Does APM have any standards on Cabinet?
Yes, you got me right.
I am asking my President, Peter Mutharika, whether as the Chief Executive Officer of this country, he has any standards of minimum moral behavior he expects of his members of the Cabinet.
Mutharika appointed a Commission of Inquiry to probe into the circumstances surrounding the importation maize from Zambia.
While the President on Friday said there was nothing wrong in the purchase of the maize, claiming stories being written on the matter are useless and a waste, 24 hours later the Anastisia Msosa-led commission found that the “conduct of Agriculture Minister Dr George Chaponda, in his dealings on the matter with Transglobe, a locally registered company and trader of maize, was most inappropriate, suspicious and raising issues of corrupt practices.”
Simply put, the commission found that the role of Chaponda in the matter went beyond his mandate and bordered on interference in the daily operations of Admarc by, among other things, talking directly to suppliers such as Transglobe.
The Commission has recommended that the Anti Corruption Bureau should take up the matter and probe Chaponda further.
As for Admarc’s management of the transaction, it violated every available law on procurement and public finance management as well as scoffed at internationally accepted standards of corporate governance and engaged in transactions of huge sums of money and entered into contracts without duly informing its board for guidance.
The commission has recommended disciplining of all Admarc officials that took part in handling the matter.
A joint committee of Parliament also found more or less the same results in their own inquiry whose report was presented on Wednesday.
Malawians who wish this country well, therefore, expected one course of action from the President and it was to fire both Chaponda and all officials at Admarc who had a hand in this scandal.
Shockingly, the President has done nothing, at least by the time I am writing this.
Instead Mutharika has shamelessly made attempts to reward Chaponda by giving him back the position of Leader of the House, a move rejected and thwarted by opposition MPs in Parliament who could not stand this immorality of seeing someone with corruption accusations hanging over his head to lead them.
Has Mutharika developed any standards on the minimum behavior he expects of members of the Cabinet? Does he have any sense of ethical considerations expected of his Cabinet? Has he developed any dos and don’ts for his members of the Cabinet?
Has he even considered the message he is sending to other ministers and even civil servants holding sensitive positions?
In case he does not know, the message and vibe he is sending is that it is alright to interfere and mess up, but, as long as you are loyal to DPP, you are protected to the hilt.
As for Chaponda himself, you feel for him as a human being. What is it he is after that he can throw all sense of human decorum and allow that he should be embarrassed, ridiculed be called names by fellow MPs in Parliament, all because he wants to maintain certain positions of influence in Malawi?
How long does Chaponda think his family and beloved ones will endure this embarrassment he is rightly suffering because of his incorrigibility and propensity for power?
Finally, I have this to say to my President. He might have the power to hire and fire Cabinet but he must know that that power derives not from his family but from Malawians.
Malawians have, therefore, the right to demand a certain code of bahaviour of the ministers that he hires.
The President must not tempt fate by behaving as if he does not care about the feelings of Malawians. Tolerance and passivity tend to have an expiry date when it reaches a point beyond its elasticity
There are legal means in the country’s laws for Malawians to deal with a government that seems not to listen to the people it is governing.
This Mutharika and this country cannot handle another July 20, 2011 when 20 young men were mercilessly gunned down by agents of their own government.
From the look of things, we are slowly drifting into that mood when citizens have had enough and attempt to claim back their country from a non-listening President and Cabinet.
I repeat, Mutharika must not tempt fate by protecting Chaponda and Admarc officials who clearly let down Malawians not in a small way.
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