In defence of Peter Mutharika: Journalists failed Malawi

Since he returned from his recent trip to New York, where, principally, he represented and spoke on behalf of us, all genuine Malawians, President (and Professor?) Arthur Peter, sorry, Peter Arthur Mutharika has been bashed, castigated, demonised, lambasted, lashed out, ridiculed, sworn at, and scorned by all manner of people from all manner of  professions: academics, cartoonists, columnists, opposition party politicians, civil servants, drunkards, gays, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), non-governmental individuals (NGIs), tribalists, journalists,  vendors, beggars, public servants, private servants, theologians, pastors, social media hounds, herbalists, voodoo prophets,  atheists, ethicists, oncologists,  and even epidemiologists.

Journalists at a press conference

Journalists at a press conference

However, we—Abiti Joyce Befu, AMAI (RTD), leader of our International Geographic Expedition, Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), Mzee Native Authority Mandela, and I, the Mohashoi—beg to differ and distance our good selves. Why? Although journalists have done a lot of good work in the past, on this sole day, this revelations day, they have failed to do their job.

Now, listen and listen very hard. Open your eyes and open them very hard. Clean your ears and clean them very hard. It is no longer news that Mutharika took a huge delegation to New York comprising professionals, shoppers, and sightseers, some of whom tumbled several times as they went up the aeroplane’s boarding steps; others had to be babysat all the way to New York because they were fidgety in their seats.

Listen. The President travelled a different route from the rest of the hand-clappers, party loyalists, party journalists, village headmen, and the papsya tonola. Mutharika used a jet to Dubai (and possibly beyond) while the handclappers and shoppers went through Johannesburg. That is the news. Journalists did not know this? Failed.

Also, the news is that at the so-called press conference at the Kamuzu Palace, in Lilongwe, President Mutharika, incited by his spokesperson, Gerald Violent, brandished a piece of paper purportedly containing a list of people that comprised the Malawi delegation. He said the list had more delegates; not 115 as the American Embassy was quoted to have revealed. Sadly, all the journalists ignored this revelation. No follow-up questions. No demand for the list to be published. Failed again.

Ironically, Mutharika urged the journalists to pay attention to what was being said. As it is emphasised in journalism school, journalists must pay attention to minute details, even slips of the tongue, because these reveal the information Gerald Violent and his bunch of State House miscommunicators and disinformers want this country not to know. Journalists cannot afford to be passengers and silent listeners at a press conference. Kudos President Mutharika.

Listen. Some people were irked that Mutharika banged his table, shouted at us the voters, and bragged like the Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda had nearly 40 years earlier, that he was US dollar millionaire who did not need our money. But, even that is not news to us. The news is that he told the journalists who insisted on him stopping hiring jets to fly his wife and villagemates around the world, that the plane was hired for only 11 hours (return) to Dubai. He challenged the press to, instead, talk about the jet his brother bought at US$22 million (currently MK12.1 billion), which the Pimples Party sold or hid somewhere in a hangar.

Well, some of us expected to hear what it costs to hire an executive jet from South Africa or Tanzania to Malawi (5 hours) and then to Dubai (11); not by what percent the cost was negotiated downwards. Clearly, 5.5 hours was not an honest hired flight time; rather 16 hours is closer to reality. So, Mutharika was right to urge journalists present there to pay attention to the facts in real time. Even to this issue, there was no follow-up questions. Failed.

This, to us, was also the best time for the journalists to ask the President why he and his administration are not interested in explaining how the 177 and 144 maize-shellers President (ka)Ngwazi Bingu wa Mutharika bought, using a US$41 million (currently MK22.5 billion) loan facility from an Indian bank are benefitting the country.  Yet, we still talk about a Greenbelt agricultural approach to food insecurity. How do we dispose of the very assets that would turn around our misfortunes? How? Failed.

Some of this critical agricultural equipment or machinery was sold, distributed or given to friends by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Insecurity. No journalist, no politician, no farmer, has asked why the Plant and Vehicle Hire Organisation (PVHO), the only Malawi government institution with legal authority to board off government motor vehicles (tractor are motor vehicles; aren’t they?), was bypassed

President Mutharika was right. Journalists have failed Malawi. It is time they rose from slumber.

  • The article appeared in the Weekend Nation
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33 thoughts on “In defence of Peter Mutharika: Journalists failed Malawi”

  1. Kingman says:

    Obviously written by a politician of DPP

  2. Issa Kabudula says:

    I agree with this group of concerned people – journalists are failing Malawians, the news and reports we read are sending wrong information to the world. This is failing, instead of managing our affairs, we are reporting it to who? Who you think can come and rectify our problems, when even America got no money to spend to anybody, there is poverty in America but no journalist of America will tell that.

    Africans – for we Malawians, are just sell-outs, I was one day with my Zimbabweans friends, I congratulated them for sparing their leader, and I told them, if Mugabe was in Malawi I don’t think he would still be living. They asked me why and I told them, we are sell-outs, we even kill each other in countries we migrated to and we fight even for petty issues like girl friends – its a shame on us.

    I am repeating this; Malawi is in the good hands of a leader (APM) as he is called is there at right time, intelligent and he knows what he is doing, he just need support from all of us, Malawi can develop and it must start from the poor which is the idea of the Peter Mutharika administration.

    Our media houses – yes the motive is profit making – but who are we supporting – the Malawi people or the secrete agency? We got information of journalism and media houses operations – of which 99% are owned by the west even if we have our nose in it, as black owned media but we follow the ring leaders and if we don’t we are closed.

  3. keno says:

    Remember. We malawians we are very poor in mind so the same apply to this ishhi

  4. keno says:

    Mmmm hiring jet. Mmmm 100 something malawians but we have more ndalama here ishii

  5. Trummalawi says:

    Who should be involved in deciding which jet should the president use when going out, who to pay for the plane if my tax money is not to be used, how many pple to go with him if those paid by the ministries, NGOs and departments representing them are not accepted, which countries should our president go or not if we are to revamp our economy. So well known civil society activists and opposition politicians accompanied him but are quit and not attacked. You the wisemen help the locals in villages to understand issues than confusing them of nosense just to win your political popurality.Mawa ndinu a laza kaya muzidzayenda bwanji? muzidzapita kuti? muzidzatenga yani ndi kusiya ndani? poti ngankhale H. Kamuzu a kwathu ankatenga nyawu(zilombo,gule) kunka naye ku ulaya moti samalakwitsa. I am not in support of cashgating our kwachas but i dont think panopa munthu angapangenso cashgate. Lets give good advice, suggestion and support to the gvt than just criticising.

  6. Malawi says:

    Kodi Ben Phiri ali kuti?

  7. chingolopiyo says:

    Zeleza you are right. The problem is that some journalist, as we call them are on payroll of political parties. I know a few who are in the UK who went to seek asylum and at times I have seen them while doing my business. When we comment they edit or erase and that to shows that they are happy to criticize others but for them to be criticized, its unacceptable. Let them learn to be professionals than copying information from facebook pages.

  8. marvey marvei says:

    IAM Delighted that ADA MANDA has admonished his former students on their lack of journalistic acumen.
    I do not know if he is still at the Poly. If he is I suggest he organises a seminar or workshop to analyse some of the so called journalistic works that appear in our print and electronic media; no context or background, lack of coherence,sometimes failing to tackle basic questions of any story whether journalistic or not, such as who,what,when,where,Why,how?

  9. Winston Msowoya says:

    Iam flabbergasted to read that there are some Malawians who expressly support Peter’s shameful and unpatriotic move for mismanaging most needed funds that could help build our sinking economy that has tragically affected almost all pillars of national development detrimental to the country’s political stability.The problem of most Malawians is that they support leaders on tribal lines rather than on excellence,hence,the pathetic downfall of Malawi’s performance in political standpoint as well as economic establishment that have put our dear nation at the bottom of all Southern Africa nations.The hire of private jet by Peter to pacify his good for nothing tribesmen,has not only angered overwhelming majority of poor Malawians,but also international community mainly nations who had been our economic supporters for long time.Malawians,for how long we are going to be known as political lepers of Africa and laughing stock of the world?Meanwhile,it is sad that Rwanda and Mozambique who were engulfed in brutal civil wars Africa had ever had,have drastically surpassed Malawi economically and politically.SHAME ON US!!!

  10. Chilungamo says:

    What an intelligent piece of writing!!. Going by the heading, I expected to see some real defence for APM but all I have seen is more attack and a call for more attack. Journalists are being told they should have attacked more and have been given more areas to shoot when attacking. It’s such an intelligent writing to the point that most comentors down here have missed the heart of the story. I appreciate the art bwana writer

  11. Rodriguas says:

    0
    Mtalika went through erection?

  12. Chilungamo Chimawawa says:

    especially boot leakers (MBC), Mutharika Broadcasting Corporation

  13. we fail happily says:

    Jornos fail all the time in Malawi

  14. independent observer says:

    Zeleza you are very poor in your research! Do you realize that Malawi has only 2 oncologists? Both are my colleagues and I have asked both of them and they did not lambast APM as you have put it in your first paragraph. Osamangolemba zolota ayi! Please!

  15. CHINJOKA says:

    Kkkkkkkk ma professor a panyasaland

  16. jona pwele says:

    Jerous too much abale.ufune usafune DPP ndi peter 2024 basi wajerous aphulika yekha one mseu was kwathu KARONGA Chitipa vote yanga inagulidwa ndi DPP basi

  17. PM says:

    Zeleza, I thought Journalists were denied enough time to ask questions. Even a female Zodiac reporter had to squeeze herself in using a gender card to ask a question. See, those who don’t understand this article think Zeleza is in support of APM, no, he is not he is simply getting issues into debate

  18. Kenkkk says:

    He is projournalists if you read between the lines. This is satire. Well written.

  19. Kwacha Kwayera says:

    Well done Zeleza… At least there is a voice that can pump some sense in the so called journalists who can put convincing facts in a story or get the actual details by snooping around. Kumamgolemba nkhani ngati akuchita post mabodza pa Facebook. Sh!t journalism

  20. Haya says:

    The whole setup failed us. Why did the President go to US? What was agreed? What is our take as a nation? What action were agreed? What are the gains for Malawi? What are we going to do in the short term? How about long term etc….this information was supposed to be demanded by the journalists….but more importantly its what we expected to hear from our head of state…unsolicited SI to speak…

  21. Achimidzimidzi says:

    That was not a press conference nor press briefing. It was Introduction to APM.

    Journalists were scared to ask provoking questions because, the president was very angry with them.

  22. gradoo muygt says:

    Point of correction Munthalika did not win but stoled the votes..yayaaaaaaa.

  23. I just want to tell #8 kuti we are tired and fed up with a rulers like Muthalika,the majority of Malawians need a LEADER. We tried the your Muthalika coz he failed misarably he doesn’t have leadership qualities.

  24. Baah says:

    Ur also afiler,where were u yet you know more,za ziii! Anaononga chuma anaononga basa,ife tikhale ngolo zake,umadziwa mmene umapwetekela msonkho these iwe!

  25. nachisale says:

    Well done Zeleza – Malawi journalists and CSOs have completely failed. Their criticism of Mutharika UN trip is myopic and biased. They have been exposed!

  26. Muhiye says:

    A Malawi nsanje too much. Leave APM to rule MalaqMalawi up to 2024.He was elected through the ballot box and it is only fair to respect the constitution.What benefit will you get of you get the list of people who travelled with APM to UNGA?WILL The Money Spent Return To MALAWI?HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THAT JOICE BANDA WAS SPENDING 40million in a day to distribute one cow in changalume? Stop this nonsense

  27. kumangoni says:

    I can see someone is sitting on the egg of the crockdile.But ‘am so scared of what will come out from the egg.

  28. kumangoni says:

    What goes around comes around.Ziveka pakuti mwana wakwathu wakwatila komweko

  29. buyache says:

    Ha ha Ha….we have failed…

  30. Alex Likoswe says:

    Including yourself dala

  31. chizamsoka munthali says:

    Mainawa ndiatolankhanidi awa

  32. dungulinya says:

    Ahem!

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