Muslims force MBC to withdraw ‘propaganda’ interview

Irate Muslims who were attending an Islamic gathering on Saturday stormed MBC-TV premises in Lilongwe where they asked the state broadcaster not to beam an interview its journalist Charles Vintula did with one of Muslim cleric from Mchinji, Imran Omar earlier in the day.

The move followed a secret interview which Omar did with Vintula on behalf of the organizers of National Dawa Association of Malawi without the knowledge and consent of the organizers of a two day seminar held at the City Centre.

Reports reaching Nyasa Timessay Omar, a ruling DPP stooge who lives at Mkanda village in Mchinji district had sneaked out of the gathering around 9 o’clock Saturday morning to meet Vintula.

Chilumpha: Devout Moslem

The MBC journalist is said to have been instructed by one of the managers at MBC-TV head office in Blantyre, Chimwemwe Banda, to go to City Centre and pick Omar to Lilongwe studios for an interview on the agenda of the meeting.

According to an official at Lilongwe MBC-TV offices, Omar had received about MK100, 000 from a pro DPP official in Muslim Association on Malawi (MAM) to tell the nation through MBC-TV that the participants at the gathering had resolved to support Peter Mutharika’s presidential bid in 2014.

Peter Mutharika, the Foreign Affairs Minister, who wanted to be the guest of honour at the function, was told by the MAM officials not to attend the function to avoid politicising the religious gathering. He instead indirectly funded the gathering to the tune ofMK450, 000.

In his interview Omar told the TV reporter that Muslims who had gathered at City Centre Mosque had endorsed the presidential candidature of Peter Mutharika.

However when some Muslims got wind of the issue, they asked the organizers to discontinue the workshop and bundled Omar into the car around 2pm heading to MBC TV offices where the interview was withdrawn.

“Even in the Quran either Bible all prophets of God started their duties of spreading words of God at the age of over 40 years. Which means we Muslims who have gathered here in Lilongwe are for Peter Mutharika and we are against Atupele Muluzi’s because he has not yet reached 40 years,” Omar said in the interview which Vintula was forced to replay before angry Muslims.

Atupele, the 33-year-old Machinga North East parliamentarian is aspiring to run for presidency on UDF ticket. He is of Islamic faith. Apart from Atupele, another presidential hopeful, former vice president Dr Cassim Chilumpha is also a devout Moslem.

Imran was later barred from attending the gathering.

Officials who stormed MBC-TV included Secretary general of National Dawa Association Sheikh Shaibu Masasa, and two regional chairmen namely Jafali Kaunda for the South and Aman Chikopa for the Central.

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