Malawians have a moral duty and responsibility to decide which path they want to go down—poverty or prosperity. This decision rests with them; them alone. Among others, this can be achieved through a sustainable fight against official corruption, fraud and theft of public resources.
The despicable accumulation of MK61 billion by one Malawian over a period of only eight (8) years while he was Head of State is simply unacceptable.
Such abuse attests to the fears of the existence of a well-oiled system of defrauding the public through corruption and other forms of theft by the very leaders we choose to safeguard our public resources. It is a scenario that gave birth to the infamous ‘Cashgate’ – the plunder of public resources.
Over the years, this has impacted negatively on the ability of the government to implement major public investments in critical infrastructure and the implementation of various public delivery initiatives.
What is most worrying is that the DPP government is arrogant in defending the late Bingu wa Mutharika, defiantly declaring that the fallen leader had “the capacity to accumulate such wealth” and that “there is no evidence the money was stolen”. My foot!
It is widely documented and the world is aware that the late President Bingu wa Mutharika lived in absolute opulence when ordinary Malawians languished in abstract poverty.
However, how the late President acquired such a huge sum of wealth may not be material at this juncture. What is material now is to continue to speak against such impunity to steal from the people especially in the light of continued suffering by the same people.
Malawians have heard enough about what government has done to deter abuse of public resources by the President, ministers and other public officers. The donor partners have also added their voice against incidents of flagrant theft of public resources and the inaction by the authorities.
We have heard a lot about ‘austerity measures’ by authorities to redirect resources to important social and economic sectors. Unfortunately, there is nothing tangible accruing to the ordinary Malawian; unfortunately.
Time may not be on our side. Malawians now want to see an end to this madness or nonsense. We must take time to ask ourselves what social and economic transformation MK61 billion would have done to the lives of the people of Malawi.
Do we know how many roads, health centres and houses for the poor would have been constructed and the amount of drugs MK61 billion would have procured for the people of Malawi? What the late President Bingu wa Mutharika did to us must serve as a lesson to Malawians. We must never allow this to happen again.
ACB independence non-negotiable
Parliament recently pushed for the independence of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Predictably, the government side was vehemently opposed to letting the ACB free from external interference by reconstituting it.
In its present status, the ACB exists on the statutes and has no constitutional status. What it means is that the Executive arm of government has much say in the conduct and operations of the ACB.
The President appoints its Director. Preventing and exposing public sector corruption and other misconduct is therefore compromised.
So, revelations that top DPP officials continue to meddle in the affairs of ACB are not much surprising. However, these allegations, as reported in the media, are extremely worrying, especially considering the increasing number of corruption and theft cases involving public officials.
It is clear there has been little action by ACB despite many reports of theft and corruption in the media, including on the internet, involving individuals that are close to the powers that be. It seems the DPP government has abrogated on its ‘zero tolerance’ on corruption resolve. It seems the status of some people in society is playing supreme over the law, unfortunately.
We urge the DPP government to let the ACB operate in a manner that it freely fulfills its mandate and deal with corruption to the expectations of the people. The DPP government must ensure that the ACB deals with the backlog of investigations and cases that are not yet concluded.
There are several serving cabinet ministers and other top government officers whose cases have never seen the light of the day despite being implicated in corruption and financial misappropriation. This is wrong and it sends a very bad signal to our international cooperating partners. It sends a bad signal to starving Malawians. Anyone caught in corrupt acts must face the full force of the law.
Corruption harms poor people more than others and hampers economic growth of any nation. Corruption and theft of public funds hinder the growth and development of vital sectors such as education, healthcare and other public services. Corruption increases inequality and injustice.
The Malawi-China Investment Forum, the largest of its kind, is currently taking place in Lilongwe. In his opening speech on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, at Golden Peacock Hotel, President Peter Mutharika painted a rosy picture of Malawi as an investment destination.
Stop corruption, Mr. President, if more of such investors are to come; we desperately need them but they hate corruption.
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“Still, corruption and oppression are far too common threats to the democratic society.” -Anna Lindh