President Lazarus Chakwera has assured Malawians that he will act on the findings of the commission of inquiry he has instituted to investigate the arrest of Anti-Corruption Bureau Director-General Martha Chizuma.
Chakwera awas speaking yesterday at Kamuzu Palace when the newly appointed 12 commissioners for the inquiry were sworn in.
He said the lack of tangible results from the previous commissions of inquiry has damaged public trust in public institutions “and we have an opportunity here to correct that anomaly.”
“Now, this is the first commission of inquiry under my presidency and I want to ask all Malawians to give it a chance to do the right thing,” the President said.
He challenged the commission to carry out the work with independence and speed to establish the truth surrounding Chizuma’s arrest.
“I want you to remember that you have been tasked to contribute to the restoration of public trust in public institutions by producing a credible report with recommendations that will furnish me with facts about where the rot is in those institutions involved in any wrongdoing without putting the innocent and the tainted in the same boat.
“I look forward to reading your report to determine a course of action that is based on truth and justice, and a course of action that is good for Malawi,” Chakwera said.
Chakwera said he has instituted the commission of the inquiry because truth is becoming a problem in the country.
“I have seen this course of action as necessary because on every matter of public interest in this country, establishing the truth is becoming more and more difficult for several reasons,” he said.
The President further indicated that in Malawi, the truth is often obscured by political sensationalism “because there is always a group of politically motivated people whose chief interest at every turn is not knowing the facts of the matter, but scoring political points at the expense of the reputations of others…” He added that the truth is also obscured by what he described as a deep culture of gossip, lies and slander, which poison every public discourse with conspiracy theories published all over social media by “nameless sources”.
“In fact, in the present case, there have already been competing and contradictory conspiracy theories that have been published widely, with some even inventing entire conversations and timelines of things that allegedly happened in secret places they have no access to, and so there is an urgent need for the truth to be established and separated from rumours so that Malawians are not left at the mercy of propaganda,” Chakwera said.
He then cited commissions of inquiry into the academic freedom impasse between lecturers and management of University of Malawi in 2011, circumstances around the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika in 2012, the death of Robert Chasowa and the misappropriation of maize at the Ministry of Agriculture three years ago as among those whose outcomes were not acted on, thereby eroding public trust.