Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government is yet to respond to the powerful Catholic bishops pastoral letter that has blamed the Peter Mutharika administration for being too slow and reluctant to deal with crucial issues affecting Malawians.
The hard hitting letter, read in all Catholic churches on Sunday also asks the government to prosecute all those involved in K92 billion and K577 billion scam that some people allege concerns former head of state Bingu wa Mutharika, brother to the incumbent President.
The Bishops of the influential church, said in their pastoral statement that Malawi government should treat the cashgate matter from 2005 with the seriousness it deserves considering the serious damage and untold suffering it has brought on many poor Malawians.
“Up to this point, it is encouraging to note that Cashgate cases are being pursued in courts and that suspects are being tried fairly and sentences provided within the laws of the country. However, the general expectation from the public has been that of anguish and anger to the years the culprits are given as punishment. Many believe that the penal code needs to be reviewed to take into consideration cases like looting of public funds of this magnitude since such cases were never considered in the past,” reads the pastoral statement.
The Catholic church also expressed worry with the media trial on some suspect it did not name.
“We are worried with the government’s tendency to prosecute some people through the media. We appeal to the Government through its relevant prosecuting agencies (Anti-Corruption Bureau – ACB, Director of Public Prosecution – DPP) to investigate and prosecute such suspects if there is enough evidence,” said the church.
The church also advocated for “an enabling environment” for the law enforcing agencies to independently investigate and prosecute cases without interference from the Executive.
“We also call upon the prosecuting agencies to expedite investigations of corrupt practices with full-scale and not selective justice. We wish to remind the Government that in governance, how citizens perceive their Government is as equally important as reality itself.
“Therefore, the Government should investigate and bring to conclusion the K92 billion and K577 billion audit queries. We believe that national interests should come first before any individual gain or political expedience.”
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) executive director , Martin Chiphwanya said it was worrisome to note that since the announcement of K557 billion forensic audit into government was made, both the National Audit Office (NAO) and other government agencies have shied away from updating the nation on its progress.
He said while the nation understands the need to ensure security of the audit and investigators, it was essential that periodic updates were made to ensure that the process remains transparent and credible to the citizenry and all stakeholders.
However, soon after the pastoral letter was read, state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation was leading with a story that the government was congratulating Pope Francis on his Pontiffic Day on Sunday.
The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs read on the radio says the government wishes the Pontiff personal good health and peace and said the government was grateful for the church for the continued assistance to Malawians.
The statement says the government wants the relationship between the church and the government will grow stronger and further for the benefit of Malawians.
The reading of the letter critical of the government comes barely a day after some clergy condemned President Mutharika for commenting on a prophecy by renowned Nigerian prophet TB Joshua.
Mutharika called the prophet crooked and a scam after he prophesied the death of two leaders before the end of their presidential terms in southern Africa.
Government spokesman Jappie Mhango and DPP spokesman Francis Kasaira could not be reached for comment on Sunday evening.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :