President Peter Mutharika’s painting of cells and his graffitti at Lumbadzi Police Station in which he was held – alongside eleven others – over treason charges in 2012, has sparked fire in the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod with its chaplain for prisons Rev. Stanley Chimesya getting banned for negatively commenting on the President’s visit.
Mutharika, a member of the church, has received bashing from critics for exaggerating the commemoration of his incarceration which was also described as “headless,” by human rights activist Billy Mayaya.
Chimesya had equally quashed Mutharika’s escapade through local press nine days ago for saying that “the President should have concentrated on improving conditions in all the prisons in the country, instead of limiting his gesture to those that hold personal memories of him.”
The comment, Nyasa Times has learnt, got Chimesya a ban from CCAP Blantyre Synod secretary general Rev. Alex Benson Maulana not to speak on issues to do with prisons.
“I just received a directive from the Synod General Secretary that I am no longer allowed to speak to the media on these [prison] issues…you can talk to him [Maulana] if you want,” Chimesya told The Sunday Times.
He claims Mutharika called Maulana to effect the ban.
“I understand he received a phone call from the State President on Friday. He issued the ban after that, and told me that he would be speaking on prison issues,” said Chimesya.
State House has, however, ruled out Chimesya’s allegation that Mutharika called Maulana on the matter.
“I don’t think it is true that the President called the Blantyre Synod General Secretary because the Synod is an independent institution,” said Chikondi Juma, State House Press Officer.
Juma further described the issue as internal at Blantyre Synod.
“Maybe the Rev. [Chimesya] spoke on an issue over which he had no control and the Synod just decided to take action. I don’t know. The Synod is better placed to respond on that issue,” said Juma.
The prison chaplain is appointed by the General Administration Committee of the Synod for a four year term.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :