Minister of Sports and Culture Grace ‘Obama’ Chiumia has threatened an unspecified tragedy will strike journalist James Chavula who exposed the humiliating booing she endured at a Tumbuka cultural ceremony on Saturday.
The Nation Publications Limited (NPL) Bureau Chief for the North reportedly riled the minister with an article revealing the heckling she suffered at Gonapamuhanya Festival in Rumphi following her desperate attempt to reprimand Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya who asked leaders of all manner to always treat their people with respect.
On Monday, Chavula took to Facebook to offer a glimpse of a phone conversation in which the minister not only called him nonsense, stupid and corrupt.
Obama is also reported to have threatened: “Uwona tsoka. Zimene wachitazi uwona.”
The minister allegedly uttered the expletives using a private phone number though the journalist repeatedly requested her to introduce herself or use an unmasked number for feedback purposes.
When asked about the confrontation, Chavula said he did not want to “glorify the threats”.
“As a journalist, it’s not the first time I am receiving threats and insults from politicians. However, I decided to open up because keeping quiet strengthens the misconception that they can dress down anybody and get away with it,” he said.
It seems the reporter is not taking the matter lightly.
In the interview, he explained: “When she says uona matsoka, is she referring to a natural tragedy or an act of terror?
“Let’s not forget a minister is a top government official with powers, state machinery and party fanatics subject to abuse. Will Obama use all that or part of it to instil fear in journalists in the country?”
Her angry reaction comes barely a day after Speaker Msowoya stole the show at Gonapamuhanya having warned leaders against ranting and insulting people.
“Leadership is not about insulting the people. Treat them well and with dignity. I am saying this to all leaders, including Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe himself,” said Msowoya, who is also vice-president of opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The minister had a day to forget where she misconstrued the remarks as an attack on President Peter Mutharika who recently banged tables when the press asked him to account for a bloated delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.
She accused the Speaker of reacting angrily to errant legislators in Parliament, saying the president is human like any other person.
“Even Jesus got angry and chased away traders from plying their trade in a temple,” she argued.
The defensive speech sparked jeers, with some hecklers asking her to sit down and close her mouth.
Chavula writes that she expressed ignorance of the boos while ironically saying they might have emanated from MCP and People’s Party supporters in attendance.
The backlash is the first public protest to emerging arrogance in the DPP-led government which is grappling with a worsening economic meltdown.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :