Malawi accuses West for seeking ‘regime change’

Malawi Government spokesman Brown Mpinganjira has accused activists of working with the West to promote instability and an agenda of regime change.

Mpinganjira, who is Minister of Information and Civic Education, accused the West of bankrolling civil society activists to hold mass protests over the cashgate corruption scandal and reports that proceeds of jet vanished.

The Minister accused some Western diplomats in the country of using non-governmental bodies and opposition parties to try and bring President Joyce Banda down with ‘people-power mass action’.

He said the West were trying to use the same plots of insurrections which brought down the government of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

Mpinganjira:  Some envoys sponsoring actvists with a hidden agenda

Mpinganjira: Some envoys sponsoring actvists with a hidden agenda

Mpinganjira said by planning demonstration on February 27 the activists was pursuing “hidden motives.”

He said on Zodiak Broadcasting Services: “It is a smoke screen, we know what is going on.”

Added Mpinganjira: “There are others who are financing the demonstrations. They have done the same in other countries, they have destroyed Egypt and Libya.

“It is easier to mobilise people into the streets but difficult to get them out there,” he said.

Mpinganjira said government knows the envoys behind the regime change agenda but did not disclose their names.

Government insiders have tipped Nyasa Times that amongst the envoys being accused are British and United States government.

Malawi will hold tripartite elections on May 20.

The planned demonstrations come after a British-funded forensic audit into the massive plunder of the Malawi government coffers has uncovered that over 13 billion Malawi kwacha (over US$ 30 million) was looted by politicians, business persons and civil servants.

The audit, conducted by British accounting firm, Baker Tilly, covered the period between April 2012 and September 2013. Coincidentally President Banda took over power on 7 April, 2012, following the sudden death two days earlier from cardiac arrest complications of President Bingu wa Mutharika.

The scandal unravelled in September last year after the attempted assassination of the finance ministry Budget Director Paul Mphwiyo, who was reportedly on an anti-corruption crusade in government. Just days before, a junior civil servant was found with stacks of cash totalling more than US$300,000 in the boot of his car.

More cash was confiscated from some civil servants’ homes and car boots.

Malawi’s donors have reacted by withholding US$ 150m pending further investigation into the scandal. Up to 40 per cent of Malawi’s annual budget is donor-funded.

According to the forensic audit findings, politicians and business tycoons connived with civil servants to infiltrate the government finance management system. They used to delete all the transactions after encashing the pilfered money.

Civil society organisations, under the banner of the Grand Coalition, are planning to hold nationwide street demonstrations this Thursday to protest the handling of the ‘cashgate’ affair and issues surrounding the controversial sale of the presidential jet.

Media reports say proceeds from the sale (US$ 15 million) of the jet to a Virgin Islands company cannot be traced as they did not go through Account Number One at the central bank as is normally the case.

Mutharika controversially bought the jet from the US at US$22 million. Britain protested by cutting down £3 million annually in aid since London believed part of British aid financed the acquiring of the jet.

When she took over power, President Banda promised to sell the jet because it was expensive to maintain.

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