Friday, November 30, 2007

Teens of the 80 get set tonight

Tonight is the night, teens of the 80's are turning the hand of the clock of the musical world as they stomp their night at gigantic Comesa Hall in Blantyre.

The dance which has been organized by Events & Promotions Consultancy will be the first of the series that are going to be organized throughout the country.

One of the organizers Mwiza Mtegha the event is more of memory joggling and the teens of the 80s should expect a spill of good old music.

“It is down memory lane and people should expect maximum fun, we urge the teens of the 80s to come in large numbers at this is their time,” he said.

Mtegha said there will be a number of dancing competition and winning memorable prizes.

"The prizes will be part of spicing the show, we hope people still remember their dancing antics,” he said.

Break-dance, Robot, House and all other dancing antics of the 80s will be on call tonight

Meag Interim President Lewis Chiwalo

The Malawi Economic Empowerment Action Group (Meeag) and the Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (Ibam), bodies that were established to fight for the economic empowerment of indigenous Malawians could not agree on how to merge the two groups.
Allegations of hidden political agendas were blamed for the failed merging.
Malawi News Reporter Rex Chikoko, this week met Meag Interim President Lewis Chiwalo to seek his side of the story, Excerpts:

We have noticed that there is kind of disagreement between your organisation and Ibam over the supposed merge between the two organisations. What is the problem?

Well, there is not much of a problem at the moment, only that it is the issue of the merger that broke down at one moment, but there is not much problem as far as I am concerned, there was just some misunderstanding on the way forward. We are still interested in pursuing the merger issue if they are interested.

Media reports suggest that there are some political powers behind these disagreements, what is your take?

That is not really correct, there is no political power behind our organisations, in fact our organisation is non partisan and at the same time we do not see the reason why someone should come in our organisation with political agendas when Malawi is a democratic country where anyone is free to register a political party, so that I absolutely not correct.

Your organisation and Ibam agree that you have similar objectives. What is it that is making the two organisations fail to merge, is it something to do with leadership problem?

Why can I not let that question pass as of now, to answer that question would be pre-empting what is supposed to be done on the ground, the issue of merger is likely to come in again in future. That question would be well answered at the later stage.

In your press release you indicated that you were at one time members of Ibam what made you leave the organisation and form another group with similar agendas?

I did not form another group, I joined another group, let me make a correction there, when Ibam was formed I was one of the members, and in my personal view we never took off the ground up until the other organisation was formed, I thought possibly by going to the other group we would move forward and break off the ground, that was the more reason why I joined Meeg.

What was new in that new organisation?

There is no much difference between Ibam and Meeg, perhaps the only difference possibly is that the new organisation looks at a broader picture of the economy while Ibam concentrates on the business spectrum, that is the only difference, but I thought I would play a major role in Meeg than in Ibam to make sure that we meet our objectives to at least look at the broader picture of the economy and assist government on the way forward in economic advancement.

Change of name here is coming out as the only stumbling block to the two groups possibility of working together, how do you suggest the groups can work together to circumvent the problem?

Let’s make it quite clear here, we launched this organisation in January this year and we have been holding so many meetings that have been attended by people from all walks of life. In one of the meetings some members of Ibam came to attend and having realised that we share their views, they proposed that we should merge we were very flexible and accepted the idea having seen that if we form one common front we will achieve our objectives. Unfortunately because of some misunderstanding the issue stalled.

However let me indicate that there was a task force composed of members of the two groups who were mandated to come up with recommendations on the merger way forward, some the recommendation was that there should be a change of leadership, but things never worked as the other group changed their mind and asked us to join them. Having said this, what people should appreciate is that economic empowerment issues are more complex than we view them, in that case we should be able to accommodate as many minds as possible, what we are saying is that unless we open up and let others come in we are not going to achieve our objectives.

So far, how far have gone with Meeeg?

We have done so much, we are coming with a business development strategic plan that would be sold to government and engage it to changing some of its policies. It is a long way to go and we need combined forces to forge ahead. We are going to reach out to Ibam, they are our partners in development, and we are almost one. The only thing is that we had a slight misunderstanding at a certain point which to me I know that it has been cleared, we talk to each other and we have discussed the way forward. And we have not really shelved the idea of merging; possibly in future we could sit and resume the discussions.

Any last word?

I appreciate that people are now able to see what we are trying to do, we can not leave all these huge tasks [of developing the country] to government alone, we have to come in and assist in areas we feel possible we can assist. Government is a big institution that has so many activities so could have a lot of grey areas and our role is to assist in these grey areas so that at the end of the day Malawi would achieve meaningful economic development

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Air Malawi pockets K33m on Bingu’s Italy trip

Government is expected to cough about K33 million in payment for Boeing 737 300 airplane that President Bingu wa Mutharika chartered on his way to Rome, Italy and Kampala, Uganda to attend a high level special event on Aid for Trade and Food security and Commonwealth meeting respectively. Malawi News has established.

However, the airline is also expected to blow some millions of Kwacha in payment for the another plane, the company borrowed from a South Africa airline Inter-Air which take over the 737 300 routes.

The president left the country on Tuesday boarding the Malawi’s biggest aeroplane 737 300 Kwacha to Italy the trip which also take him to Uganda where he is expected to attend the Common Wealth meeting.

A source at Air Malawi said the airline has invoiced government to the tune of K33 million for the one week trip the plane undertook with the president.

“Air Malawi has provided everything for the trip including allowances for the pilots, ground fairs, fuel and we have invoiced government about K33 million.

“However, I would not tell how much Air Malawi is paying for the 109 capacity earoplane which it has borrowed from a South Africa to replace the 131 capacity Kwacha which is on hire,” he said.

Air Malawi public relations officer Gaffel Nkolokosa confirmed the government's chartering of the Boeing 737 300 but refused to disclose how much government paid for the earoplane or how much they were paying for the earoplane that they hired to take over kwacha's routes.

“The request was made three weeks ago and arrangements were made to replace the chartered plane.” he said.

Air Malawi Board Chairman Jimmy Koreia Mpatsa, while he could not disclose how much the airline pocketed from the transaction, said Presidential Charter is a source of pride for any airline as it demonstrates the confidence that a State President has in such an airline.

“In the present case, it is even more so considering that the aircraft will be flying the Malawi flag to destinations where we do not operate to. In this regard,this charter will go a long way in promoting our country to the world at large and I feel the State President should be commended for humbling himself to fly in an Air Malawi 737 300 all the way to Europe instead of opting for other more luxurious aircraft that are readily available on the market for charters as others have done in the past,” he said.

Mpatsa said whilst the 737-300 is on charter the company have to continue with normal scheduled flights hence the leasing of an aircraft from Inter Air.

“This is normal and all the airlines do the same.Airlines charter or lease aircraft to complement their fleet whenever need arises.As a matter of fact you may wish to know that most of the aircraft being used by various airlines are leased and not owned by them,” he said.

Maneb dumps exams printer

Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) is said to have engaged a United Kingdom (UK) renowned examinations printing company Stephen Austin and Sons to re-print the botched 2007 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations. Malawi News has established.

Government, in a press release signed by the Principal Secretary of Education Anthony Livuza this week ordered the re-admission of five papers of the 54 papers that 2007 candidates wrote in the just ended examinations.

Malawi News source at Maneb said, at the meeting that was held in Lilongwe, Maneb officials agreed that they should engage the British printers to print the five papers that are expected to be re-written.

“They are still working on the papers but are in constant contact with the UK based printers Stephen Austin and Sons,” he said.

Maneb this year changed examinations printers from the traditional printer Stephen Austin and Sons for the South African printing company Universal Printers, a thing which some quarters believe to have led to the massive leakages of the examinations.

Government, through the Ministry of Education admitted the leakage of examinations which Maneb Chief Executive Matthews Matemba dismissed as bogus when it was first revealed that there was a leakage.

“The decision to nullify, redevelop and re-administer the examination has been made so that those candidates who were exposed to leaked examination papers do not have an unfair advantage over their colleagues who wrote the same examination without any assistance,” said part of the press release.

Government ordered that the new papers to the re-administered over three days in mid-December, 2007 and the subjects concerned are English I, Biology I, Chichewa II, Agriculture I and History II.  
It is known up to now why Maneb switched printers and efforts to contact Maneb officials proved futile as Matemba’s telephone went unanswered.

Deputy Minister of Education Olive Masanza said the ball was now in Maneb’s court to make sure that the examinations were as secured as possible.