Jan 18, 2018 Last Updated 2:54 PM, Jan 18, 2018
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The Station Executive Committee (SEC) of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) has intensified security in Karonga district ahead of the 2019 tripartite elections.

To achieve this, police in the district have distributed 35 brand new bicycles to community policing members in 35 group village heads across Karonga to ease mobility challenges when executing their tasks.

Speaking to Capital FM after the symbolic presentation of the push bikes in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Kalonga in the district, the Deputy Commissioner of police and Officer In charge of Karonga police, Brenant Chitanda said he is optimistic that the bikes will go a long way in curbing crime in the district be it misdemeanor or felony.

“When it comes to community policing, these members come from distant places so they need to ride these bikes to be able to reach us with information in good time.

In fact Karonga is well known with violence mainly incited by politicians and we have already talked to some of them that they should promote exercise good politics to avoid such crimes,” Chitanda said.

Chairperson of the SEC, Mungasulwa Mwambande concurred with Chitanda on the importance of the bikes to this department adding that although they are insufficient; they will still assist in reducing crimes in the district.

Mwambande then pleaded with the recipients to use the bikes for their intended purpose to make Karonga a crime free district.

“The bicycles you have received are not meant to be used for your own personal gains but to serve the people therefore take good care of them and do not use them as bicycle taxis,” he added.

One of the beneficiaries, Boyson Mweniyumba said that the bikes are not for personal benefit but the public therefore a beneficiary found misusing them will be taken to task.

Lake Malawi’s Rare Catch

On Monday fishermen at Makungulu Beach in Kachere Village on Likoma Island were excited when John Malamula assisted by his colleague Jacob Mwakawila caught a rare type of fish locally known as Mkunga or Mnjolo (Anguilla bicolor) using a line and hook.

The 1.7 metre fish weighing 20 kilogrammes is a deep-water fish.

It was last caught in 2007, according to communities in the area.

Lake Malawi is said to be home to more fish species than any other lake in the world.

It is home to at least 700 species of cichlids among other types.

But despite the many types of fish, over the years, some have become almost extinct in that one hardly catches them. 

Government has warned private employment agencies it will take drastic action against those deviating from the Labour Export Guidelines (LEG).

The warning comes amid reports that two young Malawian women alleged to be working in Iraq as domestic workers are subjected to harsh working conditions.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Francis Kasaila, noted that some unscrupulous local private employment agencies and individuals continue to facilitate the migration of young Malawian women to the Middle East for employment as cheap domestic workers.

“This is done in total disregard of the labour export guidelines issued by the Ministry of Labour in August and government’s suspension of the recruitment of domestic workers from Malawi for employment in the Middle East,” said the minister in a statement.

Kasaila acknowledged that the ministry has information that there are two young Malawian women in Iraq as domestic workers who are working in inhumane conditions.

“Apparently, the local private recruitment agencies and individuals who facilitated the employment of these young women by-passed the requirement for clearance with the ministry [of Labour] and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security,” he observed.

The minister added that such actions were tantamount to human trafficking which is punishable under the Trafficking in Persons Act Prospective of 2015 of the laws of Malawi.

Kasaila has, therefore, urged private employment agencies and labour migrants to familiarize themselves with labour export guidelines to avoid such incidences.

“Prospective labour migrants are also advised to report any private employment agencies that flout the guidelines to my ministry, Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security or the Office of the Inspector General of Police,” he appealed.

Meanwhile, government has said it has instituted investigations to establish how the alleged young women managed to leave the country and whoever facilitated their trip will be brought to book.

“Government wishes to assure the nation that it is doing all it can to bring the young [Malawian] women back to the country within the shortest time possible,” added Kasaila.

At least 12 babies are currently in Malawi prisons alongside their convicted mothers who are serving various jail sentences in 2018, Malawi News Agency (MANA) has learnt.

The development shows a decrease from last year when Malawi Prison Service (MPS) recorded 14 babies in all the prisons in the country.

In an interview with MANA Tuesday, MPS Public Relations Officer (PRO), Smart Maliro, attributed the drop to the release of their mothers who completed their sentences.

“Last year (2017), we registered 14 young children who were in various prison stations across the country with their convicted mothers, but right now the number has gone down to 12,” he said.

He said Maula, Dedza, Zomba, Chichiri and Mulanje prison stations are the ones currently keeping babies alongside their convicted mothers.

He added: “Chichiri has five babies while Maula has three. Zomba Central Prison has two while Dedza and Mulanje have one apiece.”

However, Executive Director for Eye of the Child, an organization that advocates for promotion of child rights, Maxwell Matewere, said the drop is not impressive as children continue to be subjected to inhumane prison conditions which their mothers are exposed to during the entire prison sentence.

“Much as the statistics indicate the population drop of children in prison to 12, this shows that there is no progress because by virtue of having children in prisons, we are failing to protect them,” he said.

Matewere, therefore, emphasized the need for prison officials to ensure that the children are accorded conducive environment where they can develop socially, physically and mentally as well.

He acknowledged the requirement by law that whosoever has committed a crime upon being found guilty by a competent court should serve a jail sentence.

“But convicted mothers should however be encouraged to leave their children at home. If they insist to go [to prison] along with babies, then the prison authorities should provide a conducive environment for their development,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Association of Early Childhood Development in Malawi (AECDM) Executive Director, Arch Malisita has expressed concern over the development, adding that children in prisons rarely have access to early childhood development (ECD) services.

He said plans are at an advanced stage to establish early childhood centres (ECD) in prisons and hospitals to ensure that children benefit from such services.

In a quest to prevent cholera outbreak, the Blantyre City Council (BCC) has banned the sale of cooked foods in Malawi's commercial capital.

It follows the outbreak that has hit some parts of the country with some related deaths recorded.

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and cause death if left untreated.

It is caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated with particular bacteria.

Mainly such bacteria are found where there is no proper hygiene.

Malawi has now registered four deaths from the disease, with 199 cases recorded.

Many government agencies and nongovernmental organisations are on the forefront raising awareness on preventive measures against the outbreak.

The Blantyre City Council has also taken a step further in an effort to address the problem.

The council has imposed a ban on the sale of ready-to-eat foods as confirmed by the spokesperson Anthony Kasunda.

In Zambia, government there says it will open its international school and some retail centres in the capital after making sufficient progress in its fight to stem a cholera outbreak.

Lusaka has borne the brunt of an epidemic which began last September with data released on Saturday showing 3 148 cases nationwide, 72 of them fatal.

The government has sought to stem the spread with a package of measures including a ban on large public gatherings and the nationwide postponing of the start of the school year.

It also introduced a curfew in the slum district of Kanyama, seen as the focal point of the outbreak.

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