The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has infiltrated running of affairs at Malawi’s giant media house, The Times Group, widely seen to be controlled by the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
DPP influence on how the media house should be run started showing last week when top management suspended Sunday Times Editor Mabvuto Banda for stopping his reporter to go and interview people in Chiradzulu East constituency in a PR stunt to promote Cabinet minister Henry Mussa.
Times Group Managing Director Leonard Chikadya is said to have agreed with President Peter Mutharika and some of his communication aides to ‘go slow’ on DPP in the run up to elections in May in exchange of ‘good business’.
“Those who can see the signs, I am sure they have seen them now. This is not the Times Group we know and it is sad that things have gone down this way,” said a source at Times Group.
The source added that government approached Times Group to twist results of the Cabinet assessments which the media house carries at the begging of each year and are normally published in the Sunday Times in February every year.
“They believe that negative assessments of the performance of ministers will impact heavily on the DPP campaign in the elections and they are trying everything possible to have media house publish ‘fair’ assessments on the performance of the cabinet,” disclosed the Nyasa Times source.
“In fact to say it bluntly; DPP has now taken over Times Group,” declared the source.
Times Group was founded by the late President Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda and is now run by his family and some members are senior members of the opposition MCP.
Ken Kandodo, the late Kamuzu’s grand nephew is a senior member of the MCP while his sister Jane Dzanjalimodzi is a businesswoman now turned church pastor are said to be the major decision makers for the Times Group and other businesses left by the late Kamuzu Banda.