Times Media Group has stopped reporters from covering the divisions in MCP.
On Saturday, there went viral a letter written by a camp led by deputy president Richard Msowoya and other top brass in the party.
In the letter Msowoya and his colleagues are condemning Lazarus Chakwera’s violation of the party’s constitution.
The move has exposed deep divisions in MCP.
And while all media houses in the country have published the story, sources at Times say Editor in Chief George Kasakula, an MCP operative, has told reporters and editors that he needs to establish the authenticity of the letter.
The authenticity of the letter has not been in question and secretary general Gustave Kaliwo who is one of the signatories has confirmed it.
It is said Kasakula has decreed that he will do the story himself after screening the veracity of the letter.
A reporter floated the story idea in a morning editorial meeting but Kasakula instructed the editors that he would do the assignment himself.
Kasakula does not do news stories. As Editor In Chief, he is a top manager dwelling mostly on administrative and policy issues.
“Make sure the reporter does not pursue the story. I will do it myself. We need to be careful about some of these documents. Many look fake including this letter,” Kasakula directed one of his editors.
Kasakula has imposed his political views at Times Group that all stories concerning MCP should be edited by him only.
Kasakula failed twice during primaries to run as MCP parliamentary candidate in Kasungu West.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that during one of his meetings with Chakwera he was promised a ministerial post if he helped MCP win presidential elections in 2019.
It is interesting that Times has opted to play politics after years of hardwork to make the media house independent and professional.
During the 31-year rule of MCP, Times was the party’s official mouthpiece propagating MCP brutality, murders of innocent citizens and abuse of human rights.
When Malawi changed to democracy, Times suffered serious image problem and was shunned by readers and advertisers alike.
This led to the media house unable to realize good revenue, to among other things, pay taxes to Malawi Revenue Authority.
Even as it tried to shake off the image of the past, the bills kept accumulating and today they run into billions of kwacha which it is failing to pay.
It reverted to being MCP mouthpiece in the hope that should MCP be in government, it will have its outstanding bills scrapped off.
But this has resulted in advertisers dumping it as they do not want to be associated with unprofessional journalism. Sales of its publications have dipped badly while those of its rivals are picking up.
With their company saddled by huge debts and unable to make good revenue coupled with poor management, Times reporters suffer serious labour violations in the country.
They are among the most underpaid they rely on handouts from news sources and the company has not been submitting their pensions to Old Mutual for years now.