Government reprimands The Times of London on President Chakwera’s report

By Our Reporter:Lmk

The Malawi government has dispatched a strongly-worded letter to the Editor-In-Chief for Times Newspapers Limited, and copied it to the Chief Executive Officer, Independent Press Standards Organisation in London, reprimanding the Times of London for its article recent article on President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera trip to the UK, which it says contained ‘lies’.

Director of Information Chikumbutso Mtumodzi has confirmed the Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson, Gospel Kazako has written the UK publication abhorring its blatant disrespect for Malawi’s Head of State and its sovereignty as a nation state.

In the letter Ref. No. INF/ADM/04/01, dated July 28, 2021 and captioned “Retraction of an article titled ‘Malawi’s leader blames it on the broadband as he flies entourage to Britain for video summit’; the times; Monday, January 26, 2021”, Kazako says the Government of Malawi has written the letter following a London Times article, “which insinuated that the State President of the Republic of Malawi, His Excellency Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera had travelled to the United Kingdom to attend a virtual meeting due to poor internet connectivity in Malawi”.

“The fact of the matter is that the Malawi President is attending the Global Education Summit financed by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) slated for July 28-29, 2021 upon the invitation by the Summit Co-chairs, Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. Other leaders from other African countries such Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are also attending the Summit together with Malawi’s President,” the letter reads in part.

The letter says it is sad that The Times took the wrong avenue and published a fictious story, sourcing information from Social Media, which is the epicentre of gossip and political slurs. (The) Malawi Government demands an apology and outright retraction of the malignant story alongside a total withdrawal of the story from all Times platforms, it reads.

The spokesperson says the government is offended and takes this as an attack on the whole nation “because the facts are bare and can easily be verified with organisers of the Summit.

“We are forced to assume that your publication is now geared at creating a communication melee which we suspect is attempting to isolate Africa from the global village.

“The Times may wish to note that GPE is the largest global multilateral fund dedicated to education in developing countries which aims at strengthening education systems in developing countries to increase the number of children accessing education. Malawi is one of the developing countries that has been supported by GPE since 2010.

“It is my hope that Times will accord my communication, on behalf of the Government of Malawi, the attention it deserves considering the unnecessary confusion this reportage by Times has created,” concludes the letter.

In the said edition, The Times reported that President Chakwera had “flown 7,000 miles with a ten-strong entourage to attend an online conference being chaired from London, claiming that his country’s erratic internet makes it impossible to work from home”.

The newspaper also claimed that President Chakwera landed in London “with a delegation that included his wife, daughter and son-in-law” for the summit.

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