MBCtv crew blamed for confiscated camera: Mangochi Muslims summon Mwachande

Unprofessional conduct of television crew from the state-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation has been cited as a major contributing factor which forced a group of angry Muslims in Malawi’s lakeshore resort town of Mangochi   to snatch a camera belonging to MBC  and roughened up two government ministers.

The position was taken at the end of the meeting involving senior Muslim clerks, Mangochi district officials, Police authorities held at Makolo Police Cottage on Wednesday which was convened to plead with Muslims to return the camera.

During the meeting Saiti Jambo projects manager for Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi distanced himself from allegations the he was the one who permitted MBC television- crew to take video footage at Adini Mangochi Mosque.

“I don’t know anything about the whole shooting mission because the project which I am handling does not involve MBCtv and it has no connection with what the MBCtv crew were doing here,” Jambo told the meeting.

Jambo: I did not

Jambo: I did not know anything

Another Muslims cleric sheikh Ibra Mwanyali, while confirming the he was approached by the MBCtv crew earlier in the week for their shooting mission said he did not give them permission to shoot videos at any particular mosque in the district.

“What happened is that asked me if they can take video shots of women making Udhu (cleaning themselves before prayers) and I told them it is was difficult at that time but I told them they can take video of Muslims in a mosque and I emphasized to them that they should seek permission first from the authorities of the mosques before they enter the mosque but it seems by advice fell on deaf ears,” he said.

However Chairman for the Muslims Association of Malawi in Mangochi sheikh Hamid Kongwe expressed ignorance of the MBCtv mission of taking video shoots in and around the district’s mosques.

“We were not informed of the MBCtv mission here so it was news to me that they were taking videos in mosques” he said.

After hearing from the concerned parties, Sheikh Adin Mangochi of the sub-mosque said he was not ready to return the confiscated camera until MBC TV cameraman Mwachande explains to the meeting who gave his crew permission to enter into the mosque and the motive behind.

Sheikh Sharif Chilekasaid some of the congregants seized the camera because the crew did not follow the right procedure to record their programme at the mosque.

The Sheik also confirmed that the camera was still in the custody of the people who confiscated it.

” We were completely ignorant of their programme which raised eyebrows,” said the cleric.

Economic Planning and Development Minister Ralph Jooma and his Energy counterpart Ibrahim Matola – both legislators from the district – were in town when the incident took place.

When they heard about the MBC TV incident, they decided to intervene, “but upon seeing the two ministers, some people pounced on them and beat up Jooma. Matola managed to flee unscathed,” according to an eyewitness.

Matola confirmed the incident, saying he and his colleague were coming from addressing a political rally when they were approached by the MBC TV crew.

“We tried to mediate and asked for their (Muslims) leader but they were uncooperative,” he said.

Some worshippers accused MBC TV crew of recording the programme with a hidden agenda to portray the Muslims as supporting the People’s Party (PP) and President Joyce Banda.

Mangochi is a stronghold of the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), whose presidential candidate for the 20 May 2014 elections is Atupele Austin Muluzi, the 35-year-old son of former President Bakili Muluzi.

Meanwhile the national media watch-dog MISA-Malawi has asked journalists  to be responsible when on news-gathering assignments.

“I would like to implore journalist to respect people’s privacy and follow procedures when gathering information. We need to be very professional in order to protect our noble profession,” said MISA-Malawi Chairperson Anthony Kasunda in a statement made available to Nyasa Times.

Kasunda also condemned the conduct of Sub Inspector Chimombo a body guard to Minister  Jooma for assaulting Zodiak Radio journalist Raphael Mulozoa for filing a story about the beating up of the ministers by irate.

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