In case you missed it, the DPP took its campaign to Makhetha in Blantyre on April 27 where one Patricia Kaliati, as usual, overshot her mouth. Apparently Kaliati, in her usual Akweni manner, had a few choice words for President Joyce Banda which we cannot reproduce in a family paper, let a lone on a Sunday.

But, suffice to say, this was live on Galaxy FM.

Ever watchful, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) – the communications Big Brother – did not miss the DPP Women Director’s vitriol and duly summoned the radio station to a hearing on April 29.

As expected, Galaxy FM was found guilty as charged.

Reads a letter from Macra to Galaxy FM: “And upon considering your presentations made thereat, the Authority finds the said ‘live broadcast’ as indecent, offensive, abusive and contained insulting language which amounted to hate speeches contrary to Section 52 of the Communications Ac t (1998) and particularly Section 2 of the Third Schedule.”

Macra, according to the letter signed by its Director General Charles Msaliwa, went ahead to prescribe sanctions against Galaxy FM. It banned it from conducting live broadcasts for 30 days and warned it that it risks having its operating licence suspended should it be found in breach of the Communications Act within 90 days.

Ouch! While the Muckraker does not condone insults on the campaign trail, I think Macra is whipping the wrong child. Galaxy FM only provided a service to the DPP and this thing was live, how could the good folks at Galaxy FM predict that Kaliati would go off tangent?

I think the punishment should have gone to Kaliati, in particular, and the DPP, as a whole. And, for goodness’ sake, it should have been the Malawi Electoral Commission disciplining Kaliati and the DPP because political parties signed a ‘Code of Conduct’ for political parties and candidates. Kaliati’s conduct defied such a ‘Code of Conduct’ and she and her party should have been sanctioned for it.

By overplaying its hand, Macra is setting for itself an unnecessary snare. Will the Chief Priest at Macra prescribe the same absolution should some wayward governing party apparatchik mis-speak live on MBC?

Let us play fair as we countdown to the elections.

The Maravi Post has over one billion views since its inception in December of 2009. Viewed in over 100 countries Follow US: Twitter @maravipost Facebook Page : maravipost Instagram: maravipost