“Accumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for”


KULEMERA SIKUFIKA, KACHIRAMBE ANAOMBOLA MALAWI, CHIKHALIDWE CHATHU CHIBWERERE = “Accumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for”.

Malawi is not to be considered as a poor beggar who keeps stretching the hand but is very rich of spirituality that can be shared with the rest of the world especially with regard to our common humanity.

The play browse over a Bantu and Yao tale that feature a redeemer in the person of Kachirambe.

The story developed the theme of the land and its people that has been swallowed by a nasty monster in the form of a giant pumpkin. All except a young girl and her mother who escaped and lived hidden in the forest.

As the monster moves from village to village, it keeps getting bigger and stronger by swallowing people’s good behaviour and devouring the best of the people’s life and traditions. It destroys people’s humanity and change them into greedy creatures deprived of mercy, humanity and freedom. As the story unfolds, Malawi becomes the prey to corruption, greed, injustices, famine and even the murder as it is recently the case of albinos.

Albinos in MalawiChiefs are corrupt; they are bribed and cases are not resolved fairly. They are selling land to rich investors while the custodians of the land are left with little or no land to cultivate. Hospital staff are irresponsible and lack commitment; patients are not given much attention and are asked to pay money to be assisted. ADMARC staff are corrupt and greedy; if people don’t have money to bribe the officials, they are denied access to food supply  while the government deny of famine and proclaim that there is plenty of maize available. The most horrifying is the killing of people with albinism, apparently for money in exchange for their bones. Poverty grows daily and those who are poor are denied rights of speech and are prevented to access to the legal system in order to claim their rights. Greed has gripped Malawi. People’s humanity have been swallowed by the monster pumpkin.

The only survivors in our tale are a young girl called “Ndasiyidwa” (meaning; I was spared) and her mother called “Ndapulumuka” (meaning; I have survived). Ndasiyidwa was expecting a child. One day while Ndasiyidwa was busy collecting mushrooms in the forest, she took by accident a hyena’s egg and brought it home. The mother of Ndasiyidwa destroyed the egg by throwing it in the fire. The next day when the girl was collecting wild vegetables, she encountered the hyena for the first time and it asked who took its egg. Ndasiyidwa acknowledged that she was the one took the egg and that her mother had destroyed it in the fire. The hyena threatened that it will eat her. Ndasiyidwa told the hyena that she was expecting a baby soon and that it should eat the child instead of her. The hyena complied. Ndasiyidwa delivered her child, fully grown and equipped with weapons of a hunter. Her grandmother called him Kachirambe Mlera khungwa (meaning; the guardian of the people). Ndasiyidwa informed the hyena on her first trip to the forest that she had conceived her child, but that the child was so clever that the hyena could not come to term with it and that the hyena would fail to eat him. The hyena tried again and again to grab Kachirambe but failed. Instead Kachirambe killed the hyena and delivered his mother and grandmother from their common enemy.

One day as Kachirambe was chatting with his mother, he asked her what had happened to his dad. Ndasiyidwa told him that his father was devoured by the monster pumpkin called Mgalika mwambo (meaning; the swallower of tradition). Kachirambe swore that he will get rid of the monster pumpkin as he did with the hyena and enquired where the monster was hiding. Ndasiyidwa told him that it was hiding in the lake. The hero over the hyena Kachirambe, went for it and fought it with all his strength. He weakened it with his arrows and in the end he cut it open with his father’s dagger and freed all those who had been swallowed. His father on behalf of all the other victims, acknowledged that he had been greedy and selfish. He promised that he would return to the tradition and become more human. He would take seriously the advice of his ancestors. Money does not ultimately fulfil all of human aspirations.

The play ends with the great mother of the Chewa “Kasiya maliro” who condemns those who have gone astray through greed and lost their humanity and their own tradition. One has to live from his own values and not imitating the behaviour of others. Kachirambe portrays the power of Malawian culture over and against other influences that can disrupt Malawian culture and tradition if one is not deeply rooted into his own. Once Malawi has lost her own humanity, it has also lost the privilege of being called Malawian.

kachirambe_JPEGAccumulating wealth is not the only purpose worth to live for

A Dangerous Divide. The State of Inequality in Malawi.


Please find a report from OXFAM on the growing and worrying inequality in Malawi. This was published in November and give a very good picture of the divide between the rich and poor. Bill Turnbull, M.Afr

Malawi inegality Dec 2015 02

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By Oxfam in Malawi’s Country Director, John Makina

Economic inequality has worsened significantly in Malawi in recent years. In 2004, the richest 10 percent of Malawians consumed 22 times more than the poorest 10 percent. By 2011 this had risen to see the richest 10 percent spending 34 times more than the poorest. Yet even this shocking statistic is likely to be a significant underestimate1. Anyone who has seen the many large mansions springing up on the edges of Lilongwe and Blantyre, and the plethora of new shopping malls being opened, knows that conspicuous consumption amongst the richest is dramatically growing. Malawi’s Gini coefficient, the key measure of inequality, also shows the extent to which robust economic growth is benefiting the rich whilst leaving the poor behind. In seven years of impressive growth, the Gini has leapt up from 0.39, on a par with Cameroon, to 0.45, on a par with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Malawi inegality Dec 2015 05This study modelled the link between inequality, growth and poverty in Malawi over the next five years. In 2015, 8 million people – 50 percent of the country’s population – live in poverty. Yet if inequality continues to rise as it has in recent years, by 2020 1.5 million more Malawians will be poor3. Even if inequality stays broadly at the level it is now, there will still be 400,000 additional people living in poverty in Malawi by 20204. Unless Malawi acts now to reduce inequality, even rapid economic growth will fail to reduce poverty in the country.

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Conclusion

Inequality is not an accident, nor is it inevitable; it originates from policy choices. Consequently, some policy choices can worsen inequality while others reduce it. As is aptly pointed out by UNRISD, ‘Without deliberate policy interventions, high levels of inequality tend to be self-perpetuating. They lead to the development of political and economic institutions that work to maintain the political, economic and social privileges of the elite.

This study has identified a number of factors driving inequality in Malawi, and made clear that poverty reduction in Malawi will be faster if inequality decreases. But reducing inequality will not be a benign by-product of growth under trickle down assumptions. It will only happen as a result of deliberate joint policy efforts, which all Malawi’s government and civil society must unify behind.

Press statement for january 2015: Let us do something about poverty


Jos KuppensBy Jos Kuppens, M.Afr, Director of CfSC, Kanengo, Malawi

Recently it has been alleged that Malawi has been classified as the poorest nation. The report’s empirical analysis of poverty was based on income or consumption expenditure as a measure of wellbeing. But the weak correlation between income (or consumption) and welfare, means income may not be an all-encompassing indicator of welfare. Just as Amartya Sen urges, poverty measurements should go beyond income and look at other dimensions of wellbeing such as health, education, empowerment, freedom of association and so on. Income is often instrumentally important as a means of achieving other dimensions of wellbeing, but the other dimensions of wellbeing are intrinsically significant, and hence deserve recognition.

While many people were up in arms following such revelations, the nation needs reminding that the results of this recent report somehow tally with previous ones. In 2013 a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) study by Oxford University said Malawi needs at least 74 years to eradicate its poverty. The study measured reductions in multidimensional poverty, overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards among others. The study concluded that “using this measure, it was found that reductions in intensity – the percentage of deprivations people experience at the same time – were strongest in relatively poorer countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi and Senegal”; and at the then rate of 50.7% reduction it would take Malawi 74 years to eradicate acute poverty.

In 2012 the results of the Third Integrated Household Survey (IHS3), showed that almost half of the Malawi’s population is poor, about one in every four poor lives in dire poverty and cannot afford to meet the minimum standard for daily recommended food requirement.

1 B ExtraAlready in January, the Rural Basic Needs Basket indicated that the average daily calorie intake for rural areas of Chikwawa, Dedza, Zomba and Lilongwe was at an average of 1169kcal; which is 1231kcal below the daily recommended calorie intake of 2400kcal by WHO and the situation was worse in Kasiya-Lilongwe, which stood at 970kcal per person per day. For the Urban Basic Needs Basket, the average cost just for the basic food items stood at MK77, 320 for Blantyre Lilongwe, Zomba, Mzuzu, Karonga and Mangochi; the highest was in Zomba at MK86, 783.

What this entails is that there are indications that many people in the country cannot afford a dignified life and others are trapped in dire poverty. So instead of denying these facts the country needs to wake up and do something about this dire situation. Instead of being angry at these reports the country needs to be angry enough to do something about it, so that it would no longer be defined as such in the near future.

Let us start with the current disaster in the lower Shire. Each year flood disasters occur in this region. There is need for proper planning and political will to manage it. It must be remembered that disaster risk reduction benefits the poor more than disaster management does. Many research reports in countries like India have shown that for every dollar invested in disaster risk reduction, between two and four dollars are returned in terms of avoided or reduced disaster impact costs. The country needs to increase investment in disaster risk management and climate change mitigation measures, such as canalization, winter cropping and IGA interventions as an effective ways to reduce the disaster vulnerability of the poor and thereby improve overall economic development. Invest in social services that improve social conditions, such as universal education, health, access to water and sanitation, thereby reducing the vulnerability of the poor and improving their capacity to respond to, cope with and adapt to disaster and poverty impacts more effectively. Surprisingly or not, those who were angry with the report were not the poor too busy to survive, but rather those who somehow work towards the eradication of poverty. Should they not also need to ask the question whether the Gross Domestic Product is divided among all Malawians with some degree of equity?

Loyola Jesuit Secondary School, Kasungu, Malawi


Peter Henriot 04.pngMany Christmas blessings of peace, joy, hope, all through 2015, for the good M.Afr people. Attached shows our progress and hopes in Kasungu – prayers please!

Peace of Christ. Fr. Peter Henriot

See previous report on SAP Blog: Loyola Jesuit Secondary School, Kasungu, Malawi

Campus of Loyola Kasungu 2014 AView of campus of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School, Kasungu Malawi. Photo taken from grounds of nearby St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 28th October 2014

Campus of Loyola Kasungu 2014 02bChildren from nearby St. Joseph’s Primary School visit a finished classroom at Loyola Jesuit Secondary School to try out the new desks and chairs. You can tell by facial expressions their dreams that one day they might sit in this classroom as regular students!

The Official Launch of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish – Mzuzu- Zolozolo- Malawi.


Zolozolo July 2014 07_modifié-1“Fumu Yane na Chiuta Wane (My Lord and My God) Jn. 20-28.” This particular sentence of St. Thomas the Apostle in the Gospel according to St. John moved all the Christians of Mzuzu diocese with happiness as they received the new born baby St. Thomas the Apostle Parish.
Two Bishops Rt. Rev. Joseph Mkasa Zuza the chair of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi who hails from Mzuzu Diocese and Rt. Rev. Martin Mtumbuka the Bishop of Karonga were vividly present to launch the new St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. The Sector superior of Malawi sector Fr. Bill Turnbull was present to witness launch and supported the confreres in various ways. Many Christian faithful from different Christian denomination were actively present for the launching liturgical celebration for the feast agape. Various Christian denominations made contribution in cash and kind to support the new parish.
The official Launch of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish was the special event for all the Christians of Mzuzu Diocese that is why there were representatives from various parishes, the mother cathedral parish St. Peter was extremely happy because the new St. Thomas the Apostle parish is her begotten child. All the Christians from St. Peter’s parish came to support us. It is the sign of great UNITY of all the parishes in Mzuzu Diocese.
 The City Council of Mzuzu, The Defence Army, Malawi Police and various media (Malawi T.V. and Radio) were present to give the good example of solidarity and unity. We thank God Almighty with sincerity of heart for giving us the great gift of new parish. 

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CfSC Press Review of 2013, Malawi


CfSC Press Review Jan 2014Without Hope Where Would We Be
Looking back over the year we try to name it, sum it up in one title or sentence. One of our newspapers speaks of: ‘the year of clapping hands to mediocrity’ (E. Chitsulo, Nation 21 December 2013). It is only a few weeks ago that we buried Nelson Mandela. We did because almost the whole world was somehow assisting at his funeral, He showed the world what real leadership is like. His passage shows the opposite of mediocrity. He was a good human being, a great leader. In our Malawi we have difficulty to identify someone like him. We chose leaders who all have given a sense of hope, a sense of ‘now things shall change for the better’.
But we were deceived very soon. Kamuzu Banda led a group of capable young people who were intent on building a Malawi to be proud of. But soon Banda took over, did away with those companions of the first hour and became a dictator imposing his will in such a way that a book about human Rights in Malawi was given the title: ‘Where Silence Reigns’. In spite of this Malawians continued to clap hands and dance for him. For some thirty years. 
Full Text

Press Release: New Catholic Archbishop in Blantyre, Malawi


The Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican Embassy) in Malawi is pleased to announce that 

Ambuye-Msusa PNG

His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed the Right Reverend Thomas Luke Msusa Archbishop of Blantyre, transferring him from the Episcopal See of Zomba. The announcement will be made today, Thursday, 21 November 2013 at noontime in the Vatican.
The Right Reverend Montfort Stima, Auxiliary Bishop of Blantyre and currently Diocesan Administrator of the Archdiocese, remains in charge of the Archdiocese up until Rt. Rev. Thomas Msusa will take possession of the Archiepiscopal See of Blantyre.
Dated: 21 November 2013, Lilongwe
Press Release

MALAWI – Corruption Scandal: “Speedy prosecutions to regain the trust of donors” asks the Church


Agenzia Fides logoLilongwe (Agenzia Fides) – Do everything possible to clean up politics and administration in order to regain the confidence of international donors whose aid is needed to alleviate the suffering of the population. This is the meaning of the message delivered by Chris Chisoni, Secretary General of the Commission for “Justice and Peace” of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, at a press conference at the end of the meeting of the Commissions “Justice and Peace” of 8 Catholic dioceses in the Country.
“The Church cannot just sit and watch some of the challenges Malawians are facing now hence the need for us to speak out with one voice over these issues”, said Chisoni.
International donors (European Union, Great Britain, Norway and the African Development Bank) have stopped giving aid to Malawi following the discovery of serious fraud on the use of funds received. It is estimated that at least 185 million dollars have been stolen from state coffers.
So far, fifty officials have been arrested, including the Minister of Justice, Ralph Kasambara.
In relation to the so-called “cash-gate” Chisoni said that “we want the arrest of all those involved, sparing no sacred cow”.
Representatives of Justice and Peace finally ask donors to reconsider the suspension of aid that is having serious social consequences: food shortages in certain areas of the Country, with serious risks to people; drastic decrease of school attendance and risks for next year’s harvest. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 23/11/2013)

Preparations to Roll out New Catholic Radio Station Underway in Malawi


Preparations-to-Roll-out-New-Catholic-Radio-Station-UnderwayLilongwe, Malawi, CISA N0 092, October 15, 2013
Preparations to roll out Tuntufye FM Radio for the new Karonga Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church are at an advanced stage, the Research and Communications Department at the Episcopal Conference of Malawi has confirmed.
According to Nyasa Times, Malawi’s local daily, the development was revealed barely after ECM’s Research and Communications Department visited the diocese to appreciate efforts made to enhance communication in all the church angles.
Karonga diocese successfully negotiated for a radio licence with the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and this was gazetted on July 26, 2013.
So far a lot has taken place to have the radio station hit the air waves by January next year.
“There is quite a lot that Karonga diocese has done to have this radio station in place. The diocese is trying to put things in place as regards opening a radio station and one of the achievements has been the negotiations with MACRA for a radio license which is finally in possession of the diocese.”
The diocese is currently holding sensitization sessions with Catholic Christians on different level s and various forums as a way of initiating and engaging them in the radio project so that they can own and support it.
Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of Karonga diocese is also working hard to have this radio station as evidenced from a number of written proposals that have been submitted to potential donors where the feedback has been positive and many have pledged funding.
“So far the diocese has receiving the first consignment of radio equipment from SIGNIS which is the World Catholic Association for Communication that brings together Catholic communications and media professionals from across the globe. Plans to renovate a building that will house radio studios are also there,” Research and Communications Officer at ECM, Prince Henderson said.
The Diocese of Karonga is a new one with 12 priests and over 65,000 Catholic.
The radio will primarily targeting Catholic Christians but still there will be an option for other denominations will be given a chance to interact and contribute to the radio station.
Apart from pastoral, the radio will also focus on development, economic, social and cultural issues that concern all groups of people.
Tuntufye FM Radio will add up to the already existing Catholic radio stations like Radio Maria in Mangochi, Radio Alinafe in Lilongwe and Radio Tigabane in Mzuzu.

CfSC May 2013 Basic Needs Basket and Press Statement


CfSC May 02 2013
The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC), has worryingly observed that the 2013/14 national budget, just like the preceding 2012/13 national budget, is not people centred. While acknowledging the fact that the current budget has been framed in the context of a stagnating economy that is struggling to emerge from a downturn, CfSC believes that government should have balanced the twofold equally important tasks of stabilising the country’s economy by giving incentives to the private sector (as the engine of growth) and also protecting the vulnerable through adequate social spending to reduce poverty.
 While acknowledging the troubling reality that Malawi is now back under the wings of the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF and World Bank) CfSC believes that in engaging these institutions Malawi government should do so in cognisance of the lessons learnt from the recent past. READ MORE