Smoke and Mirrors: Cashgate exchanges of Malawi govt and Joyce Banda

Former President Joyce Banda recently challenged the Peter Mutharika administration to take her to court to prove her involvement in cashgate. Instead of doing exactly that, the DPP government, through spokesperson and Minister of Information, Jappie Mhango, has responded through a press statement, accusing Banda of running away from the law.

Jappie Mhango (left) and Joyce Banda - Trial in the media

Jappie Mhango (left) and Joyce Banda – Trial in the media

The DPP government went on to caution the former Head of State against commenting on the issues surrounding cashgate suspects because “these are issues that are in court”.  Is the DPP government not being hypocritical? Is it not the same DPP government that has accused JB on public podiums since it came to power in 2014 of being the cashgate ‘kingpin’ without taking her to court?

Malawians have not forgotten about the CCTV footage saga as alleged by the former Minister of Information, Kondwani Nankhumwa. The CCTV matter has never been resolved and one may conclude that it was an outright lie and a desperate attempt to link the former Head of State to cashgate.

Based on the CCTV footage lie, it is obvious Malawians will not believe anything else that is intended to portray Joyce Banda as a criminal. The DPP government has been pursuing a ‘media trial’ against Joyce Banda regarding cashgate. It is wrong therefore for the same government to fault the former Head of State when she responds, through the same media, to unsubstantiated accusations against her.

Professor at Law, Edge Kanyongolo has faulted the DPP government for continuously accusing Joyce Banda of cashgate involvement. He says, if the DPP government has a solid case against the former President, it was only prudent to turn to the courts and formally charge her.

Analysis of scenario

The DPP government is facing a host of economic and governance problems. Traditional donors are still refusing to resume budgetary support and are demanding performance on key areas, among them investigation progress on the murder of Anti-Corruption Deputy Director Issa Njaunju; investigation into the MK577 billion cashgate and the passing of the Access to Information (ATI) bill, as preconditions for the resumption of aid.

The government of Germany has actually offered to fund a forensic audit into the MK577 billion theft of public money that happened between 2009 and 2012 so that government does not find any excuses.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is a key partner in terms of unlocking aid from other donors, announced recently that its Extended Credit Facility (ECF) with the Malawi government is off-track and that it would not be releasing the next trance of 20 billion Kwacha until government balances up its books. The only positive stories in as far as support from donors are concerned, have only come in form of pledges.

The DPP government is also increasingly coming under attack from within the country. The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has seriously criticized President Mutharika for showing weak leadership amidst rapidly deteriorating social services and government operating systems.

Civil society organizations blame Mutharika for being an absent leader and lacking any clue in the face of rising poverty and a chaotic government. It is clear Mutharika and his DPP cronies never pictured this scenario when they came to power one and a half years ago. They have realized that running government is not champagne in a glass scenario.

Many Malawians have lost trust in the DPP government. Mutharika has gained a reputation as not a listening President who does not appear to be in control of government affairs. He is a President who is far and away disconnected from the tribulations that Malawians go through every day. He has turned out to be a State House recluse who is happy to cede government control into the hands of inexperienced young aides. Many Malawians are beginning to look back at the era of the People’s Party (PP) with increasing nostalgia.

In a scenario like this one, the urge to find someone to blame or to find a pretext to your failures is usually very strong. It is only those with real political experience and those who have developed a thick skin who can resist this urge. In all its political facets, the DPP has often exhibited a lack of political maturity and thick skin. It has shown it is just as prone to typical political pressures and can succumb to old politics without much ado. This is exactly what is happening now and the person who has been singled out for blame for all the country’s political and economic woes is Joyce Banda.

Perceived JB threat

While President Mutharika faces international ostracism and local pressure to perform and be a visible President, Joyce Banda is enjoying a rising international profile. Her image as a defender of women’s rights and a social and political rights campaigner is gaining recognition all over the world.

Reputable international organizations continue to invite Joyce Banda to deliver motivational speeches, and her rising personal brand equity and image have made her the envy of many, including President Mutharika and his DPP.It is in the interest of the DPP government to have Joyce Banda neutralized and resident in Malawi. It would be in the interest of the DPP to have JB as a sitting duck and pandering to its (DPP) whims.

DPP plot

It is in the interest of the DPP government to destroy their biggest political threat so far – Joyce Banda – especially to put to a halt her rising international profile. The best way to do this (just like it has been practiced since multiparty politics) is to chalk her resource pipeline whilst vilifying her through a negative propaganda campaign. This objective would be difficult to accomplish whilst Joyce Banda is outside the country.

The first step would be to ensure that she comes back to Malawi, where she can be easy prey. Her security detail was withdrawn; her vehicles taken away and she has not been paid her retirement salary since DPP came into power. Minister of Information Jappie Mhango says the former President must “return to Malawi to face the law”. When she comes back to Malawi, the DPP government wants to arraign her with politically-motivated cashgate charges.

The DPP, however, realizes that Joyce Banda is no ordinary political figure and that it cannot just effect an ordinary arrest without risking local and international backlash. A careful propaganda campaign to pepper and sway local and international perception was thought through and is currently in motion.

The campaign is centred on cashgate, whose major turning point – the shooting of former Budget Director, Paul Mphwiyo – took place when Joyce Banda was Head of State. DPP believes cashgate is Joyce Banda’s major weakness. This is why most of the vilification campaign against her by the DPP government is centred on cashgate.

The plot is to project Joyce Banda as the main beneficiary of cashgate through ‘revelations’ by main suspects in the plunder such as Oswald Lutepo (he actually confessed that he was pressurized by DPP to incriminate Joyce Banda as the main beneficiary of the loot) and Treza Senzani.

Since taking over power, Mutharika has consistently accused Joyce Banda of undermining his government. Mutharika and the DPP politburo have not missed any opportunity to remind Malawians and the international community that government is failing to perform because of cashgate.

During a memorial ceremony for late Bingu wa Mutharika at Ndata Farm, Nankhumwa alleged that it was Joyce Banda who killed the late President without showing any evidence to back his claims. Recently, Mutharika told Malawians and the International community that he failed to attend the SADC Heads of State meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, because his government was broke as all funds were depleted by Joyce Banda’s cashgate.

Ironically, a few months after that meeting, he travelled to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with an entourage of 115 individuals; hired a private jet; and blew over MK300 million in the process.

During a ‘HARDTALK’ interview with Zainab Badawi of BBC, Mutharika again singled out Joyce Banda and cashgate as the main reason his government has been perpetually in the red since he assumed the reins of power two years ago.

This is all part of the propaganda strategy to always keep in the public domain the fact that the DPP government is ‘investigating’ the former President for cashgate. This is done despite the fact that there is also another cashgate involving MK577 million which happened under the DPP of Peter Mutharika’s brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, and that Malawians plus donors are also demanding investigation into this cashgate.

The fact that the Joyce Banda cashgate is always and deliberately highlighted is not just an afterthought; it is part of a carefully crafted scheme to poison the perception of Malawians so that they are not taken by surprise when she is arrested. The DPP government is planting the perception of ‘guilty’ for Joyce Banda in the minds of Malawians

It is apparent that the DPP governmenthas ill-conceived motives against Joyce Banda. It is clear that Peter Mutharika has an axe to grind against the former President. It is also clear that Malawi is currently not a safe place for the former President and that she would better continue staying outside the country until such as a time when it is safe for her to stay in Malawi. It is highly unlikely, however, that this would happen under the President Mutharika and the DPP.

The life of Joyce Banda and that of members of her immediate family is in danger (this was exemplified when the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) released a report, which implicated the leadership of the People’s Party, including her son, Geoffrey Kachale, as plotting to undermine the DPP government). Security should therefore be of paramount importance as government has all the machinery and might to do anything including taking of life.

JappieMhango’srecent statement against Joyce Banda is therefore part of the larger ‘JB and cashgate scheme’ currently in motion!

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33 thoughts on “Smoke and Mirrors: Cashgate exchanges of Malawi govt and Joyce Banda”

  1. mzungumbuli says:

    Japie I advise you not to talk much on these issues because think of tomorow. Inu ana a ku ntchenachena muzikhala ngati ozindikila

  2. MPHAKA says:

    JAPP,UKAMAYANKHULA UZILINGA MAWA…

  3. Jimbo says:

    The Kwacha is sinking without trace – 974 to GB£!! The government needs to get a grip on things. Unfortunately its leader is clueless and doesn’t know which way to turn for the best. The majority of Malawians care nothing for cashgate and all the other squabbles besetting the politicians. They are too busy trying to survive and earn an honest crust. APM knows this and feels no threat to his power base.

  4. Caddon Mann says:

    My advise to DPP government: Please continue responding to JB statements. Instead of letting her to deceive the uncritical readers out there. Bravo DPP

  5. Gerald mapanga phiri says:

    I don’t believe that JB was involve but she was weak and knowing Malawians what they do in offices and for that she can’t protect vulnerable Malawian resources. And I believe that ddp government desperately wants JB’s heard at all cost. They want to assassin her political career. If there is evidence they can still charge her even she is in abroad.

  6. Funzo says:

    There are two DPPs in Malawi but it is not the Government DPP that should be bringing charges but other one, if appropriate.

  7. mwachaje says:

    Zisamakomere mbuzi kugunda galu, galu akagunda mbuzi nkumati ai ameneyu atiphera mbuzi.

    Amai has been playing her usual political games over accountability and legal issues. She has attacked the political leadership of the current ruling party. Are you therefore surprised that the political machinery of DPP has responded in a similar manner?
    The issues surrounding cash gate are about her ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE CITIZENS OF MALAWI, because she was a president when a specific amount of money disappeared from government coffers to BANK ACCOUNTS OF SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS.

    In as far as she has employed a political and not legal or accountability approach, I would expect the other side to do the same.

    She cannot have her cake and eat it at the same time.
    She is not a victim but a powerful political player in Malawi.

  8. Kenkkk says:

    Mercy nyirongo, your dpp thugs just like pp are also thieves. Cashgate didn’t start with jb govt, it started with udf and perfected by your dear dpp thugs under both bingu and now Peter. Just look at their assets, that is what catches and betrays them being thieves.

    It is also premature to say the international community is losing faith in jb simply because of a USA green card refusal. In USA they don’t treat someone as different from anyone as far as immigration is concerned but if it was in Africa a sanctuary would have been given just because it is jb. In USA or Europe they don’t care about anyone’s status, they just follow their law to the letter, madam. Katangale wachisawawa kulibe mayi.

    Also you seem not to understand things, this is not a matter for cia, Scotland Yard or Interpol. If your dpp thugs really want jb to come home or be sent home, all they need to do is charge jb and submit those charges to the country that she is residing and ask for her extradition to Malawi. If the host country is convinced or satisfied with the charges then jb will be sent home.

    The big question to you mercy is why is this dpp govt not officially charging jb? They need to charge jb and then all of us will start taking them seriously. They have so far not done so just barking like dogs. So you Mercy be serious as well, go and remind your incompetent dpp gurus to charge jb and seek her extradition to Malawi.

    Otherwise you are just talking nonsense and being used, typical dpp boot licker.

  9. busy signal says:

    This analysis is fake. I suspect another cash gate rat who has been cornered

  10. Simeon Banda says:

    NT

    No one is above the law. One is only presumed a suspect up until proven guilty by a competent court of law.

    If the Madam is indeed innocent as you have ably defended her, let her come back home and prove her innocence.
    The Malawi nation will be happy to see her walk to her freedom than seeing her being a fugitive.
    It’s just a matter of time, the so call International community who support her, are praying on her.

  11. FBI geniune says:

    jappie mphoka mhango,b carefull this stupid government is using u.Later it wil dump u like trash.To b honest these dpp thugs has failed Malawians.A kulimbana ndi mzimayi daily opanda cholozeka chomwe akuchita.daily nkhani izingokhala kuti joyce banda anaba ndalama,apite kunja nkhani izingokhala yomweyo.Ngati muli ndi umboni okwana osamuzenga milandu bwanji?Government yonseyi kumalimbana ndi munthu modzi zowona.Mankhwala muchipatala akuvuta ,joyce banda.Magesi kuzimwazimwa ,joyce banda.Zinthu kukwera mtengo,jb.kusowa kwa madzi ,jb.Mvula kusagwa bwino Jb,misika kupsa jb,mafuta kukwera mtengo jb,kukweza licence jb.Abale ndi zambiritu akungoti jb ,chonsecho jb kulibeko.Amalawi anthu awa ndiwobalalika ndithu,alibe nzeru.Zowonadi kumphunzira si skul yonkha ayi ndawonera Mr Ibu ndi club yawo.Chonsecho akulephera kufotokoza bwino 400 million anaba mu chaka cha 2011 ndi a mukhito.Pajatu TB Joshua akuti pulezident wina waku southern africa afanso.yambilanitu kulapa machimo anu mwamva.Akuti dziko limenelo magesi azizimazima,mvula idukiza kugwa,nde ine ndikuwona ngati akuzembera kuno chifukwa abale mvula siyikuwoneka bwino ku malawi kuno ndiponso magesi ndiye mmmmmm ndi vuto la mgonagona ndiye samalani paja TB joshua saphonya ayi kumbukirani zinachitika Mu 2012.

  12. 201 room says:

    Nonsense

  13. APM is a shame to all his USA students and his fellow professors. No wonder even his own kids don’t wanna come home and stay with him despite him being a President of the nation. His kids are ashamed of him too.

  14. Macdonald says:

    Zonse mchabe aMalawi ambiri ali kufa nayo njala . Tsono tiziti utsogoleri wanu ulipati pamenepa? Ndiomwewa omwe amamvotatu mwawaira lero. Mukuona ngati mukamba za cashgate ife tiziti chani apa nonse ndinu mbamva. Koma ubwino wake ndiwoti ndalamazo mukamaba ifa simakuopani.

  15. Truck says:

    BOTH OF YOU DPP AND PP ARE INVOLVED IN CASHGATE WE ARE TIRED OF LISTENING NOW ITS TIME TO TAKE TOUGH ACTION ON CASHGATERS OTHERWISE NO MORE AID FROM DONORS

  16. shekosheko says:

    Olo ine mutachita kunditsira Doom mmaso, Joyce Banda yekha ayi ayi ayi ndamukana. Mayi wankhanza, wokuba, watsankho, wosakonda amai anzake, wankhwidzi, wosakhululuka, wamiseche, eeeeeeehe! Ilangeni mfiti imeneyi! Ukuthawanji ku Malawi kuno ngati uli woyera? Woipa athawa yekha popanda omuthangitsa: atero mau a Yehova. Bwerani kuno muzaonetse ugwiro wanu.

  17. Chizeleza says:

    Mathanyula will definately kill you Amayi using Dausi

  18. Patrick Phiri says:

    This story has a lot of lies fabricated by PP sympathisers. For example, the K577 billion went missing between 2009 and 2014, not between 2009 and 2012 as reported in the article. Of that amount, K350 billion went missing between 2012 and 2014 when PP was ruling via caretaker role. In addition to that, PP squandered the jet money. Malawians know all these things. That’s why PP will never rule again.

  19. Biti NAC says:

    Pitala ngopusadi

  20. CHEWA FEDERAL FRONT says:

    Good article.
    One hopes that JB herself will read it and take heed of your advice. Point to emphasize here is that MAYI WATHU, DON’T GO BACK TO MALAWI.
    But, then, what of APM himself? How happy is he to accept labels such as “absent leader”, “puppet president”, ..? Being a former “distinguished” professor of law, wouldn’t he have been concerned about maintaining high standards in whatever else he does? I, for one, am still haunted by his pedestrian conduct in the MSB saga: the other day he suspended its sale only to sell it a week later!!!???? This type of behaviour is characteristic of the uneducated vendor and not a more lofty professor.

  21. william says:

    dont talk about cashgate we want to know what are you Boma doing about kwacha devaluation, are you guys have given up ungo itana anthu za PP, MCP athandiza ku endetsa economy. Fotseki

  22. Benson Chirwa says:

    JB cannot be perceived as running away since she’s not been charged with any cash gate related activities.

  23. mercy Nyirongo says:

    And more the American government has rejected the former President Joyce Banda green card visa….it only shows the longer she stays outside the faster international community is losing trust in her and this year will be the worst for Joyce Banda…interpol,CIA and Scotland yard are watching with keep interest ….Donors don’t like thieves full stop…watch this space the story writer Lifted Likaku…happy new year keep on defending undefendable

  24. mercy Nyirongo says:

    The international community has started smelling a rat with Joyce Banda behaviour outside Malawi the issue is simple why is she not in malawi..everyone knows she does want to face the convicted people whom she directed to steal tax payers money… Where people of malawi trusted her to protect in the 2 years in power…

  25. 2016 welcome says:

    The only difference between Joyce Banda and Peter Mutharika is that one is female and the other one is male. In terms of their leadership styles; they are equally worse. Again the only difference between DPP and PP is that the other one has D in it while the other one doesn’t have it. They are both specialists in cashgate. We are not too dull to know this. Fotseki!

  26. therere says:

    Likaku is from Zomba cant write bad things about JB
    JB should just come and defend herself on all those allegations

  27. No Laughing Matter says:

    Clearly supporter of JB no journalistic balance. It seems you want us to agree with your opinions

  28. Kamwendo says:

    DPP might be bad as per your claims but don’t lie to Malawians that JB was not involved in the cashgate deal. Why was Kasambara telling the court JB is his witness? I know that some of you have benefited from the cashgate and would not want your mistress to be brought to book.

  29. Naliyela says:

    Though am not a PP fanatic, this is a well articulated article. It contains some iota of truth.
    DPP is doing all this out of desperation. ” What they are saying are just mere regurgitated facts full of political innuendos” – Dausi

  30. more $ says:

    The article is too long and biased. Fotseki.

  31. utitiri says:

    Thom Chiumia u should have edited this rubbish from Lifred Likaku! Let Joyce Banda come back home to get her remuneration package. I know she is not satisfied with her K30m gratuity becoz a PS who has served in Government now receives over K100m. But the difference is that she will b provided with a mansion of her choice, top of the range vehicles including fuel, top notch medical cover, security, cooks, house servants. land scapers etc, all utilities (electricity, water, dstv, tel units, City rates etc) will b provided by the govt for the rest of her life(all this for serving for 2years only!). This is more than the K100m PSs gratuity! What r ur long term plans? Suppose DPP wins again in 2019 will u still be in exile?

  32. Chifwede says:

    Much as you are a Joyce Banda sympathizer your article has substance. The best this govt can do is work round the clock, fix the economy and then arrest Joyce Banda if they have real evidence not this convicted former Ps Triza Senzani rants.

    This media trial is in fact benefiting JB bcoz you are simply giving her lawyers time to prepare for the case basing on your arguments and evidence

  33. Namaoda says:

    Malawians nolstagic about the PP era? Kkkkkk you have an active imagination. While things may not be good right now, I would rather forgot that period.

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