Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works Charles Mchacha on Tuesday visited Nation Publications Limited (NPL) head office in Blantyre to apologise for verbally attacking and intimidating NPL investigative journalist Bobby Kabango.
Mchacha used obscene words last December in a recorded interview with Kabango who was pursuing a story on how the deputy minister allegedly acquired public land in Limbe, Blantyre.
During the visit to NPL, Mchacha was accompanied by Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter executive member Mandy Pondani, Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) executive director Robert Mkwezalamba and board member Unandi Banda. Mchacha said he respects journalists and appreciates the role the media plays in a democracy.
He then apologised to Kabango, NPL management, Misa Malawi and the general public.
Said the deputy minister: “I apologise to you all, especially to you Bobby Kabango for my use of obscene language on you. It’s up to you to forgive me Bobby.
“I did that as Mchacha, and not as a Cabinet minister. As Mchacha, I have my own weaknesses and I am truly sorry for the words I uttered to you.”
Both Kabango and NPL deputy chief executive officer Alfred Ntonga accepted the apology.
He said NPL is an independent and non-partisan media institution.
Ntonga added the media house still awaits government’s response as NPL lodged a complaint to Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Botomani and Misa-Malawi on the matter.
On their part, Banda and Pondani commended Mchacha, who is also DPP governor for the Southern Region, for the apology.
Pondani said Misa Malawi will also wait for official communication from government through Botomani.
HRCC and Misa-Malawi issued statements earlier demanding Mchacha’s public apology. This is not the first time Mchacha has found himself in trouble insulting others. In November 2018, gender activists demanded that President Peter Mutharika fires him for his continued insults on women.