Malawi President Joyce Banda has suspended the country state television, the Malawi Broadcasting
Corporation television (MBCtv) Director General, Mr Benson Tembo, on the allegation that he had defied
orders from the authorities.
A letter to Mr Tembo, signed by MBCtv board Chairman Evan Namanja said the TV boss was to
proceed on forced leave for failure to take instructions.
President Banda had instructed MBC to stop airing the partial results of the election.
However, MBCtv–the officially appointed station by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC)–continued airing the results.
A letter that was issued on May 23, to Mr Tembo reads: “I am directed by government that you should proceed on on leave with immediate effect until further notice for failure to take lawful instructions from authorities.”
Mr Tembo said he was aware of the development.
Tabulations of votes was going on following the elections that took place on May 20, and according to
unofficial reports that MEC accredited media houses have been airing, President Banda was trailing.
The results indicated a neck and neck between Dr Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party
(DPP) and Mr Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter condemned the government for the
suspension, saying it was unfortunate that President Banda issued the directive.
“Mr Tembo was only doing a service to the nation, there is nothing wrong in what he did,” it said.
Mr Tembo is a career broadcaster who worked with MBC for years before his redeployment to Kenya as a High Commissioner in 2004.
He was later sent to represent the country in Zimbabwe before being assigned again as the Director General of MBC soon after the demise of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
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