Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola says he has risen above the fray to dissolve the tension that has engulfed the Muslim community in Mangochi and government agencies following a bust-up on Saturday.
There were reports on Sunday that Matola and Minister of Economic Planning and Development Ralph Jooma were roughed up in Mangochi by irate Muslims when the ministers tried to intervene in the recovery of an MBC-TV confiscated camera.
Both ministers have denied reports that they were beaten up.
But Matola confirmed in an interview yesterday that he has stepped up to resolve the matter by talking to all players in the fracas to make peace and coexist.
“Peace should prevail. I will try my best to bring that [peace] to community leaders. Where there is misunderstanding, there should be a third group to solve the problem,” said Matola.
On Sunday, a Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) Mangochi-based reporter Raphael Mlozoa was held for hours, but released without charge for announcing that Matola and Jooma were beaten up.
Matola said Mlozoa was reported to police for refusing to retract a story.
Mangochi Police Station officer-in-charge Elija Kachikuwo said Mlozoa was kept at the police station for his safety.
Online publications on Saturday were awash with reports that Jooma, Matola and an MBC-TV crew were beaten up for shooting videos at a mosque without consent. The reports further alleged that the mentioned people bled profusely.
Meanwhile, Jooma yesterday criticised some journalists who he described as irresponsible and unprofessional for publishing the alleged assault.
Speaking at the official opening of the sensitisation workshop for the private sector on the 2013 Foreign Private Capital and Investor Perceptions Survey, Jooma denied that he was beaten up in Mangochi.
“I am happy that the media is here because they can now see that I am alright; otherwise, if the reports were true, I would have been in hospital by now. There are some journalists that write stories without a basis only because the pens have ink,” said Jooma before officially opening the workshop.
Jooma did not, however, explain his version of the Mangochi issue.