Stakeholders are questioning President Lazarus Chakwera’s drive against graft following the arrest of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General, Martha Chizuma and charge her with making use of speech capable of prejudicing a person against a party to judicial proceedings which is contrary to section 113 (1) (d) of the Penal Code.
Chizuma, who was arrested on Tuesday around 4am following a complaint that was lodged by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr. Steve Kayuni who alleged that he was injured by allegations made by the ACB Director General in a leaked audio clip in January, 2022.
She has been released on police bail.
The arrest comes months after Chakwera defended Chizuma saying in her, he found a strong partner in fulfilling the promise of ending corruption that he made to Malawians, which is the fourth pillar of his SUPER Hi5 agenda
“I believe that it is because of her resolve to fight corruption that corruption has fought back and used someone she trusted to betray her and expose both her and me to embarrassment. I therefore want those evil forces that recorded her to know that neither I nor Ms. Chizuma are moved by their efforts to derail my agenda to rid Malawi of corruption. If you thought that making this recording would force me to fire her, you better think again.
“And if you thought that you can use Ms. Chizuma’s work or improper comments on that audio to attack me and get me out of the way, you better think again. You may have gotten to the ACB Director this time, but you can never get to all of us who are fighting this fight in different parts of the government. We will never retreat and we will never relent. As Martha Chizuma says on that audio, Nkhondo iyiyi ndi ya tonse, ndipo tiwina,”he said
However, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) Executive Director Slyvester Namiwa said the arrest raises questions as to whether or not Chakwera has abandoned the Anti-Corruption drive.
The arrest comes just days after Chizuma took a bold step to arrest the Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima, who is also the President for the UTM Party, a major partner in the Tonse Alliance government, in connection to the alleged Zuneth Sattar corruption scandal.
“At the time Malawians expected the ACB to replicate the gesture to Malawi Congress Party (MCP), another major alliance partner, Malawians woke up to the news of the ACB Director’s arrest. To put it blatantly, President Chakwera and his MCP are creating an impression that Chizuma only had one mission to accomplish, that is to finish off Dr. Chilima and his UTM politically,” he said
Namiwa further said; “Is president Chakwera an outright liar? Or is he perhaps someone can just be pushed around? There is no way Kayuni can make a move that has not been sanctioned by President Chakwera, and neither can a high profile official be summoned for questioning in a high profile case without the consent of the DPP”.
United Democratic Front (UDF) Acting President Lilian Patel questioned the rational of the arrest.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Patel said it is not appropriate to arrest someone in the wee hours as it is reported that Chizuma was arrested around 4am.