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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Kingman
Guest

Obviously written by a politician of DPP

Issa Kabudula
Guest
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… Read more »
keno
Guest

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

keno
Guest

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

Trummalawi
Guest
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… Read more »
Malawi
Guest

Kodi Ben Phiri ali kuti?

chingolopiyo
Guest

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.

marvey marvei
Guest

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?

Winston Msowoya
Guest
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… Read more »
Chilungamo
Guest

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

wpDiscuz

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