Peter Mutharika slams media
President Peter Mutharika returned from the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (Unga) in New York and criticised the media against what he described as ‘negative reporting’ about the country.
Mutharika, who left the country on September 15, said Malawi is a model on ending child marriages and the fight against HIV/Aids, a feat, he said, is being recognised globally but “it is here where we fail for whatever reasons”.
The President, who has become accustomed to criticising the media for playing a watchdog role, said even the UN Secretary General, António Guterres encouraged other countries to emulate Malawi’s success in ending child marriages.
“It is very good that people outside the country are recognising [Malawi’s success stories]. But we also have to try, sometimes, to look at positives. We should get away from this negative attitude in this country,” Mutharika told journalists.
According to United Nations Children Fund, child marriages is a widespread problem in Malawi with nearly 50 percent of girls being married before or aged 18 years but initiatives to stop the practice have helped reduce the rates in recent years.
Chief Kachindamoto has received global recognistion for her leading role in ending child marriages. The President praised a documentary shown at one of the side events at the Unga featuring the Malawian chief as a marvel to watch.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chairperson Teresa Ndanga reminded Mutharika of the critical role the media have played in successfully ending child marriages as well as in the HIV and Aids fight.
She said the story of Kachindamoto has been told by the local media for a long time.
Ndanga, said in areas where things are not going right such as financial mismanagement, where billions of kwacha are being lost to corruption, journalists would continue to write the perceived negative stories.
“As long as bad things continue, journalists will never stop writing stories that are considered negative. But we do not write negative stories only. We just expect the President and his government to do what is right for the country,” she said.
The President said there were a total of 38 meetings in six days and he attended 16 as different Cabinet ministers and Malawi UN representatives attended about 22 meetings.
He also said there were also a lot of bilateral meetings, including the meeting with UN Secretary General and several investors.
Unlike last year when people waited at Kamuzu International Airport with different expectations due to Mutharika’s prolonged stay in the United States where he returned with one active hand, the President looked active and in good shape.
Vice-President Saulos Chilima, Cabinet ministers, heads of foreign missions, Democratic Progressive Party senior and ordinary members welcomed Mutharika who arrived on a chartered plane, Bombadier 9H-GCM.
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