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National Intelligence Bureau implicates Lazarus Chakwera, CSOs

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A report by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) has alleged that leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the People’s Party (PP) and some civil rights activists have been funded to sabotage the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) but the MCP has dismissed the report, accusing the DPP of indulging in a smear campaign.

The report, dated October 16, 2015, sent to President Peter Mutharika and some senior cabinet ministers indicates that the opposition and the CSOs have received a total of K50 million to, among other strategies, organise anti-government demonstrations.

“Your Excellency, intelligence reveals that the money has been divided to the following among others, so that it assists them during the operations: Hon Lazarus Chakwera as opposition leader has been given about K10 million; Dorothy Ngoma was given K5 million; Mr [MacDonald] Sembereka [got] K5 million,” reads the report, adding that activists Martha Kwataine and Bright Kampaundi allegedly got K5 million each.

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The report, stamped secret, alleges that during the week of September 18 2015, PP’s executive committee member Joseph Chikwemba went to Zambia where he met son to late Zambian president Michael Sata who gave him US$12,500.

Sata’s son, alleges the report, is a friend to Jeffrey Kachale who is son to former president Joyce Banda. The report states that the former Zambian president was arrested in Malawi during late Bingu wa Mutharika’s tenure.

“An intelligence check at Mchinji border indicated that both Jeffrey Kachale and Joseph Chikwemba went out to Zambia a week ago using the border but Immigration Department did not get their particulars as per the requirement when someone is exiting and entering the country,” it reads.

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The report also mentions PP former vice president Brown Mpinganjira as another person who has been roped in the alleged plot.

“The other opposition members, who have been approached and have shown interest in the deal, are Hon Ralph Juma, Mr Brown Mpinganjira and Mr [Yusuf] Matumula. However, intelligence indicates that Hon. Uladi Mussa and Hon. Wakuda Kamanga have denied being part of this team and rejected the money,” it reads

But MCP spokesperson Jessie Kabwila demanded that government should prove her party’s culpability in the alleged plot.

“It is an insult to the Malawi Congress Party and the work we do to insinuate that we have decided to destabilise the country. CSOs have been working independently of the Malawi Congress Party. They can check our phones.

“We are just echoing what Malawians are saying. Our position on the UN trip and the sale of MSB [Malawi Savings Bank] is objective,” Kabwila said

Chikwemba, who was recently recalled from diplomatic service in Japan, challenged the government to check his movements with the Immigration Department.

“I have never been to Zambia in my life. Actually, that’s one country I would like to visit. It is very unfortunate that people can sit down and come up with propaganda. If you have noticed, I have been quiet since I returned from Japan,” he said.

On her part, Kwataine said she is used to such reports by government agents asking the NIB to check her bank accounts which she said were depleted.

“The truth is that the economy is not ticking. These people [Mutharika administration] are not delivering. Why should someone give me money to advance issues that are so clear even to Malawians in the villages.

“When my colleagues and I stopped follow-up demonstrations to the July 20 [2011] demonstration when the late Bingu was president, we were accused of pocketing K10 million each to frustrate the demonstration. So there is nothing new really,” she said.

Mpinganjira described the allegation as very strange: “That’s totally false. Who will be approaching me? That’s very cheap.”

Kampaundi also denied knowledge of the plot.

On her part, Ngoma said that the NIB should invest its energies in probing theft of drugs in hospitals.

“Whoever wrote that report is mentally sick. What they need to do is to look at the issues. Even if I had received the K5 million, it would not produce food for patients. At my level, my reputation is not worth that money.

“They want to destroy my reputation, They want to discourage me. I demand evidence from them,” said Ngoma who is leader of the National Organisation of Nurses in Malawi.

In an interview Mussa, who is PP vice president for Central Region, denied being approached on the issue.

“It is not true. Of course I meet people every day, as a politician and we share notes but not to that effect,” Mussa said.

We could not get reactions from Jooma and Matumula as their phones went unanswered on several attempts while Kamanga could not be reached on his mobile phone.

Government spokesperson, Jappie Mhango, skirted around the questions in an interview.

“We do not comment on intelligence issues. However, if that were to be true, it is very unfortunate,” said Mhango while refusing to take any more questions.

Efforts to talk to Kachale and Sembereka -who are based in Zambia and South Africa, respectively-proved futile as we could not get through on their phones.

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