Wednesday, September 28, 2011


28th September, 2011

For Immediate Release

The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has
learnt with dismay that journalist Joseph Mwale is receiving death threats
following his alleged publicising of a recording of private conversation
between Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Peter
Mutharika and former Deputy Minister of Sports and Culture, Charles

Mwale was recently fired by one of the country’s broadcaster and
Journalism training institutions, Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ), for
allegedly publicising the recording.

In an interview with MISA Malawi Wednesday, Mwale indicated that he has been
receiving death threat text messages through mobile phone. Said Mwale
“ text message dare you shame our next president? You
thought you were a hero? We will make you a villain because you will soon
die. Mind you, we monitor you and we control everything. We threatened
them and they sacked you. Now they are quite. This is operation 2011. You
will soon go to HHI.”

HHI stands for Henry Henderson Institute where there is a cemetary in the
Commercial City of Blantyre.

The journalist was fired for allegedly circulating Peter Mutharika’s
conversation with Mchacha on the internet. Peter Mutharika is currently
the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) anointed torch bearer in the
2014 presidential elections.

MISA Malawi deems such threats as barbaric, retrogressive and unwarranted
in an open and transparent democracy.

We also deem such acts as deliberate attempts at instilling fear to curtail
meaningful dialogue and debate on pertinent issues that affect our country.

We therefore strongly condemn such acts and call upon the authorities to
thoroughly investigate the matter.

We applaud Mwale for having taken up the matter with the police who have
since promised to investigate the threats. MISA Malawi is, however,
calling on the authorities and the police to openly denounce such barbaric
acts and for the law enforcers to protect journalists and indeed members
of the public who are constantly receiving threats from unknown persons.

Both Mutharika and Mchacha who were mentioned in the chit-chat have chosen
not to comment on the clip, which is circulating on social media including
You Tube. In the clip, Mutharika is analysing the loyalty of some top DPP
leaders, bringing in the question of trust in the run-up to the 2014
presidential elections.

In the clip, apart from talking to MIJ’s Mwale, Mutharika wondered whether
MIJ was DPP loyalist and what he should tell the reporter about his
endorsement as DPP presidential candidate in 2014. Mutharika then
discusses potential presidential candidates from other parties who he
believed had started campaigning for the 2014 presidential race.

MISA Malawi is encouraging journalists in the country, including members
of the public, to report to police whenever their lives seem to be in
danger. We further advise journalists to be on the alert whenever they are
executing their duties.

Finally, we appeal to DPP heavy weights to strongly condemn these threats
which are likely tarnishing the image of the party and top party officials
and to take meaningful steps at ensuring sanity and democratic mentality
amongst party loyalists.

Anthony Kasunda

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good Governance Should Start in Opposition Parties

Governance has become the buzz-word even to people who cannot answer, at first instance, on what figure of speech it is.
That is how things go nowadays, anyway; people get so much used to what they do not know. They, then, sing it like a song.
They may not understand the meaning, they may not understand the meaning behind the meaning; but they will sing, anyway, because the neighbour sings, too.
That is the danger with some words. Their meaning gets lost in the maze of excitement; yes, it gets lost in the bushes of misunderstanding.
This bush has become to be called democracy nowadays, a bush in which many get lost, and afew find their way to the village of tradition and sense- a village inhabited by the Aubunthu.
But it is not the few who find the right way who win; the stakes are stuck in favour of the many who have lost their way to Ubunthu Village. Those who wonder about looking for answers to questions that come naturally.
The right way, for once, can be lost in so many ways. There is semantic noise, that mist between the road of clarity and understanding. There is ignorance. There is misinformation. And many things, also.
But the right still has its way of standing its ground.
And justice always prevails.
However, there seems to be justice and honesty crises ripping through Malawi's opposition parties. Opposition leaders, it seems, have gotten intoxicated with words that have, for long, gotten married and stuck to democracy.
One such word is good governance- a word that took centre-stage at the turn of multiparty democracy in 1994.
Now, you hear all sorts of opposition leaders yapping this term 'good governance'. They have even made it a game to toss President Bingu wa Mutharika with it. What they do is set the word good governance over the jags of political campaigns, rhetoric, propaganda and misinformation, and make it appear as if the public service has no jags of its own, no measurement systems, no...

Heysh, my time is gone. I will continue next time! Sorry for that.

One More Song

Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness makes no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair.

Journalists face threats in covering Isaac imprisonment in Eritrea

New York, September 26, 2011—A Sweden-based journalist was publicly threatened Friday in connection with her reporting on the case of Dawit Isaac, a Swedish-Eritrean journalist who has been imprisoned in Eritrea for a decade without charge, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. A day earlier in New York, bodyguards for the Eritrean leader Isaias Afewerki pushed and threatened two Swedish journalists seeking to speak to the president about the Isaac case, the journalists said.

Meron Estefanos, a contributor to the leading Eritrean diaspora news site Asmarino, was confronted Friday by Tedros Isaac, a brother of the detained journalist whose strong support of Afewerki is extensively documented, after a public forum on the Isaac case at the Gothenburg Book Fair in Sweden.

“You mention my name and write about Dawit Isaac's family one more time I'll cut your throat,” witnesses and Swedish Radio SR quoted Tedros Isaac as telling Estefanos. In a 2010 column published on Asmarino, Estefanos wrote about the deep political divisions that have split Eritrean families into pro- and anti-government camps. In the column, Estefanos had contrasted Tedros Isaac’s ongoing support for the government that arrested his brother with the extensive advocacy to free the journalist that has been undertaken by other brothers.

Sweden’s Expressen newspaper reported Friday that Estefanos had given a statement to the police and quoted Thomas Fuxborg, a local police spokesman, as saying that a preliminary police report had been written.

The confrontation occurred on the 10th anniversary of Isaac's September 23, 2001, arrest. Detained in a broad crackdown on independent journalism, he has been held without charge or trial since that time, with only brief contact with his family in 2005, according to CPJ research. Estefanos, who spoke at Friday’s forum, has been one of the leading activists in Sweden campaigning for the release of Isaac and other political prisoners in Eritrea, according to CPJ research. At least 17 journalists are now being held in Eritrea prisons, according to CPJ research.

A statement released by the Gothenburg Book Fair and signed by Nobel prize laureates Mario Vargas Llosa and Herta Müller, as well as John Ralston Saul, president of PEN International, called on Sweden and the European Union to take a tougher approach toward Eritrea to secure Isaac's release. CPJ research shows the Eritrean government has used agents and proxies to intimidate the country’s exile press.

A day earlier in New York, bodyguards for Eritrean President Afewerki roughed up and threatened two Swedish journalists seeking to ask the president questions about Isaac, according to CPJ interviews. “I got an elbow in the stomach,” Mats Larsson, U.S. correspondent of Expressen newspaper, told CPJ, describing how he and photographer Axel Oberg were pushed aside after they approached the president as he walked near United Nations headquarters. When Oberg later tried to take photos of Afewerki, the journalist told CPJ, another bodyguard attempted to seize his camera and made hand signals as if to slit his throat.

“We’re relieved that Swedish police are investigating the reported threats against Meron Estefanos,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “It’s disturbing that bodyguards for President Afewerki tried to intimidate journalists Mats Larsson and Axel Oberg in New York. There is no place for threats against reporters trying to do their jobs.”
Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness makes no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair..
Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness makes no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair..
Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness makes no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair..
Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness makes no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair..
Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness makes no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair..
Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness makes no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair..

One Day

Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness makes no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair..

Robert Chasowa Some Day

Robert Chasowa will sing again,
In the land where sadness chalks no gains,
Where anger’s paws touch no brains,
Somewhere unreached by pens;
Ah, I remember, somewhere hoped by planes.

There, Robert Chasowa will shine under joy’s big flair
There, where life is all about fun-fare
After the inhabitants say their first prayer.
Forget, my friend, about many a Polytechnic soccer player
Who things that, if you be a skilled player, then, you must keep long hair..

End note: One day, the truth (real truth) about Robert Chasowa's death will be known!

Big Hand

And asking questions in the heart.
Questions whose answers shall never be known, because of long, big, hairly hand that shuts people's mouths.
Ah, and their hearts too.
A big hand that shuts veins.
And hopes, too.

A big hand.

UNESCO must stop discredited prize-CPJ

New York, September 26, 2011—UNESCO should reject a new bid to honor Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea and now Africa's longest serving ruler, with a prize in his name, a group of nine human rights organizations said today.

UNESCO’s executive board, which is meeting in Paris until October 6, 2011, is to consider a proposal for a $3 million UNESCO life sciences prize, to be funded by the “Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Foundation for the Preservation of Life.” The prize was suspended last year after an outcry from concerned Equatoguineans, human rights groups, anti-corruption campaigners, and prominent literary, scientific, and cultural figures.

An effort by the Obiang government to reinstate the prize in May failed to make it onto the agenda. But the current initiative has the nominal support of other African countries following an African Union resolution at its summit meeting in Equatorial Guinea in July, which President Obiang hosted as this year’s AU chairman.

“UNESCO should not honor President Obiang,” said Tutu Alicante, of the nongovernmental human rights organization EG Justice. “If he wishes to fund science and education around the world, he should start with his own country, where many still lack basic services such as electricity and clean water, while the president and his family flaunt an extravagant lifestyle that is the subject of legal investigations around the world.”

According to evidence produced in 2004 and 2010 investigations by the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, President Obiang and close family members have diverted tens of millions of dollars from their country's natural resource earnings to their private benefit.

The 2010 US State Department human rights report decried “official corruption at all levels of government” and noted that “[t]he president and members of his inner circle continued to amass personal profits from the oil windfall.” Equatorial Guinea is consistently ranked among the most corrupt countries on the globe by Transparency International.

The $3 million UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences was set up in 2008 but has never been awarded. Implementation of the prize was frozen pending further discussion in June 2010. In October, the UNESCO Executive Board voted to suspend it until a consensus on the matter could be reached by member states.

That action came about after prominent African figures, Latin American writers, Nobel laureates, scientists and public health professionals, press freedom groups, Cano prize winners, and rights organizations from around the world came together in an unprecedented effort to challenge the prize, citing serious concerns about President Obiang’s record of corruption and abuse.

Public figures involved in the campaign against the prize have included: Nobel laureates Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Wole Soyinka, Mario Vargas Llosa, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, and John Polanyi; author Chinua Achebe; human rights advocate Graça Machel; and over sixty professionals from Equatorial Guinea.

Critics of the prize have highlighted the contrast between the mandate of UNESCO to promote human rights along with its work to defend free expression, and the record of severe repression and official corruption that have marked President Obiang’s 32-year rule. Severe restrictions on press freedom, together with self-censorship, make it difficult for citizens of Equatorial Guinea to challenge the government from inside the country over sensitive topics such as ongoing foreign investigations into the alleged corruption of President Obiang and his close associates. The government has been repeatedly condemned by UN and other human rights monitors for its systematic use of torture. Recent elections have been criticized as neither free nor fair.

Oil and gas exploitation has made Equatorial Guinea the wealthiest country in sub-saharan Africa in per capita income, yet the International Monetary Fund and others have expressed concern that government spending on social needs is very low in light of its high levels of poverty. According to an analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Equatorial Guinea spends less on education as a percentage of GDP than neighboring countries such as Cameroon and Gabon.

In August 2010 President Obiang's government shocked the world when it executed four dissident exiles within an hour after a summary military proceeding found them guilty of treason and attempted assassination.

The following organizations signed the statement:

Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España
Association Sherpa
Center for Economic and Social Rights
Committee to Protect Journalists
EG Justice
Global Witness
Human Rights Watch
Media Legal Defence Initiative
Open Society Justice Initiative


CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.


Tuesday, 27th September, 2011


LILONGWE MAIN – Area 2 close to PMF
M1 – Bunda T-Off
MTUNTHAMA – Kamuzu Academy

CROSS-ROADS (To finish any time)

Any specific information will be provided on request


CENTENARY GARDENS – Opp. Illovo – Limbe
CENTENARY MAIN – Limbe Post Office
KABULA (To finish any time)
LOTUS MOTORS –Pa Hardware – Limbe

ZOMBA MAIN – Chanco T-Off -DIESEL (in progress)

MZUZU MAIN – Opp. Mzuzu Escom – To finish any time

MZUZU MAIN – Opp. Mzuzu Escom -PETROL (later)

Monday, September 26, 2011

United States Embassy to Host Bass Guitar Workshop

Lilongwe – The Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy in partnership with the Department of Arts and Crafts is pleased to announce that it will host a bass guitar workshop at the Public Affairs Section Auditorium, Old Mutual Building, City Center, Lilongwe on Friday, September 30, 2011 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Professional bass player Chris Baio of rock band Vampire Weekend will conduct instruction in an exciting learning environment for players of all abilities. Attendants will be exposed to various styles and techniques of bass, and they will be able to choose an area of focus in smaller groups. Ability to read music is not required for the training session.

Although the clinic will be led by a bass player, other players such as percussionists/drummers, guitarists, keyboardists, horn instrumentalists and vocalists are invited to the workshop for a lively exchange of music ideas between Malawi and the United States.

The workshop will conclude with a special participants’ performance featuring all instruments but with emphasis on the bass.
Baio is an American musician best known for being the bassist for the New York City-based indie rock band Vampire Weekend. He will be in Malawi to perform at the Lake of Stars Festival.

Baio was turned on to music at an early age, purchasing his first album at the age of seven and going to his first concert, a live performance by the band Cracker, at the age of nine. Baio said that as a child, he would go to sleep listening to “Doolittle” by The Pixies.

Baio attended Columbia University in New York, majoring in Russian and Eurasian Regional studies and minoring in Math, finally graduating in May of 2007. He served as College Rock Music Director of WBAR during his time at university.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tennis ace Serena Williams appointed UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador

NEW YORK, 20 September 2011 – UNICEF today announced tennis champion Serena Williams’s appointment as international Goodwill Ambassador.

Williams is one of the all-time greats of professional tennis, having achieved a decade-long dominance of the game. While she is best known for her power and finesse in competition, her generous philanthropic endeavors off the court are just as dynamic.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake welcomed Williams to the UNICEF family today at the 2nd Annual Social Good Summit in New York City.

“Serena Williams isn’t just a world tennis champion, she is a champion for children -- and a passionate advocate for providing every child with a quality education,” said Lake. “We are delighted that Serena is joining us as UNICEF’s newest Goodwill Ambassador and look forward to working together to win for children.

Williams first teamed up with UNICEF in 2006 when she traveled to Ghana, on her first visit to Africa, for the country’s biggest health campaign. During her visit, she joined a team of volunteer health workers who immunized children against deadly childhood diseases, distributed free mosquito bed nets to help prevent malaria and joined local authorities in a demonstration of how to use the life-saving nets.

In her new role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Williams will use her popularity and personal interest in children’s issues to support UNICEF’s mission to provide a quality education for the most vulnerable children through the Schools for Africa programme and the upcoming Schools for Asia initiatives.

“I believe all children deserve the chance to make something of their lives,” Williams said. “I am committed to helping UNICEF provide a quality education to children to help them build a brighter future for themselves, their families, and their communities.”

The newly minted ambassador is one of the most dominant figures in tennis. To date, Williams has won a total of 13 Singles career Grand Slams and was a Gold Medalist at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics.

Williams joins a famous roster of past and present UNICEF Ambassadors that includes Danny Kaye, Audrey Hepburn, Harry Belafonte, Mia Farrow, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, Yuna Kim and Shakira.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

About Schools for Africa

Schools for Africa is a joint initiative founded in 2004 by UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Peter Kramer Stiftung aimed at providing quality basic education to millions of children in 11 countries in Africa. Following the success of Schools for Africa, UNICEF is replicating the model for Asia. The purpose of both initiatives is to provide access to quality basic education to millions of children in with a special focus on the most marginalized, including girls, orphans, children from disadvantaged ethnic groups and children living in remote areas and/or in extreme poverty.

Peaceful Malawi!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Crying for Blantyre Flea Market Vendors

A day never passed without me going to the Blantyre Flea Market; that is, whenever I was in Blantyre Central Business District, and the time was on me.
I used to go a man, a man with a small shop, little voice, and portable wife. He is a good man, this one- with his small shop, voice and...oh, I now remember: he sits on a small chair, too; a chair that, to him, is big enough for comfortability!
Did I say the chair 'is'?
No, I was not supposed to 'speak' like that. That chair, small and black and worn out, is now gone. Diluted in the fire that started, according to unofficial reports, early this morning.
Now, that is sad news.
Sad because in the small shop of my small friend with a relatively 'small' wife was what I have come to accept as 'the smallest room with the biggest cash'. Yes, that's how it was.
The shop was so full of everything. Everything digital. Everything up-to-date. Everything that matters in the lives of people so eaten up by the digital age.
It was a small shop, yes, one that would not have enough room to accommodate 10, 000 mice.
But there were millions of Kwacha in that shop; literally millions.
They were there, these millions, as my friend and his happy wife went home yesterday evening. They have been doing this for the past three years- going home in the evening, to eat and drink and sleep. They would, then, come back the following morning. Smartly dressed. Always smiling.
They were two, always; my friend and his wife. When he was away, the wife would stay in the shop. When she was away, he would be in the shop.
Rumour has it that the wife found the shop. That the wife found the man and the job. That is, they met when the shop was already there with the man.
Evenings are the only time they both went home, leaving nobody in the shop.
If anything, they left 'hope' in the shop.
They did the same yesterday; like the rest of the vendors, going home. Leaving hope and watchmen and the full darkness. It was dark yesterday the starts went to sleep.
Today, going back to their office at the Blantyre Flea Market, they found it razed to the ground by fire. Gutted by the cowardly fire that came under the cover of darkness.
All their property is gone. Their millions gone.
When I heard the news that Blantyre Flea Market was gone, I rushed there to see my friend.
I found him, and his wife, at the entrance.
They were crying.
Tears rolling down their cheeks.
Tears that never seemed to cease.


The count down...
To the day of darkness!

PRESS STATEMENT CALLING ON JOURNALISTS TO JOIN JUMAThe Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA) was established in December, 2007 with the core objective of promoting and protecting labour rights of journalists. Since its inception, it has mediated in a number oflabour disputes. However, its major achievement is building the capacity of its membership through trainings in technical areas such as climate change and environmental management, budget reporting,HIV and Aids, the recent Conflict reporting among others.JUMA has also sustained awareness campaigns on unionism among journalists and the generalpopulation. This is done to ensure journalists join the union with full knowledge of the core values ofunionism while at the same time dispelling fears that unionism is confrontational. Recent events in themedia relating to unfair labour practices and abuse of journalists have necessitated JUMA’s resolve for avibrant union and for all journalists to be part of it.The abhorring events where journalists are dismissed, suspended or demoted without regard to standing labour instruments should no longer be tolerated. However, for this demeaning behaviour to halt, there isneed for all journalists to join the union so that it can stand for, and defend their labour interests. JUMA ismandated by its constitution to mediate in labour disputes either through mediation or legal processes.In view of the aforesaid, the Journalists Union of Malawi is hereby pleading with all journalists in thecountry to join its fold to enhance the fight against abuse on the labour market. It is JUMA’s desire to seejournalists who are well remunerated and enjoy conditions of service that equal with or are better than those in other professions. JUMA’s mandate is to promote and protect the interests of its paid-upmembers only.Today and now is the time to join JUMA. It is not wise to join JUMA when faced with a labour dispute.Any further enquiries can be sought from the undersigned or Secretary General, George Mhango on 0999912085. You can as well send an email to juma@jumamw.comMembership forms can be downloaded on our website: www.juma.comSignedMaganizo Fly MazezePresident – JUMACell: 0999400061

The Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA) was established in December, 2007 with the core objective of promoting and protecting labour rights of journalists. Since its inception, it has mediated in a number oflabour disputes. However, its major achievement is building the capacity of its membership through trainings in technical areas such as climate change and environmental management, budget reporting,HIV and Aids, the recent Conflict reporting among others.JUMA has also sustained awareness campaigns on unionism among journalists and the generalpopulation. This is done to ensure journalists join the union with full knowledge of the core values ofunionism while at the same time dispelling fears that unionism is confrontational. Recent events in themedia relating to unfair labour practices and abuse of journalists have necessitated JUMA’s resolve for avibrant union and for all journalists to be part of it.The abhorring events where journalists are dismissed, suspended or demoted without regard to standing labour instruments should no longer be tolerated. However, for this demeaning behaviour to halt, there isneed for all journalists to join the union so that it can stand for, and defend their labour interests. JUMA ismandated by its constitution to mediate in labour disputes either through mediation or legal processes.In view of the aforesaid, the Journalists Union of Malawi is hereby pleading with all journalists in thecountry to join its fold to enhance the fight against abuse on the labour market. It is JUMA’s desire to seejournalists who are well remunerated and enjoy conditions of service that equal with or are better than those in other professions. JUMA’s mandate is to promote and protect the interests of its paid-upmembers only.Today and now is the time to join JUMA. It is not wise to join JUMA when faced with a labour dispute.Any further enquiries can be sought from the undersigned or Secretary General, George Mhango on 0999912085. You can as well send an email to juma@jumamw.comMembership forms can be downloaded on our website: www.juma.comSignedMaganizo

Fly Mazeze, President – JUMA

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

All is Well in Malawi!


Zili bwino kuMalawi!

CPJ condemns break-in at Nairobi Law Monthly

New York, September 9, 2011—Thieves broke into the offices of the Nairobi Law Monthly early this morning, stealing computers containing critical information for the magazine’s October issue, Editor Dennis Ben Musota told CPJ. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation.

In what appears to have been a well-planned operation, the thieves cut through a metal fence, used a ladder to break into the magazine’s offices situated one floor above ground level, and then turned all the closed-circuit cameras upward to hide their activities, according to local reports. The assailants attacked two security guards with machetes and tied them up, Musota said, leaving the two with injuries that required treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital. The attackers stole two computers and two external hard drives with information for a special, 200-page anniversary edition, Musota added. The edition was expected to include a piece on alleged corruption in the administration of President Mwai Kibaki, the publication’s lawyer, Paul Muite, told CPJ.

Publisher Ahmednasir Abdullahi told CPJ he suspects government involvement in the raid and said he would release the next edition despite the break-in. “The raid is one more desperate act of a government defined by impunity and utter contempt for the rule of law. Nariobi Monthly will not be intimidated,” he said. No valuables were stolen besides the computers and hard drives; the thieves were apparently focused on the contents of paper’s computers since a ground-level computer store was left untouched, he said. Muite and Abdullahi reported the matter to the Parklands Police Station. Gigiri Police Chief Josek Nasio.

“The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the break-in at the Nairobi Law Monthly, clearly designed to silence the investigative publication’s critical reporting,” CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said. “Authorities must break from the past and do everything in their power to identify and arrest the perpetrators of this crime.”

The founder of Nairobi Law Monthly, Member of Parliament Gitobu Imanyara called on the security minister and the police commissioner to expedite investigations, according to a parliamentary press conference. Imanyara said the raid had all the hallmarks of one carried out by “hired goons” and that it brought back memories of a 2006 raid on the offices of the Standard Media Group, according to local reports.

In March 2006, state agents raided the offices of the Standard Media Group, owner of the independent daily The Standard and KTN Television in the capital, Nairobi. The agents seized computers and tapes, vandalized a printing press and burned roughly 20,000 copies of The Standard, local journalists told CPJ. No one has been held accountable for raid.


CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide since 1981

Cameroon journalist detained, asked to reveal sources

New York, September 9, 2011—Authorities in Cameroon have detained a journalist since Monday, pressing him to reveal the sources for a story detailing alleged corruption by a tax official, local journalists and news reports said.

Editor François Fogno Fotso of the private bimonthly Génération Libre was interrogated from Monday through Thursday without the presence of a lawyer and pressured to identify the sources for an August 2010 story by reporter Boris Nembop that raised questions about a series of financial transactions by then public tax collector Célestin Tabouli in the western city of Nkongsamba, according to news reports and local journalists. Officers have also pressed the editor to disclose the whereabouts of Nembop and say that a private businessman, identified only as “Rewe,” who was arrested nine days ago, was his source, local journalists said.

Fotso was taken to court today, but was not charged, and was returned to the custody of the military police in the capital, Yaoundé, where he was also questioned, local journalists told CPJ.

“It is outrageous that military police are questioning a journalist over his sources,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “François Fogno Fotso must be released immediately.”

In a story headlined “Embezzlement of funds at the Treasury of Nkongsamba,” Génération Libre claimed that it had received documents detailing a series of transfer of funds by Tabouli to his private accounts in amounts much larger than his salary as a government employee. The story challenged the tax collector to write a response to the allegations, but the latter filed a complaint instead. Military police have summoned Fotso at least four times since October 2010 over the article, but the editor has refused to comply with their demands.

Following Fotso’s arrest on Tuesday, Génération Libre submitted to the public prosecutor’s office documents that it says prove its allegations. Tabouli told CPJ today that he did not wish to comment on the allegations. Cameroonian Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary told CPJ: “The government has nothing to do with this case.”

In a public statement, the Association of Patriot Journalists of Cameroon condemned what it called an “arbitrary arrest of a journalist who dared do his job,” according to news reports.


CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide since 1981

Friday, September 9, 2011


Dear Valued Partners,

Friday 9th September, 2011

Any specific information will be provided on request


Any specific information will be provided on request




Thanks Ishmael Yusef for Your Observation; No More Negative Postings on Religion!

Zachimalawi will, with immediate effect, stop posting religious material that encourages disunity and discord, but will, instead, concentrate on building Malawi and the world at large.

Your plea that materials from Bill Warner be not posted here has also been taken well-care of. Expect no more of these materials. That is Zachimalawi's word.

Zachimalawi concurs with you that much of the suggestions proffered by religious websites are one-sided and stereotypical, and border on ill-will and bad intent. We believe, here at Zachimalawi, that you have a point.

It would, however, be interesting to have good people like you- valued followers of Zachimalawi- write back on issues you feel are half-baked and one-sided. But, as you have rightly said, religion is a contentious issue, and people of all faiths should be left to go about their business.

You are right.

That is why Zachimalawi will never feature religious material that denegrades other religions; religious material that only destroys the unity that we enjoy, as world citizens.

Zachimalawi does not take forgranted the fact that you had to sacrifice your time, there in Tunisia, and write to us. We also don't take it forgranted that you follow Zachimalawi, and are not happy with the religious material from Bill Warner, material that puts Islam in negative light. We agree.

Just to put you in the picture on Zachimalawi's perception of Islam. The best friend of Mr. Zachimalawi himself is a muslim; he is the one who helped Mr. Zachimalawi move out of the house he was staying in, in 2008, in one of Malawi's townships. The township is called Chilomoni.

This good friend- who always refers to Mr. Zachimalawi as 'brother'; for a good reason, though. Over the years, we have become more than brothers- took Mr. Zachimalawi to his home in Ndirande Township (also in Blantyre), where Mr. Zachimalawi stayed for a whole year.

That is family, for sure. It is from there, after one fruitful year of brotherhood, that Mr. Zachimalawi found his own home. This friend, surely, helped Mr. Zachimalawi find his foot in life; he gave Mr. Zachimalawi a head-start in life.

Today, Mr. Zachimalawi goes to his home daily. And the first question he asks is: "Have you eaten today? Do you have food at home? Relish? Flour?". Mr Zachimalawi is not ashamed to say that this is the best man he (Mr Zachimalawi) has ever seen in life.

He he a good Muslim, too. Every day, he finds time to go to the mosque and pray to his Beloved Allah. Every evening, aroung 07:40pm, he tells Mr. Zachimalawi to escort him to the mosque.

This man has been so good to me; he has been so caring. This man has been helpful to me in so many ways than one. In fact, he has just dropped me in Blantyre Central Business District one hour ago. THis afternoon, this devout muslim will wait for me again, to take me to his home.

Therer, at his home,we will have cocoa. Then,later this evening, he will go to the mosque.

Of course, after asking me if all is well at home!

During the Islamic month of fasting, which ended some 10 days ago, this good muslim used to pick me and take Mr. Zachimalawi to one of Blantyre's famous muslim hotel owners' home in Sunnyside, where, every day at 05:00pm, we were ferrying a big rice pot for the good muslims of Ndirande Mosque.

Everytime we were late- say, by 10 minutes- he was not happy. He was not happy because he said he could lose blessings because some of the people who would eat the rice might have nothing at home.

He is such a good man.

All this, Ishmael, goes to show that people who 'talk' ill of other faiths and religions do not know what they are talking about. This includes the materials you have asked Zachimalawi never to post again.

Take Zachimalawi's word that this will never happen again. Such materials will never be posted again. When Zachimalawi told the friend being referred to here, he supported the idea. In fact, he said the decision not to post such material should have been taken a long time ago.

But, please, receive Zachimalawi's apology for the pain caused to you through such negative postings on other, including your beloved, religion (s).

You see, you may have noted that, for a while, such postings were not made on Zachimalawi for the same reason that one follower wrote Zachimalawi, and complained that such materials were not good as they were promoting disunity.

Zachimalawi took heed of the concern and stopped publishing. However, barely six days later, 11 followers and Zachimalawi readers wrote back, saying they were missing such materials.

Followers, as they say, always win, and the staff was back again.

No more.

Even if others write, asking Zachimalawi to continue posting, Zachimalawi will not relent. That is why we have taken all this space just to emphasise that you, Ishmael, are right.

But Zachimalawi will not be able to take such negative material out of the archives and delete them. They will serve as our lessons.

Sorry for the pain you might have suffered, Ishmael. Please understand that some of the postings on religious- which, I now agree with you, put other religions in bad light- found their way into Zachimalawi because Zachimalawi serves a broad audience. Some members of this audience never tire in writing Zachimalawi, throwing praises at the Blog for its diversity of postings.

That will remain our goal, for sure, but we will avoid any material that cast members of any religion into negative light.

Thanks for writing and, please, write again when you notice that something is going wrong.

Apologies, too, to all those who were affected by religious material that put their faiths into question. It was not intended.
Kind Regards,


From the Richard Chirombo Archives: Answering the 2010 selection question


Benedicto Kondowe, National Coordinator for Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education (CSCQBE), is a man of high estimations; he sets his eyes on the future and never looks back, overtly sure that human beings will always learn from history’s toughest lessons.

Like so many who hope that tomorrow may be better than today, his optimism for the future of education in Malawi is pregnant almost to a fault. At least, that is the impression one gets from Kondowe since announcement of the 2009 Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (PSLCE) results, and list of candidates selected to various national secondary schools.

Dots of pessimism and discouragement now mark facial expressions once decorated with hope and optimism. Moreover, Kondowe cannot help but look back at life’s little lessons- something that brings him to the realization that, after all, childhood was a lesson, too.

The lesson he gets: When you are a small child, you know something is not right, and you do not like it. But you do not question it, and you never let that get you down; you, sought of, just continue to move on with life, to live.

This is the situation Malawian Civil Society Organisations (CSO) found themselves in when the country embraced multiparty democracy in 1994. They could see things go wrong with the new political leaders and merely move on with their lives.

“Now we have matured with age and are ready to question those in authority whenever we see that something has gone amiss. We have even gone a step further and are increasingly engaging the government in dialogue on various issues of national interest,” says Kondowe.

A good case in point is that of the 2009 PSLCE secondary school selection list. Kondowe, the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian and others feel shortchanged on the results, and are questioning the Ministry of Education.

The bone of contention, over an issue government officials say is far way straight forward, is the difference in regional percentage points. CSCQEBE and Livingstonia Synod are questioning the rationale behind drastic reductions in selected students from the Northern region, and suspect an invisible hand and system to be at play.

“Why, for example, is it that the number of students selected to national secondary schools for Northern region candidates has dwindled from 19 per cent in 2009 to 13 per cent (representing a decrease of 6 percentage points) in 2010? At the same time, the number of students from the Southern and Central region has increased from 36 per cent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2010, and 42 per cent in 2009 to 44 percent in 2010, respectively. We suspect foul play,” said Kondowe.

What sort of foul play?

“We believe that the quota system has been used indiscreetly,” he adds, his anger beginning to appear.

The issue of quota system has a deep surface. It existed during the one party regime and was, subsequently, abandoned. Then, in 2007, the University Council reignited debate over the issue following concerns presented in Parliament by one opposition Member of Parliament over the shortfalls of University Entrance Examinations (UEE).

The MP noted that UEE was creating selection disparity between urban and rural students but the Council identified regional disparity and not urban versus rural was what the Council identified as a core issue.

Facts established by the council indicated that about 3000 students qualify for entrance examinations every year, competing for about 900 spaces only. It then requested the Centre for Education Research and Training (CERT) to conduct a comprehensive study to confirm or disqualify this impression.

The University Council, however, noted the social-political implications of the trend to the future of Malawi’s education, and recommended to the University Senate in 2007 to consider re-introducing the quarter system, but the Senate pleaded for more time and consultations.

Now CSCQBE believes the Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb), which is not related to the University Council or Senate, has borrowed a leaf from the University of Malawi and applied a quota system of selection.

“Otherwise, Maneb should come out in the open and explain its selection criteria. People may lose trust in it. It is also good for the government to be transparent because it will help the regions that have not done better to get back to successful, old ways,” said Kondowe.

However, Education Minister George Chaponda feels that CSOs suspecting foul play are seeing opium smoke where plantations never exist. The 2010 secondary selection process was normal, he says, and nothing sinister ever happened.

Chaponda assures Malawians that government would not behind their backs and implement a system that is far from matured, asking people to get regional politics out of the selection equation.

The issue of quota system is a contentious issue even within the file and ranks of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), following the firing of former Director of Political Affairs Harry Mkandawire.

This was after Mkandawire’s public criticism of government’s intention to employ the quota system. The party liked no bit of his criticism of President Bingu wa Mutharika, who has vowed to make development, including access to higher education, equitable to all Malawians.

Mutharika has often advocated for equality in sharing the national development cake, and says just such a development could help spur a new era of all-round development.

DPP has, thus, not taken lightly to CSCQBE and Livingstonia Synod accusations of under-hand tactics. Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba, DPP Publicity Secretary, feels that the sentiments are innuendos aimed at the ruling party- now driving the current administration.

“The Livingstonia Synod and others should know that the schools in question are national schools and not regional schools. These people are advocating regional lines, yet the number of Northern region students in the country’s education facilities is more than the 13% Livingstonia Synod is claiming. People must know that these students are scattered all over Malawi.”

Ntaba adds that, in fact, “Section 20, subsection 2 of the Republican Constitution requires that government acts to address any inequalities in the country. If I may ask, why are other regions not complaining; they are a silent majority.”

CSCQBE has since threatened to take stern action, among others by carrying out a more comprehensive study on the “evils” of the year’s secondary school selection criteria.

“Equitable distribution should not be retrospective,” says Kondowe.

It remains to be seen whether the coalition will take any real action. However, a 2009 study conducted in four SADC countries by Development Media Africa (Dema) revealed that CSOs rarely succeed in their advocacy roles.

The Dema study indicated, for instance, that only 3 per cent of advocacy efforts for Malawian CSOs worked for the past five years, with Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia reporting a 13 per cent effectiveness rate.

What is more? The study, which had 1780 respondents in all the four countries, revealed that CSOs rarely follow what they preach, often doing the very same things they scorn governments for.

A recent press conference on equal distribution of resources in the education sector, organized by the equality-conscious CSCQBE in Blantyre, could be a good case in point. While coalition officials vilified government for sidelining the Northern region in this year’s secondary school selection in the presence of 28 journalists, they handpicked only eight members of the pen for sitting allowances.

Equitable distribution the CSCQBE-way!

Media Elections' Performance Review: After the 2009 General Elections, Will 2014 Be Different?

By Richard Chirombo

NOTE: This is flashback, and some of the people mentioned in this piece have since changed positions. People like David Bandawa, for instance; they are no longer with the Malawi Electoral Commission. The reason I have posted it here is purely archivical. But the points stand valid today, looking at the way Malawi's State-run media behave during electoral campaigns.

Times come when, like El Nino winds that elude the meteorologists’ charts, the breezes of history unexpectedly accelerate and blow away the touchstones by which a people live.

It happened twice or thrice during the past century. In 1914, when the Reverend John Chilembwe staged a surprise uprising against Thangata system (bonded labour); between 1940 and 1964 when Malawians (Nyasas) got tired of their emotional moorings to colonial authorities and wanted independence. It ended in 1993 when people voted for multiparty democracy during a national referendum and for change during subsequent presidential and parliamentary elections in 1994.

The last episode was true of the post-independence African character of the 1990s, when authority got deconstructed from institutions to individuals and that, now freed from official restraint, people felt liberated enough to choose everything, including national leaders, for themselves.

Malawians have, since 1994 when they transformed their political landscape to a magnitude that signals nothing less than a fundamental mutation in the national character, voted for Members of Parliament (MPs) and a Head of State every five years.

On May19, 2009, Malawians voted again, signaling the fourth turn of democratic elections. This followed similar elections in 1994, 1999 and 2004, each process a new national experiment.

It thus becomes imperative, as is always the case with all human experiments, to ask the big questions: Where have we scored highly? What have been the challenges? In that order, not forgetting opportunities that exist and the way forward.

Running away from such questions could be tantamount to running away from future responsibility- a future as nearer as 2014 when Malawians go to the polls again, says political commentator Nandini Patel. She is one the first people to note that the country’s four elections have proved too predictable in other aspects and difficult to comprehend in other cases.

They (elections) have been predictable in terms of regional voting patterns and ruling parties’ conduct over state-run media; and difficult to comprehend when it comes to the issue of independents and how president Bingu wa Mutharika won over 60 per cent of the vote in 2009.

“Look at the elections in 1994, for instance. People voted on regional lines. This is evident in the fact that the eventual presidential winner, (United Democratic Front’s) Bakili Muluzi, got 42.2 per cent (South), Kamuzu Banda 33.5 per cent from his Central region stronghold and Chakufwa Chihana ( Alliance for Democracy) with 18.9 per cent, mainly from the Northern region.

“This was almost repeated in 1999 when Muluzi got 51.37 per cent in the South, the Malawi Congress Party/Alliance for Democracy coalition 44.30 per cent in the Central and Northern region, respectively, and Kamlepo Kalua who got 1.43per cent of the national vote,” said Patel, a lecture at the Catholic University in Chiradzulu.

The scene was repeated in 2004, when UDF presidential candidate Bingu wa Mutharika chalked 35.89 per cent in the South, Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) John Tembo 27.13 per cent and Gwanda Chakuamba of the Mgwirizano Coalition 25.72 per cent.

It was as if every new elections were a reinstatement of the saying that old habits die hard. But Patel says this was something that was doomed to change, anyway, though she acknowledges having doubted Afrobarometer’s opinion poll findings that pegged DPP’s Mutharika at over 60 per cent.

Patel looks at DPP and the way it plans to sustain its majority numbers in parliament after the 2014, 2019 and 2024 parliamentary elections as some of the yet-to-come trends people may not comprehend now. Time will unfold all things and decide whether the DPP treads the same decline paths as those parties before it: UDF and MCP.

The past four elections have had there fair of surprises, renditions, revisions, opportunities and challenges- only that some of the challenges refuse to go with the times, says Patel, pointing at the issue of state-run media during campaign.

David Bandawe, Chief Elections Officer (CEO) at the Electoral Commission (EC), acknowledges that every election has been a new experience, with its own challenges and opportunities. This is something he came to appreciate more just recently.

Bandawe has a friend at the Parachute Battalion, those patriotic guys who jump from the air for the sake of their beloved nation. The two happened to talk about jumping from the air during their most recent meeting when the man in uniform alluded something to the fact that ‘every jump is a new jump’, according to the EC CEO.

“So, too, are elections. Each and every election is a new experience, with unique challenges and opportunities. That is the reason we, at EC, are always trying to improve things,” says Bandawe.

EC has, in this respect, organized a meeting aimed at reviewing all independent electoral observers’ reports pertaining to the May19 elections; a development Chairperson Anastasia Msosa says will help solve some of the challenges.

The most outstanding challenge is the perceived abuse of state run media by those in power, observers say. But this is a challenge faced by political parties; EC, too, faces its own music.

Some of its challenges include increasing complaints from political parties, the legal environment in which the electoral body operates, budgeting constraints, complex processes leading to voter registration and voters roll verification, transportation hitches as well as registration periods corroding with the farming season or rains.

This notwithstanding, opposition political parties are, however, riled by the conduct of the electoral body. The EC appreciates the challenges, yes- charges Aford’s Secretary General Khwauli Msiska, who happens to be the party’s sole parliamentarian (Karonga Nyungwe constituency)- but what is it doing to address them?


Msiska said Mutharika’s high approval ratings at the ballot could be attributed to the public media which he accuses of over-blowing the president’s ‘obsequious’ charm, evasive assurances and elastic treatment of facts. He also thinks that ruling party cadres never told fibs exactly but made pronouncements that narrowed the isthmus between truth and expediency so that wishes were presented as action while mere reasoning became interchangeable with fact.

“That is the power of propaganda. A lie, repeated many times, becomes truth; this is the role state-run media played during campaign,” says Msiska.

Sentiments shared by Republican Party president Stanley Masauli He is ruthless in his verdict of the polls, something he says is derived from the way Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and Malawi Television behaved in the run up to the polls.

“These institutions violated the EC’s Code of Conduct and went away with it. So, I question: Were the elections free? Yes. (Were they) Fair? A big no. Credible? May be,” the voice of a man who fought hard to get his deregistered party (RP) back but failed to get his worth at the ballot.

The conduct of MBC and TVM could be the reason, perhaps, why MCP spokesperson Nancy Tembo insists that the opposition dominated parliament of the past five years could have been right, anyway, to deny TVM and MBC funding (not in the negative sense).

“I see nothing wrong with that,” said Tembo at a review meeting of the elections in Blantyre . “In fact, I think that the decision has helped the two institutions become self reliant. They can do without any funding even now,” said Tembo.

Accusations of TVM/MBC perceived bias during the polls have not gone down well with DPP spokesperson, Hetherwick Ntaba. He says, though the opposition seems to blame the ruling party for every Sparrow that falls from the sky, the fact is that it is the magnetic personality and policies of Mutharika that turned him into a common denominator and visible agent of the convulsions that have transformed Malawi’s social-economic status for the past five years.

He says this is the reason people voted for Mutharika, and not because of the influence of state run media. He, however, says he finds it ironic that the same opposition that denied the two institutions funding could now stand on mountains and accuse them of not airing out their views.

“It is hypocritical. Let me also clear this myth that MBC and TVM are the only channels of campaign information; we have many other radio stations, most of whom did not give us an inch during campaign period,” says Ntaba, pointing at Joy FM.

All Rafiq Hajat, Executive Director for the Institute for Policy Interaction, does is laugh at both the opposition and ruling party.

“The opposition were in majority for the past five years but never amended the Communications Act thinking they would go into government on May19, 2009. The DPP is now in majority but will do nothing to change the Act, I tell you. The short of it is that the opposition is now crying over spilt milk and the DPP will one day cry. Isn’t that a good joke!?”


Thursday, September 8, 2011

CSOs, Govt.:Hearken Unto Davie Chingwalu's Voice

Davie Chingwalu, Southern Region Police Headquarters Public Relations Officer, is sad; sad that leaders of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and government officials are commenting on the suspicious fire that gutted Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) offices in Chichiri, Blantyre.
IPI offices were gutted by fire on Friday, with preliminary reports indicating that unknown people thronged the offices Thursday night, and petrol-bombed them. They unknown people also took the on-duty guard hostage.
However, the guard later surrendered himself to his employers.
IPI Executive Director, Rafiq Hajat, was in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, on the fated day. He is one of the leaders that have formed a pressure group, the Forum for the Defense of Democracy, in response to what they call 'deteriorating democratic standards'.
The fire has caused an uproar in Malawi, with CSO leaders trading barbs with government officials over he real cause of the fire.
For instance, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) Chairperson, Undule Mwakasungula, was quoted in the Sunday newspapers blaming the fire on recent threats by President Bingu wa Mutharika to 'smoke out' CSO and opposition leaders responsible for the bloody July 20 demonstrations.
The demos put Malawi on the world map for the wrong reasons following the death of, at least, 18 people. Now the number of July 20 demos victims has risen to 19 following the death of one more 'victim'.
But Mwakasungula's, and other CSO leaders, comments could, naturally, not go without a response from government, or Mutharika's spokesperson Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba.
That is how Ntaba came onto the scene, with accusations of his own against CSO leaders.
Ntaba blamed the fire on CSO leaders themselves, saying some of these leaders were 'burning their own houses' as a fundraising measure and bid to woo more project financiers.
Ntaba said there was financial mismanagement and embezzlement of funds at IPI, citing it as one of the possible reasons IPI could have burnt its own offices.
The sentiments have angered Hajat, who has since demanded an apology from the Presidential Spokesperson. The human rights activist has warned that, should Ntaba fail to apologise, he will take an undisclosed action.
Probably, this action could be a lawsuit.
But this option (of lawsuit) stands to be a litmus test for Malawi's 'previlege' rules.
Under the Laws of Malawi, sitting Presidents cannot be sued for sentiments or actions made in their official capacity.
But the law is unclear on whether Spokespersons, duly appointed by the President to speak on his behalf, are also covered by the immunity that applies to incumbent presidents.
There are two schools of thought to the role of Presidential spokespersons. One argues that they cannot be sued, since they speak for the 'immunised' president; while the other school of thought purpots that they can be sued since they (spokespersons) are not in the personage of the President.
That is to say, Ntaba (in this case) cannot be said to be representing the exactitude of Mutharika since Mutharika has some hair on his head while Ntaba's head is relatively balded.
Mutharika is also taller than Ntaba, while Ntaba maintains a straight posture when walking- as opposed to Mutharika, who bends his back abeat as he moves along.
But, on the other hand, Ntaba can truly represent Mutharika since they both are relatively more educated than the majority of Malawians: they are both doctors.
The list is endless.
But, before people exhaust examples and proffer accusations and counter-accusations, Police Spokesperson Chingwalu wants a stop to all this 'noise'.
Chingwalu, soft-spoken and logical in his arguments, says debate on the IPI fire is piling more pressure on Police officers investigating the matter and could pre-empt findings.
"It is not good to be commenting on these issues. We urge both Civil Society leaders and government officials to stop commenting on these issues and give us (Police) a chance. It is not good to comment on these issues," Chingwalu told Zachimalawi today.
Zachimalawi cannot agree more with him. Reason dictates that we leave all issues in the hands of police.
As Chingwalu says,"Police officers are well-trained to come to the root of issues like these. I am sure we will come to the root of this issue, and put all matters to rest."

Putting Hands Together to Improve Impoverished Communities

By Richard Chirombo

What communities, when united, can do: The right to education becomes reality with unity of purpose

The truth, that indigenous knowledge and common sense are commodities in which many Chikhwawa people are rich, was there for the taking. But nobody, not even those rich in it, was innovative enough to explore the opportunities that come with this bequest.

The cost, as expected, was high: the apparent lack of basic amenities, strengthened by a litany of unfulfilled expectations.

Not that Traditional Authorities Katunga, Mulilima, Chapananga, Ngabu and Lundu did not know or care about the status quo; that is why Katunga faults the two issues for limiting Chikhwawa people’s definition of ‘good life’ into a mere search for the basics.

“Poverty had become accepted as an inevitable feature of life. There are people who get satisfied leading simple lives that border on resource constraints,” he says.

Indeed, people have come to regard poverty part of the life system that deepening poverty levels have fallen under the same category as earthquakes, flash floods and bad weather- acts of providence, ancestral spirits or God.

It may just be now that these perceptions are changing, thanks partly to President Bingu wa Mutharka’s assertion that- despite the grim picture painted by United Nations Development Programme indices that rank Malawi among the world’s poorest nations- the country is, after all, richer in resources than the spirit of its own people.

The other reason for this mindset change could be the initiative by the Blantyre Synod Health and Development Commission (BSHDC), through its Church and Society arm, aimed at enhancing community participation and advocacy capacity in the quest for satisfactory public services.

Limbani Chipembere, BSHDC Programme Manager for Governance, says their intervention came after realizing that much of the poverty in Chikhwawa could be alleviated through attitude change.

“We realized that people have abundant resources coupled with a well-developed indigenous knowledge system that has been underutilized for a long time in Malawi. The problem was lack of skills on how to harness this knowledge and keep it up to date with latest world trends,” says Chipembere.

So hopeless was the situation that though people realized the dangers of growing millet in the face of non-existent market opportunities, underutilization of land in days that have come to be defined by climate change, the disenfranchising aspect of low prices, and neglect of community problems, they left such problems unresolved for over 46 years of independence.

Add this to the fact that one of the characters of the Chikhwawa people- the drinking of local brews, which turned millet into a cash spinner within the community- was changing fast in this age of bottled-and- packaged lives, the type of life that has relegated gourds to mere relics and historical, other than practical, ware.

Advancements in technology have left indigenous knowledge systems wanting, raising the need to ‘update’ its values. This update, Chipembere enthuses, includes turning local knowledge into a horse that will carry Malawians through the race of poverty to the finish line of prosperity.

“Malawi has a rich cultural heritage and impeccable local knowledge system that have neither been embraced nor improved. We have failed to utilise this resource and, as a result, lagged behind in many crucial areas of development,” he adds.

All these factors have forced the resourceful people of Malawi into the cold arms of self-resignation as they watch their efforts bear unproductive results. A good case in point is the cultivation of millet in Chikhwawa. Besides maize and cotton, farmers peg their hopes on large scale millet farming.

However, experience has shown that, though grown on a massive scale, the crop has left communities in the area of Paramount Chief Lundu poorer and disoriented due to the unavailability of lucrative markets. Farmers have adapted to this challenge by turning millet into a poultry feed and main ingredient in local brews.

Then, there is the issue of villagers from Chinkole in T/A Katunga’s area; they have spent the past 46 years leading subsistence lives, turning them into perpetual dependants of rain fed agriculture and victims of natural shocks. All these years, community members have failed to realize that continuing to farm as individuals when they lack such resources as organic fertilizers and modern machinery is a renewed attempt at hugging poverty.

This scenario, however, is different from the subjects of village headman Namila in T/A Mulilima’s area. Unlike their subsistence counterparts of Chinkole, Namila people have problems with maize surplus and abundance. Too much produce has not changed their fortunes but turned them into fair-trade cry babies.

But these problems are not restricted to farming. Public service delivery systems have their dark sides, too, as communities have come to learn from the experience of Kandeu Primary School in T/A Kasisi’s area. For years, parents and guardians felt so elated seeing their wards go to school, only to get disappointed with pupils’ immediate allergy to learning, a problem whose root was suspected to be witchcraft.

How, community members wanted to know, could children get so enthusiastic about enrolling at Kandeu primary school, only to develop cold feet immediately after? Through Kandeu Village Rights Committee (VRC), people discovered that the real reason was lack of school uniforms. Every time Kandeu pupils came into contact with pupils from other schools at district events, it was easy to trace the majority of them by dressing, or lack of it.

“It (lack of uniform) made them different from other pupils; It made their poverty more visible,” chips in village headman Kandeu.

A Parents-Teacher Association meeting revealed that most parents could not afford school uniform. In fact, it was discovered that some parents only bought school uniform for children in senior primary school classes.

But WARA, a Catholic Relief Services integrated community support programme, came in handy to provide school uniforms to needy pupils in T/A Kaisi’s area.

Chikhwawa District Education officials feel, however, that the Kandeu scenario is not common place, and that the district was not far from meeting Millennium Development Goals on increasing access to primary education. This is a feeling replicated by the subjects of Village headman Mpokonyola in T/A Katunga’s area: asked how they could tackle the problem of absenteeism, they are unanimous in settling for the Parents-Teachers’ Association problem solving set up.

They forget their own problems, though, in their quest to pick the speck in Kandeu’s eye. As consumers, Mpokonyola communities have been subjected to unfair trade practices whenever they go to buy goods and services at Dembo Market.

Some of the maize traders at Dembo are middlemen who work for Mozambican businessmen at a commission. For unknown reasons, apart from the apparent motivation to get quick returns, these Malawian traders have for years been selling substandard maize that, when processed into flour, turns bitter.

Community members confronted the unscrupulous traders to no avail: the traders acknowledged selling ‘bad’ maize but refused to withdraw it from the market. Even the words of village headman Mpokonyola bore no fruits as he reveals:

“The trader was still reluctant saying he was only an employee of a Mozambican trader. The owner of the business was later called and withdrew the commodity while admitting that it was, indeed, substandard. He finally brought good maize”.

Signs on the ground are that each Chikhwawa problem has a solution. In fact, community mobilisation and sensitization campaigns have already created strategic alliances that have evolved into a positive chain of reactions as citizens claim their right to development.

Since July 2009, Chikhwawa has mobilized 40 community based educators and 1,500 members of VRC- all these efforts in pursuit of Section 30 of the Republican Constitution, which guarantees the right to development irrespective of one’s status in society.

“So far, so good,” says group village headman Mbendelana of T/A Kasisi.

In 2009, his subjects realized that Chikhwawa Primary School lacked blocks, teachers and pupils’ toilets, desks, and headmaster’s office. On February 28, 2010, a meeting was held with MP for the area, at which people agreed to contact the British Department for International Development (DFID) for assistance.

“On April 16, 2010, the project, worth over K40 million, started with the construction of two self-contained teachers’ houses, four school blocks with two class rooms each, one head teacher’s office and eight toilets for teachers and pupils. Within three month, it was over,” says Mbendelana.

What inspired the chief was the level of community involvement. During one of the community members’ monitoring sessions, it was discovered that the door padlocks were of poor quality; community members quickly asked the contractor to fit good quality ones, and durable paddocks were soon purchased and fitted accordingly.

Communities surrounding Kalima Primary School in T/A Maseya also prevented a bad situation from getting worse. High absenteeism levels prompted them to call for a Teachers-Parent-Pupils meeting at which the pupils revealed that absenteeism was a reaction to corporal punishment meted by teachers.

These included severe beatings, orders to dig deeper-than-child height pit latrines or banishment from class. All these punishment forms violated the child’s right to education. People threatened to report the matter to the Primary Education Advisor but the teachers pleaded promised to change.

For three weeks, from early February 2010, VRC members monitored the situation and confirmed that the teachers had really changed.

Millet farming, too, has become lucrative as farmers have utilized the concept of collective bargaining to negotiate their way into produce supply opportunities; so have cotton farmers, though many still complain that they are still attached to exploitative companies through loans on farm inputs offered at the beginning of the planting season. Those who are not bound by exploitative contracts also face the problem of manipulated weighing machines.

But Davlin Chokazinga, Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) Director General warns: “Farmers and, indeed, consumers, should make sure that they buy from sellers with MBS certified equipment. Many farmers are losing a lot in income through manipulated scales. We have intensified sensitization meetings since April this year, and will not hesitate to bring perpetrators to book.”

Farmers have also come around the problem of cheating by forming cooperatives and associations. Propelled by the hope that it will be difficult to fool a dozen eyes, maize, sugarcane, and cotton farmers no longer sell their produce at the farmyard: this task has been designated for focal business points where the market forces of demand and supply dictate shelf prices.

On the community development front, trends have also changed as people take more responsibility. In T/A Ngabu’s area, for example, Constituency Development Funds meant for the construction of a school block were misappropriated and villagers are following up.

It is a success story arising from the jaws of self-defeat. Civil Society Organisations and development partners are there to oil the spirit of community involvement.

“It is a good thing when people start to demand development. It is their right and not privilege as some policymakers want us to believe,” says Chipembere.

Education Means Endurance Here!

Learning, taken forgranted elsewhere in the developed world, is an attempt at endurance here!.

'Witch' Up the Law, Not the Human Beings

Forty-two year old Jonathan Mbulaje, from Kanjuli village in the area of T/A Kamenyagwaza, Dedza, once sacrificed the outer part of his left ear to rumour; now he struggles to live up to the haunting reality he will never have it back.
It all started as a simple matter one September day in 1999 when, after establishing a flourishing maize mill that helped save people from travelling a whopping seven kilometers to either Bembeke Trading Centre or (Bembeke) Turn-off, he was accused of ‘magically’ killing people and putting them in his mill, so his business could make quick returns.
“The next thing....I was awakened at mid-night by the thunderous roll of people who, first, smashed the window panes of my house and then broke my door. Some of them bit me up and….I don’t really remember what actually happened next but I just felt blood oozing from my left ear;(and) when I touched, the left part was not there. Where it went, who took it, and for what, I will never know.
“But that experience shuttered and devastated me, mainly because what they said was not true. In fact, I have never believed that there is witchcraft, that these things are real. I feel the whole belief is merely opium smoke from exhausted brains. We can never develop with this attitude and that’s the reason I left the area a long time ago and am now into cross-border trade, buying things like brankets and shit-beds in South Africa for sale back home,” says Mbulaje.
The father of six adds that when the mob realized that he had lost an ear, they became scared, knowing it would now be a Police case, and disappeared quieter than they came. Some of them were fellow villagers, he says.
Mbulaje must have been lucky to have gone away with his life as others, like 82-year old Patani Phiri from Nkhota-kota, lost their lives under similar circumstances.
Others have been chased from their respective communities, the only people and places they probably ever knew in this life turning their backs on them, as Civil Liberties Committee Executive Director Emmie Chanika observes. Over the years, her organisation has been over-whelmed with requests for shelter and legal aid from individuals suspected by their communities to be practicing witchcraft.
“It’s really becoming nasty and worrisome. Innocent people are being victimized, maimed, even killed –all this for something as nonsense as witchcraft,” says Chanika.
“But, somehow, we still have to do something. Government should stop burying its head in the sand like an ostrich. The thing is; our laws should now recognize the existence of witchcraft, realizing that colonialists included a clause in the Witchcraft Act stipulating that anyone who accused another of practicing it was committing a criminal offence simply because it suited their interests. They never wanted mob justice in villages; they never wanted to see people being forced to drink Mchape, as used to happen with our early traditions and, really, it worked.”
According to the human rights activist, her organisation is currently working on a case where a civil servant in Chikwawa (name withheld) is being chased from an area on accusations of practicing witchcraft. Several children have complained that they were being taught witchcraft by the same- accusations the 'accused' denies.
As if to stamp the issues with his authority, the village headman jurisdicting over the area summoned the individual and ruled in his absence that she lives the area. But the suspect never appeared before the village court on grounds that, as a civil servant, she is not under the jurisdiction of the headman, an argument Cilic supports.
“In fact, we have told her not to move out, and we will make sure we get to the dead-end of this issue. Why it is that only women are accused of teaching children witchcraft? Where are the men in all this? I feel it is because, culturally and traditionally, women are looked down upon; they are the easy scape-goat.”
Pastor Willie Chaponda of Mustard Seed Ministries supports the idea of amending the Witchcraft Act, saying, as a church leader, he has received several complaints from people, lamenting about the practice. Witchcraft has reached a crescendo, he says.
Chaponda explains that he has, to date, received over a hundred people asking him to pray for either them or their children because they are “active witches. So,he says, witchcraft is really there and needs to be recognized as such. There must also be clearly-stipulated punishments for those practicing it to bring back sanity in our communities.
He describes as a fallacy assertions to the effect that only those who accept practicing, “rather, the constitution says ‘pretending' to practice”, should be punished because we know it (witchcraft) is there but not everybody can just come forward and say ‘I practice it’”.
He has ‘proof’: “I once went to minister at a funeral in Chiradzulu and was bewildered that, upon my arrival, children who had been there since morning started to disperse one by one. When I enquired as to what the matter was, I was told that the children had heard that I exorcise people of witchcraft through prayer, and were afraid that I would do the same to them. Here, we see children who practiced witchcraft running away on their own, showing that the practice is there.”
Chaponda even adds that witchcraft varies with the extent of years in practice, it has degrees. It is difficult to pray for someone who has practiced for a long time, and it takes time to exorcise them completely. To some extent, people even vomit such things as snakes, frogs and centipedes, he reveals.
Elizabeth Divala, Blantyre Police Spokesperson- while acknowledging that her office has received as many as 20 cases of witchcraft, with six convictions of self-confessed practitioners (the law says pretenders)- argues that the issue is made complicated by lack of enabling legislation, as the current Act does not recognize witchcraft.
She says the Victim Support Unit (VSU) refers cases of witchcraft back to traditional leaders or the clergy, and that there have been some cases of success in that area, especially with people who are willing to be helped and thus confess.
“These are more-less like spiritual issues because they are mainly perceptions to do with the mind; we are talking about something people say is there but cannot point out (its) form. The only time it works with us is when individuals confess, and we open a file under the charges of pretending to practice witchcraft. Apart from that, we seek the help of religious leaders who seem to be helping us a lot,” says Divala.
Grant Chipangula, Traditional Healers Association of Malawi president, adds his voice to the hot-potato issue. He says any legislation dealing with witchcraft should first be handled by traditional doctors because they are the only ‘experts’ on the issue and, to that effect, more likely to find a remedy over the witchcraft jig-saw.
“Only us,traditional doctors and healers, can providing a lasting solution to this. The problem is that policy makers tend to over-look us, thinking we are less educated to grasp issues they treat as technical. But in our area, and the issue of witchcraft is a very good example, we are our own experts," says Chipangula.
His words could be sober and worth considering, it seems. What with African Network for the Protection and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN)-Malawi Chapter Executive Director, Ken Williams Mhango, claiming there is even a school drilling children in the practice in Salima district.
The organisation conducted a survey between January and February this year in Machinga. Among other findings, children who confessed to practing the same complained that those who refused t learn the 'trade' from parents or relatives suffered various kinds of abuse.
"Around 60 of the children we interviewed complained that they were subjected to physical assaults as well as food deprivation, so you can see that there is a relationship between child abuse and witchcraft. In fact, the issue also touches on other areas of development such as education, as most children end up sleeping in class instead of being attentive simply because they had been busy all night," says Mhango.
And in Salima, he adds, they established that there was a school training children in witchcraft. 'Around 1000 children are said to be in attendance, and 50 graduate every month".
"These things are real; let us look back into the law. A law that betrays the wishes of the people is not a law, it is a flaw."

Jamaican Musician Releases the World's First Pro-gay Reggae Album

Jamaican reggae singer Mista Majah P on August 25 released the world's first pro-gay reggae album called Tolerance and featuring rainbow stripes on the cover.
The album includes 11 songs, variously in support of same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples, as well as attacks on homophobic bullying and the US military policy, Don't Ask Don't Tell. The tracks also feature swipes at the anti-gay prejudices of 'murder music' reggae singer, Beenie Man, and of the Jamaican Prime Minister, Bruce Golding.

The release has excited Peter Tatchell, the international coordinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign, which since 2004 has protested against eight reggae singers who have put out songs encouraging and glorifying the murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Mista Majah P said:

"I want to counter the myths that all Jamaicans are homophobic and that all reggae music is violent and anti-gay. I'm seeking to challenge ignorance and reach out to gay people."

Added Mista Majah P:

"My hope is that this cd, Tolerance, will break down the homophobic stance that certain reggae artists and heads of government have taken towards the LGBTQ community. Reggae music used to be about love, peace and unity. Now it is too often about bigotry and violence. I want to bring the music back to its progressive roots."

Since releasing the album, Mista Majah P has received numerous death threats and has been warned to not return to Jamaica (he currently resides in California). He remains defiant, stating that 'murder music' has given reggae a negative image, which is bad for the music industry and for all reggae artists.

You can listen to samples of all 11 tracks on the Tolerance album here:

To contact Mista Majah P
Phone: 00 1 510 776 9461 (California is 8 hours behind London)

Reflections: Atupele Muluzi Was Afraid He Could Lose His Legislative Position on May 20, 2009

That is why he found time to write his thoughts down

Bill Warner: How to Cure Islamophobia with Islamo-Fear

There is a sudden rash of Islamophobia according to many so-called civil rights organizations. has a new report out called, Fear, Inc. In it they define Islamophobia as an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes and ignorance …

Let’s get this straight—fear is good. Any combat veteran will tell you that fear can save your life. When soldiers perform a heroic act, they were afraid while they were being a hero. [My step-father was a combat veteran WWII in the South Pacific and did three landing invasions. He said that if you were not afraid in combat, you were crazy and a danger to all men.] Many people feel that fear is bad and needs to be denied. But, fear directs our attention to threats, and there are very real threats to our well being. Fear lets us tap our inner core of strength. Fear, like love, is good.

Just as there are bad forms of love, like clinging and attachment, there is a bad form of fear—a phobia. A phobia is caused by imagined threats. A phobia is a neurosis and a disease of the mind and emotions. A phobia takes us away from reality, into our imagination; fear focuses us on reality. Here we have the key to curing this phobia, deal with the reality of the situation.

The reality we need to know is Islam; after all, that is what the phobia is about. It is odd, but very few people can even define Islam. Exactly and precisely, what is Islam, what is its doctrine? The definition of Islam is found in the declaration of Islam, the Shahada: There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet. But the Shahada is not only what you say to become a Muslim, it is the totality of Islam. It is agreed to by 100% of all Muslims as being true and points us to a complete Islam.

Allah is in the Koran which tells the world to live exactly like Mohammed. Luckily, there is a vast world of texts that tell us precisely what Mohammed did. Mohammed is found in the Sira (his sacred biography), and his traditions, the Hadith. Koran, Sira and Hadith are about Allah and Mohammed and this Trilogy defines Islam.

If it is in the Trilogy, it is Islam. Period. There is nothing else to read to know the complete foundation of Islam. Everything else Islamic is a comment on the Trilogy. Nothing can go beyond it, because it is complete, perfect, universal and final. That is the textual doctrine of Islam.

Why so much fuss to establish what Islam is? Simple, Islam and its apologists maintain that there is no doctrine and that even if there were a doctrine, a Kafir (non-Muslim) cannot know it. Islam wants you to believe that Islam is what a Muslim tells you. But, the only Muslims you want to listen to are Mohammed and Allah. Because once you know Mohammed and Allah, you will discover that the Muslims talking to you are only telling you half of the truth. Mohammed and Allah will tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You can take Mohammed and Allah to the Sharia bank.

Since the Muslims claim that Islamophobia is caused by negative stereotypes, you have the cure because Mohammed and Allah define Islam. So, listen to the doctor, the next time you feel an attack of Islamophobia coming on, take one Allah and one Mohammed and contemplate their message of submission and dualism. If the Islamophobia does not pass immediately, then take some Sharia that deals with women’s rights, dhimmis (non-Muslims who serve Islam), Kafirs and jihad. That will knock the Islamophobia right out of you. If you are still feeling a little ill, then read the history of jihad over the last 1400 years and the deaths of 270 million Kafirs. That phobia caused by ignorance will pass and you will be brought back to the reality of Islamo-fear, the firm grip on reality.

Islam is Not Part of Our Civilisation, Claims Bill Warner

Obama said at the latest White House Iftar dinner:

Like so many faiths, Islam has always been part of our American family, and Muslim Americans have long contributed to the strength and character of our country, in all walks of life.

These words have no basis in fact. Islam is not part of our civilization because its foundational principles are opposite to ours. Our civilization is built on the foundation of critical thought (how we think) and the Golden Rule (ethics). Islam is built on submission (authoritative thought) and ethical dualism.

Let’s compare the principles, of these different thought systems, starting with authoritative thought and critical thought. Critical thought (also: analytic thought, scientific thought) is the necessary reasoning or intellectual basis for our culture of democracy. Critical thought is objective--no matter who does the work, they get the same results. It is fact-based, uses cause and effect, and is intellectual, not emotional. Critical thought’s tie into morals is that you don’t lie or cheat about data.

Let’s look at some authoritative reasoning. Authoritative reasoning is based on expert opinion and asserts it truth by power. It is so, because the Establishment says it is so.

The Meccan Koran, the early Koran, has one new idea—Mohammed is the prophet of Allah. (The ideas found in the Koran are derivative.) The proof of Mohammed’s prophecy is repetition of “Mohammed is the prophet” and what happens if you don’t accept that. The reasoning is circular—Mohammed is the prophet of Allah, because Allah says so. (Actually, the archangel of Allah says so.) How do we know what Allah says? Mohammed tells us what Allah says.

The Koran of Medina (the later Koran) contains one new idea—if you don’t believe that Mohammed is the prophet of Allah, then you can be murdered in jihad. If you are not persuaded, then you can be eliminated. Now that is authoritative reasoning.

More on authoritative reasoning can be found in the Sharia. The Sharia says that apostasy (leaving Islam) is a capital offense. And what entails apostasy?

• To be sarcastic about Allah or any verse in the Koran
• To deny the consensus of the Islamic scholars
• To deny that Islam is to be the world’s only religion
• To be sarcastic about Sharia

And people say that Islam just needs to be reformed. Good luck on dealing the authoritative rules of thought and reform. It is not that you are wrong, you are dead wrong. Want more examples of authoritative thought? Try Salman Rushdie, the author of the Satanic Verses, a novel. Islam’s reaction to the novel was a death fatwa. When the Mohammed cartoons were published, people died in riots.

So far in America what happens if you differ with Establishment thought about Islam, you are called names, such as bigot or hater, and insulted as a punishment. However, the Establishment keeps flirting with the expanded versions of hate speech being criminalized. Hate speech is speech that the Establishment doesn’t like.

Critical thought does not deal with punishment, just cause and effect along with Aristotelian logic. If you lose an argument under the rules of critical thought, you have had a learning experience, not a life threatening experience. Nor do insults and threats play a part in critical thought.

Now to ethics, the Golden Rule is that we should treat ALL others as we would be treated. This is a unitary ethic, one rule for all peoples. Islam does not see it that way. Islam has one set of ethics for the Muslim and another set for the Kafir. The Hadith and the Koran are very clear that a Muslim is a brother to all other Muslims. A Muslim is a brother to any Muslim before he is the brother to any member of his Kafir blood family.

Look at Mohammed’s ethics. Mohammed is the divine human prototype, the perfect man, as it says in 91 Koranic verses. How did Mohammed treat his neighbor? In Medina he gave neighboring tribes the chance to become to submit to Islam. If they did not, he attacked them. Submit or die--no Golden Rule.

Mohammed repeatedly said that Muslims should lie to Kafirs if it would advance Islam—pure ethical dualism. Here we have the hadith:

Bukhari 5,59,369 Mohammed asked, “Who will kill Ka’b, the enemy of Allah and Mohammed?”
Bin Maslama rose and responded, “O Mohammed! Would it please you if I killed him?”
Mohammed answered, “Yes.”
Bin Maslama then said, “Give me permission to deceive him with lies so that my plot will succeed.”
Mohammed replied, “You may speak falsely to him.”…

Our Constitution’s Bill of Rights is an expansion on the Golden Rule. We eliminated slavery based on the Golden Rule. Do we live up to the Golden Rule on every occasion? No, but that does not diminish its guidance, because we can use the Golden Rule to criticize those that fail to meet it.

To sum it all up: our civilization is based on the principles of the Golden Rule and critical thought. Islam is based on dualistic ethics and authoritative thought. There is no compromise between the opposites of the Golden Rule and dualistic ethics. There is no half-way between authoritative thought and critical thought. Islam’s principle of submission means that only active resistance can let us survive.

We have a 1400 year history of the interaction between Islam and Kafir nations. The data matches the theory. Centuries after Islam enters the culture the host culture is annihilated--see Turkey. There is no compatibility between Islam and us. Islam is not now, nor can it ever be, a part of our civilization. It is the final goal of Islam to annihilate all Kafir civilizations. Its first stage of--we are just like you, only different—should be seen for what it is. No amount of preaching by apologists can change Islam’s political doctrine and history.