Category Archives: Malawi

UN set to challenge Malawi laws against homosexuality

Malawian President Joyce Banda: The homosexual bill  legislation has strained relations between her government and international donors.

The United Nations’ AIDS taskforce and human rights groups will launch a court battle against Malawi’s laws criminalizing homosexuality, in a rare challenge to rising anti-gay legislation in Africa. The legislation has strained relations between President Joyce Banda’s government and international donors, whose aid is desperately needed in the impoverished country. UNAIDS, the Malawi Law Society and local rights groups will ask the high court on March 17 to overturn as unconstitutional laws banning same-sex relationships. They will also challenge the convictions of three men jailed in 2011. Homosexuality carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years in the southern African country. “Our argument is that as long as same-sex … Continue reading

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Malawi protests over Tanzanian plans for Lake Malawi

Malawi has protested against plans by its neighbour Tanzania to deploy two ships on Lake Malawi, which it says threaten mediation efforts to resolve a long-standing border dispute. Malawi’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Chiume said on Saturday that Tanzanian government officials had stated publicly that the East African nation was buying six new passenger ships, two of which were destined for Lake Malawi.  “The Malawi government found these developments unfortunate, especially coming at a time when the mediation process over the boundary dispute is going smoothly,” Chiume said. Tanzanian officials were not immediately available to comment. Malawi, which sits to the west of Africa’s third-largest lake, claims the entire northern … Continue reading

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Malawi’s Joyce Banda to auction off presidential jet

Malawi’s government has invited bids for its 14-seat presidential jet, which is being sold off as part of cost-cutting measures. The office of Malawian President Joyce Banda says the plane will be sold to the highest bidder. Her predecessor, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, was strongly criticised for buying the jet five years ago at a cost of about $13.3m (£8.5m). Donors cut aid to Malawi by $4.4 million after the purchase. Mrs Banda has refused to travel in the jet since she took office last April, following Mr Mutharika’s unexpected death. She has said money from the sale of the Dassault Falcon 900EX would be used to provide basic … Continue reading

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Malawi lawyers question legality of suspending anti-gay laws

Lawyers in Malawi have criticised a government minister for controversial remarks that appeared to suspend the country’s anti-gay laws, throwing the southern African nation’s position into confusion. Ralph Kasambara, the justice minister, was widely quoted earlier this week as saying that the government had put a moratorium on the laws pending a parliamentary debate. But the move was condemned as “unconstitutional and illegal” by the powerful Law Society of Malawi (MLS), which represents more than 300 lawyers, prompting the minister to apparently backtrack. Kasambara, a former prominent human rights lawyer who now doubles as the country’s attorney general, had said the government of President Joyce Banda had advised police not … Continue reading

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Malawi arrests regional governor over student death

Malawi opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Regional Governor for Southern Region, Noel Masingwa, is among six prime suspects held for the murder of student activist Robert Chasowa. These also include  prominent Malawian boxing promoter Mike Chitenje. Six other suspects, all DPP members, have also been arrested, bringing the number of those held so far to 12 men. Mr Chasowa, the 25-year-old chairman of a student activist group, Youth for Democracy (YFD), was found dead at a polytechnic campus in the commercial capital, Blantyre, in September 2011. All those arrested in the pre-dawn raids on Wednesday were implicated by the commission. The arrested also include a police officer, Stanford Horea. Others are … Continue reading

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Joyce Banda pulled Malawi from the brink – Clinton

By Andrew Quinn   U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a lightning visit to Malawi on Sunday to congratulate its new president, one of only two female heads of state in Africa, for pulling her impoverished country back from the economic brink after a political crisis. Clinton, who is on an African tour, landed in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe and headed directly to a meeting with President Joyce Banda, a veteran women’s rights campaigner who had been the country’s vice president and moved into the top job in April after the death of her erratic predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika. U.S. officials said Clinton’s five hour visit — the first ever … Continue reading

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New Malawian leader seeks restoration of relations with Zambia

By Michael Malakata, Lusaka, Zambia Even before the late Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika is put to rest, Malawi’s new President, Joyce Banda is already calling for the restoration and strengthening of relations between Zambia and Malawi. At a press conference in Lilongwe at which she gave an update on the funeral and burial arrangements of Wa Mutharika who died on Saturday, Banda called for the restoration and strengthening of relations between the two neighbouring Southern Africa countries. According to a statement released by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian High Commission in Malawi Chansa Kabwela, President Banda told journalists that she had a lengthy telephone conversation with Zambia’s … Continue reading

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Banda becomes second African woman Head of State

Malawi’s Vice-President Joyce Banda has become the second African woman Head of State after taking the oath of office in the Malawian capital Lilongwe following the death of Dr Bingu wa Mutharika. She follows Liberia’s Sirleaf Johnson who is in her second term of office. Ms Banda, 62, who is often seen wearing Dolce and Gabana designer glasses, has been vice-president since 2009. She was cheered and applauded before, during and after the ceremony. Mr Mutharika, 78, went into cardiac arrest on Thursday, although his death was not confirmed until Saturday. The delay in announcing his death had prompted fears of a power struggle. There had been speculation that the late … Continue reading

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Mutharika tells Western donors “Go to hell”

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has told foreign donors to “go to hell”, accusing them of plotting with local groups to topple his government. Mutharika said he was “tired of being insulted” and urged his followers to prevent any protests against him. Civil society said there are no planned protests and condemned the president for inciting his supporters. The UK and other donors cut aid to Malawi in 2010, criticizing its economic policies. Last July, at least 19 people were shot dead by police during anti-government protests over the worsening economy. Mutharika said he has intelligence reports that some Western donor nations were working with local non-governmental groups (NGOs) to … Continue reading

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Madonna abandons plan for girls’ academy in Malawi

It has been sad to learn that Malawi, often described as the warm heart of Africa,  has come into the news with a financial scandal involving Madonna, one of our great Hollywood stars, and a charity she set up for orphans. This no doubt genuinely generous mission had the blessing of Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika whose landlocked country had twelve per cent of the inhabitants with HIV/Aids and a life expectancy of around fifty years.  She started well, although even this at the time was criticised, by adopting one of Malawi’s babies and at the same time generously pledged to have a school constructed for at least some of … Continue reading

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