General News

General News (4126)

At least 990 graduate government interns, under the third and fourth cohorts of the internship programme, have not been receiving their monthly allowances since July this year; a development they say has led to failure to sustain themselves in their respective duty stations.

National chairperson for the interns Arthur Chadokota said the cohorts started their internship in April and June, respectively, and have been engaging Ministry of Labour on the allowances.

“We went to Capital Hill where we met some senior officials from Ministry of Labour where we were assured that we would get our allowances in the soonest time possible. Now they keep changing dates.

“The officials told us that the problem was as a result of government adopting a new payment system and we are surprised it is taking so long for the problem to be rectified,” he said.

An intern at Machinga District Council, who opted for anonymity, said they are facing challenges to meet daily needs such as food and money for rentals, adding that some interns have already been evicted from rented houses.

“We are told to compile a list where we should include our bank account details, yet they can just refer to the forms we filled when we were applying for the internships. We want government to act with speed in solving this problem,” the concerned intern said.

Deputy Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule said the non-payment was a result of a technical glitch within the ministry and Accountant General’s office due to changes in Integrated Financial Management Information System which demanded a new payment model.

“We understand the tough times the interns are going through, but we are in the final stages of addressing this challenge. The Accountant General and Ministry of Finance have assured us that the payments will be done very soon,” Kamtukule said.

She further asked for patience from the interns while also revealing that the ministry will be meeting their leadership tomorrow on the matter.

However, when contacted, Chadokota said he was yet to be notified of the planned meeting.

On Thursday, the ministry released a statement, signed by Principal Secretary Dickson Chunga, indicating that it was working with other government institutions to address the challenge.

Each intern is supposed to get a K80, 000 monthly stipend.

Government rolled out the internship programme in September 2018 with an aim of giving fresh graduates an opportunity to gain work experience while also beefing the workforce in the civil service.

 Source: Times Group《》RT

United Party for National Development (UPND) Deputy Secretary General Getrude Imenda has advised party structures across the country to encourage more women participation in leadership positions at provincial and district levels.

Ms. Imenda expressed disappointment with the low number of women in leadership positions across the country.

She has since urged the party to consider adopting more women when opportunities arise.

Ms. Imenda made these remarks during a meeting with Lusaka Province UPND party officials in Lusaka today.

She further urged party officials to be gender sensitive during the selection process so that Zambia is in line with the protocols of having 50 percent women representation in leadership positions.

And Lusaka Province Minister Sheal Mulyata, has invited all concerned citizens to visit her office to discuss developmental ideas and to air out their grievances.

Ms. Mulyata also urged all UPND members to work as a team in order to help President Hakainde Hichilema achieve the much needed national development.

 Source: LT《》RT

CHIEFS are lobbying government to urgently change the nomenclature of traditional leaders’ titles from chiefs to kings.

Chief Zvimba, born Stanley Urayayi Mhondoro, is leading the lobby.

He gained prominence earlier this year after decreeing the exhumation and reburial of late former president Robert Mugabe from his rural home in Zvimba to a site at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

Speaking at an interactive meeting between traditional leaders and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officers at Inkomo Barracks in Nyabira at the weekend, Chief Zvimba said the title chief compromised their standing and onerous responsibility in society.

 He said some posts such as those of top company executives and engineers were prefixed with the word chief, which belittles their office and status.

Mhondoro, who was speaking in Shona, said: “Chieftainship speaks to royalty. We don’t like to be equated with chief executives and chief engineers, we are not different but what separates us is the work we do and the trajectory we traverse to be installed. One doesn’t go to school to become a chief, neither is there promotion but it comes with central lineage.”

He appealed to Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Chief of Staff (Quartermaster Staff) major-general Hlanganani Dube to relay the message to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately action the demand to alter the title.

“Kindly pass on this request to His Excellency (Mnangagwa) that chiefs from Mashonaland West, represented by Chief Zvimba, no longer want to be addressed as chiefs.

“King George and Queen Elizabeth are not addressed as chiefs because they are royals. Historically there were kings, therefore it’s better to say Mambo (King) Zvimba or Mambo Chundu because saying chief does not befit our lofty status and image,” he said.

“We have refused to be called chiefs, we don’t want it. There is urgent need to look for another title as the current one puts us in the wrong perspective, it gives us false personal,” he added.

The annual luncheon between chiefs and the army generals is aimed at cementing civil-military relations, thereby vindicating assertions by observers who doubt the impartiality of both traditional leaders and soldiers, seen as defacto commissars of the ruling Zanu PF party.

 Source: NZ《》RT

PROSECUTOR General (PG) Kumbirai Hodzi has approached the High Court seeking to reopen former ICT minister, Supa Mandiwanzira’s corruption case which he was cleared of last year.

Hodzi filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking dismissal of a review application by Mandiwanzira, seeking his prosecution in a case he was accused of unlawfully seconding Tawanda Chinembiri, his former personal assistant to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) board.

Hodzi said 11 months have since elapsed, but Mandiwanzira is yet to file his answering affidavit.

Hodzi is praying that the review application filed by Mandiwanzira be dismissed for want of prosecution.

 

Mandiwanzira was however removed from remand on this case by Harare magistrate, Esthere Chivasa.

This was after the state consented to his application for refusal of further remand.

Chivasa ruled the case will have to proceed by way of summons.

In the current application Hodzi has filed through his law officer, Tozivepi Mapfuwa, he cited Mandiwanzira and magistrate Bianca Makwande as first and second respondents respectively.

According to court papers, Mandiwanzira had filed an application for review on August 24 under case 4486/20 and served it to the PG and Makwande.

He had excepted the charge but Makwande dismissed his application ruling that corruption matters should not be resolved on technicalities.

While challenging Maandiwanzira’s appeal, Hodzi argued that Makwande had ruled that there was vagueness between the charge and summary of facts.

Hodzi said where an application to quash a charge is made, it is discretionary upon the magistrate to either quash a charge or order it to be amended in such manner as the court thinks just,” said Hodzi.

He also urged the court not to hear premature defences or innocence of Mandiwanzira.

“It is clear from the application that the applicant is fighting to avoid the trial. He should allow the state to amend its charge and fr the matter to be disposed of on merits rather than technicalities,” he had argued.

The state had been ordered to amend Mandiwanzira’s charges but admitted that it had failed to amend the charges within seven days required by the court’s order.

The matter is yet to be heard.

 Source: NZ《》RT

The High Court sitting in Lilongwe has set October 6 to hear oral submissions of the State’s application to review Women Lawyers Association (WLA)’s bill of K255,684,112 as costs for handling the Msundwe women rape case.

Ministry of Justice spokesperson Pilirani Masanjala said there would be oral hearing of the submissions the State filed and the responses from WLA.

“I believe the WLA responded to our application and this will only be oral hearing of the same,” he said.

WLA represented the women who claim were raped by Malawi Police Service agents who went to restore peace in Msundwe, Mpingu and M’bwatalika during demonstrations.

WLA, who offered the services pro-bono (free-of-charge), was later awarded K255 million after the High Court ordered the State to pay costs on top of awarding the women K130 million.

And some observers accused the women of ‘immorally’ benefitting from a case they had indicated they would handle pro bono.

One of the women lawyers Bernadette Malunga said she was not aware of the date for hearing.

“Nobody has told me of the date for hearing; so, I will lie. I will not comment because I am not aware that the date has been set,” she said.

Malawi Law Society described the fees as “unusual” and unjustified while Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) called on WLA to address concerns over the K255 million bill.

An MHRC report into the matter showed that the women were indeed raped but a leaked report by the police on the same allegations indicated that the allegations were fake.

A third investigation into the matter by the Independent Police Complaints Commission is expected to start on October 1.

On August 13 last year, High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda ordered the police to compensate the sexual assault victims and arrest the law enforcers who were implicated in the attack.

The police officers had allegedly invaded the three locations following the death of their colleague Usumani Imedi, who had earlier been stoned to death by some people at Msundwe, who protested against the then-president Peter Mutharika’s planned political party in Lilongwe.

 Source: Times Group《》RT

Finance Minister Felix Mlusu Monday said the government is concerned about International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s delay to resume implementing the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Malawi.

Mlusu expressed his worry at a news conference in Lilongwe yesterday, when he gave the status of the country’ ECF discussions with the IMF.

In June 2020, Malawi cancelled the previous ECF programme following change of leadership after the Tonse Alliance-led administration noted that some of the critical programme targets were missed.

Malawi is failing to access $300 million [approximately K247 billion at the current exchange rate] for Development Policy Operation (DPO) of the World Bank because of the absence of ECF, information which was corroborated by Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Wilson Banda.

“Discussions are underway to restart the ECF but we are a little frustrated with the IMF. It has taken us long. We have tried to explain to the IMF that we are clearing these legacy issues,” Mlusu said.

He said the discussions with IMF had taken longer than expected because, among other things, the erstwhile governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration misreported to IMF on Gross Reserve Assets and Net International Reserves for 2018 to 2019.

He said ECF was also cancelled because the country had a high debt stock, estimated at K4.76 trillion as of December 2020.

Mlusu added that IMF takes seriously misreporting, to the extent of asking for refunds which were already disbursed.

“These are legacy issues which the current government is resolving with the IMF before the proposal for the new ECF Programme is presented to the IMF Board,” he said.

The Finance Minister said, in the absence of ECF, Malawi was failing to get both financial and technical support from development partners and multilateral cooperating partners.

“ECF helps to unlock both financial and technical support from the donors. Once a country gets an IMF Extended Credit Facility, donors and cooperating partners come in with support,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to Mlusu, the government has taken some measures to convince the IMF to restart ECF.

On the huge debt stock, he said the government was restricting borrowing to concessional terms for key infrastructure projects and engaging donors for extension of grace periods on loans that are not yet effective and implementing a policy of borrowing for productive investments only.

He said, to address the issue of misreporting, the government would conduct a special audit of foreign exchange reserves of RBM.

Mlusu said the government would also maintain budget discipline by implementing the approved budget and applying sanctions to offenders.

On domestic debt, the government would continue with its programme of diversifying its debt port-folio through issuance of more long term debt instruments among others.

Malawi was implementing the ECF from April 2018 and it was expected to run until April 2021.

Through ECF, IMF provides financial assistance to countries with protracted Balance of Payment problems.

Policy priorities in the previous ECF arrangement were aimed at entrenching macroeconomic stability, preserving debt sustainability and advancing governance reforms.

Last month, IMF approved $133 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) for Malawi, which is expected to bolster confidence and strengthen the resilience of the country’s economy.

SDR is an international reserve asset created by IMF to supplement its member countries’ official reserves

 Source: Times Group《》RT

 

AN estimated three million people are projected to be in need of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe between January and March 2022.

This is the assessment carried out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its latest  GIEWS – Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS) report.

Zimbabwe joins 33 other countries in Africa seeking external humanitarian assistance. Most affected countries in Africa are in involved in internal armed conflicts.

However, according to FAO the number of vulnerable citizens in Zimbabwe is lower than the same period in 2021 due a large upturn in agriculture production.

 

The international aid organisation said countries in crisis requiring external assistance for food are expected to lack the resources to deal with reported critical problems of food insecurity.

FAO said the critical problems in Zimbabwe of food insecurity were due to high food prices and economic downturn.

“An estimated 3 million people are projected to be in need of humanitarian assistance between January and March 2022, largely on account of poor food access due to prevailing high prices and reduced incomes owing to the effects of the economic downturn,” FAO said in its report.

“However, this number is lower than the figure in the same period in 2021 due of the large upturn in agricultural production that boosted household food supplies.”

According to FAO, food price rises in Zimbabwe have remained relatively low, but price levels are still significantly higher-year-on-year.

“The official monthly food inflation rate was estimated at about 3% in August, generally unchanged compared to the previous month. The annual rate continued to fall and was estimated at 50% in August, still an exceptionally high level but significantly lower than the rates in 2020 when inflation peaked at more than 900%,” it said.

“With the recent issuance of the Special Drawing Rights by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which the country is expected to partly use to shore up foreign currency reserves, this is expected to further bolster the stability of the currency.

“Additionally, the country harvested a large maize crop in 2021, estimated at 2.7 million tonnes, owing to supportive government policies and conducive weather conditions. The improved supply situation has also contributed to easing pressure on cereal prices.”

The GIEWS report is released four times annually. The GIEWS continuously monitors food supply and demand and other key indicators for assessing the overall food security situation in all countries of the world.

 Source: NZ《》RT

By ZANIS:

Southern Province Minister Cornelius Mweetwa has advised Mazabuka and Choma Municipal councils to work towards attaining the city status within the period 2021 to 2026.

Mr. Mweetwa says Mazabuka is one unique District in the country owing to its sugar production but lacks amenities to own a city status.

The Minister has observed that Mazabuka and Choma share similar situations adding that the two councils must seize the opportunity.

Mr. Mweetwa says it is in the best interest of the New Dawn Administration to see local authorities improving their statuses across the country in providing quality services to the people.

He has however warned against awarding City status to Choma and Mazabuka on the basis that UPND is now in power but rather on Merit following all procedures.

The Minister was speaking when he installed both Mayors for Mazabuka and Choma.

And Mazabuka mayor Vincent Lilanda said he will endeavour to make Mazabuka a clean and green town.

Meanwhile, Choma Mayor Javan Simoloka said the council will align its activities to that of the UPND manifesto.

He reiterated that Choma as a provincial capital must be a city.

 Source: ZNBC《》RT

Chief Chizela of Mufumbwe District has appealed to the government to give traders a grace period for them to sell harvested Mukula logs following the ban.

The chief says traders in Mufumbwe have Mukula logs ready for the market and banning the sale of the logs will negatively affect their business.

Chief Chizela advised government to buy the already harvested Mukula logs so that traders can realize some profit.

Speaking when Water Development and Sanitation Minster MIKE MPOSHA paid a courtesy call on him at his Palace, the Traditional leader said the move to ban the harvest and sale of Mukula is welcome but traders should be allowed to sale old stocks.

And Mr. MPOSHA said the ban on harvesting and sale of Mukula is meant to help the government take stock of traders that are holding genuine licences.

He said the government wants to identify individuals who are trading in Mukula illegally before the ban can be lifted.

Meanwhile Mr. Mposha said the government is committed to supplying clean water to residents of Mufumbwe and North Western Province.

 

Source: LT

The government has faulted Malawians that are selling land to foreigners, saying the country’s laws prohibit the practice.

Lands Minister Kezzie Msukwa told The Daily Times that his ministry was aware that some Malawians were selling land to citizens of other countries, saying the government was committed to addressing the problem.

“Selling land to foreigners is prohibited by the laws and anyone found doing so will be brought to book. It is our appeal that we, as a nation, must think about tomorrow and be responsible enough when it comes to land handling,” Msukwa said.

He was reacting to calls from Organisation for Sustainable Socio- Economic Development Initiatives (Ossedi) and People’s Federation for National Peace and Development (Pefenap), who have bemoaned some Malawians’ tendency to sell land to people of other nationalities.

Ossedi Project Manager Mphatso Zulu cited Traditional Authority (T/A) Kabudula of Lilongwe as one of the places where pieces of land were being sold to foreigners in the country.

“We, as an organisation, are worried that land continues to be sold at an alarming rate in the country, a case in point being in T/A Kabudula’s area in Lilongwe.

“If we continue on this trajectory, we will end up selling all the land in the country to foreigners, leaving future generations with nothing,” he said.

Pefenap Executive Director Edward Chaka concurred with Zulu, saying, sooner rather than later, Malawians will have no valuable property on prime land.

“In Blantyre, for example, especially in Blantyre Central Business District, as well as in Limbe, indigenous business persons pay exorbitant rental fees because they do not own the land, let alone buildings erected on prime land.

“If left unchecked, people that have been selling land to foreigners will leave future generations in a precarious situation. Land is a valuable resource but we do not seem to treat it as such here in Malawi. Actually, land issues can, if not well handled, be a source of conflict in communities. Let the government, through the Ministry of Lands, do the needful by protecting our land,” Chaka said.

Indigenous Business Association of Malawi President Mike Mlombwa recently bemoaned the practice of selling land to people of other nationalities in the country, saying they make life difficult for indigenous businesspersons, who are forced to conduct trading activities outside urban centres.

Recently, the Ministry of Lands warned that it would snatch pieces of land that have been dormant for years after people bought them.

 Source: Times Group《》RT

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