Minister, aides defend Malawi President Mutharika’s press-dodging on UNGA

Minister of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation Emmanuel Fabiano defended President Peter Mutharika, who has been under fire from the local media for his prolonged stay in the United States of America after attending this year’s United Nations General Assembly, for staying away at a press conference which was to take place at Kamuzu Palace to brief journalists on his trip, saying there is no law demanding President to hold presser.

Molande: It’s not mandatory for President to hold a press conference

Fabiano was accompanied by presidential spin doctor Bright Molande (State House director of communications) and presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani.

He said Mutharika was not dodging the probing journalists, saying the press conference was not the only platform for Mutharika to issues arising.

“There are other avenues for sharing that kind of information and the President does respond to questions from time to tie,” said Fabiano.

Journalists  said they wanted a face-to-face interactive opportunity to grill President Mutharika on pressing issues relating to blood sucking incidents and political violence that governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadres are alleged to have been perpetrating.

“The President will respond to such issues at an appropriate time, but for now we are focusing on what happened at the United Nations General Assembly,” Fabiano said.

It has been always a tradition that whenever a President return from the UNGA, there is a press conference where Government and the President brief the nation on what transpired at the conference and other engagements the President had while in the USA.

Last year, despite him being in ill health after he went for medical treatment while in the USA, the President was still forced to hold a press conference at the State House where among several other issues he explained his health condition and why he had to stay long after the UNGA.

But Mollande said “there is no statutory requirement” that when a President goes abroad there should be a press conference on return.

“It is an expectation which we understand but not mandatory that every time the President has travelled abroad that he must directly address the media,” said Molande,

He said there should be “other avenues” of engaging government to address other national issues.

During the news conference, Fabiano was evasive on the question of the size of delegation or budget to UNGA.

President Mutharika, left the country on September 15, with a 19 member delegation to the annual UN general assembly held from September 19 to 25 and while other Heads of State and Governments returned to their respective countries soon after the conference ended, Mutharika who arrived earlier than his colleagues had to stay for another 11 days in the USA.

Asked to explain why Mutharika extended his stay after UNGA, Fabiano said the Malawi leader had “more engagements” than the time available at UN.

Fabiano said “it was cost effective to pack in as many meeting as possible. What the government achieves from these meetings matters more than the number of days.”

He said most of the 38 meetings Mutharika had were meant to initiate cooperation.

Mutharika religiously makes the annual pilgrimage to the UNGA in New York but analysts say Malawi should engage the international community  in a cost-effective manner.

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Chilungamo Chimawawa
Guest

APM and DIPHIPHI are taking Malawians for granted. they think Malawians are dull beacause in 2014 they managed to bribe Malawi Electrol Commission to win elections. But we saw how the MEC guys have been vehemently punished by God for their acts. I hope the remaining MEC guys have now learnt a lesson and it is my hope that this time around they wont rig elections.

Ngalamayi
Guest

Look at any developed democracy elsewhere in the world and you will see their leaders accountable for where they went, who with, and what was discussed: they are servants of the electorate which placed them in power. In Malawi, leaders do what they like, appear when they like, disappear when they like…and are answerable to no one. If Malawians don’t change the way they choose their leaders, they can expect this for the rest of their (and maybe their children’s) lives.

charombanthu
Guest

Do these morons understand that the President is our employee paid using our taxes and we deserve to know what he was doing out there? How can they insult Malawians through such sentiments like there is no law requiring the President to address the press? It just shows how incompetent these people are.

Achi
Guest

Useless govt.

Dipipi wa Yudiefu
Guest

Lost opportunity. Pita is being ill advised by his all dull ministers. He is a moron too, cabbage. The easiest course to study kunjakutu ndi law. Anthu sadzivatu kuMalawi. Most law institutions are simply rented houses in some suburbs or housing estates. Some few years back we used to have lawyers in this country who studied through correspondence in South Africa. Ndiye osamukweza kwambiri nkuluyu. He is equally a naturally born dull person. According to one of our learned politicians in opposition, our president is one of vitsiru vophunzira.

The Shooter
Guest

But we never see the fruits of these meetings. Every time you it’s the same story, “the president had a series of very important meetings for Malawi”. But as Malawians we don’t see the results of these so called “Important meetings”. Pure waste of our resources.

wpDiscuz

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