Mzuzu City Council refuses to receive CAMA petion on freeing up MBC

In a dramatic twist of events, Mzuzu City Council Chief Executive Officer Thomas Chirwa on Friday refused to receive a petion from Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) to be delivered to state President Dr Joyce Banda on the abuse of state broadcaster MBC.

The consumer body’s northern region chapter organized a march from the City’s new Shoprite premises to Civic offices to present their grievances on alleged gross abuse of MBC by ruling parties.

After a peaceful march which was characterized by present of heavy police both in combat attire and civilian, the consumer body got a rebuff from the City’s authorities who refused to receive the petition, citing the march was illegally conducted.

Despite the city’s refusal to receive the petition, the consumer body went ahead to read the petition in front of a sizeable crowd who had joined the solidarity march.

 Cama marched peacefully from Mzuzu Market to City Assembly to petition Malawi President to let her government free MBC so that opposition political parties and other stakeholders have access to the station..-Photo NPL

Cama marched peacefully from Mzuzu Market to City Assembly to petition Malawi President to let her government free MBC so that opposition political parties and other stakeholders have access to the station..-Photo NPL

“The CEO has refused to receive our petition to state President Dr Joyce Banda, but we have to put it straight that this will in any way never stop us from presenting our grievances to the President. We will establish other measures on how best to deliver this petition to the high office,” said a visibly disappointed Isaac Gondwe, CAMA’s northern region coordinator.

Among other grievances in the petition, the consumer body cited biased coverage towards the ruling elite and questionable treatment that some staff at MBC receive mainly for showing résistance to some ruling party’s decisions.

“Consumers wish to express concern at the bias coverage and programming towards the ruling elite. It is regrettable that the state broadcaster can remain a cinema of presidential diaries and ministerial parades at the expense of national development.

While the past administrations, (MCP, UDF and DPP) jealously abused MBC, the PP administration is regrettably bent on repeating the same mistakes, despite assurances to transform the public funded state broadcaster,” reads the petition in part.

The petition which has been signed by Gondwe himself and its research and documentation officer Charles Kajoloweka among others further calls for an end to political victimization of staff at MBC which is regularly marked by politically motivated  transfers.

“We observe that the northern region MBC has become a tacit technocrat prison for some MBC staff deemed not to support the ruling party of the day. We call for fairness and justice in treatment of all members at MBC,”said Kajoloweka after reading the petition.

Meanwhile,  in a letter sourced by Malawi News Agency from the city’s council to CAMA dated 26th September, 2013 signed by the city’s boss Thomas Chirwa , the council said it agreed with CAMA to postpone the march to a further date.

The letter cited the recent chaotic scenes that erupted in the city regarding deported Malawians from Tanzania and that Vice President Khumbo Kachali will be going to Karonga on the same day hence police will not be able to provide maximum security on the day.

“We write to put straight that your march be shifted from Friday 27th September 2013, to any day next week starting from Monday 30th September,2013 as resolved at the meeting.

CAMA however refuted the reasons given above saying there is no way police can deploy all its personnel to a Vice President function while ignoring thousand Malawians safety.

We take their excuse as a scapegoat since there is no way the whole northern region police can provide security to one person while thousands are deprived of the service,” bemoaned Kajoloweka.--Mana

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