Good people, MBC appears to be back on the same wavelength as entertainment enthusiasts.
The state-run broadcasting corporation might not have stopped from taking sides with ruling party elites in its content, but a familiar soundtrack has re-emerged that seems to suggest sanity did not die the day impartiality evaporated from its dealings.
The comeback of Entertainers of the Year. They market it as ‘The Return’ and it must be—for the end-of-year awards, which used to extend the mic across to ordinary Malawians to name the best of the best on the entertainment scene, has been on pause since 2008.
But the long-awaited show should not come back bigger.
It must come back more credible.
In terms of awards, credibility will never be people voting themselves or their favourites a thousand times—as did some MBC presenters in a desperate attempt to win an award the legendary Phillip Mwalamoyo always scooped deservingly.
Those were the days of letters!
Now, life-changing technologies offer MBC the ease to deliver free and fair awards with the members of the general public truly taking part and satisfied with the outcome.
When Entertainers of the Year collapsed, entertainment awards became a laughing stock—hand outs. Pastors stole in the name of recognising gospel music, entrepreneurs dished out awards to their kindred as worthy candidates walked empty-handed simply because they got one previously.
The tragedy is that the tricksters, including Music Union of Malawi, wanted companies to sponsor their gongs and citizens to buy tickets to their poverty alleviation galas.
Even State House hosted its fair share in Our People, Our Pride—another MBC brainchild which largely benefited foreign artists while impoverished locals yawned for a crumb or two.
Awards went to the dogs and Entertainers of the Year suddenly looked saintly.
Yet, an inside story is told that the last time MBC held the entertainers award, organisers received a last-minute order to strike off Si Jacuzzi, the people’s best song of 2008, and replace it with Joseph NkasaMoseWalero.
In the Big Brother’s mind, the hit with most votes deserved zilch because its maker, Lucius Banda, was critical of the then president, BinguwaMutharika, whom Nkasa’s song praises as Malawi’s Moses—a saviour.
That is politics, a no-brainer when deciding whether an art offering is a hit or miss.
Kick out the one-sided political games that almost killed Entertainers of the Year and left its credibility questionable. They make stuff MBC foul-tasting.
In The Return, the station for the nation has to show that it is serious and repentant enough to serve Malawians in Chamama, Chididi, Chinunkha and Chiyendausiku with something they can trust.
It begins with depoliticising their minds.