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Peter Mutharika has lost the corruption debate

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President Peter Mutharika knows within himself that he has lost Malawians as far as the national narrative on endemic corruption engulfing this country is concerned.

His views on the matter are not only laughable but they are also patently insulated from what is obtaining on the ground.

Because he knows that he has lost the debate on corruption, the President’s pastime these days, when he gets a chance to address Malawians, is to engage in peripheries on the issue such as joking about Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua.

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While talking about corruption this other day the President jokingly challenged Kamlepo to abduct the seven Cabinet ministers involved in corruption, tie them with some green twine ropes and dump them at Capital Hill to be found the following morning.

If it is not Kamlepo, the President goes into an intimidating mood, telling his audience that the media is also corrupt in that it publishes corruption stories, I suppose, after being bribed by some unknown shadowy figures.

Then he goes into his favourite line about corruption and it goes something like this. There is corruption in the country alright but it is not just him who can stop it but all of us as if we are all presidents.

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After this he then goes into a defensive mood saying his Cabinet is spick and span as far as the vice is concerned and that the claim that seven members of his Cabinet are implicated in the 13 files from the Auditor General to Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) is the work of the ever imaginative media and a rogue MP.

Clearly the President is off tangent and he knows it. What remains of him is to hopelessly clutch at the straws on the matter and these too are giving away.

The President knows the central issues in fighting corruption and that they all rest on his shoulders.

He has to set the tone in fighting corruption by putting the zero tolerance policy into action by acting hard and fast on his colleagues, family and friends— some of which are corrupt and Malawians know them.

He cannot be asking for evidence from the public when he has the whole State machinery at his beck and call to adduce the evidence from.

This leads me to his blind defence of Cabinet ministers as if he lives with them all the time.

Let us for one quiet moment assume that the seven ministers that credible sources both at ACB and government say are implicated in the K577 billion corruption case contained in the 13 files at bureau are indeed fictitious.

Let for now say Kamlepo Kalua is a rabble rouser and likes to steer mud for nothing.

But then after doing this, shouldn’t the ACB or better still the President be telling Malawi their version of truth as regards who is in the 13 files if there are no ministers?

If there are no ministers then who is there? When will ACB take those who are in the files to court?

Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa, appearing before a parliamentary committee two weeks ago, made it very clear that it is up to ACB to act on the 13 files that were duly handed over to it from his office.

But the President says none of his ministers are in the file. What he does not say is who is in there and instead concentrates on the periphery about media and Kamlepo, leaving out this central issue which he must also address.

Another central feature absent from the President’s talk is the reform of the ACB which he promised Malawians in the DPP manifesto of 2014. In it he promised to reduce his powers in the appointment of key staff.

Today he does not want to touch it because it now stinks and smells yet it is a central issue in the fight against corruption.

It is no brainer that ACB cannot touch anybody close to the President unless it is free from his armpit.

Malawians know these things and the President knows that we know and that with them he has miserably lost the debate on the issue.

He knows he is losing control and with it the nation.

Should the DPP and the President be surprised that the Afrobarometer survey results, yes the same survey that correctly predicted their win in 2014, are no longer complimentary to them?

They are losing it and it is on everything that matters to Malawians. The very same things that we have harped on all the time— corruption, nepotism, selective justice, mismanagement of the economy, no solid development plan, arrogance, abuse of power by using state organs to go after critics, the list can go on until cows come home.

The debate is simply lost, Mr President.

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