President Joyce Banda arrived in the country yesterday, October 10, from the US where he had gone to attend the UN General Assembly.
The President arrived through the Chileka airport and headed to Sanjika Palace where she met the men of the press who had been promised a press briefing at the Presidential palace.
The much expected press briefing did not satisfy the expectations of many a Malawian if the varying reports and commentaries obtained from the social media are anything to go by.
One thing that one gets from observing the press conference was that the President had engaged his combative gear long before she had even thought of hosting the press conference. Just after the press briefing statement from her US visit was read, President Banda took over to offer defences for her personality and government that has witnessed a scandal in recent days.
“First of all, I am back from the US and I was not admitted at a US hospital of course,” said she reacting to comments on social media that said that she had been admitted at a US hospital for a high blood pressure.
“Secondly, I did not visit Mr. Paul Mphwiyo in South Africa as the newspapers here reported,” said Banda in reaction to The Nation’s front page story yesterday which indicated that President Banda had made a stopover in South Africa on her way back home and had spent some hours with the shot Budget Director, Paul Mphwiyo. President Banda then went on to condemn the media for failing to do their role properly in investigating by just publishing what she wants the nation to believe is fake news.
President Banda then went into the session of answering questions from the press, a situation that was dramatic in itself. At one point, President Banda had to resort to playing the gender card when she was asked if she could not just ask the Speaker of Parliament to declare her assets to the public. When asked where her PP has gotten the money to acquire a fleet of vehicles, President Banda used the defence of UDF and DPP having vehicles too.
There were moments when the President engaged in a debate with the members of the press, especially Fredrick Kamnthunzi of Matindi FM as she did not allow him to finish his question properly before butting in with an interjection.
The press briefing which was attended by over 30 ministers, PP executive members and some part supporter who clapped hands at almost anything the President said has been condemned by MISA Malawi as not having given the press a favourable environment for the journalists to ask their questions.
The president only took questions from four journalists.