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Malawi now becomes the 22nd sub-Saharan country to abolish the death penalty as a Supreme Court sitting in the country ruled death penalty as unconstitutional.

A hangman’s noose on black background. Rope, black, hangman, despair, failure, noose, execution, crime, suicide, punishment, death

The court explained that the death penalty was against international human rights standards. Which in turn means that a life sentence will be the highest punishment in Malawi.

The Malawi Human Rights Commission described the ruling as progress. The ruling noted there had been no executions in the country since 1975.

However, Malawian social justice advocate Alexious Kamangila stated that the death sentence did not necessarily deter criminal activities, adding that other forms of punishment were good enough.

“The death penalty targets the poorest in Malawi and other places – those who cannot afford proper legal representation are the ones who are more likely to face death penalty,” he said.

The Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) has given a seven day notice for a strike following the government decision to make a u-turn on teachers covid-19 risk allowances payment promise.

Parents and guardians want swift government intervention to avert another strike in public schools.

TUM is threatening to resume its strike which was suspended two weeks ago following the decision by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 to reject their demand for a three-month once off payment for PPE in form of cash-costed packages.

The union further warns that once the stay-away resumes, it shall only be called off after all the public striking teachers and lecturers have been provided with the said packages.

Reacting to the development, parents and guardians of public school pupils are expressing concern with the failure by all stakeholders to resolve the matter.

Following a stampede that ensued when thousands of mostly young people reported for government job interviews. The health authorities in Malawi’s northern city of Mzuzu have disclosed that 158 people have received treatment for various injuries.

Recall that the health ministry had announced that it was hiring hundreds of health workers to go to rural communities as health surveillance assistants (HSA).

Applicants were then told to attend walk-in interviews at various centres across the country. Tens of thousands were seen at interview centres in the capital, Lilongwe, and in the southern city of Blantyre, but it was only in the city of Mzuzu, in the north, that a huge stampede resulted in injuries.

However, a spokesperson for Mzuzu Central Hospital the area’s referral hospital, confirmed that 158 people were being treated with no deaths reported.

Malawi has joined the growing list of southern African countries that have legalized the growing, selling and exporting of cannabis.

Although, the country still restricts the legalization of cannabis for personal use, unlike in South Africa where the courts allowed cannabis for personal use. The latest changes to the country’s law state that cannabis will be used to make medicines and hemp fibers. Hemp fibers are used to make clothes, biofuel, paper and other products.

Malawi depends heavily on tobacco trade but the Cannabis sales are said to be able to supplement that and boost its revenue streams.

Southern African countries, such as; Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, have lenient rules on growing cannabis. There are many for instance in South Africa who consider legalizing Cannabis use as dangerous for the population, especially for young people.

Growers are required to pay an annual return fee of $15,000, certain amounts for different causes have been put in place such as; application to renew a producer’s license, license fee to conduct research on cannabis and application for import or export license, as well as inspection license. It appears many countries in Africa have started considering decriminalizing the growing of the plant due to its economic gains.

Mosquirix, malaria vaccine 30 years in the making, is being used in a pilot program for children under the age of 5 in Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya.

Malaria is one of the world’s deadliest and most stubborn diseases. The mosquito-borne disease kills more than 400,000 people every year. Two-thirds are children are under age 5, and most are in Africa. 

Now, babies in three nations in Africa are getting the first vaccine for malaria in an unusual pilot program

Health officials want to see how well the vaccine works in Malawi, Ghana and Kenya before recommending wider use.

Unlike established vaccines that offer near-complete protection, Mosquirix, is only about 40% effective. Experts say it’s worth a try as progress in fighting malaria stalls.