The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has said it expects President President Lazarus Chakwera to prove that he is ready to show leadership in his New Year’s message than just being rhetoric.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said given the suffering Malawians have gone through in the year just-ending, they expect nothing short of the President proving that his hands are clean, and he is fit to continue ruling the country beyond 2022.
“Our expectation is not out of spite, but as per his own public admission that abdication is one of his serious weaknesses, hence anyone would have serious problems trusting a leader who has abdicated his constitutional powers to some unknown individual or group of individuals as Malawians have witnessed in the past two or so years.
“There are a number of issues that have happened in this country, that make us believe that the President has not been in control of the country’s affairs. To be precise, the writing is on the wall that President Chakwera has been and, of course, continues to be blackmailed by a group of people, some of whom he allowed to loot and plunder the country’s coffers with impunity.
I”t is for this reason that Malawians, especially those who double as voters and taxpayers, expect the President to seize the occasion to speak to Malawians in his New Year’s message, without beating about the bush, using whichever language he chooses, to clear the cloud over the following issues that in a way have soiled his name,” said Namiwa in a statement released on Friday.
He said the ‘earth-shaking’ allegations against the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, the Chief Immigration Officer as well as the Secretary for Energy made under oath by the former National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) acting Chief Executive Officer Helen Buluma, before the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament are worth acting on immediately.
“It is simply inconceivable, but expected of the Tonse Alliance administration, that every effort is being made to make Malawians forget that they ever heard Buluma open up her chest about who was meddling in her job.
“No sane person would believe that what Buluma said could have happened without the President’s knowledge and blessings. So, unless the President speaks on this matter in his New Year’s message, he will confirm our fears that he was working behind the scenes in the NOCMA saga, more so given that although he swore to fight corruption, he has not taken any action on the revelations made by Buluma,” he said
Buying fertilizer at a UK butchery
Chakwera fired Lobin Lowe as Minister of Agriculture and chairperson of the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) Committee amid revelations that Government has been duped out of K750 million meant for the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).
The money was paid to a butcher in the United Kingdom (UK).
“It beats human comprehension and imagination that those millions, which were paid in the much sought-after foreign currency, were partly repaid in Malawi Kwacha by some lawyers at a commercial bank in Blantyre.
“But despite having a full-fledged Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and money-laundering laws, the said transaction did not raise red flags and, to date, no one has been arrested over this shameless transaction. And, for obvious reasons, authorities are keeping a tight-lid on the identities of the two legal practitioners who repaid the money.
“If the President was not party to this scheme to defraud Malawians, our considered view is that these two lawyers would have been arrested by now. But we believe the AIP scandal is a genuine case requiring a commission of inquiry, not straightforward cases that only require the President to pick up the phone to know what happened in a particular matter, the commission of inquiry on the shameless arrest of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Martha Chizuma in mind,” he said
Twisting ACB director’s arm
Recently, Police arrested ACB Director Chizuma on allegation of 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.
She was later released and the charge was dropped.
Namiwa said the action clearly mirrored through an outright shielding of some Malawi Congress Party (MCP) sympathisers from arrests.
“Examples include the Attorney General’s shifting of goal-posts on the use of evidence gathered by UK’s National Crimes Agency (NCA) in the on-going high-profile corruption scandal involving British businessman Zuneth Sattar.
“Malawians may wish to wonder why, if the ACB still needs the AG to authorise the NCA, it went ahead to effect arrests on people before such authorisation was granted and an injunction is in place pending a decision by the Supreme court.
“Without any iota of shame, the AG would like to make Malawians believe that the same cannot be used to effect arrests on MCP sacred cows [the names you know] suspected to have been involved in the same Sattar corruption case. To many Malawians, this is tantamount to using the ACB for political expedience,” he said
He further said Malawians expect President Chakwera, in his New Year’s message, to provide tangible solutions, complete with corresponding time lines, on how he intends to address the cholera outbreak which, according to the World Health Organisation, is the worst in a decade, shortage of forex and fuel, electricity blackouts and the acute shortage of essential drugs and medical supplies in public hospitals.