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Amid calls from people who recently demonstrated in Blantyre and Lilongwe against the rising cost of living and incessant travel by President Lazarus Chakwera, the government has announced that the first citizen has suspended public engagements until further notice.

The development comes at a time Chakwera was expected to be on the road today and Friday.

The President was initially scheduled to travel to Rumphi District in the Northern Region and, two days later, attend a graduation ceremony at Mzuzu University.

However, in a statement, Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi indicates that Chakwera has cancelled the events to attend to other oppressing national and regional matters requiring his action.

“Until further notice, attendance to all public events by His Excellency will be delegated to other government officials who will appear at such events on [the] President’s behalf,” he says in the communication.

Both Minister of Information Gospel Kazako, who is also a government spokesperson, and State House Press Secretary Anthony Kasunda confirmed the authenticity of the statement but could not outline exact matters requiring the President’s action.

“The issues are not for public consumption,” he said.

Ironically, former UTM director of youth Bon Kalindo, who was this Friday expected to hold anti-government demonstrations denouncing the rising cost of living among other social ills, announced that he had postponed the demonstrations to pave the way for discussions with government officials.

Chakwera, who is also Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Chairperson, cannot travel to countries such as the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), European Union and Australia, among others, after those countries imposed travel restrictions on people from some Sadc countries over fears that they would facilitate the spread of a new variant of coronavirus called Omicron.

Chakwera denounced the travel restrictions on Sunday.

Political scientist Mustapha Hussein hailed the announcement, saying it would demystify the President’s absence at events he publicly announced that he would attend.

He, however, said it would have been better if the burning issues at hand were also outlined.

“Office of the President and Cabinet had released the President’s itinerary for the coming days and his absence would have been suspicious but now it is not enough just to say the President is attending to issues of national importance because these other events were also important,” he said.

Commenting on the cancelation of the presidential trips political analyst George Phiri said the President was too mobile.

“In my view the President was mobile looking at the situation in which the country is, it was important for the President to priotise the trips so that he goes only where there is no other option but him attending. What the President has done to cancel the trips simply shows he has come to his senses,” he said.

Phiri added that Presidential trips are costly which if are minimised the money could be invested in other pressing issues.

Before the cancellation of Northern Region trip, most strategic spots had been decorated with national and MCP flags.

Malawi Congress Party followers and other government officials had already lined up at Mzuzu airport as the President was expected to fly to the Northern Region ahead of the first assignment in Rumphi today.

Source: The Times Group

The Federal Republic of Germany has donated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) equipment worth K91 million to the Ministry of Lands.

The equipment will be used in the Malawi- Mozambique boundary re-affirmation exercise.

Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Germany Sabine Lindemann hailed Malawi for making efforts to clarify borderlines with neighbouring states.

“The surveying instrument that has been donated will, therefore, support Malawi’s work in the delimitation and demarcation exercise.

“Germany provided the same equipment to neighbouring Mozambique, which will strengthen cooperation and facilitate measurements during joint field surveys between both countries,” she said.

The boundary demarcation exercise is a product of African Union Border Programme, an initiative taken by African heads of State and government in 2007 when, at the Eighth Ordinary Session of the then Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the African Union, they agreed to clear all misunderstandings on boundaries.

The initiative was aimed at preventing border-related disputes and minimising cases of conflict between neighbouring countries on the continent.

Lands Deputy Minister Abida Mia said Germany had, through GIZ, been providing financial support to her ministry for the demarcation of boundaries between Malawi and neighbours Mozambique and Zambia.

She said, with the sophisticated equipment, three land surveyors would be able to carry out surveys at the same time and would, in the end, fast-track the Malawi/Mozambique boundary reaffirmation exercise.

“This equipment will help in easing boundary pillar observation activities as, using GNNSS receivers, we will be able to come up with final coordinates which will help in defining the boundary line in the new Malawi/Mozambique boundary treaty,” Mia said.

Previously, Germany donated motor vehicles, GNSS receivers, software and specialised equipment for research vessel R.V Timba on Lake Malawi besides training technical and legal experts on boundary matters.

Source: Times News

Two women entrepreneurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo have founded a mobile app that helps keep taxi users safe.

Ursula Ndombele and Magalie Bueyasadila founded Hoja app that helps people get information about their driver.

The users scan the QR code poster on the taxi to get all information about their ride.

A third of Kinshasa drivers have signed up and they say its good for business as clients trust them more.

Kidnappings in taxis are common in Kinshasa.

Police say there up to five incidents every week but the last month has seen a decline to only five incidents the whole month.

The Hoja app founders hope to expand presence to other Africa cities.

Source: BBC

The Anti-Corruption Commission -ACC- has arrested and charged former Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary KENNEDY MALAMA with two counts of willful failure to comply with applicable law and procedure contrary to the ACC act.

ACC Spokesperson QUEEN CHIBWE says Dr. MALAMA 53, is in the first count accused of willfully failing to comply with applicable procedure by terminating a contract between the Ministry of Health and Savenda Management Services Limited.

Mrs CHIBWE disclosed this in a statement to ZNBC News in LUSAKA today.

She said the contract was for the supply and delivery of 50 basic life support Ambulances, supply and delivery of Ambulance spare parts and training personnel when Dr. MALAMA served as Permanent Secretary in charge of Administration.

Mrs CHIBWE adds that in the second count when Dr. MALAMA served as Director of Health promotions, Environment and Social Determinants at the Ministry of Health failed to comply with applicable procedure by approving the procurement of 50 ambulances using Li
ited bidding international as the appropriate method without justification.

She said in both counts, Dr. MALAMA was acting with other unknown persons between August 1st 2017 and December 31st 2018.

And, Mrs CHIBWE said the commission has also arrested and charged former Ministry of Health Head of Procurement WILSON LUNGU with one count of willful failure to comply with applicable law and procedure involving the said 50 ambulances.

She said the duo has been released on Bond and will appear in court soon.

 

Source: ZNBC

At least five officials working for Nigeria’s Borno state ministry of works were on Wednesday abducted by suspected militants linked to the Islamic State West African Province (Iswap).

Borno state’s commissioner for works, Yerima Saleh, confirmed the incident and said three vehicles, including a Toyota Hilux and two tippers, were also seized by the militants.

Mr Saleh added that the victims were en route to inspect a road project near Chibok town.

Damboa and Chibok towns are close to Sambisa forest, which is the main hideout for militants in the region.

Borno is among three north-eastern Nigeria states that have endured a protracted jihadist insurgency that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions of people.

Source: BBC

 

The Chinese embassy has urged its citizens to evacuate three provinces in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo as soon as possible.

The notice follows several cases of armed robbery and kidnappings of Chinese nationals in the region's mines in recent days.

The three provinces are North Kivu, Ituri and South Kivu.

Chinese nationals in areas at risk to report to the mission by 10 December.

Source: BBC

The African Union and United Nations have jointly criticised travel restrictions put on several Southern African countries following the discovery of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the restrictions could lead to "travel apartheid", describing them as "deeply unfair, punitive and ineffective" in stopping the spread of the variant.

He said Africans should not be collectively punished for sharing health information with the world.

The AU chairperson Chairperson Mahamat Faki said wealthier nations should help the continent increase its vaccination rates which currently stand at under 6% while some developed countries were already giving third booster shots.

It comes just a day after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Nigerian counterpart asked countries to reverse the travel bans.

The World Health Organization says at least 23 countries globally have now reported cases of Omicron.

Source: BBC

A new study has found that Madagascar's current food crisis has been caused mainly by factors other than global warming - contradicting a recent UN report which blamed it on climate change.

The report - by a group of international scientists, published by World Weather Attribution - blamed poverty and weather conditions that were only minimally affected by global warming.

It said in two consecutive seasons in southern Madagascar, rainfall had been 40% below average, causing severe drought and crop failures.

Last month the UN World Food Programme declared that Madagascar was the first country experiencing famine like conditions as result of climate change.

More than 90% of people in southern Madagascar live in poverty and farmers rely on each season’s rain.

Source: BBC

UPND Secretary General BATUKE IMENDA says the party will be able to create more job opportunities especially for women and youths through the implementation of the 2022 National Budget.

Mr. IMENDA told ZANIS in an interview in Ndola today that the Constituency Development Fund -CDF- will be a channel of job creation and empowerment will be given to women and youths.

He said as the government unveils its budget in January 2022, a lot of things will be done that the Zambian people will start witnessing.

Mr. IMENDA said the government is poised to change the entire economy and status quo.

He said his mission in the province is to appreciate the people for voting the UPND into power on August 12, 2021.

Mr. IMENDA said since the party has been voted into power, the people are now free from cadres who were in the past terrorizing them.

 

Source: ZANIS

Chinsali Committee on Epidemic and preparedness in Muchinga Province has resolved to meet the clergy in all churches and traditional healers to discuss the health protocols and guidelines put in place to stem the further spread of the COVID-19.

ZANIS reports that the resolve was made during a meeting which was called to discuss strategies and modalities of sensitizing the residents on the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 held in the health boardroom.

During his closing remarks, Chairperson for the committee, Samson Muchemwa, who is also district commissioner for Chinsali, said the earlier the two stakeholders are engaged, the better for its members and clients to get vaccinated against COVID -19.

During the discussion, the house was told that church leaders are key stakeholders who command a big following and have influence on their congregants.

Meanwhile, District Health Promotions Officer, Margret Chishala complained that traditional healers have rocked the district and are misleading people that they have cure for COVID-19 a situation which is causing people to be resisting the vaccines.

“We have a challenge to meet the district target because people have opted to consult witch doctors who have publicized to the effect that have found cure for COVID-19 than vaccination,” she said.

Mrs Chishala explained that many people who received Astrazeneca dose 1 have not returned to get Dose 2 despite being called while others claim when called that is a wrong number.

She added public awareness is being held on radio station lobbying for people to get vaccinated but that such efforts seem to be in vain.

She also disclosed that the trending situation on the vaccines is that Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been accepted due to it having only one injection compared to Astrazeneca which has two doses

In response, Chinsali District Administrative Officer, Brenda Silwembe appealed to the District Commissioner to help the district by intervening with issue of traditional healers who are misleading the people that they have found the cure for COVID-19.

A check by ZANIS in Kabuta, Choshi,and Makoba found advertisements displayed by various traditional healers claiming to have come from Luapula, claiming to cure COVID-19.

Source: ZANIS

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