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Donors meet Lazarus Chakwera hours after Martha Chizuma suspension

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By Deogratias Mmana

Hours after it emerged that government had interdicted the Anti-Corruption Bureau Director General Martha Chizuma, donors held an emergency meeting on Thursday.

This was followed by another meeting with President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday.

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The donors have been in meetings since Thursday and went into another meeting yesterday after the Kamuzu Palace meeting.

The meeting with Chakwera Friday, among others, discussed Chizuma’s interdiction.

It is understood that the donors wanted to know if the President was aware of the interdiction which was issued by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Colleen Zamba.

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Sources within the diplomatic community confirmed the meeting between the donors and Chakwera.

“I can confirm to you that the meeting took place. My boss was one of the ambassadors that attended the meeting from around 10am to 1PM,” said one source.

Another contact also corroborated this, adding that so far, the ambassadors are cautious on rushing to make a statement on their position regarding Chizuma’s interdiction.

“The donors have been in meetings since yesterday [Thursday] and from the State House they went into another meeting,” another source said.

“They say they will not say anything now,” the source said.

The source added that one of the issues raised during the meeting was whether Chakwera was aware of the interdiction.

Chakwera’s Press Secretary Anthony Kasunda confirmed the meeting.

“The President met with the development partners this morning and held candid discussions with them and the dialogue will continue in the coming days in the spirit of bilateral trust and solidarity,” he said.

When she was arrested on December 6, 2022, the United States of America Ambassador to Malawi, David Young, expressed his concern, arguing those responsible must be held to account.

Young said the government must focus all its energy on fighting corruption because the vice undermines democracy and prevents Malawi from realising its potential.

The embassy issued a statement in which it condemned the way Chizuma was arrested and further reminded Malawi that the US government recognised Chizuma as one of the champions fighting corruption.

“The US government reminds the Malawi government that the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last year announced Chizuma as an Anti-corruption Champion, one of only 12 honourees globally.

“This was in recognition of not only her great courage in standing up against corruption in her professional capacity, but of the institutions and structures in Malawi that make investigation, prosecution, and conviction of those guilty of corruption possible,” the statement read.

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