Africa: Your Majesty, Stop Marrying!

Several Malawian journalists joined many others in attending a three-day Highway Africa conference at Rhodes University in South Africa under the theme Citizen Journalism: Journalism for Citizens. The conference which is the largest annual gathering of African journalists (over 700 in attendance) focuses on new media issues and is also the forum for critical reflection on journalism, media and technology and a celebration of Africa.

Edna Bvalani gives an update about the conference and says that the conference which is the 12th since 1996 is an important one for the African continent:

In this digital era, a journalist need to be more equipped on how to gather and disseminate information as quickly as possible. Hence, it is important to realise that media is a vital tool of information in any democratic, intellectual, cultural, economic and social development of our societies.

During the conference, there was a generous mention of Global Voices as one of citizen media initiatives helping put amplify the voices of the citizens throughout the world.

This author, Victor Kaonga, blogging on Ndagha attended the conference and simply gives it a mention on his blog.

However, his earlier blog post reflects on how Malawi Government is unlikely to connect rural communities to the information highway. His post titled Will Malawi Connect Rural Communities? comes in the wake of a Commonwealth Telecommunication Union sponsored three-day high-level international conference that took place in Malawi. The conference was Africa's biggest ICT forum focusing on Last Mile Solutions for connecting rural communities. However, the author argues that Malawi government does not have adequate telecommunication infrastructure, ICT policies and a supportive financial environment towards connecting not only rural areas but also urban areas.

As the situation is today, the country is a laughing stock as our connectivity is not adequate, hence majority of the country is not benefiting from the modern information and communication technologies thereby still remaining on that side of the digital divide. If the government is to realise the dream of connecting rural areas in Malawi, more commitments and urgency on several issues may help to make the rural connectivity a reality. Otherwise it remains a dream.

Air Malawi should go

An economist and new blogger Watipaso Mkandawire looks at the debate surrounding the selling of Malawi flag carrier Air Malawi, which is said to be in serious financial waters. After giving a range of recent examples of countries that have privatised their national airlines, Mkandawire who has worked for a while on investment issues for Malawi responds to the proposal on privatizing the airline:

I see arguments of those that want to keep the “national asset” as trying to keep 100% of 0 instead of keeping say, 49% or 10% of 100. Air Malawi is technically bankrupt and keeping it as is, is basically betraying tax-payers in Malawi who require these resources for better use (health, education etc). Zambia has no national airline, but its airports are busier than those in Malawi. The private carrier currently operating has grown by the day…..Should Air Malawi be liquidated and a new joint venture established with COMAIR? I will go for it. What do you think?

Malawian advises King Mswati of Swaziland

Regular blogger and journalist Kondwani Munthali writes about the recent 40th national independence day of Swaziland which was attended by Malawi's president Bingu wa Mutharika. In a post titled, Celebrating Poverty: The Moral Story of Swaziland, Munthali implores African leaders to extend advice to King Mswati to stop marrying.

I wish one of our leaders told the King that its time he stopped marrying as many as he wants, it doesnt help with the current Aids epidemic and the image of a nation trying to grapple with modernity and traditional.
There is a sentence that “only the King can change tradition”-I believe His Majesty the King of Swaziland has a capacity to promote the beautiful Swazi culture with real freedoms and public expenditures that show that the King cares. The King is supposed to look after his people first not his many wives!

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