Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has held President Peter Mutharika by the balls, saying he should prove his governance credential by sacking presidential press secretary Gerald Viola who has been caught in controversy of power abuse after authoring a letter that asks government departments and agencies to advertise on Galaxy FM Radio which belongs to the late President Bing wa Mutharika, the brother to the current Malawi head of state Peter Mutharika.
In a leaked memo reported on Friday July 31, Viola was requesting government departments and agencies to make good relationship with Galaxy Radio by offering them adverts in order to bail the station from financial woes?
But Executive Director, Timothy Mtambo described the written memo as a clear demonstration abuse of power which he asked President Mutharika to fire Viola for conflict of interest.
“Gerald Viola probably had a backing of President Mutharika. If the President didn’t do that, Mutharika should demonstrate that he was not party to the letter in question and not condoning such malpractice by firing Viola,” said Mtambo
“Viola having once worked at Galaxy Radio again raises conflict of interest as the Presidential Press Secretary had acted as the Station’s Marketing Manager which isn’t health for the country’s leadership hence the demand for his sacking”, demanded Mtambo.
Viola until his appointment is a Presidential Press Secretary, once worked as a broadcaster at Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC) before he joined Galaxy Radio is 2012 when the station was launched whose directors are Duwa and Madalitso, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s daughter and Son respectively, who is the brother to the current country’s President Peter Mutharika.
Mtambo said Viola’s leaked memo is “clearly an abuse of office which is not only unacceptable but it is retrogression of the highest order.”
The rights campaigner said misleading and overzealous officers like Viola will not take Malawi anywhere but to destruction.
“How do you expect such officers to advise the president effectively to take this country forward,” wondered Mtambo.
“Viola has abused his office and power because in his job description as press officer I do not think he has any mandate to be the sells or marketing officer for any company let alone the company that belongs to the president;s family, and a company which was putting bread and butter on his table before he joined the government.”
This comes after a year the same State House was embroiled in an abuse of power on financial scandal in which the First lady, Gertrude Mutharika’s Beatify Malawi (Beam), cultural grouping Mulhakho wa Alhomwe gotten MK5 million and MK9 million respectively from National Aids Commission (NAC), yet the two institutions are not directly involved on HIV/AIDS activities.
This led to NAC’s loss as Global Fund Principal Recipient (PR) status for the country after the commission last year was involved in a financial scandal when wrongly disbursed grants to undeserving beneficiaries.
The financial mess at NAC prompted Malawi’s CSOs petitioning the two organizations in January early this year to refund the money to the commission which until now nothing of that sort has