Chairperson of the Malawi’s media watchdog MISA- Malawi Anthony Kasunda on Saturday night accused Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu of lying to the nation that government was caught unawares on the rejected Declaration of Table Mountain which representatives of journalists wanted President Joyce Banda to sign last week.
Kasunda, who was speaking during the award presentation ceremony to the deserving journalists and media organizations held as part of World Press Freedom Day celebration in Blantyre, was responding to media remarks by Kunkuyu that MISA-Malawi goofed by luring President Banda to sign the declaration without following proper channel which includes going through his ministry.
The seemingly charged Kasunda, who said he was borrowing a leaf from frank talking TA Bvumbwe, [who rebuked President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party in her presence] told Kunkuyu the guest of honor at the function, that by saying that Banda administration was caught unawares to sign the media accord means that “the government is mean with the truth”.
“I will borrow a leaf from TA Bvumbwe. Our guest of honour you will recall that MISA-Malawi started engaging your office for the President to consider signing the Declaration for Table Mountain some time last year. There was even a request for a meeting between the World Association of Newspapers and MISA- Malawi on one hand and the Minister of information on the other, to discuss this declaration.
“You will also recall honorable minister that MISA Malawi met you in November last year I discussed the same issue and actually gave you the copies of the declaration at your office in Lilongwe. In fact the special rapporteur on the freedom of expression and access to information the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights of African Union visited the country in February this year but before she came she had already sent a request to the state president.
“She even rescheduled her visit to fit into the president’s program. The special rapporteur wanted to discuss the same issue. But the president refused to meet the special rapporteur. Sadly the vice president who we were told was delegated also refused to meet the special rapporteur. To make matters worse you the minister also refused to meet the special rapporteur who came in the country,” narrated Kasunda amid applause and handclapping from largely the media practitioners who jam packed the Mount Soche Hotel.
Kasunda added that luckily Malawi was served from the embarrassment by the former Principal Secretary (PS) in the ministry of information the late Anthony Livuza.
“Ladies and gentlemen the PS of the information the late Anthony Livuza, may his soul rest in peace, who I am fully aware was not delegated served us from the embarrassment by inviting the special rapporteur to his office where she presented all the relevant documents including the Declaration of the Table Mountain to the ministry. And I hurt us honorable minister that the government was taken unawares to sign the declaration and for me the government is mean with the truth”.
However in his speech Kunkuyu denied having shunned the Africa Union special rapporteur saying any PS cannot hold meeting without been delegated by the line ministry.
“In fact I was the one who delegated Livuza because no PS can hold a meeting on his own without being delegated by the line ministry,” he said.
Kunkuyu also said it is not true that the President has rejected signing the declaration but according to Kunkuyu President Banda was not able to sign the media accord by 3rd May as was requested by MISA-Malawi representatives.
“This means that she would sign it any day from this day,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Malawi journalists delivered the petition to the President through the Blantyre City Council in which they are among other things asked Banda to reconsider her position on the Declaration of the Table Mountain.
They have also asked Banda that the presidential news conference should be treated as news conferences and not as party rallies.
The journalists have expressed their desire to see to it that the state broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation is serving the interest of all Malawians and not a particular group and also have appealed for the speedy process of enacting the access to information law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :