Mrs Banda said she was happy to “offload” the presidential perks, adding: “I can well use private airlines. I am already used to hitchhiking.”
It means that the 62-year-old head of state – the second woman to hold the position in Africa – will fly to the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in London this weekend with British Airways.
Andrew Mitchell, the UK International Development Secretary who is currently visiting Malawi, delivered a £33m cash injection for Mrs Banda’s government.
He said the move was a sign of the “seriousness Mrs Banda is applying to overturn bad decisions taken under the previous government”.
The former vice-president in Bingu wa Mutharika’s government, she stepped into the presidency in April when he suffered a heart attack. The jet had annual running costs of £220,000.
Since then, she has sacked former members of the “old guard” in the cabinet and security services, brought back Malawi’s old flag and pledged to lift the country’s ban on homosexuality.
Most recently, she followed long-standing International Monetary Fund advice to devalue Malawi’s currency by a third.
The move caused panic buying and a sharp rise in the prices of basic foods and fuel.
But her decisions have seen donors including Britain, the EU, Germany, Norway and the World Bank, re-establish warm relations with Malawi.
Mr Mitchell announced that Britain, Malawi’s biggest bilateral aid donor, would send a Bank of England expert to help stabilise the currency, and handed £23 million to the Finance Ministry.
He said that Mrs Banda had sent a signal of her intent and her priorities at a time of financial austerity both in Malawi and Britain.
“The importance of an African leader giving up the jets and Mercedes is iconic,” he said.
“There are millions of people in need of drugs. I went to a hospital and saw people who were clearly ill queueing for drugs that were not there.
“We are making £10 million available for Malawi to stock up, and extra funding for agriculture, education and health to reinforce the work of this very good president.”
Steve Sharra, a prominent Malawian blogger, said that Mrs Banda’s actions were broadly welcomed by her countrymen.
Critics joked, however, that Malawi was transforming from a “God-fearing country” to a “donor-fearing country”.
“The currency devaluation has been hard but I think most people understood why it had to happen and she is enjoying extraordinary amounts of goodwill and trust among Malawians,” he said.
“All presidents start out well and we will have to see how she behaves after she is re-elected but for me, what’s important is that she consults before taking decisions. With President Mutharika, it was his way or the highway.”
The former president’s profligacy provoked a Whitehall decision to suspend aid to Malawi last year.
In 2010, he was accused of using £2 million of public money to build new roads to travel in comfort to his second wedding.
The same year, he unveiled a multi-million dollar Taj Mahal-style mausoleum in memory of his late wife Ethel.
Mr Mutharika had defended the purchase of the jet as a “must” for a national leader in 2009.
“The jet that I purchased is not mine. It belongs to the nation,” he claimed. “It will be used by 10, 11 other people coming after me. So that’s an asset.”
Schools Resume Following Cholera Outbreak in Malawi
Schools in Malawi’s two largest cities, Lilongwe and Blantyre, have reopened after a two-week suspension caused by a cholera outbreak. The bacterial illness has killed close to 800 people, more than 100 of them children, and affected more than 25,000.
Malawi’s government announced measures to prevent cholera from spreading in schools, including fixing broken boreholes and water taps in the schools and banning the sale of cooked food around school premises. Additionally, the U.N.’s children’s agency, UNICEF, has started distributing anti-cholera supplies in schools in areas most affected by the outbreak.
However, despite these measures, the government has warned that they may close the schools again if the outbreak spreads among students at an unmanageable level. This news has caused visible excitement among students when schools reopened Tuesday in Lilongwe and Blantyre.
Many students were worried about the closure’s impact on their ability to pass national examinations this year. Ronnie Lutepo, a student at Michiru View secondary school in Blantyre, said returning to the school was the best thing he hoped for. “Yes, as I was at home my mum was telling me to study, but being in an examination class affected me badly,” he said. “We are all supposed to be here and ready for the exams and if we are not ready, we are not going to get good grades.”
The reopening of the schools is an important step in preventing the further spread of cholera. However, it is crucial for the government and schools to continue to take necessary precautions to protect the students and staff from this deadly disease.
Popular American Singer, Madonna Has Been Adopted As Daughter of Malawi By President Mutharika
The pop-singer beamed with pride as she attended the opening of a new children’s wing at a hospital funded by her charity Raising Malawi. The new wing has taken two years to build and contains three operating theatres and a 50-bed ward. The singer named The Mercy James Institute for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care after her daughter who she adopted from the country.
President Mutharika ‘Adopts’ Madonna As Daughter of Malawi
President Peter Mutharika has told American pop star and philanthropist Madonna that she is now an adopted daughter of Malawi after she opened a children’s hospital named after her adopted daughter Mercy James.
The Malawi leader speaking on Tuesday July 11 2017 when he officially opened the magnificent Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, hailed the humanitarian pop star as a “symbol of a motherly spirit”.
“You started by adopting four Malawian children and now we adopt you as a daughter of Malawi. You came to Malawi saw a need and provided care for the children. This facility is a national pride,” he said
Madonna, who wore a vibrant floral skirt for the occasion with a black cardigan and a series of gold bangles, built the children’s hospital with money from her Raising Malawi Initiative.
In her remarks, Madonna said she was delighted to see her dreams come true and encouraged the spirit of perseverance.
Speaking about her desire to build the medical facility, Madonna has said:: “Today I wanna celebrate the beautiful spirit of inspiration I found in Malawi. This is my second home. I have achieved so many things I never imagined I could do in my life like building a paediatric centre in Malawi, raising six children four of them Malawians. I therefore urge you to never give up on your dreams and never stop fighting for what you believe in”.
The songstress adopted Malawian children David Banda and Mercy James in 2006 and 2009 respectively and twins Esther and Stella Mwale earlier this year. She has two other children, Lourdes and Rocco, from previous relationships.
Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume described the centre as a perfect demonstration of a perfect collaboration between Madonna, Raising Malawi and the Malawi government.
He suggested that the centre should also be carrying cardiac surgeries on children to minimise the overwhelming demand to send them abroad due to lack of equipment and expertise in the country.
“I appeal that this should also be a cardiac surgery centre for children. Currently we have 247 patients waiting to be referred abroad 76 of which are children and 68 of these children have heart problems, we want these surgeries to be done right in this country so that many lives are saved,” said Kumpalume.
The centre which has 56 beds comprises three theatre rooms, Intensive care Unit, High Dependence Unit, 46 main wards and a recovery ward. It is estimated that 700 surgeries will be conducted at the centre each year.
The facility has been named The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care – after Madonna’s 11-year-old daughter – and is located at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi.
Malawi – (Caution) Lion Terrorizing Nsanje Villagers Still At Large – Rangers
It’s now 10 days since game rangers were deployed in Bunya and Therere villages in Nsanje district where a marauding lion is said to be attacking people`s cattle, and the government seems to be losing faith in as far as the story of stopping the beast from terrorizing the area is concerned.
It has since been reported that the dangerous animal is using the Lengwe Game Reserve as its attack Launchpad which is becoming difficult for the rangers to kill the beast.
Director of Parks and Wildlife Brighton Kunchedwa said, “It is believed this lion is from Mozambique and is hiding in Lengwe Game Reserve. It has immunity in the game reserve. We cannot shoot it”.
He said however the game rangers are still in the two villages to ensure maximum protection of the people.
Kunchedwa also urged people to avoid walking at night and in tall vegetation.
Lions, a buffalo and an elephant have been terrorising people in the past few weeks with some animal experts saying they are looking for food.
Kunchedwa said the lion in Lengwe Game Reserve might be returning back to Mozambique any time soon since lions have their own areas of habitat.
Malawi – 25 Years Old Man Sentenced To 40 Months Behind Bars For Touching Girl Inappropriately.
The Machinga Second Grade Magistrate Court on Wednesday sentenced a 25 year-old man to 40 months in prison with hard labour for indecently assaulting a secondary school student.
The convict has been identified as Gilbert John.Presenting facts in court, police prosecutor Rodrick Kamuona told the court that on January 10, 2017 the man went to a community day secondary school in the district where he indecently assaulted a 19 year-old Form 4 student by touching her breasts and buttocks while the victim was doing her punishment.
In trouble for touching girl’s breasts. (Image credit: TiwasGist!)On the same day the accused also damaged two school plastic pails valued at three thousand kwacha claiming that the school owed him money.
He was arrested and charged with offences of indecent asssault and malicious damage contrary to Sections 137 and 344 of the Penal Code respectively.
Following the trial the court found Gilbert John guilty.During mitigation the convict prayed for forgiveness saying he is a first offender.However, Machinga Second Grade Magistrate Maxwell Boazi sentenced Gilbert to 9 months imprisonment for malicious damage and 40 months for indecent assault.
He said the sentences will run concurrently.Gilbert John comes from Nkalo Village, Traditional Authority Nkula in Machinga district.
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