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MCP reaction to Malawi electoral reform ‘intriguing’ – Activist

29 January 2016 13:20:59 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

Human rights activist and researcher for Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Mankhumbo Munthali has said statement that opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) are still consulting on the call for voting system of electing a Head of State to be changed from the current first-past-the-post to one for a 50 per cent plus one law to ensure that the winner of presidential elections enjoyed majority support is “intriguing.” CHRR’s Munthali: Push for electoral reforms is vital MCP president Lazarous Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in parliament, has been on record saying the current set up has "failed voters". Under the current first-past-the-post system, the winner takes all. The opposition wants to move to a system of universal legitimacy. But President Peter Mutharika had an audience with officials from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) recently, he urged MEC to resist the temptation to push for changes as a response to sectoral complaints “as opposed to a real and genuine national concern.” MCP public relations officer Alekeni Menyani is however quoted in the press saying the party was “consulting on the 50%+1 to win the presidential election and will come up with a position once the party has agreed". His comments drew a slew of criticism from CHRR’s Munthali. Wondered Munthali: “MCP was MCP still consulting? Have we all not often been told by MCP leadership particularly its leader Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and spokesperson Dr. Jessie Kabwira that MCP supports the 50% plus one. The local media can attest to this. Does this mean that Dr Chakwera and Dr Kabwira have been preaching 50% plus one gospel without consulting their constituents?” Munthali added: “Does it mean that MCP is suddenly contemplating on possibly changing its earlier position after realising that there is some possibility that they might benefit from the current system just as DPP did in the 2014 elections? If so, what does this say about MCP's adherance to principles, and most importantly principles of democratic governance? MCP's reaction is not only surprising but raises more questions than answers.” The human rights campaigner said in a broader view, MCP comments by Menyani may also reflect the perennial problem of lack of principles and ideologies that has characterised Malawi political parties since the re-introduction of multi-party democracy in 1993. “The issue of 50 plus one- without prejudicing any opposing views- must be supported as a key governance issue that would enhance legitimacy even if some political individuals think otherwise- that is limiting their chances to acquiring power,” Munthali stated. According to The Nation , United Democratic Front (UDF) has backed Mutharika’s position as UDF spokesperson Ken Ndanga is quoted saying: “Our view was that we should at all cost avoid looking at just a particular election or dealing with electoral problems that are exclusive to a particular political party. The reforms are a very important aspect of our electoral process and should be prioritised.” Munthali said it is “not surprising “ to learn about DPP and UDF holding some reservations to some sections of the current electoral reforms particularly the proposed absolute majority (50 percent plus one on Presidential race), DPP and UDF are in a parliamentary working relationship. Civil society groups and opposition political parties are pushing for the electoral reforms following chaotic tripartite elections held in 2014 which were marred by several irregularities and resulted in several court challenges. The push for electoral reforms is backed by the United Nations (UN) which argued that the reforms would enhance the country’s democracy despite political risks associated with the exercise. UNDP country representative Mia Seppo warned that leaving misalignments in the current laws unaddressed would impede progress and development in the country observing that electoral reforms have been a recurring subject during the post election period since 1999. University of Malawi political science lecturer at Chancellor College, Boniface Dulani (PhD), said the reform proposals have been discussed in several forums for a number of years now and it was time to take them to the next level. “There are three years between now and the next elections. This in my view is sufficient time to enact the reforms into law,” he said as quoted by The Nation. CHHR’s Munthali told Nyasa Times that it is important that the political; leadership -whether those in the ruling and opposition - should be willing to stand up and enact the laws that are for the national good even if they might not work for them. The 50 plus one electoral law entails that where in a general election there is no candidate who gather 50 percent, there should be a run off for the top two candidates to determine the winner. Malawi’s interfaith organization, Public Affairs Committee (PAC) have recognised that 50 per cent plus one rule guarantees the leader acceptable, popular, majoritarian mandate. DPP leader Peter Mutharika was declared the winner of Malawi’s May 20, 2014 presidential election after defeating Joyce Banda. Mutharika, the brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, took 36.4 percent of the votes cast, Lazarus Chakwera of MCP garnered 27.8 percent of the vote and Banda’s 20.2 percent.

Vice All News Time29 January 2016 13:20:59


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Ntaba back as presidential aide: Malopa axed from State House for insubordination, moved to Macra

12 January 2016 08:23:37 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

Bright Malopa who since 2014 has been Presidential aide on Communication Strategy has finally been removed from State House and relocated to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) as Technical Advisor on Broadcasting. Malopa: Out of State House , relocated to Macra Ntaba: Doctor-cum-politician withdrew from diplomatic posting and is now hired as presidential aide Information from State House shows that Malopa has been “irrelevant” to the President’s office as he has been absent from duties will- nilly for many months now and authorities deemed “constructive resignation.” The former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Director General has been spending more time on his under-construction of a hotel project in Cape Maclear, Mangochi. In addition, Malopa has also been making foreign trips without informing the President, Chief Secretary and Chief of Staff, Nyasa Times understands. Under normal employment etiquette these three offices are supposed to know what State House officers are doing. In another development President Mutharika has hired Dr Hetherwick Ntaba as presidential advisor on domestic policy with immediate effect. ‘Talking computer’ in ipad era Ntaba between 1992 and 1994 earned the accolade of “Talking Computer” when he, comical Ali-like, and despite the obvious, defended the falling one party regime with such eloquence that he could have fooled “strangers in Jerusalem.” With the one party system destroyed and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in opposition, he continued practicing the art of oratory as a member of the opposition until his duplicity was exposed. Then, he made his first move, and came up with a bargaining chip: the New Congress for Democracy (NCD). Returning to his other creation, the NCD, he tried unsuccessfully to join the 2004 Mgwirizano Coalition bandwagon. Suspicious of him and his party, the coalition stayed away from him. Never one at a loss for what to do next, he sold his party, skills and talents to a very willing buyer: Bakili Muluzi and his United Democratic Front (UDF). And with this move, he was back on the ruling side, where the gravy train flows. Needless to say that having languished in opposition for a while, when the late President Bingu wa Mutharika ditched the UDF, he quickly made himself available and useful, assuring himself a continued ride on the gravy-train. He joined or co-founded the DPP, and was in the forefront demonising Muluzi and the UDF – where he had sought refuge briefly – as the Section 65 vs. Budget and Impeachment madness raged in Malawi. Along the line, he served as DPP Secretary General, fell out of grace, and resurfaced as Presidential Advisor and Spokesperson – until his client bit the dust. One thing that needs to be said to Ntaba’s credit is that through-out his dynamic career, especially in his chosen speciality and niche of defending unpopular policies, laws and governments; he serves whoever is willing to pay his body and soul with unflinching loyalty. He speaks the Queen’s language like his mother tongue and the same applies when he switches to his mother tongue, Chichewa. Not all people speak their own language that well! And check this out: Not too long ago, in the aftermath of British diplomat Fergus Cochrane Dyet’s expulsion, Ntaba, tongue-in-cheek, took on the British Foreign Affairs Department, saying contrary to what everybody was saying, the Malawi Government had not expelled the British envoy. It had merely “lost confidence in him”. Who does that? It’s like a spin doctor from the UK telling you that he or she has a better understanding of your vernacular language with its expressions. But that’s Ntaba for you. While such ingenuity would be praiseworthy – if invested in a good cause and used for the general good – in a prostitute, political or otherwise, it just shows how low he or she will sink to satisfy their clientele. For one, Dr. Ntaba’s political career, for all his close association with powers that be, isn’t endorsed by folks in his backyard. To prove this, he lost the parliamentary elections in a by-election to a then upstart – Willard Gwengwe and then lost again when DPP won re-election in 2009 even candidates who had no business of winning made to parliament and lost again in 2014. This speaks volumes. Putting it mildly, while in indulging in politics is always a gamble, being an unelected politician is even worse. It renders one prone to abuse by any client pulling the strings. And, as a result one’s political future winds up being subject to the fortunes of another – as has happened now to Ntaba. His fortunes at the polls underline one thing: political prostitution, though attractive in the short run from the perspective of personal survival, is generally frowned upon by voters, which is a good thing. Malawi has other people who can do what he does but for a good cause. He is old school. And like Mark Antony, he has to first bury Caesar before making his next move – which would in theory leave him at the end of the line. But like a true prostitute, he had, it appears, prepared for such an eventuality and made some initial moves. It may have gone unnoticed, but in fact Ntaba was the first to invest and gamble in the possibility of tables turning before anyone did. And he did this, very overtly on two or three occasions. It all remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, Malawians haven‘t seen or heard the last of the ‘Talking Computer’. Whatever software is loaded into it, when rebooted, the Talking Computer r will make some sound bites which should only serve as entertainment.

Vice null Time12 January 2016 08:23:37


Omar faction demands UDF convention

31 December 2015 20:01:09 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

United Democratic Front (UDF) Central Regional officials backing expelled vice president Iqbal Omar on Thursday, took turns in calling upon UDF National Executive committee (NEC) to hold early elections in order to solve challenges which have emanated within the party. UDF members backing Omar addressing news conference Addressing a news conference at UDF Central Region headquarters, UDF senior members from Dedza, Lilongwe, Salima and Dowa, said accused the party president Atupele Muluzi for his decision of firing Iq’s Omar from the party. Alex Waziri said the only way to resolve the differences is to call for a party national conference. "We are calling NEC to hold a convention, we should elect new leaders who can lead the party towards the rightful direction," said Waziri. Waziri said during the convention "We will start afresh since Atupele has let us down," Said Waziri. Taking his turn UDF Governor for Salima Godfrey Katiwo praised former president Bakili Muluzi for taking care of the party during his time of leadership. "We are asking Atupele to borrow a leaf from the former chair who had a passion and love for the party," said Katiwo. During the news conference, Omar's Personal Assistant Ben Phiri (not related to State House’s aide) denied reports that Atupele gave Omar K23 million for campaigning during 2014 campaign.

Vice All News Time31 December 2015 20:01:09


Defiant Omar unhappy with Atupele, UDF-DPP ‘alliance’

09 December 2015 06:26:52 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

Businessman-cum-politician Iqbal ‘Nthandizi’ Omar has challenged United Democratic Front (UDF) that he does not recognise its decision to expel him has its first vice president, saying he remains in his rank and the party, criticising its leader Atupele Muluzi and the alliance with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Omat: I remain UDF for life According to UDF deputy publicity secretary, Judith Ngwira, Omar was expelled during a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting which took place in Lilongwe on Friday afternoon in which he attended. The former Lilongwe City South West Member of Parliament was expelled together with two other officials in the party, deputy director of women, Zaituna Yusuf and deputy central region governor, Dinocius Magombo following recommendations of a disciplinary committee. But speaking on Capital Radio’s flagship interview program, Straight Talk on Tuesday, Omar insisted that he is still in UDF and holding his position, saying he never faced any disciplinary hearing. “God is my witness I have never been given a letter calling me for a disciplinary committee hearing,” said Omar. He said the meeting in Lilongwe was not a disciplinary hearing and that he was heckled by party functionaries when he was asked to respond to the accusations. “I was there at the NEC meeting, when they gave me a podium to respond, there was a lot of noise,” he said. UDF accuses Omar, Yusuf and Magombo for gross misconduct in forming parallel structures. Ngwira said Omar appeared before a disciplinary committee, chaired by the party’s third vice president, Charles Chikuwo. But Omar denied the accusations. “I completely deny forming parallel structures,” he said. During the Capital Radio’s Straight Talk interview with presenter Rhodes Msonkho, Omar insisted he does not accept the decision to expel him from UDF. “I am always UDF and I will die UDF. I love UDF more than my business,” he asserted. “I am ready to face disciplinary committee any time,” said Omar, who claims to be one of the founding members of UDF. Omar defiantly said he will remain in his post unless UDF calls for a convention, saying his position was an elected one at the party conference. “God will answer them. I am innocent. I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said. In the radio interview, Omar also criticised UDF president Atupele Muluzi of being incommunicado. “The only problem with our president, he doesn’t answer the phone. I am not the only one, most members in the party including Lucius Banda MP have been complain the same,” said Omar. He also criticised the working relationship between UDF and DPP, saying it is not in the interest of the party. “I am not happy with UDF-DPP alliance. We don’t benefit anything,” said Omar. He said the alliance pact was not agreed by entire party rank and file. Omar was elected vice president of UDF at a convention which took place in October 2012 but Muluzi sidelined him when he picked Dr Godfrey Chapola as his running mate in the 2014 presidential elections.

Vice All News Time09 December 2015 06:26:52


UDF expels its vice president Omar

05 December 2015 13:31:22 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

The United Democratic Front (UDF) has expelled it's 1st Vice president of the party Iqbar Omar for gross misconduct contrary to the ideals and vision the party, Nyasa Times understands. Omar: Expelled from UDF The decision was made at a National Executive Committee meeting of the party held Friday at Golden Peackok Hotel. According to UDF, Omar has been creating parallel structures without the knowledge of the party and its leadership in selected districts of the central region. The is issue was brought to light when some party officials complained to the party through the office of the Secretary General, Kandi Padambo. The party Disciplinary Committee chaired by second Vice President Charles Chikuwo is said to have told the meeting that despite several attempts to hear his side of the story Omar has been defiant and shown unwillingness to appear before the committee. At the meeting several members attested to the fact that Omar has his own Central Region committee and created district committees that report to him. UDF spokesman Ken Ndanga confirmed to Nyasa Times about the decision and said the party has also expelled Zaituna Yusufu and Mr.Moyenda who until the decision was made were serving as Deputy Director of Women and Acting Regional Governor for Bua Region. The party has also expelled a Mr. Magombo.... as deputy Governor for Central Region who for a long time was used as Regional Governor by Omar. The meeting was chaired by UDF president, Atupele Muluzi and attended by several UDF senior members including Dr. Godfrey Chapola, the party's running mate for 2014 elections. Omar also attended the meeting. He could however not immediately comment.

Vice All News Time05 December 2015 13:31:22


No UDF candidate in Zomba Chisi Constituency by- election

02 December 2015 19:48:26 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

United Democratic Front (UDF) which has been boasting of having eastern region as its political bedrock in not fielding a candidate in Zomba Chisi constituency parliamentary by-elections= after Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Tuesday received six nomination papers from both party and independent candidates through its Constituency Returning Officer at Saint Pauls Teachers Development Center. UDF is in “governance pact” with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and party president Atupele Muluzi is a serving minister in President Peter Mutharika lean cabinet. According to the Mec calendar, the by-elections will be conducted on 22 nd December, 2015 in Zomba Chisi Constituency and DPP has fielded Mark Botoman to retain the constituency previously held by its late Member of Parliament, Peter Chizalo Mangulenje. Main opposiiotn Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has endorsed Brazio Namakuwa as its candidate while People’s Party (PP) has featured Asma Mponda in the race. In the independent category, three candidates have submitted their papers namely: Felister Mpando Suman, Dyson Chimwala and Steven Chikwapulo. MEC Chief Elections Officer, Willie Kalonga warned that no substitution of candidates will be allowed in case a party candidate is rejected during the nomination process.

Vice All News Time02 December 2015 19:48:26


UDF governors in Mangochi rejects ‘propaganda’

07 September 2015 07:10:29 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders in Mangochi have said that the recent victory for the party in the Mongochi Msikisi ward local government by election is a vote of confidence for the party and its leadership and that no propaganda against the party will succeed. Atupele Muluzi: UDF/DPP working relationship Several local party leaders in the lakeshore district dismissed any divisions in the party as a result of its relationship with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), saying such allegation are unfounded as there is unity amongst members and supporters in the district. "In as far as we are concerned we have no problems with the parliamentary relationship between our party and the DPP. “ Our leader Atupele Muluzi called for a meeting for all the leaders in the Eastern region long time ago which includes Mangochi where he explained in detail what the relationship entails and we all supported the idea," said Abubakar M'baya, Regional Governor for UDF the Eastern Region. He said in relation to the recent UDF president's official engagement at the Mangochi council, UDF members were excited that they will also benefit from the access to good housing initiative also known as Malata Cement subsidy programme. M’baya emphasised that UDF's relationship with the DPP does not mean that the two parties are one and the same but that such assertions are “ mere propaganda” in order to bring confusion in the party. The party's district Govenor for Mangochi Urban, Yusuf Foster in a separate interview with Nyasa Times said that his committee and members are all in support of the relationship and that they recently won a by-election in Mangochi Central constituency is a vote of confidence for the party and it's leadership. "Our enemies will try to use all sorts of propaganda to bring confusion in the party but they will not succeed,” said Foster. He said there is nothing wrong with both members of the party in singing praise songs for their respective leaders. Foster said that in as far as UDF is concerned its role is to support a government development agenda which will help all Malawians including the people of Mangochi. He said the UDF party cannot just be campaigning all the time when it has Members of Parliament and councillor who will have to explain to their people what they would have done after five years. " We did our campaign and for those who made it this is time to deliver. Our president (Atupele) has emphasised this on several occasions and that's what we are doing as a party now.”

Vice All News Time07 September 2015 07:10:29


Muluzi campaigns for UDF in Mangochi for Aug 25 by-elections

11 August 2015 05:05:42 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

With just a few days left before the local-government by-elections, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Atupele Muluzi took off his ministerial duties over the weekend to lead his United Democratic Front (UDF) party campaign at Msikisi in Mangochi. Atupele introduces UDF candidate UDF supporters listen to Muluzi in Mangochi Atupele Muluzi arrives at the rally in Mangochi Muluzi was with his UDF entourage to drum up support for their candidate. UDF and its alliance partner, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has agreed modality on how to feature candidates in the August 25 by-elections. DPP in not contesting in Mangochi, considered as the stronghold of UDF, and instead the ruling party is supporting the UDF candidate, while in Zomba; DPP will feature a candidate who the UDF will support. Addressing crowds of jubilant UDF supporters, Muluzi said he was “feeling pretty confident” of UDF win in the by-elections but said the party will not be complacent by campaign strongly. “You should come in your large numbers to vote on August 25. Your vote is yellow and blue - that’s UDF,” said Muluzi. “UDF is still vibrant and going strong,” he said during the meetings he held in the area.

Vice All News Time11 August 2015 05:05:42


UDF denies plot to impeach Speaker: Gets court order on Sec 65

28 June 2015 06:22:32 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

United Democratic Front (UDF) has denied any involvement in the purported impeachment plot against Speaker of National Assembly, Richard Msowoya. Msowoya faces impeachment over his alleged bias in the handling of the petition by a civil society leader to declare vacant seats of 11 UDF members of Parliament (MPs) who moved to the government benches...

Vice All News Time28 June 2015 06:22:32


Kabwila petitions Speaker to kick out UDF MPs in Malawi Parliament

19 June 2015 19:44:34 Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament for Salima North West Dr Jessie Kabwila has petitioned office of the Speaker of the National Assembly, asking it to kick out the 11 United Democratic Front members of Parliament who recently moved to government benches. Kabwila said on Friday that she has decided to join human rights defender and...

Vice All News Time19 June 2015 19:44:34