. I have a list of friends including journalists, lawyers, politicians who update their statuses with news that has just happened. The news sites also have Facebook accounts which update us immediately anything newsworthy happens. Malawi Voice Facebook Page and Towards Malawi2014 Elections are the best in this area.


Everyone needs updated and confirmed news. I hope that this list will be of good help to you all my readers and will keep on updating it as more and more sites open up.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Your Facebook Profile speaks alot

As of June 30 2011, there were 82,720 Malawians on Facebook and 716,400 people were using the internet in Malawi representing 4.5% of the population. This shows how much people are using the social networking site. Gone are the days when you could sign up on Facebook using a fake name or a fake account because it is proving to be a vital networking tool to the thousands of Malawians using it. You will only be left out if you decide to use a false account. Your profile is the first thing that impresses a friend you are trying to connect with. I got a friend request from someone calling himself, Wasuta Chamba Banda and another one Kunyenga Kunyenga, i immediately ignored those requests because i don't want such people on my timeline and they are not real.

Many people are using the information we post on our profiles to assess and analyze various aspects of our lives. In fact i usually check the profiles of people who comment on my posts or in the other groups i have joined. I have a special group of people whom i value the comments they make because they contain substance. Reputable companies are getting information of their employees on Facebook, people are finding marriages and other important relationships on the site. Business deals, promotion of events, advertising are all being done faster and free of charge on Facebook. One might argue that LinkedIn is better placed to do this but Facebook is commonly used in Malawi than LinkedIn.

I know of some people who still refuse to open accounts on Facebook calling it a satanic tool and yet many more lives are transformed, encouraged and inspired on this very site. It is a debate which i don't like to to take part simply because i have a conflict of interest being a christian in the technology field.

It is very important to be honest with whatever you are posting on Facebook and other internet sites because it reflects on who you are. I have made friends from many corners of the world through what i have been posting on the internet. Several people have traveled from their places to pay me a visit in Malawi when we only met on Facebook or Twitter. I have been asked to give an opinion on many projects to be done in Malawi because my readers know that i am on the ground because of what i have on my profile. Even my pictures are real giving confidence to those who follow me. There is no way Vincent Kumwenda can have a picture of Cristiano Ronaldo as a profile picture!

We are living in a world that values knowledge so it is important to share everything you know. These social networking sites gives us that platform to share knowledge. It also gives us a chance to interact with friends we have missed for a long time, who are far away. We cannot always afford to call them, all we can do is to drop them an email in their inbox or post on their wall. We can also update them on what is happening by posting pictures and videos. I have communicated with friends in many districts by simply posting pictures on my wall.

Facebook, though, does not replace face to face relationships. I am one of the people who is more talkative online but am not a good friend when it comes to real chatting, but i try to adjust to live a real life. At some point people were complaining that i spend much time with my smart phone than with the friends, but am now adjusting. I still have my phone everywhere i go and will always jump on the chance to reply and email, update my status or comment on someone's status. Friends at some point even feared that i will post everything they said on Facebook.

Too much of posting is also dangerous and can read to people using your information to your disadvantage. In advanced societies, thieves use location based sites, like Foursquare and Facebook Places to track down their targets. They can use your status updates to plan a robbery at your place, steal your car or other things. Hackers ca also have access to your sensitive information. They can easily access what you have posted willingly or get access to your computers and steal important information.

Oppressive governments tend to gather information on the internet to track down its opponents. Am yet to read or hear of someone who has been arrested in Malawi for posting on Facebook about the current regime. However we are not to rule out this possibility in the coming days. Even us bloggers are getting ready for huge censorship in the coming days. As of now Malawians are free to voice out their concerns through their status updates, comments and posting in groups that have been created on Facebook.

For now, you will enjoy real time chat on Facebook if you choose to be yourself.

Effects of the fuel hike are being felt

Every morning i take a bus from Chilobwe Trading Centre to Blantyre CBD where our offices are located. Of late we have been having problems in finding minibuses because of the scarcity of fuel. I could spend over an hour on the stage just waiting for a minibus to come, and even when it came, i could not just board without a fight. Some operators were forced to hike the fares, though illegally, to cover up the problems they face in sourcing the scarce commodity.

But on Tuesday, 9 November we got news that the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has hiked the fuel prices with about 27%. It was obvious that the minibus operators will follow suit in adjusting the fares. It was no surprise when Coxley Kamange, Secretary General for Minibus Owners Association announced on MBC TV of the bus fares hike.

From Chilobwe Trading Centre I will now be forced to cough MK120 every morning from the usual MK90 going up with MK30. Other routes like Highway (Blantyre to Limbe is at MK110 from MK80), Chilobwe to Limbe MK120 from MK90. MOAM has released a chart showing adjusted fares of all the routes in Malawi.

In response to the fuel hike many businesses have adjusted prices of their goods and some are in the course of adjusting. Sugar, Bread, Meat, Soap, Salt, cooking oil have all gone up following the fuel increase. This means that Malawians have to cough more than they planned to spend this month.

The sad thing is that salaries of employed people have not been adjusted. Not even one company has responded to the fuel increase by adjusting salaries for their employees in the wake of rising cost of living. Life was already hard a few months before the hike will continue biting hard on Malawians.

The other area which will badly hit us is the education sector. Fees will automatically be reviewed to reflect the current situation. Parents will be forced to pay more both for fees and upkeep for their students.

Only God knows how Malawians will come out of this situation.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time is ripe for a Malawian Revolution

If you thought 20 July 2011 was the last day Malawians demonstrated, I bet you are very wrong, Malawians are bound to go back to the streets sooner than later . The problems Malawians tried to address are still there and are even worse than back then. I would not be surprised if calls to demonstrate will have a very big response. Time is ripe for a big revolution that will probably only stop at regime change.

It was the shortage of fuel and forex that triggered the famous 20 July protests. Then it seemed a problem affecting a small section of the country but now the effects of the twin shortage is being felt to the most basic Malawian. Almost everything that matters is now scarce, from fuel to water and electricity. In response to this prices of commodities are going up each passing day.


Amidst all these problems, nobody seems to take charge of the situation. The President has decided to take a two months long holiday at this critical point. All the Ministers and political leaders who are supposed to address these problems are busy defending statements, speeches or issuing threats. When Malawians are spending the whole day in various queues in search of commodities nobody offers them hope. Should we say the government does not have answers? Is Binge running away from the problems? If Malawians could manage, am sure all the 14 Million people would have taken a holiday.


It seems there is no organized group, as of now, to lead the protests but when the problems hit harder, no one will need a leader. Anger is growing in the people, it can be heard in minibuses, facebook statuses, twitter updates and even in church sermons. WE WILL ALL MARCH UNTIL BABYLON FALLS DOWN!!! We will meet in the streets very soon.....