For Chairman: National Media Institute of Southern Africa-NAMISA Malawi
I I am a Chevening scholar of the
British Foreign Office and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. I am
among the first three fellows in the Global Health programme for
Journalists sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Currently, I have completed a term of office as Board Director for the
National Youth Council of Malawi and I am the Chairman of the Board of
Trustees for the Youth Alliance in Social and Economic Development
(YASED) and Trustee and Fundraising Chairman for the Counselling of
the Adolescent Youth Organisation (CAYO). In Journalism, I am the
coordinator for the African Healthcare Journalists Network, a
facilitator and lead Journalist for the US-based Keiser Family
Foundation which sponsors the Health Journalism category of the CNN
Multi-choice African Journalist of the Year Awards. I serve in various
socio-economic groupings including the Red Cross, Lions Clubs and
fundraising arms for the Nurses Union of Malawi.
Why the Chairmanship?
I am running for the Presidency of NAMISA after talking to number of
Journalists across the country, especially the upcoming ones,
freelance and even senior Journalists. I would have loved a senior and
respected Journalist in the categories of Jika Nkolokosa, Edward
Chitsulo, Al Osman and others to take up this challenge. But I realise
that this is almost impossible considering the politics that surround
an emerging industry. We have seen and read on NAMISA forum several
comments on the old and new generation of Journalists. I turn 30 later
in the year and feel I am somewhere in the middle, mature enough to
run the organisation and indeed well enough to balance the aspirations
of the ICT generation: the young Journalists.
I am being sponsored by both Senior and Young Journalists whose vision
for NAMISA and the whole Journalism I will articulate very shortly.
Let me say, should I loose, I will not seek any office other than the
Chairmanship until next election. I do not want to be seen to change
posts at any event. As such, let us have a healthy and democratic
election and still be good friends after the race.
Campaign slogan: Raising the standards of professional Journalism
The current status
It is a fact that most stakeholders have very low opinion of
Journalism as a profession. This over the years has sidelined very
critical minds to the development of the industry. The fact has been
worsened by our own standards of failing to upgrade academically or
professionally. Most Journalists have very little time to prepare for
an interview and embarrassingly failed to ask proper questions. It is
more common to hear "that is a good question" which we all know it
means- what a fool to ask such an easy question. Even in State media
between 1993 to 2000, professional standards were high. Women
Journalists like Eunice Chipangula, Ireen Phalula, Jayne Banda and
Kwangu Liwewe used to make Ministers run from the radio. Everyone
respected Journalists as tough, knowledgeable and equal partner. Today
people grumble over allowances than the quality of interview. Today
sources "shout out aloud" in beer halls boasting of "corrupting
Journalists." Even the President has audacity to lambast the media and
they cow down instead of taking him to task. This is just a short
review of what has become of the media.
The role of Namisa so far
There has been commendable work done by previous National Governing
Council' so far in establishing an institution worth its name.
However, in terms of asserting authority and advocating for the media,
very little impact has been felt. Basically, the priorities of the
NGC's would be the ones to translate into an active or reactive
Namisa. What is Namisa today- it reacts? When Journalists have been
arrested, when someone decided to impinge the rights of Journalists,
when something is not being done.
Namisa is supposed to set up the agenda of the media in the country.
Not a reactionary force. Namisa set up the Media Council, set up
Journalists Union and even more, this is a mother body for the future
of Journalism. It cannot be ridiculed by a mere Minister or
politicians. No Government or Opposition official or any stakeholder
should stand up and ridicule the system that is the nerve centre of
Therefore in recognition of the work done by others and the future of
Journalism: I Kondwani Bell Munthali on behalf of the oncoming NGC,
request for your vote to the office of the Chairmanship of NAMISA and
pledge to fulfil the following in my term of office. I also pledge
that I will only stand for one term for the sake of creating greater
opportunities to all members to try their skills and develop Namisa
Our NGC will strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat, by empowering
the National Director to be able to make all critical decisions that
in his view are to the best interest of the organisation. The ND
should be given more powers and independence to coordinate his office
the way he sees will achieve the goals of the secretariat in
supporting the vision and policies laid by General Assemblies and the
I will also create promotion and gradable contracts for all staff,
with a set annual salary crip whose percentage will be determined by
NGC in consultation with professional consultants.
All staff will be afforded an opportunity to further study-all
expenses paid by Namisa with contracts bond to develop capacity in the
fields of their choice. Contracts offered to staff will be negotiable
at the end of each cycle, with performance being the main basis.
The following positions will be created to have a Administration and
Finance Manager, Operations and Membership Manager and re-institute
the Advocacy and Information Officer into one position all of who
shall have own departments and staff for projects that I intend to
bring within the first six months of my term of office.
The National Director's status will be elevated both in terms of
authority and remuneration. This is the first in making him equal to
all other stakeholders that we intend to approach.
Though membership applications will be renewed annually, My NGC will
abolish the annual subscriptions and offer individuals and
organisations to pay in advance up to a certain period like two to
three years. This is for convenience in both planning and development
of the organisation. The fees payment will be continuously open
throughout the first year.
With effect with my election, all paid up members will issued with a
special two year value card that can be used as an identity in lieu of
a press card or company ID card more especially for free lancers.
The organisation will publish all its members list in the media for
the general public to recognise the accredited Journalists in the
Introduce a programme of identifying and grouping members according to
the interests and specialisation. Namisa secretariat through the
Operations and Membership Manager will identify opportunities such as
Training both local and International and apply for such interested
members. The office will also be mandated to offer references for both
local and International opportunities.
Develop specially tailored exchange platform for all members to
benefit, using regional and International forums. Like Namisa Malawi
visiting Namisa Zambia.
Develop new study programmes for specialised programmes like to the EU
on EU's trade regulations, Global Fund, BBC, Commonwealth, Nepad or
Comesa. These will serve to enhance individual capacity building and
opportunity forum for members.
The Annual General Meeting of Namisa will continue to serve as policy
and direction formulation organ under my leadership. However serious
attention should be paid to the outcomes and resolutions to be quickly
integrated into annual work plan of the organisation.
Both the Chairman's and Auditors reports will be delivered 21 days
before the Assembly.
All ordinary members of the Assembly will be eligible for appointments
to specialised committees to be constituted by the NGC.
National Governing Council
The New National Governing Council will have a special mandate of
changing the face of Journalism. All members will be empowered by
giving them opportunity to choose their area of interest to spearhead
a special campaign to restore the image of Journalist as professional
and intellectual part of society.
The role of this NGC will include putting Namisa and its key partners
Media Council, JUMA and the like to form a special programme that will
institute partner-to-partner programme.
Four special sub-committees will be immediately constituted:
1. Policy and Advocacy Sub-Committee
To be chaired by the Vice Chairman and with six members drawn from the
General Assembly, will look at the existing policy frameworks which
Journalism is operating. They will examine everything from access to
information to mere allowances given to Journalists. They compare it
with other professional bodies like Medical Council and Malawi Law
Society on conduct and approach towards professionalism and
partnerships with stakeholders.
It will also re-examine the projects at Namisa and propose proper
restructuring to empower the National Director and create new posts.
The sub-committee will work with Media Council on accreditation
standards. The Sub Committee will also spearhead proper discussions on
the State of the Media in Malawi.
2. Finance and Fundraising Sub-Committee
This will be a permanent sub-committee to be chaired by the Treasurer
General and comprised of members of the General Assembly to develop
own programme of action. NGC shall set up a target amount for each
year for the sub-committee.
A minimum target shall be to raise K5 million annually.
3. Projects Sub-Committee
This will be co-Chaired by the National Director or the Operations
Manager together with a designated NGC member. Namisa will set up some
ten projects teams to implement the new programmes that will be
The New NGC will look for up to 50 ordinary Namisa members to directly
sit in the sub-committees teams and all members to directly benefit
from the projects.
The teams will be divided into: HIV and Aids, TB, General Health,
Environment, Human Rights, Good Governance and Political
Accountability, Parliamentary Forum, Education, Economic and Business,
Recreation, Sports and International Relations.
The team's leaders will form the projects Sub-committee which will
coordinate development of proposals and submission for funding for the
4. Media Development committee
The team will be chaired by a Senior Journalist to critically examine
the possibility of development an independent printing press that will
support professional development of independent and free press in
The Secretary General will be the Deputy Chairman and lead contact
person on this initiative. Details of this initiative to be announced.
Voting for Kondwani as Chairman of Namisa, ensures a rapid capacity
growth of Namisa and the profession in the country as whole. In making
this become reality, the following pledges will be done in six months,
one year and two years after the elections. Should circumstance not
allow it, the Fundraising committee's task and mandate will be to
raise the resources and kick start the programme.
WHAT CHANGES WHEN YOU VOTE FOR KONDWANI!!!!
Multi-media resource centres
Within six months of being elected, the new NGC will open three
Multi-media centres in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu for all its
members. Non members will pay a different subscription fees at a
The resource centre will have:
· Full internet access
· Multi-media editing suites
· News outlet website: www.newsroommalawi.com
· Full library and daily newspapers
· Specialised training facilities
The Laptop fund
Within one year of being elected, all Members of Namisa will have an
opportunity to get a laptop computer or a desktop (depending on
choice) on a 12 month or 18 month instalments.
All laptops will have access code to a special internet wireless
connection. This access code will be programmed to work only using a
membership number which will be issued upon payment of membership fees
and signing a contract to acquire a computer.
(Details of the fund after elections)
Independent Media Development Fund
This will encourage members both employed and unemployed to come up
with ideas they would want to develop a free and independent media.
The fund to be operated independently will support the following:
Business concepts development to start Newspapers, Radio or Television
Identification of potential partners and sponsors
Procurement and distribution of equipment such as printing or radio
Guarantee loans for business establishment
Set up a Savings and Cooperative Fund for all interested members
Set up insurance covers for Journalists in the country
(details after elections)
Research and Development
Specialised funding will be sought to allow Journalists-especially
members to apply for small grants of up to K50, 000 (Fifty thousand
Malawi Kwacha) to develop well researched stories on specific fields.
The initial fields will be HIV and Aids, TB, Environment, Human
Rights, Photography, Business and Sports.
(details after elections)
Other issues and areas:
Gender: I commit myself and my NGC to ensuring that all
sub-committees, project teams and any other undertaking will have
50-50 representation at all levels.
Politics: I commit my NGC to remain impartial at all times and work in
adherence to strict professional standards. No political party shall
be favoured or spared through any act of prejudice by any of my
members in discharging media related works.
Members: All Namisa members at all times shall have access to my
committee members at all times and crucial decisions requiring members
input shall only be implemented by following the rules and regulations
All members will be given equal opportunity during my term of office
and at the same time shall work for an inclusive system, where my
predecessors will continue to be advisors to the NGC and the whole set
Senior members of the fraternity will have special programmes, so too
editors and managers who have kept the torch of Journalism burning
Awards, scholarships and international travel: More transparency in
areas of awards. Scholarships and foreign trips for members. I pledge
to travel only where my presence will be required critically at the
same time ensure that all the NGC, members and secretariat staff have
equal access to opportunities.
While I might not be the best thing, but my experience in fundraising
among donors, work in public service as a political assistant, work in
advocacy as a youth worker and my consultancies, give me enough
assurance that with a new vision and a new deal- we can all work to
change the landscape of Journalism.
Through my term of office, I want to see birth of a Newspaper owned by
Journalists themselves. I want more radios and even a TV whose
independence and credibility will be established by its ownership.
I want all of us to be professionally and economically independent. I
also want a Namisa that will be stronger and agenda setting body in
I thank all of you, who have believed me and encouraged me from the
beginning and those that have become my established detractors for
giving strength to walk this journey to the end.
I rest my case: Viva Malawi Journalists. Aluta Continua