Group chief executive officer for Press Corporation Limited (PCL) professor Matthews Chikaonda has defended his remarks at the official opening of the National Bank of Malawi (NBM) business centre and office complex in Blantyre, where he attacked pointed out weaknesses among politicians.
In the presence of President Joyce Banda, Chikaonda, who once served as finance minister in the United Democratic Front administration, also accused the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) of being political.
The renowned economist had irked members of the ruling People’s Party (PP) when he said He said some politicians that never wanted people to speak during the Bingu wa Mutharika dictatorship were now in Banda’s PP. He told them that the President has created an atmosphere for them to coexist and redeem themselves.
PP officials reportedly held an impromptu meeting after the function and condemned Chikaonda’S conduct as “disrespectful to a head of state.”
However, Chikaonda said Malawi Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and that citizens should be free to constructively criticise their President and government without fear of reprisals.
He said those who condemned his remarks were “people with a past to hide”.
Said Chikaonda: ” There was nothing wrong with my statement, people should be left to point out any wrongs if any in their leaders, and those who are uncomfortable with that must have a past that they are hiding.”
The other areas of concern as raised by Chikaonda who also is former Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor, reserve bank governor is a challenge to the authorities to consider commercialising state residences.
Chikaonda, as CEO of Malawi’s largest conglomerate Press Corporation Limited and chairs Telekon Networks Malawi Limited (TNM) and Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL), is politically and financially powerful.