Jun 21, 2018 Last Updated 7:58 AM, Jun 19, 2018
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Malawi’s Former President Joyce Banda insists that age should not be a limiting factor for a person to contest as a presidential candidate in Malawi.

The Peoples Party leader spoke at Nyambadwe ground in Ndirande, Blantyre on Sunday during political rally.

The debate over the right age for presidential candidates was sparked by former First Lady Callista Mutharika who openly supported Vice President Saulos Chilima over President Peter Mutharika.      

But Banda, who is 68, argues that a person should be voted into power based on his or her capabilities.

She wondered why people are only considering the old and the young age without considering those in the fifties and sixties.

According to Banda, the world has seen presidents of old age who have governed very well and young people who have failed to rule.

The former Malawi leader Banda gave an example of a Botswana president who discovered diamonds in his country and handled them for the benefit of the country.

The former leader urged people to scrutinize all candidates whether young or old and vote for them according to their manifestoes.

One Member of Parliament who believes that age should be a limiting factor is Joseph Chidanti Malunga.

Malunga is expected to move a motion on Thursday last week, which may limit the age of people are to run for the presidency of this country.

According to the Member of Parliament for Nsanje South West, an ideal person to run for the presidency should be below the age of 65.

A political analyst from the Chancellor College Ernest Thindwa believes the two should go hand in hand as they depend on each other.

Thindwa states that age should not necessarily limit a person from standing as president as a good leader emanates from the heart.

He however says that as a person grows old, his or her thinking capacity shrinks therefore it is good to consider age as another factor.

Thindwa agrees with Banda and Malunga but adds that a person’s capabilities should be paramount in choosing a leader.

The tension about age is coming at a time Malawi is rushing towards the 2019 tripartite polls where citizens are expected to be elected new councilors, MPs and the President.

Among those who are expected to contest next year, are Peter Mutharika who is the oldest at 78, Lazarus Chakwera, 63, Joyce Banda, 68, and Saulos Chilima who is 45 and the youngest.

Members of the Chilima movement are shunning the 1st July, 2018 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elective convention saying they no longer belong to the party.

Saulos Chilima, who is Malawi’s Vice President, also announced at a press conference in Lilongwe recently that he will not contest in any position.

This was in response to calls for him to challenge his boss President Mutharika at the DPP convention.

Speaking to Capital FM, a member of the movement Bon Kalindo says they are focusing on campaigning and putting up structures on the ground so that Chilima wins the 2019 tripartite elections.

Kalindo has since wished the DPP well in its convention, declaring that he and other key members of the ruling DPP who are pro-Chilima are no longer members of the DPP National Governing Council (NGC) because their mandate expired.

Members who were in the DPP NGC and are now pro-Chilima include Kalindo himself, Louis Ngalande, Patricia Kaliati and Noel Masangwi among others.

Renowned composer, songwriter and singer, Patience Namadingo has embarked on a tour to Europe where he is expected to sell Malawi through his music, courtesy of Ecobank and DStv Malawi.

The Msati Mseke fame was early this year unveiled as brand ambassador for both companies to promote their products.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Thursday, Namadingo’s manager, Peter Mazunda, said the artist and his full band will have their first gig on Friday in Bern, Switzerland.

Mazunda added that the award winning artist will then fly to Berlin, Germany on Saturday, where he would have a number of performances as well as a few public talks about Malawi.

“Later in the week he will fly to Hannover to attend the Africa Day where the city will be celebrating 50 years anniversary with the city of Blantyre, Malawi. On June 24, Patience will be headed for Paris, France where he will perform at the City Open Festival on June 27 and later on June 30 fly back home,” said Mazunda.

While congratulating the artist for his achievement, one of Namadingo’s fans, Gertrude Kabwazi said: “Have fun, learn, relax, work and seize every moment. We are proud of you.”

According to Mazunda, throughout the tour, Namadingo who is in the company of his long time pianist Chisomo Ngondo, dedicated drummer Chikondi Mbewe and his lethal bassist, Ephraim Chambota Chirwa will be called Patience the Malawian.

US Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer has challenged commercial banks and other financial institutions in the country to provide favorable credit facilities and develop policies and programs targeting rural women in order to financially empower them.

She made the remarks Friday in Lilongwe during a Women’s Economic Empowerment Conference organized by Feed The Future Malawi Agriculture Diversification Activity and UN Women.

The conference aimed at strengthening linkages between policy holders and financial service providers to increase rural women farmers and entrepreneurs access to sustainable credit loans.

This comes against the background that Malawi’s agricultural sector is underperforming partly because women, who form the backbone to agriculture and rural economy, face constraints to access productive resources such as formal financing.

She urged commercial banks to realize the untapped potential lending sector in women in the agricultural sector.

“Women have a very high repayment rate and are doing incredibly great work. We need to look creatively at mechanisms by which they can prove they are credit worth and make sure they get access to finances so that they can grow those businesses,” said Palmer speaking to journalists.

On the other hand, Palmer said financial literacy and education for women is very important.

“If you are not financially literate, you cannot sustain (yourself) in the market place, manage to bargain and understand not to be taken advantage of.

“So girls do need to stay in school, which is a basic step on the road to women’s economic empowerment,” said Palmer.

With high interest rates being one of the challenges women are facing, Palmer said inflation is the worst thing for the poor people but said it was pleasing to note that things are heading in the right direction with rates are going down.

This she attributed to the good work that the government of Malawi has done to stay within its budget.

She added that time has come for people to stop taking the agricultural sector as an ordinary workplace but rather as the engine for the growth of Malawi’s economy, and also look at new ways to stimulate the sector.

UN Women Country representative, Clara Anyangwe in her remarks said the initiative to fight for financial inclusion for women is important for Malawian women because financial resources are the first thing needed to grow businesses.

“This is why we thought of bringing macro and micro financial institutions together to have a conversation in terms of the products and services that they have to ensure that resource poor women are financially included,” said Anyangwe.

She acknowledged that commercial banks in the country ask for high collateral security, like land which most women do not have.

Other stakeholders that attended the conference included Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, First Merchant Bank, NBS, ECO bank, FINCA among other various NGOs.

Senior Resident Magistrate Court in Zomba recently convicted and sentenced 34-year-old Elliot Chidothi to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour after the court found him guilty of incest.

The court heard that the convict defiled his daughter on May 23 this year at Sani Village in the area of Traditional Authority Malemia in Zomba.

Prosecutor Sergeant Gerard Chinoko told the court that Chidothi defiled the girl on his way from school when his wife was away attending Village Savings and Loan meeting.  

Chidothi’s wife discovered that the girl had blood stains on her legs and upon inquiry the girl revealed that her father had defiled her.

Sergeant Chinoko said medical report revealed that the girl was indeed defiled and sustained injuries on her private parts.

“The medical report also revealed that the girl was pregnant,” he added while asking the court to give Chidothi a stiffer penalty considering that defilement is a serious case and that defiling a daughter is inhumane.

Chidothi pleaded guilty and asked the court to consider him a fair punishment saying he was a first time offender and had a big family he was looking after.

Senior Resident Magistrate, Paul Chiotcha said Chidothi had committed a serious crime that attracts life sentence.

He therefore found him guilty and sentenced him to a custodial sentence of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour.

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