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Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

 

Let’s seize the moment, Bt cotton has huge benefits for our farmers

By VERENARDO MEEME
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In her article, Bt cotton no aid to textiles sector but a trapdoor for unsafe food (DN, Jan 8), Ms Anne Maina seems to forget the sentiments of farmers who look forward to growing the genetically modified Bt cotton.

In the innovative agricultural tools, they see hope for their ruined cotton productivity in this crop bred by public scientists.

Bt cotton protects itself from damage by the African bollworm, reducing the number of pesticide sprays needed from 12 per season to even three.

Pesticides account for 45 percent of the production costs.

Commercialisation of Bt cotton will cut costs, giving poor farmers a chance to get high yields.

PRODUCTIVITY

The government has collaborated with farmers to test the efficacy of Bt cotton, researched for two decades and culminating in the ongoing National Performance Trials by scientists.

My interaction with farmers in western Kenya invalidates Ms Maina’s assertion that Bt cotton is premature and unnecessary. They are awaiting the results of the trials with bated breath.

Sudan and South Africa are planting Bt cotton with farmers being given the option to choose the variety to grow.

Six other African countries are close to commercialisation, even as 64 percent of cotton produced globally is genetically modified.

Sudanese cotton farmers have increased productivity to 1,000kg lint per hectare, or 30 percent.

When introduced in 2012-15, GE cotton became the most profitable crop and main foreign exchange earner, attracting more farmers.

Bt comprised 95 percent of the area planted in the bounty harvest of 2017.

The article fails to provide evidence that genetic engineering, a modern form of crop modification that reduces farmers’ dependence on pesticides and enhances the health of agricultural systems, is harmful.

The mainstream scientific consensus — such as the US National Academy of Science Royal Society and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation — has reaffirmed the safety of GM crops.

Ms Maina’s views about genetic engineering are wrong and wildly overstated and fail to offer a strategy to revive Kenya’s once-thriving cotton sector.

MONITORING

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives says only five of the 22 ginneries are operational, producing 25,000 bales against a demand of 200,000. Imports means we are losing out on jobs.

Although Ms Maina casts Burkina Faso’s experience with Bt cotton as a failure, farmers there are lobbying agriculture stakeholders to grow the crop again because it increased their yields and reduced pesticide use.

In Kenya, eight regulatory agencies have tested the performance of Bt cotton from the inception to field trials in different agro-ecological zones.

It is still under the scientists’ watch, its benefits notwithstanding.

If GMO sceptics continue to suffocate the voice of the poor farmer, blocking a product that is farmer-centred, who will speak on their behalf?

Verenardo Meeme, Alliance for Science Fellow, Cornell University, New York, USA, and development communication specialist.


Time we reformed procurement, payment systems to stem graft

By PETER WARUTERE
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The war on corruption is painfully getting tougher. As grand corruption and abuse of office cases collapse in court, the hope of the prosecutors slaying the proverbial dragon gets dimmer.

The anti-corruption forces, led by Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji and the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, seem to be fighting a losing battle.

They can’t push convictions through a hostile legal maze. They are also overwhelmed by the pile-up of new files on corruption and mismanagement of public funds that need their attention.

The message from corruption cartels is simple and clear: They are fighting back viciously and biting deep into the forces that President Uhuru Kenyatta has marshalled to dismantle the graft networks embedded in the public procurement and payment system.

If Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing and other notorious corruption cases haven’t been solved for decades, it might be too much to expect that the gatekeepers of the judicial system have now seen the light and appreciate the urgency with which the cases before them should be resolved.

The biggest setback to the war against corruption lies in the due process that the criminal networks exploit to plunder public resources and protect their loot.

Corruption starts with rigging up the public procurement system, regulated through the Public Procurement Oversight Authority.

It is then processed through the public payments system by exploiting loopholes in the Integrated Financial Management Information System.

The creation of PPOA and implementation of Ifmis were supposed to strengthen the legal and regulatory machinery of public service delivery.

But since they have failed to control corruption in the public procurement and payment system, the government should re-assess its strategy and explore radical options of dealing with the vice that now poses one of the greatest risks to economic stability.

The critical step is to arrest the predatory behaviour at the tender and payment stages — to prevent corruption at conception.

This would be more effective than chasing after the horse when it has bolted.

It should be the entry point to extensive reforms to strengthen governance and accountability of the procurement and payment system.

Reforms should include new and innovative ways of fighting corruption.

CHECK POINT

Besides using the courts, the government should establish an independent public financial management agency to directly oversight PPOA and Ifmis transactions.

The agency would be empowered to review all procurement awards for major contracts, track their progress and review invoices before payments are processed.

Its task would be to enhance the integrity and accountability of the contract management chain in public service delivery.

It would act as a check point — to ensure, for instance, that contracts have been budgeted for, payments are made within budgets and no fictitious payments are made.

A transformative contract management system should also expedite payments for government supplies to ease the chronic suffering of suppliers, who are struggling to survive in business while the government sits on their invoices for months or even years.

It would also save taxpayers the billions of shillings in interest and penalties on pending bills.

Its structure should be unique, with a board and staff singularly committed to integrity and accountability.

It shouldn’t just be another state agency staffed with representatives from professional associations disguised as diversity and inclusion.

Many boards and commissions with such representation have failed to deliver on their mandates.

DEDICATION

But we should be cautious not to create another monster like the National Land Commission that was created to resolve land allocation and compensation issues but integrated into the graft networks.

It would be a tragedy for the agencies dealing with graft to lose the fight and fail to account for the massive resources at their disposal.

They must kick extra hard to break out of the ring where the judge and the jury are mutual bedfellows.


Why Uhuru and Magufuli also have to be ‘tough guys’

By CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO
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On Monday morning, a small group of incompetent soldiers in the central African nation of Gabon tried to stage a military coup — and failed miserably.

These are not happy hunting days for coup makers. In Latin America and Asia, and in Africa, once flourishing coup zones, military putsches have sharply declined.

A report by BBC’s Christopher Giles on its website noted that “since the 1950s, there have been a total of 204 coup d’etats — successful or otherwise — in Africa.

“In Africa, there have been 104 failed coups and 100 successful ones,” it says. “Sudan has had the most coups, with 14. Burkina Faso has had the most successful ones, at seven.

“Between 1960 and 1999, there were between 39 and 42 coups every decade. Since then, there’s been a drop-off. In the 2000s there were 22 coups and in the current decade the number stands at 16.”

ARMY FATIGUE

Coups are dying out. Why? It’s the stuff of a book but, picking on a small bit of it, anyone who follows East African social media will have got some insight into one of the explanations.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, as commander-in-chief, appeared on Jamhuri (Independence) Day on December 12 in military uniform.

That kicked off a debate on social media with some arguing that it was a wink to authoritarianism for a democratically elected leader to don military wear.

Uhuru, though, had worn military uniform a couple of times over his presidency but it didn’t create such a debate.

In Tanzania, President John Magufuli, who, like Uhuru, was never a soldier or guerrilla, has also been pictured in military uniform.

As it were, at about the time Uhuru was showing up in his military attire, in Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, who was leader of the Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army and an officer of the country’s military, appeared for the first time in over 10 years in combat gear at a military exercise and talked tough about hostile forces threatening the peace and stability of his country.

On social media, a tweep posted photos of East African Community (EAC) leaders Uhuru, Kagame, Dr Magufuli, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir in military uniform and noted that the region is a tough neighbourhood and only Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza was missing.

No big deal though; Nkurunziza used to be a guerrilla leader.

However, it is not the leaders who have changed; it’s the conditions that they operate in.

As in many parts of the world, the lines between military and civilian governments have blurred and this has affected coups.

To stick to East Africa, we have a “civilianisation” of former guerrilla leaders and generals (Museveni, Kagame, Kiir, Nkurunziza) and a “martialisation” of civilian leaders (Uhuru, Magufuli).

Both are partly a product of necessity of the times. Former guerrilla leaders and generals have to ‘civilianise’ because the advance of democracy and the growing complexity of our societies means it’s almost impossible to rule without some form of electoral consent (however flawed) from the people.

But it is also true that East Africa is a tough neighbourhood.

If you take the wider eastern Africa region (including the Horn and eastern edge of Central Africa) it has over 50 percent of the UN’s peacekeeping forces.

It has also been plagued by terrorism with Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania suffering some of the worst terror attacks on the continent since 1998.

The conventional wisdom is that civilian leaders have to project strength.

Secondly, as Africa urbanises fast and its youthful population explodes, the hitherto civil protests have become militant.

In some countries, that has come along with more brutal policing and shock and awe tactics as a deterrent to militancy.

Then, to make way for new highways and housing in urban areas that are close to collapsing in dysfunction, governments are breaking down illegally constructed malls and brutally clearing out slums.

Because the constituencies and forces organised around these things are quite powerful, governments sometimes treat this as a form of warfare.

It’s unlikely that a crouched bookish president in monocles can succeed in these circumstances.

Additionally, for countries like Kenya, which haven’t had the traditional military rule or a post-independence guerrilla war, its October 2011 Operation Linda Nchi (protect the country) military campaign into southern Somalia was the end of the age of innocence, if it had one.

It moved from a country known mostly for its role in UN peacekeeping to war maker and, now as part of Amisom, peace enforcer.

The bigger surprise, then, is not that Uhuru appears in military uniform but would have been if he didn’t.

Mr Onyango-Obbo is the publisher of africapedia.com and roguechiefs.com. @cobbo3


Telco’s energy shift coup for conservation

By ROSE HASSAN
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Though a marketing value preposition used by companies that package and sell mineral water, “bottled at source” can apply to energy.

The cost of transmission of electricity from the source to the consumer has been both expensive as it is unreliable, resulting, on default, in unscheduled blackouts or, by design, scheduled outages for maintenance purposes.

Safaricom, the largest corporation in East and Central Africa, has woken up to the fact that they need to ‘bottle’ their energy needs at source.

It plans to phase out diesel generators to power its 4,945 sites across the country.

In its “2018 Sustainability Business Report”, the largest telco in the region seems to have realised that green energy is the new frontier in sustainably powering its huge number of sites.

If you live in a place where you suffer daily blackouts, relying on the grid is a teeth-gnashing experience.

Businesses resort to backup generators, increasing their overheads. It’s a paradox that in an area with above-average solar irradiance can have daily blackouts.

Such a huge investment in solar energy will communicate the need by households and businesses to bottle their energy at source.

The value of investment in solar energy cannot be gainsaid — more so in anticipation of the feed in tariff (Fit), which will allow supply of excess power to the grid and earn households a modicum of income.

On savings alone, data from the survey by Safaricom shows that the number of sites powered exclusively by diesel generators reduced by 59.16 percent last year to 78, down from 191 as of September 2017.

COST-CUTTING

As a result, the amount of fuel used by the telco reduced by 18 percent to 9.43 million litres, from 11.48 million litres in 2017.

Smaller sites were moved to the solar-based energy solution with additional capacity.

Even as the number of sites connected to the grid increased by 149 to 3,755, an additional 22 were converted to solar or wind and hybrid power solutions.

At least 155 of the telco’s sites are powered by solar energy.

Safaricom joins Strathmore University in Kenya and Kochi Airport in India in being carbon-neutral organisations, effectively reducing their carbon footprints.

The telco is positioning itself for the international platform of UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 7 on energy sustainability and SDG 13: To take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

CLIMATE CHANGE

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data shows that in 1880-2012, average global temperatures increased by 0.85 degrees Celsius; for each degree, grain yields declined by about five percent.

Maize, wheat and other major crops have experienced significant yield reductions globally of 40 megatones per year between 1981 and 2002 due to a warmer climate.

With most of its sites being powered by off-grid generators in the rural far-flung areas and agricultural zones, it’s imperative to any huge consumer of fossil fuel to care about the environment it’s in.

Safaricom has sent a strong message to the telecoms sector, in particular, and industries with high energy costs, in general: Renewable is the way to go.

Ms Hassan is the Kisumu branch manager for SolarNow, a renewable energy company. [email protected]


Assess performance of Cuban doctors

By EDITORIAL
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It is now six months since the government brought in Cuban doctors and deployed them to hospitals across the country to provide specialised healthcare and improve medical services.

Cuba has a reputation for the quality of the doctors it produces. So, part of the deal was that the medics would transfer skills to locals to enhance competences. On paper, this was a plausible move.

Having served for a while, it is pertinent to review the impact of their services.

To this extent, the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) is raising questions about qualifications, competence and viability of having the doctors.

CHALLENGES

At the core of the matter is the cost of hiring and keeping them and the commensurate returns to the public.

Tied to this is the fact that many qualified Kenyan doctors are unemployed and those in service are on low pay, raising questions on the rationale of recruiting the Cubans expensively and leaving out locals.

But that is one side of the argument. Probably, the debate will be settled when the cost-benefit analysis is done.

Provision of quality medical care remains a major challenge. Healthcare is devolved.

However, the counties continue to struggle with managing the services due to lack of funding, poor supervision and insufficient infrastructure.

Perennial strikes by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals due to poor terms and conditions of service exemplify the problems afflicting the sector.

Although the counties have since welcomed the Cubans, they initially had reservations due to the cost of keeping them.

With the emerging debate about the quality of the doctors, it is pertinent to conduct an audit to determine the value they have added and lessons learnt.

Counties also continue to grapple with leased medical equipment that was negotiated by the national government and handed over to them at exorbitant prices.

In recent times, the costs have risen drastically, causing jitters among the counties.

Yet in some counties, the equipment has never been put to use either for lack of supporting infrastructure or personnel to handle them.

SUSTAINABLE

Given the difficulties faced in the provision of medical care, undertakings such as importation of doctors make a lot of sense.

But that should be temporal. And while it lasts, there ought to be constant checks to ascertain its value for money.

The bigger question, however, is the state of the country’s medical service delivery that compels the government to bring on board foreign doctors.

It is incumbent on the national and county governments to think properly about medical care provision with a view to ensuring self-sufficiency and sustainability.


Boost technical education

By EDITORIAL
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The renewed campaign to revamp technical education is a logical response to the realisation that it holds the key to taming the rising colossal youth unemployment.

The thinking behind this is that, equipped with artisan and other skills, these young people can either more easily get blue-collar jobs or set up their own technical workshops.

Indeed, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is back in vogue with the Education ministry giving it increasing support and foreign donors enthusiastically coming on board to help to revive a sub-sector that had become moribund over the years.

And the setting up of a TVET Authority confirms the commitment to enhancing technical education to produce skilled artisans to fill the growing demand for such expertise.

SCHOLARSHIPS

The woeful skills shortage has lately been exposed by the demand spawned by the building of the standard gauge railway and also a crisis at Kenya Pipeline Company, which forced the speedy recruitment and training overseas of pipeline welders after the country had been compelled to urgently hire Chinese, Nigerian and Lebanese workers.

Quite encouraging is a shift in policy that has seen scholarships offered to technical college trainees.

However, this has come with its own challenges.

It’s all very good to have scholarships; the question that arises, however, is whether the technical colleges have the required equipment and tutors to make this worthwhile.

The answer to this is a big No. Auditor-General Edward Ouko says in a report that the country’s 41 technical institutions have very limited capacity to offer vocational training.

There is a need to assess these institutions and reinvigorate them by providing modern equipment.

To get value out of technical training, the curriculum must be revised and updated.

It makes a lot of sense to invest more resources in enhancing technical training to meet the country’s current needs.


Gender rule not a favour to women

By KAREN WANJIKU GITHAIGA
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It is ironical that Plato, a student of Socrates, who supported all aspects of justice and pursuit of happiness and wrote various texts on the same — including The Trial and Death of Socrates and the popular Statesman — could not internalise that discriminating against a woman was an injustice.

This notwithstanding that those that he called “demons” or “the 30 tyrants” because they had executed Socrates, who Plato believed was the most just of men, were all men.

His model of a just city recommended a philosopher king who was most qualified, soldiers who had excelled in physical and mental fitness and then the masses, whom he associated with appetite.

Plato associated the king with gold, the soldier silver and the people bronze; to him, the people were the least qualified. And I agree with him that the leaders should be the most qualified.

The two World Wars took place under the rule of philosopher kings and women have worked behind the scenes to advise men and pacify the belligerents.

How much more would they do if given leadership?

Since time immemorial, mothers were the first and most valuable school. They inculcate the culture and religious norms and values.

Through the instructions of the dos and don’ts, they inculcate the culture of peace. As primary educators, they have brought peace to the world.

There is no justice without peace and equality, and my ideal leader would be a philosopher queen.

GENDER BILL

Some people are looking at the two-thirds gender bill in the perspective that it concerns women. But what is gender?

Simply put, it is the state of being male or female. Therefore, the bill is simply about the social, economic and political equal opportunities for all Kenyans — women and men.

Article 27 of the Constitution is clear that equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedoms.

It is a human right entrenched in the Bill of Rights, in Chapter 4 of the Constitution. Article 81(b) stipulates that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.

We have 47 woman representatives in the National Assembly as a result of affirmative action, but it was only recently that they got a fund.

Even after the woman reps negotiated for special interest group funds, the money was lumped together with the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

In the 2017/18 budget, every MP was allocated Sh101.4 million through NG-CDF as woman reps got Sh7 million each, yet both are elected and the latter represents a bigger geographical area! This inequality makes the MP more visible.

It is even worse for nominated members of the county assembly (MCAs); they have no money allocated to them through the ward fund bills.

Nominated MCAs consist of the gender top-up and representatives of youth, minorities and people with disabilities.

This discriminative law should be amended to get every member on board.

How can somebody using their hands compete in tilling the same size of land with one using a tractor?

But county assemblies’ websites have numerous bills, motions, reports and statements that the women, youth and disabled have participated in.

The marginalised members also fill the quorum of the House. In our African set-up, the women are advisers, but they cannot shout about it.

As a man is endowed with strength and intelligence, a woman is a fortified version of the man.

The naysayers have come up with propaganda that the gender rule will inflate the public wage bill. What is the harm in paying more for improved production?

Women leaders are more committed, caring, genuine, and practical and, most of all, less corrupt. They will save Kenyans more billions than the increase in wages.

Maybe it is the criteria of the nomination that is wanting. It is, indeed, true that human beings are self-centred and, as Aristotle put it, “in the absence of law, man is a beast”. But this can be solved by a regulation.

If political parties are given the privilege of nominating leaders, then those grassroots women who break their backs recruiting members and campaigning will never get the ticket.

However, a woman should not be put in the list just for their gender but what they bring aboard, lest the aspect of equal representation loses meaning.

The envisaged new Kenya is taking shape. The “Handshake” is proof that we want to build bridges to cross together and beat all the odds — including inequality, discrimination and prejudices.

Ms Githaiga, a former nominated MCA, Nairobi County Assembly, is a political science student at the University of Nairobi. [email protected]


German Government to invest in Bioenergy for Malawi

President Peter Mutharika presents a gift to German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller.

Lilongwe, January 9. 2019. The Government of Germany is considering starting a new cooperation with Malawi Government in the field of Bioenergy in order to boost the country’s energy sector.

German Federal Minister of Economic Corporation and Development, Dr Gerd Muller said this at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Monday in an audience with President Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika.

The remarks come amidst Mutharika’s acknowledgement of the country’s challenges in the energy sector.

Muller said there is need for Germany and Malawi governments to identify where implementation of programmes of this sector can be done in future considering the huge potential that Malawi has in Bioenergy.

“This country has a huge potential with regards to biomass, water, wind or solar energy. We need to expand on this sector,” he said.

Muller observed that developing energy does not only happen in cities but throughout the country, as such, there is need to intensify efforts in the energy sector using the locally available resources to reach out to all corners of the country.

He said the decentralized form of energy such as Bioenergy is vital for improving rural livelihoods which can benefit small scale farmers.

“We will try to win investors to come to Malawi and invest, especially in the energy sector. We must take the sector forward in this country,” he said.
President Mutharika acknowledged the serious challenges that Malawi is facing in the energy sector which he said needs urgent attention.

“Malawi is facing serious challenges in the energy sector because of climate change and a drop in the water levels in the lake. We would like to diversify the power sector to other areas such as renewable energy, wind, solar and thermal among others,” said Mutharika.

The drop in water levels in Lake Malawi has led to reduced amount of water required to generate enough power.

The president disclosed that the energy sector in the country has been liberated such that private sectors can come in.

On this note, Mutharika invited the German companies to come and participate in the energy sector in order to give the sector the much needed boost.

Germany is assisting Malawi in areas of agriculture, education as well as health and infrastructure which have received a total of 250 million Euros (over K206 billion) worth of support.

Malawi and Germany have embarked on negotiations on which projects to take in 2019 valued at 58 million Euros (over K48 billion).

The support to agriculture sector is meant to improve connectivity by establishing an agriculture centre in Malawi which will increase value creation and connectivity thereby achieving fair pricing and fair trade.

Malawi and Germany have been in bilateral partnership for 55 years now.

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Malawi chief in Mulanje District claims people with HIV/AIDS are sidelined in development

Senior Chief Chikumbu of Mulanje has raised concern saying people living with HIV and AIDS in her area are constantly sidelined in development projects because of inadequate awareness amongst communities.

Mulanje, January 9, 2019. Senior Chief Chikumbu of Mulanje has raised concern saying people living with HIV and AIDS in her area are constantly sidelined in development projects because of inadequate awareness amongst communities.

Senior Chief Chikumbu was speaking at Khaya Primary School ground in the area when Malawi Network of AIDS Services Organisation (MANASO) organised an open day aimed at sensitizing traditional leaders and community members on HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Act.

“People living with HIV and AIDS in my area are subjected to various forms of abuses and discrimination. They are not included in most initiatives designed to protect the poor like public works and social cash transfer programmes because communities perceive them to be weak or unhealthy to partake in such projects,” she said.

“It is a pity that some traditional leaders are in the forefront sidelining such people in development when tasked to provide names of vulnerable people in their area,” the traditional leader lamented.

Chief Chikumbu, therefore, described such behaviour as unacceptable in her area and advised community leaders as well as her subjects to end discrimination, saying such behaviour is a setback to development and a violation of human rights.

She, therefore, commended MANASO for sensitizing people on HIV and AIDS prevention and management, saying it would go a long way in reducing discrimination.

Chikumbu added that this would also change people’s perception towards those living with the virus so that they too can fully participate in national development activities.

“I hope the messages brought today will change the mindset of people to see PLWHA just as normal people capable of contributing to development so that their human rights are not infringed upon,” Chikumbu said.

Giving her testimony, Mary Kayange who was diagnosed with the disease in 2013 said people living with HIV and AIDS are productive in the community provided they adhere to medication.

“When I was first diagnosed with HIV, I feared that it was the end of my life as a woman who relies heavily on farming to feed my family. But I was assured that by taking ARVs, I would be healthy enough to till the land and do carry out other household chores.

“Six years have now gone and I am still farming and taking care of my family without problems, people cannot even tell that I am positive,” Kayange testified.

MANASO Programmes Manager, Grace Massah said it was important for citizens to familiarize themselves with the new HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Act considering that it addresses issues regarding people living with HIV and their human rights.

“We secured funding from UN Women to implement the Tikhale Tcheru project which is community-led to eliminate violence against women and girls,” Massah said.

She said through the project, MANASO is also sensitizing community leaders on the new HIV Prevention and Management Law in three districts of Karonga, Salima and Mulanje where she observed HIV prevalence is high.

Massah added that knowledge of the law would benefit communities as people would now be able to know if their rights are being violated and be able to take the offenders to court.

She also stressed the need for people to familiarize themselves with the new Act which has provisions set to end discrimination.


98 UTM members defect to DPP in Karonga North Constituency

Karonga, January 9, 2019.  About 98 members of United Transformation Movement (UTM) in Karonga North Constituency Sunday announced their defection to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The people said they decided to join DPP because they were not pleased with how UTM’s parliamentary primary elections were conducted.

One of the people who defected to DPP, Ishmael Pembamoto confirmed the defection of the 98 members of UTM to the ruling DPP, saying they were not happy with the way the former party’s (UTM) primary elections were conducted.

Pembamoto said Vincent Ghambi, who is the incumbent legislator of the area won the primary elections but accused him of using and working with parallel area committees against those established by the party.

“It is true that 98 UTM members in Karonga North Constituency have today, Sunday joined DPP to support Mwangasule Mwambande who is DPP’s parliamentary aspirant for this area.

“We wanted to see someone else representing the constituency and not Ghambi who represented the constituency for two consecutive terms but failed to develop the area,” said Pembamoto.

Another former UTM member, Zex Sichali said the primary elections were characterized by various anomalies and that it was surprising to have Ghambi declared the winner.

“Ghambi, who is the current Member of Parliament (MP) for this area, has done nothing to develop this area and our only hope is in Mwambande who is DPP’s parliamentary torch bearer for this constituency,” said Sichali.

In his remarks, Mwambande said he was pleased to receive such a huge number of people to support him and urged them to work with the existing DPP structures in the area.

“As DPP, we are happy with the development. I will communicate to the district governor so that he can arrange for official party ceremony to welcome these new members,” said Mwambande.

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