President Peter Mutharika is being persuaded to sack disgraceful deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works, Charles Mchacha over his use of obscene language after being involved in a row with a reporter of Nation Publications Limited (NPL) as an audio of his foul-mouthing rant went viral on social media.
In the audio which circulated on messenger sharing platforms such as Whatsapp and Telegram, the reporter Bobby Kabango recorded a phone conversation with Mchacha and the deputy minister actually challenged that he be on record.
Mchacha in the one who telephoned the reporter querying him why he had sent a questionnaire to Ministry of Lands over the controversial sale of Forestry Department land in Blantyre to him.
In trying to intimidate the reporter not to expose the sale of the land approved by a fellow Cabinet member, Minister of Lands Symon Vuwa-Kaunda, Mchacha insulted the reporter.
“I am not the only one who got a piece of land there. Over 600 plots have been sold [at Kanjedza],” he said in a highly charged tonne.
Mchacha gave a stream of abuse to the reporter.
“You are too stupid! Mache*** ako…. (f**k you), pa ***** pako” said Mchacha.
“You can record and report it. I don’t care,” added the irate Mchacha—who is also regional governor (South) for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
NPL deputy chief executive officer Alfred Ntonga lodged a complaint to Minister of Information Mark Botomani on December 18 2019 who said through a letter dated January 10 2020 that he was making consultations on the matter through Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale.
But Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), a network of 97 organisations, has asked President Mutharika to get rid of Mchacha from Cabinet in the best interest of Malawians as a matter of urgency.
“As the minister has openly declared that he doesn’t aspire for higher offices, we would like to agree with him that his conduct and attitude indeed does not suit a person in the high office of minister. We, thus, demand that he honourably resigns from his post with immediate effect,” reads HRDC statement.
The coalition pointed out that Mchacha’s vulgar mouth and conduct has brought disgrace to the government and the President.
Media watchdog, Misa-Malawi has also asked Minister of Information to assure the nation that Mchacha’s actions are not a true reflection of government policy to threatened and intimidate journalists working to uphold principles of transparency and accountability in a nation whose Constitution guarantees media freedom.
Churning out vulgarities is common among minibus touts in Malawi and Mchacha is a graduate of that school.
A social-economic commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani has said the verbal abuse Mchacha hurled at a journalist is “utterly reprehensible “and has no place in a democracy.
“We expect cabinet ministers to lead by example by expressing their opinions within the confines of civility. Clearly, the abusive language aimed at intimidating and harassing the journalist who was only doing his job. One would expect Mr. Mchacha – a senior government official – to be at the forefront protecting the rights of journalists.
“Media freedom is one of the freedoms we fought for in 1994, and it must be the duty of all government officials – cabinet ministers included – to ensure that journalists operate in an environment that is free and devoid of threats to their lives,” said Kenani.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :