By Deogratias Mmana:
Government suffered some embarrassment during Mozambique president Filipe Nyusi’s visit due to communication flaws.
Normally, the practice worldwide is that during an international conference, especially where delegates come from different language speaking countries, the host government provides translation equipment to enable the delegates follow the proceedings.
But Malawi failed to live up to that expectation on Monday and Wednesday when Nyusi was opening the fifth Southern African Development Community (Sadc) industrialisation week at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) and during a joint press briefing at Kamuzu Palace respectively.
When Nyusi was addressing the press in Portuguese on Wednesday, there was a communication breakdown as the majority of the delegates, including the media, did not have the Simultaneous Translation Public Address gadgets.
Nyusi took note of the communication breakdown and suspended his address for some time.
He was seen and heard giving instructions to his delegation to sort out the translation challenge. Officials from both countries ran around trying to fix the problem.
Some went to the Mozambican official who was providing translation from a cubicle and told him to move to a standing microphone on the far right of Nyusi.
But he was seen resisting as he thought that delegates had the translation equipment.
Another official from the Ministry of Information carried a piece of the translation equipment to Chakwera’s podium but it was not working.
Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako, walked to Chakwera’s podium and was seen engaging the President in a low tone. Chakwera was heard saying “it’s alright.”
Nyusi signaled to the media to have the equipment on and Times and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation reporters grabbed and put on the equipment. But it was dead.
Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zangazanga Chikhosi was seen trying to fix his equipment but later gave up and dumped it as it was also dead.
Nyusi resumed his speech after his translator moved from the cubicle to the standing microphone where he provided the translation loudly.
The communication problem was also witnessed on Monday when Nyusi was opening the fifth Southern African Development Community (Sadc) industrialization week at the Bingu International Convention Centre.
The majority of the people did not follow his Portuguese speech because they did not have the equipment.
Asked about the communication mishap, Kazako said he would look into the matter.
“We will look into that. We will liaise with State House, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we will take a lead to ensure that we have enough equipment,” said Kazako.
Sources at the Ministry of Information said the State House was to blame for Wednesday’s mishap because it requested for the equipment when the briefing was about to start.
The sources said the ministry should have been told a day before the event so that the gadgets were charged throughout the night.
They further said that the equipment is old as it was purchased in 2009 and that no government has since shown interest to invest in new equipment.