‘Webster Thom’ comments annoys Mutharika

Member of Parliament for Thyolo Thava, Lifred Nawena’s comments on Capital FM that President Bingu wa Mutharika’s real name is [Ryson] Webster Thom has angered the citizen number one, who in turn has ordered Malawi Communications Regulatory (Macra) to gag the radio.

Macra summoned management of Capital FM soon after People’s Party deputy secretary general Harry Mkandawire blasted President Mutharika and his brother, Peter, that they were ‘Matchona’ having lived in diaspora for the better part of their lives and out of sync with the local people.

Mkandawire’s outbursts followed Nawena’s lively programme in which he disclosed that the President changed his birth name to the current one Bingu wa Mutharika – when he fled the country from dictator Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda.

Mutharika: Born Webster Thom

“Let me mention that the State President’s name which some of us knew long before in the early 70’s is Mr Webster Thom,” Nawena said in the Straight Talk consisting of in-depth half-hour one-on-one interview with host Brian Banda.

“I have been privileged to have been very close to the State President before 2009,” the free-speaking former university lecturer said.

“I knew him in 1972 when I was attending a course in Addis Abba, Ethiopia where he was working. I have in my possession his business card with his name Webster Thom on it,” Nawenda disclosed.

Government insiders said Mutharika was “furious” with Nawena’s comments mentioning about his real name.

“The President feels Nawena went too far and the radio should have edited the part which mentioned about Webster Thom,” said a State House source.

“Macra has been instructed by the President to ask  Capital FM to drop Straight Talk programme altogether or to be submitting its content to them before airing,” said the source.

Macra’s letter to Capital FM said the Straight Talk programme breached broadcasting licence and generally accepted broadcasting standards.

Nawena also said during the interview that Mutharika who is increasing becoming a tin-pot dictator has surrounded himself with ministers who are just “hand-clappers” and not free to offer his objective advice.

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