Malawi cashgate trajectory and DPP excuses

Since taking office following the highly contested and controversial polls last year, President Peter Mutharika has spent a high amount of energy and time telling the world and anybody who cares that the biggest challenge for his government has been cashgate, or rather the effects of cashgate.Loose cannon

From a synthesis of these high and low lamentations, there is an implicit narrative that suggests that it is cashgate that has resulted in the below par performance of the DPP government. President Mutharika and the DPP talk only about the cashgate that happened during the reign of People’s Party.

Before . Loose Cannon go further, I must repeat that Cashgate, embezzlement, or any other name people choose to christen the systematic financial malfeasance, it is simply stealing or the unsanctioned taking of public money for personal gain.

Simply put, it is theft; very criminal and punishable under the laws of Malawi. But I’ve news for you. Foreign aid withdraw is not a new phenomenon in Malawi and dates back to the days of Kamuzu. In 1991/92 the Paris Club (a group of multilateral donors, who provide aid to developing countries) unanimously recommended the suspension of aid to Malawi due to the deteriorating the human rights record under the watch of Kamuzu Banda and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) regime.

Budgetary support that time was curtailed as part of an arm-twisting policy by the donors to force the dictator to call for a referendum, which eventually ushered in a multiparty political dispensation.

Bakili Muluzi came into the office when aid had already been suspended, and the pep-talk on political podiums was always about “we found empty government coffers”. Donors resumed budgetary support as soon as Muluzi and his United Democratic Front (UDF) established governance rhythm.

The economy recovered and started breathing again. Muluzi floundered significantly particularly during his second term. His UDF went off the political rails; Young Democrats terrorized neighborhoods with unimaginable violence; corruption became endemic and in 2001, the then Director of Public Prosecution, Fahad Assani, revealed that 30% of government resources was being lost through corruption.

Muluzi, in his big-headed moment, made some disparaging remarks about donors, particularly the Danish who promptly suspended their aid. Other donors followed. By the time he left office, donor aid had been suspended leaving his successor, Bingu wa Mutharika, with the familiar running story of “we found government with empty coffers”.

The fall-out between the two (Bingu and Muluzi) was so spectacular and nasty with accusations and counter-accusations thrown into the air. By some political Hara-kiri, Muluzi found himself in court with a MK1.7 billion corruption case hanging on his forehead.

Donors promptly came back after Bingu wa Mutharika took the reins of power. He made some pleasing economic decisions and the economy registered an impressive growth trajectory (growing at 7% annually second only to Qatar).

His policies on food security were a marvel and became a model for other African governments. Bingu was, however, not immune to what is now popularly known as the second term curse. He became corrupted with power and corruption became rampant within government and in his DPP.

Bingu became big-headed and refused to listen to the voice of reason. He deported the British Ambassador despite expert counsel not to do so. By the time he died of cardiac arrest on April 5, 2012 (sadly) he was worth a staggering sum of MK61 billion, MK92 billio (now it is MK577 billion) in government money is still unaccounted for. Donors had suspended aid with far-reaching economic consequences. Some 14 people charged by the Anti-Corruption-Bureau for various corruption offenses under Bingu are only just being taken to court now (last week) because investigations had stopped for unexplained reasons.

Joyce Banda came in after Bingu’s demise. She found an economy in the ICU. Fuel queues were as long as the eye could see; there was no forex and the country’s human rights record ebbed to unprecedented levels. By this time the cashgaters who had been plundering government coffers were still thriving uninterrupted amidst Joyce Banda’s efforts to resuscitate the economy. A very good example is Tereza Senzani whose mansion as exhibited in court was built in 2011/12.

Cashgate king pin, Osward Lutepo bought Naming’omba Tea Estate from Christopher Barrow in Thyolo and Chloride Batteries in Blantyre and was in the process of buying Air Malawi when Bingu collapsed.

Joyce Banda brought back the donors within 100 days in office and the economy was resuscitated. The Extended Credit Facility (ECF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) got back on track. Foreign exchange import cover was 3.9 months on average and fuel queues were a thing of the past. In fact, the import cover was still at 3.9 months when she left office despite the fact that donors withheld budgetary support over cashgate. Maternal Mortality rate was at 460 for every 100,000 births as opposed to the current 510 per 100,000 births.

From this on-and-off budgetary support omnibus, it appears Joyce Banda is the last person to ever manage to bring donors back. Now 15 months since taking office, there is no budgetary support and the DPP government is still wondering in the wilderness. Its policy framework can only be described as out of sorts and at best confused.

The zero-aid budget looks hang. Service delivery has practically halted and the easiest and only thing they can muster is to blame Joyce Banda. Is Joyce Banda the reason why the DPP government is failing? Since taking office, President Mutharika has twice attended the African Union (AU) summit; he has been to the United Nations (UN) once.

Last year he attended the SADC summit in Zimbabwe but failed to attend the same in Botswana this year. Guess what? He blamed the Joyce Banda administration and cashgate for failing to attend the summit. Umh?

Peter Mutharika must be told that JB is not the reason why his government gives crucial government positions on the basis of tribal linkages.

Joyce Banda is not the reason why Mutharika can throw State House banquettes – Mapwevupwevu –celebrating we don’t know what when the rest of the country is erupting in poverty. Joyce Banda is not the reason for Mutharika’s serial inconsistencies on major policy decisions.

In fact, it was not Joyce Banda who appointed Ben Phiri to be his de-facto chief advisor. The constant power outages and water disruptions are not the fault of Joyce Banda. The President must simply wake up from his slumber; he has a country to run. The President must get donors back.  Donors return when serious leaders engage them and ask them to do so.

In our scenario, the donors are demanding a forensic audit into the K577 billion scandal. The DPP administration is going in the opposite direction. A well-calculated burglary into German envoy’s house where Cashgate documents have been stolen does not help matters at all!

Finally, the obsession about Joyce Banda by this DPP government undermines Malawians intelligence.

For example, it is becoming continuously petty on the part of government to force convicts to implicate JB in cashgate cases in exchange for shorter sentences.  How can anybody steal government money because he heard over the phone that Joyce Banda needed money for elections campaign; really?

How did the recent cashgate convict Leonard Kalonga steal money because somebody he did not know personally; somebody he had never spoken to before, needs that money for campaign. It beats logic!

“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see” -Henry David Thoreau

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39 thoughts on “Malawi cashgate trajectory and DPP excuses”

  1. say whatever you can but what i know is that this dynasty of mthalika will never save our nation.bad to worse.from bakili’s reign the admired nation became a useless due to his ignorance & greedy life.try to change the leader please these southerners are excellent only at stealing coz they learn it while young otherwise expect the unseen poverty in the country.bingu is dormant.he isnt even snoring to show ppo a sign of life.a rotten nute.

  2. M23 says:

    We are still waiting CCTV footage of JB and Lutepo sharing the spoils of cashgate. What can stop us believing that Government is coercing confessions from Lutepo and Karonga? Government shot itself on the foot by that press conference of clowns. If JB is brought to court, this government cannot win as it is full of liars. JB will use the claim of CCTV footage to show how unreliable government evidence is.

  3. YAKASHATA says:

    I have a lot of questions that need answers, why do writers from Nyasa times dot not comment much on cash gate which JB and her government undertook ? Instead they focus very much on what Bingu’S government did. I have no doubt that members of Nyasa times were given cash that JB stole while in office. Please there is need to make an investigation, ACB do something on this.

  4. Chizeleza Ngwira says:

    Fact

  5. Zanga Phe Basi says:

    Guys one thing is greatly astonishing me: Mphyiyo was the epicentre of cashgate but still got short! Can someone school me on this development i am really failing to comprehend is.

  6. ndugumvwinya says:

    The writer seems to be pro PP.

    1. M23 says:

      Write what you want but he has presented facts. JB solved most problems within a month of being president but this crown still blames JB 15 months after being elected. The question is did he really wanted to be president of this republic or he was just trying?

  7. Nenazako says:

    It’s time for the current leadership to rescue this country from collapsing, at the rate we are going come April next year, Malawians will not be able to afford simple basic things. Pls rescue us we don’t want a repeat of 2011/2012.

  8. Telling the Truth says:

    Peter Mutharika told Malawians he has the solutions to Malawi’s problems. Let him solve the problems and stop blaming JB. Know that Malawians are now blaming you of their suffering which you are failing to alleviate.

  9. aphia says:

    Sometimes pointing fingers to one another can not solve the problem,,,mr canon with yo explanation I believe the point is clear koma vuto lalikulu ku mw ndi loti the strategies of governing the country is not properly scached since there,s no justice en democracy,,,,, amangotinamixa xa democracy coz if am to take u back to the elections someone diverted the malawi electrol comission into his personal organisation en public decision were not tolerated so frunkly speaking peter’s goverment will still suffer coz he’s stored wat does’nt belong to him en leadership is a gift so does he

  10. The point on this article is …..LEAVE JB ALONE MR APM BUT RESCUE THE STATE ECONOMY. Osataya nthawi blaming jB all the time Mr APM. “RUNNING A COUNTRY IS A SERIOUS BUSINESS” be reminded

  11. Brazilian wax says:

    I like your tracking of events characterising cashgate Mr Loose Canon But your article displays an element of allegiance to PP by not equally exposing inadequacies of Joyce Banda as president. Simply put, don’t forget that Joyce Banda was part of DPP before she assumed presidency by constitutional order. She knew how DPP was siphoning government coffers and she continued with the same tendency but employing new tactics. She appointed Mphwiyo to be the epicenter of the whole thing. Of course the country continues to reel in economic woes because we have a clueless president in the name of Peter.

  12. anadimba says:

    ha?ha???koma pitalayu sagona tulo ndi Joyce eti?tikufuna ina ijanso apa ya 92billion,kenako 577billion kenako malawi housing. He hede wakuba sadziwika. Inunso aACB mukayambe mwamanga Bakili, malemu Bingu, peter kenako Joyce.apatidziwa kuti ndinu amuna.osamangomvera govt of the day.kodi ya chaponda ija inatha ??? Nanga yagule wankuluyu Maria??

  13. jjj says:

    kkk, so u think if He had appointed atumbuka to those positons u call crucial,, then the donors akanabwera? Chamba eti!

  14. Mulangizi wa APM pa jelekani za mthibulo says:

    Great article Loose Canon. A Pitala awa tazingowakhululukirani, atangwanika ndi banja lanyuwani. Sankadziwa kuti mkazi amakoma choncho. Munthu wongokwatira kumene sangayendetse dziko.

  15. Kwampenya Mpokoni says:

    It will not help us by just ccomplaining here without taking action. LETS take to the streets and voice out our concerns as we did the time of Bingu, that is the only way APM will vome back to his senses

  16. Byron says:

    Comments not in favour of DPP and APM won’t help to have perfect leadership in Malawi, and I am slowly starting to live with it-it seems Malawi is cursed through bad leadership from the beginning.

    The following reasons beat the purpose of unfavorable commenting:1.There is too much illiteracy in the Malawian society and villagers especially in the south and center don’t understand issues of national concern,and therefore, are vulnerable to cheap political language that aims at distorting facts about trends in economic downturns. 2.Tribal politics is deep-rooted and the electorate is succumbed to always supporting leaders from within their tribal affiliation even if proven wrongs in governance issues outdo the rights;this has been a catalyst for hatred against other leaders and parties hence wrong choices for leaders to run Malawi’s affairs. 3.Some church leaders promote and tolerate bad leaders due to tribal connection at the expense of prudent leadership that would unite Malawians and uplift their lives. 4.Too much ineffective legal system that has its experts watching from the sidelines while the executive is raping the constitution. 5. Impotent legislature that can hardly override any laws that have been manipulated by the president. 6.Executive arrogance that has more regard for personal wealth than the people that are supposed to be served,this is due to weak impeachment laws and procedures coupled with a non-collective legislative resistance.

    Malawi has been a pariah of underachievement and slow progress because its citizens don’t love one another.If they did,the country would have a perfect voting system to elect perfect leaders who cared for them.This is also loving thy country.The likes of APM act the way they do and tolerate underperformance because they know no matter what the majority will support them.This emanates from the belief that a president is bestowed with powers that face no threat from a vote of no confidence by the electorate-when others complain about hardships the rest, especially sympathizers of the ruling clique, bash the complaints.This trend has been there since the start of prularism in the country.Thus, Malawians should get ready to brave the mother of all hardships which is imminently approaching.

  17. GRM says:

    It is true that APM is as clueless as his ministers on solving our problems. APM HAS FAILED TO PUT IN SYSTEMS INCLUDING FIDUCIARY, FISCAL, HR SYSTEMS TO PREVENT FURTHER FUNDS & ASSETS PILFERAGE TO CONVINCE MALAWIANS AND DONORS. However, i disagree with the notion that someone is forcing the cashgaters to mention JB. I think it is their strategy of getting sympathy knowing that it is their bank accounts that were credited with the stolen money and have no where to run to. Kunena kuti the reason that ma donor sakubwera back is that most of my tribe have benefited from APM komanso kuti Cashgate is not an issue in donors eyes or kuti cashgaters are influenced by APM to mention JB NDI NDALE CHABE ZA OLEMBA NKHANIYI

  18. KULYOLYOPERA says:

    KANTHU AKO
    your comment that malawians are obsessed with importing cars tv and clothes shows that your head is empty can you tell the nation the companies which manufactures the things you have mentioned then if there are no manufactures malawians have the right to import to make use of their money
    you should be reminded that poor government policies from muluzi era up to now are the ones which derail developments those companies which could be exporting have closed or sold to asians at the price of wheelbarrow like Davidwhitehead and sons and other companies

  19. Paulos Banda says:

    @ drzeus, I can confidently tell you that Kamuzu was not a thief that is why he dead with no money accounts after ruling Malawi for solid thirty years.

  20. all-i-can-say says:

    Tidapusa zedi AMalawi. Tidazolowera kusupa gule wosavina! That’s why we keep on electing people who have no clue about where Malawi should be. Vision-less, clueless and selfish psychos who think things just happen. Again our society needs total social reconstruction and these guys who have been looting our taxes need to be used to start that process. These despots should be given long sentences behind the same jails the money should have been used to improve prison standards.

    Peter Mutharika stood for president because he thought he would have the influence to put a damper of his brother’s theft. He was not serious about taking the country to some better place and we can all see the results barely a year after assuming presidency after a stolen vote. Zamuvuta mtchonayu!!

  21. mbuyuni says:

    At least we are making sense in our arguments.

  22. Zaire says:

    Brilliant article!

  23. drzeus says:

    All the presidents who have ruled Malawi r all thieves, mention one clean name and I will give u $200.

  24. Steph picolo says:

    Well analysed but donors are and will never be a permanent remedy to economic viruses. For how long are we going to be mendicants? it’s time to get united together as one and search for solutions not leaving it only to Peter. You are right though, we can’t be prisoners of old memories by always accusing JB instead of moving forward

  25. Wozinyanyala says:

    Bwande you are getting it wrong. The issue here is not about who is and who is not a saint. I definitely agree with the writer of this article. This so called Proffesor thing has lost direction completely and has become complacent that he cant tell the head from the tail. We have never had a poor and useless government like his. His brother tried in the first term and grew what is now termed as second term syndrome. The writer pointed out that Muluzi, Joyce, and Bingu at least won back donors favour by doing something not pointing fingers. This idiot here is busy pointing fingures instead of implementing measures to help in recovering the economy. As big as he is titled Proffesor but for what? This guy can hardly speak sense. ..I have heard him speak. He speaks like he has a hot object in his mouth. He is guiding Malawi to nowhere and the truth is he will not help us. Shortages of medicine in hospitals, schools sagas, corruption, nepotistic behaviour, the list goes on and all he thinks about is Joyce Banda. The point is this so called Proffesor is really aka Mr. Ibu ……we slowly going nowhere with him. Thom, you write sense but be careful, your friends disappear if they write constructive criticism. Peter must go…..

  26. Telling the Truth says:

    This is true. The Peter Mutharika DPP Govt has no new vision, policy and strategy to transform Malawi. Peter Mutharika’s hatred of JB is badly distorting his thinking. The community technical colleges is based on a fundamentally flawed reasoning. Goodall Gondwe, the spent force, does not know that one of the serious constraints to economic prosperity is Malawi’s very high gini coefficient.

    1. Kanthu Ako says:

      LOL.

      Malawi is a country of lazy people. The currency is now very weak, what is Malawi selling to take advantage of its weak Kwacha? If we had anything at all to sell it would have been going like hot cakes.

      All Malawians know is stealing. You may argue that we are an agricultural country, so was India, but it harvested THREE times a year, yes three times a year. The Rwandan currency is weaker than the Kwacha, but Rwandans work hard and make use of their weak currency by selling produce throughout the year.

      Malawians only know about importing. I have never known a country so obsessed with useless things as Malawi.

      Cars,TVs,clothes etc.

      Don’t blame government on GINI blame your lazy selves. Those that are rich, work hard for their wealth.

  27. Bwantasa says:

    On point.. What is really infuriating is that Government resources are still going down the drain. People in various ministries still pay each otherallowances for trips not undertaken. The President is completely lost, he is blinded by politics and his myopic actions are unbelievable for someone who even calls himself a Professor. His party is full of people with hatred, malice, money hungry and no love for Malawians. They conduct development rallies where all they do is insult Chakwera. You can insult him to his grave but that will not change the country.

  28. Blessed Banda says:

    The Democratic Progressive Anarchy. Csahgate started with Bingu. No any African leader had ever done the most expensive campaign that Bingu did. That campaign was massive but little did we know that it was our money meant for development. The reason why DPP started becoming a Lhomwe party was meant to shield those stollen moneys which Peter Muthalika also used for campaign. That is why DPP did everything to steal the votes so that they could sit on the K577 billion cashgate report. Thieves! thieves and thieves! Terrible.

  29. Bwande says:

    Much as I agree with this article, it somehow tries to put JB as a saint and not having partaken in some evil dealings something which can only be proved by the courts and other stake holders. Mind you the K20bn cashgate systematically went on under her watch until someone was shot. Without the shooting, all would have been business as usual and PP would have enjoyed the proceed headed by JB. If she is clean, let her prove this in the courts if required to do so. Not hiding under the disguise of politics. If K577bn was squandered, let it also be thoroughly investigated and culprits brought to justice. The element of subjectivity on the part of JB as in this article will not help matters at all. Persecution and prosecution are two different things. Some key convicts have mentioned her name, let her defend herself. We cannot just rush to say they have been forced to say so unless an investigation proves so. What if the allegations were true? I as one of the citizens am bitter with the squandering of resources by JB, Bingu, Muluzi and let alone APM. As we are pushing for the K577bn case, let’s not assume JB is innocent either. She may also be part of that as well as was Veep then. The quest for justice should be our motivation rather than personalities

    1. Kanjipiti says:

      No one can claim that JB is a saint. On the other hand the pre-occupation by APM and DPP on JB’s cashgate, while ignoring their own much bigger cashgate, is what is resulting in our economic woes now. The author has hit the nail on the head in saying that 15 months after assuming power, APM should have cleared JB’s mess by now when you consider that JB herself cleared Bingu’s mess with 3 months of assuming power.

      APM and his party’s denial of their own misrule will pull Malawi down to its knees…I hope that mainstream media will start putting across similar detailed analysis to counter DPP lies. For example it does not make sense for someone to attend a conference in 2014, then claim that they cannot attend the same conference in 2015 due to JB’s cashgate! As Malawians we accept a lot of filth from our politicians, but DPP propaganda is now reaching ridiculous proportions

  30. Asavi Lunda says:

    Che Tom this is mature writing thumps up.Let the wise change

  31. kamuzu says:

    bikorani twakusingo Chiumia …..no ofi…tawanthu timanye unenesko

  32. These fools in the name of dpp think that they can fool all the people all the time but nay they can fool some people some time. Time is coming when the truth will out. Malawi is not a cursed country but the type of a leader in the name of Mr. ibu that we have. Time will surely come when we’ll cry no more.

  33. Makhuwira says:

    Bwana APM zakuvutani !

  34. Mlauzi says:

    Madzi, magetsi daily outages some parts of Blantyre – Mandalafor instance

  35. Njalayamalamuchiuno says:

    If all Malawians can open their eyes and begin to see our situation as ably presented in this article, without any partisan feelings, then we could be right on our right path to demanding our current leaders to save our nation from the current economic catastrophy.

  36. Malawiyano says:

    Words !!! Words !!! Mau !!! Mau !!!

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