MISA HQ fails to resolve Zambia Chapter wrangles

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) regional office in Namibia has failed to resolve the internal wrangling that has engulfed the Zambian Chapter, mostly over money and power.

And the chairmanship of the Zambia Media Liaison Committee (MLC), a body that fights government’s intention to statutorily regulate the media has been taken away from MISA to the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA).

The MLC was chaired by MISA acting chairperson Joseph Mkandawire but the committee has now voted PAZA vice chairperson Amos Chanda as chairperson. Chanda was previously spokesperson of the committee.

A few months ago, MISA Zambia director Sipo Kapumpa condemned MLC accusing it of positioning itself as a “Supreme Media Mother Body”.

This statement by MISA director did not go well and the committee actually made their annoyance known to MISA at the last meeting. This statement and the long periods of internal wrangling plus accusations of MISA’s double standards have forced the committee to entrust the leadership to another member organisation.

In the meantime, the MISA board has continued bickering over money, power and other petty issues.

Early this year, MISA auditors revealed serious anomalies in the financial conduct of MISA.

Following this audit report, the bickering that ensued, and serious concerns raised by donors on the declining image of the institute, MISA headquarters intervened to try and bring sanity.

The regional office sent regional director Kandjii Kaitra MISA Trust Fund Board member Mandla Lebohang Seleoane to Zambia two weeks ago.

The Watchdog has been told that the regional office made some recommendations which include dissolving the entire board and to bring back former and founding national director Fanwell Chembo.

The regional office also recommended changes to the MISA Zambia constitution which would reduce the number of board members to three and include non-journalists.

They also recommended that acting chairperson Joseph Mkandawire should continue until the Annual General meeting.

But MISA Zambia representatives led by vice chairperson Felistus Chipako rejected the recommendation that Mkandawire should continue for the time being.

Chipako is a friend of suspended chairperson Henry Kabwe and had wanted his friend reinstated.

The entire MISA Zambia board also rejected the recommendations to dissolve the bickering team and to change the constitution.

The regional office representatives then said they will have to go back to Namibia and make further consultations and would return this Wednesday on the way forward.

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