Lilongwe, MaraviPost: On December 3rd, 2017 Malawi24.com wrote a story titled “Malawi media silence on Nyasatimes boss’ rape faulted” following the arrest of the same Chiumia accused of then raping a 17-year-old girl who was babysitting his two kids at his house. Chiumia was later arrested by police and released on bail pending trial. This narrative on the silence of the Malawi Media was pushed by renowned activist Ben Chiza Mkandawire.
The Maravi Post and media houses were taken by surprise with these accusations of cover up as we posted the story with full details and also spoke to the Mother of the victim and promised her that we would follow the facts wherever they would lead.
Even Nyasatimes carried the following Nyasa Times editor Thom Chiumia who is being accused of rape has left his post at the publication. Chiumia who is on police bail was arrested a week ago in the United Kingdom for raping a 17-year-old girl.
Fast forward, Justice has finally happened and Chiumia was on Wednesday, April 21st, 2021 had his bail revoked after being found guilty of the rape and has been jailed for 10 years as reported once again by the Maravi Post.
However, all this reporting appears not to satisfy some quarters of the Malawi Public. One such skeptical is Thandie Wa Pulimuheya who shared her doubts on her Facebook page and also on the Maravi Post WhatsApp group stating the following:
In 2017 Mr Chiumia was arrested on suspicion of raping a young woman in the UK. This was a man who made his name by “ reporting” on issues of interest to the public, particularly public figures. He was a man who politicians and other people of note were terrified of because of what he could reveal about them. Strangely, the man who made a living out of exposing scandals of other men, was accorded the strictest of confidence, and treated like royalty. The entire journalist fraternity chose to keep mum and preserve his image. We even got screen shots from their WhatsApp group saying they do not “betray their own”.
I approached journalists from all major media houses, both male and female ones, they all flatly refused to report that this man had been arrested on suspicion of rape. But we are “bush journalists”, so we were not fazed. We went to the women lawyers association and together with concerned women in the UK we started commenting and reporting on their Fb site. They issued a statement. We also went to Nyasatimes and bombarded each article they made with this story. Of note was a private story they reported about someone in the US, while refusing to report on this. So, we kept reminding them of the rot in their back yard until it was clear that Nyasatimes had to stop ignoring a reportable story from their own ranks while reporting on other people’s lives. He resigned.
It took 4 years to come through but come through it did. So today the entire journalism community must be hanging their heads in shame. Both male and female must reflect on their role in offering refuge to a suspected rapist. We have seen them report on so many inaccurate stories without due care and destroying people’s lives in the process, but they would stop at nothing to protect this rot. They chose to stand with the rapist instead of the victim. We the bush journalists told the story anyway. These days no one owns all the means of communication.
Today the official journalists can continue to stand by their man. We the bush journalists are here to tell them that he got jailed for 10 years. After this sentence he is likely to be deported. Even if he does not get deported life as a sexual offender is almost impossible in the UK. You have to be registered a sex offender for life and you have to declare the offence afterwards to almost each time you want a job and other key services. No one will employ you.
This ladies and gentlemen were a successful, influential, decent looking, married, father, dare I say a preacher at some church, who had everything going for him. He blew it away. Some of you might choose to sympathise with what will become of him and his family some of us sympathise with the lifelong impact of his actions on his victim and her family. Criminals belong in jail.
Huge praise to the victim for standing out and never giving in to the pressure.