Steve Zimba

Steve Zimba

An insurance firm, Equatorial Insurance Brokers has embarked on a campaign of sensitizing secondary school learners of various financial literacy programmes aimed at equipping them with skills and knowledge about the financial sector in the country.

Managing Director of the Company Thomas Ronald Kambale has told Zodiak Online that his institution has initiated what is being called the Mwana wa Nzeru Insurance Services Literacy programme targeting the secondary school learners to gain information that they can share with their parents and guardians and their communities.

“We have noted that knowledge uptake about financial services is going down in Malawi. And we hope that with this arrangement, we can allow more people to understand this approach and effectively use it,” said Kambale.

He added: “We are advocating for mindset change towards financial services. We are not talking about insurance services only, but all financial services in general. This shall include banking, Online transactions, and pensions among others.”

“Since we already have expertise and human resources, we would like to reach out to 80 percent of secondary schools in the country in the next 5 years”.

Financial literacy focuses on the ability to manage personal finance effectively, which requires experience in making appropriate personal finance choices, such as savings, insurance, real estate, college payments, budgeting, retirement and tax planning.

Already the institution has taken its sensitization to learners at Wukani Education Facility School in Mzuzu.

During the activity, the learners were exposed to various financial literacy circles. The initiative coincided with the opening of the company’s regional offices in Mzuzu.

A form four student at the school Fyaupi Msukwa who aspires of becoming a successful businessperson after completing his education, says such knowledge is mostly not readily for young people like him. He says that there is a need for the organisation to reach out to more schools so that other learners can also benefit.

“Government and other stakeholders are propagating for Malawi Agenda 2023. If this needs to be achieved, the youthful generation should be taken through various concepts on financial literacy programmes. Just like Mwana wa Nzeru initiave. This will help us to grow knowing about this sector," said Fyaupi.

Malawi is one of the countries in Africa with low uptake of financial services programmes.

Police in Mzuzu have arrested a 41-year-old man for allegedly possessing 17 bags of counterfeit fertilizer weighing 50 kilograms each.

Mzuzu Police Spokesperson Paul Tembo says the suspect Blessings Nyirenda has been arrested in the city following a tip-off that the businessperson was reprocessing and repackaging the fertilizer in NPK sacks belonging to Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving fund of Malawi (SFFRFM).

“We have been working together with the Malawi Bureau Standards (MBS) who got the wind about this illegal business. Our officers then moved in quickly and arrested the suspect who is being kept at Mzuzu Police Station waiting for a court appearance,’’ said Tembo.

Malawi Bureau of Standards Regional Manager for the north Kissinger Chiunjira  says the fertilizer will be taken to the organization’s laboratory for testing.

Said Chiunjira: “We have the fertilizer in our custody because we want to know what chemicals were being used to repackage and reprocess it.”

In mid-August this year, Lilongwe Police Station also found 92 bags of fake fertilizer at a house at Sankhani Village in Traditional Authority Njewa in the district.

Access to genuine fertilizer coupled with high prices has been a pressing issue in the country, impacting crop yields and agricultural productivity.

Some livestock farmers in the northern region say that continued illegal exportation of maize bran locally known as Gaga to countries Like Tanzania, Eswatini, Kenya, and Zimbabwe has led to a scarcity of feed for livestock on the local market.
A Mzuzu-based livestock farmer Boniface Jubeki of Chingalu Farms has implored the government to control the exportation of the commodity, saying current trend is pushing upwards the cost of production and prices of meat and its products in the region.
“Prices of meat and its products have risen in the recent months. In 2022, we used buy a kilogram of beef and pork at K2, 500.  But now the same is trading at K4, 200, simply because farmers are buying animal feed like gaga at a higher rate.”
He added; in the same period a 20-liter tin of Maize bran was selling at K500 but it is now going at K1000.
Vendors from neighboring countries are controlling the market, buying the commodity and illegally exporting it to their countries.
Minister of Trade and Industry Simplex Chithyola-Banda has told us in a separate interview that Capitol Hill will check if there is indeed illegal exportation of the commodity.
Said Chithyola-Banda: “I don’t think there is smuggling of maize bran to some African countries. And, what I know is these traders seek export documents from our offices which we provide after scrutinizing the business.”
Maize bran is one of the liable feed for livestock in Malawi.

Car Free Day Set for Friday

A local organization on road safety has appealed to all motorists that this coming Friday should walk or cycle to their destinations in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions emanating from motor vehicles that pollute the environment.

Road Safety Alert Foundation Public Relations Officer Thokozani Chenjezi told us in an interview Thursday that this is a result of various negative effects of carbon emissions to the environment that Malawi and other countries are experiencing.

“Malawi has recently faced various natural calamities like cyclones, this clearly shows that the environment has been damaged. We also want to promote good health by walking and cycling, as well as, reducing road traffic accidents since the roads will have minimal traffic of motor vehicles,” said Chenjezi.

This will be the first-ever Car Free Day in Malawi being championed by the Road Safety Alert Foundation.

Road Safety Alert Foundation is a local organization affiliated with the Global Alliance of Non-Governmental Organizations on Road Safety and also SADC Alliance on Road Safety.

Meanwhile, Environmentalist Chikondi Gawa has welcomed the initiative saying at all costs Malawians should stand up to protect the environment which will eventually reduce carbon emissions.

Said Gawa: “These are issues we need to be talking about and doing in protecting the environment and healthy living. So, those who can afford should surely take part.”

On Friday this week, a Car Free Zone will be set up near Gemini house in City Center, Lilongwe where no car will be allowed to enter the zone from 6:00 am to 1:00 pm as a way of proving awareness of the initiative.

Ekwendeni Resource for the Blind which is a primary school under the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia has gone for three years without access to clean and potable water due to the failure to settle 800,000 Kwacha water bills to the Northern Region Water Board.
Head of the Ekwendeni Mission, Reverend Timothy Nyirenda says that the water supply was disconnected following acute funding challenges affecting its donors (the Church and well-wishers).

The institution, at times gets monthly financial support from government of about 500 000 Kwacha which is not enough for its operations.
“Despite a well-wisher drilling a borehole at the school, after noting the problem, we still need safe and potable water. We will soon engage the Northern Region Water Board on how to settle the debt despite having insufficient resources,” said Reverend Nyirenda.
Meanwhile, president of the Institute of People Management Malawi Godwin Sam N'goma whose organisation donated assorted items to the institution valued at 2 million Kwacha, has appealed to well-wishers including the corporate world to assist the school.
Said N’goma: “Our coming here is to provide public awareness, so that more people can bail out the school which is in dire need of help. We want to tell people of goodwill to bail out the school that has produced a lot of good people.”
The Ekwendeni Resource Center for the Blind was established in 1978 and it has been relying on the Church, well-wishers, and government who in some months provide a subversion of 500,000 Kwacha.
The Institute of People Management Malawi is one of the oldest professional bodies in the country, and its mandate is to ensure an effective workforce in the labour sector.

President Lazarus Chakwera has lashed out at some people he did not disclose, saying they are conniving with contractors to frustrate development projects being initiated in the country for their own benefit.
The President made the remarks yesterday when he commissioned the 30 billion Kwacha Nkhata Bay Town Water Supply and Sanitation project which will benefit over 104 thousand households in the district.

The project is being implemented by government and the Northern Region Water Board.
“I know what some people are doing. That is very unpatriotic behavior, that must come to stop because it is theft,” said Chakwera.
He then hailed the utility body for effective use of resources which his administration strives to achieve every time.
Chairperson of the Board Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo said the project is expected to reduce cases of waterborne diseases like cholera, as the district is one of the hotspots of the disease which claimed more than 1,700 people in 2022-2023.
Said Mwenifumbo: “This is what we are supposed to do. And we will continue to provide portable water to people through various projects we are implementing in most parts of the region.”
The 30 billion Kwacha Nkhata Bay Town Water Supply and Sanitation project targets to improve Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene services and build the capacity of various stakeholders in the Wash sector.
The project has been financially supported by the African Development Bank and OPEC Fund for International Development and the Government of Malawi.

Mzuzu, which is dubbed Malawis fast growing city, will be the first to have a Coach terminal that will be operational by 1st October this year.
Chief Executive Officer of the City Gomegzani Nyasulu says this is one of the resolutions made during the Mzuzu City Summit held two weeks ago, and the city is expecting to be collecting K9 million every month from about 7 local and international operators.
“Our simple calculations tell us that, with the operators we have, we will be generating at least K300 thousand Kwacha per day. And by the end of the month, the council will be having K9 million from the terminal.” said Nyasulu.
He added, that at the new facility, authorities will not allow Callboys and vending.
Mzuzu, will be the first city in Malawi to have such a terminal and there is an opening for the private sector to partner in managing the facility.
Mayor of the City Councilor Gift Desire Nyirenda says this will bring sanity in terms of Coach parking stations.
Explained Councilor Nyirenda: “Mzuzu is fast fast-growing city in the country. It is our wish that we provide the needs of the residents of this city. We may delay, but surely we will get there.”
The Mayor also says Councilors will monitor the development to ensure effective utilization of proceeds from the terminal.

The Coach Terminal will be located on the premises of Shire Bus Lines Company just adjacent to the Clock Tower in the city.

This year, government took over the management of all Shire Bus Company bus depots from Mulli Group of companies after High Court ordered that all such facilities, which were illegally possessed by the group, be handed over to local councils.

The Lions Clubs International's multiple district 412 covering Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique has stressed the need for continued humanitarian aid to survivors of cyclone Freddy which claimed lives of about 1000 people this year in some parts of the country.
Council Chairperson of the district, Lion Victor Gondwe said this during an induction ceremony of new leaders and members of Mzuzu, Viphya, and Katoto Specialty Lions Clubs, where he noted that in most places that were hit by the cyclone, survivors still need aid.
“The Lions community is expecting a lot from the newly inducted Lions in serving the disadvantaged, just like those that are affected by cyclone Freddy,” said Lion Gondwe.
He added that being a Lion means a big thing in saving people who are in dire need of help.
Lions embrace the Lions Club International's Five Pillars of Service which include Vision, Hunger, Diabetes, Cancer, and Environment.
Guest of honor at the ceremony, business person and renowned IT governance expert, Lion Mathews Mtumbuka tipped his fellow Lions to explore other avenues of mobilizing resources that are used to provide support to those in need.
Said Lion Mtumbuka; “We know that Lions build schools, and provide different needs to the people, but there is a need for them to find other ways of generating resources than depending on their monthly salaries, assuming they are employees.”
Among others, Lions strive to improve health and well-being, strengthen communities, and support those in need through humanitarian services and grants that impact lives globally and encourage peace and international understanding.

Principal resident magistrate Clemence Chamwenda sitting at the Mzuzu court registry has sentenced six men to 21- years imprisonment with hard labour each, for robbing guests at Royal Gardens Lodge at Lubinga in the city on 4th August this year.

The six (jailed) and two others who are still at large, robbed property which included cellphones, laptops, clothes, and cash among others worth over 7 million Kwacha.

State prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Vickness chinseu Simwinga of Mzuzu police told the court on Wednesday this week, that the convicts had planned to commit the offense as they were equipped with panga knives, metal bars, camouflage clothes, and face masks.

“Your worship, these are dangerous criminals and they are a threat to the security of people such that they deserve a harder sentence,” said Assistant Superintendent Simwinga.

Of the six, four are ex-convicts while the other two are first offenders, and their plea for mercy from the court when sentencing was not entertained.

In his judgment, Principal Resident Magistrate Clemence Chamwenda said the crime the accused committed, has the potential to harm the business of the lodge.

Replied magistrate Chamwenda; “It has pleased this court to send you to jail for 21 years each. Your actions may have a negative impact on the lodge, as people will have trust issues with its security”.

Meanwhile, Mzuzu Police Spokesperson Inspector Paul Tembo has welcomed the judgment, saying this will motive the law enforcers in their zeal to combat crime in the city.

“The arrest and swift conviction of the six is an indication that the law enforcers have stepped up efforts in providing security in the city, after registering incidences of theft cases in the past months,” explained Inspector Tembo.

The six include Faduwik Chiwaya, Sam Kagunda, Precious Jonathan, Issa Ibrahim, Stonald Nkhoma, and Titus Chirwa.

The body of iconic economist cum politician Goodall Gondwe was buried yesterday and all the eulogies at the burial ceremony centered on celebrating his personal, educational, and political achievements.
Scores of people from within and abroad attended the sorrowful ceremony which earlier was threatened by rising political tension amongst political parties, but CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, family, former Vice President Khumbo Kachali, and Vice President Saulos Chilima emphasized that Gondwe deserved a proper send-off.
“Time for politicking is coming and we all know that. Let’s all of us keep in mind that we have come here to bury the great son of Malawi and he deserves a befitting send-off,” said Chilima before reading his eulogy.
Added Chilima: “When we go back to Lilongwe government will organize a conference where economists will review some of Gondwe's works, it is instrumental for the country.
“Goodall was a true definition of a good man. He was our father and mentor. Whenever you wanted him for advice, he was there.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president Peter Mutharika described the late Gondwe as a great son of Malawi, after serving the country and international organizations including the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“I met Goodall in 1959 at school. Since that time we have been together and worked closely in various setups. Family and the party have lost a great man,” said Mutharika.
Goodall Goodall was DPP’s vice president for the northern region.
Group Village Headman Kayiwononga told hundreds that gathered at the ceremony that their father, meaning late Gondwe, taught Kayiwonanga Village three things which included the promotion of unity, love and also having a spirit of hard work.

This was echoed by his daughter Tiwonge who spoke on behalf of her two brothers.
Born Goodall Edward Gondwe on 1 December 1936 in Mzimba, he breathed his last on 8 August 2023.

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