It is the prerogative of President Peter Mutharika to hire and fire cabinet ministers, so too is the prerogative of journalists and columns like ‘Smoke and Thunder’ to suggest and speculate on the reasons for such hiring and firing of the close advisers to the President.
This is why this week I want to take this privilege to inform the nation why President Mutharika (APM) decided to show former minister Ndau the exit door from his 20-member cabinet and lopped in the English lexis actor, former state chief spy, Nicholas Dausi.
The reasons are very interesting, surprising as they are heart-breaking to the nation but before we settle on this matter, let me congratulate Parliament on deciding to engage Transparency International to probe allegations that former president Bingu wa Mutharika stashed over K90 billion believed to have been stolen or obtained corruptly, in offshore accounts.
Others that the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has engaged to hunt for the wealth of Bingu are state agencies; Financial Intelligence Unit, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the office of the Auditor General.
Let me be frank and open here. I do not have trust and faith in ACB to carry out this job.
Since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took power, the ACB has been grossly weakened, some reports say the leadership of this graft-busting body reports directly to the ruling party officials, no wonder Electricity Supply Corporation Malawi dared to send ACB officials back from where they came from when they went to the power utility headquarters for investigations.
It is an open secret that there is infighting between the top leadership of the ACB; this is why the organisation works as if it had no director or deputy director. ACB works like a ship without campus, without any direction.
Well, the issue here is that ACB cannot probe the wealth of Bingu. We all live in Malawi and we know how ACB is reluctant to release names of people and companies allegedly involved in the K236 billion Cashgate, money stolen in two administrations of Bingu and Joyce Banda.
It seems there are some sacred cows ACB is protecting. It seems ACB gets orders on how to do its job. It seems some people are out there to milk Malawi and ACB is ready to protect such people!
My hope is on the Transparency International. These people are not corrupt; they are there to do their job, to name and shame the rotten fish in the society. They do not answer to rotten or failed politicians!
We want the money back, by all means. Bingu portrayed himself as a saint. He proclaimed zero tolerance on corruption, yet he might have been the most corrupt person in Malawi using his position as head of state if reports that he got 10 percent of the government contracts are anything to believe.
I am not surprised that he hated the media to the core, e s p e c i a l l y i n v e s t i g a t i v e journalists. His administration, I am well informed, withdrew advertisements from a newspaper as punishment for writing investigative stories about him.
Bingu had more to hide than show to the people, no wonder he was increasingly becoming dictatorial and intolerant.
I am not, therefore, surprised that when Harry Mkandawire, the Mzimba South Member of Parliament raised this issue in Parliament, APM’s inner circle and close associates such as George Chaponda and Henry Mussa did not take it lying down.
They wanted this matter out of Parliament and dropped and warned the media against broadcasting or publishing it. This was suspicious, especially that Chaponda, the senior cabinet minister, even challenged Mkandawire for a one-to-one fight outside Parliament over this issue.
If there was sincerity in this matter on the government side, Chaponda, Mussa and other senior government officials, including Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu, would have encouraged the move by the opposition legislators to probe how Bingu amassed his wealth from a mere K100 million in 2004 to the staggering billions just eight years later.
Instead, the front government bench in the National Assembly was roaring, fuming, castigating, r e fut ing, they wer e not cooperative; thanks Speaker Richard Msowoya was neutral and handled the matter in a mature way.
What Chaponda, Mussa, APM and others should know is that the money that Parliament has engaged to probe is that of Malawians; it belongs to Malawians and must be brought back to Malawians. The money does not belong to DPP.
The behaviour of protecting corruption and corrupt minds will always make Malawi a laughing stock outside the country. We have all the resources but still very poor. As Bingu himself discovered, Malawi is not poor but Malawians are.
Malawians are poor because of failed leadership, nothing else.
Now is time to engage another gear on issues concerning Malawi. Let me welcome my brother Dausi on his new appointment as Information Minister.
Dausi is a very popular character in Malawi politics and needs no introduction as was the case with his processor, Ndau.
Dausi is always very cheerful, charming, hard-working and polite. He had worked as library bodyguard for Dr Kamuzu Banda for many years both at Sanjika Palace and Mudi Residence when young Dausi served the nation in the notorious Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP).
During Operation Bwezani, when the Malawi Defence Force forcibly disarmed MYP, Kamuzu Banda secretly kept Dausi at Sanjika Palace and Kamuzu breathed his last with Dausi by the sickbed.
After the death of Kamuzu, Dausi entered politics and rose from deputy publicity secretary of the Malawi Congress Party to the publicity secretary.
He loved his job and never minded to walk on foot from one newsroom to another either to grant interviews or leave a press release until columnist Garry Chirwa fought for a vehicle for Dausi from the party president John Tembo.
Well, why then has APM decided to fire Ndau? Ndau’s interviews insinuated APM would sign the Access to Information Bill. He may not and this might be the first task of Dausi to defend his boss, APM. His interviews, thanking Mother Mary and God for the appointment might have been nothing!
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