A state-owned Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalist stunned the nation on Saturday when he publicly and openly drummed up support for Norman Nyirenda, the governing DPP parliamentary candidate for the September 6, 2011 Rumphi Central by-elections.
Speaking in Chitumbuka as a master of ceremonies at a public campaign rally addressed president Bingu wa Mutharika at Mzokoto in the constituency, Chimbigza Msimuko said while his terms of reference restricted him to directing the flow of events, he could not resist the temptation of applauding Nyirenda.
However, spokesperson for the People’s Party (PP) whose candidate for the by-elections, McDowell Steven Aaron Chidumba Mkandawire is widely believed to be front-runner, admonished Msimuku for his partisan stance “even when it were a political campaign meeting”.
“He is journalist first and foremost. As a professional, he should stood on moral higher ground and conducted the ceremony professionally,” Mwenye told Nyasa Timesin a telephone interview from the capital, Lilongwe, citing the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) media code of conduct adopted for the 2009 general elections, which calls the media to be “balanced and impartial in their election reporting and that no political party or candidate shall be discriminated against in editorial coverage or the granting of access to media coverage”.
“Norman Nyirenda woyeeee,” yelled Msimuko, recently renowned for his partisan disposition in favour of the DPP in his news reports, said, to the amazement of onlookers.
He went on to recognize all dignitaries present at the rally including the deputy speaker of parliament “who will soon be swearing in Nyirenda as MP for this constituency when MPs converge in Lilongwe”.
In his remarks, T/A Mwankhunikira assured Mutharika that Norman would bi given enough votes to win the same way the DPP won in all constituencies in the 2009 elections.
Paramount chief Chikulamayembe thanked the president for the “wonderful” campaign team he had deployed to Rumphi to campaign for Nyirenda, citing presidential advisor on NGOs Bessie Chirambo as “woman in appearance but a man in mind and deed”.
He also recognized the role of Goodall Gondwe, Mutharika’s first finance minister and now appointed DPP’s first vice president and Yunus Mussa, who is the governing party’s second deputy president.
He said “whether Satan wants it or not”, Nyirenda would come out victorious. He then asked the president to consider rehabilitating the “strategic” Mphompha, which passes through Nyika National Park to Chitipa, describing the national park as “heaven on earth”.
The paramount Tumbuka chief also requested for a girls national secondary in Rumphi, “which Your Excellency long promised”, and a new car for the District Commissioner, saying the one they use today is on its last wheels.
Gondwe, who is the DPP campaign team, said judging from the “large number of people” present, assertions in most quarters that the DPP is dead in the north were false, claiming the DPP is still strong and that Nyirenda will triumph come September 6.
In his speech, the president attacked civil society leaders who have organized September 21 mass protests against his alleged autocratic tendencies and deteriorating social and economic order, saying he had set up a presidential dialogue committee “with highly respected members” which they must engage.
“If you go into the street, will you be dialoguing with tarmac; will you be dialoguing with street lights,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :