3 May 2017

Malawi: 'Madcap' Malawi Politician Chaponda Hits UK Headlines After Comic Son Daliso' BGT's Golden Buzzer Act

Malawi's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president George Chaponda who was fired as Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development minister and faces corruption investigations has dominated headlines in the UK media following his comedian son Daliso Chaponda 'Golden Buzzer' act in Britain's Got Talent television show on ITV last Saturday.

Chaponda is under investigations for his role in the purchase of maize in Zambia but he was fired from Cabinet by President Peter Mutharika following a search and seize exercise conducted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) at his property where officers seized money in excess of K160 million stashed in suitcases, which they deposited with the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

But following the popular act of his son in the Britain's Got Talent, the UK media has focused on the father - a 74-year-old politician.

Headlines and articles however have not captured the impending investigations on corruption but his past role when he was Minister of Justice and attempted to ban passing wind in public.

The papers reported that comedian Daliso Chaponda - who will go straight through to the live semi-finals - was born in Malawi to the country's former Justice Minister George Chaponda who campaigned to pass legislation to criminalise flatulence .

"BGT's Golden Buzzer act is the son of Malawi politician who tried to outlaw flatulence", reads the headline in the daily Mirror newspaper.

The paper said in 2011, Chaponda campaigned to pass legislation which criminalised flatulence to promote "public decency".

He created the Local Courts Bill which read: "Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanour."

Speaking at the time, he said public flatulence was symptomatic of Malawi's changing political climate.

"It was not there during the time of dictatorship because people were afraid of the consequences," he said.

The Sun screamed with the headline: "Lite farter, like son Britain's Got Talent comic Daliso Chaponda is the son of Malawian politician who wants to ban farting."

However, in The Daily Mail, it was reported that Chaponda was contradicted by the other most senior Malawi official who said the 'fouling the air' means pollution. And the bid to criminalise farting did not succeed.

Interestingly, Daliso - who moved to the UK ten years ago - didn't reference his lawyer father in his act.

Instead, he wowed viewers with his sense of humour and astute observations about modern British life.

One of the judges Amanda pressed her golden buzzer following encouragement from the crowd, declaring that she hopes Daliso will win the whole show. Fellow judge Alesha said her face was 'hurting from laughing', while David Walliams said that Daliso 'should be a comedy superstar'.

Meanwhile Simon added: "Not only do I think you're an undiscovered little star. I could see you owning your own show. What you did was so funny, and naughty and unique."

And speaking on a ITV progam Lorraine, Daliso discussed his upbringing, which saw him move to Malawi from his Zambia home to avoid dictatorship, he went on to explain that he is proud to represent comedy in a world currently full of conflict and tension.

He said: "There's always humour but my main mission is to make humour out of things that are painful, that's the greatest triumph for me. It's how we cope.

"We need a comedian to win, the world is falling apart and we need humour."

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