UDF MPs wasted Peter Mutharika’s time


I do not know whether United Democratic Front (UDF) legislators do not understand the separation of powers in a democracy or they have just chosen to be naïve and arrogant.

The whole issue started before Parliament rose weeks ago when Salima North West Member of Parliament (MP) Jessie Kabwila wanted to drag Bakili Muluzi graft case in the House.

Kabwila asked Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya to allow the legislators to debate the matter.


This was soon after the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the State to have the 12-year corruption case against Muluzi continue, prompting Kabwila and other legislators to describe the whole court process as torture and persecution of the former head of State.

So, last week, according to media reports, UDF legislators sought an audience with President Peter Mutharika in Lilongwe where they asked the Head of State to order courts to discontinue the graft case against Muluzi.

I would describe this move by the UDF legislators not only as a thorn in the fresh of our young democracy but a waste of Mutharika’s time and State resources.


I do not know why the UDF parliamentarians are so desperate to have the case discontinued before the courts give their verdict. I do not understand why on earth UDF wants Mutharika to flout the rules of democracy by interfering in the affairs of another arm of government – the Judiciary.

I was there when UDF was in power and, at times, the Executive was in conflict with the Judiciary and the Legislature; a very unfortunate scenario which should not be repeated now, 24 years after attaining our democracy.

I thought that, as a nation, we have moved on. We have improved on the blend of our democracy but to hear of UDF legislators asking Mutharika to intervene in the affairs of Judiciary, in this era, I am taken aback. I am really disappointed with the former ruling party.

Let our politicians or legislators uphold and respect the rule of law and put the interests of the nation first before the interests of individuals or, put it simply, Malawi must come first in whatever we say and do.

Our Judiciary is probably the best in the region. Our judges are well respected and recognised in Africa and outside the continent, and this is why some of our distinguished judges have served in continental and international courts.

This is a clear indication that Muluzi will probably get the best justice he is seeking from the courts.

It is in the interest of the nation, or I should say Malawians, that justice is handed down to Muluzi. It is in the interest of Muluzi and his family as well to see to it that justice has been delivered but corners should not be cut to achieve this.

I am soothed by the fact that Mutharika, through his press secretary Mgeme Kalilani, said he would not interfere in the affairs of the courts.

If, indeed, it is true that Mutharika would not ask the graft-busting body, the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB), or the courts to withdraw the case, then Malawi is going in the right direction.

Withdrawing the case from the courts would give a very bad precedent to future similar cases involving the rich and the powerful.

At the same time, the move by UDF is instilling fear in us that if the party gets into power in the 2019 Tripartite Elections, it will have no regard for the rule of law, it would be interfering in the affairs of other arms of government and it would force ACB and courts to withdraw the Muluzi’s corruption case.

If Mutharika intervenes in this matter, it will show that only the rich and the powerful can be protected and have a voice in the country while the poor and the voiceless continue to be oppressed.

I do not think that this is the legacy Mutharika wants to leave behind after serving as president.

It was in the media this week that ACB investigations on Joyce Banda on K750 million she allegedly received through dubious means as donations for Mudzi Transformation Trust is advancing.

I do not expect People’s Party officials to date Mutharika in order to put pressure on him to stop the investigations.

A f t e r a l l, UDF went into a working relationship with the r u l i n g D e m o c r a t i c Progressive Party (DPP) in Parliament for national interest and not for the interest of individuals or personal gain.

I do not see why there is so much panic among UDF legislators on Muluzi’s corruption case despite that the former head of State is presumed innocent unless convicted by a competent court of law.

As a Malawian, I would want to see Muluzi enjoy his presidential retirement package at his BCA Hill residence in Blantyre with peace of mind. I have great respect for him because he fought hard, along with others, to bring the democracy we are enjoying today.

However, there should not be sacred cows when it comes to service of justice to people.

After all, our laws do not allow presidential pardon before a case is concluded in a court of law or before a suspect is convicted.

Former head of State Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda endured a court process in 1995 in the infamous Mwanza murder case although he was frail due to advanced age.

Muluzi, then head of State, did not intervene to free Kamuzu until the court struck off the ageing president’s name from the list of suspects because of lack of evidence against him.

Malawians will respect Muluzi only if he is acquitted by the court on his corruption charges.

Muluzi is well respected not only as the first president in democratic Malawi but for installing State democratic institutions such as ACB, which is now prosecuting him.

The UDF MPs should, therefore, be the last to erase this wonderful legacy from Muluzi. The legislators should not do this just because they are corrupted with power; they are drunk with power; they should not do this because they regard Muluzi as a semi-god.

The UDF legislators should rise above partisan politics. They should rise above individual interests and put Malawi first not Muluzi first!

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