Stories from Quick Reads and Malawi
Gershom Ndhlovu looks at the reasons why ailing African leaders wont step down:
There have been rumours, innuendoes and even insinuations regarding the health, or the lack of it, of Zambia’s President Michael Chilufya Sata, in office since September 2011. These have been spread by the largely unregulated online media that the Patriotic Front (PF) government is intent on controlling or even shutting down altogether.
The government has not particularly responded to these rumours apart from issuing one-liner statements refuting the stories about the health status of the 76 year-old head of state and veteran politician.
However, when Sata appeared at a May 1 Labour Day parade to receive a traditional salute from workers in the land, the appearance was very brief and only accompanied by a one minute address before getting into his motorcade for a three kilometre drive back to the presidential palace, a lot of people were convinced the President was not well.
Steve Sharra discusses the reasons behind the fall of quality of creative writing in Malawi:
Of the many private universities that are mushrooming across the country, very few offer humanities courses where people can study languages and literature, creative writing and literary criticism. The University of Malawi has been operating without a university bookshop for some eighteen years now. Funding problems in the universities mean that even the university libraries are unable to stock new literature.
Rumbidzai Dube explains why 2012 is the year for African women: “2012 has been a progressive year for African women in global politics. In April Joyce Banda of Malawi became the first ever female president of Malawi and the Second Female president in Africa [...]Just yesterday, Dr Nkosana Dhlamini-Zuma became the first female Chairperson for the African Union Commission.”
Nlex describes the road to abolishing the death penalty in Malawi: “Malawi’s Legal Aid volunteers sift through a pile of files of those on death row. They are doing everything they can to abolish the death penalty in the country and lessen existing prisoners’ sentences. At least 29 men currently sit on death row in Malawi; however, no one has been executed in the country since 1994. Those sentenced to death are entitled to a mandatory appeal in the Supreme Court.”
City Press reports the suicide of Godfrey Kamanya, a Malawian deputy minister, apparently after losing his parliamentary seat during the general elections held on 20 May 2014 :
The official results of Tuesday’s election are still to be announced. But preliminary election results aired on radio stations indicated that Kamanya was faring badly in the poll and was likely to lose his parliamentary seat.
In a suicide note now held by police, Kamanya reportedly said he took his life because of misunderstandings related to politics. He also outlined how his wealth would be distributed and asked incumbent President Joyce Banda, under whom he served, to help pay the school fees for his child.
Following Malawi's government decision to introduce English as a medium of instruction from grade one, Steve Sharra defends local languages and makes the case for multilingualism:
Teachers and lecturers in our secondary schools and universities are observing a trend in which students from private schools speak perfect English, but their reasoning, writing and problem-solving skills are not well developed. This is even as the Independent Schools Association of Malawi (ISAMA) is reporting reporting that 80 percent of students selected to Malawian universities are coming from private schools.
Language researchers have also found that children who speak more than one language exhibit better academic performance than children who know only one language, regardless of what that language is. This is why our language of instruction policy needs to promote multilingualism, and not monolingualism. Just a generation ago most Malawians were multi-lingual, speaking two or more languages on average. Today’s generation knows two languages, English and Chichewa, on average. If we do not enact policies to develop our local languages, the coming generations of Malawians will be reduced to only one language, English.
Monolingualism encourages insularity, a restricted worldview in which the only knowledge available to one is from one linguistic source. The danger with the new policy, as it stands, is the damage it can potentially cause to Malawian languages. The new policy will mean that as a country we will allocate more resources to English at the expense of nurturing and developing local languages.
Steve Sharra explains why Malawians should brace for more cash-gate scandal after revelations that some powerful Malawians abused the Integrated Financial Management System internal controls to loot billions of public funds:
Social inequality is creating deep rifts among Malawians, a ticking time bomb. The increasing incidents of mass violence and vandalism we are witnessing across the country daily are but a tiny ripple in the sea of resentment resulting from this inequality. That is made more complicated by how our political parties have no established means of raising funds for their very survival, rendering the entire political arena a charade and a get-rich-quick scheme. Unless we address the fundamental causes of the deep inequality ripping Malawian society apart, we should brace ourselves for more cashgates.
Austin explains why Malawi needs to rebuild brand Malawi: “Over the past year or so Malawi has not been projected internationally in very positive light. The warm heart has been mired in problems, shortages and intolerance of varying kinds and magnitudes.”
Moving Windmills is a documentary that tells the true story of William Kamkwamba, a young innovator from Malawi, Africa who taught himself to generate electricity by building a windmill from found materials and scrap parts.