Malawi journos speak on Mutharika’s cash handout: NPL editor returned K50,000

Media practitioners that had dinner with President Peter Mutharika at Sanjika Palace last Tuesday have been commenting on revelations that the Head of State gave the cash handouts of K50,000, saying they were rather ‘ambushed’ to receive the money.

Tenthani at Sanjika during meeting with President Mutharika: We were ambushed into receiving the cash

Tenthani at Sanjika during meeting with President Mutharika: We were ambushed into receiving the cash

Times TV editor and columnist Graciun  Tukula first went public about the money that was given to the media practitioners which triggered scatching attack from Malawi law professor Danwood  Chirwa, calling it “bribery.”

Media trainer Dr Levi Zeleza Manda told Nyasa Times  that  Chirwa, a professor of law at the prestigious University of Cape Town in South Africa,  “is right” to accuse the President.

Manda said  the journalists were “ in a fix” because they were deceived to receive envelops purportedly containing documents of President’s media freedom literature yet to discover cash was in it.

“Would it have been appropriate to give back the money there and then?  If they were honest with themselves that money should have been declared to their newsrooms or donated to charity. That’s what happens elsewhere.  I find the  justification by some recipients that actually that money was their tax to be tantamount to justifying the looting called  cashgate by fellow tax payers,” Manda said in comments made to Nyasa Times.

On Misa-Malawi internet discussion forum for media practitioners, the matters has dominated debate and also on social media platform , Facebook.

It emerged through the discussions that Nation Publication Limited editor George Kasakula  did not take home the blue envelop after realising it contained cash.

“For the record, George Kasakula returned the money to Frederick Ndala [presidential press secretary] the same night. At least clap hands for him!” wrote BBC correspondent and Muckracking columnist Raphael Tenthani.

Tenthani disclosed that he and other journalists have committed to channel the money for charity towards the health bill of former Malawi News editor Limbani Moya, currently in India to undergo a kidney transplant.

He defended journalists for collecting the money.

“Look, the whole thing was shambolically organised. When we got the invite  some of us asked what’s on the agenda. We were told it’s an ‘interface’  with the President, he airs out his frustrations/concerns, we air ours. But come the day the President indeed asked for comments from his guests  after his speech but MC Timpunza Mwansambo decided to curtail the whole thing. I’m not sure whether this was planned or Timpunza was just being overzelous.

“Then Kondwani Nankhumwa [Minister of Information]  lied to us that  everyone should get a folder which contained the President vision on press freedom in Malawi. Everyone was surprised to see that the  President’s ‘vision’ only included an embosed folder with a blank  writing pad, an engraved pen and a white envelope! Some  just sent the folders to their drivers without checking what’s in there. So they discovered the ‘trick’ at home. “

Tenthani confessed that he discovered the ‘trick’ there and then but did not return the money and justified the reasons behind.

“A few of us agonised over how to react. We agreed this was plain wrong. But returning the money then  could have served no purpose because the State House ‘boys’ and ‘girls’  could have had just shared the money among themselves.

“Of course, with hindsight, that could have even been a better story for someone could gotten in trouble.
Going forward, some of us have decided not to return the money to State House but to donate the K50,000 to a fund created for our colleague Limbani  Moya who is battling kidney failure in India.”

Tenthani, one of the influential columnist who offers objective critique on social and political issues, said  the Presidential “bribe”  will not “mellow our fingers or inks.”

He called the Sanjika saga as “the most stupid way to bribe people for lack of a better word. Why lie there was a booklet where there was none? Perhaps he was afraid that if he  mentioned the ‘white’ envelops (clever crooks use brown!) some of us  could have had time to think properly.”

Tenthani stated: “As it was State  House ambushed us. And, as Gracian Tukula rightly put it, returning the  money there and then could have cause a scene.”

Prof Chirwa  said the President’s conduct  constitutes crimes under sections 25B and 26 of the Corrupt Practices Acts.

Before the meeting with the President, Ministry of Information said in a statement that government would pay journalists travelling outside Blantyre K30,000 each as accommodation allowance. The money was paid plus K50,000 from the President.

Presidential spokesman Ndala  did not respond to a request for comment.

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Saili Mwale
Guest

That sounds to me plainly that “i have nothing to offer you; here is a pen and a very blank notepad, make your own rules boys & girls and i have included the money for posting or you can get a ride and bring it over to me” in short “I don’t have time, so you do it”.
Guys, keep working and just remember to use the right words. ‘love you all.

JAYJAY
Guest

munthu wa mulungu,inu mukuti nchiani chimenecho ngati sima allowance .tell us intelligent guy.

Munthu wa Mulungu
Guest

My brother, allowances are signed for, not the way this happened. Kodi mumathamanga ndi ma comment pa zinthu zomwe simuzidziwa? Silly goat.

journo
Guest

Tolankhani matama apa kuti mukubweza ndalama chikhalilecho busy kulilia ma allowance mma workshop shame kukhalila kupempha apa ndiye mukufuna kushaina kuti mukubweza ndalama who does not know how you bother organisers of wokshops on allowances

Alfred Newman
Guest

No “explosion” mwene. Read the comment carefully.

njodo
Guest

is hospositaly dey reciev a bribe as wel?

Louis mlomwe wachitonga
Guest
Louis mlomwe wachitonga

zovuta izi. so many issues arising. oh .my mother Malawi. pastors, bishops, shehez etc etc, where are you? dont u think this is right time to organize prayers!

Patrick Muthema
Guest

Tukula asatipusise ife. I have never heard of an event that journalists have been invited and never got cash never. Even if you tell them you have some event that is worth covering if you dont tell them they will receive money they dont come so they shouldnt pose like little saints here.

thako
Guest

APM udaganiza bwanj [email protected] was indeed bribery,pple wu r criticising u on ds matter r right,lalulakad dzko tulapansi

victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi
Guest
victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi

I hope this was not part of the practices in the general elections.

wpDiscuz

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