Chaponda hires 15 journalists to clear muddied reputation: Kamlepo express ‘deep concern’

Embattled former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has recruited about 15 journalists from various media houses in the country, aimed at propping-up his spoiled image as well as giving him fair coverage ahead of his corruption court trials scheduled for September 14, inflicting major reputational damage on the himself following the revelations.

Chaponda: Hires reporters tasked to reposition his image amidst corruption case

Chaponda, who is also vice-president for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) responsible for Southern Region and member of Parliament (MP) for Mulanje South West Constituency, first dated the team about a month ago at Mulli Brothers headquarters in Chigumula, Blantyre.

During the meeting, each journalist pocketed about K80, 000 as a “starter pack” and they were promised to be on monthly pay-roll from Chaponda while others will be paid per story published or aired.

Nyasa Times sources reveal that the team which is being  by freelance journalist Benedicto Mbewe , Zodiak’s Emmanuel Chibwana and Maganizo Mazeze has since presented a whooping budget of K20million which would be used for their various activities for a period of six months.

According to one of the members of the group, the team has lined up various PR activities to clean-up Chaponda’s muddled reputation.

It has also been tasked in creating fake social media profiles that will amplify attacks on opponents of Chaponda and run massive disinformation campaign.

“If I had a number of journalists on my side, Malawians could not have booed and hurled insults on me to the extent of calling me wakuba, so I want you to go out there and preach the good news about me,” Chaponda is said to have told the journalists.

“I’m sure I can trust all of you in this room, I don’t want to read about this meeting on Nyasa Times one day. “ he said.

On this Maganizo Mazeze stood assuredChaponda on their privacy on the matter.

“As long as you take good care of us, we are fully committed to support you honourable. I don’t see anyone in this room taking this out of this room,”said Mazeze amid hands-clapping and cheering from the rest of the journalists who attended the meeting.

In the taskforce, Times Group is being represented by award winning blogger Richard Chirombo and deputy business editor Taonga Sabola.

At MBC, Chaponda has roped in Simeon Shumba whereas at MIJ, Innocent Phongolo is their contact point.

Joy Radio will be represented by Wesylud Duntu Majoti Chirwa, barely few weeks after being promoted as head of news.

At Capital Radio, Chaponda has picked senior reporter Timothy Kateta while Linda Mzunga is from Power 101FM.

However, a senior reporter from the Nation Publications Limited who has been engegaged snubbed the meeting.

Firebrand opposition politician Kamlepo Kalua said he has learnt about the task force  with “deep concern”, saying what Chaponda is doing is unacceptable.

Last week, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) lined up 22 witnesses to testify against Chaponda and two others in the case relating to the Zambian maize import transactions.

Chaponda and his alleged accomplices—Rashid Tayub, director of Transglobe Produce Export Limited and Grace Mijiga-Mhango, a businessperson and chairperson of the Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi (GTPA)—were arrested by ACB last month for their alleged roles in the dubious purchase of maize from Zambia.

He was charged with two criminal counts of misusing public office and possession of foreign currency without the lawful justification.
In the matter, there are nine lawyers with the State legal team led by Matemba assisted by ACB principal prosecution officers Macmillan Chakhala and Imran Saidi.

On the other side, Chaponda is being represented by private practice lawyers Tamando Chokotho, Madaliso Mmeta, Frank Mbeta and Jai Banda while Tayub has Jai Banda, Lusungu Gondwe and Madalo Banda.

Blantyre chief resident magistrate (CRM) Simeon Mdeza had set August 9, 10, 11 and 14 for trial, but it failed due to the Judiciary support staff strike that lasted for at least four weeks.

The case has since being adjourned to September 14 2017 after the defence counsel objected to the prosecution’s intentions to make an application to consolidate the case into one charge sheet.

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Nganiza Muthulika
Guest

Chaponda is paying these weak journalists blood money. For himthese money is nothing. These journalist should not work as journalist. They have taken bribe. Zodiak gott money from APM/DDP in 2014 elections to annonce that DDP was winning even when the boxes were in place for counting. Zodiak was promised to buy a machine so that they could start shooting TV. They were brunt during Bingu but APM bribed them or gave them money. So it is not surprised that someone from Zodiak is so weak to accept blood money. In MalawIan can killfor little money.

santana
Guest
Why is it that many who are commenting on this issue feel so scared? These are journalists who will be attending court sessions of Chaponda. There will also be other journalists reporting on Chaponda case. There are many TVs and radios which will be reporting on the case. These guys who are alleged to be bought will be covering the court session also. They will be writing what they will be seeing there. If they will write what was not in the court we will know it by comparing with what others will be reporting. The issue here is that… Read more »
Chiipila Adela
Guest

Its only in Malawi where hiring a Reputation Management team is a crime… I see no problem… We need a mindset change

Mumalizeni
Guest

That is animal farm by George Orwell

chilungamo chimawawa
Guest

DPP is full of thieves including President APM himself

jay
Guest

Whatever the case, the truth will always come out.

Nosi Mphaka
Guest

So Zodiak ndipo yimalirengethu.Going into waste bin like MBC.

Maso
Guest

This is a lie written by Sam Phiri from MBC.

Maso wabodza ndi iwe
Guest

Maso, are you one of the 15?

keith banda
Guest

Of course, just as Hon Chaponda has the right to hire Criminal Law Specialist, Democracy grants him FULL and EVERY right to protect his image by hiring and engaging any number of PR Specialists of his choice. Since the 1993 Referendum, we have moved on from days of Kangaroo Courts and One Media House Systems. The Bishops taught us to ethically love the sinner, but hate the sin.

Mphalabundu
Guest

Mukanakhala inu mukapanga bwanji? Its part of life.

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