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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Malawi’s investigative journalist Gregory Gondwe goes into hiding: “I’m receiving threats from MDF, State House”

By Gregory Gondwe, Investigative Journalist

“In the wake of my second exposé concerning Zuneth Sattar and the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), I find myself in a perilous situation.

Military sources, the same ones who urged me to shed light on the happenings within the army, have now advised me to go into hiding.

This isn’t just about legal threats, which I was prepared to face head-on.

Yesterday, top government officials confirmed that the MDF intended to ‘arrest’ me for allegedly “endangering state security”—a vague and ominous accusation.

Given the potential for my situation to be ‘accidentalised’ with a seemingly plausible explanation posthumously, I’ve heeded the advice to protect myself. In this line of work, death can be disguised as an accident, and no hospital can revive a life once lost.

I’m aware that those who don’t share my perspective, or who may align with political parties of their liking, might trivialize my fears. But the reality is stark: an MDF intelligence officer can appear ordinary while harbouring lethal intentions. We have deaths whose circumstances remain unexplained in this country, and everyone goes back to their business in the aftermath/

The military believes it has a leak, and they think addressing it through me will solve their problems. However, the real solution lies in ensuring that public resources in a country as impoverished as Malawi are used rightly.

For too long, opportunistic army officers and government officials have exploited the MDF, hiding their misdeeds behind the shield of national security.

This isn’t new; it mirrors the infamous Cashgate scandal. The irony is that the MDF, whose role is to serve the citizens, suffers from a lack of resources. A poignant example was our reliance on neighbouring countries for helicopters during a cyclone disaster. It’s imperative for patriotic soldiers to recognize their duty to the public and demand proper allocation and use of resources.

Despite the personal risks, I remain committed to my journalistic duties. If we don’t hold those in power accountable, Malawi risks becoming a nation bankrupted by the greed of its politicians. I’ve witnessed some, including fellow journalists, mock my predicament. Some may underestimate the threats I face, believe they’re superior in their journalistic endeavours, or are perhaps compromised by the system themselves.

Today marks my youngest daughter’s birthday, yet I’m unable to celebrate with her due to the potential misuse of power by those seeking to protect their interests. While some may find this laughable, I stand firm in my conviction. My efforts, regardless of how modest or unacknowledged, are my contribution to my country.

In journalism, I’ve found not just a profession, but a calling to serve my nation, even at the expense of my family’s safety. I will not apologize for this dedication.
To those who disapprove: this commitment to truth is non-negotiable.”

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