Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

We already have answers why bribes are getting worse


Going through the speeches by various speakers during the two days of the National Anti-Corruption Conference in Lilongwe, it becomes very crystal clear that we did not need to spend a penny of taxpayers’ money to come together to seek answers on why the fight against corruption cannot be won—we already have them.

We hired and flew into the country one of the best orators on the continent to bamboozle us with his powerful oratory on the fight against corruption.

But Professor Patrick Lumumba from Kenya told us what we already know by telling President Peter Mutharika that he would end corruption today if he wanted by being tough with those that surround him who are clearly corrupt and thereby providing the necessary leadership on the matter.


Fast forward all this to the second day of the conference and it was the turn of Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, who stole the show by saying the country’s perception on corruption cannot change if relevant government agencies used in the fight are not completely free.

He reminded us all how a motion prepared by lawmaker for Lilongwe South West, Peter Chakhwantha, to free the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) was defeated in Parliament.

Msowoya could have added that the motion was defeated because the ruling DPP MPs, from a party that expressly said it will free the Director of ACB, the Auditor General and other crucial officers in its manifesto, changed tune after tasting the sweetness of power.


Msowoya then wrapped it so well and brought it home by insisting: “Appointments are not made on merit. They are made on political or tribal lines. It is only the Assets Declaration Office that is independent. Officers were appointed following open interviews by a parliamentary committee [Public Appointments Committee]. If we do the same with all institutions, we will do away with perceptions that are there.”

But he was not done yet and finished it so well when he said if steps are not taken to free agencies in the fight against corruption “we have no basis for crying that corruption perceptions are exaggerated”.

As expected, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu, not wishing to be outdone, took some time for a rejoinder to justify presidential powers in appointing top officials in institutions that help in fighting corruption.

His views were also very clear: “Leadership must take the lead in the fight against corruption. It would be defeating that purpose if powers are taken away from the leadership. I don’t see why and how the Office of the President can be divorced from making appointments. Judges are appointed the same way, no one complains. It has to be something else, not the manner of appointment.”

And therein dwells the problem.

Lumumba and Msowoya dissected the problem so well and provided solutions. On the other hand, you have a DPP government that does not want to take that clear route to fight and end corruption.

Not that Lumumba and Msowoya said anything new that others have not said before. It is just that it falls on the deaf ears of the DPP government.

That is why in the final analysis, we say the two-day conference was a waste of time and money.

We have all answers we need on corruption and we also know why the fight cannot be won.

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