Malawi press salvages Mutharika’s extended Unga stay: Fresh from appeal for positive news

President Peter Mutharika has been given critical stories in the local press a day after he   returned home from New York, United States of America where he fulfilled a number of engagements, including addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (Unga)  and told journalists on arrival to report positive stories about Malawi and not dwell on the negative issues.

President Mutharika returns home after US trip- photo by Mana

A bitingly critical editorial in The Nation newspaper that savaged Mutharika’s return almost 10 days after the Unga event said Mutharika should avoid “opulence and grandeur.”

The editorial comment stems from the from page article which the paper wrote that Mutharika was among the first presidents to arrive in New York for Unga and was the last to return to his country.

The paper noted that Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli did not attend Unga for the second year running, citing financial difficulties in his country – almost same economic turmoil like Malawi.

It also reported that Presidents of South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe left New York for their respective countries earlier than final day of the event.

The paper said in the editorial comment that Malawians who funded the trip of Mutharika and his 19-member delegation have not been told why the President extended his stay in United States (US.)

“We all know that while in US, he and his entrouge   were staying in very expensive hotels [ Hilton Midtown Hotel –New York,” reads the comment.

It called on the government to disclose all expenses incurred on President Mutharika’s tour, including those of his entourage at the “annual pilgrimage.”

Reads the comment: “Apart from the length of the President’s stay in New York, how he and his entrouge are accommodated and the allowances they get on such trips, there is the issue of the mode of transport the President uses to and fro – a private plane. When all these are put into the equation, what the taxpayers want to know is how such a trip has benefitted them.”

Mutharika used a chartered jet on departure between Lilongwe and Johannesburg, South Africa for the departure and return trip.

The paper says its known fact that the reason government does not disclose how much the travel bill and cost of the whole trip is because “it is damn expensive.”

But Mutharika said Malawi has also benefited a lot from the UNGA trip saying he attended about 38 meetings with various influential people and investors, saying the country should expect a lot in terms of investment opportunities.

He said all the meetings that were attended were educative and informative as it also created an opportunity for Malawi to showcase some of the projects the nation is investing on.

But the newspaper said if the President wants everybody else to embrace the gospel he preaches about fiscal prudence “he should be the first to walk the talk by avoiding opulence and grandeur.”

In Malawi’s flagship Daily Times newspaper, it rapped Mutharika on his call for positive stories, saying the Malawi leader has become “accustomed” to criticising the media for playing a watchdog role.

“The media only play their role,” the respected Malawi daily newspaper said in an editorial title.

The piece noted that Mutharika wants all praise and not critique.

The paper said President Mutharika call for positive stories was “the same tired refrain that only exposes his congenital aversion to criticism and the media in general.”

It said the Malawi media has done an “excellent job” in reporting positive stories in the areas that the country has done better.

“The media have reported about successes in HIV and Aids fight, safe motherhood, the fight against child marriages and others. The media is not as bad as Mutharika wants the world to believe,” reads the comment.

The paper asserted that President Mutharika should now accept and start living with it that the news organisations role is not to be praise singers when it is evident that a lot of things are done wrongly in the country.

“The media do not fabricate stories about mismanagement of public resources, dwindling education standards, a crippled health system, pathetic road network, cronyism and political violence that have become rampant in this country. We all know these are factual and must be reported as such,” reads the newspaper comment.

The media, declared the paper, will never abdicate their role of being watchdog of society “even if Mutharika barks and howls.”

President Mutharika, a former lawyer elected in 2014 for a five-year term, left the country on September 15, with a 19 member delegation to the annual UN general assembly held from September 19 to 25.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Brian Moyo
Guest
Lets be serious guys we all know that Malawi has got a lot of challenges, many people in Malawi are suffering, there are shortages of drugs in hospitals etc, why would the President add days in that expensive hotel, its true most of the Head of States of powerful and sound economic countries left early. For records if you want to have info just google about that hotel and the bills yu all will be shocked to see presidential suites going for US5000 per day. So if you can add the number of days that amount would it not be… Read more »
Chimunthu
Guest
The President’s visit to the US was a total waste of public money. Who is he to have any influence on the business of the UN? Who pays any attention to what he has to say when all present know that he represents the poorest country in the world. He is a nobody with nothing to say that anyone wants to hear. What were the fruits of his visit to the UN last year? We would like to know. Will he ever tell us what benefits accrued to the country from this year’s visit? We would really like to know,… Read more »
David Mweso
Guest

If you can’t understand global organisations or issues is better to shut up your proboscis.

Gogodasi
Guest

It does not add up for the President to claim that he stayed longer to woo investors when that job is supposed to be done by the Minister of Trade and Industry. Why does he appoint Ministers in the place if he can do their jobs? Is he telling us that his Ministers are incompetent? If so then why keep them on the payroll?

David Mweso
Guest

Every year you make the same noise when the president goes to USA.

MWIKALA PATALALA
Guest

ARE PRESIDENTS OF OUR POOR NEBALING COUNTRIES SUBJECTED TO SUCH SCRUTINY?. SINCE THE START OF UNGA I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING EVENTS ON ZAMBIAN AND RSA NEWS OUTLETS EVEN THE ZIMBABWE HERALD BUT I HAVE COME ACROSS OR READ SUCH STAFF IN THEIR PRESS. IS IT MERE OBSESSION BY OUR POLITICALLY AFFILIATED MEDIA OR POLITICAL FRUSTRATION BY MEN OF THE PRESS OR MEGALOMANIA IN MALAWIAN POLITICS?. MAY SOMEONE PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG

Brian Moyo
Guest

dont lie to yourself all the countries you are talking about are richer than Malawi with plenty of gold and several mineral deposits in their respective nations, so never compare them but if you had talked about Burundi, Chad Comoros etc would agree

Chibet
Guest
I have never seen an idiot professor like Peter. At one meeting he organised in the U.S., he was asked to state his achievements back home. Guess what he answered, the only answer he gave them was that he was among the people who were involved in rewriting the malawi constitution. One journalist told him in person that what he mentioned is like a group work at school because it never state who contributed and who did not. Peter is an educated idiot who can’t even use his knowledge of education to turn things around. He is worsy than a… Read more »
David Mweso
Guest

Idiot? May be the opposite is true.

Kangoma
Guest

please pay salaries for civil servants in time,we need transport to and from work,food both at home and work.Then how do you expect us to perform on crutial and key deliverables of our ministries.We deserve better than this,our Honorable’s.

Green Kunyenga
Guest

For starters what do people saw in this man to elect him as president. I for one do not see any iota of leadership quality in him.
Even the fact that he is a professor raises a lot of questions. One can believe that Muluzi is more of a scholar than this so called professor. This man is intellectually deficient. More over he seems to have a speech impediment.

Achi
Guest

Mr President, “When you shit on the road, don’t complain when you meet flies on your return”

If you don’t want to meet flies on return, don’t shit on the road

Achi
Guest

I wish the president gave examples of positive stories that he wants the media to write about his government.
The DPP government needs to make a very deep soul searching on its negative acts which naturally attract the attention of the media.
If the president has only a bunch of rotten fruits/fish in his basket, how can the media talk differently.

Mr President, charity begins at home, clean your house and the media will have nothing else to report on except the clean house

Nacco
Guest

it really pathetic to we Malawians, only politicians are enjoying our taxes while many ministries not paid their September salaries.

thus our grand leader with tired brain

nsanai kugwe
Guest

aa ulendo uno timeesa anakalankhula ku university ya ku amereka. yake ija ku oxford anthu 20 ku talk. koma sea lion uyu kukmwa

wpDiscuz

More From Nyasatimes