Friday, May 10, 2013


President Dr Joyce Banda on Thursday unveiled what she described as a multi-tiered grand strategy for promoting women potential in leadership positions.

The Malawi leader urged the enthusiastic delegates to the World Economic Forum for Africa to adopt a three-tiered strategy comprising:

·         increasing the number of female graduates in relevant profession; 

·         getting results in agriculture and various other fields essential for economic growth and finally;

·         integrating women in decision-making and leadership positions.

“All these issues considered together will form the basis of Africa’s grand strategy towards the promotion of women’s potential in leadership positions,” she told the delegates in her keynote address during a session on Working Women: ‘From Talent to Leadership in Cape Town’.

“Tier one is where mentorship is most critical and this is to do with our ability to support young women to develop the necessary skills, and embrace their talents in their preparation as emerging leaders,” she informed. 

She said the second tier is for creation of support mechanisms for women to actually enter into the leadership spaces. This, she said, support can be in form of creation of women’s visibility, training, resources, linkages and affirmative action to promote women.

The President said the third tier is where women have entered the leadership spaces and they need to be supported to stay on in these spaces. 

“This requires strategic support in order for us to deal with the structural barriers that subtly or explicitly want to disengage women from leadership spaces,” she explained.

Appreciating the efforts the continent has made in pushing for the entry of women in leadership positions, the Malawi President however said her reflections this far have taught her that it is not enough to advocate for women’s entry alone, as there is more to be done and help the women to stay in the leadership positions.

She said she is concerned about the constant pressure that women get to drop out of positions of power, a development that she said starts from young ages.

“Young girls are forced to drop out of childhood by taking on adult responsibilities, adolescent girls are forced out of school to get married, women parliamentarians are forced out of their seats, and it’s shocking that these pressures are even subjected at women in my position.

“So the question I want to pose to all of you gathered here, is what can we do to support women’s entry into leadership positions, and what can we do to help women at all these tiers, and ultimately what should we do to secure women’s stay in these positions?”  

She informed that there is need to strengthen women leaders’ ability to keep together in their countries and across the continent and create the permanency of women in leadership positions at all the levels.

The President said she strongly believes that the rise of African women in leadership can only be sustained by greater involvement of capable women.

Africa, she said, needs women in all sectors, social, business and political sectors. “We need to multiply and amplify the women’s voices. We must ensure that Ellen Sirleaf Johnson [Liberian President] Joyce Banda and Nkosazana Zuma [African Union Commission Chairperson] are not the first and last women to occupy these spaces. Then we will be back to square one,” saying the rise to power of these leaders was far-fetched 18 years ago during the Beijing Summit, probably the first most remarkable global forum for women empowerment.

“But as women we are thrilled that our dream has become a reality. Therefore I want to pay tribute to the women and men that have demonstrated the political will, and the determination to support women’s entry into the utmost high offices.” 

She said to match her words with action, she has appointed women into high positions of Cabinet Ministers for key sectors, Acting Chief Justice, Chief Secretary to Government, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Heads of Diplomatic Missions, Solicitor General, two Deputy Reserve Bank Governors, Justices of the High Court, Principal Secretaries for key ministries, Chairpersons and CEOs of strategic statutory corporations. 

Monday, May 6, 2013


Last weekend, Malawi News carried an article through which the international community has expressed clarification on remarks made by President Dr Joyce Banda when she visited Zimbabwe a couple of weeks ago. The Malawi leader intimated that Lilongwe might undertake the land reform programme as was the case with Harare in 2001. 

It seems the statement has attracted some attention not because it is wrong but because it was made while she was in Zimbabwe. The very ground where the world's largest land reform took place. Close to 6,000 white farmers have been replaced by 250,000 black farmers.     

Those in the worry with Zimbabwe's land reforms do so on technicality grounds not on the premise of a wrong policy.

For honesty's sake, Zimbabwe is not about Mugabe. It is about the people; it is about sovereignty and self-rule. Zimbabwe is probably a good example of how neo-colonialism should be handled, without any apology. 

It is not Zimbabweans who created the land problem in the first place. Mugabe wasn't there when a royal charter named Cecil Rhodes' British South African Company (BSAC) ruled the land as a commercial company in the 1890s.

Uncle Bob was only a 3-month foetus when the land gained self-governing status in 1923. He was only a 7-year old kindergarten chap when the white minority government drafted the harsh Land Apportionment Act of 1930. To add salt to injury during World War II, the Rhodesian administration allowed a massive migration of their European brothers into the country and in turn evicted (I mean EVICTED) more than 100,000 Zimbabweans from their ancestral land. Tens of thousands of British World War veterans found themselves on land that had been snatched away from indigenous people.    

From that background, we must understand that the independence struggle in the 70s was aimed at reversing these evil acts. I guess there is nothing wrong reclaiming what is yours. Whenever Mugabe and Ian Smith (Rhodesia Prime Minister) were locked in heated meetings, the former always demanded the reversal of the land reforms as a vital ingredient in the independence cake.

The colonialists made sure they signed a treaty with the first independent government on avoiding any radical land regulations. The colonizers feared that letting go power and land at the same time would be detrimental to their long time hold on the economy.

So, Smith and his British masters promised that land was going to be given back but did not put anything in black and white. 1980 came and independence was attained minus the land issue. Zimbabweans were waiting for their land; Mugabe was obliged to explain to his people on what was going on but London remained quiet.

This is where things got wrong because even after giving Mugabe all the state authority they failed to rectify the land issue which was pertinent in the eyes of the nationalists. Haven't you wondered why Zimbabwe received extensive positive media coverage in the 80s and 90s? It was all part of the dilly dallying by westerners. They thought this positive coverage was going to wipe out the memories of the struggle; land struggle in this aspect.

You will therefore agree with me that any issue that clocks 30 years without being addressed is a bomb waiting to explode. There had to come a time when Zimbabweans had to dust the files and ressuccitate the land issue. No two ways about it.
And 2001 was only an explosion of a bomb that had been pressed for long. What changed the whole ball game was that Mugabe's cohorts led by one Chenjerai "Hittler" Hunzvi invaded the white owned farms while their leader was on an official State visit to Fidel Castro's Cuba.

Whether it was a premeditated move which Mugabe knew before his departure or not, we are not here to speculate. The raid sent shock waves across the world and Mugabe's name was blacklisted. In the momentum of the act Chenjerai died of a sexually transmitted infection but his remnant troops made sure they never lost focus. The deal was done and the state followed with proper regulation on how the land was going to be divided among the indigenous people.

According to Tony Blair (British Prime Minister when the land seizures happened), his government wanted to have a hand in the whole reform process. But Mugabe gave his conditions as well, "just give me the money I will do it myself". The West started playing hide-and-seek due to what Blair calls trust issues. The West suggested that the money be given through United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Uncle Bob wasn't ready for such vague arrangement. Then the sanctions started and the rest of the story is there for all the world to see.

The land reforms were then coupled with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Program which demanded that foreign owned establishments give up 51% of their stake to Zimbabweans. Another necessary blow to the West. In shame they created myths around Zimbabwe's story and sadly the Western media took it script by letter.

Coming back to Malawi's scenario, President Joyce Banda is simply asking genuine questions on behalf of the populace. 

Where is our land? 

When are we having it back?

How can we have it back?

We might not be as bad as Zimbabwe but we are surely not very safe when it comes to land distribution.

It pains me to see traditional leaders in the tea growing districts of Thyolo and Mulanje always begging for some piece of land from tea company owners for simple developments such as construction of a health centre or nursery school. Where did we lose it and why?

Fellow countrymen and women, our land cannot be given to us by an act of goodwill, absolutely not. It is ours and we need to manage it well.

What is independence if our own land is sold like tomatoes to Indians (most of who hold British passports), Chinese, Lebanese and Burundese? Have we gone to sleep such that 50 years after independence we still see nothing wrong with how we manage our greatest resource?

The international community is still trying to probe whether President Banda said she will execute land reforms just as the case of Zimbabwe. I am in support of such an action because I know she only meant the positives of Zimbabwe will be imitated. We don't have to raise a Chenjerai Hunzvi who will invade people's homes, No. All we need is an overhaul of our systems with regards to land management.

If land management is not overhauled, the rich will get richer while the poor, who constitute more than 90 percent of the population will get poorer and more desperate.

Japan, Taiwan, Zimbabwe have done it and it propelled them to new development heights. Namibia, South Africa and Malawi are next. It is not about personalities but general populations.

The West can have their own worries about our land but we will not starve our people of their land just because someone thinks investors are going to be scared away. Let us reform our land distribution exercise Your Excellency. I stand with you on this one.  



Thursday, May 2, 2013


NOTE: This post will only mention three presidential aspirants namely Dr Joyce Banda, Atupele Muluzi and Peter Mutharika because they are sure of representing their parties in next year's polls, God willing. 

Without even waiting for the official campaign period which is commissioned by Electoral Commission some months before the polls, things on the ground a refusing to wait as all the major political players have jumped into the cage, ready for battle.

Almost on weekly basis politicians are navigating new grounds through which they can reach the electorate. Whistle stops, political and developmental rallies are among the many approaches undertaken.

However, political gatherings might not be the main determinants when the election approaches and might only amount to a small chunk of influence on the electorate.

The problem with attendance at rallies lies in the fact that nobody knows who owns that particular crowd. The same people who attend Atupele’s rallies are the same that will also attend a developmental rally by President Dr. Joyce Banda.

ATUPELE: Is age all there is to his Presidential bid?
The main difference though among politicians is the influence they have and the content of their speeches.

Influence in political circles must always be measured by reality on the ground in regards to people’s livelihoods.

This then draws the question on who is the most influential among our politicians? Who has the greatest reach?

Would people in Chitipa relate to Peter Mutharika the way they do to President Joyce Banda? 

How does Atupele register in the mind of a tangerine farmer in Mwanza? 

Between Peter, Atupele and President Dr Banda who has reached out to Malawians more than the other over the past years?

These questions cannot be swept under the carpet when we talk about influence. Hence President Banda’s passion for philanthropy long before she joined politics will prove a strong competence when the polls approach next year.

Records indicate that her Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI) has in its books 900,000 youths who are being helped in small loans and technical expertise to run businesses. There are also 200,000 women countrywide who are benefiting from several initiatives under the JBFI. Many more youths and women have been lifted out of poverty through this organization.

Malawians therefore will ask the same questions to Atupele and Mutharika. How do Malawians know them outside politics and presidential ambitions?

Will their connection to former rulers be of any importance in this game? I don't think so.

PETER: Are his credentials relevant to common Malawians?

Have they reached out enough in the past years or they are toiling now to familiarize themselves with the people?

Another aspect that gives Joyce Banda leverage is that she has the determining cards in her hands; she is the incumbent Head of State.

What gives incumbents advantage is the interventionist ability they hold in the eyes of the electorate.

Who registers problems with urgency and immediacy? The incumbent of course.

If people of Ntchisi have no food in their homes and are visited by the three candidates, Atupele and Peter are likely to say “When we get into government next year we will give you food” while Joyce Banda will bring the food with her and distribute after the rally. This gesture can also be displayed on many issues such as drugs in public hospitals, learning material in schools, safe water among others.

This interventionist leverage makes the incumbent easily touch the hearts of many people than other politicians and they are the same people who bring a great change on the electoral podium.

Therefore, next year’s election might see Joyce Banda starting with a substantial lead even before voting commences. She already has a host of people she has touched even before she became President.

What the opposition need to do is play a catch up game and they must play it wisely lest it backfires quickly.
DR JOYCE BANDA: The incumbency coupled with her long-time influence on Malawians might just determine her victory in 2014
For example, for many months the opposition have been concentrating on Joyce Banda’s handling of the economy thereby forgetting other permanent issues affecting the masses. 

This means that when the economy gets back on track (as it is being witnessed by statistics from National Statistical Office and Reserve Bank of Malawi) the opposition will have an empty plate and nothing to tell the public.

Time is now for Peter to stop dreaming of helicopters and helipads and realize that opening projects without sorting out the technicalities is a big weakness on anyone who wants to rule a country like Malawi. 

It is time for Atupele to realize that the real agenda for change is not based on age but substance. He has to realize that if he cannot say what he will do just because his party is yet to hold a Conference then whatever he says must be taken as irrelevant for the time being. Real leaders guide their people on what they want to achieve before throwing the ball in the people’s court for consensus.

Exactly a year before the polls, influence, incumbency and political substance must form the hub of political thought. If the other candidates can build enough influence and reach within a year that might be the greatest miracle ever to happen on any political field in the world.

Monday, April 29, 2013


The past week was eventful in many ways but top of the list is President Joyce Banda’s remarks on why she thinks the media played a role in the death of her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika. 

The statement created excitement among avid followers of current affairs. And the ensuing debate has been dual-faced. One horde has sounded alarm saying the First Citizen was not supposed to highlight the country’s media in such a manner while another contingent sees nothing wrong in how she presented it.

However, having followed the issue from the day it was reported in Daily Times and the debates and analyses that followed I choose to believe that what the President did does not amount to an offence to the media or oppression of freedom of speech.

For all we know, Joyce Banda administration has stayed on track in ensuring that the media is operating in a conducive environment without hindrances from the Executive arm of government. That is why within her first year in office she repealed draconian laws including Section 46 of the Penal Code which directly affects media freedom.

The statement made at Sanjika is only reflecting how our media operates with selective perception when it comes to issues that really matter to Malawians.

My problem is that we might be failing to see the whole picture in regards to the event which facilitated those remarks.

The President’s meeting with MISA representatives was centred on an agenda of informing her about Table Mountain Declaration and asking her to consider putting her signature on it to signify her government’s commitment.

Going by that arrangement, President Joyce Banda performed her duties quite well as per her diary. As things stand, she has promised the media body that she will look at the document and give it the consideration it deserves.

Take note that remarks following the presentation of the document ranged from President Banda promising the media that she is their trusted friend and ready to work with them always. She commended the media on the role it plays in the fight against corruption which is one of the focus areas in her governance policies.

In the same spirit of openness, the President also thought it was wise to point out some anomalies that if rectified can bring about meaningful and constructive engagement between government and the media.

This is where issues of the media and Bingu’s death come in. A President just like any other human is built up to be affected by information that is deliberately packaged to cause harm to character.

So when our President says that sometimes the media loses focus she is not speaking from a blank. She has read the trends and saw what I see.

On occasions, our media becomes obsessed with the Presidency thereby forgetting to highlight on other equally important issues that affect common people on daily basis.
For instance, some developmental and constructive issues have been pushed to the hind so as to create space for sensational pieces that are only aimed at maximizing sales.

I don’t think the President is asking for too much when she questions why her meeting with US President, Barack Obama, was hidden at some inside page with little prominence. And does the media need to be told how and why TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential Persons is a global story that also carries more weight when one of the persons happens to be one of your own?

Does it make sense to have a newspaper column that always talks ill of the President? Of what use is that kind of writing?  Can it be natural that a column can just take the position of hitting out at the President? When criticising the President weight more in favour of being a norm and habit does fairness and objectivity, which are the norms of journalism, retain their credence?

An agreement will have to be sought that some of the writings that appear in the newspapers are self-serving as opposed to serving the interests and nobility of journalism.

Having said that I for one can relate to the President’s disappointment towards some of these tendencies that turn blind to good initiatives only to focus on what they term wrong deeds without offering alternatives if this country is to move forward.

So when she relates Bingu’s death to media conduct she is speaking on behalf of the Presidency no matter who is going to rise to the mantle a hundred years from today.
Infact she is not the first person to say this. The report of the Commission of Inquiry into the death of President Mutharika makes a similar suggestion that the pressure from the media, among other sources, contributed to the stress that may have triggered the heart attack.

Put it another way, where does this notion come from that the media is beyond reproach and, thus, must not be criticised? If the media believes it is entitled to criticise the President and her government, is it not fair and correct that the President and her government are also entitled to criticise the media?

Just what makes the criticism of the media against the President rightful and the criticism of the President against the media muzzling? Should it not follow that those who criticise others, must not close their doors to criticism from others?
Bad stories which are bent on destroying characters can destroy the health of our leaders as they are always under pressure to explain themselves. 

Thus coming from a background that Bingu died of cardiac arrest, it should not surprise those in the know why heart disease is not compatible with stress of any kind. Did the media contribute to stress on the former leader through some damaging stories? Absolutely yes.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


WARNING! Not for the weak hearted

Dear Dalitso, the gluttonous brother, If I would be too honest with you I would say “it is indubitable that you survive by writing bad about others, in simple terms “ you are paid to write nonsense”. However, when I browse through your writings (most of which are pro PP) I see a young man betraying his own career through his predisposed, potentially sponsored writings. 

Of course I should acknowledge that you are not one of (my) the best writers and of course it would be an insult to the worst writers if we would blend or include you in that category (that sounds too personal, yea, I agree with you, but it’s just the painful truth) I feel sorry for brothers who write to please their masters (politicians and their berries) and not to tell the truth, I feel sorry because their careers are short lived. 

My brother, let me remind you that writing a story is beyond putting together letters rather involves strategic thinking, analyzing what you gathered and write a sound report. In your article you said, “Chakwera’s duping of Nkhoma Synod to cost his bid”. I carefully went through this article and thought that I could read something like, “The moderator of Nkhoma Synod or Rev. so and so of the Synod said Chakwera will never have the support of Nkhoma Synod because he once dumped the Synod.” 

That is what I expected, and I repent of my sins of thinking that the writer was professional enough to do so. Dalitso, if you ever went through a communication class and came out transformed, you would have learnt that stories like the one you wrote are dealt with using a coin theory whereby each side of the story is equally important. 

Did you try to inquire and hear from both sides? Or maybe you just made your untutored shallow research and draw suppositions? As a professional (if at all you are) you would have known that greatest journalists (not that you are one of them or aspire to be) base their stories on real research and a sound analysis of issues

On Sunday 21st April, the Nkhoma synod through its Leaders on Z.B.S refuted the allegations that the Nkhoma Synod was backing the candidacy of JZU, they emphasized that if some pastors visited JZU, did that out of their own interest not that of the Synod.

Did you get that? Or maybe at that time you were busy licking your master’s boots? In fact in your article you said that Nkhoma Synod is still angry with Chakwera’s dumping of the Synod. I find this irrational with what the church stands for. 

There is no way Nkhoma Synod would keep grudges against Chakwera for such a long period. The fact that some pastors visited Tembo does not make one to generalize that the Nkhoma Synod supports JZU and has grudges against Chakwera. Nkhoma Synod is actually proud of the investment they instilled in Dr. Chakwera; he is part of the big Christian family of which Nkhoma Synod is part of.

Once again, to the Writer (Dalitso), you need to understand that writing does not end on just gathering the materials that you need to use in your article; it does as well involve critical thinking as well as a strong knowledge on news analysis. In your article, you categorically made some silly assertions that highbrows would easily pick on. What is the connection between MCP and Nkhoma Synod? 

Are you telling us that Nkhoma Synod is a branch of Malawi congress Party? Are you telling us that Nkhoma Synod has the final say on matters of MCP? I should think and I know that Nkhoma Synod is bigger to handle party politics. These are some of the questions that your article raises and unfortunately your half-baked research fails to discourse. Dalitso my friend by default, Mwina unakalemba mchichewa mwina zidakabveka bwino (may be if you had written in vernacular your article would have made sense).

I would like to believe that if Chakwera had dumped Christianity for Buddhism that would have been a problem for Nkhoma Synod. If Chakwera had dumped Nkhoma Synod for Humanistic ideologies, that would have been something to worry. His moving from Nkhoma to Assemblies of God would be equated to somebody who shifts from Zomba to Mulanje, yet remains to be part of the big idea (Malawi).

I repeat this is not for the weak hearted because am calling a spade a spade, a bootlicker, Dalitso.

To my gluttonous friend, Malawi is ready for the new leaders who are God fearing not these recycled politicians who become billionaires 2 weeks after going into government. I repeat, not these recycled politicians who have already written an intend letter to join the party that will win in 2014 and they will submit that letter as soon as MBC will have announced 7% of the electoral results. 

Malawi is too good for these ill mouthed politicians who accuse somebody for not being married yet themselves have a horde of women in all regions of Malawi. When I become APM advisor, I will encourage him to snatch a wife from somebody just as we hear the allegations that JB snatched hers, maybe that’s the way to go so that ill mouthed people like Uladi would begin to respect him.

We don’t want dirty politics, concentrate on your party policies and rebuild the image of your party rather than hide under the shade of being a journalist (if at all you are).
May you bless yourself as you trade your career and vigorously wait for your next pay slip.

Yours’ Truly,
PP cadet