Mutharika lies on Malawi cashgate: Ploy to suppress MK92bn saga

Before and just after being declared Head of State, President Peter Mutharika claimed he would be a different President by, among other things, refraining from removing people from their positions on political grounds, and spending much of his time in his office.

But the presidency is not like any other office; it is an office fraught with its own brands of pressures; some of which are political in nature while others are not. Before President Mutharika had curved out a reputation as a real office man, political pressures kicked in (and sooner than we thought).

Mutharika

Mutharika

He abandoned the comfort of his office for a few political public rallies; after all he had not held one since assuming the office in early June, 2014. He did three of them—one in Mzuzu, another in Blantyre and the latest at the famous Masintha Ground in the Capital City. Going by Mutharika’s public speaking record of legendary gaffes, it would only have been logical to expect some presidential tweaks here and there.

What came out of Masintha Ground was not a tweak but a display of inadequacies in his leadership style and a tell-tale edict of the misinformation trajectory that this country will be taking in the next five years. We need to be afraid and very afraid indeed.

In his speech at Masintha Ground on Sunday, September 7, 2014, President Mutharika said a horde of top public officers his administration is relentlessly purging  have to go to pave way for smooth ‘cashgate’ investigations and that “they may return to their positions after the investigations are over”.

Among the top public officers who have fallen victim to the Mutharika administration’s political witch-hunting include Charles Nsaliwa, formerly CEO at Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), John Bizwick formerly Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Dr. Jerry Jana of ADMARC, Newby Kumwembe, the former Secretary to the Treasury, Hawa Ndilowe, the former Chief Secretary to Government who was re-deployed to be Malawi’s High Commissioner in Tanzania, former Army Commander, General Henry Odillo and his deputy, John Msonthi, former Deputy Police Commissioner Nelson Bophani, former Auditor General, Steve Kamphasa, former PS at the Mining Ministry, Leonard Kalindekafe.

To intone that Nsaliwa, Dr. Jana, Bizwick and indeed, Kalindekafe and others have been removed or transferred because their offices are being investigated for cashgate is the bluest lie that President Mutharika has spewed out in recent memory.

President Mutharika should not take Malawians for a ride. Malawians are not a bunch of simpletons. The Head of State must desist from insulting the intelligence of the people through his careless utterances that do not make sense at all.

It is an open secret that the DPP Government is removing and reshuffling top public officers and replacing them with their ‘own people’ for purposes of appeasement and politics.

Mutharika’s cabinet comprises 75 percent members from the Southern Region, mainly from his native Lhomwe belt whereas Central and Northern Regions share the other 25 percent.

One may not agree more when in their assessment of the first 100 days of Mutharika in office, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and the Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) describe his administration “as highly nepotistic and seriously wanting in as far as public appointments are concerned”.

It is therefore immoral for anyone, let alone the whole Head of State, to lie or suggest that the concerned officers’ offices are under investigation pertaining to the cashgate scandal.

Can President Mutharika and the DPP come out clearer on whom among the officials fired from government or parastatals is under any investigation in relation to cashgate?Almost everyone is well aware that cashgate cases are running in earnest in various courts across the country and that some people have already been convicted.

Malawians must not lose sight that some of the affected statutory corporations and government departments are extremely strategic in as far as political power play and political resource mobilization are concerned.

The President must therefore not give Malawians a blank page under the guise of cashgate in as far as dismissals and transfers are concerned.

Malawians must also not lose focus of the MK92 billion that inexplicably disappeared during the DPP regime under the late President Bingu wa Mutharika.

The MK92 billion fraud around 2010 and 2011 is still haunting this administration today. Most of the ministers in this DPP Government are allegedly beneficiaries of that fraud. This Government is hell-bent to deflect any attention away from that fraud. In that case, talk of removing or transferring people based on cashgate may be a ploy to suppress the MK92 billion saga.

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