Minister orders detention of Zodiak reporter over Malawi Muslims story

Police in Malawi’s southern district of Mangochi were on Sunday evening forced to detain a correspondent for a privately owned Zodiak radio Raphael Mulozoa for refusing to retract a story aired on the radio earlier in the day .

Mulozoa had reported about the beating up of Economic Planning Minister and Ralph Jooma and the confiscation of a camera belonging state broadcaster MBCtv for unauthorised shooting of Muslims praying in the mosque on Saturday.

Highly placed sources  at Mangochi police station told Nyasa Times that Mulozoa was dragged to the police station by body guard of Ralph Jooma  sub inspector Chimombo asking police officers there to lock Mulozoa up for airing  what he said  was a false story.

“But the police officers initially refused to lock him up arguing that they saw no reason of  locking up the journalist. And after Chimombo explained the reason, the police officers were not convinced and dismissed the issue as too political,” said a source.

Jooma: Angry with report

Jooma: Angry with report

But besides the refusal the sources say Chimombo used his political stamina to let Mulozoa detained at the station.

Police officers at that station said what the radio had aired was true only that may be  it put the ruling People’s Party officials into disrepute.

“It’s true Jooma was slapped by irate Muslims who confiscated the MBCtv camera by taking video shots inside the mosque without permission”.

The sources said that MBCtv crew were instructed by of General Secretary of Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi Saiti Jambo who is not a member of the mosque to enter into it and start shooting for a sponsored program to be beamed on MBCtv.

Eyewitness told Nyasa Times earlier in the day that Jooma met his fate when he tried to tussle with the highly charged Muslims who confiscated the camera of MBCtv .

“Angry Muslims led by Brother Adin, Mangochi chairperson for the mosque confiscated the cameras from MBCtv crew as soon as they started shooting. And some, even manhandled the cameramen who were failing to explain about their mission in the mosque,” said the eyewitness.

Meanwhile, the confiscated camera has been returned to the MBCtv camera man Mwachande,– who was showered with few slaps before he run for his dear life – but all the recordings have been deleted.

Muslims in the district have been accusing officials of the ruling People’s Party of using them for political gains.

However Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola  who reportedly run away upon seeing Jooma being beaten up told Nyasa Times that the story contain no grain of truth.

“The information has been distorted by Zodiak reporter who wrote it while drunk. He is now under police custody,” said Matola.

Matola said neither Jooma nor him was intimidated by the Muslims .

But many people in Mangochi  who witnessed the incident have said Matola’s personal assistant was also severely beaten.

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