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By-elections unofficial results: MCP shines again, UTM comes out empty-handed – The Maravi Post

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Overstone Kondowe

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Battle for supremacy in Tonse Alliance has ended in tears for UTM supporters as the party, under the leadership of the country’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima, has failed to secure a seat in the by-elections held yesterday.

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) conducted by-elections in Nkhotakota North East constituency whose Member of Parliament (MP) Martha Chanjo Lunji of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) died on July 13, 2021;  Dedza  Central East constituency formerly held by governing Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP late Mcsteyn Swithini Mkomba who died on July 27, 2021; and in Mzimba East constituency whose MP, Wezzie Gondwe, died on September 1, 2021.

MEC also conducted by-election in Chimwalire Ward in Balaka following the demise councilor Joseph Daniel.

Ahead of the elections, UTM and MCP appeared to be strong contenders and rivals on the podium as the two parties resorted to blame game in regards to the pinch felt by Malawians since Tonse Alliance took over the reins of power from DPP.

But according to unofficial results from all the centres, it is clear that UTM started without solid foundation as they have come out of the race empty handed.

On the other hand Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has secured two parliamentary seats thereby cementing its authority in the Tonse Alliance.

The opposition DPP, which has won the Chimwalire Ward,  has failed to retain the Nkhotakota North East constituency.

In Mzimba East Constituency unofficial results have shown that Alliance for Democracy (Aford) candidate Wachepa Phiri has won the seat. Phiri has won in a tight race with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Donnex Muva, with a difference of 18 votes between them.

Wachepa Phiri got 3633 while Muva has 3615 votes. Kumwenda (DPP) 149, Mnyenyembe (UTM) 1322, Rueben Ngwenya (Independent) 1521 and John Phiri (FP) 281

Meanwhile, District Commissioner for Mzimba, Emmanuel Bambe, has said the election was free, fair and credible. Bambe thanked political party leaders for peaceful campaign and voting process.

Overstone Kondowe of the MCP has won the Nkhotakota North East constituency. He has scooped 6729 votes in a race that was contested by nine candidates.  Aisha Silver of the Democratic Progressive Party came second with 1929 votes.

Zelita Banda, an independent candidate, is on third position with 726 votes while UTM candidate Chimwemwe Chidothe came at a distant fourth position with 472 votes.

Franklin Yonamu, an independent candidate, is sixth with 445 votes and Patrick Kampaliro of Aford secured 238 votes while Gift Mbuna, an independent candidate, collected 160votes.  Panji Chirambo of AlDD had 82 and Aleke Kamangeni came last with 47 votes.

Unofficial results for the by-elections that took place in Dedza Central East Constiency have shown that Malawi Congress Party candidate Joshua Malango has emerged winner. He got 6,246 votes while Solomon Kachitsa, an Independent candidate coming in second place, got 5,986 votes.

Other candidates got the following votes: Bonnex Malunga, Independent, 1859; Patrick Siwinda Independent, 1337; Loudon Malingamoyo, Independent 744; Elliot Kasawala, Democratic Progressive Party, 366 and Rogean Gondwe 194.

Total number of people who voted was 16,732 against the registered number of 29,630 voters.

Dedza District Commissioner Emmanuel Bulukutu said the voting was peaceful.

Unofficial results from all centres of Chimwalire Ward in Balaka South Constituency show that Osman Mapira of the Democratic Progressive Party has emerged winner as the next Councillor of the ward.

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Violence in Cameroon, impacting over 700,000 children shut out of school  – The Maravi Post

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Two out of three schools are closed in the North-West and South-West regions of the country. On 24 November, four children and one teacher were killed in an attack in Ekondo Titi, in the South-West. 

Lockdown 

A recent lockdown imposed by a non-State armed group, from 15 September to 2 October, limited access to basic services including health and education. 

Over 700,000 children have been impacted by school closures due to violence in northwest and southwest Cameroon., by © Education Cannot Wait/Daniel Beloumou

During the period, OCHA reported a series of attacks in the North-West. 

Eight students were kidnapped, and a girl’s fingers were chopped off after she tried to attend school. Five public school principals were also kidnapped, including one who was then killed. 

All schools and community learning spaces were closed, except for some schools in a few urban areas which operated at less than 60 per cent capacity. 

The lockdown and insecurity also forced UN agencies and aid organisations to temporarily suspend the delivery of aid. During that time, about 200,000 people did not receive food.  

Multiple crisis 

Nine out of ten regions of the country continue to be impacted by one of three humanitarian crises: the crisis in the North-West and South-West, conflict in the Far North, and a refugee crisis, with people fleeing the Central African Republic.  

Because of these combined crises, over one million children need urgent education support.  

To answer some of these needs, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the UN global fund for education in emergencies and crises, is working closely with UN agencies, the Norwegian Refugee Council and other civil society partners. 

ECW is contributing $25 million over three years and calling for other donors to fill the gap, which is estimated at $50 million. 

putting a schoolbag on your back shouldn’t make you a target

When fully funded, the programme will provide approximately 250,000 children and adolescents with access to safe and protective learning environments in the most-affected areas. 

Visit 

Just this week, the Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, and the Director of Education Cannot Wait, Yasmine Sherif, had a joint visit to the country. 

In a statement, Ms. Sherif said the situation “is among the most complex humanitarian crises in the world today.” 

“Children and youth are having to flee their homes and schools, are threatened with violence and kidnapping, and being forced into early childhood marriage and recruited into armed groups,” Ms. Sherif recalled. 

Jan Egeland argued that “putting a schoolbag on your back shouldn’t make you a target”, but unfortunately children in Cameroon “risk their lives every day just showing up for school.” 

“Cameroon’s education mega-emergency needs international attention, not deadly silence by the outside world,” Mr. Egeland declared.  

Sourced from United Nations Africa Pages

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Opinion: After Merkel’s exit, Germany must remain committed to Africa – The Maravi Post

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In August, at a meeting of the G-20 Compact with Africa in Berlin, I had the distinct pleasure of joining some 30 African heads of state and government, and fellow heads of international organizations, to bid farewell to outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Chancellor Merkel has been a dear and loyal friend of Africa.

I know that I am not the only public figure involved in furthering the continent’s development who will miss the truly productive interactions we have had with her.

The Compact with Africa, launched in 2017 under Germany’s presidency of the G-20, was a result of Merkel’s initiative. She has long taken a genuine interest in the continent and shown a keen desire for strong economic growth and development.

And I am confident that our collective efforts — homegrown and those from friends of Africa like her — will ultimately serve our continent well.

At the African Development Bank, we have felt Chancellor Merkel’s influence through Germany’s consistent contributions to the African Development Fund, the bank’s concessional lending window. The fund advances economic and social development in 38 least developed African countries for projects and programs, as well as technical assistance for studies and capacity building activities. Since 1973, as the third largest contributor, Germany has cumulatively made €4.2 billion ($4.7 billion) in contributions.

The chancellor’s confidence in the future of Africa is in sync with my own well-known optimism for our continent. One of the many areas where we both see eye-to-eye is in renewable energy investments. We agree 100% that expansion in renewables is critically important if we are to achieve our global climate targets and accomplish a key goal of the African Development Bank’s High 5 strategy to light up and power Africa.

Germany is a major contributor to the Africa Climate Change Fund, which supports African countries in building resilience to climate shocks and transitioning to sustainable low-carbon growth. Under Chancellor Merkel’s leadership, Germany has also supported the adoption of the African Renewable Energy Initiative, which is hosted at the African Development Bank.

Keeping COVID-19 under control is essential for Africa’s economic recovery and growth. Recognizing the inherent inequalities in global access to vaccines, Merkel has consistently called for an increase in production, a fairer system of distribution, and a shift towards building Africa’s own vaccine production capacities.

For Africa to thrive and grow, the drive to do so must come mainly from within Africa.

This much is without question.

Buoyed by the German leader’s enthusiasm for our continent, German companies are more active in Africa today than ever before, with considerable growth over the last few years. We have witnessed an uptick in German interest and participation at the Africa Investment Forum, an unprecedented marketplace that crowds in regional and global infrastructure investments. European and German participation at the 2021 Africa Investment Forum from Dec. 1 to 3, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, will be no exception.

This is thanks, in no small part, to the confidence that Merkel has helped inspire. From 2017 to 2019, German investments in Africa rose by roughly $1.84 billion. And while this is still a minute fraction — 1% — of the country’s global investments, it is a step in the right direction. With African countries continuing to make their investment environments increasingly attractive and transparent, I expect investment inflows to grow.

As Chancellor Merkel prepares to make a graceful exit from the political scene, I earnestly look forward to strengthening the partnership between Germany, Africa, and the African Development Bank.

Germany should support expanded investments by the private sector from the G-20 in Africa through the Compact with Africa and the Africa Investment Forum, supported by the African Development Bank.

We similarly expect Germany’s continued support for the bank’s drive to optimize its capital base with the inclusion of hybrid capital. Such investments will help accelerate much needed development and bridge the continent’s almost $100 billion a year infrastructure investment gap.

Germany can further help with political support for the reallocation of International Monetary Fund-issued Special Drawing Rights to multilateral development banks, including the African Development Bank, which is a prescribed holder of SDRs and can leverage any allocated SDRs by 3 to 4 times. Such allocations would also be complementary to the IMF’s support for the microeconomic stability of countries.

The bank needs further support in its efforts to leverage the balance sheet of the African Development Fund — the bank’s concessional finance window for low-income countries — by accessing capital markets, boosting resources for countries, leveraging resources, and ensuring value for money for its donor countries.

Lastly, support from Germany and G-7 countries for the bank’s Just Energy Transition Facility can help African countries accelerate their transitions to renewable energy sources.

What a resurgent Africa needs today are productive and mutually beneficial partnerships. In this regard, Chancellor Angela Merkel has been one of our most ardent champions.

We bid her farewell with a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude. And I am confident that our collective efforts — homegrown and those from friends of Africa like her — will ultimately serve our continent well.

This Op-Ed was previously published on the Devex Global Views page on November 29. Click here for original version.
Source African Development Bank Group

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Funding Education: A Case Of No Money Or No Interest? By Olabisi Deji-Folutile – The Maravi Post

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When American billionaire and businessman, Bill Gates, criticised the Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan for “prioritising physical capital over human capital” during his visit to the country in 2018, his comments were taken with a pinch of salt. Gates had faulted the Federal Government’s decision to anchor Nigeria’s long term economic growth on investments in infrastructure, saying investments in people must go hand-in-hand. To him, “people without roads, ports and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy.” Logical, isn’t it?

The co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had advised the Nigerian government to focus more on human capital development to save the horde of the youth population facing poverty and other social malaise. But instead of taking this advice in good faith, the federal government went on the defensive. We probably know better now that bandits and other criminal elements prevent people from moving freely on many popular Nigerian roads. After all, we all see pictures of road users abandoning their cars on highways due to kidnappers’ attacks.  Just a few days back, Kaduna-Abuja bound passengers were forced off the road as bandits took over the highway, kidnapping dozens of passengers

Gates  had also advised Nigeria to channel more investment towards health, family planning and education as a means of human development to alleviate poverty on the continent. According to him, Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth, with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad. 

Sadly, we haven’t seen much difference in the level of attention given to human capital development in Nigeria since Bill Gates offered his unsolicited advice.  If there is anything, the level of poverty has deepened; more Nigerian children are now out of school with the number of youth engaging in banditry, kidnapping and all sorts of crimes increasing daily. While the Nigerian government put the figure of out of school children at 6.9million as of January 2021, an analytical statistics organisation, SBMorgan Intelligence, says the figure as of August 2021 stood at 12,320,529. According to the body, Bauchi State had the highest number with 1,239,759 out-of-school children, followed by Kastina with 873,633 and Kano with 837,479. It further stated that Edo State had the lowest number with 79,446.

 In the South-West, the report said Oyo State had the highest with 463,280, Osun State 260,222 and Lagos State 229,264. In the South-South, Rivers State has the highest number of 196,581 and in the South-East; Ebonyi State has the highest with 151,000. The analytical body clarified that it didn’t manufacture these figures, stating that it got them from the Federal Ministry of Education. The truth is Nigerians know who to believe between the analytical body and the Federal Government. They see the army of kid beggars and child labourers on their streets. They see the child criminals among bandits and Boko Haram insurgents not to mention the ones involved in ritual killings, cultism, etc. They know that the population of these kid criminals are increasing – a proof that the number of out of school children is increasing. So, the Federal Government can continue to downplay the problem, but Nigerians are not deceived. 



Just last week, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, warned that the dreadful Boko Haram insurgents will soon target out-of-school children and recruit them as fighters. He said the solution to security and poverty should start from education. Addressing participants at the presidential youth mentorship retreat held at his Presidential Library, he blamed security challenges in the country for the increasing rate of out-of-school children. According to him, “A situation today where we have 14 million children that should be in school that are not in school, does anybody need to be an oracle to say that 10 years or 15 years from now, those will be where you will recruit pure Boko Haram.” 

Well, it’s a vicious circle.  Nigeria is already reaping the reward of what was sown in the past years. The kids have already been recruited as bandits and fighters. Perhaps, what the ex-President meant was that the situation would grow worse which in any case is a no-brainer. As far back as January, 2020, I wrote an article  titled, ‘On Masari and child bandits in Katsina forest.’ As of that time, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State painted a vivid picture of the horrors locked in the Northern forest, where anyone could get hundreds of armed men almost for free.  He said that the children abandoned in the forest across the north were coming back to fight the society as bandits. He didn’t stop there. He warned that unless the education of children in this region was addressed, the situation might become worse. 

In the governor’s words: “We have problems now with the forest people because they have no education of any kind. They do not have Islamic education and they do not have western education because they have been abandoned in the forest and forgotten. So these are the kind of children who have come up today, fighting us, fighting the society…. since the children are not educated, they only know one pleasure-the pleasure of the flesh, so they keep on producing children in large numbers.’’  The governor rightly analysed the problem.  But, what has he done to reverse the trend in his state? It’s amazing how our leaders are good at analysing our problems without corresponding action in proffering solutions. Otherwise, Katsina shouldn’t today be listed as the state with the second highest number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.   

In September 2019, I had written an article on ‘Nigeria breeding children of anger every day, where I emphasised that as long as the law of sowing and reaping subsisted, what we were currently witnessing in the country today in terms of security challenges would be child’s play when compared with what would happen in future if we continued to ignore these children’s education. Although our leaders may hate to hear this, we can’t help but make it clear to them that investment in human capital is vital to building a successful economy.

That is why smart countries make deliberate and intentional investments into their educational sector. Nigeria has many examples to follow across the world. So, this is not a case of anyone reinventing the wheel. Sweden spends $ 11, 400 per student from primary to tertiary education and devotes 7.3% of its GDP to education. This funding goes to both public and private educational institutions. No wonder the country enjoys 81.5% employment rate for all levels of education. In the same vein, South Africa spent R246 billion or 16.7 per cent of total government resources on basic education programmes in 2018/19. Overall, the country spends more than 20 per cent of its resources on basic and higher education and its combined education spending is more than 6 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

Now, we come to the crux of the matter.  I know some people will argue that comparing Nigeria with Sweden is like comparing an orange with an apple. I agree. Nigeria is lagging far behind the developed nations in terms of resources committed to education. But I have also come to realise that the situation in our country is not as bad as the picture being painted. As I pointed out some weeks back, Nigeria currently imposes a two per cent education tax on the profit of all registered companies operating in Nigeria which goes into funding education at the tertiary level. How are we spending this huge money? It is very easy to jump on the bandwagon and regurgitate the common narrative that our education sector is in a mess because government is not committing enough resources into the sector and conveniently overlook how we are managing what is available.  It is high time we began to ask questions as regards what we do with the resources allocated to the education of Nigerian children!

Let’s take a look at our basic education for example. The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme was introduced in 1999 to provide greater access to quality basic education throughout the country. The Federal Government sets aside two per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for equal distribution to all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to support basic education.

This is how it works. The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) provides a sum of N500million to each state per annum to improve infrastructure at the basic education level. But, to access this fund, states are expected to provide a counterpart funding of N500million.  The assumption is that there would be at least a minimum of N1bn intervention fund to every state per annum to improve on their basic education. The money is strictly for basic education, so projects are monitored to ensure they are in line with the objectives of the programme. Imagine what would have happened if our states have been investing this money in basic education in the last 22 years!  One would have expected the state governments to grab this opportunity.  But that has not been the case. Rather, UBEC has always been the one pleading with them to come and access their money. 

As at March 2021, UBEC said about N41.06 billion matching grant was still with the commission because the states and the FCT failed to access the fund.  According to its Executive Secretary, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, only 30 states and the FCT implemented the 2018 (matching grant projects).  Six states namely; Anambra, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Ogun, and Plateau are yet to implement.  For 2019, only eight states implemented the matching grants projects, 28 states and FCT are yet to implement. In 2020, no state implemented the matching grants projects. As we speak Ogun State is yet to access its 2018 allocations. Likewise, Niger, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and Edo states are yet to provide matching grants for 2019. 

The governors are more interested in how they can be collecting the money without providing the necessary counterpart funding. Yet, these are states contending with serious issues of decay in their primary and junior schools.  Clearly this is not a case of lack of fund but that of misplaced priorities. The governors would have accessed the money if there was no law forcing them to spend it on education. Since they are not allowed to spend the money as they like, they don’t mind leaving it with the Federal Government. The money as it were is useless to them. Should this be the case if we are truly serious about our education sector? 

UNICEF worked hard towards mopping out over 500,000 out-of school children in four northern states namely Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states in its 2020 Educate a Child (EAC) programme.  It paid to educate 31,000 pupils in Kebbi State alone where parents got N8, 000 on each child per term to encourage them to be in school. These world bodies are making these investments in our country because they know that for the world to enjoy peace, the army of burgeoning out-of-school children in Nigeria must be minimised. If not, these children will grow to become a terror to the whole world. 

Meanwhile our state governors are foot-dragging in accessing available funds that will not only make a difference in the lives of millions of children, but guarantee a better future for all.  My conclusion is that the problem with Nigeria’s education sector goes beyond lack of money; it is simply a case of lack of interest in the sector by the political elite!

Olabisi Deji-Folutile (PhD) is the editor in chief, Franktalknow.com and member, Nigerian Guild of Editors. Email [email protected]

Source saharareporters

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