Ombudsman Martha Chizuma has swiftly intervened in a case in which the state run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has fired its presenter, a person with albinism, because he had been critical of the government policies on protection of people with albinism.
The presenter, Ian Simbota, has confirmed in an interview that he would be travelling to Lilongwe next week to meet the Ombudsman.
“She asked for the letter of dismissal which I sent then she has asked me to see her in person and bring all other necessary documents,” said Simbota.
He also said a prominent lawyer has undertaken to take up the dismissal case to the court probono, or for free of charge after reading the issue in social media platforms.
Simbota is the president of the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM), a vocal voice that has been advocating for the protection of people with albinism in the country who increasingly face abductions and killings.
According to Simbota, he received the letter of dismissal this week after he complained to the acting Inspector General of police Duncan Mwapasa that his colleague at MBC was threatening his security.
He said Babra Mwandira, a confessed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadet was reposting posts by Simbota deemed to be critical of President Peter Mutharika, the DPP and the government.
Mwandira has just been employed as a producer/presenter and she vied in the May 21, 2019 local government elections on DPP ticket in Lilongwe but tumbled in the elections.
“I wondered why she started reposting my posts and this threatened my security as her cadet colleagues could have attacked me, probably disguising as the usual attackers of persons with albinism so I reported the matter to the IG,” he said.
He said Mwapasa acted swiftly and professionally by calling Mwandira but she denied doing it and the IG called the MBC director general Aubrey Sumbuleta to tell Mwandira stop the reposting of the posts.
However, Simbota said he was surprised to get a letter of dismissal this week.
He said the case he has been dismissed for happened last year when then minister of Information Henry Mussa visited the MBC offices in Blantyre as part of his familiarisation tour.
“The Honourable minister then told us to be open and tell him problems we faced at the institution. My only crime is that I told the minister that MBC has now turned to be a breeding ground for gossip.
” Members of staff gossip against each other to bosses in a bid to have them fired,” he said.
Simbota said this did not go down well with Sumbuleta who later after the meeting demanded evidence on the matter.
Simbota said Sumbuleta had been working against him for a long time.
“He ordered that I be off air without a convincing reason. I have been off air for one year and seven months. The reason is the same that I am always critical of the government on issues to do with the protection of people with albinism in the country. I do this because of my advocacy role in APAM,” said Simbota.
There was no immediate comment from Sumbuleta or other MBC senior management team members.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :