When the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter went to the polls last year, it was not without a frenetic, bruising and fierce social and mainstream media campaigning between supporters of incumbent Teresa Ndanga and Frank Phiri.
That frenzy and jostling for posts seems to have returned in another segment of the media—Marketing—as the local chapter of Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Malawi Group goes to the polls this weekend.
Marketers across the country will be trickling to the Sunbird Nkopola Hotel on the beaches of Lake Malawi for their Season 7 Annual General Meeting. Election of new office bearers is undoubtedly at the top of agenda.
Up for grabs are the executive positions of President, Vice, Secretary General, Publicity Officer, Treasurer and Executive Members.
The battle for the top post pairs Golden Banda, a University of Stellenbosch Development Finance PhD student and Masiye Mazaza, a marketer with telecoms giant Airtel Malawi.
Masiye is a holder of Master’s degree in Strategic Management (MSc.SM) and a current board member.
“To lead an organization, one must have thorough understanding that organization,” reads a campaign poster by Mazaza on a microblogging group where the other candidates are also posturing. Shooting back, “Let’s promote the Marketing profession in Malawi,” he adds.
Banda, who also belts an MBA as part of his credentials, has come up with a 13-Point Plan aimed at shoring up the affairs of the CIM Malawi Group.
The plan focusses on capacity building of marketers and marketers’ institutions, women empowerment, transparency, networking, student scholarships, establishment of a National Marketing Board and fundraising.
Banda’s manifesto also touches on Brand Malawi, a concept aimed at promoting the country’s tourism locally and abroad.
For his part, Mazaza has come up with a formidable 10-Point Manifesto, promising to steer CIM Malawi back to the Malawi Tourism Council Board, win with the Brand Malawi Project, establish a Secretariat, and lobby the CIM UK to fully recognize CIM Malawi group.
Mazaza has teamed up with Lilongwe restaurateur Janet Kathewera who is vying for the Vice Presidency position.
The Brand Malawi concept should be the Achilles foot for any aspirant given that previous executive boards of marketers have failed miserably to see it to fruition.
The contest has also attracted the interest of Public Relations practitioners in candidates such as Natasha Jere of TNM Plc and Lewis Kulisewa of CFTC. Other candidates who have declared their intent are Isabel Kachinjika of Service Touch, Limbani Matola of Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Maxwell N’gambi and Mercy Kamanga,
The incumbent President is Michael Khomani, who has opted not to seek re-election. Khomani is a seasoned marketer with vast experience in telecoms and car dealership industry.
Some of his notable achievements include successful fundraising of the group and its brand visibility. Under his leadership, the CIM Malawi Group has become far more recognizable than ever. It also conducts the annual flagship marketers’ awards which have become most sought-after by marketing and media agencies, their clients, big corporations, independent media production houses, and other practitioners.
It will not be a free ride however, for the new office bearers. CIM Malawi Group faces a number of challenges and hurdles. Key amongst these is the legal and operational status ambiguity of the group. Having been registered as the Malawi Study Group, there is pressure for members to become compliant with dictates of the CIM UK. This requires that the executive and general membership be paid-up with the UK body, which some practitioners says creates an existential conflict of interest in addition to the financial burden occasioned by double-membership fees.
“Marketers will be busy with CIM-UK at expense of the Malawi body,” wrote one practitioner.
A veteran marketer and social analyst Wilkins Mijiga has cautioned the contestants against largesse or vote-buying. “The largesse from people vying for office must be diplomatically declined. This [largesse] will create a dangerous precedence and will make the contest for CIM Presidency a financial muscle issue, not leadership acumen and substance,” wrote Mijiga on the official Whattsapp Group for CIM Malawi.
Mijiga is an award-winning marketer and Head of Marketing Strategy at Malawi’s largest financial empire, the National Bank of Malawi (NBM), listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE).
Another challenge for CIM Malawi is that despite prestige and flamboyancy of its membership, the body does not have an established office or secretariat of its own. This is in contrast with other professional bodies such as the Accountants, Engineers, Journalists (MISA), Economists, Employers (ECAM) and Architects who have their own fully-functioning secretariats and professional office bearers.
Key speakers at the AGM are Dr Mark Lungu of Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), Dr Thomson Mpinganjira, Chairman and Founder of the FDH Financial Holdings Ltd, which owns FDH Bank, Charlotte Malonda of the Competitions and Fair Trading Commission and seasoned Marketing Researcher Mercus Chigoga.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :