Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
The bill means that when the holders of the two posts retire, they will be entitled to benefits that include 80 percent of their salaries, chauffer-driven government vehicles, bodyguards, free medical treatment, electricity, telephone and water, as well as several other benefits.
The Prime Minister’s wife will be entitled to 70 percent of her salary with other benefits that include diplomatic passport and free medical treatment amongst others.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s wife will be subjected to the same benefits like medical treatment and diplomatic passport, but will have to wait for her husband to die in order to inherit his pension money.
In his speech, the Minister in the Ministry of Public Service, Semano Sekatle said the Bill is a noble move intended to honour and honour both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister for their services during their tenure of office.
”When people are provided with enough incentives to live better lives, this will contribute towards promotion of peace and stability in the country… just like in big countries like Tunisia and Egypt,” he said.
The minister noted that the government is thinking in terms of proposing similar bills for civil servants and area chiefs whom he said get meagre salaries.
However, some members of the house expressed their dissatisfaction over the bill, saying the country is faced with challenges like poverty and hunger and over and above that, the current financial crisis does not allow those in power to make decisions of this nature."
"When people are provided with enough incentives to live better lives, this will contribute towards promotion of peace and stability in the country… just like in big countries like Tunisia and Egypt" -- what brilliant civil servant managed to get that in?!
Also: how do benefits coming towards the end of one's job impact on performance?
Also: does this feel like a threat?
"The amendment to the penal code amendment bill of 2009 has been assented to. It was one of the 46 bills the president okayed," a senior parliamentary official told AFP.
The new law gives powers to the information minister to ban a publication if he has "reasonable grounds to believe that the publication or importation of any publication would be contrary to the public interest."
The head of a local media watchdog criticised the Mutharika administration for signing off on the bill.
"The media in Malawi is under siege and the hard-won democracy under extreme threat," Anthony Kasunda, chair of the Malawi chapter of the watchdog group Media Institute of Southern Africa, told AFP.
He said the law could be "construed as a strategic move by government to deliberately target publications that are critical of the Mutharika administration."
Mutharika, who often accuses local independent newspapers of negative reporting about Malawi, last year threatened to shut down papers he accused of lying when they reported that up to one million people would need food aid.
Malawi in 1995 adopted a new constitution with a bill of rights that guarantees the freedom of the press, after decades of oppressive rule under dictator Kamuzu Banda during which miniskirts and long hair for men were outlawed.