No, Kansengwa has not been appointed Malawi’s presidential photographer

Ras Kansengwa, an award-winning Malawian freelance photographer, has been appointed official photographer to Lazarus Chakwera, the country’s new president. At least, that’s according to news reports, WhatsApp messages and Facebook posts from late October 2020.

“Ras Kansengwa appointed as Chakwera’s photographer,” declares the headline of an article on the Face of Malawi website, dated 29 October.

“Ras Peter Kansengwana has been appointed as presidential photographer effective immediately,” reads a widely shared WhatsApp message.

And a Facebook post, also from 29 October, announces: “Just in. Ras Peter Kansengwa has been appointed presidential photographer.”

Many users added their congratulations to the post. “The guy is a hard worker. He deserves the position,” one said.

Timothy Mtambo, the country’s minister of unity, commented: “Proud of him.” Kansengwa covered the mass demonstrations the minister led before his appointment.

Claims that Kansengwa had been appointed the official presidential photographer came days after the Media Institute of Southern Africa Malawi issued a press statement on its concerns that “the government is not following through with commitment it made on following laid down procedures in hiring public officers”.

But has Kansengwa really been appointed as the president’s photographer?

‘No such appointment’

Africa Check asked presidential press secretary Brian Banda about the claim.

“State House is aware of the social media news on alleged appointment of Mr Peter Kansengwa as Presidential Photographer,” he told us in a WhatsApp message.

“We wish to put the record straight that there is no such appointment at State House. Mr Kansengwa is invited to cover state functions in his own capacity as a freelance photographer.” – Winston Mwale

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