MBC should allow Mutharika clarify ‘war cry’ remarks , Court rules

The High Court in Blantyre has ruled that  state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) should allow opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika to use MBC stations to clarify the statement that he made in relation to the Lake Malawi border dispute with Tanzania.

Mutharika obtained an injunction against MBC and political commentators Humphreys Mvula, Sam Mpasu and Blessings Chinsinga stopping them from making further reference to remarks that he purportedly declared war on Tanzania over the Lake Malawi border dispute.

The DPP leader has vehemently denied to have made the remarks threatening Tanzania with war as referred by MBC  but he was correctly quoted by the private media including Nyasa Times that he said the ownership of Lake Malawi is “non-negotiable”.

In her ruling on Friday, Judge Rachel Sikwese said MBC should allow Mutharika to use MBC stations to clarify the statement that he made in relation to the lake dispute.

Peter Mutharika: Denies declaring war over lake row

Peter Mutharika: Denies declaring war over lake row

MBC have allegedly been broadcasting programmes and news reports  – in a propaganda way – suggesting that Mutharika declared that Malawi should abandon negotiations with Tanzania to resolve the lake dispute, rather go to war to claim ownership of the lake.

The judge also discharged the interim injunction granted to Mutharika restraining MBC and three individuals from discussing the so-called war-mongering remarks.

“The court was convinced that the first defendant [MBC] had no intention of repeating the publication and that it was willing to offer the plaintiff [Mutharika] an opportunity to clarify his statement should the plaintiff seek to exercise that right through the defendant’s stations,” reads the ruling that was pronounced in the chambers on August 16 2013.

“It would not serve anybody’s interest to maintain an injunction just for the sake of maintaining it with no real threat of damage to the reputation of the plaintiff,” said Justice Sikwese.

But despite the vacation of the injunction, the defamation case in which Mutharika sued MBC, Mvula, Mpasu and Chinsinga will still continue.

Malawi and Tanzania have been embroiled in a long dispute over Lake Malawi.

Tanzania claims the northern half of the lake as its own while Malawi maintains she owns the entire lake.

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