Paramount Chief Kyungu of Chitipa and Karonga has rejected claims that he showed support for President Peter Mutharika ahead of the 2020 fresh presidential elections.
Kyungu said this at a press briefing at Karonga Museum on Sunday aimed at refuting and distancing himself from the contents of an article that appeared in The Weekly Globe newspaper dated Friday, May 15 to Thursday May 21, 2020 which screamed with the headline, “North ready to vote for APM in large numbers – Kyungu.”
According to the newspaper, Kyungu purportedly endorsed Mutharika at the elevation ceremony of Traditional Authority (TA) Nthalire to senior chief in Chitipa district on May 5.
The chief at the press conference cautioned media practitioners in the country to avoid reporting and publishing sensational material that will bring animosity in the country ahead of the June 23 Court sanctioned fresh Presidential elections.
Said Kyungu: “All what appeared in that particular paper is a total lie and fabrication. I never said that the people of the North will vote in large numbers for President Arthur Peter Mutharika. In the first place, I am not a Paramount Chief of the whole Northern Region, I am not a politician, I am not the spokesperson for the people of the North. What this particular reporter wrote over stepped his journalism jurisdiction.”
Kyungu further urged journalists to critically analyse facts before publishing their stories to avoid misleading people with stories written out of context to please their masters, saying a country like Malawi whose democracy is not mature enough needs responsible writing.
Graced by TAs Kilupula, Mwakaboko and Kalonga, Kyungu advised the reporter, editor and the publisher of the article to retract the story and issue an apology.
In an interview, TA Kalonga added that all what Paramount Chief Kyungu asked for from the deputy Minister of Local Government Jeffrey Grezelder was to relay a message to President Peter Mutharika to pay a visit to his sons and daughters in Chitipa and Karonga.
“I was there myself. Paramount Chief Kyungu never said anything on presidential elections. Let the reporter bring the audio clip that he interviewed Kyungu where he uttered that people in the north are ready to vote for APM in large numbers,” challenged Kalonga.
Madalitso Phiri, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Stringer who was the author of the article, said his article was changed by the newspaper to include false claims.
The Weekly Globe Newspaper Editor Charles Suwedi tossed this reporter to Iomme Chavula who asked for more time to crosscheck facts before commenting.
However, Media Council of Malawi (MCM) executive director Moses Kaufa described the development as unfortunate, saying if indeed the publication quoted the traditional leader out of context then the editor has to issue an apology to the chief, saying as gate keepers of information, it is bad to publish fake news.
“The editor of Weekly Globe Newspaper has to apologise to Paramount Chief Kyungu and retract the story to clean the mess and clear the damage that the story has caused to the chief and the whole northern region community,” Kaufa said.