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Joyce Banda should take the wind out of DPP’s sails

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If former president Joyce Banda took part in fleecing Malawians through Cashgate, which came to light under her rule from 2012 to 2014, there is just one way out of it.

It is through full accountability for her actions in a court of law.

Malawi is governed by the rule of law and a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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At the moment, Joyce Banda is innocent and no amount of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) propaganda and machinations can change this.

What the Peter Mutharika administration has against her is simply a warrant of arrest which the Police curiously obtained in February but only executed this week.

The former president has been abroad for close to two years but all this cannot be sorted out if Joyce Banda came home and faced this head on.

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Staying abroad risks her being crucified in the court of public opinion commandeered by the DPP propaganda machine.

Coming home would immediately take the wind out of DPP’s sails.

You see, there are so many Cashgate cases raging on in the courts. They range from involving top civil servants such as Paul Mphwiyo to top Army officers that include former Commander Henry Odillo.

These are serious criminal cases and, no wonder, they are being pursued by none other than the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

If the Police have had overwhelming evidence against Joyce Banda on fraud and money laundering, she should have been the biggest fish to be prosecuted first for stealing taxpayers’ money for personal gain.

She should have been questioned just like others before she was allowed to leave the security.

After all, this is what has become of modern Malawi, where all our presidents end up being arrested after they leave office except those that die while serving such as the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

For President Peter Mutharika, it would be sweet revenge to put Joyce Banda behind bars after she did the same to him as a result of DPP Midnight 6’s attempts to thwart her ascendancy to power when Bingu died in April 2012.

But the arrest of Joyce Banda has not happened until the issuance of the warrant this week, which renders the whole business suspicious, especially coming at a time when the DPP administration is in a tight corner and reeling from the arrest of one of its own.

Dr George Chaponda is a former Agriculture minister and the current Vice President of the DPP.

ACB nabbed him and he was made to spend a night at Blantyre Police Station in connection with abuse of office as a result of his role in the importation of maize from Zambia last year.

In my view, when all is said and done, the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Joyce Banda is part of diversionary tactics by a government that is looking for a ruse to cover its own corruption.

If the DPP administration intends to portray itself as an administration that is working hard to fight corruption and is prepared to arrest anybody regardless of their station in life, in order to fend off the selective justice tag, then we have the 13 files connected with the K577 billion Cashgate. The files are with the ACB. Those files must also be dealt with.

President Peter Mutharika has been in the forefront saying his Cabinet is swanky clean as far as corruption is concerned and that reports to the effect that seven Cabinet ministers are in the 13 files are patently false and a creation of the media.

Well, if he wants the public to believe him and not the ‘lying’ media, then he must tell us who is in the 13 files.

The National Audit Office had reason to hand over the 13 files to the ACB, and this is because it thought there was suspected corruption or fraud in them.

Today the 13 files are gathering dust and all we hear is the President ranting against those who say some Cabinet ministers have been mentioned in the 13 files.

Simply put, this is a government that is embroiled in image problems as far as the fight against corruption is concerned and the arrest of Joyce Banda brings a God-given opportunity to stop the public from talking about today’s corruption, which the whole country knows is rampant in this government.

But it is up to Joyce Banda to show up and take the wind out of the DPP’s sails, assuming she is innocent as she is protesting.

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