A former employee of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) TV Mary Segula was harassed by Director of News and Programmes, Chimwemwe Banda, forcing her to resign for being called “ugly”.
Reports indicate that the whole issue started when Banda shouted insults at an official at the Office of the President and Cabinet ( OPC) public events desk for selecting Segula to co-host the 6TH COME SA First Lady’s meeting in Lilongwe 22nd October 2011 at Cresta Hotel.
It is reported that when Segula received the communication, she went to take leave from Banda being her boss and it was at that meeting that the MBC second-in-command spoke her mind.
Upon hearing the news, Banda picked up her phone and phoned OPC while Mary Segula was there in her office and is quoted to have said: “Kodi inu simumamva bwanji? Ndinakuuzani kuti TV is about showbiz, sitimangotenga munthu aliyense, why din’t you ask me first? Some of these ugly faces you are picking are not for such functions.’’ (Why don’t you understand what I told you? I told you that TV is about showbiz and we don’t just pick anybody. Why couldn’t you ask me first? Some of these ugly faces you are picking are not for such functions.)
Segula’s close pal told Nyasa Times that Banda denied the young lady permission to leave for the function.
However , Segula on instructions from the OPC proceeded to host the function. OPC paid for all her expenses. This worsened the relationship between the two as Chimwemwe Banda stopped talking to Segula and also stopped assigning her to any tasks at the state run broadcaster.
According to Segula’s uncle (name withheld) the newsreader complained to her mother in October last year that she no longer felt comfortable working at MBC because of harassment from Banda.
‘‘ She came home first week of October looking down cast and almost in tears , saying she was no longer interested working at MBC because her boss Chimwemwe Banda had insinuated that she was ugly and not fit to be a television presenter.
“ Mary said she no longer had the confidence to do her job and wondered why MBC employed her in the first place if they knew that she was ugly. We told her to take it easy,” the uncle said.
Sources at MBC corroborate the story saying that Banda who is Chairperson of the MBC-TVM merger transition committee crossed path with the young and talented presenter early last year when the presenter who was employed as a producer at the broadcasting house was recognised for her skill by senior government officials and started being hired as master of ceremony for the First Lady Callista Mutharika’s functions.
‘‘That’s what Chimwemwe Banda does. She wants to be the one doing those functions,” said an MBC source.
“ So whosoever gets a favour from the OPC to handle those functions becomes an enemy to her. Especially when they are women. She frustrates them. She did the same to Tamara Chafunya . She used the merger process to transfer her from Blantyre to Lilongwe for no apparent reason then later from TV productions department to Business department then to MANA’’.
Chafunya is now Public Relations Officer of Lilongwe City Assembly.
Banda could not pick up her phone on several occasions. Her secretary kept saying her boss was in a management meeting and could not speak to Nyasa Times.
When reached by Nyasa Times for a comment Segula who has since left MBC and joined Ministry of Home Affairs and International Corporation said she left everything in the hands of God adding that her family advised her to forget about the issue and move forward with her life.
“I don’t want to talk about that issue. Leave me alone,” she said.
Chimwemwe Banda was one of the presenters at last month’s MBC‘s Our People Our Pride, which has been described as a flop by many as many commentators on Facebook and Nyasa Times expressed disapproval of her performance at the event along side of her fellow presenters.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :