A response to government appointment of Bright Malopa as deputy director general of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation. Entitled BYE-BYE BRITANIA,it was posted on malawitalk in january 2007.
Friends and critics,
I have no words to express the warmth and support my family and two little children have received from friends,relatives and the people of the republic of Malawi. Expressions of support have come from as far as government officials to my village headman.In this season of goodwill and fellowship I am well aware of the expectations my appointment alongside that of my colleague Mr Patrick Khoza has generated .
Iam also aware of the many calls there have already been on those who are not wishing us well. But I want to draw your attention to the plight of a victim scarcely less deserving than the causes for which you recently rang and wrote –“The Malawian mindset”One that seems to suggest that only those that have a background in journalism should have a monopoly to enjoy managerial positions at the nation’s broadcasting house, a position laughably being pursued by NAMISA ..Sadly this is a mentality that has led our nation’s broadcasting house into this sorry state.
A sorry state that seek to believe in running a media house in an ever growing demand driven environment using journalistic theories and article scribbling experiences as opposed to best business practices.A sorry state that has seen the current DG and the DDG inheriting their offices without handovers.A sorry state where the nation broadcasting house’s has news reporters and their senior managers isolated from the cyber world,A sorry state where support officers went as far as going outside office complex to engage in car washing “ganyus” during working hours And finally a sorry state where all vehicles are grounded except 3 with none in the central and northern regions.
As some of you may know, in contrast to the DG, and to several other senior managers at MBC, I'm a relative newcomer to the topic of public broadcasting and its role in contributing to the development of civil society. But like so many of you who have invested your trust and confidence in me, I have been brought to it by both the demands of my work as a professional marketer, and my personal experience as the former moderator of Malawitalk.
Ever since I obtained my first Malawian passport some 15 years ago, I've devoted my life to the notion of “malawianness”, and I've had my eyes and heart opened as I traveled through emerging democracies , a thing which has been a motivating factor whenever an opportunity arise to contribute to the development of my country be it in my private or official capacity.
Now that the government of Malawi through the ministry of statutory corporations and the board members of Malawi broadcasting corporation gave me a rare opportunity to steer this organization to safety lands , I feel a real sense of urgency about changing not only MBC’s mindset but also that of its listeners so we can breed and cultivate , a culture of enterprise that encourages people to get on as far as they can, with decent public services and a net beneath which no one can fall.
Like many of you, we at MBC want to make a difference. We are currently re-evaluating our strategy and role. We want to identify where in the world it is important for us to be, and to join forces with other organizations that can help make our presence useful and effective, with the resources available.
We have received enormous amount of support from government and have been told no any other advice other than to uplift the organization from its current mess and direct it towards self financing.As public service broadcaster, MBC has helped build civil society and democratic institutions in our country. Many of its listeners have also contributed to social development outside their own borders. I have tremendous admiration for the work that many of the serving broadcasters at MBC have done and are doing in this regard.
Personally, I accepted the offer fully aware of its challenges. I accepted the offer for the very simple reason that it is a hard job. As others have suggested, It could have been a good idea to secure employment with foreign office so I could work at one of Malawi’s leading embassies as its trade attaché. But doing that would have been doing what I together with other friends –the likes of Watipaso Mkandawire,Dr Lweya,Levie Nkunika,Mr and Mrs Kandulu and many others were already doing in trying to shape the future of Malawi’s foreign investment with the direction and guidance of Malawi’s mission representative to the UK Dr Francis Moto.
Going for an appointment whose tasks were evolving around something I was already doing in my spare time was a demotivating factor. And so I did it intentionally because easy jobs are for light minds and those who are not willing to take risks, not that I have a tough mind although I may agree with anyone who may say so.I accepted the offer well knowingly that despite few comforts it may bring, by and large the nature of the DDG office has envy, jealousies, gossiping and backbiting as its occupational hazards.
There is plenty of evidence on nyasanet and open display of envy by a minority, but a minority that possesses a characteristic human psychological deformity and can't stand the pettiness of intellectual consistency. They want it all ways, and are capable of holding two mutually contradictory positions at once. Thus they can wish you well in the first posting only to be irritated by a sea of those that are joining them in wishing you well and are capable of not only destroying the spirit, trust and confidence of others but can go all the way to the point of wishing others dead.
I do not fear being killed for the simple reason that I was born a Malawian, raised a Malawian and will probably die a Malawian. If Malawians were to decide or plot to kill me for holding a differing view than that of their own, such an act though not acceptable to my close friends and family members will serve as an honorable act to the decency of my high held views At which point my epitaph will read thus:"THERE LIES A MAN WHOSE NATIVES FAILED TO DESTROY HIS CONVICTIONS"
For those that are concerned with the path negativists and agents of mendacity are pursuing, I wish to assure you that I have done my homework, and I have come up with a far more effective solution.
As ever, I have consulted the ancient texts, and have been reminded that the Greeks and Romans were also convinced of the importance of making a sacrifice before any tricky voyage. You will recall that the Greek task force for Troy actually killed Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon, in the hope of guaranteeing good sailing weather -- with bad consequences for Agamemnon's conjugal relations. I too have made a sacrifice and have since killed my fears death in the hope that I should serve my country and my government because they hold view - one which I happen to share - that for Malawi to develop, there is a great need for a certain degree of patriotism and that a mindset where ambitions and dreams can flourish should be given room to grow .My role at MBC is simply to provide business direction and where possible propel confidence and a spirit of malawianness.
I also believe that changing technologies and markets are opening opportunities for us to fill that need around the world. As a quasi university, I together with my boss- a veteran broadcaster one Patrick Khoza will make all efforts and see to it that our 36 months reign at MBC are served in the interest of the nation in line with government’s millennium goals .
I am convinced that the government of Malawi and its people will look back at MBC and stare at us in ways that makes one to say: "There once live a DG and his DDG whose contribution to the broadcasting house will be a source of inspiration to future generations as well as a model of business to struggling state run corporations."
I have no reason to doubt that I have managed to leave this mark on Malawitalk.Now that Malawitalk has managed to position itself in the society and is considered a serious source of information and ideas,, I have all the hope and trust that the M-Team currently being managed by David Mkwambisi,Timothy Sukali and Isaac Ziba will work on my weakness to provide direction which may appeal to reason and not emotions. Sadly, though, internet is painfully slow in Malawi such that I may not be able to respond to best wishes sent to me both on the forum and in private now reaching 800. May God continue to bless you in your various endeavors
Bright Mac Everson Malopa
Deputy Director Genaral-MBC