Malawi new Standard newspaper starts with crisis: Editor quits, Mtumodzi new publisher

Barely few weeks into production, crisis has hit Lilongwe based latest weekly newspaper company, Standard Publications Limited.

The newly launched media house, which has hired some of Malawi’s seasoned journalists has lost its founding Managing Editor, Bakali Maulidi, just two weeks into life following disagreements boardering on misconduct.

Apart from Maulidi, a former Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) and Guardian Newspaper editor, other experienced journalists the paper took into service are Rex Chikoko, former Chief Reporter for BNL and Leonard Sharra, also formerly senior sports reporter for BNL as well as the country’s flagship daily The Nation Newspaper. The paper also took on board former Chronicle Newspaper journalist Arnold Mnelemba.

Mtumodzi: Publisher

A source close to the publication said Maulidi fell out of grace with the publication’s founding publisher a Mr Nkhoma, who is a business finance consultant, after being accused of gross abuse of the company’s meager resources.

But as the paper’s owner contemplated firing Maulidi, the managing editor got the wind and swiftly left the job before seeing the knife.

Amongst other issues, Maulidi is reported to have convinced Nkhoma to hire a vehicle, which he individually used for one week without any member of staff having access to it.

Maulidi is also alleged to have, despite his status, traveled to Blantyre in a company car to distribute copies for the newspaper’s first edition where he got stuck, derailing production of the second edition.

“He [Maulidi] had become unpopular among every member of staff because of his lust for money and abuse of the little resources the company has,” said the source.

He added: “We had been told by the owner and directors to look for another editor and before we did that, Maulidi read the situation and called it quits.”

Meanwhile, management has, in the interim, put Sharra at the helm of the editorial.

However, the source said Chikoko, who is currently the paper’s Bureau Chief at Blantyre office, is reportedly being targeted to permanently take over from Maulidi and move from Blantyre to Lilongwe.

New publisher

Meanwhile, Nkhoma is reported to have sold his publication to former Director of Information and State House Press Officer Chikumbutso Mtumodzi who is now the new publisher.

Until few weeks ago, Mtumodzi, who was recently interdicted from the civil service while working as Deputy Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Disabilities and the Elderly, after he was arrested and charged with an offence of being found with a ballet, was running late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s Galaxy Media.

Before being picked by Mutharika to serve in his government, Mtumodzi knwon for his ruffian conduct, had previously worked for various media houses, among others, Blantyre Newspapers Limited, Power FM 101, The Informer, National Agenda, The Sun,  and Enquirer newspaper (now back on the street).

He also had a stint in active policitics  as a founding Secretary General of the  New Dawn for Africa (NDA) party, specifically formed to foil the agenda for National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which was launched by former  cabinet Minister Brown Mpinganjira, now with the ruling Peoples Party (PP).

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