Sumbuleta brings back chaos at Malawi’s public broadcaster

In a bid to stamp his authority the new Deputy Director General at Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Aubrey Sumbuleta has brought in several changes at the public broadcaster by among several others putting several measures to control what is aired on both public radio and television.

Soon after President Peter Mutharika came into power MBC promised to open up and do away with its self-censorship but the appointment of Sumbuleta has seen the public broadcaster going back to its old ways with the new Deputy Director erasing all decisions made by his boss Dr Benson Tembo.

Sources disclosed that so far Sumbuleta has ordered that before going on air all news material have to go either through him or Controller of News and Current Affairs Albert Mungomo.

Sumbuleta: Deputy MBC boss

Sumbuleta: Deputy MBC boss

Mungomo is a former Press Officer to late President Bingu wa Mutharika who was the current president’s brother.

The inside sources also disclose that Sumbuleta has ordered that some news readers at both radio and television should no longer be anchoring news.

Among those dropped as news anchors are experienced news readers at MBCTV Geoffrey Kapusa and Kumbukani Phiri and also at MBC Radio Patricia Sundu.

“It seems at the moment Sumbureta is the overall in-charge despite that there is already the Director General. Tembo actually has decided to play second fiddle and let the new Deputy Director General play his politics,” said one source.

Initially MBC abolished the post of Deputy Director General during the time Bright Malopa was the Director General but the position resurfaced with the appointment of Sumbureta.

Added the source: “Actually what is happening is that before news is read either Sumbureta or Mungomo goes through the articles to check if they are politically correct and if there is nothing not in favour of the new administration. At the moment no opposition items are allowed on air. All those who are targeted are seen to have been sympathizing with President Joyce Banda.”

Sumbureta has been a BBC sports correspondent for some time before the Bingu administration made him Deputy Director at the Ministry of Information and Civic Education and then took over as Director of Media and Communication at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

He then moved to Chinese CCTV as a correspondent based in Nairobi Kenya.

One source gave details of how Sundu was embarrassed recently when news scripts had to be literary snatched from her as she was entering the news cubicle to stop her going ahead reading the news after a decision was made to remove her from the list of news anchors.

In a veiled reference to his removal as news anchor, Kapusa who is commonly known at Mr Splash, posted on his Facebook account bidding farewell to all news lovers.

“Just want to thank God for all the moments I have been reading news to you guys. I may not have been the best but those are unforgettable moments I will live to cherish. Wishing all new News Anchors a wonderful moment and please do enjoy news reading. It’s becoming more fun these days,” he writes.

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