MISA Malawi is deeply concerned with threats on Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) Editorial Director Gregory Gondwe.
Gondwe is currently in hiding, on advice from military sources, following his expose’ on the payments that Malawi Defence Force (MDF) made to businessman Zuneth Sattar, a fraud suspect under the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) probe.
“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,” Gondwe wrote on his Facebook Page.
MISA Malawi engaged the Army Commander General Paul Velentino Phiri and the Attorney General (AG) Honourable Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda on the matter and they have both assured us that there are no plans to arrest Gondwe or intimidate him for writing the story. We hope and trust that these assurances are true and sincere.
We would like to remind government bodies and all citizens that threats on journalists are retrogressive and a threat to democracy.
We believe that if MDF or any other concerned parties have an issue with the media, they should use proper channels to raise such issues, but military interrogations and threats are not among those channels.
The threats on Gondwe’s life have a chilling effect on journalists and the media fraternity. As a democracy, Malawi should not slide back to the era of heavy-handedness on media and critical voices.
We will continue engaging the leadership at MDF and the office of the Attorney General to ensure the safety of Gondwe and a free and conducive media operating environment.
MISA Malawi Chairperson Golden Matonga
Cell: +265 99 616 9705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
MISA Malawi National Director Aubrey Chikungwa