28th September, 2011
For Immediate Release
The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has
learnt with dismay that journalist Joseph Mwale is receiving death threats
following his alleged publicising of a recording of private conversation
between Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Peter
Mutharika and former Deputy Minister of Sports and Culture, Charles
Mwale was recently fired by one of the country’s broadcaster and
Journalism training institutions, Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ), for
allegedly publicising the recording.
In an interview with MISA Malawi Wednesday, Mwale indicated that he has been
receiving death threat text messages through mobile phone. Said Mwale
“...one text message said...how dare you shame our next president? You
thought you were a hero? We will make you a villain because you will soon
die. Mind you, we monitor you and we control everything. We threatened
them and they sacked you. Now they are quite. This is operation 2011. You
will soon go to HHI.”
HHI stands for Henry Henderson Institute where there is a cemetary in the
Commercial City of Blantyre.
The journalist was fired for allegedly circulating Peter Mutharika’s
conversation with Mchacha on the internet. Peter Mutharika is currently
the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) anointed torch bearer in the
2014 presidential elections.
MISA Malawi deems such threats as barbaric, retrogressive and unwarranted
in an open and transparent democracy.
We also deem such acts as deliberate attempts at instilling fear to curtail
meaningful dialogue and debate on pertinent issues that affect our country.
We therefore strongly condemn such acts and call upon the authorities to
thoroughly investigate the matter.
We applaud Mwale for having taken up the matter with the police who have
since promised to investigate the threats. MISA Malawi is, however,
calling on the authorities and the police to openly denounce such barbaric
acts and for the law enforcers to protect journalists and indeed members
of the public who are constantly receiving threats from unknown persons.
Both Mutharika and Mchacha who were mentioned in the chit-chat have chosen
not to comment on the clip, which is circulating on social media including
You Tube. In the clip, Mutharika is analysing the loyalty of some top DPP
leaders, bringing in the question of trust in the run-up to the 2014
In the clip, apart from talking to MIJ’s Mwale, Mutharika wondered whether
MIJ was DPP loyalist and what he should tell the reporter about his
endorsement as DPP presidential candidate in 2014. Mutharika then
discusses potential presidential candidates from other parties who he
believed had started campaigning for the 2014 presidential race.
MISA Malawi is encouraging journalists in the country, including members
of the public, to report to police whenever their lives seem to be in
danger. We further advise journalists to be on the alert whenever they are
executing their duties.
Finally, we appeal to DPP heavy weights to strongly condemn these threats
which are likely tarnishing the image of the party and top party officials
and to take meaningful steps at ensuring sanity and democratic mentality
amongst party loyalists.
MISA MALAWI CHAIRPERSON