President Joyce Banda received praise on New Year’s eve after she claimed during a Zodiak Radio’s questions-to-the president programme that she has and will never harass the media during her presidency.

That is the face of innocence that Joyce Banda wears in public. But she is quite the opposite in private and behind closed doors.

As she was making this claim of giving the media a free rein in Malawi, the Director General of MBC, Benson Tembo, was undergoing medical check up to his brain in South Africa after undergoing surgery at Mwaiwathu Hospital in Malawi to remove a blood clot in his head.

The blood clot was a result of Tembo collapsing in the bathroom at Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi when his blood pressure shot after being attacked by President Joyce Banda in a one-on- one meeting at Chikoko Bay, where she accused him of being a flop who was not making MBC to be helpful to the PP administration, accusing him of being a sympathiser of Atupele Muluzi, whose father appointed Tembo, the first and founding Director General of Television Malawi before it was merged with MBC radios to become one organisation.

A process is currently underway to have Tembo removed and replaced by a member of staff at Joy Radio, who is said to be a source of Joyce Banda to the alleged relationship between Tembo and the Muluzis

Tembo is being put through this harassment at a time when his wife, a member of parliament in Neno, is bedridden in South Africa, paralysed after being involved in a road accident at Phalula in Balaka almost some four to five months ago.

This was just one of the many times Tembo, who returned to MBC promising professionalism, has been squeezed by Joyce Banda that Tembo’s MBC was not helping in the President’s cause.

During one of the meetings with Tembo, President Banda said that when she told Tembo that MBC should open up she did not mean that the door should be completely open.

In her words, “even when the door is slightly open, it is still open.”

After this meeting, the voices of the opposition or critics of government which had started emerging on MBC disappeared completely.

When she returned from overseas, and Jayne Gogodas, prompted by the promised professionalism, asked the President to comment on the view of some observers that the president was “not a God fearing president, but a donor fearing one,” Tembo was queried why he allowed a former wife of Muluzi’s relative to be at the press conference.

He was instructed never to allow Gogodas at such functions again.

The spying and undermining of authority culture has returned at MBC courtesy of Joyce Banda. Wellington Kuntaja, without the knowledge of the Director General or any member of senior management, has been told to move to Blantyre from Lilongwe immediately to become Director of News and Programmes, a position which was a recently advertised and Kuntaja never applied for, obviously because he does not have the qualifications that were sought.

The instructions to move Kuntaja have come from Joyce Banda through her Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu.

Kuntaja never possesses any formal qualification in journalism apart certificates of attendance to workshops and seminars. His major assets which have seen him occupying senior positions at MBC are gossip and bad mouthing other people.

Kuntaja will be taking over from Halmiton Chimwala, a young and intelligent graduate, who has been acting in the position but cannot be confirmed in it because he is not a gossip and a PP sympathiser.

Recently Kuntaja has been seen acting as Director of Ceremonies at President Joyce Banda’s functions.

During Mutharika’s administration Kuntaja was removed as Chief Editor because of lack of qualifications befitting the position. But out of sympathy he was made Bureau Chief of TVM in the North. And after the death of Malani Msowoya and merger of TVM and MBC radios, Kuntaja became Regional Manager, again on humanitarian grounds not qualifications.

In Lilongwe he has been busy undermining his Regional Manager, Sphiwe Banda, who is more qualified than him just because he has a direct line and access to President Joyce Banda.

Frank Kapesa is another agent of President Joyce Banda. Recently on a couple of times he has relayed messages and instructions to his Director General from Joyce Banda without any sense of remorse.

And to crown his closeness to the President, he has just secured a study leave of two years, the kind of leave that was removed from the organisation’s regulations, at the instructions of President Joyce Banda.

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