New Minister of Information Gospel Kazako has come out to clear the mist on his appointment which many feared could put him on a collision course in discharge of duties as he also owns and managed Zodiac Broadcasting Station (ZBS).
The privately-owned station has by far maintained a reputation of professionalism and independence and largely met the public’s expectations in its news coverage and programming.
The Minister acknowledged the concerns on his ownership of the station describing them as genuine and disclosed that an emergency board meeting will be convened shortly where he will announce his departure from the station.
“Certainly, I will be leaving Zodiak and someone will be running it and I will not be part of Zodiak. Of course that’s just technically, but what people might wish to know which they might want to compare notes with the people I have worked with is I honestly don’t even interfere or let alone even run Zodiak.
“I'm largely at my production company called Tiakalulu; but I know the need to respect to the public. We don’t need to put them in a situation where they would be worried with my appointment. So, certainly I will have to leave and certainly I will have to be someone that every other partner and every other stakeholder in the industry that reports to my Ministry should have confidence in what we’re doing,” clarified Kazako.
He promised to release a statement on the way forward on the matter stressing that Zodiak will maintain its standards.
“Zodiak will be what it has always been its got its editorial policy, it’s got its values ethics and that will not change because it’s just one Gospel Kazako that has been appointed to Cabinet.
“It is not Zodiak that has been appointed to Cabinet; but I know that we also need to do a few other things to make sure that we concretize that position so that they shouldn’t be any semblance of conflict of interest as put forward by some people who are concerned,” he said.
The Minister has promised improved communication in line with the Tonse philosophy of a listening government and that there will be a number of things it will be concluding in terms of planning which will be soon be communicated.
He pointed out that people must expect change in line with the changes they voted for and pledged to bring progress to the public to help them move on.
The new government spokesperson lamented that it is unfortunate that neighbouiring countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and others which went to war are far ahead than Malawi.
On the Access To Information Act (ATI) which has been gathering dust following its implementation in 2106, he stressed that the new administration has nothing to hide as it is transparent and a government of the people.
“This government is a government of the people, they have nothing to put under carpet. This Access to information will be operationalized make no mistake about it.
According to Kazako, the Presidency believes in telling the truth and stands by high standards of principles in ensuring that the truth is upheld.
“The Presidency in this country is one that is unique; one that understands very much. They have been there so they have nothing to hide, look what we should always remember is that people who are in government, people who are in public offices are in those offices on trust of the people that voted them in.
“So this government in its newness we understand all that. So access to information that will be one of the characters, access to information; that will be one of its pattern, access to information that’s what this government believes in because they are going in there without any ill intention; they are going there to serve the people, Malawians and ensure that people’s lives have moved forward,” said Kazako
He described as surprising and shocking that for many years when people are voted in government on trust, they were denied access to information to know how state affairs were handled.
Meanwhile National Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA) has congratulated Kazako on his appointment.
Namisa chairperson Tereza Ndanga is upbeat the new Minister will not be compromised in his new role as he understands the dynamics of the industry.
“He knows the challenges that the sector is facing and knows the solutions that we had together put forward to government so that they could implement those
“Now that he is in government, he needs no reminder of the need to implement ATI
“We pray therefore that he will find a way to ensure Zodiak where he is the MD, is free from government influence,” stated Ndanga.
She was upbeat Kazako understands the need to free up MBC as he has been an advocate of a free media.