CAMA snubs Mzuzu City Council on MBC demo

Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA), the country’s main consumers’ body, has defied an order by the Mzuzu City Council to postpone its solidarity march against state broadcaster the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for its perceived bias towards opposition political parties.

The association’s northern region chapter has organised the march, which will be held on Friday, 27th September 2013 in Mzuzu from Katoto Filling Station to the city’s civic offices.

In a letter dated September 26, 2013, Mzuzu City Council Chief Executive officer Thomas Chirwa asked CAMA’s northern region chapter to postpone the march to next week saying there was tension in Mzuzu since the unceremonious arrival of undocumented Malawians from Tanzania.

“Some Mzuzu residents might take advantage of the march to vent their anger at Tanzanians,” Chirwa said.

Isaac Gondwe -Demo
Isaac Gondwe -Demo on

He said apart from that Police would not be able to provide security to the marchers since they have been deployed to the Taifa market and some are on guard to curb illegal vending.

“Apart from that some will also provide security to Vice President Khumbo Kachali, who on that day will be travelling to Karonga for official duties,” the Council Boss said.

Coincidentally, the march will take place barely a day after the Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) patted MBC on the back for featuring the opposition in its recent programming.

“MISA Malawi and Malawians in general have been calling for reform and professionalism at MBC for a long time. It has always been clear, however, that there was no political will and the national broadcaster was often used as a mouth piece and propaganda tool for the ruling party.

“MISA Malawi would, therefore, like to commend MBC for taking such a bold move and would like to encourage and appeal to management at the station to continue the good work,” MISA Malawi Chairperson, Anthony Kasunda, said in a media statement.

However, CAMA’s regional coordinator Isaac Gondwe told Nyasa Times on Thursday that the change at MBC was not enough.

“This is just cosmetic. We want a complete overhaul for posterity. Therefore the demonstration will go ahead as planned. Security provision is not our responsibility,” Gondwe said.

In a statement last week CAMA argued that MBC’s coverage and programming is biased towards the ruling elite.

“It is regrettable that MBC can only 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 current government is regrettably bent on repeating the same mistakes, despite assurances to transform the public funded state broadcaster,” it said.

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