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DPP’s attacks on media continue

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Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) acting Secretary General, Francis Mphepo, has taken a swipe at the media for “spreading negative stories concerning the government and the party”.

Mphepo was speaking at a rally the party conducted at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe on Sunday.

“I should say something about newspapers and what they are writing. The papers are saying bad things. Last night, they were circulating stories on the social media that a DPP vehicle was burnt with the aim of discouraging people from attending this rally. That’s not professional,” Mphepo said.

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He added: “A few days ago, you wrote in the papers, especially The Times, that His Excellency is not doing well on the issue of suspending Roads Authority Chief Executive Officer [Trevor Hiwa]. He appointed people to be handling such issues. Everything has its own procedures. If you don’t have stories, find other things to do… Leave our president alone.”

Mutharika, who spoke after Mphepo, also criticised the media for allegedly misrepresenting facts about DPP manifesto.

“Some newspapers are saying we are not doing anything. They are saying out of 10 things… actually, there are 33, they didn’t understand. They said [out of 10 things] we have done well on two things only. They don’t know that we are doing well in many areas,” Mutharika said.

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He promised that his party would continue delivering on promises it made before 2014 elections.

The attacks on the media come against the background of a resolution made by media owners and managers on November 7 2016 in the so-called Mount Soche Declaration that they would, among other actions, be forced to boycott presidential press conferences and give coverage blackout to Mutharika and his Cabinet ministers if the president and the DPP continued intimidating the media.

The Declaration cited Mutharika’s attacks directed at Zodiak Broadcasting Station and the Times Group.

During the Masintha rally, Minister of Agriculture, Water Development and Irrigation George Chaponda, Minister of Energy Bright Msaka, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu and Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano delivered statements about what is happening in their respective ministries.

Other than repeating what he told Parliament last week when he reported the government’s efforts in dealing with the food shortage, the only other thing of note which Chaponda said was announcing that Farm Input Subsidy Programme coupons had arrived in the country and distribution would start Monday.

Fabiano focussed on efforts being made to improve education, but he failed to acknowledge the closure of public institutions of higher learning in the country.

The DPP also unveiled some politicians as members such as former People’s Party (PP) publicity secretary Ken Msonda, former deputy speaker of Parliament, Jones Chingola, former Foreign Affairs minister Etta Banda and former deputy minister in both previous governments of DPP and PP, Bintony Kutsaira.

Others were former Chipani Cha Pfuko President Davis Katsonga, who is also Member of Parliament for Mwanza Central, Zomba Ntonya MP Patrick Makina and Lilongwe City Centre MP David Bisnowatty.

Msonda, who spoke on behalf of all the new members, said they had joined to assist the party.

“Politics has no syllabus. It is dynamic. We are ready to strengthen this party. More will join this party,” Msonda said.

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