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Has Anti-Corruption Bureau cleared George Chaponda?

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The question aside is what ardent followers of this column want answers for.

This week, the social media has been awash with reports that the graft-busting body, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), has cleared the embattled former Agriculture minister George Chaponda of any wrongdoing in corruption allegations in his dealings in the maize purchase from Zambia.

I should say this issue generated a lot of interest and comments.

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For those who might have forgotten, here is the background.

Last year, some surveys indicated that the country would face acute food shortage.

This prompted the government to strategise on how best to deal with the food shortages and one of the strategies was to buy maize from other countries including Zambia.

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Admarc was mandated to buy the maize on behalf of the Malawi government and Chaponda was involved in the matter as a line minister.

Then things went haywire after newspaper reports that there was an element of corruption in the way Admarc and the government wanted to buy the maize from Zambia.

It then transpired that some procedures were not followed and were flouted and some sections of society asked for Chaponda’s head and indeed President Peter Mutharika, sensing unrest, fired his closest ally.

Two state commissions of inquiry, the presidential commission of inquiry on Zambia maize procurement and a parliamentary inquiry on the same, recommended that Chaponda and others be investigated further on the matter.

So when one, Foster Fundi, a sympathiser of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), put it on social media that the ACB has cleared Chapnda of any wrongdoing, this caused mixed feelings.

Some were angry thinking the ACB got instructions from above to clear Chaponda while others applauded the move, saying Chaponda was tried, prosecuted and convicted in the media with disregard to the rule of law.

Well, my thinking is that DPP, or should I say the government, might be leaking this information with a purpose.

I suspect they want to gauge people’s mood on the matter. The government wants to prepare people psychologically before ACB drops the bomb; that Chaponda has no case to answer.

I am not going to go further on the issue because I am waiting for the ACB to furnish us with the details.

Now, let me go to the issue of minibuses. I am following this story on minibus drivers and conductors versus the government with keen interest. Without mincing any words, let me say here that all minibus drivers and conductors should go to hell and land safely.

I have no sympathy at all for these people. They have no regard for the welfare of passengers; they are rude and can do anything just to ensure that they surpass that day’s target set by their masters so that the surplus money is shared between them.

This is why I am asking the government not to move even an inch on the stiff penalties for traffic offenders.

The government should be concerned about the welfare of its people while the drivers and conductors should be concerned about money.

The government should not relent in any way; those drivers found with an offence of drink and drive should be jailed for five years, those drivers and conductors packing passengers like sardines, should also face the music.

In addition to this, minibuses found to be unroadworthy should not be released once impounded. They should only be released after the owners have rectified all the problems not after paying a tax.

Again, minibus drivers and conductors should constantly undergo training for customer care.

They treat each passenger as an idiot and have the courage to shout at anyone regardless of his or her status in society.

On the issue of goods in minibuses, it is absurd that the government thinks people can move without any luggage.

The decision to bar minibuses from taking luggage or any other goods is very stupid as it is silly.

We have schoolchildren who always go to school or come from school with luggage; does the government think these students should leave the entire luggage at school or home?

We have people always on the move for various reasons. It is ridiculous to think that they should move without luggage.

This policy was made by rich people who drive personal or government vehicles and it really marginalises and oppresses the majority poor.

Lastly, this column cannot be published if I do not comment on government’s decision to give the ruling DPP Secretary General (SG) Greizedar Jeffrey a full security detail as if she were a VIP or VVIP.

That is abuse of taxpayers’ money and resources and the security detail should be removed forthwith.

She does not deserve it.

This is contrary to what Mutharika told us in 2014 when he was criss-crossing the country canvassing for votes. He boldly told us that when voted into power, DPP would put a clear line between party and government.

The President and his party should always stick to their promises.

After all, the money they are using is not DPP’s money; it is public money given to the government through taxes by people from all walks of life, be it DPP, Malawi Congress Party, United Democratic Front, or Alliance for Democracy etc.

It was nauseating to see a picture of a professional police officer helping Christopher Mzomera Ngwira putting on a partisan DPP piece of cloth when Ngwira was defecting to DPP.

This is a very big shame to Mutharika, the Inspector General of Police and the government; very big shame indeed.

The DPP SG should be assigned a cadet to look after her security issues.

There are so many unemployed cadets out there who want to be employed full-time to guard Jeffrey instead of abusing our resources; I mean the taxpayers’ resources.

I do not think the government should wait for the Public Affairs Committee to issue an ultimatum to withdraw the state security from Jeffrey wa Jeffrey.

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