Stop making excuses for politicians!
There is no doubt that many people including the Nutcracker have the perception that corruption is on the increase in Malawi. This perception has crossed the boarders of this country and the high-profile cases since 2013 of the movie like assassination attempt of the then budget director, the stories of civil servants moving with bags of money in personal cars and the recent discovery of cash in different currencies in prominent politicians’ bedrooms has only fuelled this perception in the eyes of many people outside Malawi.
It is also very common that when a politician that one sector of our nation likes or supports is accused of corruption, those who support the politician or indeed the political party of that politician take it upon themselves to defend the suspected politician. The defence is not based in facts but it is purely based on our liking of the person. That is why there are still many who believe that former president Joyce Banda has nothing to do with the Cashgate even though some senior members of her party have been convicted in relation to the same.
Then there are those who a few months ago went to town to convince us that there was nothing wrong with the Admarc maize procurement. Those who went on the public arena to defend George Chaponda, worked so hard to convince us that this was merely a political battle waged by his political enemies who are jealous of his rise in the party. The commission of enquiry made sure that there was no doubt that something was wrong in the process of procurement of the maize.
When the former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara was arrested in connection with the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo, there was an army of Malawians who took it upon themselves to conclude that he was a sacrificial lamb for the People’s Party administration. Unfortunately, the High Court did not agree with the self-appointed defenders of the supposed innocent victims.
Last week was the turn of another group of self-appointed defenders who are now busy defending the Leader of Opposition and President of the Malawi Congress Party Lazarus Chakwera. Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have claimed that he should be investigated because according to them, he has demonstrated wealth beyond his means. Immediately, the self-appointed defenders and cheerleaders have not learnt from the past, they have come in their strongest terms to defend Chakwera. They claim this is witch-hunting and is politically motivated. Do we really know the truth or not? Is our defence of those suspected of corruption based on facts or emotions?
Those who have been avid followers of this column can attest to the fact that when it comes to theft, economic mismanagement and corruption, the Nutcracker’s position is clear. Anyone involved in corruption irrespective of the person’s tribe, district of origin, political party or indeed religious orientation should face the law. It is as simple as that! No double standards. While it is normally those in power who are likely to be corrupt, it does not mean that corruption is the exclusive habit of the powerful.
The few cases that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale has concluded has seen people convicted from all the regions of the country and from almost all the most popular political parties. It is therefore logical that people who stand on the podium and ask for the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) should also support the call for the leader of opposition to be investigated. Full stop.
It is double standards for the very CSOs who have been calling Chaponda or Kondwani Nakhumwa of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to be investigated to now claim that the calls by other CSOs to have Chakwera investigated are politically motivated. In fact, if Nutcracker had the powers to initiate investigations, the logical step would be to investigate all political party leaders in Malawi. Has the nation forgotten that the “Tractor-gate” report by the ombudsman found fault with people of all manner of political affiliations. The names mentioned included the Vice President of the Malawi Congress Party, the former state vice president and a senior member of the People’s Party and the leader of the leading politicians in the DPP.
ACB was established with the mandate to prevent and reduce corrupt practices in Malawi. This means working towards the elimination of corruption in all its forms to enhance the socio-economic well-being of all the people of Malawi. Chaponda, Chakwera and Nakhumwa as Members of Parliament should know that the ACB has powers vested upon it by Section 10 (1) (b) of the Corrupt Practices Act to receive and investigate any complaints, report or other information of alleged or suspected corrupt practices or offences under the Act and under any other written law of disclosed during the investigations. Under this section, it does not matter whether the complaints are from the opposition affiliated CSOs, ruling party affiliated CSOs or indeed neutral CSOs if there are any that can claim to be neutral in Malawi. Stop making excuses for our politicians. What the nation should be fighting for is an effective, objective ACB and not defending and making excuses for our politicians.
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