MALAWI’s President Lazarus Chakwera has faulted the media for putting the country in bad publicity and reporting rumours without cross checking with relevant authorities in his Government.
Chakwera who is assuming chairmanship of regional body Southern African Development Community (SADC) later this month, said on Sunday that negative news reporting and rumour mongering in the country’s media had potential to negatively affect national interests and taint the country’s image.
He was speaking during a press briefing at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe upon his return from London, United Kingdom (UK) where he attended a Global Education Summit on invitation from UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyata who co-hosted the event.
Chakwera strongly denied news reports that he appointed his daughter, Violet to a foreign mission in Belgium. He challenged the media to verify with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to prove his innocence.
“You [media] should realise that you are the country’s online ambassadors. You should know that anything you report is regarded as gospel truth by the international community. I was surprised to note that rumours about my daughter’s purported appointment to Belgium were even picked up by BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation],” he said.
He said he was a dedicated protector of freedom of expression, nevertheless he urged the media and the public in general to exercise the freedom with responsibility to avoid infringing on others.
Chakwera said his trip to a virtual conference in the UK was very fruitful as he secured various pledges from bilateral and multilateral partners. Among others, Chakwera said the UK pledged 100, 000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to Malawi, apart from multilateral partners who pledged K4 billion support towards the country’s education sector from 2021 to 2025.
In his speech, Vice President, Dr Saulos Chilima congratulated the president for representing the country well at the global summit.
The Vice President also congratulated Chakwera for his impending SADC chairmanship.
Earlier on, Chakwera declared two days of national mourning for 21 people who died in a road traffic accident involving a freightliner and a Toyota Coaster along the M1 road in Ntcheu in the early hours of Sunday.
The 21 people, including 18 women and three children died on spot while eight others were seriously injured after the Toyota Coaster they were travelling in was hit from behind by a freightliner registration number LA 5591.
It is believed that all the passengers in the Toyota Coaster were returning to Chikhwawa after an exchange visit with a fellow women grouping at Chindoole Village, within Mlanda area in Ntcheu district.
After leading in a minute of silence in honour of the dead, Chakwera said it was a tragic moment for the country to lose all such people in one road accident.
- via Nyasa Times