OPC moves in to stop Malopa on MBC merger

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika is not happy with the maladministration by Malawi  Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Director General Bright Malopa has moved in to stop the merger of the two state broadcasters, Television Malawi and the radio MBC, Nyasa Times understands.

Malopa and his second in command, Director of News and Programmes Chimwemwe Banda had been at the centre of the controversial merger that has seen the state broadcaster dragged to court by some dissatisfied employees.

According to an insider in the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) , President Mutharika has not been happy in the way Malopa and Banda have conducted themselves over the issue to do with the merger.

Malopa: MBC merger fails

The President has since ordered his office, the OPC to quickly move in and put Malopa and his colleague Banda on leash before more chaos erupts at MBC.

Employees at the state broadcaster have spoken of how Malopa and Banda have removed highly experienced broadcasting employees replacing them with friends and relatives.

At a time MBC has been removing some employees on the pretext of conducting a merger for the two entities, the organization has also been employing new faces.

About two months ago, MBC dismissed about 20 employees that included Maria Bauleni and Bester Nyang’wa among many others.

However, following the intervention from OPC, the employees are now back at the broadcaster with some of them doing programmes and news reading.

According to OPC officials,  the merger at MBC was being conducted by Malopa and Chimwemwe Banda without even consulting on some of the decisions, a development that may see the broadcaster lose millions of Kwachas in tax papers money through compensations to dismissed employees.

Meanwhile, positions like those of Controllers that were changed to Managers have  now reverted including the old set-up.

MBC case in Parliament

In a related development, independent Member of Parliament for Lilongwe City North Jolly Kalelo took to task the Mutharika administration over the MBC merger in his contribution to the mid-year budget review currently in session in the administrative capital, Lilongwe.

In his address to the Malawi National Assembly, Kalelo, himself a former MBC presenter said that he was concerned that issues of the merger were not being properly clarified to the employees and the public at large.

The legislator who on more than one occasion was voted MBC’s Entertainer of the Year said that he had noted with concern that the merger was giving a priority to television than the radio station.

He said he had noted that emphasis was being put on the television ignoring the radio station instead.

Kalelo who in his days was popularly known as ‘O Lilongwe’ said he had noted that even staff, were being moved from the radio station to television station.

Finance Minister Dr Ken Lipenga himself a distinguished journalist and linguist agreed with Kalelo’s observation and that government was looking into the concerns raised.

The government pulse keeper however said that people should not expect financial woes related to the merger to be end in this financial year but rather the next financial calendar.

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