Minister begs Malawians in UK ‘stop reading Nyasa Times’

Malawi’s Health and Population Minister, Jean Kalirani, on Saturday addressed a handful of diasporans in London and demanded if there was anyone from Nyasa Times online publication.

The meeting took place at the Malawi High Commision office at 36 John Street near Holbon and lasted  for two hours. According to the High Commission, the objective of the meeting was for the minister to address Malawians in the UK and update them of developments in the southern African nation.

But according to Nyasa Times sources who were attended the meeting,  some senior officials at the embassy, former police Inspector General, Mary Nangwale who is the political advisor at the Malawi mission and counsellor for trade Vupe Kunkwenzu, decided to invite only those Malawians who sympathises with President Bingu wa Mutharika and DPP.

Kalirani: Nyasa Times is our enemy

Attacking Nyasa Times

Surprisingly, the minister asked the attendees to introduce themselves and what they do in the UK, apparently in an effort to know her audience, according to sources.

“After introductions were made, the minister spoke for very few minutes and lamented that there was no one from Nyasa Times,  saying she wanted to inform them that things at home are not
as bad as how they report,” said the source.

According to a brief audio sent to Nyasa Times editors through smartphone messaging application, WhatsApp, Kalilani said: “I am very disappointed to note that there is no one from Nyasa Times here as I want to tell them that we are developing Malawi beyond recognition under the wise leadership of His Excellency Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika.”

Kalilani went to town lecturing the gathering that only 10% of citizes in Malawi have access to Nyasa Times,  saying that 90 percent of the population are poor villagers who cannot access the internet.

“I wish Nyasa Times reporters were here so I could tell them the truth,” she said.

Kalilani, herself a medical doctor, said:“May I ask you people in the UK that you must not read Nyasa Times because it doesn’t write good stories about President Mutharika and the DPP.”

Nyasa Times sent three undercover operatives because they are aware of the sinister plot by Malawi government against its editorial directors.

“We don’t read Nyasa Times because we want to hear something good or bad about anybody, we want to be informed and if Nyasa Times can start practising sunshine journalism then we will stop reading it but as far they continue to dig deeper into their wounds we will continue and no one can stop us. If they want Nyasa Times to be writing good about them then they must start behaving well,” said a diasporian who opted for anonymity in retaliation to the minister’s remarks.

“We pay for ourselves to access Nyasa Times so no one can tell us what read and what not to,” added the diasporian.

Dodging Questions

The Health minister dogged group open questions and instead opted for a one-on-one questions with the attendees, saying she wanted to interact with the people on person to person level.

“She told us that she was going ‘to sit in a corner in the room’ where the patrons would go one by one to ask her questions. This was surprising to us who are not members of the DPP or do not sympathise with the current regime because of its failure to govern properly as we solely went there to ask questions and it appeared she was not comfortable with the group,” said another diasporan.

Anothersaid the minister’s behaviour in the meeting was rather weird adding that those in attendance of the meeting, especially those who were not Friends of the DPP,  felt that they were denied the opportunity to ask pertinent questions as she gave a lead of what to ask and not what to ask her.

“This is a lost opportunity for the minister to redeem herself and her Government in front of the Diaspora,” lamented one .

“I am not surprised that the minister opted for a closed one on one session. Last time Bingu himself came to the UK in 2003 before he got elected as president, he was grilled by Malawians. So I think that the minister has been warned not to field any questions openly”.

Trust Erosion

Many Malawians living in the UK are disappointed with the conduct of a few members of staff at the embassy who have turned the office into a DPP political head office in Europe. With the formation of the Friends of DPP in the UK, staff, mainly (Mary) Nangwale and  (Vupe) Kunkwenzu are now running the DPP political machine in the UK full time.

Those who are seen or perceived to be anti DPP are no longer welcome.

“We yearn for the years of Professor Francis Moto when the embassy was open to all Malawians regardless of political colours. Now you have to wear blue if you want to be welcomed at the embassy.  The atmosphere is no longer the same and we are reluctant to attend any function organised by the embassy”, lamented one Malawian from Coventry.

Second Time

This is not the first time that Malawian ministers have come to the UK and dissed Nyasa Times. A few months ago Education minister, George Chaponda, minister responsible for presidential affairs Nicholas Dausi and Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter Mutharika’s aide  Ben Phiri had to travel all the way from London to Nottingham and addressed Malawians in a Cavalry Family church  appealing to them to stay away from reading Nyasa Times.

Nyasa Times have names of those the Embassy in London pays to be spying on Malawians who are not loyal to the government or are critical of the current regime through social media networks such as Facebook.

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