A newspaper columnist has questioned the recent media blackout of Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima on government social media, describing the act as suspicious and act of hypocrisy.
Writing on her column ‘My Diary’ in Weekend Nation of 22 April 2017 under the title “A case of selective amnesia”, Suzgo Khunga observes that while it is a fact that President Peter Mutharika has been a victim of social media hoax hence understandable to see him have a serious aversion to social media, in all its forms, the fact that the same government uses the same social media for unmerited attacks within their own ranks smacks of hypocrisy.
“Since 2014, the government information system, specifically the Facebook page has been used to relay information to the public about the President and Vice-President activities. The page has been professionally run, albeit with embarrassing grammatical errors which are quickly corrected when observed…Vice President Saulos Chilima taking part in the Way of the Cross over Easter should have been a plus to the Mutharika administration…But pulling down the story and pictures from the government page showing Chilima in a Way of the Cross procession was going overboard. It just shows the length that some misguided individuals would go to create animosity between the President and his deputy,” argues Khunga.
According to Khunga, tere might be some few misguided individuals within the ruling party hierarchy or government who are geared at benefiting from whatever undercurrents of enmity between the President and his deputy hence fuelling the same.
“Is it really a crime for the VP to participate in the Way of the Cross when the President himself did not deem it important to do so? Is the government Facebook page for the President alone and can the Ministry of information, assuming they are taking instructions from State House come out clear on the purposes of that page? If the government machinery is there to communicate about the President’s activities alone, what is the State House Facebook page for?” queried Khunga
Khunga further advised President Mutharika to back up his rhetoric about responsible use of social media with good intentions or motives.
“Urging Malawians today to use social media with a sense of patriotism, integrity and responsibility is well and good when it’s not for selfish reasons. But as the expression ‘chisakomele mbuzi kugunda galu’ implies, disowning social media abuses should apply across the board not when you are personally affected.
“It is also high time social media stopped being labelled as evil. It certainly cannot be so evil to this current administration if they can guard a facebook so jealously and hog it for the President’s use alone,” argued Khunga.
Meanwhile, seasoned award winning columnist and Managing Editor of The Nation, Ephraim Munthali has described the fake “resignation” letter by Vice President Saulos Chilima and the aftermath reactions by the DPP’s machinery and the President as cheap, immature, amateurish propaganda meant to hoodwink the public that the Vice President was not interested in his job.
“Well, all these efforts were commendable, but some things here raise suspicion looking at the speed at which the Minister of Information and Malawi Voice moved to pin suspects. For what motive or benefit could Joyce Banda fabricate such a letter? When the information Minister says he knows the culprits, is he talking of the same Joyce Banda? Was this not a cheap, immature, amateurish propaganda meant to hoodwink the public that the Vice-President was not interested in his job as one way of lining up reasons to start side-lining him in government or fire him from the party?” questioned Munthali
Writing on his column Cut the Chaff under the article “Chilima’s resignation: who is fooling who?” which appeared in Weekend Nation, Munthali wondered why Mutharika and his troupes were too quick to dismiss the recent fake “resignation” letter while a similar case involving a social media talk implicating Chilima as assembling a Cabinet ready for a take over last year Mutharika was too quick to believe
“If it was not, then why all-of-a-sudden this interest from a WhatsApp circulation; yet last year when the President prolonged his stay in the US, the government chose to believe a similar social media talk that Chilima had assembled a Cabinet ready for a takeover. What is the difference between the two social media abuses? For starters, the President even went public in Mulanje that some people were planning to take over his government which was a thinly unveiled attack on his Vice President who was also a victim of rumour mongering that time,” argued Munthali
Added Munthali:“I refuse to see these developments in their raw form. There is something that is happening only that the players are amateurish otherwise the energy from the government this time on this purported resignation letter is betraying and suspicious”.
However, in reference to the fake “resignation” letter some observers have argued that while the letter is fake the spirit of the letter might be true.
“The fact that ‘it’s not true’ –where as ‘it’s not true’ shall mean it’s not an authentic document authored by Veep- does not necessarily mean its false. The spirit and letter of the statement might be true in as far as what is happening behind the scenes is concerned. There is no smoke without fire, they say. As such the fake letter cannot just be ignored. Something is cooking up. Sooner or later the truth shall be revealed. The truth is like pregnancy. You cannot hide it,” argued a renowned social-political commentator.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :