Mr President, we have a serious problem in Malawi: Kachaje

I missed the BBC Hardtalk when Zeinab Badawi was speaking to Professor Peter Mutharika, the State President of the Republic of Malawi. I later leant that there would be a rebroadcast of the program at 6:30pm that same day, and I was all geared up to be in front of the TV by 6:20pm. But courtsey of ESCOM load shedding, I missed the rebroadcast as well.

President Mutharika using a commercial flight

President Mutharika using a commercial flight

Thanks to technology, I managed to download the podcast and I have since listened to the interview more than six times. I am very proud of my President for braving the tough interview with Zeinab Badawi. During the interview, the president singled out three challenges namely, cashgate, donor withdraw and floods as being the key factors that have disadvantaged his leadership, stressing that he is the only president in the history of Malawi to have been faced with these three challenges at once.

While I agree that these might be our current challenges, I doubt they are the root problems. In fact, two of them were fully known to him prior to his ascension to the presidency. The floods would therefore be the only challenge that he might not have anticipated. But again, knowing how we have carelessly been destroying our trees and vegetation, and the reality of climate change effects, no one, including the president should be surprised that Malawi has made itself a disaster prone nation. I am therefore assuming that all the three challenges have not taken our president by surprise.

On cashgate, I am deeply disturbed that the President seemed to use it as the main scapegoat to explain our economic malaise. Yes, some MK24billion was syphoned from government coughers, but that is less than3% of our 2015/2016 approved national budget. There is no denying that cashgate was one glaring evil of 2013, but it is surely not the major cause of our perennial economic challenges.

Zeinab quoted a Malawian academic, Jimmy Kainja as saying about 35% of government funds have been stolen in the past decade. That will be about MK270 billion stolen from the 2015/2016 national budget. Sadly, our public financial management system is still leaking badly and it is the reason why donors have preferred to channel their financial support to Malawi off budget. We must be deeply concerned that two years after cashgate, and over a year after ushering in a new government, donors still don’t trust our ability to properly manage and account for money.

Responding to the issue of the presidential jet which was bought under the leadership of the late Prof.Bingu wa Mutharika, our president, told BBC; “We don’t know where she sold it to and we don’t know where the proceeds went, and that is something we are investigating”. Mind you, this is the State President of the Republic of Malawi, who has been in office for more than 17 months, and he still doesn’t know where a whole jet was sold and where the proceeds went.

If someone can sell a whole presidential jet, no money received into a government bank account, and a Head of State, has no clue where the jet went; who then might know where the drugs being stolen from our hospitals are going? Who might know where more than 30% of our government resources disappear to? If the country’s only jet can disappear without trace, what else is disappearing from the public asset register?

For over six years, the state is still pursuing a corruption case involving K1.7million against one of the former heads of state. Why not just acquit the accused if we have no intention to conclude the case? Mr President, we have a serious problem which is much bigger that the three you highlighted in the BBC Hardtalk interview.

We must be deeply concerned as citizens that there is probably no serious fight against corruption and theft of public resources in this nation. But until we make it tough for thieves, looters and corrupt people to get away with crime in this nation, we will not make any economic progress and that makes me a very sad and frustrated citizen.

  • The author is chairperson of Economists Association of Malawi
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60 thoughts on “Mr President, we have a serious problem in Malawi: Kachaje”

  1. Malawi ndiwabwino ? says:

    It is surprising that we cry for donors money while we fail to manage resources of our own sweat

  2. Malawi ndiwabwino ? says:

    I wish those writing opposing the views in this article wrote their own for the nation to see how they think. Coz with my little thinking there is NO logic chasing K 1.7 b over six years looking at the cost of recovering it over the period. Considering todays value of the stolen amount

  3. ndili frank says:

    Please DPP and UDF supporters, love your country. Comment while you think. Malawians are bleeding rt. now. How can you defend these crooks. It indeed means all supporters of these two parties are thieves including PP.

  4. billy says:

    why you disappointed with Kachaje we are also disappointed with you all for your comments.

  5. mcmillan says:

    Malawi will never come to a solution. Everyone is racing finding problems and accusations.Hopefully all presenters of problems to the public are corrupt. Evryone in my country is corrupt. Stop accusing and forwatd solutoins. To mr president; Iwould wish you open your eyes and ears. To run a nation is not domestic. I prefer if you dont know what to do, must resign. Listen to the nation’s advise. Follow up every trace of the where abouts of gvt resorces mentioned stollen and do the constitutional will.

  6. Relax Malawians, our country is not going anywhere oops no it will continue to sink for the next 10 years. At least you should not be surprised.

  7. choka phiri says:

    There is indeed a BIG problem in Malawi when it comes to solve CORRUPTION. There is NO willingness. WHY? Because its the leaders and The royalties Who continues laundering the resources and aid. Have u seen so ever a leader convicted in Malawi? How can CORRUPTION end? ?? They steal they go free. Another one comes he/she steal go free there ges years The nation and people suffering. The only solution is revolution or solve one seriouly with love of Malawi. APM is not. A man was a useless in his professional and he is not a politician. Malawi problem is having old leaders. My conclusion is Malawians are good in talking and they are thieves withiout shame

  8. Milward Malidadi says:

    With due respect to the ECAMA President, you have exposed yourself with this article. I personally hold you in high esteem but surely you are losing it. Take out the emotions, be non-partisan and the Henry that i used to respect will surely resurface.

    I differ with you on the issue of cash gate and what it has brought to our economy. Yes, only about MK24 Billion was discovered to have been stolen but the resultant magnitude of that discovery is far much greater than the amount in question. The country has “lost” more billions on Kwachas due to the discovered MK24 Billion. We have lost budgetary support in levels of much more than the MK24B, we have lost business opportunities of much greater levels than the MK24B. So if the State President or any other concerned citizen laments of huge losses due to cash gate, look at the bigger picture. You are capable of doing that.

    By the way, when a drunkard laments that his marriage is in shambles due to drunkenness, its not that beers were knocking at his door step to wreck havoc at his home. It is a case of resultant effects of the beer drinking. Lets admit that Cash gate has been the last stroke that broke the back of mother Malawi. Yes, APM was right.

  9. mapwevupwevu says:

    I must say I was also extremely disappointed by the article from the President of Economists. We depend on you to give us well reasoned articles. I must say this is one of your weakest articles. What is the connection with Muluzi’s case? And what solutions has the body you represent given? This articles could have been written by a university undergraduate and we would have forgiven him. It has no depth no analysis and offers nothing. Did you just want to fill the page?

  10. w.moir says:

    if leaders think they can change economy without people on the ground ,sorry they heading to the wrong side of the road.

  11. nobel says:

    That interview really painted a leadership gap in our beloved president. For instance ; how can the whole president say he doesn’t know how the jet was sold and where went the proceeds?
    Simply put ; problem tree analysis the president knows on the challenges facing Malawi means that he really doesn’t know and only addresses effects and not causes. For God’s sake; how can corruption, donor aid freeze and floods be root causes instead of being effects? For instance, I believe corruption is due to poor governance, donor aid freeze is due to poor economic governance or ‘corruption’. Thanks God that at least I know cause – effect analysis than my professor! Kkkk

  12. molande says:

    Malawians by nature don’t value money.We value food. Kulemera ndi kudya.We are good at spending than making or saving money. Imagine 97% of our farmers cultivate maize for consumption and nothing for sales. This is the main reason the nation is poorest.We don’t have brains to make our economy grow. We are stuck in this quagmire till Jesus come again to bail us out.

  13. Aleke Msumba says:

    So these are some of the major issues facing Malawi’s economy, what are some purposed solutions? Also – I don’t think it would be too difficult to get to root cause on all of these issues.

  14. Cocoon says:

    No justice in Malawi, The Lawyers are controlling the country, stealing from Clients, the Law Society is just a joke of organisation. Mr President please check the complaints at the Law Society rotting on the shelves. We need the law to work to improve the situation in Malawi, People getting away with muder.

  15. Kent says:

    I am also a very sad and frustrated citizen indeed

  16. hst says:

    Kodi cash gate mpaka liti? Lack of clear vision, lack of commitment to fight corruption, lack of interest to seal the budget loopholes and bad politics are the major problems. Unless these are seriously addressed, there will be no clear direction in the next few years of this team’s reign. It is as if they are there just to wreck the boat, pretty much like the previous team which was caught openly stealing from its own coffers. Pathetic indeed that while the rest of the world is moving on, we are either stagnant or retrogressing. The real bottom billion. Za chisoni ndi manyazi.

  17. Paul says:

    This was a very useless piece Mr Kachaje, I think you are worse than Peter. It’s a shame this is coming from a so called Malawian economist

  18. ManGanya says:


  19. I sse Mw going no where

  20. Malawi says:

    Cry my beloved country

  21. Hens master says:

    What did you expect from a President who is economically illiterate.

    It was too much for him

  22. Kalata kwa atsogoleli amdziko muno, tikupempha kuti kalondolondo ameneyi afike mpaka kuma T/A , chifukwa kunena zowona Iwo ndiye khalidwe lawo kubela anthu, ngakhale munthu afetse akuti uyenela kupeleka ndalama kuwadziwitsa a T/A.

  23. Alfred says:

    Manjolow, i thought you will come up with any facts, and your comment doesn’t have substance too.

    Having said that, i think we al know what’s the problem with our country. There is corruption everywhere, except there is integrity in individuals, there will always be corruption. Even in a 100 years, Malawi will never change unless people involved in handling government monies make a choice to be corrupt free. Although tougher punishments sometimes work, they are not a solution. People just find ways to beat the system. In countries like Finland for example, if you loose a wallet, you are 99% sure you will find intact. Why, because people have an inherent integrity.

    Unless we become patriotic and develop integrity, we will never develop. Its sad but true. Because corruption is getting worse and worse no matter what measures have been put in place to stop it.

    Its so frustrating, very frustrating.

  24. Zikatha says:

    The first step to solving a problem is knowing and understanding the problem itself. The problem is that APM as a leader doesn’t have an idea of whats happening. He has been like this since the time he headed some ministries. Self awareness is important. APM relies much on others to lead in solving problems. He is too incompetent to be involved in anything. He is passive in his own government. APM knows little if not nothing about Malawian problems than Zainab

  25. Dokotala Mtabeni says:

    Mudakana Chakwera mukuliranji lero?

  26. Kola says:

    It pains me to be talking of cashgate up now. Just fix the economy Mr. Ibu. MXIIIIIIIIIIII

  27. Nambewe says:

    the problem we have in Malawi is not the presidents the Donors or the weather but ITS THE PEOPLE. Malwi has people who do not tell the truth. People who dont think twicw before stealing their own Governmwnts money. People who know ho to run a president down the minute he is office instaed of helping him to run the country so not only has the president got to fight agaonst the real issues he has to fight the issues of attitude as well! very exhausting!

    If Malwi has to get better the mind set has to chnage completely. If any Presdient has to suceed they have to chnage the malawi mind set completely!

  28. Sapitwa says:

    The three challenges mentioned could not have required a short term solution.
    Trees take over 6 years or more to replace those cut down. Do you think Mutharika could have replaced these trees in just 6 months?
    Cash gate left a huge vacuum ;in fact all these challenges we experience are a snowball effect from that vacuum. Mutharika found that vacuum which started in 2013.We could have expected JB to have filled the vacuum by May 2014 if it was such easy but she did not due to an abrupt stoppage of Donor Budget Funding. Funding has not resumed hence the vacuum still existing until all outstanding issues are sorted provided goal posts are not shifted as the nonsense we hear about withholding K80b aid if Info bill is not passed before 31 Dec.
    Do you wonder why Malawi is in the state that we are in? It’s just bad foundation of the nation from 1964. The person who constructed the foundation of this country did so without ensuring sustainability hence all these cracks we experience today.We need a clean slate by changing our constitution to adapt to the new challenges. Failing which, we will blame, cry and end up with big eyeballs with no solution.

  29. Mpumulo wa Bata wayandikila says:

    What was pretty obvious with the interview is that Peter Mutharika has no idea how to fix the economy period and he needs to take some speech classes.

  30. Jimbo says:

    APM has no intention of getting to grips with cashgate and corruption at the highest levels because he himself was implicated when his brother was President. There was even a charge of treason against him for plotting to take over when his brother died. He should never have been permitted to stand for election in 2014. There is something gravely wrong with Malawi’s Constitution to allow that to happen. Also he is widely considered to have stolen the election in 2014 and then destroyed the evidence. There are far too many serious questions that APM needs to answer himself before he can be trusted to sort out the country’s problems.

  31. John says:

    @ Manjolow. If Kachaje is weak as you say, can you give us your own version of how you things things in Malawi. Is Mutharika really in control? Tell us. It is easy to criticise, I must say.

  32. Prince Edward rsa says:

    Chimunthu chimenechi anthu ndithu kukachi votela,amalawi tatiyinitichiphe chilombo chimenechi chipha anthu!!!!

  33. wise1 says:

    We are but a nation of short-cuts and mediocrity where public servants, law makers and business owners rely on corruption rather than hard work, outstanding service and innovation to get ahead. Mr President admit it without donor aid we have no future. On agriculture FISP is a political tool and has failed ; on education most of our graduates and high school leavers can not compete with peers in other developing countries much alone developed countries; on healthcare – facilities are inadequate, understaffed, overcrowded and underfunded (where do you think lotted medicines end up?), on infrastructure – quiet pathetic, I could go and on….but it just gets more depressing….Mr President we elected you to address problems and not remind us of challenges or re-iterate them

  34. James Phiri says:

    Nice article. Reminds me of the saying “if it’s too hot in the kitchen get out of the kitchen” Mr President if the challenges are too much for you then please step aside an let someone in who isn’t going to say the challenges are unprecedented – the challenges are largely known and need someone who is able to build a cabinet team to get to grips with the challenges and start implementing some serious solutions. If you’re President use your authority to bring discipline to the civil service, private investors and the economy.

  35. Dont use excuses to dupe Malawians Mr President.The reason why you stole those votes was to fix our problems.If you cannot, then please do resign and go to Mpumulo wa Mbava.Your guys in Accountant General are failing to do basic Bank reconciliations and our government financial statements have not been audited for the last five years.How do you expect the donors to put money into a system that is unaccountable? You are a serious failure and have let all of us that voted for you Mr President.

  36. oUToFtHEgRAVE says:

    dzikoli lathapo basi

  37. kuchi says:

    honestly i like this review… the most outstanding thing about the interview is that he is clueless.. it also exposed the true state of Malawi which now and again he has denied and played them down… talk of lack of drugs in hospitals and our need for donor support which he has tried to play cool about at home. 1 thing that saddens me most about our leaders is blaming their predecessors mmalo mokonza zinthu…

    wayfoward: policies that recognise these challenges.. zaulere sitingakwanitse boma lilibe kanthu…

  38. Dikisan says:

    Abale tikulephera kudziwa zomwe mbana APM analankhula chifuka kwathunso kunali black out. Nyasa times please post the hard talk so that we can enjoy zosankha zanthu;


    Mr. Kachaje, this is one of the best articles you have written. I agree with you. Peter Mutharika is always full of lies. Here is the truth:

    1. Peter knows that he is a leader without vision

    2. Peter know that Malawi experience floods almost every year

    3. Peter knows the jet was sold, where it was sold and how the proceeds were plundered

    4. APM knows Bingus administration embezzeld alot of money and he was holding senior positions by then

    5. Peter knows that Bakili Muluzi has a case to answer. They are both thieves and they are together running the government. THEY DO NO NEED TO DROP MULUZIS CASE

    6. APM knows anabera mavoti ngati wapangira Walter Nyamilandu corruoting the whole electoral process

  40. Boyi says:

    Clueless President still enjoying the pwevupwevu’s of being so without doing the needed job. Malawians still crying more each passing day – just resign Bwana. This was not meant to be your job. Mwalephera

  41. choka phiri says:

    APM can he tell Malawians why what where is the money he sold The STATE bank he sold. All three Malawi leaders after Kamuzu have sold Malawi government owned properties. And take money. APM can not blame donors. The dont Owe Malawi anything. And also he a part of donors withdrawing aid. He took part of Cash gate he refuses tog take up 2009 Cash gate. As long as DDP/APM is in power Malawi will not ser donors money tog finance budget. GOOD APM is waiting for that forex tog hos US account. Azungu atopa ni akuba.

  42. Sam says:


  43. The Analyst says:

    ” . . . the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery . . . and said to Jesus, “. . . in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do yo say? . . . Jesus straightened up and told them, “If any of you is without sin, let him be first to throw a stone at her.” And being convicted by their own conscience, they left one by one.” – John 8: 3-9

    Its only a sinner who can’t condemn a fellow sinner. Its only a thief that protects a fellow thief.
    Its sad that APM and his DPP cohort are feigning ignorance of the jet sale and procedes thereof; and are not even showing any interest in this topic; following and coming up with a logical conclusion on the same. That tells you something – thieves! Simple! Thieves protect fellow thieves!
    Does this give any hope on arresting corruption and abuse? Not even a centimetre close!

    “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

    “The world is a dangerous place to live; not only because of the pople who do evil, but also because of the pople who do nothing about it.” – Albert Einstein

  44. Naloli says:

    We are paying the price for the bad choices we made…blackouts, drug shortages, inflation etc. However, as Malawians we need to stand up against this poor leadership

  45. al hajh says:

    … Mr. so called Economist. What is the solution to the serious problem you have highlighted? How do you make it “tough” for the thieves and looters so that they should not loot public funds! We should not just be critical without giving tangible remedies! Kodi mukuona ngati kuyendetsa dziko is like kuyendetsa club ya mpira or the useless ECAMA eti. Tisamangolemba kuti titchuke, provide ma solution ogwira. Fotseki!

  46. Mc Phere says:

    Malawi my beautiful country continues to amaze me.

    The president had no clue how to fix Malawi. And it looks all of us, including the opinion makers like Kachaje, have no clue what needs to be done either. All I hear from commentators is that Malawi is in a sorry state – but no one says what needs to be done.

    At least Peter Mutharika has outlined what he thinks should be done – can we start outlining what needs to be done as well, rather than just continuing with just pointing out the weakness in our leadership.

  47. an evil person says:

    am very sad ,i have just wasted my time reading this trash.

  48. Watson says:

    This is where I agree with Trump that most African countries need to be re-colonized for the next hundred years…we are dead!! The president is dead, useless fool, Kachanje, useless critique…tell the president the challenges not just telling us stories about ESCOM, Podcasts…just go straight to the point. This article, even a Form 2 student could have written better…that interview, even a Form One student could have responded well. As a nation, we are Fucked. Period!!!

  49. denenedebe says:


  50. Bolo Sakondamadzi says:

    This artilce is typical of the fear factior characteristic of the current Malawian culture being championed by govt. Mr Kachaje may have good intentions but is afraid, someone could be following him. No one wants to die before time. Those who have chosen the righteous way have gone with no accountability. Mr Kachaje has a loving family. So leave him alone. He has to be cautious. Well done mr Kachaje. Always talk in parables. Those with ears will listen.

  51. thinktankmalawi says:

    Be serious mr expect the president to know where the jet money went?..i thought we the whole sale was veiled in secrecy by JB?…proceeds didnt even pass through account 1.

  52. Hix says:

    henry Kachaje wants to be guy than anybody else. What the president is saying is that the rubber stamp which donors used for stopping budgetary support in Malawi is on the back of Joice Banda. Full stop. Its Joice Banda who facilitated it. Now what the donors are doing is sticking on the cash gate related issues which could not have been said had it been that JB did not start. Now if cash gate is not mentioned and Joice Banda is not mentioned, then who should be mentioned . Should we mention Henry Kachaje being responsible for cash gate? If not then what is wrong mentioning Joice Banda? Its this JB. That is the reason she is at large.The issue of jet, the head of state is saying that the existence or documentary evidence for sale of the jet is not in sight in the office of president and cabinet. Reconciliation of account number 1 does not show any payment into it the proceedings of jet sale.That is all what the president is saying. It requires the ex president herself to explain the sale of the jet. Henry why are you pretending not to understand the language of the president.I am almost to say you are very stupid home. Useless.

  53. Mphwache says:

    APM would not qualify as a medical doctor, many patients would die before he could diagnose their illness and prescribe medication. Everything he does just takes too long. He took to long to choose his cabinet, he just takes too long to do anything at all, and he is not even sure the prescription/action he takes will ever work. It’s not an embarrassment to admit that the national problems are beyond your capacity, step down and let someone with capability take over. At this rate, we would be better off under the colonial British. Government.

  54. Brazilian Wax says:

    The opening paragraphs in the article was a vain laboring by Mr Kachaje in an attempt to find the presidents strength in the interview. The truth of the matter is that the responses by Mutharika was another quack quack sound from a substance-free president. This president, I bet is just a dumbass. Not out of hatred of him, all who see presidential material in him must be the fiercest enemies of mother Malawi.

  55. kay done says:

    The economy doesn’t match with the population, family planning needed agently.

  56. kas says:

    an auto pilot president,,what more can he say,,,,

  57. mariana says:

    clueless govt.

  58. tan'gatan'ga says:

    If Peter has no clue of what is happening to our economy, he may as well have no clue on how to fix it. It would be right for him to voluntarily step down as president, otherwise we have to kick him out by force. We are suffering while he is enjoying the privileges of the presidency.

  59. manjolow says:

    Now — let be honest — the President’s interview was extremely disappointing to say the truth. The President kept on saying “..we hope the measures we have put to stop corruption will work..” He had so many other weak adjectives, adverbs and the guy needs new dentures that he can talk with –

    That said – Mr. Kachaje’s Op-ed is even weaker, carries no substance at all and just a space filler really. I read his opinion three times – just like he listened to the President’s interview and I must say it kept on disappointing and left me wondering what Malawi is turning into. The leadership is weak, so called opinion leaders like Kachaje are even weaker and perhaps we need to ask by what authority does he hold himself a mouth piece on economic matters???

    It is really a sad day – RIP Prof. Chimombo – zinazi ndiye zanyanya low quality

    1. Apawo says:

      What substance did you expect to find? It is not fair to put down someone without pointing out what the weaknesses are.

      As Malawians we make the mistake that the solutions to our problems should be complex. We are always asking “offer alternative solutions” when the problem is not alternative solutions but rather having the political will to implement them.

      Kachaje is very clear in stressing this point on lack of political will in the fight against corruption. This is not rocket science – if we are to see real change in Malawi, we must not treat corruption with kid gloves. We must not be childish enough to think that corruption started and ended with Joyce Banda.

      Enough “substance” for you???

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