Malawians urged to take leading role fighting wildlife crimes

Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife has appealed to people in the country to resist any temptation of getting involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.

In a statement from in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, the Director of National Parks and Wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa says people have a role to play to stop wildlife crime in the southern African country. fighting

The department’s plea comes fast on the heels reports of continued confiscations of ivory and rhino horn in other countries said to originate from Malawi and describes the development as worrisome.

The parks and wildlife the department recently received reports of seizures of both ivory and rhino horn in Thailand, China and Vietnam airports, that happened between January and March this year, originating from Malawi.

Reports indicates that customs officials at Shanghai Pudong Airport in China seized two checked in baggage containing about 39 kilograms of rhino; a consignment of 422 pieces of Ivory weighing 330 kilograms was seized at Suvarnabhumi in Thailand while about 119 kilograms of rhino horn stacked in two bags were seized at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam. Sadly, the contraband carried by various reputable airlines originated from Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Malawi.

“The general public is hereby informed that all the contraband in the three cases is not from Malawi but probably from other countries,” Parks and Wildlife Director says.

He adds: “In this particular case Malawi was simply being used as a conduit for the contraband and the trend is worrisome as it continues to dent the good image of Malawi internationally.”

It is against this background that the department of wildlife and national parks urges Malawians to take a leading role in fighting wildlife criminals so as to save the image of the country.

At one time last year, Malawi confiscated and publicly burnt over 780 pieces of ivory whose DNA tests showed were from elephants killed in neighbouring Tanzania and Mozambique but the traders wanted to Malawi as a passage.

Parks and Wildlife officials burn impounded ivory pieces in Malawi. Pic by Yohane Chideya

Wildlife officials setting alight confiscated a heap ivory last year

The burning of the elephant tasks in full view of local and international media was meant to send a clear signal that Malawi would not allow to be used a conduit for illegal wildlife trade.

Meanwhile, Kumchedwa says the department of national parks and wildlife is seriously engaging all security institutions at KIA to get to the bottom of the matter as investigations are at an advanced stage.

The department is also making every effort to fight illegal wildlife trade and will continue doing so on top of the scaled up efforts which include counteracting illegal trafficking through establishment and operationalization of an anti-trafficking unit within the department.

Recently, Malawi parliament enacted a law which imposes stiffer penalties for wildlife crimes and the country’s President Peter Mutharika has championed the cause with public pronouncements against illegal wildlife trade.

 

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Key road damage disturbs travellers in Malawi

Local and international motorists using the M1 Road between Mzuzu and Karonga in northern Malawi have for several days been stranded following the washing away of a bridge at Jalawe in Rumphi district which has rendered the section of the road impassable.

Persistent rain has been falling in the northern part of the country including Rumphi district for the past three weeks resulting in washing away of a small bridge at Jalawe and subsequent blocking the free flow of traffic between Karonga shoreline district and the City of Mzuzu.

Residents of Jalawe area assess damage on the washed away mini-bridge

Government has since engaged the Malawi Defence Force to construct a Bailey bridge that will support flow of traffic temporarily. The situation was expected to normalize within days, according to Roads Authority officials.

Roads Authority Acting Chief Executive, Sam Kadangwe told Nation Publications that as a long lasting solution, the authority will soon engage a contractor to fix concrete culverts on the affected section.

Meanwhile, some motorists use Chitimba – Livingstonia Road as alternative route as the damaged section is being maintained.

 STOP PRESS !!      

The Jalawe bridge that was washed away a few days ago due to incessant rain in Rumphi  has since been replaced and all the stranded local and international motorists have proceeded to their respective destinations. The picture shows how the place looks like after the Malawi Defence Force constructed a  temporally Bailey bridge on the damaged section to make the M1 Road between border district of Karonga and Mzuzu city passable again.

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Malawian young entrepreneurs inspired

Young entrepreneurs in the City of Mzuzu in northern Malawi, particularly those in the hospitality industry, have over the past weeks been attending culinary lessons offered by Melvin Myers, one of the USA’s celebrated chefs, whose inspirational approach has left an indelible mark in the hearts of many.

Myers was with Africa Lift Incorporated – an international non  governmental organization based in Mzuzu conducting a two week long Culinary Field School in various locations and selected catering institutions in the city with an aim of teaching young entrepreneurs basics in the culinary field.

Sphiwe Gondwe, a restaurant owner who has attended two of Myers’ field lessons at Immaculate Lodge and another at Green shop said the two days she participated in the lessons helped to completely change her attitude towards the culinary field.

“Before I attended culinary lessons I never thought that I could diversify my cooking skills in order to expand my business opportunities.

“However, now I know that I don’t need to worry about competition but rather I should just concentrate on making my cooking more appealing to my customers,” Rose Cross Mahorya, a government reporter quoted her as saying.

Kondwani Nali, a visual artist in the city is also one of the many youthful entrepreneurs who got positive inspiration from Myers.

“Just by looking at how he uses artistic impressions to display his food, I realized that I could do the same with my artistic skills.

“I felt challenged when I saw him using the same local products that we have to make impressions that wow people,” he said.

In his words, the Caribbean born chef said that culinary field requires one to be poised and know what exactly the want to achieve because their preparations are consumed by people who need to be protected at all cost.

“As a chef, my first emphasis is on cleanliness and there after choice of food products to be used in my cooking and creations.

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“This is because one may prepare a mouthwatering dish using the best ingredients out there, but if the dish causes harm to the consumer, you have failed your job as cook,” he said.

Myers who owns a catering institution –Success Catering Incorporated – in the US encouraged the young entrepreneurs to be innovative in their cooking and think of new artistic presentations each time they prepare a meal.

“I may have gone to college to study some culinary basics, but no one taught me how to make these artistic impressions. They are all derived from my mental,” he said.

Among other lessons which were open to the public, Myers taught different knife handling skills, types of cuts and sculpting of fruits and other food products into artistic presentations.

 Chef Melvin Myers- has inspired young entrepreneurs to think creatively

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September -Tourism month in Malawi

Malawi will join fellow United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) member states in commemorating World Tourism Day which falls on September 27 every year under the theme “Tourism for all – promoting universal accessibility”.

All Member states and destinations are being urged to promote accessibility to tourist facilities, attractions and services, transportation systems, information and communication channels for all including people with disabilities, children and the elderly.

Actually, Malawi designated the whole month of September as Tourism month. Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Cliff Chiunda officially launched this year’s tourism month in Mchinji district in the central region of the southern African nation on September 1 but the climax will be commemorating of World Tourism Day with various activities at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in capital city, Lilongwe.

Tourism Chief Director, Elsie Tembo says in a press release that the objective of commemorating the World Tourism Day and Month is to create awareness to the general public about tourism makes to the socio-economic development of the country and also discuss available opportunities and challenges facing the tourism sector.

A number of tourism related activities have been planned during observance of tourism month and some of the activities include local and international musical events, street carnivals and cultural festivals spiced up with traditional dances in various places as well as the famous Lake of Stars Arts Festival at Chintheche in northern region lakeshore district of Nkhata Bay from September 30 to October 2, 2016.

Meanwhile, travellers to Likoma and Chizumulu Islands on Lake Malawi can now board the MV IIala which has resumed operations after she was withdrawn to undergo routine maintenance about a month ago. In her absence people travelled using MV Chilembwe, MV Chambo and smaller boats like MV Lamani and MV Malungo. MV Chilembwe has since been withdrawn for maintenance after hitting a rock on its way to Likoma recently.

MV ILALA AT NKHATA BAY IN LAKE MALAWI

The  MV Ilala

The resumption of operations of MV Ilala is good news to people of Likoma and fun   lovers   who are gearing up for Likoma Festival, Malawi’s only Island festival from October 14 to October 17.

Likoma Festival includes a ship cruise from Monkey Bay to Likoma and from Nkhata Bay to the Island. The MV Ilala which was commissioned in 1951 is the most preferred vessel for the big event which will, among other interesting things, enable visitors sample traditional dances and tour various places including the gigantic St. Peter’s Cathedral of the Anglican Church.

Likoma Festival Ad

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Memories of my visit to the USA

Sitting here, watching Travel television channel in the veranda of my house in the city of Mzuzu in the northern region of Malawi, memories come to me of two years ago today – to be specific 30th July, 2014 – when I arrived in United States of America to cover the US – Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC.

Almost all African leaders attended the summit which US President Barack Obama hosted from 4 to 6 August. The summit which strengthened ties between US and Africa focused on trade, investment and security of African continent. Wow! I was there as one of media crew from Malawi and I just feel honoured that I was among thousands of reporters worldwide covering such a historic event.

It was a memorable trip right after boarding the Ethiopian Airlines from Lilongwe International Airport here in the southern African nation to Addis Ababa in the Ethiopian capital and from there all the way to Dulles Airport in Washington DC.

Together with my colleagues, we enjoyed our stay at Silver Spring, Maryland and really enjoyed Metrorail rides to places like Columbia Heights, Chinatown and Virginia as well as site seeing various places in the streets of Georgetown. I also vividly remember how good it felt crossing the Potomac River.

This was my second visit to the USA. My first trip to the America was in June 2011 and that time my Metrorail rides could start from Shady Grove between Rockville and Gaithersburg all the way to Foggy Bottom – GWU in Georgetown up to Rosslyn in northern Virginia.

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One thing that fascinated me in this great nation is that senior citizens 65 years and older, people with disabilities and customers with a Medicare card ride for half the regular fare. They used a senior or disabled fare card or SmartTrip card on rail or a senior/disabled bus pass loaded on their SmartTrip card on Metro bus. Some just showed their Metro Disability ID or valid Medicare card and a photo ID to pay half the fare.

I am just down the memory lane as I watch my favourite Travel channel on television back in my beautiful country – Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa.

 

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Making northern Malawi alive

After travelling six hours in a packed country commuter bus from Lilongwe Bus terminal in the capital city, all the way to Mzimba and then passing through the winding road inside the Chikangawa Forest, John Kapauka finally reaches Mzuzu, a small city in the northern part of Malawi which at one time was sarcastically called the ‘dead north.’

Malawi’s northern region was scornfully labeled the dead north because of lack of meaningful development despite the part of southern African state being endowed with evergreen forests, wildlife reserves and scenic beaches along the shores of fresh waters of Lake Malawi stretching from Karonga passing through the districts of Rumphi, Nkhata Bay and Likoma Island in the region, then Nkhotakota and Salima districts in the central region all the way to Mangochi district in the southern region.

As he reaches Mzuzu, Kapauka is fascinated by the sparkling silver and blue colours of the Reserve Bank of Malawi branch and cannot help staring a picturesque piece of infrastructure development brought to the northern region in the recent years.

Standing tall, about a kilometre to and from Mzuzu Central Business District (CBD) the five storey building has added beauty to the city which for many years lacked a glimpse of such magnitude.

 

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Reserve Bank of Malawi – Mzuzu Branch. Pic by Frank Nkonde Majaliwa

Even the Malawi leader, President Arthur Peter Mutharika – APM as he is fondly called – agrees that the Mzuzu branch of the Reserve Bank of Malawi has really decorated the green city and wonders how honourable would the city look like if there were at least 10 of such buildings.

He says central bank branch building has transformed the scenery of Mzuzu as the city deserves magnificent buildings just like the ones found in Lilongwe in the centre and the commercial city of Blantyre in the south.

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Beautiful scenery created

President Mutharika says construction of the central bank branch in Mzuzu tells that Malawi is moving forward and that economic development is spreading in all the regions of the country.

“We all know that we cannot build a bank where nothing economic is happening. It is because there is growing economic activities in this region that we can now have a branch of the reserve bank,” APM said during the official opening of the facility recently.

Construction of the branch started in 2010, during the reign of President Bingu wa Mutharika, when the Reserve Bank of Malawi noticed tremendous increase in economic activities in Mzuzu and the entire northern region.

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Reserve Bank of Malawi branch decorating Mzuzu City.  By Frank Nkonde Majaliwa

Sadly, Bingu wa Mutharika who laid the foundation stone died while in office in April 2012 leaving the mantle to his estranged vice Joyce Banda but four years down the line, brother to Bingu wa Mutharika, APM, officially opened the branch.

Perhaps, it is for this reason that APM says the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which he leads and helped to bounce back to power in 2014 is development conscious and he will carry on with DPP development agenda.

“You have heard in the past some people calling the northern region, dead north. I say with my government’s development agenda, the north is very much alive,” he says.

Infrastructure development has been the trademark of the DPP administration, no wonder President Mutharika refuses to call northern Malawi –the dead north.

As he returns to Lilongwe, this time in a luxury coach that takes him about four hours, Kapauka learns that construction of Njakwa Road is underway to ease mobility for travellers to historically important but hard to reach Livingstonia Mission in Rumphi. The construction project seeks to upgrade the 100 kilometre Njakwa – Livingstonia – Chitimba earth road to bitumen standard. Plans are also at very advanced stage for reconstruction of the busy road from Mzuzu to the lake in Nkhata Bay to start.

He also learns that technical bottle necks that stalled construction of the road from Jenda to Edingeni which potentially will increase border trade between Malawians in Mzimba and Zambians at Lundazi in eastern province had been sorted out and second phase of road construction will soon begin.

Looking at facilities like the Reserve Bank of Malawi branch and other projects on the cards including the upgrading of Mzuzu Airport as well as the current bituminizing of all city roads, one can only agree that the northern region is not dead but very much alive.

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Malawi’s largest elephants translocation

Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife in partnership with the African Parks recently started trans-location of 500 elephants from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve in the southern region to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in the central region of the Southern African nation.

The trans-location exercise earmarking the 500 elephants from Liwonde in Machinga district and Majete in Chikhwawa district started on July 3, 2016 and by third week of the month, a total of 160 elephants were moved to Nkhotakota wildlife Reserve in Nkhotakota, a development that is expected to bring more tourists to the wildlife reserve who will also enjoy the scenic beaches of Lake Malawi in the lake shore district.

African Parks, a private sector player which is in Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Malawi Government says the trans-location of elephants to Nkhotakota is going on smoothly.

The elephants are successfully being captured from Liwonde then transported safely about 450 kilometres by road and released into Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in an exercise which the African Parks told The Nation newspaper is one of the world’s largest and most significant elephant trans-locations.

At least 250 elephants will be moved by end of August this year and another 250 elephants will be moved to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve next year.

African Parks Country Director, Patricio Ndadzela told Malawi News Agency (MANA) the trans-location exercise seeks to relieve pressure from the elephants surplus in Liwonde and Majete and restock Nkhotakota which over 20 years ago had a population of more than 1,500 elephants but recently had less than 100.

“In addition to these elephants, thousands of other animals including the sable, eland, waterbucks, zebras, kudus, and warthogs are being trans-located,” says Ndadzela.

The African Parks manages Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve in partnership with Malawi Government’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife.

Malawi is endowed with a lot of tourist attractions which also include the Nyika National Park, Vwaza Wildlife Reserve and Mzuzu Nature Sanctuary in the north, Kasungu National Park and Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary in the centre, Lengwe National Park, Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve in the south, beautiful mountains like the famous Mulanje Mountain also in the south, Nyika Plateau in the north, Zomba Plateau in the south  and big rivers.

The country also has a  large fresh water body of Lake Malawi stretching from the north to the south and has an aquatic life national park at Cape Maclear in the south, a host of historical places like the gigantic St. Peter’s Cathedral of Anglican Church on Likoma Island in the north and of course its friendly people with diverse but rich cultural backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

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5 Reasons Why Experiences Make You Happier Than Possessions… — seagirll

Ask anyone what their ultimate goal in life is and most people will tell you they want to be happy. Happiness is something we all strive to find. We believe that we will only be happy once we achieve certain things like buying the perfect house, getting married or making a load of money. For […]

via 5 Reasons Why Experiences Make You Happier Than Possessions… — seagirll

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Malawi burns 781 pieces of Ivory

In a  clear demonstration to the world that Malawi does not condone trade in ivory, the Southern African nation has burnt 781 pieces of ivory that were illegally brought into the country but intercepted at one of the check points mounted by the Malawi Revenue Authority in Rumphi, the northern region of the country in 2013.

Malawi Government impounded the elephant tasks from two Kaunda brothers, Patrick and Chancy, as they tried to beat security checks and transport the elephant tasks from neighbouring Tanzania but using Malawi as a transit for the illegal trade. Mzuzu High Court, also in the northern part of the country, convicted culprits and as such the Kaunda brothers were fined K5 million (about $ 7,000) otherwise they should have spent seven years in prison. The court ordered that the ivory should be burned.

However, burning of the elephant tasks was delayed because in September last year, the Tanzanian Government obtained a last minute court order to extend the period to burn the tasks to allow the Eastern African country law enforcers  use the  impounded ivory as part of evidence in similar offences which were in court. Actually, Tanzania wanted the ivory back to the country for that purpose but it was not granted.

On March 2 this year, High Court in Mzuzu made an order directing Government of Malawi to burn the ivory on March 14 at 09.00 hours and government complied by burning the 781 pieces of ivory whose DNA tests showed that the elephants killed were Tanzania and Mozambique.

The burning of the illegal commodity was conducted at Mzuzu Nature Sanctuary in presence of officers from the Malawi Police, the court, Parks and Wildlife, the international observers’ as well local and foreign journalists.

Parks and Wildlife Director, Brighton Kumchedwa told Salome Gangire of Malawi News Agency at the ceremony that burning the ivory signals government’s commitment to deal with the illegal trade of ivory.

As usual, some people questioned the government’s rationale of destroying the impounded ivory instead of selling elsewhere and use the proceeds for national development.

“To be honest with you, this ivory cannot be sold anywhere because there is (international) law that bars the trading of ivory, unless someone goes underground to do black market. Malawi cannot go out on black market to do such illegal business,” he was quoted as saying.

Malawi is a signatory of the convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna which prohibits ivory trade at any level.

Pile of impounded Ivory burning as armed Parks and Wildlife Guards watch closely.Pic by Yohane Chideya

A pile of ivory  set ablaze in Malawi

A pile of impounded ivory pieces burning in Malawi. Pic by Yohane Chideya

Parks and Wildlife officials burn impounded ivory pieces in Malawi. Pic by Yohane Chideya

Loud and clear. No illegal trade as Malawi Government burns impounded ivory. Pic by Yohane Chideya

781 pieces of impounded Ivory burnt in Malawi

A Parks and Wildlife Official setting ablaze a pile of ivory in Malawi. Pic by Yohane Chideya

Loud and clear. No trade in ivory in Malawi

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Strong winds sink Nkhata Bay Jetty in Malawi

Strong north easterly winds on Lake Malawi forced a jetty in Nkhata Bay, Malawi’s popular lake shore tourists’ destination in the northern region, to sink mid January this year but Malawi government through the Ministry of Works says it will re-float the jetty’s pontoon that had its chains broken due to the strong winds.

Following the incident, a team of officials from Malawi Shipping Company, who are the concessionaires of the Nkhata Bay port and the Marine Department, rushed to Nkhata Bay for preliminary investigations to determine what had happened and look at what should be done to correct the situation.

Nkhata Bay Jetty was constructed in 1957 and forms a very important port for passengers travelling on Lake Malawi from Likoma and Chizumulu Islands as well as some parts of Malawi, the peaceful Southern African state also known as the Warm Heart of Africa. For the meantime, ships docking in Nkhata Bay use motor boats to ferry passengers ashore as well as when boarding the ship.

The MV Ilala at Nkhata Bay Jetty before the jetty sunk

MV Ilala at Nkhata Bay Jetty in September last year. Pic by Frank Nkonde Majaliwa

Sunk Nkhata Bay Jetty. Pic by Wisdom Ngwira

Sunk Nkhata Bay Jetty. Picture by Wisdom Ngwira

Sunken Nkhata Bay Jetty. Pic by Wisdom Ngwira

Nkhata Bay jetty sunk by strong north easterly winds. Pic by Wisdom Ngwira

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