Malawian President Peter Mutharika has fired his Press Secretary Frederick Ndala and is set to be replaced by journalist who works for Nation Publications Limited (NPL), Nyasa Times understands.
Ndala has since confirmed his firing but could not be drawn to comment on the reasons.
However, State House sources reveal that Ndala was booted out following revelation that he was behind the scheme to defraud the President of money amounting to K8 million which was meant for journalists when they had an audience with Mutharika towards the end of last year.
During the audience the almost 100 journalists were said to have been given K50,000 each meaning the total amount given out was K4 million yet it is said that the money released was K12 million with an agreement that the journalists will get K200,000 each.
“Apparently it seems that Ndala was not the main guy in the scheme but all the people involved threw everything at him and being new in such games he had no much clout to back up himself,” said the source.
Ndala who was appointed soon after Mutharika became president was working for Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) where he was the editor of Malawi News.
He was appointed along Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Regional Manager for the north and Mzuzu Bureau Chief Timpuza Mwansambo as Deputy Press Secretary.
As press secretary, Ndala took up the role of presidential spokesperson previously held by another journalist Steve Nhlane under former president Joyce Banda and politician Dr. Heatherwick Ntaba, under late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
Mutharika’s press office is being manned by five people and is not clear whether His replacement will be at the State House as second in command or the overall incharge of the office.
Other officers in the office include Justice Mponda who dubs as an editor for a pro-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) online publication the Malawi Voice, Chikondi Juma former reporter for Times TV and Sylvester Namiwa former reporter for Galaxy FM Radio, which in the run up to the May 20 elections was seen as a mouth piece of the DPP.
The press office was previously occupied by Nhlane, Faless Ngalawuka, Tusekele Mwanyongo and Brian Banda whose duties were automatically relinquished following the loss of the then ruling People’s Party.
The country’s media fraternity had high expectations on Ndala that probably he would bring sanity into the president’s office because of his level headedness, but that never was.
Just like previous holders of the office Ndala seemed to have had challenge in creating space for journalists to work cordially with State House and in an environment where they are not intimidated or harassed especially during presidential press conferences.
Ndala’s departure as the only level headed character spells doom for the State House communication and media relations which is manned by former MBC Director General Bright Malopa as a Special Presidential Advisor on Communication Strategy.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :