Malawi: George Kasakula Geared to 'Sanitise' Mbc and Turn It Into a Professional Broadcaster

"I owe my allegiance to the people of Malawi, the owners of MBC."

The newly minted Director General for Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), George Kasakula says his priority is to turn the public broadcaster into a professional body.

Kasakula, who is Times Group Editor-in-Chief and an alumni of University of Leeds said: "I am going to MBC as Director General (DG) at a time when the state-funded broadcaster has both its image and reputation on the tenterhooks.

"My first job at MBC, therefore, is to sanitise the system and put in place boisterous measures that will change the dynamics and in the end turn the broadcaster into a reputable and professional entity."

Kasakula, who confirmed to have received a letter of appointment, said being appointed the head of the country's biggest, oldest and the only public broadcaster is a huge honour for him but at the same time it it a very taxing but fulfilling responsibility.

"I owe my allegiance to the people of Malawi, the owners of MBC and these are the people I will dedicate my life to serve without fear or favour," explained Kasakula.

Since 1994 when the wind of change blew Malawi and United Democratic Front (UDF) consequently took over the reigns of power after ousting the country's first president, Hastings Kamuzu, MBC been used as a political playground for politicians who have been using the broadcaster to drive their agenda and to castigate those in the opposition.

President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera and his vice, Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima promised Malawians to free MBC from political interference.

"When we take over government, we will let MBC to be free from political interference. MBC belongs to Malawians and not politicians," said Chakwera at the time he was campaigning for the presidency.

For the first time since Malawi attained her second Republic, MBC has hired a director general a thorough and procedural process as the post was duly advertised, candidates interviewed and in the end the vacancy is filled.

Information minister, Gospel Kazako who confirmed the appointment of Kasakula on Wednesday in an interview said:

"We promised Malawians that we will not be handpicking people from the streets and put them into positions. We said people will be appointed on merit and not on political connection and this is exactly what has so far happened at MBC and ACB."

"The Board of Directors for MBC has appointed (George) Kasakula as its Director General after passing the interviews.

This is a clear indication that the Chakwera' Tonse Alliance administration is delivering on its promises but at the same time clearing the rubble. We have a government that is doing what is supposed to be done," said Kazako.

During DPP era MBC was monopolised as the ruling party's mouthpiece and became a medium for hurling insults to those of contrary views with those in power.

At one point MBC insulted vice president Chakwera on a live television to a point of mentioning unprintable obscene words during a watershed time contrary to the tenants of broadcasting.

MBC was established in 1964 just soon after Malawi has had attained her independence from her colonial masters the British and prides itself as the mother of all broadcasters in country (Manthu wa nyumba zoulutsa mphepo and the late Aleke Kadonaphani Banda was its first native Director General.

The public broadcaster has four media outlets; MBC Radio 1, MBC Radio 2 FM, MBC online services and MBC Tv, formerly Television Malawi.

Independent Media consultant and former investigative journalist, Mcdonald Chapalapata in a separate interview said:

"Kasakula has a huge responsibility ahead of him. He has to fix that broadcaster. To do that, he will need to reset everything to factory settings. He must do away with, and, let go of people whose job is nothing but to lick politicians' bottoms.

"It is time we make MBC a professional broadcaster again as it is the country's greatest source of information and entertainment to the rural masses," said Chapalapata.

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