Viola at it again: Angers President Mutharika over barring Zodiak

The decision to omit and bar journalists from privately-owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) from attending President Peter Mutharika’s news conference at Kamuzu Palace was unanimously made by embattled Press Secretary Gerald Viola and his errand boy Sylvester Namiwa without the knowledge of the First Citizen, Nyasa Times has learnt.

Viola:   Barred Zodiak
Viola: Barred Zodiak

Viola, who has lost grace in the eyes of the President for his poor performance, dictated to his junior Namiwa names of media houses and journalists he wanted at the news briefing.

Under his boss’s order, Namiwa dispatched invitations while deliberately leaving out Zodiak due to bad memories from the previous presser.

Four months ago when President Mutharika held a news briefing at the same venue on his return from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Viola bashed Zodiak journalist Theresa Ndanga and nearly denied her the microphone during question time. It was persistence that saw the female reporter grabbing the microphone to ask her questions.

Viola also attacked Zodiak alleging misconduct by the station during the July 20 2011 demonstrations and the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, the following year.

This time around when the Zodiak team arrived at the palace’s outer gate they found their names missing on the list and efforts to get clearance from inside proved futile as Viola and Namiwa refused to attend to the issue after being contacted by security personnel.

ZBS managing director Gospel Kazako said the media house, which runs a radio and television station, was not even invited to the news conference.

The behaviour by the two press officers has not amused both the President and Chief Secretary to government George Mkondiwa.

Both have separately reprimanded Viola and Namiwa for their unprofessional conduct which has reflected badly on the Presidency and State House alike.

Sources at State House say the President is embarrassed with what his press officers did because it does not tally with his philosophy for a free and professional media industry in a democratic community.

The future of Viola at the palace hangs in balance.

Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Jappie Mhango said Mutharika’s administration is “committed to working with all media houses.”

Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter president Thom Khanje called the incident as “ very unfortunate and unacceptable.”

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zenzene
zenzene
5 years ago

Leave the Moyas alone, they actually don’t know what they doing.They are completely lost.

bamusi
bamusi
5 years ago

Za Nyau Basi

Gabriel Phiri
Gabriel Phiri
5 years ago

What is needed at State house is a mature ver experienced communicator. The work there goes beyond basic to advanced journalism political awareness is a must.

Louis zephaniah
5 years ago

Mmmmm

student.
5 years ago

Potential replacements for viola: mzati mkolokosa, Henry chimbali, nations msowoya, innocent chitosi, sangwani mwafulira and mgeme kalirain why not choose any of these to help the state house

Malawi
Malawi
5 years ago

They are some how BIAS these ZBS

M'bujo
M'bujo
5 years ago

Let us think critically. To work with politicians is not healthy. Somebody above might have mislead Viola to act in that way….he is suffering for somebody’s decision…….

DEVELIAS KACHIPAPA
5 years ago

VIOLA, WHY?

aaron Kaluwa
aaron Kaluwa
5 years ago

Where did Viola got the courage to bar ZBS? I believe that there is more than what has been reported. Someone is using Viola so do not entirely blame him but blame the system.

Nyapala wamkulu
Nyapala wamkulu
5 years ago

ZANU zimenezo agalu inu !!!

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