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Malawi: Meet Malawi's Most Followed Lawyer on Facebook

Facebook has become one of the main platforms for updates and socio-political discussions in Malawi. For example, the arrest of Malawi's prominent lawyer and activist Ralph Kasambara in February 2012 attracted massive attention on Facebook. After his colleague and lawyer Wapona Kita broke the news on his Facebook page, the mainstream media had to follow his Facebook updates to keep their readers, listeners and viewers informed.

In a special interview with Global Voices Online on why he is so keen on using Facebook, Kita said that Facebook helps him connect with as many people as possible on important issues affecting the nation:

Being on social network is no longer an option these days. Updates which used to take days or months to come by are now accessible just within seconds. So just as I benefit from other people's updates, I also feel oblidged to update my friends likewise and if you are in a priviledged position where information easily gets you, why not share it if its is good for public consumption!

Wapona Kita, Malawi's most followed lawyer on Facebook. Image source: Kita's Facebook page.

Kita added that he has reached the maximum number of 5000 friends on Facebook and still has got 2000 friends requests to confirm.

I value all these friends for what they are and what I can give them in terms of  sharing information in an acceptable manner

Bloggers such as Mbachi Joyce Ng'oma posted messages in support of Kasambara. The arrest and detention of Ralph Kasambara, a former attorney general, came after a fracas at his law practice with people he says were hired by the Malawian government to attack him and petrol bomb his office .

Kita, a resident partner at Ralph and Arnolds Associates in Lilongwe, rose to fame when took on a case involving Jim Jumani Johannson who claimed to be the son to Malaw'si former President Kamuzu Banda. Last year, he challenged the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority on its fuel price hike which saw upward adjustments of more than 20 percent on the pump price.

According to Internet World Stats, as of 31 December, 2011 there were 716,400 Internet users in Malawi. Currently, there are 127,740 Facebook users in Malawi. Malawi ranks number 134 in the ranking of Facebook statistics by country.

Following the fuel shortage crisis in Malawi, one netizen, Frederick Bvalani, created a Facebook group as a tool for citizens to update one another on latest fuel supplies at gas stations.

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