The national director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Malawi (Namisa) is joining politics, writes Sam Makaka for journalism.co.za.
Innocent Chitosi claims he has been requested by the people in his area to become a Member of Parliament.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œPeople in my constituency sent some village heads to speak to me so that I take part contesting in the general elections in May so that I represent them in Parliament,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said.
A statement issued by the Namisa secretariat a few days ago said the director had presented his nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission to stand as an independent candidate.
The statement said ChitosiÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â told the organizationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s National Governing Council (NGC) he ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthat he understood the fact that his conditions of service do not permit him to participate in active politics and as such, he handed in his resignation during the meeting.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Namisa said he would have to serve his notice and fulfill his obligations because the group was preparing World Press Freedom Day and he was coordinating several donor funded projects.
Chitosi says he hopes to serve journalists better when in Parliament, and intends to encourage other MPs to look at journalists as friends and not foes. He says he will make sure that laws to give journalists more freedom are enacted without unnecessary delays. These include laws like the Access to Information Bill.
But he said he was sorry to leave the profession.
Chitosi, 34, has been with Namisa for nine years; seven as its Information Officer and the last two as director.
He says during his time in office, among other achievements, he has resuscitated the Media Council of Malawi (an ambrella body of all media organizations) and sourced its first funding. He also claims that he has brought stability to NAMISA and improved its image from bad to good.