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Malawi court jails Angolan cocaine dealer to five years imprisonment

LILONGWE Malawi (Xinhua) -- A magistrate court in Lilongwe, Malawi, Thursday sentenced 44-year-old Angolan, Joad Matateu Manuel, to five years imprisonment with hard labor for attempting to smuggle cocaine through Kamuzu International Airport, KIA.

Police Spokesperson for KIA, Sgt. Sapulain Chitonde, said in a statement made available to Xinhua that Manuel, who hails from Luanda in Angola, was arrested on August 30 at KIA when he was about to board Kenya Airways en-route to Nairobi.

Upon search of his travelling bags Manuel was found with male condoms containing a liquid which, when examined by the country’s National Quality Control Laboratory, was confirmed to be cocaine weighing 2.1 kg.

Manuel pleaded guilty before court, according to the police spokesperson, hence the five-year jail term sentence.

“The State, through Deputy Director of Prosecution, asked the court to pass an immediate custodial sentence of not less than five years considering that drug traffickers are people with money and a fine would mean nothing to the convict,” said Chitonde.

He continued: “The state further stressed in the court that Malawi government would never allow to be used as a transit country for dangerous drug dealers and that the Angolan sentence should send warning shots to any would-be-offenders.”

Manuel through his lawyers, pleaded for a suspended sentence saying he could not understand any language apart from Portuguese and that he suffers from hypertension and custodial sentence would do more harm to him.

But the state said Malawi prisons were already keeping convicts with language barriers like Manuel and that the Angolan case would not be unusual.

On health services, the state said there was fully fledged health facility at Maula Prison where the Angolan would be confined to serve his jail term and that the facility would take care of Manuel’s hypertension problem.

The drug was forfeited and destroyed right at the court, according to the police spokesperson, and after serving his sentence, the convict will be deported to his country and he will also be declared a prohibited immigrant in line with section 4 of the Immigration Act. 



Malawi women’s rights activists march against gender-based violence

LILONGWE Malawi (Xinhua) -- Civil Society Organisations and human rights defenders in Malawi Thursday took to the streets of the capital Lilongwe to demonstrate against increasing cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women.

The country has, for the month of August alone, experienced an increased number of Gender Based Violence against women, two of which claimed lives while several others resulted into life threatening injuries.

The parade was led by the country’s Chairperson of Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, Jessie Kabwira, who lashed at the GBV perpetrators, branding them cowards.

She said: “This demonstration is our disapproval against the barbaric acts of gender based violence against women which are perpetrated by cowards who fear successful and independent women, and in turn resort to physical violence against them.”

A petition which the activists presented to the country’s Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has among others, demanded that the country’s Head of State issue a statement condemning the increased cases of the gender based violence.

“As concerned citizens, we are in deep shock with the recent death of a young woman; late Miriam Siula, who was murdered by her ex-partner,” reads part of the petition.

The petition was received by Deputy Minister for the country’s Gender Ministry, Clement Mkumbwa, who promised to take it to the relevant authorities for necessary action.

Also present during the presentation of the petition was Speaker of Malawi’s Parliament who urged the country’s men to respect women’s rights.

He also called for inclusive efforts between the country’s citizens and stakeholders in addressing the issues of Gender Based Violence.

During the march, the activists were also joined by the country’s Resident Coordinator for the United Nations, Mia Seppo.


Malawi tribe bemoans lost glory of cattle rearing

By Gloria Nazombe LUSAKA  (Xinhua) -- Rearing cattle amongst the Ngoni people in Malawi, once a pride custom, is prone to extinction.

As per custom, a Ngoni man’s riches and power is determined by how many cattle he has unlike other tribes and culture where houses, money and cars are the determinants of success.

According to the tradition which dates back from the 19th century, the Ngoni people always brought home cattle from every tribe they conquered. It is believed that they are warriors and the cattle symbolized their power.

Inkosi ya Makosi (King of kings) Mbelwa IV is one of the dignified Ngoni chiefs from Malawi.

“Milk and meat is a symbol of prosperity. Cattle provide the best and large quantity of milk and meat. Therefore, if one has cattle and a number of them for that matter it only implies one thing, the man is filthy rich,” the traditional leader said.

According to him, an Ngoni man with a head of cattle signifies what a great warrior he is and that it is easy for such a man to attract women.

According to Ngoni tradition, during coronation, the would-be-chief is anointed with a bull’s bile on his forefront, a move that symbolizes power descending to his whole body from the ancestors.

The same is done when he dies and it shows that the spirit is still powerful and will also be transferred to the next king.

According to one Ngoni woman, Mandlase Jere from Edingeni in Mzimba district, an area where the Ngoni people are highly concentrated, Ngoni women like powerful men. “Any man who brought cattle home from war gave us hope for our safety. So we flock to such a man,” Jere said.

She added that it was a source of pride for women when their men give cattle as dowry to the woman’s family unlike other cultures where a woman is exchanged with a chicken. She says this shows how significant and worthy an Ngoni woman is.

However, over the years, the custom has gradually degraded.

“Indeed many Ngonis nowadays don’t have kraals in their homes especially in town except for the chief. This is because most of them have realized that money could buy a cow within the shortest time especially in this civilized era,” said Ndabazake Aupson Thole, the tribe’s historian.

“However you will notice that at any big Ngoni function, a cow is slaughtered and we continue to bury our chiefs in a cattle skin and cover any Ngoni’s coffin in the grave with a cattle skin. This means that our cattle are hidden in a monetary form,” he added.

Meanwhile, Thole has said that due to the seemingly extinction of the cattle rearing custom which has mainly been caused by lack of land for grazing, an alternative solution to revamp the culture is yet to be implemented.

“Cattle rearing is a serious business and it needs dedication. It needs herd boys, most of whom are now in school,” he said.

The other reason is that there is no grazing spaces in town where most of the Ngoni people have settled.

But he noted that plans are underway to improve the system of keeping cattle through paddock grazing.

“This will increase our cattle rearing again,” Thole said.

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