Panic as MBC goes off air on Mutharika’s live coverage

There was panic at Nsanje Boma MBC outside broadcasting unit and the Broadcasting House (BH) at Chichiri in Blantyre following a blackout that ensued during a live coverage of President Bingu wa Mutharika.

President Mutharika was in Nsanje to officially launch the long awaited and heavily politicized 50km Nsanje-Bangula road.

Transmission went off for seven minutes (11:00am-11:07am) while Minister of Transport and Pubic Works Muhamad Sidik Mia had just started addressing the people.

The minister was called upon to invite Mutharika to address the gathering that had thronged Nsanje Boma to witness the historic launch of the road which turned into a DPP political rally instead of a government function.

Mutharika: Off air

MBC employees, among them¸ Cosmas Tchale, who was the live presenter, were visibly under panic as they consulted one another, with sole sound engineer at the event, Emmanuel Mphalare, busy touching this button and that to restore transmission.

Some workers were also seen making endless phone calls at the BH, while running up and down.

During the seven minutes, the producer at the BH was forced to play the popular Democratic Progressive Party’s 2009 campaign song ‘Tiyende pamodzi ndi mtima umodzi.’

Transmission was only brought back while President Mutharika was way deep into his address.

If it were during the one era regime of Malawi Congress Party of Dr Kamuzu Banda, one or more employees of the state broadcaster would have today become jobless because they were going to be fired or suspended. Detantion without trial could have been another thing.

In her speech, Member of Parliament for the area, Nsanje Lalanje, Feremenga Chelewani said, amid boos from the people, chiefs in the area had wanted the road to be named after Mutharika but the president refused and instead settled for Khuluvi Highway.

However, reports say some selected MPs from the Lower Shire districts of Chikhwawa and Nsanje among them Sam Ganda, Sidik Mia, Joseph Tembo and Chelewani approached Mutharika where they sold the idea of the name but the president refused.

Mutharika refusal follows a strong resistance from people, parliamentarians and business tycoons and several chiefs in the Northern Region where a few chiefs sat down and decided to name Chitipa-Karonga road as Bingu Highway.

Earlier, the president also changed his route line arrangements by opting to go by road as opposed to flying directly as he had earlier planned.

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