Malawi state broadcaster fires albinism rights activist Simbota


The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on 2nd March, 2020 fired its presenter Ian Simbota who is the current president of the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM).

This comes months after Overstone Kondowe was fired from the Environmental Affairs Department in the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Natural Resources for speaking against human rights violations directed at persons with albinism in Malawi when he was president of APAM.

Speaking to Malawi24, Kondowe who is now National Chairperson of APAM said Simbota has been fired for his criticism of the government’s handling of abductions and killings of people with albinism in the country.

Kondowe added that Simbota is a person with albinism who fights for the welfare of his fellow persons with albinism who face abductions, killings and torture.

“MBC has instead used flimsy, useless and cadetish reason to fire him in a bid to silence this outstanding voice on issues of protection of people with albinism.

“He had been warned before, verbally though, against attacking the ruling Democratic People’s Party(DPP) led government over floppy policies of people with albinism,” said Kondowe.

According to Kondowe, the issues that have led to Simbota’s sacking started last year when the producer told former Minister of Information Henry Mussa during a visit to MBC Kwacha studios in Blantyre that the state controlled broadcaster was a breeding ground for gossip as some members of staff were bent to have fellow employees fired.

This did not please the MBC boss Aubrey Sumbuleta who asked Simbota to give evidence on what he told the minister yet Simbota said this after Mussa had told the staff to be open and say problems, both personal or professional, they were facing at MBC.

Kondowe further said that, a few weeks ago, a DPP member who works at MBC was reposting in various social media platforms posts by Simbota which were deemed to be anti-DPP.

Simbota thought his security was at risk and he called the acting Inspector General(IG) Duncan Mwapasa to lodge a complaint.

Mwapasa reacted swiftly and positively by calling Sumbuleta, the MBC Director General (DG), to tell the party members to stop what he was doing because that was putting Simbota’s life in danger.

However, Sumbuleta went on to fire Simbota.