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State House accused of targeting critics

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President Peter Mutharika’s State House is said to have embarked on a dirty campaign to silence all Malawians it views as critical of the administration.

In the past week, State House has particularly targeted Malawian writer, Stanley Onjezani Kenani, economist Henry Kachaje and Times TV presenter, Brian Banda.

According to a State House source who opted for anonymity, Kenani is being targeted because of comments he posts on Facebook. Kachaje is in firing line as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) operatives think he is a strategist for the opposition Malawi Congress Party. Banda is said to be disliked for his programmes on Times TV.

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Through blogs such as, malawiindependentblog.com, malawivoice.com, malawibrief. com and blantyrepost.com, State House publishes stories that aim at destroying the reputation of its targets.

On Wednesday last week, the four blogs ran a story claiming that Kenani was in trouble with his employers in Geneva,

Switzerland, for leaking a list of the Malawi delegation to the United Nations Summit in New York. The story further claimed that Kenani had been summoned for a disciplinary hearing.

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However, The Daily Times established that Kenani did not leak the said list. Besides, he is no longer based in Geneva, and no one has ever summoned him for a disciplinary hearing.

Our source has it on good authority that the State House is planning to create a sex scandal to humiliate Kenani with fake Whatsapp messages and photoshoped pictures. State House is also said to have come up with a plan to access Kenani’s call logs on his Airtel number without following normal procedures.

On Saturday last week, the four blogs wrote that Kachaje has been pestering State House to meet the President without an agenda. Kachaje denied the allegation.

The same blogs also ran a story accusing Brian Banda of using dubious educational qualifications.

According to our source, this is part of a broader strategy to humiliate and destroy all voices deemed to be critical of the government. The source said that others on the list are Times Group Editor-in-Chief, George Kasakula, Sunday Times columnist Madalitso Musa, writer Idriss Ali Nassah, activists Ben Chiza Mkandawire and Billy Mayaya, and editors of online newspaper, Nyasa Times.

When contacted, Kenani said he was aware of what was going on but declined to comment further.

Reacting to the story, State House Director of Communications, Bright Molande, was non-committal on the uncovered plans.

“Do you believe the story yourself? Send us a questionnaire with detailed facts about what you are asking. Send the questionnaire to Mgeme and I will alert him that he should expect a questionnaire from you regarding your issue,” he said.

Just three weeks ago, DPP Regional Governor for the South, Charles Mchacha, asked Mutharika to allow the party to use its deadly youth wing-the Cadets- to silence the President’s critics. The DPP cadets unleashed a reign of terror during the ill-fated term of late president Bingu wa Mutharika as they were implicated in beatings, petrol-bombings and death of government critics. The DPP government has developed cold-feet in investigations into these allegations claiming that they are still gathering evidence.

But the Malawi Constitution accords every person the right to hold, impart and express opinion without undue hindrance by state machinery.

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