Capital Hill fire linked to Maizegate—Alliance
The Transformation Alliance (TA) has alleged that the mysterious fire that destroyed Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, George Chaponda’s office on Tuesday was a move to destroy evidence on maize saga.
The fire destroyed the offices three days after a presidential Commission of Inquiry into the suspicious import of maize from Zambia recommended that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) probes Chaponda.
The inquiry described the ministers’ conduct in the transaction as “suspicious, corrupt and inappropriate”.
A press statement from TA signed by its interim chairperson, Moses Kunkuyu, says it is shocking that the fire incident has happened amid Chaponda’s pending corruption investigations.
“The coincidence is ill-timed at least to all reasonable and well-meaning Malawians wishing the country’s progress. We refuse to believe that the fire is normal without any political attachments bent at sweeping under the carpet the much sought after truth on the maize saga,” reads the statement in part.
It further blames the country’s leadership for carelessly presiding over this mess when it needed to act decisively and timely on the Chaponda.
“The President’s seemingly fearful approach in dealing with his arrogant minister reflects badly on his leadership and aspirations for the country.
“TA sees a much bigger powerful hand in Honourable Chaponda’s unwarranted executive arrogance. It is clear that only the President understands better why the Minister should not be relieved of his duties to avoid potential interference,” Kunkuyu said.
He further said the fire is a big blow to the ambitious plans by the founding president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s administration which built the Capital Hill which is a pride to the nation.
Kunkuyu said the minister’s offices are equipped with fire detection and initial fire fighting equipment like extinguishers, the staff is trained in basic fire fighting skills which could have enabled them to douse the fire in its infancy since these are busy offices with people around.
“That’s why we have more questions than answers on this. We join those suspecting that this is a ploy to destroy crucial evidence not only to this Maizegate but also many other shady deals taking place in this government,” he said.
The Alliance has asked the President to assure the nation that the incident will not affect investigations on Chaponda.
“We further make this strong appeal that the President stops being fooled by the so called untouchable ministers in his cabinet. He must walk his talk on corruption,” he said, adding that the President must realise that Honourable Chaponda’s continued presence in service, even when cleared by the Commission of Inquiry into the maize saga is recipe for disorder in both the government and the ruling DPP.
TA says failure to strongly act on all the suspicious activities surrounding the Ministry of Agriculture leaves us with more grounds to believe a bigger hand is partaking in corrupt spoils not only from the maize gate but many that ordinary citizens cannot detect.
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