Thursday, April 26, 2012

Malawi's First female President names her cabinet - here is a full list.

Exactly ninteen days after swearing in as Malawi's first female President and Africa's second, Her Excellency Mrs Joyce Banda has named her cabinet. Joyce Banda who took over from the late Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika has roped in some faces from the former ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition, United Democratic Front. Here is a full list.

Her Excellency the State President: Mrs. Joyce Banda who is also Commander in-Chief of Malawi Defence Force and Malawi Police Service, Minister responsible for the Public Service, Statutory Corporation, Civil Service Administration, National Relief and Disaster Management and Nutrition and HIV/Aids

Vice-President and Minister of Health: Rt. Hon. Khumbo Kachali

Minister of Finance: Dr Ken Lipenga MP (retained from the previous cabinet)

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation: Hon Ephraim Mganda Chiume MP (retained but given a different portfolio)

Minister of Education, Science and Technology: Eunice Kazembe MP

Minister of Energy, Mining : Hon. Cassim Chilumpha MP (resigned today from the UDF and joined People's Party)

Minister of Gender, Children and Social Services: Hon. Anita Kalinde MP

Minister of Economic Planning & Development: Hon. Atupele Muluzi MP (from the opposition party, UDF)

Minister of Justice and Attorney General: Hon Ralph Kasambara

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security: Hon Peter Nelson Mwanza MP (retained from the previous cabinet)

Minister of Transport and Public Works: Hon. Sidik Mia MP (retained from the previous cabinet)

Minister of Water Development and Irrigation: Bizwick Muheya MP (retained)

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development: Hon. Grace Zinenani Maseko MP

Minister of Information & Civic Education: Moses Kunkuyu MP

Minister of Industry and Trade:
Hon. John Bande MP (retained)

Minister of Lands and Housing: Hon. Henry Phoya MP (joined People's Party today from the Malawi congress Party)

Ministers of Home Affairs: Hon. Uladi Mussa MP (ditched the party he formed, Malavi People's Party and joined People's Party today)

Minister of Defence: Ken Kandodo MP

Minister of Tourism and Culture: Hon. Daniel Liwimbi MP (retained)

Minister of Labour: Hon Eunice Makangala MP

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management: Hon Catherine Gotani Hara MP (retained and promoted to a full minister)

Minister of Youth and Sports: Enoch Chakufwa Chihana MP (from the Alliance for Democracy)

Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs: Reen Kachere MP (retained)

Deputy Ministers

Deputy Minister of Finance: Ralph Jooma MP

Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Development: Khwauli Msisya MP (from Alliance for Democracy)

Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare: Jennifer Chilunga MP

Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development: Augustine Mtendere MP

Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works: Sosten Gwengwe MP

Deputy Minister of Education Science and Technology: Chikumbutso Hiwa MP

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security: Jerome Ulemu Chilapondwa MP

Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management: Ibrahim Matola MP (from the opposition, UDF)

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation: Rachel Mazombwe

However missing on the list is the name of Malawi Congress Party President, Hon John Tembo, Goodal Gondwe and the late Presidents brother, Peter wa Mutharika who was the Foreign Affairs Minister. Earlier reports indicated that Tembo was tipped to be the Second Vice President.

Meanwhile Parliament will convene for a budget session on 18th May and it remains to be seen as to how the sitting arrangement will be following the transfer or power from DPP to PP and the mass defections which are taking place.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Project Inspire 2012 - 5 Minutes to Change the World

Malawians NGO's and individuals (18-35 year olds) have a chance to win a US$25,000 grant and fund a program which will benefit women and girls in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. All you have to do is submit a 5 minute world changing idea to take part in this Project Inspire. You can get more details from their website or read below:

Project Inspire is a joint initiative by MasterCard Worldwide and the Singapore Committee for UN Women, which aims to bring together young people across the world to share their life-changing ideas and fulfil their visions of a better world for disadvantaged women and children in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

This is the second time MasterCard and the Singapore Committee for UN Women are joining hands to launch Project Inspire.

As with last year’s iteration, this year-long digital and social media-driven initiative serves as a worldwide platform for 18-35 year-olds, offering them the chance to make their ideas a reality in an effort to empower disadvantaged women and girls in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

The grand prize winner of this year’s Project Inspire will win a US$25,000 grant to fulfill their visions and create sustainable impact in the lives of women and girls.

Here is a step by step guide:

Step 1: Find out more about Project Inspire and check out the instructions and criteria for submission of entries:

Project Inspire presents 18-35 year olds with a 5-minute platform to pitch their inspired idea to the world and win a US$25,000 grant. The grant must show creativity and sustainable impact in the lives of women and girls across Asia, Pacific, the Middle East or Africa through entrepreneurship. To qualify for the US$25,000 grant, the project must meet the following requirements:

- The program must enable disadvantaged women and girls to attain sustained livelihood through entrepreneurship

- Must be an existing women’s empowerment program

- Beneficiaries must be women or girls in Asia/Pacific, Middle East or Africa

- The winner(s) of this competition will have to commence the fieldwork by 1 December 2012

- The project is designed to be implemented with a US$25,000 budget

Step 2: Form a team of up to three members (individual entries are also allowed) and get started on your pitch!

Entries should be submitted in the form of a (maximum) 5-minute video or a (maximum) 2-page A4-sized proposal.

Video entries are to be uploaded on any public video-sharing sites, such as YouTube or Vimeo. Links to the videos must be provided on the submission e-form.

Submissions, either video OR written, must be made in English.

Each proposal should address the following questions:

What is your inspirational idea?

How will your project change the lives of women and girls in the short and long term?

How will you/your team carry out the project?

How will you spend the US$25,000 grant to carry out the project?

How will you measure the success of the project?

Submissions should be accompanied by information on the existing program, biographies of the team members and any supporting materials (e.g. website, social media channels, media clippings, past awards)

Step 3: Deadline for all submissions is 30 June 2012.

For submissions and enquiries pertaining to submissions, please send an email to

Step 4: Up to 10 shortlisted projects will be announced by the end of July 2012. Finalists will be notified via email

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Youth Employment Forum: Call for applications for Young Journalists/Bloggers

The international Labour Organization (ILO) will offer five young journalists/bloggers the opportunity to promote and cover the Youth Employment Forum, which will take place in Geneva from 23 to 25 May 2012.

The selected journalists/bloggers will be invited to attend the ILO Youth Employment Forum, providing them with a unique opportunity to hear individual stories from over 100 young women and men from around the world who are active in the promotion of decent work for youth.

The Youth Employment Forum will serve as a platform for young people to voice their views on the current youth employment situation and to share ideas on what can be done to provide more and better jobs for their generation.

Young journalists/bloggers will support the coverage of the Forum through social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and blogs), articles, interviews and other relevant mediums. They will also report back to their regional and local communities, networks and organizations.

Criteria for Selection

-Must be below 30 years of age,

-Have journalism (online, print, photo, video, radio) and/or blogging experience,

-Have working knowledge of English, French and/or Spanish. Knowledge of another of the official United Nations languages (Arabic, Chinese and Russian) is also an asset.

Selection Process

The selection panel of the ILO Youth Employment Programme encourages young journalists/bloggers who meet the criteria to enter the competition. The panel will seek to have a balanced representation of entries from different sexes, regions and language groups.

Required documents for the selection process

- A CV

- A brief cover letter explaining why you would like to participate

- Two or three online articles, videos, etc. prepared by you, illustrating your journalism experience

Applications should be sent to with the subject “I am a young journalist / blogger”

Air travel and accommodation expenses for the selected young journalists/bloggers will be covered by the ILO.

The deadline for submission of applications is 18 April 2012 at 12:00 PM EST.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Its Official! Malawi President has died and Vice President is set to take over

Finally the Malawi government through the Office of President and Cabinet has issued a statement about the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. The statement said, Milpak Hospital in South Africa had confirmed that Bingu had indeed died and that 10 days of mourning should be observed. The statement also went further ordered that all flags fly at half mast. The dead presidents remains will come back in the country on Tuesday and other arrangements will be made.

Vice President Joyce Banda also conducted a Press Conference at her residence in Area 12 to offer her condolences to the bereaved family and asked the nation to stay calm. She also urged the nation to join hands in mourning the fallen father of the nation. Hon. Joyce Banda further revealed that she has called for a cabinet meeting this afternoon. Even though she was flanked by the Inspector General of Police and the Army Commander, she refused to be drawn into commenting about sucession of the passed on Mutharika.

Hon Joyce Banda's ascendancy to the highest office faces resistance following revelations that the cabinet has been meeting 3 times since the President's demise discussing on how to circumvent the constitution and endorse Bingu's brother, Peter Mutharika. Other minister's have also come out and spilled the beans of what was happening behind closed doors. Up to 5 Cabinet ministers also held a press conference last night to that extent.

However several ministers were present at the Press Conference and pledged to follow the constitution to the letter.

Malawi President's health / death - Where to get reliable news

Every Malawian is talking about the health / death of President Bingu wa Mutharika following news that he was rushed to Kamuzu Central Hospital in the Capital, Lilongwe on Thursday 5th April. While some reputable news sites are reporting that the President has died after suffering a heart attack, there is still no official communication on his health status from the government. News sites like BBC, CNN, France24 and Reuters have all reported of the death of the Malawi President.

At a 10 minute press conference held by the Information Minister Hon. Patricia Kaliati and other 4 senior government officials, government failed to make it clear on the health of the President. However the conference was held to clear the mist on the issues regarding succession of the President. Kaliati only said that government will make a statement tomorrow (today).

Following the information blackout government has chosen to take, many Malawians and and other observers have resorted to the use of Social Media (Facebook and Twitter) Since there is too much information being published i have created a list of sites and individuals you can follow to get up to date news, opinions and latest rumours.

1. You can listen online to Zodiak Broadcasting Radio , Read Nyasa Times, Malawi Voice, Maravi Post, Malawi Democrat, Malawi Today and Face of Malawi.

2. For all the tweets talking about Malawi i (@kristungati) have created a site to aggregate them all visit Malawi on Twitter

3. Kondwani Munthali's blog is well updated with accurate information.

4. Mabvuto Banda who write for alot of international media houses also maintains an in depth blog and updates it as the news happen. Mabvuto is also on Twitter - @bvutoB

5. Rebecca Chimjeka is also updating her blog with news from the corridors of power.

6. Kim Yi Dionne's love for Malawi and Africa keeps her very much in touch with news about Malawi. She blogs about well researched and professional issues about Malawi. She is more active on Twitter as @dadakim

7. Though Jimmy Kainja is not writing about the Malawi President's health / death on his blog, he is more active about that on Twitter. Follow @jkainja

8. Follow Fredrick Bvalani on twitter @fredbvalani

9 Follow the Nation newspaper on twitter @malawination and they are updating their news website as it happens

10. Austin Madinga @austinmadinga

11. Idriss Ali Nassah on twitter @mynassah

12 Waswa @malebopo

13. Capital Radio Malawi @CapitalRadioMW

14 Lawyer Wapona Kita on Facebook

15 Civil activist Billy Mayaya on Facebook

16. Dannie Grant Phiri on Facebook

17. Mzondi Lungu on Facebook

18. Sugzo Khunga on Twitter @sugzokhunga

19. Bright Mhango on Facebook and Twitter as @mutafire

20. Edmond Kachale on Twitter as @ceekays

21 Stanley Onjezani Kenani on Twitter as @onjezani

22. Ben Chiza Mkandawire on Facebook and Twitter as @khadiba

23 Chimwemwe Msuku on twitter @chimwemwemsuku

24. Malawi Voice on Twitter as @malawivoice

25. Towards Malawi Elections 2014 on Facebook and @Malawi2014 on Twitter

26. Face of Malawi on Twitter as @malawinews365

You can also join and follow news on these Facebook groups:

People's Party , Malawi Freedom Network, Occupy Parliament Malawi, Malawi at 50: Towards a New Crop of Malawian Leaders Youth Association For the Restoration of Democracy in Malawi YARDEMA and Capital Radio Malawi.

Friday, April 6, 2012

was at KCH a few minutes after Bingu was brought in

On the morning of Friday 5th April i was informed by a reliable friend that Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has been taken to Kamuzu Central Hospital Intensive Care Unit. He was reportedly unconscious. I stopped whatever i was doing and went straight to the hospital. i arrived in time to find people being sent out of the ICU and lots of VVIP and VIP government vehicles parked awkwardly at the emergency section of the hospital.

I managed to talk to a certain guy who was chased by a state house security detail when he attempted to help remove a 'patient' from a Land Cruiser Ambulance. He said the way the 3 vehicle convoy arrived at the hospital, the way the 'patient' was moved from the car to the stretcher and the way people were chased in the hospital raised suspicions. The 'patient's' face was hidden, he lay flat on his back and was not showing any movements. Those who were very close suggested that it was the big man himself and this was proven when a flood of govt vehicles started arriving.

Goodall Gondwe was among the first, the likes of Kandodo, Vuwa, Bright Msaka, Mukhito, Peter, Madalitso (Bingu's son) Callista, Christopher Ngwira, Jean kalilani, Willy Samute, Bruce Munthali, came and entered the ICU at different times. Mp for Dowa West, Bauleni Manna came in very late and was seen moving around greeting people and talking frequently on his mobile.

Together with alot of media people including Kondwani Munthali, Rabecca Chimjeka, Joel Nkhoma, we camped outside and saw all the comings and goings, the caucuses that were taking place outside and in corridors. We were not allowed access to that part of the hospital and all the evacuated guardians were outside.

At around 3PM all the senior govt officials we saw, started leaving the place and we geared ourself to see, the President leave but nothing, he was no where to be seen . All the people who left were able to walk on their own and we carefully looked inside every car. The last to leave was Callista and Bingu's daughter wearing sombre faces, Peter and Mada had already left (Mada wore dark glasses to hide his face, Peter had his head down.)

After Callista had left we thought that they are trying to use another exit to take out the President so we split to other exits but there was no sight of Bingu. All the cars had left except the land cruiser ambulance. That's when hospital staff started talking (in low voices). The President has died and his body will be moved to RSA later n the evening for professional embalming before announcements. I tried to personally confirmed with several friends who work at the hospital. People said it was cardiac arrest and they were trying to resuscitate him but it was failing. Some even claimed he was already dead the time he was brought to the hospital

Just like everyone else, I dint want to write it here or on Facebook or on twitter because i waas very afraid and that there was no official word from government.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A look at Airtel Malawi's Mobile Money

The fact that mobile money transfers have found a fertile ground in East Africa is well documented. M-Pesa, Airtel Money and other mobile money transfers have been well received in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. In fact most of these have their origins in this part of Africa. Malawians now have a chance to reap the benefits of this fast growing mCommerce innovation following the launch of Airtel Money and plans to roll out TNM's Mpamba Mobile Money. This follows failed attempts by E-Wallet (formerly Pay265) to do the same a few years back.

A launch of Airtel Money, graced by Malawi's Finance Minister, set the pace on how Malawians can use their cellphones to do some financial transactions. Airtel Mobile Money will be piloted in some districts before it is rolled out countrywide.

What is Airtel Mobile Money?

Airtel Mobile money is a simple way that allows Airtel Malawi customers to do some financial transactions on their handsets without setting their feet in banking halls or service centres. Customers will be able to:

. Send money from their Airtel Money account to another Airtel Money account using their cellphone.
. Send money from their Airtel Money account to a Bank account
. Send money from their bank account to any Airtel Money account
. Receive money from another Airtel Money account
. Send, receive and purchase airtime.
. Pay for goods, services and settle bills from their Airtel accounts
. Check balances of both Airtel Money and bank accounts on their mobile phone

How to join Airtel Money

To register for Mobile Money, one has to be a Airtel Malawi customer with an active SIM card and it is limited to one account for one customer.

. Fill the Customer Application Forms at any authorised Airtel Money agents found in many places all over Malawi including post offices.
. Customers are also required to attach acceptable proof of identity i.e driving licence, passport or voter registration cards.
. Upon successful account creation, the customer will receive a welcome SMS confirming the cretaion of the account.
. The customer will need to load money in their account to start transacting.

Cash In and Cash Out

Cash stored in Airtel iMoney is called virtual money and can only be cashed in or out at authorised agents all over the country. Cash in is the process of converting cash into Airtel Money's virtual money (more like depositing). Cash out is the process of converting virtual money into cash (more like withdrawing). There is a fee attached to these transactions!

Benefits of using Airtel Money

. Mobile access to financial transactions at anytime
. Convenient payment of services, bills and purchasing of goods
. Secure and faster way to receive, store and transfer money
. Access to airtime 24/7
. Limiting the amount of cash one carries around

Need for more civic education!

Despite the fact that Mobile Money has a lot of benefits and easy to use, it is not easily adopted by the general populace as evidenced in East Africa. One reason why it is hard to be adopted is lack of civic education on its importance and how to use it. Airtel Money will benefit the rural areas who have no access to proper banking services and the urban population which is always in need of accessing financial transactions in time but there is need for a massive campaign to educate them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sugar woes in Malawi - {PICS}

Sugar has suddenly become a very precious commodity in Malawi and people are queuing in various stores to buy the precious commodity. I managed to take a few pictures this morning at Chipiku Plus along Chilambula road in Lilongwe.

Here customers are allowed to buy one 2KG packet at MK450.