President Joyce Banda has appointed seasoned journalist and editor for Malawi’s oldest weekly newspaper, the Malawi News, Steve Nhlane as State House Press Secretary.
Nhlane will replace politician Dr Hetherwick Ntaba who was spokesman of late president Bingu wa Mutharika and specialised in rebuttals. He has had his contract terminated this week.
Ruth Govati is the press officer the position which was held by former MBC radio presenter Albert Mungomo.
Also joining a team of presidential advisor is civil and human rights activist Reverend Macdonald Sembereka as advisor on Civil Society and NGOs replacing Bessie Chirambo.
Reverend Sembereka is the Executive Director of Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV/AIDS (MANERELA) and also an acting National Coordinator of the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRC), a network of 91 local civil society and non-governmental organizations.
The reverend has been at the forefront of criticizing the late Mutharika’s government policies and also coordinating the country’s nationwide protests that began on July 20, 2011 when 20 people lost their lives.
In September last year, he was the target of an arson attack when his Balaka house was set on fire by petrol bomb following a similar attack at the office of another activist Rafiq Hajat’s Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) a week later.
Other presidential advisors appointed are Mary Clara Makungwa as presidential advisor on Women Maimba and Rev. Malani Mtonga as Special Duties aide.