Mutharika tells BBC ‘be very careful with Nyasa Times’

President Peter Mutharika on Monday appeared on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s HARDtalk programme where he was interviewed by anchor, Zeinab Badawi in which among other things he commented on Malawi’s online leading news site Nyasa Times.

Malawian President Mutharika appeared on BBC Hardtalk indepth interview program

Malawian President Mutharika appeared on BBC Hardtalk indepth interview program

Pillars of Progress

BBC’s journalist pressed Mutharika  to explain why Malawi is struggling to make progress while it is relative peaceful society and has stability and if it all goes down to governance.

President Mutharika picked corruption as one of the major issues derailing Malawi’s progress.

“Cashgate was a good example of corruption. We are fighting corruption,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika said he is touting “patriotism, integrity and hard work”, saying they are three pillars of his government plans to utilize and ensure progress of the country’s development.

He stressed that his administration wants to promote these three pillars of progress that support reforms and national development.

Mutharika said Malawians must be a highly principled and honest in whatever they do, saying there wouldn’t have been cashgate if Malawians were a people of integrity.

But asked that 35 percent of government funds have been “stolen in the past decade” which includes the reign of the President’s late brother , Bingu wa Mutharika’s rule, Prof Peter Mutharika said “Corruption has been there for decades. There will always be corruption in a society.”

But he stressed: “We are taking measures to stop corruption.”

Presidential jet

Asked that he served as advisor and later minister in his brother’s government which was criticised among others for the purchase of a presidential jet, the Malawi leader said the plane was not private but a state asset.

On the presidential jet, Mutharika said: “Joyce Banda (former president) sold it. You have to ask her. She sold it; we don’t know who she told to and where the proceeds went. That is something we are investigating, that’s part of the whole cashgate.”

The jet was bought during administration of late former president Bingu wa Mutharika but the move attracted widespread criticism from the donor community and other quarters of the society.

His successor Banda later sold the plane to Virgin Islands-registered firm Bohnox Enterprise Ltd for around US$15 million but the use of the proceeds has remained a mystery, with Banda initially saying the funds were used to purchase grain.

Other officials said the jet was battered in an arms deal and that the cash-strapped Malawian government never realized any financial proceeds from the sale.

Corruption

Mutharika spoke about adequately funding governance institutions in Malawi including the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).

BBC’s journalist asked Mutharika citing University of Malawi political professor Blessing Chinsinga saying efforts to root out corruption in Malawi do not stick because the existing institutions makes it most impossible to introduce changes that can effectively stamp out corruption. She asked how serious Mutharika is about reforms and if it is not just “window dressing.”

Mutharika maintained his zero tolerance stance to corruption.

“It’s very difficult, its endemic, it’s deeply rooted. But we are fighting it,” said Mutharika on corruption.

Mutharika said: “Cashgate is at the centre of the [corruption] situation in Malawi. It’s much more serious than the international community think.”

He said “Cashgate was done by the previous government,” saying aid sanctions to his administration will only be punishing wrong people.

“In the end people will suffer when donors withhold support. What is currently happening in Malawi is very serious. We have no medicine in the hospitals because the donors left” said  Mutharika.

Mutharika also said the country still need donors as the country moves in the painful path to economic sovereignty.

Malawi needs about 5 years to be self-sufficient, to gradually change from an importing to an exporting nation. But in the mean time, we do need assistance during this crisis period,” he added.

‘Becareful with Nyasa Times’

BBC journalist asked President Mutharika on land rights. The Malawi leader dismissed a report which indicated there is land grab from villagers by multilateral organisations.

During the interview, BBC’s Badawi cited Nyasa Times article which indicated for 35 years now, more than 400 subsistence farmers at Chisita in Malawi’s central region have been traversing the country’s courts, nongovernmental organisations and the offices of the Ombudsman in a bid to reclaim 600 hectares of land, which Illovo Malawi occupied in 1979.

The farmers claim the company, in collusion with a senior chief, pushed them off their land and illegally converted it into part of its behemoth sugar cane plantation.

“Some of these civil society organisations you have to be very careful with the way they analyse situations,” said Mutharika in reference to Landnet NGO which Badawi refered in the Nyasa Times story.

“No foreigner can acquire a land in Malawi except where they are going to industrialise for certain period of time,” he explained.

BBC journalist read to President Mutharika a quote from Nyasa Times in August last year by farmer Peter Kaunda: “I lost three hectares which were my livelihood. They pushed us to the hills where the land is infertile. Now I am suffering.”

Mutharika asked: “This is Nyasa Times the online publication?”

BBC’s Badawi said “yes”.

“You have to be very careful, very careful with these publications including Nyasa Times.”

He suspected the person quoted by the online publication does not exists.

“If he does exists this so called Peter Kaunda, maybe he does, if he does we will investigate. Its first time I am hearing this,” said Mutharika.

The Nyasa Times articled referred to was also published in South African based Mail & Guardian newspaper. It was authored by Collins Mtika a founder of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Malawi (CIJM) who also heads the investigations desk at Nyasa Times.

Confidence

Mutharika talked about his reform agenda, saying he has the  “confidence” to turn around Malawi economy and that he was lured many investors, stressing he is “very excited about that.”

The Malawi leader gave the BBC an interview in London where he was last week on official visit. He left Malawi for Commonwealth summit in Malta on 22 November 2015 from where he proceeded to the Global African Investment Summit in London before he attended the China-Africa summit in South Africa.

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43 thoughts on “Mutharika tells BBC ‘be very careful with Nyasa Times’”

  1. Berson says:

    plz brothers who use internet to exercise our right to freedom of expression to write smartly.mucracking our own leadeship will not take us anywhere

  2. Funzo says:

    It is difficut for a BBC journalist to be probe matters in detail when she would not have the depth of background about Malawi. There are so many issues that could have been raised; that concerning a land-grab, while serious for those involved, pales into insignificance compared to the actions of the Midnight Gang, the unsolved murders and dodgy election result. She would need to read Nyasa Times daily to have the facts!

  3. haward says:

    The Dpp president has no qaulities of leadership

  4. Shit Mutharika says:

    all i see is bullshit

  5. Kingster Bella says:

    Bololo! Not too bad, man.. I like your comments.

  6. Bbc imterview not hard enough …producing country how when mAchineryy hss toshut dpwn fue power outages,neigbours are the ones produving and sale to us aws mdi the midnite presdent wa judge kenyata nyirenda

  7. The statesman is deeply irritated with the professionally sound Nyasatimes. I don’t see anything wrong with their publishing of that article. If all was based on the facts; which were the tangible sources of their article,therefore, the journalists were only exercising their information and democratic rights. More importantly, they were acting within their ethics i presume. I wonder if the truth is there to offend the upright man.

  8. Newton mulinga says:

    Muthalika has failed majority of dpp members, its crear enough that he is not a good leader. Now there are no jobs, no electricity, no water, what kind of a president is he?

  9. Malawian Samola says:

    Wooooowh! What a State President Of Ours

  10. MATAKO says:

    I would argue that Muthalika got off very easily with the interviewer. I was hoping she would ask him what happened to the findings of cash gate during his brother’s administration? Mr flip flopper has no clue nor an idea as to how he can get us out of this mess. He talks about funding ACB an organization that has been put in place to muzzle any attempts to investigate DPP involvement in cash gate. As long as ACB remains a political arm of DPP Malawians will never learn the truth about cash gate. Revolution is the only way out to read these corrupt rotten bastards.

  11. More evidence msiska says:

    APM out of touch

  12. Chigawaneni says:

    Respect to Bololo, that’s fantastic article indeed. Keep it up!

  13. khalupa says:

    fighting corruption Where is the 8 billion profit for Escom malawi

  14. Jimbo says:

    Malawi has been independent for 51 years and has never been self-sufficient. How can it suddenly become an exporting rather than an importing country in just five years time? APM is the Professor of Waffle. He hasn’t a clue how to sort out the economy; he constantly contradicts himself. You can see by the tone of the questions he was asked what outsiders think of his government. He offers no solutions to the county’s problems because he doesn’t have a clue how to solve them. Thankfully I missed the programme or I would have thrown something at the TV. I can fully understand the frustrations of Malawians when they are being led by an ass.

  15. Bololo says:

    CONGRATULATIONS TATE WA FUKO on gathering courage to appear on Hard Talk to publicise Malawi’s plight to the world.
    However, you should have done advance preparatory work before chucking yourself into the deep end. Seasoned Zainab Badawi was running rings around you because you seemed ill prepared. Those so called advisors of yours should have shown their worth and done some research for you beforehand to ensure that your message was on point.
    Your equating corruption as being cashgate is misplaced. Corruption and Cashgate are not one and the same. Cashgate is just one facet of corruption actually bordering on that criminal act sometimes called theft and cashgate is just a tip of the iceberg. The definition of corruption is simply “dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery” You can extend this definition to include unscrupulousness, double-dealing, misconduct, criminality, wrong doing etc.
    Now when the question was posed about corruption you sir seemed to insinuate that it started in 2012, but when pressed about the excesses of your brother you turned back the clock to say it then started way before your brother became President. Flip flopping. Zainab reminded you that you were a senior member of your brother’s government, and you simply skirted around the subject, showing selective amnesia about excesses during that time hence undermining your own credibility.
    Mr President you know as well as the rest of us that alot of individuals join politics for personal gain, including those in your inner circle who have perfected the art of hoping from one party to the next so long as it is in power. There is no ideological basis for their getting into politics.
    No wonder things are done in a business as usual manner, wasting scarce public resources in the process. For instance are Obama ,Cameron, Kagame, Zuma or Uhuru welcomed by whole cabinet members at the airport when they arrive from some foreign trip ? Not really, yet they can afford it. But here, convoys of 4x4s, mercedes, trucks etc ferrying the VP and his wife, Ministers, Sidekicks, Croonies, Boot lickers, Mistresses, Soldiers, Police, Party Zealots make a bee line for you perpetuating such unnecessary business as usual antics using public resources. And that is just one example. I can go on listing them till cows come home.
    Show us that you are serious and can make a difference, otherwise like most of your predecessors you will not leave any footprint in the sand.

  16. Nansani wa chingoni says:

    I watched the interview. It is very clear that there is mostly wrong information to Azungus about our country. Can we start loving ourselves good people?? Was the Presidential jet a private jet or ya boma for instance? On this interview I am with Mr. President ndithu!

  17. Bob says:

    Ine kwanga nkungopenya and laugh at the end of the day

  18. young-s says:

    professor. people call him. lol

  19. Berson says:

    truth pains always.everybody connected to cashgate will not like this regime, and this is a fact,take it or leave it.

  20. cashgate1 says:

    And the president lied, can malawi coffers really be empty? JB said the same thing when he took over from Bingu, and Peter said Malawi didn’t have any money when he took over from JB. Are we kindergarten kids that the president is talking to? Koma bodza linali pls chonde

  21. Juliana Kanthiti Lunguzi says:

    A Cahtty Man #1, palibe wadyeka apa. Koma interview ija mumaitsata bwinobwino?

  22. Aid to Malawi was not only withdrawn because of cash gate during PP but also the MK577bn stolen during Bingu’s reign. Investigate this amount and bring the thieves to book and you’ll see donors coming back.

  23. Peter says:

    His own cabinet is failing to adhere to these three pillars of development and then he expects to register success!?

  24. Patriot says:

    kkkkkk Malawi, WE ARE IN DEEP TROUBLE

  25. Mmalawi says:

    The professor President seem not to know anything about Malawi, cant even relate anything to figures. The interview has exposed that this president has nothing for malawi apart from expectations to get rich from our taxes and donor money, what a shame!!

  26. Zovuta says:

    DPP government can show seriousness in fighting corruption if the following are sacked: Joseph Mwanamveka, RBM Governor, form Secretary to the Treasury, Henry Mussa and Peter Munthalika. Mwanamveka initiated the siphoning of public funds through Police, RBM Governor manipulated monetary policy and allowed Banks to accept any amount of withdrawals, The then Secretary to the Treasury was reckless in that cashgate happened under his watch, Henry Mussa has been siphoning government money through his insurance company and Peter Munthalika bought MHC and LL CC houses at very low prices and because he had no money to use for 2014 campaign he forced Bingu to start the organized chaotic mismanagement of public funds to create cashgate in IFMIS. So if Malawi is regain public confidence Peter has to resign failing which Malawi will never develop.

  27. the watchman says:

    i listened to the interview and to be honest, i was verry impressed by HE’s articulate and thoughtful responses. he didn’t let zainab rattle him as some interviewees usually do. the only sticking point was his continued reference to cashgate and zainab picked up on this.

    all in all, well done mr president. nice interview!

  28. Njalayamalamuchiuno says:

    Although all of us humans are selfish beings, politicians generally over do it. They hate any form of criticism and have insatiable love for praise, power and luxury ( comfort) . It is only leaders who have no fear of losing power and comfort who will, indeed, fight corruption and fraud in an honest manner. In sofar as Cashgate is concerned, in Malawi, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel at the moment. It is like a hen is sleeping over spoiled eggs( tasamila madzira osukusa).

  29. utitiri says:

    BBC quoting Nyasatimes, mmmm the world has really changed!

  30. Twambi says:

    BBC should have sneaked Brian banda into their studios to conduct the interview.

  31. bleb nzungu says:

    koma nsogoleri wake funso lili lonse yankho lake cashgate ? nde akuti poti ndi a professor nde atiphunzisa honesty,patriotism ndi chan kaya hihihi !!!! a dpp ndikuziwa manyazi amakugwirani kuti mmaziwana ndi munthu ameneyu ndithu

  32. cash-bar says:

    this man answers well. Look, someone thinks peter is against nyasa. But ”no”. As far as i am concerned, surely! Someone need to be very very much careful. Nyasatimes can sometime mislead one. Otherwise Peter had answered well to the questions asked. Than JB. If you read on how he answered the questions, you will find that ”mr president is quiet a good ANALYST

    1. Chingolopiyo says:

      If Nyasatimes is misleading why commenting {are you} there?

      1. Lhomwe 2 says:

        Nice question…………

  33. Chitapata says:

    I love how u answered the questions Mr President

  34. Ronaldinho says:

    Why is Muthalika not doing anything about Bingu’s era cashgate? Is it because him and his brother were involved? The guy doesn’t deserve to be a president. He is so corrup. Donors should better be funding The Ministries,especially Ministry of Health,directly so that the Central Government shouldn’t be having a feel of the money.

  35. Chemwali chimwene says:

    It was shameful that is all i can say

  36. zeze says:

    YOU WILL KEEP ON STRUGGLING WITH EXPLAINING THINGS LIKE THIS IF YOU SIT ON ATI LIKE THAT. Tchimo limazunza mwini.

  37. Go ahead and reform the country. We are looking forward to seeing the changes komatu ndiye mulimbe mtima

  38. eliam mtika says:

    Flip-flop- do we need donors or not? one day u say we dont then the next day u say we do. why hasn’t there been a warrant of arrest issued by Interpol if indeed JB pocketed the Jet proceeds- there are no sacred cows madala! It is in the culture and DNA of all us Malawians to become thieves and be duplicitous. Lying in our culture is not taken as a symbol of dishonesty but a mark of a very clever man. you will never get rid of corruption. even the reverends, pastors and bishops are thieves, charlatans and fornicators in Malawi! the end is nigh.

  39. Truck says:

    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH NYASATIMES THEY ARE JUST DOING THEIR JOB OF JOURNALISM EXPLAINING WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE COUNTRY THATS ALL

  40. pipa athawa yekha, Chile anadabwa mmadzi Muli mwake, aopa chiyani Ku nyasatimes?

  41. Chatty Man says:

    Sadyeka wadyeka kkk big up BBC!

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