Chimwemwe Banda charges at ‘gossiping’ First Lady

The controversial Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC’s) Director of News and Programmes, Chimwemwe Banda has grown thick skin daring Malawi’s First Lady, Callista Mutharika, accusing her of gossiping with female employees at the broadcaster, Nyasa Tmes can reveal.

Details are just emerging on how the MBC’s second in command dressed down some MBC television employees back in October, 2011 of going to State House and contacting the First Lady feeding her with ‘lies’ about the organization and talking ill of her (Chimwemwe Banda) to be more specific.

State House is the official residence of the Malawi President.

Coincidentally when the staff at MBC television were being grilled by Banda, the same day, Mrs Mutharika was attending an official ceremony at the eastern region’s Zomba College of Nursing in the former colonial capital of Zomba.

A member of staff who attended the meeting said Chimwemwe Banda was very furious with the First Lady, accusing her of encouraging gossip at the broadcaster by entertaining communication from some female MBC employees.

“This is a warning to all of you that I am aware that some of you especially females have contacts with State House and even speak to the First Lady gossiping about MBC and me in particular,” our impeccable source quotes Chimwemwe Banda as having fumed.

Banda is reported to have warned that those that were contacting the First Lady to gossip about MBC were just wasting their time because their ‘lies’ were to take them nowhere.

First Lady: Accused of gossiping

“You don’t know what connections some of us have got, even if you gossip with the First Lady what are you going to yield out of that?” she is reported to have challenged the gathering.

Members of staff who attended the meeting are reported to have left the room agape wondering how the MBC Director of News and Programmes could be so blunt and daring at the wife of the Malawi President.

Information gathered by Nyasa Times on Banda’s anger over the First Lady have been collaborated by several MBC members of staff who were part of the meeting.

Nyasa Times investigations have revealed that First Lady Callista Mutharika likes using names of female MBC personalities at her many functions as examples of role models a development that does not please people like Banda.

Chimwemwe Kanthowa Banda is a trained teacher who joined MBC in the 1990’s and was sent to the United Kingdom for further studies during the UDF led government.

When she returned from her studies, she briefly re-joined MBC before going away for a few years joining the decentralization project in the Ministry of Local Government where she also met Principal Secretary Willie Samute.

When she returned to MBC, Samute was one of the people who propelled her into the reigns of power as this time he was one of the PSs in the Office of President and Cabinet.

Chimwemwe Banda has since worked as MBC deputy director general at Malawi Television before she was demoted last year to her current position of Director of News and Programmes following the merger of MBC television and radio.

In December 2011 and January 2012, Banda made headlines for calling Mary Segula, a young female presenter at her station ugly.

Her “crass” remarks attracted condemnation of Women in Law Society of Malawi boss Seodi White.

Although she accused the First Lady of gossiping, three years ago,  Banda was one of the very few people that were allowed into the closed door traditional engagement ceremony of President Bingu wa Mutharika and Callista. She played the role of director of ceremonies in an event attended by less than 20 people.

When contacted through MBC, the secretary in the office said she refused to grant interview to Nyasa Times.

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